Seeley Cup 2015

The Seeley Cup 10k race is generally regarded as one of the premier road races of the season, in fact the road racing season’s closing event, attracting some of the very best names in our sport. The race limit of 1000 was reached well before the race itself and there were no entries on the day. The Seeley Cup is based in and around Ormeau Park with the Ozone Complex acting as race headquarters. The start line is on Ormeau Embankment near the sweeping bend at the north end. Runners head towards the Ormeau Road junction, turning left and then left again through the main park entrance and up the incline before taking another left to join a section that comprises the Ormeau parkrun course. I understand that there is, this year, a slight change to the traditional course on coming through the Ormeau Road gate, so beware!

This is followed to the North Gate and beyond, where the lap begins again. On the third lap the runner is directed left into the finish tunnel near the tennis courts. It is a pleasant enough route, particularly the park sections, although the run along the Embankment itself (three times!) can be a fairly soulless experience. However, one thing is certain and it is that this is a very well organised event courtesy of Willowfield Harriers and there will be loads of spectators out in force to cheer you on your way. Because of the atmosphere you will probably tend to run a bit faster than you might otherwise do, although a personal best might not be easy to achieve because of the two significant inclines at the Ormeau end of Ormeau Park.

Awful weather conditions prevailed as the runners made their way to the start line. Heavy rain had fallen all morning, although it abated slightly as the race began. However, it would only be a temporary reprieve and the heavens would open again before the majority of runners would reach the finish line. Wind was an issue as well. As always, there was good running from Orangegrove participants and congratulations are due to those of the Club who braved the conditions. The following are the times achieved by OAC members:


Thomas Leitch 37.42 (114th/957)
Andy McIntyre 37.58
Robin Montgomery 38.46
Des Fahy 39.35
Andrew Acheson 40.10
Tim Robinson 40.33
Chris Downey 41.38
Rodney Corrigan 42.35
Darren Houston 42.52
Michael O’Donoghue 43.15
Jonny Weston 43.32
Stephen Anderson 43.32
Graeme Bennett 43.35
Stephen Hamilton 43.37
Martin O’Brien 43.42
Ian Grant 44.11
Gerald Harvey 49.14
Ian Wilson 50.36
Adrian Sproule 51.33

OAC Ladies

Lyndsey Tyro 41.04
Julie McKimm 44.21
Pauline Bayliss 45.06
Lisa Rodham 48.51
Heather Shanks-Miller 49.24
Chantal Hemphill 50.31
Jenny Cochrane 53.15
Sarah Malcolmson 53.58
Mairead Conlan 55.06
Catherine Fearon 55.50
Sharon McFarland 1.02.45
Linda Carson-Craig 1.02.45

I understand that a considerable number of the times recorded above are personal bests. Very well done indeed, particularly given the difficult conditions. Spare a thought for two of Orangegrove’s loveliest ladies, Carolyn Beattie and Mairead Napier, who were both going well when injury struck to halt their progress. May they recover speedily! At least you made it to the start line, unlike the writer!

The race was won by Garry Murray (Clonliffe Harriers) in 31.06 and Ann-Marie McGlynn (Finn Valley AC) was first lady in 34.16. The Seeley Cup was won by North Belfast Harriers.

Thanks to Athletics NI, John T Glover, Edward Cooke and Bob Given Photography for the photos.