The main event this weekend in which Orangegrove members were involved was probably the Titanic Quarter 10k on Sunday 12th April, 2015. This is certainly not the most interesting or picturesque 10k you will ever run, but it is popular, flat, well organized and is regarded by many as the official warm-up race for the Belfast Marathon on Bank Holiday Monday, 4th May, 2015. However, Orangegrove runners were also sprinkled further afield this weekend. Michael O’Donoghue was in the wilds of Connemara attempting the almost impossible, a 39.3 mile ultra marathon in vicinity of the Maamturk Mountains. There was even an Orangegrove representation in Austria, where three members took part in the Vienna Half Marathon on Sunday.
Sharon Dickenson, Darren Moffett and Jill Holland were in the Austrian capital for the Vienna Half Marathon. Jill’s husband, Stephen, a recent graduate of the Victoria Park Jog Belfast scheme, acted as disciplinarian, general organizer, dietician, sommelier, calming influence and team manager, or possibly as none of these. As with Connemara, the Hapsburg Empire does not divulge its information easily. All we know is that in very hot, difficult and humid conditions all three completed the Vienna Half Marathon in respectable times, and that they are currently celebrating their success.
Victoria Park, Belfast, parkrun has expanded enormously in recent weeks and is probably the best attended in the country at the moment with well over 300 runners turning up regularly on Saturday mornings at 9.30am. Clearly the improvements to the Victoria Park infrastructure, to the route itself and the Jog Belfast scheme are paying a dividend, even if there is increased pressure on the volunteers and particularly on those who cater for post-run needs. There were a considerable number of personal bests set by Orangegrove members on Saturday 12th April, 2015,…Timothy Robinson (19.47), Stephen Hamilton (20.37), Paul Buchanan (21.50), Kirsty Buchanan, again! (25.40), Mairead Napier (27.56), Diana Porter (30.00), and Neal Killen (30.31). Particular congratulations to Reg Sanlon on completing his 100th parkrun. Very well done too to Jennifer Black (19.47) on finishing as first lady. Clearly Jennifer is getting back to very fast times following a series of injuries. Well done too to Rachel Lyle who ran a very respectable time (27.36) carrying the kind of extra burden that only a lady can carry. Remember, no volunteers, no parkrun. We are, as always, grateful for their efforts and commitment.
Club members are reminded that this coming Wednesday, 15th April, sees the next round of the Orangegrove Club Championship… the Bay Road 5k on the Riverside Cycle Path, Londonderry, at 7.30pm. Registration is at the Magee Sports Centre, Northland Road, prior to the race. Post race refreshments have been promised. Get yourself there somehow. No excuses!