by Joe McCann
All ends ‘Wells’ at the Hill and Dale opener!
Congratulations to Barry Wells for his tremendous organisation of the first Hill and Dale race of the 2011 season. With so many entries (201 in total) to process and so much to organise this relative newcomer to the Hill and Dale Committee once again showed meticulous attention to detail and commanding leadership as this race ran as smoothly as something that is exceptionally smooth!
A good night for the host club
28 Newcastle AC athletes took to the line in the first race of the 2011 series. Best placed for the host club were Dave McKibbin (6th), David Steele (7th) and Brendan Quail (9th) to record an unofficial team victory from Mourne Runners. All in all there were 8 Newcastle athletes in the top 20 and Dominic McGreevy and Anne Sandford won their categories to round off a successful evening for the club. A little down the field PJ McCrickard (not to be confused with his brother Eamon who shall we diplomatically say performed below par) Jack O’Hare and Paul Watson all had storming runs. When asked about the quality of his run, Watson commented, ‘I don’t know.’ John Kelly’s new vest got its first outing and despite the great piece of publicity in the preview Audie McVeigh was too ill to give his vest a maiden outing. However, judging by recent conversations, his mouth is fully functional again and surely the rest will follow suit!
Race 2 – Tollymore
Good luck to all athletes as the Hill and Dale moves to Tollymore, where last year a staggering 213 athletes participated to create a record and unsurprisingly McNeilly was the bet placed Newcastle runner in 4th place, less than a minute behind Woods.
Congratulations to Mark Kendal who had a great run to complete the Virgin London Marathon in 2 hours and 57 minutes on Sunday 17th April. In only his second race over the distance Mark had a very steady run, clocking 1:24:55 for the first half and despite the increasing temperature continued at a sensible pace to ensure that he broke the 3 hour barrier. While his time is outside the 2:51 he posted in his debut, Mark can use this as valuable experience as he prepares for Dublin in the fall. After the race Mark shared his thoughts on the race, commenting on the wonderful sense of occasion and tremendous support that was offered throughout the entire 26.1 miles. He also observed that around Canary Wharf (about 20 miles in) the heat was becoming unbearable and many athletes were stopping. Mark was inspired by the sound of a pipe band playing, thinking the dulcet tones belonged to fellow piper Brian McBurney!!! Despite claiming that he was going backwards in the second half of the race, the former hockey star vowed to return next year. Perhaps Damien Brannigan, who was a ‘definite maybe’ for 2011 will upgrade his status to ‘probable definite could be’ and join the posse for London 2012, a special marathon in an Olympic year. I think I might possibly consider maybe committing myself!!!
There were no Newcastle AC athletes in action at the Ballynahinch Lions 10k on Saturday 16th April. However our congratulations go to Brendan Teer of our local neighbours East Down AC as he dominated the race throughout to win by over a minute from Matthew Wilson of Willowfield in a time of 33:04 – a fast time on a challenging course with to considerable climbs. It is great to see Brendan returning to the form and promise he consistently showed in the past
Junior success at the Super 5
Earlier in the week some of the Juniors attended the first Super 5 Track Meeting at the Mary Peter’s Track. There were some fine performances, most notable from Aine Rice who finished fourth in the girls U11 80m, Kate McCauley who was third in the girls U11 Long Jump and Dean McCrickard, Ethan Banks and Caolan Hawkins who finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the boys U11 Long Jump. Full details of all the performances can be found in the junior section. The second meeting of the series takes place on Thursday 28th April at 7pm.