Weekend Report – July 12th

First of all, grateful thanks to Rodney Corrigan for the last two reports during my period of absence. I hope to keep writing until the end of the year when, hopefully, someone else will give it a go.

As usual there were a number of events even before the weekend was reached. A considerable number of Orangegrove runners gathered at Bangor Sportsplex on a dull and humid Tuesday evening to take part in the North Down AC track and field meeting, the third of four. The main focus of attention for us was the 3000m race which was recently designated by the OAC powers that be as the eighth round of the Orangegrove Club Championship. However, a number of Orangegrove’s sprinters were also in action and there were entries in the 100m, 400m and 1500m races. Read the full race report here.

One week, two rounds of the Club Championship! Friday evening saw the OAC running circus travel down the Ards Peninsula to Greyabbey for the ‘Round the Springs’ 10k in support of the Alopecia Trust, the ninth race in the OAC Club Championship. Not the easiest 10k on the calendar, but one we are always keen to support because of the warm welcome we receive, the worthy charity the race supports and the exceptional post-race hospitality in the village hall. Read the full race report here.

For those of you who don’t know, Rathmullan is a village in Co. Donegal on the Fanad Peninsula on the shores of Lough Swilly. It is probably most famous for the Flight of the Earls in 1607 and for its annual Deep Sea Fishing Festival. However, every year they run a 5k race which tends to attract some of the best of the north-west’s runners. This year Des Fahy and his daughter Iseult were to be found on the start line in rather damp conditions and they certainly did Orangegrove proud. Des finished in 45th place overall in the very good time of 19.03. His daughter Iseult, a very promising runner, toured around in 23.05, to finish in 122nd place out of the 405 who took part. Very well done indeed to both father and daughter. The race was won in 14.58 by Conor Bradley of the City of Derry AC, a time which is a sure indicator of the quality of the field.

Des Fahy was not the only Orangegrover running in Co. Donegal this weekend. Martin O’Brien was in Dufanaghy where he took part in the gruelling Run-egal 10k, in support of Donegal Hospice, on the Horn Head Peninsula, billed as Ireland’s most spectacular road race because of the magnificent Atlantic views. Martin completed the challenging course in 49.04. Well done! And the rumour is that Des Fahy also took part in this race and finished in fifth place overall in a time of 44 something. News does not travel quickly from the wilds of West Donegal.

Some marched on the 12th July. Others ran! There was a significant Orangegrove presence on the western banks of Lough Neagh at Ardboe, Co. Tyrone, for The Great Rossa Run. There were half marathon, 10k and 5k options. Last year this was a very well organised and executed event and, undoubtedly, it will be the same again this year. Read the full race report here.

And don’t forget our Energia 24 relay team as it enters its final training stint before the real thing at the Mary Peters Track on Friday July 17th-July 18th. The team consists of Stephen Anderson, Robin Montgomery, Martin Doherty and Eleanor Acheson. The race will start at 6.45pm on the Friday. Relay teams must include at least one woman (Eleanor) and the aim is to complete as many laps as possible in a 24 hour period. Each member is required to do three stints of two hours. The event is chip timed/counted and the chip has to be transferred at the end of each stint of two hours. There will be a change of direction every four hours on the sounding of a signal. You can run, jog or walk or leave the track for comfort breaks or rest periods. This is an Irish Championship event and, of course, there are individual categories of various lengths and durations. We wish the best of luck to those from Orangegrove who have been training very hard for this gruelling event. May the hours roll by and the night pass quickly. May the evening pizza be tasty and the dawn porridge not lumpy. May you all run well and not get dizzy. The team would obviously welcome visitors and supporters. You all know where the Mary Peters Track is. Visit it on Friday evening or anytime Saturday.

Saturday means parkrun. We had a blip last week with the timer, but this week it was service as usual. Hopefully, if your personal best did not receive due recognition last Saturday, it did this Saturday! It was predictable that Orangegrove personal bests would not be in abundance this week because of the previous evening’s 10k at Greyabbey. However, one or two at least were expected! In the end there were none at all! So, let us congratulate notable performances from two Orangegrove athletes instead. John Craig was flying and finished in 17.15 to finish in first place, although still more than a minute short of his personal best of 16.20. Jennifer Black ran extremely well to finish in fourth place, first lady, in 18.38, twenty-four seconds short of her personal best of 18.14. Great to see Jenny getting back to form after injury. Mark Williamson was in Enniskillen visiting his in-laws and took the opportunity to try Enniskillen parkrun in the beautiful Castle Coole estate where he recorded a time of 21.19, 9th place overall. Well done, Mark!

You have heard it before and you shall hear it again…‘no volunteers, no parkrun.’ Give it a go! You will enjoy it, you will learn something and you will undoubtedly meet nice people! Romances have blossomed over the scanners and proposals of marriage have been made in the finish funnel! And while on the question of romance, congratulations to Orangegrove member Hilary Bradshaw on her recent engagement; she is now on the start line for her biggest race ever!

Send an email to belfastvictoriahelpers@parkrun.com and get yourself on the roster. Do it now! Yes, now! Now, I said!