Bogle Beats Bailey as the Brave 170 Battle up the Beast of Binnian
The clouds had disappeared and the rain had retreated, uncharacteristic occurrences on a Hill & Dale Thursday. The entries Vengabus was in situ, tay was on the go and insults were being handed out free of charge with race numbers – one likes to make sure that everyone gets value for money! Tony Steele had once again provided the trailer, coffee, tay, milk (though in short supply – he loses a mark for that!), jaffa cakes and hidden in the corner, the jackpot – an unopened tin of assorted creams (which were demolished by the Entries & Results Management Team within minutes) – the best result of the night! Our sincere thanks to Tony for his continual support and assistance which is invaluable, particularly on rainy nights and our apologies for the amount of biscuits eaten by a certain Mary Knight!!!
The Sage of Murlough
One wise man stood at the bottom and contemplated what lay ahead. After much cogitating, Murlough AC’s self-appointed satirist and general wit (does the prophet have a rival?), Liam Smyth finally declared the route to the top of Binnian as ‘The stairway to Hell’!!! He was overheard by Dominic McGreevy who began to nod in agreement before beginning to lilt the tune of the immortal Led Zeppelin anthem. Within minutes lyrics had been added and ‘Mad Dog’ set off singing a mellifluous tune. My sources (Hen, John Kelly and Jonny Kelly) reliably inform me that the words ran something like this; ‘Lady Binnian she knows to ignore my black toes, as I’m climbing the stairway to heaven.’ The singing obviously proved to be a suitable distraction and motivational catalyst as McGreevy mercilessly scythed through the field to finish a highly respectable 8th overall at the tender age of 55++++ – no birth certificate can be found. When questioned about his recent improvement the mild-mannered and modest McGreevy noted that he was running a lot better since changing his herbal tea. He has recently found a new brand that infuses thoroughly; camomile and gunpowder!!! He will no doubt ‘shoot’ through the field at the Slieve Donard race next weekend as he hydrates on his new-found elixir!!!
What price the brace?
Allan Bogle made his first appearance of the H&D series and was rewarded with a fine victory – coming home 30 seconds ahead of Ian Bailey, who will be pleased with his performance as it enhances his position in the overall series. Bogle’s race victory cost director Audey McVeigh £5 in a lost wager with The Prophet who much to the chagrin of the organiser correctly predicted the winner. In typical NAC spirit the debt was settled in the pub and The Prophet once again used his wisdom to feather his nest – 9 more such successes and he can swap them for a fifty. William McKee improved on his 4th place in 2013 to finish an impressive third and complete the podium. Astute H&D commentator Seamus Lynch was not one bit surprised, ‘Sure Billy’s quare and good at that ‘oul steep hands and knees stuff.’ David Steele put his best foot forward in suitable footwear in another very steady performance to finish 4th and Armagh’s Paul McAnespie was first V40 and 5th overall.
300 and counting!
Colm Murtagh also had a fine run, improving from 27th last year to 10th this year and beating his time by almost 2 minutes in the process. The teak tough Townie has impressed many of other competitors including Conor Doris. When asked about his own performance s in the opening three rounds performances Doris claimed to be pleased but recognised that Murtagh was a man to beat. ‘I’m going well, but I just cannot get past that hairy Spartan!’ Others who performed include the effervescent Pol Og MacWhirt, who cycled 30 miles before the race and treated the boot of my car like a changing room, The stuff just kept coming from his Tardis-like rucksack! Oggy is a former H&D Champion and turned back the years with a fine performance to win the V45 category and started a brief dalliance with a series he graced for many years. A lissom Darren, sorry I mean Sam Herron helped his wife celebrate her birthday in style – he bought her to the Binnian race, convinced her to compete and then took her to O’Hare’s for her ‘dinner’. Sam had a great run, finishing 7th, whilst Beverley gave a great account of herself in her maiden Hill & Dale and came home 152nd, two minutes ahead of brother in law Darren. Gary Cairns continues to lead the ‘Residents of Annsborough’ category.
Wilson in Pole Position
Diane Wilson tightened her grip on the ladies’ series with another very impressive performance, finishing 27the overall, 34 seconds ahead of closest challenger Shileen O’Kane. Gillian Wasson was third, a further 48 seconds back in her first race of the series. Congratulations to each of the 29 ladies who turned in excellent performances on a tough, steep climb.
Who’s a mug?
One of the most treasured mementos for many is the Hill & Dale mug, doled out to worthy (and sometimes unworthy!) recipients during the post race revelry in the pub. Some will say anything to get one of these objects of desire. This week an assurance was given that in return for a coveted mug, all future H&D races would be covered live on Sky Sports! The competitor in question was last seen leaving O’Hare’s with a grin that said, ‘I’ve got one over on the Hill & Dale organisers’. Binnian Race directors King and McVeigh remain optimistic that the promise will materialise, though no official paperwork has arrived to date!!! However, Hen tells me that a man with a tan in a van called Dan with an English accent stopped him in ‘the village’ asking for directions to Loughshannagh – maybe they are doing a recce!!! Birthday girl Beverley Herron also went home with a mug as well as a 2104 Hill & Dale drinking vessel!!! Horace De Courcey Wheeler also took home a mug for having the best name among all of the H&D competitors and in his acceptance speech thanked his daughter Poppy for not being there to challenge him for the title! Out thanks to McVeigh and King for an outstanding debut as directors, O’Hare’s for some excellent post race repast and the many volunteers who marshalled, took entries and processed results.
Slieve Donard Race
Next Saturday (17th May) is the annual Slieve Donard Race, part of the All-Ireland and Inter-Provincial Championships. The race also counts in the Hill and Dale Series. With Bogle, Lynch and Steele on international duty and many of the former winners (McNeilly, Cunningham, Woods and MacWhirt (well MacWhirt won it in his own mind) now converted to cycling there is an ideal opportunity for a new name to go on the trophy. Ian Conway and Brian Furey are expected to make the trip over the border and Lenister are reportedly rounding up ‘a bus full of maybes’! I hope they have more luck than Newcastle AC!!! Entries will be taken from 12:45pm with the race beginning at 2pm. Those who have registered for Hill & Dale online are already registered and anyone not registered who wishes to run is asked to register (at no additional cost) through the Newcastle AC website. Entries on the day are £15 with the additional money donated to charity. All competitors will be required to carry mandatory kit irrespective of the conditions. Spectators are encouraged to come along to the Newcastle Centre to support the athletes.
** IMPORTANT NOTICE : Any runner who knowingly competes using another athletes race number will be disqualified from the Hill and Dale Series and all future NAC organised events. This could have serious implications for runner, marshals, race organisers and other competitors. **
Race 4 of the Series will take place on Thursday 8th May at Binnian.
Please bring full body cover.