Maisie makes it 2 in a row at Ardglass

Report by Siobhán Grant

It was very much de ja vu at Ardglass on Wednesday evening as Maisie McVeigh toed the line of the Ardglass Festival 5k for the 2nd consecutive year. It has been a jammed packed season for the eldest of the McVeigh’s, as each discipline has run consecutively straight into the next without much of a break. The welcomed break at the start of July allowed the youngster to reset, relax and embrace a much needed retreat from the spotlight before jumping back in two feet first.

It has been a massive year for the Newcastle AC runner who in Cross Country represented Ulster, on the track excelled at the shorter distances and unlocked huge potential in Hurdles and now she was testing her progress on the tarmac at a road race she won last year as not only first junior home but first female.

Nerves were high as expectation of a repeat of the previous year’s run hung over her. However deep down she knew that she had plenty to give and was ready to leave it all on the road. She was also safe in the knowledge that right by her side would be Dad Connaire, who opted to pace and support his daughter as he continues his journey back to full fitness.

This pairing could have gone either way, it was either a match made in heaven or an impending train wreck. Though kudos where kudos is due, Connaire kept conversation light and threw in some dad jokes along the way to keep Maisie distracted from the solid 7 minute miles in the early stages. As the race progressed and Maisie powered up the dreaded hill with ease, her time on the hills around Donard Park paid off as she floated effortlessly down the hill, letting off the handbrake and accelerated towards the finish with style and elegance leaving daddy eating the dust from her Vapour Flies.

She crossed the line in 20.05 which marked an impressive PB taking 1 minute 29 seconds off her time last year, again securing the double title of First Female and First Junior.

Also worth noting that she was 4th finisher overall in the 5k. A spectacular return to the roads for the 12 year old and a massive achievement to make it two in a row. Who knows it could be 3 in a row next year.

Afterwards she glowed with pride as news spread of her win. Although when asked about how the race went she said ‘ I just kept telling him to stop talking’ referring to Connaires constant ramblings on the way around the roads. It would be a lie to say that this will be the last pairing of the McVeighs in battle. Rumblings have been heard that in the next few years it could be a Daddy Daughter Christmas Cracker pairing, only time will tell!

A huge thank you to the committee of Ardglass Festival and the expert experience of Sammy and Adrain Daye at Atlas Running for ensuring both the 5k and 10k races ran flawlessly and resulted in a well attended and fantastic local event.

 A well deserved first place finish

A well deserved first place finish

Maisie not only secured the win but won the happiest looking McVeigh award.

Maisie not only secured the win but won the happiest looking McVeigh award.