Weekend Report – February 21st
Armagh International Road Races, Northern Ireland XC Championships – Lurgan, Omagh CBS 10k, Castle Ward challenge and parkrun.
Armagh International Road Races
Long established as the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland the cathedral city of Armagh has for at least the last quarter of a century been the holy grail for runners in search of a fast track and a quick time. A race with a fascinating history, it has its origins as one of a series of events, including two cross country races, to be included in Armagh’s inaugural International Sport & Cultural Week back in 1975.
Northern Ireland XC Championships – Lurgan
The penultimate round of the cross country league saw the cream of the local mud running brigade gather in the spectacular setting of Lurgan Park, lured by the promise of double points and the potential to make a move up the league table at what is officially deemed the NI championship race.
Omagh CBS 10k
Undeterred by his lung bursting exploits on Thursday night, Des Fahy was at it again on Saturday, this time in his hometown of Omagh. Despite running on what were doubtless fatigued legs, Des managed to finish in 40:26 for 20th place out of 183. The race was won by Conan McCaughey of Derry Track Club in 32:32
Castle Ward challenge
Selina Myles completed the 8.4 mile Castle Ward challenge (results have been difficult to track down but Selina assures me it was a sociable run and that she didn’t pay much attention to the time).
On a wet and windy Saturday morning, and with legs being rested for the afternoon’s activities in Lurgan, PB’s were always going to be few and far between in Victoria Park this weekend and as it turned out they were scarcer than hens teeth, but there was still plenty to warm the cockles not least the birthday of one of Orangegrove’s finest.
Always the first with a smile and a word of encouragement, Gerry Ward encapsulates everything good about parkrun and it was a pleasure for us to share his 83rd birthday with him, many happy returns Gerry and thanks to Liz Leitch and Liz Murray for arranging the cake. Out on the course Alan Martin (23:41) celebrated parkrun number 150 with his usual graceful determination, Neal Killen (30:21) brought up his half century and will enjoy bragging rights over wife Deborah, but having run number 46 today and with a time not far off a PB, Mrs Killen is in form to bring up her own half century in style by the middle of next month.
Over at Queens, Paul Tyro (22:15) was incorporating parkrun into his long run as training for London progresses whilst Michael O’Donoghue (25:22) continued to relentlessly quench his thirst for miles with a 5k detour on the way to Lurgan Park. At Ormeau, Paul’s better half Lyndsey was third female in 21:19 and at Stormont, junior member Nicholas Thomas (24:34) ran the club’s only parkrun PB of the day, whilst Gerald Harvey (24:23), Reg Sanlon (26:25) and Judith McCann (28:31) were all within touching distance of a similar feat. Anne Devlin (30:52) ran Cannon Hill parkrun in Birmingham.
As ever, I’d like to finish with an invite to the parkrun party at Belfast Victoria. We are lucky to have a dedicated team in Gary Keenan, Gerry Ward, Liz Murray, Darren Moan, Carole Bell, Jim Harris and Imelda McConnell who fulfil most of the roles most of the time, but always need more volunteers and should you feel the urge to join Gary’s band of merry men and women you will be given a warm welcome and all the training you require, you can contact Gerry at firstname.lastname@example.org