Huge numbers brave the elements in Tollymore
by The Non Runner
We returned to the beautiful surroundings of Tollymore Forest Park for Race 2 of the 14/15 series. The forecast was atrocious but our plucky runners and their families aren’t just fair weather runners, 158 junior athletes turned out to race for their respective clubs. The barn was out of action for our registration and we needed a space where would could erect the tables in manner which would ensure the race numbers wouldn’t fly off into the air. Only people of a certain vintage (myself included) will remember when the café in Tollymore was actually in use. This was where we set up the registration area, thanks to our friend from East Down, Frank Cunningham, who had the bright idea to use the shelter of the café exterior.
Registration can be a “challenging” time (if ever there was a euphemism…) and I would have been lost without Pauline McCauley, who bravely returned to help out. Áine Rice and Amy McCrickard did a great job with handing out running vests and pins. Our team also included Catherine McCrickard and the ever present Darragh, who really should clone himself as it seemed that everybody needed him at the same time! Also in attendance was Debbie Kendall, I advised Debbie to stand around and look glamorous until she was needed. As registration was underway it was up to the team of coaches from NAC and other clubs to set up the race course, this is quite complex as each race is a different length. Our team at the finish line from Burren AC, EDAC and NAC were ready to record finish position and times. Thanks to everyone involved in every stage of our series.
Our series includes several clubs; we had runners from East Down AC, Burren AC, Dromore AC, 3 Ways AC and not forgetting our very own runners from Newcastle AC! Thanks to all of the families who all arrived in good time to pick up their race numbers and get the children ready for the essential pre-race warm ups. Your co-operation is greatly appreciated! Registration was almost complete when our MC Brian from Burren AC was on the lookout for a microphone. We didn’t have one with us and someone from Dromore AC, who shall remain nameless Nigel, suggested that Brian didn’t really need one. I revealed my identity to immediately inform the perpetrator that I would use this in the report, let’s face it, I need the material! But Brian is always prepared and had his own microphone with him. Phew!
Primary School races
Remember folks that this series is all about getting points for the team, although there is only space in these reports to list the top 3 in each race, I would love to be able to list all of our brilliant runners, so please check out the full results to see all of our runners and their finishing positions. Brian called our first runners to get ready to race and they were our littlest ones, the P4 and unders. Thankfully the sky had cleared and our runners were off in dry conditions. The boys were the first to race and we had a great turnout of 15 runners charging their way around the course. First over the line was Noah Sheridan of NAC, closely followed 1 second later by Donal Coffey of 3 Ways, third place was Anthony Clarke of EDAC. Then we had the girls, all 19 of them! With only a second between each of the top three it was another tight finish over the line with first place going to Amy McCartan of Dromore AC, second was Laura Hanna of NAC and third place went to Anna McDonagh of Burren AC. P5 boys winner was James Mc Veigh, second was CJ McCaul of 3 Ways and third was Cathaoir King. P5 girls winner was Anna Gardiner of EDAC, second place went to Aoibheann Mynes of Burren AC, third was Aoife Monaghan of 3 Ways. Then it was the turn of the P6s and first across the line was Mackenzie Murray of EDAC, second was Brian Watters of 3 Ways and third was Patrick Harkin of EDAC. In the girls’ race it was another tight finish with Lara McCarthy of Burren AC holding off Orla Fitzsimons of Newcastle AC with only a second to spare. Third place was Ciara Savage of NAC. Then it was the last of the Primary School runners with P7 boys winner Odhran Hamilton of 3 Ways crossing the line ahead of his team mate Ultan O’Callaghan and third was Callum McDonagh of Burren AC. The girls race saw Caitlin Coffey of 3 Ways AC come in first, second was Olivia Hall also of 3 Ways, and third place went to Eva Sloan of Burren AC.
Numbers dropped sharply with the Year 8s, we had only 5 boys and 10 girls in these races. First boy home was Patrick McCarthy of Burren AC, second was Ryan McDowell of Dromore AC and third was Odhrán Doyle of Burren AC. The winner of the girls’ race was Eve Kenneally of NAC, second was Maeve Murdock of Burren AC and third place was Aoife McGreevy of 3 Ways. Year 9 boys again saw just 5 runners and the winner was Oisin Coffey of 3 Ways, second place was Darragh Connolly of 3 Ways and third place went to Aidan McCauley of NAC. Year 9 girls winner was Chloe Gallowy of EDAC, second place was Eve Dunford of Burren and third was Edie Carroll of EDAC. Year 10 boys winner was Owen Edwards of EDAC, followed in second place by his team-mate Matthew McGrattan and third place went to Sean Watters of 3 Ways. Year 10 girls saw a win for NAC with Sarah Dougherty returning to form after injury, second was Gemma Doyle of 3 Ways and third was Lucy Kenneally of NAC. Thankfully in Year 11+ races we saw in increase in numbers and first boy home was Ethan Dunne of Dromore, followed by Coalan Atkinson from EDAC and third saw a great finish from Finn McElroy of NAC. In the girls’ race the winner was Laura Gardiner and second place was Aoife Cochrane, both from EDAC, third place went to Chloe Johnston of 3 Ways.
Thanks to McGrady Financial Services for their generous sponsorship of the series, thanks also to Martina Hawkins for her work leading up to the races. A big thanks go to all of our runners and their coaches, thanks go to the Tollymore Forest Park staff and to the families for supporting our series in great numbers. If it was possible to thank the weather I would, the rain stayed away just long enough for our races to finish with our runners staying dry!
Join us for Race 3 in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor on Sunday 16th November at 1pm, registration closes 12.45pm sharp.