Podiums aplenty for NAC on a busy weekend of racing
A round-up of the week’s events by Bogusboy
Inspired by the performance of one of their very own in the Bird’s Nest, athletes from Newcastle took part in and performed exceptionally in a variety of races much closer to home. First up was the Killyleagh 5m on Friday evening, a race where Brannigan recorded many a fine time in years gone by. Alas this year, the bus was completely and uncharacteristically full of maybes and much to his chagrin, he was left behind to feast on a mung bean and bulgur wheat casserole and reflect on what might have been!
He’s not a patch on his Da!!!
Fifteen athletes braved the inclement weather and frequent heavy showers, taking the line on a testing, undulating and uncompromising course. From the gun the NAC lads were in prime position with Melville making his intentions very clear. Followed by his club mate David McNeilly (no relation to Deon, much to the disappointment of ‘Wonderwall’ Gallagher whom in observing McNeilly indulge in his pre-race strides declared, ‘he’s good, but nowhere near as good as his da!’), the pair set a blistering pace for the first mile and would be strong enough in the closing stages to hold off the opposition to claim the top two podium spots. O’Hare, despite mammoth weight gain the previous week, ran a storming race, averaging just over 5:40 per mile, finishing in 5th place – no doubt he will tell us all about in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. Brendan Quail was a further 4 seconds back as 4 NAC runners finished in the top 6.
It’s all a numbers game!
A little further down the field Byrne came home in 21st despite suffering from a cold that the Prophet would have been proud of! Speaking of the great man, he ran a steady race, building on his slow return to form (He has a 100% chance of a sub 40 at Laganside!). Gallagher was next and his sub 32 gives him a more that 81% of achieving a sub-40 next weekend. Sinead Murtagh was second lady home just ahead of the fast improving Murdock, an athlete with a 73% chance of the sub 40m next time out. Chris Kelly was one of two debutants in the red and yellow – colours akin to those of the ‘Johnnies’. He ran a strong race and had a 16 second buffer over a rejuvenated Carson – 66% chance of sub-40! Frank Cunningham, suffering from an ankle injury produced a stoic performance, running steady 6:40 miles the whole way.
Cometh the hour, Cometh Big Ron!
Perhaps the performance of the night came from Ronnie Horrox. New to running, this former stellar star of the local soccer scene was sitting in Balbriggan at 2:30pm with a full load. In typically determined fashion, Ron made his deliveries like Billy Whizz and headed up the road, albeit with due care and concern for his fellow road users; he even managed rest breaks in Castlebellingham, Dunleer, Dundalk, Newry, Banbridge and Sprucefield. As the Prophet papped the horn, Ron was already packed and primed for action festooned in his newly acquired vest for the first time – JC and the Bear were full of admiration for Ronnie, but regrettably neither were available for comment. Watch this space for a poem! Ron was a credit to his new club, averaging 7:02 per mile. He produced the finish of the night on Killyleagh Main Street to rapturous applause. Such was his speed that there was talk of selection for the Irish 100m team for Rio. Ron finished just ahead of Jerome Farrell and we’re all glad to see ‘Jinxy’ back racing again – talk of his running days being over appear somewhat premature speculation. Next up for the ‘road crew’ is the Laganside 10K with PBs likely on this fast course.
Slieve Bernagh Fell Race
Not to be outdone by the ‘roadies’ 12 of our finest took part in the Bernagh Fell race. Once again places on the podium were secured. Barry McConville had 20 seconds to spare over in-form Sam Herron of Mourne Runners, while Colm Murtagh was a further 14 seconds back in third place. Once again there were great performances all around with 4 in the top 10 and 9 in the top 20.
Rathlin 10 Mile Run
Patrick Higgins and Mari Treong travelled a little further and enjoyed a romantic date, spoiled only by the 1o mile run in between. Patrick produced a storming finish to secure 3rd place on the podium, a finish that had the local newshound scribbling out one name and replacing it with Higgins. Mari had a great run too, finishing on the second rung of the podium. Both looked splendid in their new club vests and as if that was not enough completed the club 20 mile marathon training run the following morning.