NAC notes by Bogusboy
The undoubted highlight of the weekend was the performance of seasoned campaigner and ever-youthful Jim Patterson. Now in his seventies, Patterson proved that age is no barrier to success by competing in the 14th World Masters’ Mountain Running Championships in Prustuke Slovakia. Patterson will return to Newcastle a World Champion after beating off all rivals to win the world v70 crown. He recorded a time of 55:03 and had 19 seconds to spare over German Wolfgang Huber, with Belgian athlete Omer Van Noten third, 2 minutes and 16 seconds adrift of Patterson.
The Laganside 10k: The torrential rain and gusting winds did little to deter the 1000+ athletes that were pre-registered for the Laganside 10k, one of the most prestigious events in the local running calendar. With a lot of top talent on display, honours went to Mark McKinstry of the host club, North Belfast Harriers in 32:01 – a good time on a tough day. He was followed home by the in-form Chris Madden of City of Lisburn AC (32:11), with NBH athlete Lindsay Gordon taking third spot in 32:12. This was a very close encounter and it was McKinstry’s experience that was the decisive factor in resolving the outcome in the latter stages. With Jack O’Hare declared unfit to run after an 11th hour medical, NAC bragging rights were in the balance. Kieran Morgan had been coached for the entire summer with this race in mind and was even held back in races to optimise his performance in this one. He did not disappoint and was first NAC over the line in 33rd place a highly impressive new PB of 36:19. He was pushed all the way by club matte and cross country stalwart, David McNeilly who came home 36th 21 seconds back in 36:40.
Paul Byrne was next in 38:21, just ahead of Frank Cunningham who recorded a new PB in 38:50. Joe McCann just missed out on the elusive 40 minute mark, running 40:03. David McCann (no relation as he is quick to point out to anyone who will listen) was next (41:14), followed by John Higgins who stormed to a new PB (41:56). Warrior Mickey Flynn was next, just over the 43 minute mark (43:04) and just withstanding the challenge of Niall Carson (43:13). Paul Rodgers made a welcome return to racing and stuck to his plan of 7:15 miling with steadfast resilience – he finished in 44:01. Sam McNeilly was next in 44:59 and Harry Russell, not to be confused with the other NAC athlete Hugh Russell completed the scoring for the seasiders, dipping under the 46 minute marker (45:47). Well done to Mourne Runners’ Laura Graham who was first lady to break the tape. With 1023 Finishers, this is one of the best attended events of the 10k season.
PIPS 10k: Earlier in the day, with a 10am start, Sinead Murtagh and Ciaran Og McGeough took part in the PIPS 10k in Newry. In a show of club spirit and solidarity the pair ran together and finished close together in just over 43 minutes.
Ballykinlar 10k: At noon, the whistle blew for the start of the Ballykinlar 10k. Again, the poor weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the gathered masses. David Simpson of NAC was the runaway winner in around 33 and half minutes. Patrick Higgins was third, recording his best 10k, notwithstanding some of the sections of his marathon adventures, coming home in 37:10. Nicky McKeag was third lady across the line in 47:01 as the ladies was won by Niamh O’Connell of Murlough AC – great to see Niamh back racing after injury.
Women are the real warriors in Sligo: On the 26 August Ryan McDonald and Mickey Flynn dragged their respective ‘other halves’ all the way to Strandhill, Sligo for the 33rd Warriors run, a 15km multi terrain run including a climb to the summit of Knocknarea mountain. It was Flynn’s second year taking part but once the word got out, the Newcastle AC ‘old guard’ reminisced about the time they all took part in the race and their ‘sketchy’ times. No documentary evidence was ever submitted to the results verification panel and much of the information is now deemed spurious.Over 900 runners took part and first home for Newcastle was ‘Ryan’ McDonald (not Chicker, Jagger or Badger as you would often hear people shouting at him at the Hill & Dale) in an impressive 65th place overall (1hr: 11mins). Coming second (or last, depending how you look at it), Flynn finished 115th, a slight improvement on last year. Expecting to reach the finish line and be cheered on by their wives proved to be a stretch of the imagination. 45 minutes later they turned up after competing in the Strandhill Warrior Gin drinking festival, where both are reported to have represented Down with considerable aplomb.
Ben Nevis Race: As usual NAC was well represented at the annual Ben Nevis race on Saturday 2 September as 489 competitors climbed to the highest point in the UK. Congratulations to Diane Wilson of Dromore and wife of NAC legend Brian who won the ladies race. As the posse were travelling back at the time of going to press, we will have to wait until next week for their report. Findlay Wild of Locaber AC won the race in 1 hour 31 minutes.