Asics Belfast City Half Marathon

The main running event this weekend was undoubtedly the Asics Belfast City Half Marathon on Sunday morning, beginning at Ormeau Park at 9am. Not only was it a main event in its own right, it was also the final round of the 2014-2015 Orangegrove Athletics Club, Club Championship.

So, hopefully, for Orangegrove members it was just a little bit more than our local half marathon. By the way, as I will be on holiday next weekend and so out of touch with what will be going on, Rodney Corrigan will write the report for the weekend, 25th-27th September. Grateful thanks Rodney and may there be exciting things to write about and may the words flow easily from your pen and promptly too! I hope to resume service for the weekend 2nd-4th October.

For the Belfast City Half Marathon it was all change again for the third year in succession. This time the start was at Ormeau Park, or rather on the adjacent Embankment, and the route took us on a fairly comprehensive tour of the city on both sides of the Lagan. Very basically the first section involved a few laps of the Embankment including Ormeau Park itself. Then to Bridge End and East Belfast with a section in our very own Victoria Park. The return to the city centre was along Airport Road and Sydenham Road and then into west Belfast via Divis Street and the Falls Road. The route took us back towards the city centre on the Grosvenor Road, Hope Street, Bruce Street, Dublin Road, to Donegall Pass. From Donegall Pass it was into the Gas Works site for the Lagan Towpath section back to Ormeau and the finish. Easier said than done!

A fairly comprehensive test but at least it was reasonably flat apart from the incline of the Divis and Falls section. However, with plenty to see on the way and with plenty of interested spectators enroute it was a fairly straightforward run for the nearly three thousand of us who took part. There was a large contingent from Orangegrove too. I counted twenty-eight. In some respects, apart from the Seeley Cup, the Belfast Half Marathon marks the unofficial end of the road running season, although the reality is that it never ends! From October most of us begin to think about cross country, spikes, base layers, mud and flasks of tea. Isn’t time flying!

For simplicity I have listed the rank order of OAC members according to their chip times, separating the men from the ladies.

OAC Men at Belfast Half Marathon

John Craig 1.15.49 PB & New OAC Record
Paul Tyro 1.22.13 PB
Robin Montgomery 1.24.35 PB
Andy McIntyre 1.28.44
Des Fahy 1.29.10
Tim Robinson 1.32.44 PB
Chris Downey 1.34.40
Michael O’Donoghue 1.37.49 PB
Brian Todd 1.37.58
Mark Williamson 1.38.37
Zdzislaw Malkinski 1.43.38
Jonny Weston 1.43.54
Ralph Coetzee 1.46.19
Martin Doherty 1.46.34
Gerald Harvey 1.48.57  PB
Fintan Hurl 1.56.16  PB
Reg Sanlon 1.57.33
Eoin Woodman 2.27.29 PB

OAC Ladies at Belfast Half Marathon

Lyndsey Tyro 1.32.35
Antra Balcuna 1.36.18 PB
Julie McKimm 1.44.40
Lisa Rodham 1.45.01
Heather Shanks-Miller 1.50.27 PB
Emma McWillliams 1.50.53
Verity Cornford 2.03.09
Kirsty Buchanan 2.03.10 PB
Eleanor Acheson 2.09.16
Catherine Fearon 2.18.59

The times above each tell their own story. John Craig was absolutely flying and finished in an amazing 1.15.49, a personal best for him and a new Club record for the distance. John was 29th overall out of a field of 2865. Super running! Paul Tyro was showing no ill effects from his honeymoon and had a great run, and both Andy and Robin had Championship business to think about during their fine runs.

A great run too from Des Fahy in 1.29.10. Zdzislaw Malkinski doesn’t run often, but when he does he runs very well indeed. It was great to see him again yesterday in the orange vest. Well done too to Gerald Harvey on a fine run in his first half marathon. Eoin Woodman too got round in 2.27.29 which was a personal best at this distance for him.

Lyndsey Tyro was looking very relaxed after her recent flight back from Iceland and she led the ladies home in 1.32.35. Not too far behind was that lovely Latvian lady, who speaks better English than most of us locals, Antra Balcuna in 1.36.18. Great run Antra! Julie McKimm was flying as usual and was pleased with her 1.44.40. Lisa Rodham, who has the potential to be very good indeed at this running lark, was pleased with 1.45.40, and Heather Shanks-Miller too seemed to take the 13.1 miles in her stride and clearly she too enjoyed her first half marathon.

Well done too Emma McWilliams (1.50.53) who, sadly, had other things on her mind. Verity Cornford and Kirsty Buchanan ran together and finished together, Verity pacing Kirsty to her first half marathon. In the case of Kirsty it was from Jog Belfast to 13.1 in less than a year. Credit and respect due! Eleanor Acheson and Catherine Fearon had good runs and recorded respectable times.

Very well done indeed to all from Orangegrove AC who pounded the roads yesterday. On behalf of everybody who was running I would wish to thank all those who encouraged us along the way, those on bikes, those by the roadside, and especially those from Orangegrove who provided both a bit of colour, a lot of noise and, more importantly, bottled water in Victoria Park. This was invaluable and certainly smoothed the road at a critical point for all of us.

Thanks to Jonathan Porter (PressEye), Kelvin Boyes (Press Eye), John T Glover, Alan Montgomery and Chris Woods for the photos.