Hens and Quails galore as Newcastle AC compete at Victoria Park
The Victoria Park Road relays have become a permanent fixture in the NI racing Calendar. From modest and humble beginnings, Orangegrove AC have turned this into a festival of running. This year the park was festooned with tents and gazebos of all shapes and sizes as hundreds turned up to represent their clubs. Newcastle AC had two teams racing, Senior Men and Masters’ Men; both determined to come home with the bacon. First off were the masters (formerly known as veterans in old money!!!). The team finished 19thout of 30, a mere 6 minutes 25 behind the winners North Belfast, a time that would have been worse but for the heroic efforts of their anchor man who ran a tremendously fast 13:40 to bring the team home with considerable aplomb!!! Before that Hen, the Prophet and the other John Kelly had all raced diligently and were impressively well under 12 minutes for the 2.1 mile course. East Down claimed bragging rights in the battle of the locals as they romped home 50 seconds ahead of their close neighbours – congratulations on a fine performance. Next year team selection will be more rigorous and ‘also rans’ may find it difficult to secure a berth on the team – a few of the ‘maybes’ are considering committing!!!
In the showcase event, Newcastle fielded a very strong team and were rewarded with a highly credible 6th place finish, just over 2 minutes behind North Belfast who were having a very successful meet. Captain and lead out man David O’Flaherty was extremely proud of his charges who all ran well. Paul Carlin was impressive on the second leg before handing over to Brendan ‘does this beard make me look like Collie Murtagh?’ Quail. The team was anchored by David McNeilly who once again demonstrated his versatility as a multi-terrain specialist.
Well done to Orangegrove on organising such a fine event. Newcastle did bring home the bacon, alas it was on their burgers, much to the dismay of Brannigan!