A round up of all the week’s racing by Bogusboy
The week of racing got off to an early start with the Ballyvea 10k in Annalong on Monday evening (10 July). Local athlete Andrew Annett who runs in the colours of North Belfast Harriers, was the runaway winner, completing the undulating 6.2 miles in just under 33 minutes (32:59!). He was followed home by NAC’s David Simpson (35:38), completing his third race in 4 days after winning the Greyabbey 10k and the Stairway to Heaven! – Impressive stuff! John McKee was third home in 37:28 and the 5k was won by Jamie Annett in 20:25. 104 runners completed either the 5k or 10k races on the night.
The Shore 10k
The following evening (11 July), the picturesque setting of Killough was the venue for the Shore 10k. This is very much an atypical Co Down race as there are fewer climbs and rolling hills than usual. The course is scenic and conditions made for a very pleasant evening of racing for the impressive turnout of 232 competitors. The local residents were out in force to applaud and cheer the runners home and there was certainly a great buzz about the place. Alan Johnston of Murlough AC made a welcome return to winning ways and proved that his renewed appetite for hard and focused training is paying off. He was, however made to work hard for his victory with Conor McMullan of Annadale and James Savage of East Down pushing him all the way t0 the line. There were 5 Newcastle athletes in the race. First home was Brendan McQuade, who having narrowly missed out on his first sub-38 minute 10k recently in Newry was determined to set a new PB. The course was certainly to his liking and he finished strongly claiming 5th place in 37:57 – job done! Well job done for now, as this is a man who in the not too distant future can break 37 minutes.
Take her handy Tank
Joe McCann was next home in 39:18 – a steady and consistent if unspectacular performance. He ran much of the way with Frank ‘The Tank’ Cunningham, who has had a few near misses as he strives to recapture his sub-40 form. He was not to be denied and refused to let his spiritual guru get too far ahead. His finish time of 39:25 represents a significant improvement on some of his recent times. Not going out like a bat out of hell was the official reason for his fine performance on this occasion. However, we can expect a return to normal service at the Ford 5k, when undoubtedly Frank will lead them out for at least the first half mile!!! Lesser spotted Sam McNeilly was next home in 44:10 – a good solid run as this was Sam’s first time racing on tarmac in a long time. Nicky McKeag completed the scoring for NAC, finishing in 46:15 and perhaps carrying a little fatigue from the Greyabbey 10K a few days earlier.
Carlingford to Foxes Rock
Two Newcastle AC runners Pete Grant and Colm Murtagh made the short trip south to Carlingford on Saturday the 15th of July to take part in the Carlingford to Foxes Rock Mountain Race organised by IMRA. The race is a tough one; 16km long with 800m (just under the height of Slieve Donard) of climbing – a park run it definitely is not! It starts in Carlingford village up to the summit of Slieve Foye Mountain over to Foxes Rock with runners returning the same route finishing in the village from whence they came. It was well worth the trip for the Newcastle runners with Murtagh topping the podium in 1.37.10 and Grant a close second in 1.38.00. Another local runner Dale Mathers made up the top 3 in a time of 1.40.00. Grant has vowed to go one place better next year and take the winners spot. However, he said the same last year when he also finished second!!!
Kerry O’Flaherty overcame her disappointment of missing out on the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard last weekend in Sweden by emphatically going under the 9:54 time on Friday evening in Belgium – more on this next week.
You can’t escape the world’s press even when you try to!
Just after last week’s publication Reuters sent me word of a club mate who competed in the Pyrenees. Declan McIlroy completed 25km Trail de Font Romeu on Saturday 8th July. Declan finished 190th out of 513 runners competing and was 15th out of 47 in the V49-59 age category. Speaking to Declan on his return he stated that he was reasonably fatigued at the finish – his words were a little more colourful than mine!
The Ford 5k
All roads will lead to St. Patrick’s Park on the Castlewellan road on Saturday at noon for the second annual Ford 5k. Fast times are guaranteed on this flat course on closed roads around the town. With a £50 bonus on offer for male and female course records a big crowd is expected to post a fast time. All of the local clubs have confirmed a great level of interest and many of the club players are looking forward to the challenge of competing against more regular runners. The action gets under way at Bryansford GAC at 12 noon. As always, there will be a good spread afterwards.