Weekend Report – September 6th

Phew! What a week, and thankfully there was a little running too! As usual it started early; on Tuesday to be exact in the heart of Co. Down at the Mill Hill Mile. On Wednesday there was the PSC Millisle 6 mile road race over the lovely byways between Millisle and Carrowdore. Thursday was not devoid of activity with the Run’n the Bann 5k at Portglenone. Sunday was big, very big, with the Laganside 10k and the Waterside Half Marathon in Londonderry.

Castlewellan has always looked down upon Annsborough from its loftier pedestal. The two towns, one of them little more than a hamlet, are connected by a road, most of which is a steep hill, a very steep hill, the kind of hill that would require you to dismount if you were a cyclist or to change down a few gears if you were in you car, unless, of course, you were driving a Lamborghini Aventador. The hill is a mile long and once a year there is a race up the hill from Annsborough to Castlewellan. The race is organised by Newcastle AC, a Club well practised in organising races up hills. Well done to OAC members Robin Montgomery and Gerald Harvey who were on the start line on Tuesday evening. Both members survived the charge and made the finish line at the Market House in Castlewellan. The defibrillator, I am glad to report, remained in its carrying case.

Robin Montgomery 7.02 (24th/115)
Gerald Harvey 9.30

The Mill Hill Mile was won by Michael McKillop (Brooks Running) in 5.27 with international athlete Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) first lady in 5.58.

I remember very well one early September evening a couple of years ago when the entire Club turned out for the Prison Service College six mile road race at Millisle. I think we were chasing points for some inter-club competition that I haven’t heard of since. Well, this year there were only two orange vests on the start line at Millisle, but they were worthy ones nevertheless, that of Elaine McAllister, a lady who has most certainly caught the running bug, and that of Paula O’Reilly.

This is one of my favourite road races. On an early Autumn evening with favourable weather it is a joy to run. The race starts at the Prison Service College on the main road before turning immediately left on to Woburn Road and then Manse Road towards Carrowdore. From there it is back to the start at the College via a tangle of beautiful country roads and lanes where the smell of the flowers in the hedgerows, and occasionally that of a local farmer spreading his slurry, can be intoxicating.

This is not a race without the odd hill, but you are after all in drumlin country. Elaine completed the distance in 65.23 and Paula in 61.47. Well done ladies! I understand Elaine was also running in Fintona, Co. Tyrone, on Saturday in a 5k race in support of the charity Aware Defeat Depression. Well done once again! The only famous person I know who comes from Fintona is Gerry Armstrong who scored three goals for Northern Ireland in the World Cup campaign in 1982!

The PSC six mile road race was won by Gerry Coy (North Down) in 38.42 and Jodi Smith (North Down) was first lady in 39.07.

Thursday evening brought the Run’n the Bann 5k at Portglenone on the Lower Bann, a race which is traditionally part of the Gig’n the Bann cultural and music festival in the town. The entire proceeds of the race are being donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Garry Morrow was the lone OAC runner on this occasion and very well did he run too, unfazed at wearing No.1. Garry crossed the finish line in 17.49 to bag 9th place overall in a field of 306. Super running! It is great to see Garry getting back to form again after a long absence due to injury. Not only does he represent the Club superbly well on the track but he does so modestly, usually with a smile and always with the greatest respect for his fellow competitors.

The Run’n the Bann 5k was won by Michael Crawley (Lancaster and Morecambe) in 16.36. Gemma Turley (Springwell AC) was first lady in 18.55.

Sunday brought the Pure Running Laganside 10k road race, hosted by North Belfast Harriers, and traditionally there is a very large turn out of OAC athletes for this one.

Read the full race report here.

Sunday also saw the running of the Waterside Half Marathon in the Maiden City with its new route embracing both parts of the city. There was a fair Orangegrove representation here too as there was at Laganside. The new route starts in Ebrington Square and takes the runner out the Limavady Road to Gransha Park and then over the new Foyle Bridge (hopefully it will not be too windy or you could be blown off it!) to Madamsbank Roundabout and to Bay Road Park. The next section is mainly along the river front on the city side to Coshowen where the turn is made before crossing the Peace Bridge for the finish in St. Columb’s Park. Looks like a beautiful route and maybe we could get this one into the Half Marathon Series for next year.

Well done to the following who represented OAC in Derry today:

Mark Williamson 1.40.46
Lisa Rodham 1.49.05
Shona Pryde 2.25.54
Mairead Napier 2.23.13
Eoin Woodman 2.34.30

Great running from the OAC five in the Maiden City. Mark Williamson will be happy with his performance and what a great run from Lisa Rodham who is clearly one to watch for the future. Well done too Shona Pryde and Mairead Napier on fine performances. Eoin Woodman was in Derry today wearing his other vest but we congratulate him too on his run and on his utter determination to impact significantly on that NICSAC club championship!

The Waterside Half Marathon was won by Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock) in 1.05.08 with Catherine Whoriskey (C of D Spartans AC) first lady in 1.23.08.

Just a reminder! The Belfast Half Marathon on Sunday September 22nd at 9am, starting in Ormeau Park, is the final round of the Orangegrove Club Championship for 2014-2015. See you there!

Saturday dawned bright and dry but with a distinct autumnal chill. Ideal conditions for parkrun at Victoria Park, Belfast, and, as usual, it was almost standing room only! Today well over two hundred runners got out of their beds early on their Saturday morning and got themselves, one way or the other, to Victoria Park in time for the start. However, with the Laganside 10k and the Waterside Half Marathon the next day it was to be expected that personal bests amongst OAC members would be few and far between. Well, I looked and couldn’t find any at all, so well done to those who might have got near. One or two members made a return visit to Stormont parkrun and ran a little bit faster than last week and so recorded personal bests. Well done to Pauline Bayliss (22.47), John Neill (22.51), Aaron McCord (JM11-14/24.39) and Jill Holland (24.54).

Now, with the right to run a parkrun anywhere also comes the responsibility of volunteering occasionally. Your parkrun needs you to commit the odd Saturday morning to the volunteering role at Victoria Park. It is easy and you will most certainly not be thrown in at the deep end, or into the lake if we don’t like the cut of your jib! Contact Gerry on belfastvictoriahelpers@parkrun.com to arrange an appointment. Do it now! Yes, now!