Photos by Graham McCauley.
Not Just Fair Weather Runners
By The Non-Runner
Race 3 of the McGrady Financial Services junior cross country series took place on Sunday 13th October in sunny Tollymore Forest Park. With only 2 more races to go, the sunny weather so far may be leading people to believe that we are only fair weather runners. In fact some children (my own included!) may be under the false impression that we won’t run if it’s raining. Not so folks, those junior cross country athletes are a hardy bunch!
With such high numbers attending the series a decision was taken to change and improve the registration process (after NAC registration teams’ nerves had recovered sufficiently from the last race…think lying down in a dark room….for quite some time). An email was sent to the various clubs participating in the race series asking for their help. We received very swift replies and the organisers would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the volunteers from Burren AC, (hopefully bearing no grudges from our last report regarding the buns!) Dromore AC, East Down AC and 3 Ways AC who answered our request for help. However, Gold Star of the Day award must surely go to Dromore AC, who had brought their own club sign to display on the front of the table. The other clubs had more than a touch of sign envy. Also a HUGE thank you to all the families who arrived early.
We were all ready as scheduled at 1.30pm and the action moved from the registration in the barn to the monument in Tollymore Forest Park. The microphone was placed in the very capable hands of Brian Laverty of Burren AC and he proceeded to rally the runners to the start line for each age group.
And away they go!
We started with the P4 and under race and the first victors of the day were James McVeigh of Newcastle and Anna Gardiner of East Down AC. Next up were the P5, winners were Mackenzie Murray of East Down and Lara McCarthy of Burren AC. P6 races were a 3Ways 2-way win, first boy home was Ultan O’Callaghan and first girl was Caitlin Coffey. P7 race saw a Newcastle double of Danny Williamson and Eve Kenneally. Year 8 winners were Sean Campbell of Burren AC and Chloe Galloway of East Down. Year 9 (2nd year in old money) victors were Jack O’Farrell of Burren and Sarah Dougherty of Newcastle. Year 10 was a Dromore AC double of Ethan Dunn and Kerry McDowell. Our meeting concluded with the Year 11 and older race and first home were Jack McKibbin of Dromore AC and Laura Gardiner of East Down. Each and every runner is competing for their club and should remember that points are awarded for everyone who crosses the finish line. Indeed one young runner, who shall remain nameless, when asked where he finished in the race replied, “at the top of the hill”! That’s the spirit!
The Big Finish.
The routes of the races were particularly good for the spectating family and friends and much cheering and encouraging was provided to all the runners as they raced around the course. Each runner is to be commended for running and in particular for the speedy racing up the challenging hill to the finish line. Some close finishes ensured for very exciting viewing. Well done to all our athletes and thanks to all who turned out in such great numbers to support them.
What about the buns?
Regular readers will recall this reporter’s dismay at the distinct lack of buns at our last race. Thankfully the local tray bakers were out in force this time and, while our runners had their healthy banana, some of the volunteers got stuck into the buns. A quality control check had been performed and the buns were deemed to be of a high quality. Hopefully Joe Quinn of EDAC and the NAC coaches agree!
Back to Burren
Who knows what the weather will be like at our next meeting on Sunday 1st December at 1.30pm. Rain or shine we will be back again at the beautiful Kilbroney Forest Park and our host club for the event is Burren AC.
Our thanks go to all the junior athletes for their amazing running, their families, Graham McCauley for the great photos and our Master of Ceremonies for the event Brian Laverty of Burren AC. Thanks also to the very helpful Tollymore Forest Service staff, the registration volunteers from Dromore AC, East Down AC, Burren AC, 3Ways AC, our very own tame Newcastle AC crew, and last but by no means least, our very generous sponsor McGrady Financial Services for their continued support.