Brown is a ‘definite’ among all the ‘maybes’

The Les Jones 10k and other weekend events by Bogusboy et al!

There is a wise old saying, the origins of which are attributed to the sage-like Billy McNeilly, ‘you can always fill a bus with ‘maybe’s’. This well proven mantra was never truer than on the night of the annual pilgrimage to the Les Jones 10k. In the weeks leading up to the event there was talk of hiring a coach. As the week progressed a minibus was more likely and by the witching hour on the day of the race O’Hare’s Smart car seemed more apposite. One by one they reneged, citing reasons that would have made an idle schoolboy blush in embarrassment. Notwithstanding the numerous withdrawals, six NAC athletes were among the 307 who took the line on a damp, but muggy evening in South West Belfast.

Aidan Brown would be the star of the show with an excellent run that would see him finish 12th in 36:43. With the recovery from London now complete, Brown showed fine form throughout and was particularly strong on the testing climb at 7.5k. O’Hare would come in next, grumbling that he was over 2 minutes down on last years’ time – there is no pleasing some people. Arguably the performance of the night came from Michael McKenna. In his first road outing in his new club colours he ran like a legend and claimed a few notable scalps in recording a new PB (39:36), comfortably dipping under the 40 minute barrier on a night and a course that were not conducive to such a feat.


Little to choose between them

The remaining three came in between 40 and 41 minutes and were comfortably inside the top 50 overall. McCann and Murdock enjoyed a seesaw battle throughout, trading places on a few occasions. With Murdock 10 seconds up the road at the 4 mile marker, McCann managed to release some air from the turbo and find a little power on the hill to wrest the initiative and hang on for grim death to finish a mere 9 seconds ahead of his current nemesis. Cunningham was very much in contention in the early stages. He certainly had the eventual winner, Project Africa athlete Dan Tanui, looking cautiously over his shoulder for the first lap of the track. Self-proclaimed ‘Frank the Tank’ behaved more sensibly as they passed the one mile marker and finished with a highly respectable 40:55.


Where do we go from here?

Post-race refreshments were brought along – NAC brought the sandwiches and the water, East down the 15s and Orangegrove AC the wit and repartee in the form of honorary NACs Robin Montgomery and Eric Fairfield. Amid the scoffing, plans were hatched for the final part of the evening. Alas it all went a bit ‘Pete Tong’ as four NAC athletes stopped for the mandatory drink on the way home. In keeping with the tone of the evening there was only one beer consumed by one of the party and all were tucked up in bed at home by 10:30pm! The ventilation system of McKenna’s new car was severely tested and all travelling can confirm that the windows do work! One athlete, who will remain nameless, was officially banned from ever setting foot in the vehicle again. On hearing of the exciting evening had by all, there are already huge demands for next year’s trip!


Position Name Category Finish Chip Time
12 Aidan Brown M35 00:36:45 00:36:43
18 Jack O’Hare M40 00:38:27 00:38:26
28 Michael Mc Kenna M35 00:39:39 00:39:36
35 Joe McCann M45 00:40:24 00:40:21
37 Philip Murdock M45 00:40:30 00:40:30
44 Frank Cunningham MO 00:40:57 00:40:55


Three Lakes 15k and 7k Challenge

On Saturday 13th May, three Newcastle AC runners made the journey to the 3 Lakes 7k/15k run in aid of Downpatrick Lions’ Club charities. The race attracted a field of 92 for the 7k and 97k for the 15k.  Well done to former East Down and Red High athlete Aaron McGrady on winning the 15k race while visiting home and to current East Down and Red High athlete Matthew McGrattan on winning the 7k race.

Jim Johnston completed the 7k in 13th place in a time of 31:54. He declared himself pleased but unsure whether to tackle the famous burger van at Drumlough or the sandwich and bun feast at the Loughinisland 5.05 as his next outing – he only races twice year!

In the undulating but scenic 15k, Paul Rodgers, in his last outing before the Newry Marathon two weeks hence, ran steadily to finish 9th overall in 63:56. Not far behind, daughter Megan Rodgers was delighted with her 31st position in a time of 73:26 in her first ever road race outing. Megan, a swimmer with Lecale ASC, felt at home on the wet roads.

Racing ahead

As we move through May and into June there is lots of road racing in the calendar. Notable events include the Mayor’s 10k in Newry, The Knockevin 5k & 10k, the Warrenpoint 10k, the Banbridge 10k, the Comber 10k, the Craigavon Lakes 10K and the 10k, Half and Marathon in Newry.  Off road, Saturday 20 May is the 72nd running of the Slieve Donard Race.  This is the 6th race of the 2017 Hill and dale Series and a trial race for the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA). Ian Bailey is aiming for 5 wins in a row on the iconic mountain.