Monday 22 October 2018 12:14:33 AM

East Down AC Notes For 30 May 2016
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For an event only in its second year it is quite remarkable that this highly professionally organised race should already have attracted over 500 runners across both distances writes Joe Quinn.

Belfast Hill: Paul Burns receives his winners prize from Pure Running’s  Catriona McCorkell after Saturday ‘s race.

Belfast Hill: Paul Burns receives his winners prize from Pure Running’s Catriona McCorkell after Saturday ‘s race.

Happily too it coincided this year with the Slieve Donard race, meaning I didn’t have to agonise over which to do. I had already entered the Ballyclare race I had decided last year that once every two years was enough to take on Donard again, though once every lifetime might be an even better choice, and was on my way home from Ballyclare before I remembered it was Donard day. Imagine my disappointment!

Anyway having taken on the 5K distance last year I had chosen to go with the “distance” runners this time and I have to say in spite of an uphill last 2K I thoroughly enjoyed it. The icing on the cake was in breaking 60 minutes for the distance to establish a new pb for the distance in the Over 65 age category – though given that it was only my second race over the 10K distance in the past 5 years, it’s not really all that spectacular. However, my next target is sub 55 – over the next 5 years.


Gareth Amos who was more than pleased with his time of 49.42, while his daughter Lara represented the Club’s juniors very well in the 5K taking the third Female Junior place in a time of 27.52, 34th place overall in a field of 145.


The annual Slieve Donard race, coming as it did two weeks later than last year, didn’t make things any easier for those who turned up on Saturday at the Newcastle Centre, as inevitably they were 54 weeks as opposed to 52 weeks older than last year. For those wanting to reach the summit in minutes less than their age this could be quite a crucial difference. Pre-race promises from Bogusboy (I can read as well as write) that free refreshments awaited anyone who reached the summit in a time (in minutes I think) less than your age did not entice me this year.


 Lara (4411) and Dad Gareth Amos providing much needed support to Joe Quinn after Saturday’s Ballyclare Mayfair races.

Lara (4411) and Dad Gareth Amos providing much needed support to Joe Quinn after Saturday’s Ballyclare Mayfair races.

On the past two occasions I have “done Donard”, I managed to hit that target, but still await the promised drink or even a mug. Strangely I have only just seen last year’s official times and my time to the top of 64.18 was 6 seconds faster than my descent, and represented a loss of 34 places!! Perhaps the missing reward is the punishment for such carelessness? So here’s the deal Bogusboy – I’ll run Donard next year and if I fail to reach the top in under 70 minutes I’ll forfeit all claims to drinks, mugs etc, but if I do I’ll expect a Hill and Dale mug full of my favourite tipple – Tea. Are you up for this?


Anyway to more serious matters, Neil Andrews continues to impress and improve, taking 24th place in an excellent time of 67.07 and was followed by the also very impressive Gavin Hynds in 71.29 in 43rd place. Davy Foster 76.10 and Stephen Heasley 76.41 fought out the battle for third East Down finisher and were followed home by East Down’s first lady, Niamh Kellett in 79.50 and a place well inside the top 100. Jonny Kelly 82.41 and Tom McMeekin 83.49 also made it into the top 100 though Michael Cultra 64.58 like me seems to go up better than he comes down and was just outside that group.

Mickey Cunningham 86.22 knocked a massive 6 minutes off his 2015 time, in spite of the advancing years, by virtue mainly of a much speedier descent while Wendy Findlay 97.02 also improved her time and Paddy McDonald 100.40 had the excuse of a poor preparation, due to injury, for his slightly slower time. But he did it and well done to everyone who took on the challenge.


Most people complain about hills so it makes a pleasant change when someone actually goes looking for them. Into this category on Saturday – what a variety of races were available on this action packed weekend – came Club Captain Paul Burns who not only found what he was looking for in the shape of the Belfast Hills 8.8K race, which began at the Boys Model School and took the runners up, over and down the Cavehill.

Not only that but Paul enjoyed it so much he led the way round and was still there at the finish, claiming a memorable victory in 34.40 ahead of North Belfast’s Marty Rea and his clubmate Andrew Milligan. This was a significant win and an indication of the quality in the field is that the top ten was completed by Balydrain Harrier’s Richard Coey.


The next local race is a 5K on Wednesday 8 June in Dromara as part of the Village Festival. The race begins at 7.30pm.


On the following Saturday the Knockevin Special School Pick and Mix Pairs 10K takes place at 11.00am from the School on Racecourse Hill. Runners are asked to enter online at:

You don’t need a partner to enter as runners will be paired off after registration as an individual. Entries will also be taken on the day. A 5K Fun Run/Walk is also on offer and it should be a great event.