Tuesday 24 October 2017 01:22:19 AM

The Belfast Marathon 2011
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BELFAST MARATHON 2011

ON May Day Monday East Down AC surpassed last year’s entry in the Belfast Marathon by sending out a team of 15 to tackle the full 26.2 miles on what proved to be an excellent day for spectating but less comfortable for running.  Bright sun and a strong headwind in places made what was already an arduous challenge that bit more difficult. But what a response the magnificent 17 gave – Yes there were actually 17 as Darryl Madine and Denis McKay combined their brains and their brawn to form the smallest relay team in the field, each running half the distance for a combined total time of 4.18.57.  This is in preparation for each doing the full distance next year when a fall in production should enable them to undertake the necessary  training.

In truth everyone suffered but that’s to be expected over such a distance – it makes the achievement all the sweeter. Even Diarmuid Grant who finished 3rd in Jimmy’s Ten confessed to “coming apart” at 19 miles before finishing 6th in 2.35.  Wish I could come apart like that! It just goes to show that even at the elite end of the field the marathon bites hard.

Declan Teague was the first East Down runner home, shaving over 7 minutes of last year’s time and setting a new best of 3.13.53 – surely the 3 hour barrier is within his grasp?  Next was the first of the debutants, Ryan Hagen clocking a magnificent 3.24 and finishing full of running – it’s good to see Ryan back in running mode again and he has loads of potential still to realise.

Then Raymond Milligan chipped in with 3.33, six minutes faster than last year – perhaps he was keen to get to work?  And Gavin Oakes continued his remarkable climb from social jogger to serious athlete as he carved 27 minutes off last year’s time, that’s over 1 minute per mile quicker.  Anyone in running circles will tell you how difficult that is – yet there is certainly more to come from Gavin.

Kristoffer Fegan suffered from interrupted training due to injury and was disappointed with his 3.38, but how many would give their eye teeth for a time like that?

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Then came the first of the ladies – Kim Surginor fairly drove a hole through the clock face, shearing a massive 36 minutes from her 2010 time, just days before another driving finish left her needing crutches, though luckily Barbara Degan had just about finished with hers, and happily passed them on, another example of the benefits of belonging to a club. Husband Colm too annihilated last year’s time, by “only” 12 minutes but he probably won the “Happiest Man of the Day” award afterwards. Tracey McDowell weighed in with a splendid 4.17 on her debut run and though she says she didn’t enjoy it the photos would suggest otherwise. Paul Rogan too set a new mark with 4.18 and only found out how the marathon bites back on Sunday’s long run.

As a group the quartet of Kieran Fitzsimons, Betty McCartan, Ronan McGrath and Gareth Kimpton may not make much progress on the X Factor but all completed highly satisfying debuts and Betty afterwards staked her claim for celebrity status with an impressive appearance on UTV News. Simon McGrattan and Linda Cunningham, while not setting new best times nevertheless posted best times for the distance on 2nd May 2011.

So all of you who completed the distance or who took part in any  of the events associated with the marathon should sit back and enjoy your success – believe me for those of us spectating or marshaling it’s not a patch on taking part – after all who would be impressed with the line “I was marshaling all day” compared with “ I ran the distance”?

So, well done to you all and to all those from Down District who took part.  Next stop for many from East Down and Murlough is Edinburgh in two weeks time – does the Scottish capital know what’s about to hit it?

Name Time and 2010 difference
Declan Teague 3.13.53 PB – 7 mins
Ryan Hagen 3.24.24 PB 1st Marathon
Raymond Milligan 3.33.08 PB – 6 mins
Gavin Oakes 3.37.37 PB -27 mins
Kristoffer Fegan 3.48.58
Kim Surginor 3.49.01 PB – 36 mins
Simon McGrattan 4.15.26
Tracey McDowell 4.17.41 PB 1st Marathon
Paul Rogan 4.18.48 PB
Colm Surginor 4.19.29 PB  – 12 mins
Kieran Fitzsimons 4.26.37 PB 1st Marathon
Linda Cunningham 4.28.39
Betty McCartan 4.31.32  PB 1st Marathon
Ronan McGrath 4.37.39 PB 1st Marathon
Gareth Kimpton 4.43.45 PB 1st Marathon

On Friday Elaine Burch completed a fine double in the Ulster Schools Track and Field Championships, winning both the 1500 and 3000 metres races while Megan Wilson carried her recent good Hill and Dale form into the Senior 3000 metres, taking 2nd place ahead of Caroline O’Hare.

On Saturday there were spirited performances from several of the Club juniors at Antrim Forum in the first round of the Young Athletes League.  Olivia Mooney led the Under 13 Girls team of Eimear Connor, Aoife Cochrane, Colleen McNeilly, Laura Murphy, Nuala Reynolds and Amy Godfrey into their first experience of competitive athletics and they can be well pleased with their efforts.

The Boys too performed well with Dillon Morgan the sole representative in the Under-13 category taking a very creditable 3rd place in the javelin competition and Marc Breteche and Matthew Martin, both only just outside the Under 13 age group, upholding honour admirably in the Under-15 category. Eoin Quail was the only representative in the Under-17 age group and after an unlucky slip from the starting blocks in the 100 metres he restored his pride with a sterling display in the 200 sprint. Despite the low turnout the Club coaches were pleased with the efforts made by all who did take part and are looking forward to the next round in 3 weeks time in the Templemore Sports Complex.

Next on the menu for the seniors is the Les Jones 10K on Friday night at Mary Peters Track while all locals are asked to support the new 10K being organised from Bright Community Centre on 12th June on behalf of the Impact Romania group.