Brown punches well above his weight in wet and windy conditions
by Bogus Boy
It had to happen at some stage; mild calm conditions for running had to be replaced by rain and wind. Despite the poor conditions, 923 athletes completed the 10k course, regarded as the most prestigious event of its kind in the NI running calendar. With 2 and a bit laps of Ormeau Park and the Ormeau Embankment to be covered, the course is relatively flat. However, the wind and rain certainly made racing more difficult as evidenced in the slightly slower times recorded by athletes of all abilities. The headwind along the embankment certainly slowed the field down and those a little further down the field had to contend with a most unpleasant downpour just over 35 minutes into the race. Twenty NAC athletes made it to the start line and 19 would finish – Will Owens unfortunately pulling up lame in the early stages. As expected the big guns fired loudest with pre-race favourites Garry Murray, Paddy Hamilton and Scott Rankin battling the conditions in an epic encounter at the head of the field. They would finish in that order on the podium with 16 seconds separating first from second and the third placed man a further 14 seconds back. In a nostalgic moment after the race Richard Rodgers recalled old tales of bygone days, highlighting that the 31:13 recorded by his brother Paul in 1988 would have been good enough for second place this year. As expected Lynch was the best for NAC in 9th overall, dipping under 33 minutes for the first time – a fantastic achievement on a tough day not conducive to fast times.
O’Flaherty pipped at the post
The Ladies race was billed as a two horse race between our own Kerry O’Flaherty and Letterkenny’s Ann Marie McGlynn. The latter would win by the narrow margin of 11 seconds with O’Flaherty right in contention until the final stages of the race. This excellent performance after a heavy week of training would set the NAC ladies up for a fine second place in the team competition with Sinead Murtagh 14th lady overall and Mari Troeng 26th. Another excellent result from the ever-emerging and rapidly improving female team – no doubt they will rise to greater glory in 2016.
That boy can sure fight!
The now traditional ‘Man of the Match’ award awarded jointly by the Prophet and the Captain on race day was a close affair. Melville’s PB of 34:39 was noteworthy as it highlights the improvement this relative newcomer has made in 2015 and more importantly is clearly indicative of the further progress we can expect in 2016 – I confidently expect this man to be well below 34 minutes in the same race in twelve months’ time so watch this space. The second contender was Aidan Brown – a man on a mission since a disappointing Dublin Marathon by his own very high standards. Brown made very light of the conditions and glided around to a very impressive 36:57, leaving quite a few of his more fancied club mates trailing in his wake. He was the embodiment of ebullient joviality and ready to take on a nation. At one point he instructed the Prophet to go bring Fury and Klitschko and he would make light of both of them. Given that both weighed in at over 17 stone and the Leitrim Legend struggles to weigh 9 and a half, fully clothed, the euphoria of the day had rendered him senseless – talk about punching above your weight!!! Thankfully, birthday boy Wonderwall was there to talk sense (another rarity!) and Brown calmed down! In the end, the award went to Lynch for a stunning run that obliterated his existing and impressive PB.
Some good battles
Throughout the field there were red and yellow shirts dotted regularly as only 7 minutes separated 15 NAC runners and at least 8 East Down athletes finished within the same timeframe. With places at stake and bragging rights at a premium, there were strong runs throughout the field as the athletes sought to prove the pundits wrong. Carson would secure the ‘Pundit’s Prize’, with the Prophet second (are his powers of foresight and insight waning?) and McCann spectacularly off the mark in last place! A special mention to Michael McKenna of Murlough AC for breaking the magical 40 minute marker for the first time in a 10k race – well done on a great achievement.
A busy December
The festive season may be upon us, but December is a busy month for running. Next weekend sees the first of three cross country races on successive Saturdays, followed by the Griddle in Saul on Sunday. The XC roadshow moves to Cookstown on 12th and then Derry on 19th. Locally there are two big races over the Christmas holidays with the Turkey Trot on Boxing Day starting at the Trassey Car Park followed by the now infamous Castlewellan Christmas Cracker Pairs’ Race on Monday 28 December.
NAC Seeley Cup Results 2015
|Position||Name||Category||Finish||Chip time||First half|