East Down Athletic Club
The week started like any other, Monday followed Sunday and it rained. However, it was a week of high expectations not least because the Darragh Cross 6 Mile road Race was scheduled for Thursday night… the hope being that the midweek setting would attract more than the Saturday afternoons of previous years writes Joe Quinn.
After a day of almost unbroken sunshine, however, the wind rose and the rain fell, bringing premature night to the countryside and flooding to the car park. But undeterred, as the rain poured down, over 70 brave souls set off on the 6 Mile route and 3.5 Mile Fun Run and officials tried to keep their paperwork dry.
First to emerge out of the mist was East Down’s Daniel Atkinson, clocking a very impressive 29.43 for the testing shorter distance, probably closer to 3.7 than 3.5 miles, and setting down a mark for his dad in the seniors. Second home and first female runner was Laura green 32.50, with the ever improving Elisha Surginor 4th and Owen Edwards 5th.
First of the 6 milers to return was East Down’s Brendan Teer, 32.24 with North Belfast’s Martin Rea 2nd ahead of Newcastle’s David O’ Flaherty. Category prizes went to Conor McMullan, Annadale, Gerry Coy, North Down and Newcastle’s evergreen Dominic McGreevy. Tony Brennan did well to break 40 minutes and husband and wife duo George and Noreen Kerr were first timers on their doorstep course.
First of the Ladies was Murlough’s Donna McCusker 42.30, with East Down’s Cheryl Denvir in 2nd place and Dromore’s Susan Smyth in 3rd. Special mention has to go to Linda Cunningham who not only completed the race she started 3 years ago and did not complete due to illness, but also took first Over 45 Lady’s prize. Despite the fact she was wetter than Tom Daley to say she was pleased would be the understatement of the week – Inspirational stuff, Well Done Linda. Kim Surginor completed a productive night for the east Down club by taking the Over 35 prize.
The proceeds from the races will this year go to the Alzheimers Society and a big Thank You to all who supported the event the officials and especially the sandwich and cake makers without whom we would all be thinner. Well Done to them.
4 x 4?
They say it never rains but it pours and sure enough on Friday the expectations were realised with the arrival of granddaughter number 4. That’s not really her name, she weighed in at 5lbs 13 ozs, said her name was Jena and reminded me that Girl Power still rules! With that sort of muscle behind her I’m not going to argue.
On to Saturday and it was warm and sunny as Ballydrain Harriers once the best known and most successful club in NI athletics circles celebrated its 80th anniversary at its homely Club rooms. A superb exhibition of photos, press cuttings and memorabilia had been assembled by Raymond Brown and many former members of the Club had attended to recall and relive their deeds of yesteryear.
The Saturday get together took the form of a 5 mile run through some of the most beautiful countryside anyone could wish for and although numbers were small the enjoyment was huge. This was followed by a barbecue and the chance to socialise and reminisce. I heard that Downpatrick residents and former club stalwarts Pat Mullan and Lawrence Murray had visited the day before and I saw photos of the Price brother Tom and the late Dennis.
How sad it is to think that lack of numbers and money will cause the premises to be abandoned though the club intends to carry on by moving its base to Comber. It would indeed be a tragedy if this once mighty club were to fold and it is up to the running fraternity to ensure by whatever means that this does not happen. Best wishes then to Jim Hayes and his dedicated team for the future. The good news is that the exhibition will remain on display for several weeks yet for anyone who may have missed it.
Anyone wishing to attend the Gala Dinner on Saturday 29th September in La Mon House Hotel is asked to contact James Magennis on 07752320350 or email [email protected] or through club website www.eastdownac.co.uk Former members will be especially welcome as will anyone who has been involved with the club in any way over the years but the invitation is open to members from other athletics clubs who might like to celebrate with us.
There are a number of very exciting events coming up in the next few weeks which all local runners will not want to miss.
On Friday 31st August the ever popular Killyleagh Five Mile race takes place at 7.30pm, with entries in the Bridge Centre from 6.00pm and it will be preceded by Primary School and Under-16 races at 6.30pm. Both of these races will have team trophies for best school teams. All entries on the night. Contact John Huddleston 07519460046 or Joe Quinn 07933214894
MILL HILL MILE
On Monday 3 September at 7.30pm Newcastle AC stage the Mill Hill Mile in Castlewellan, a unique challenge for runners of all ages.
Look out next week for details of this season’s Cross Country League Fixtures.