Newcastle AC Notes by Bogusboy
With temperatures in the 20s, conditions were less than ideal for the annual Laganside 10k. Thankfully however there was no wind or rain. Newcastle were well represented and Totten, Lynch and O’Flaherty were all mentioned among the pre-race favourites. Totten lived up to his billing in the early stages and was the pace setter in the opening half of the race. Alas he would succumb to the relentless pursuit and fast finish of the wily Mark McKinstry. The North Belfast man would lead the field of 1056 home in a highly respectable 31:55, 19 seconds ahead of Totten. Lynch had another strong run to close the gap on his club mate in the closing kilometres. The finish came a little too early for Lynch and the Drumgath man had to settle for 3rd place, an agonisingly close 3 seconds adrift of Totten. Newcastle athletes came home thick and fast in the 10 minutes that followed, with O’Flaherty 10th and McNeilly and Carlin under 37 minutes and well inside the top 50. O’Hare continued to impress, proving the correlation between low body mass and fast times to be accurate! As a treat for a job well done he was going home for a treat – an extra stick of celery; something he has taken directly from the Brannigan Handbook.
Some over 40s were under 40
McCann, Wonderwall, Carson, Murdock and Owens all managed to break the magic 40 minute barrier. For Murdock this was a real achievement as this was his first time achieving a milestone that eludes many a good club runner. He had run a steady first half, following his designated pacer every step of the way. Going through the halfway point in just over on a flat course, he had enough in his legs to see it through. Despite suffering a little in the second half, he rallied in the presence of Wonderwall and then Carson and in typically resilient fashion remained strong on the slightly uphill last 1000m to record an impressive PB of 39:42. Such was his performance that the Prophet immediately awarded his the Man of the Match award – some praise indeed! Will Owens was a little further back and gave everything in the closing stages to finish in 39:57. He was totally exhausted at the end, but this quickly turned to exhilaration when he realised that his objective had been achieved.
New, keen and progressing
Some of the new recruits to the rank and file of the club were impressive in their debut in club colours. Morgan, Lowry and Fegan were all under 41 minutes and with a good autumn training will be well placed to join the 39 club at the Seeley Cup later in the year. Richard ‘lean and mean’ Rodgers was also under 41 at the tender age of 53. McQuaid was just over 42 and pleased with his performance, while uncharacteristically, Mari Troeng was the only Newcastle female finisher in just under 42 minutes – Aine Keary was forced to pull out during the race with the recurrence of an injury. There had been some commotion on the Ormeau Road in the build up to the race as Troeng arrived in some style. Patrick Higgins had promised that she would enter in style and make heads turn. Little did the diminutive Swede know that she would be brought to the race in a tractor! Paul Rodgers – a man with a 10k PB of 31:13; a time which would have won most editions of the race, made a welcome return to racing and gave a good account of himself in 43:09. When asked about his motivation to return to racing he proffered three reasons; artisan beer, craft baking and an overwhelming desire to podium!!! Most retired to Kaffe O for Nordic artisan coffee and Belfast craft baking, though surprisingly Rodgers was nowhere to be seen!!!
|Pos||First Name||Surname||Category||First half||Second half||Finish||Chip time|
Earlier that morning the Murtagh’s and Frank Cunningham travelled to Newry to take part in the 10k supporting a very noble and worthwhile cause – PIPS. In a field of 297, Christopher Devine was first home in 35:49. Colm Murtagh was an excellent 5th in 37:16. Frank Cunningham was 18th in 40:54 and continues to knock on the sub-40 door. It is only a matter of time before this committed and dedicated athlete achieves this milestone. Sinead Murtagh was second lady home in 42:27, not far behind first lady Laura Devine (any relation to the winner???) who ran 40:35.
A little further afield several Newcastle AC athletes were among the Northern Ireland contingent making the annual pilgrimage to Fort William for the Ben Nevis Race. This race to the highest point in the British Isles has long been a favourite with the NAC mountain goats. In the past there have been some outstanding performances from NAC athletes with Dermot McGonigle holding some impressive times and finishing well up the field. This year Brian Wilson was first home for the red and yellows in 2:35. Stevie Rice was next home in 2:42, Martin Brogan next in 3:07 and Sean Rice 3:19 was making his debut in the race having been so impressed in the past whilst spectating. All were please with their performance and enjoyed the weekend.
Mill Hill Mile
Next Tuesday, 13 September is the annual Mill Hill Mile. This traditional lung-buster starts in Annsborough at 7:00pm and finishes at the Market House in the Upper Square. North Belfast man Michael McKillop was the 2015 winner in 5:27. Registration is open on the Newcastle AC website (newcastleac.org). Numbers can be collected at the Market House from 6:15pm on the evening and the entry fee is a donation and all proceeds are in aid of Shimna Valley Cancer Fund for Children www.cancerfundforchildren.com/
The junior race (16 years old and under) will again be sponsored by shields from Laws Jewellers, Newcastle. All juniors (U10) must be accompanied by an adult throughout the race. Please note that roads will NOT be closed so it is the responsibility of parents/guardians to make sure children are safe at all times. We look forward to seeing another bumper turnout, surpassing the 115 who took up the challenge in 2015. Spectators are encouraged to come out and support the athletes in this challenging event.