Weekend Report – March 27th

Omagh Half Marathon, Cardiff Half Marathon, Two Oceans Half Marathon and parkrun.


2016 marks the 27th SPAR Omagh Half Marathon Race & 5Km Fun Run/Walk. Entries have increased steadily over the years from 240 in the year 2000 to almost 4,000 in 2015, all down to the slick organising of the Omagh Harriers Half Marathon committee. There is a quality technical t-shirt guaranteed for the first 2000 Half Marathon entries plus new medals for 2016.

Running through the streets of the surrounding town the Omagh Half Marathon was originally a hilly race. However it has been re-routed to become an undulating course which will please the many runners who take part in this increasingly popular race. Runners start and finish at Omagh Leisure Complex.

…and pleasing it proved for our representatives on Saturday (start time 11am), who, in the attached photos proudly adorn their new shiny and well-earned medals. In a race, won by Gideon Kimosop of Project Africa Athletes in 1:05:53 and 1st Lady Laura Graham of Mourne Runners in 1:18:07, Orangegrove fielded a very strong team consisting of:

Robin Montgomery 1:23:45
Paul Tyro 1:24:23
Eric Fairfield 1:28:05
Lyndsey Tyro 1:30:55 (6th Lady)
Darren Houston 1:38:08
Anne Moore 1:38:47
Lisa Fleming 1:48:58 PB

Seriously good running folks and a very well done to each of you (but especially to Darren who, whilst I was trying to figure out where Anne (23rd?) & Lisa finished in the Ladies, eschewed the figures, by representing both sexes on the day! That ‘F40’ category needs sorting…


The World Half Marathon Championships held in Cardiff on Saturday were hailed a roaring success after the event attracted some of the planet’s best athletes to Wales.

The capital city played host to the global gathering of runners as 20,000 participants followed an elite field male and female competitors.

Kenya’s women managed an impressively dominant top three finish before Mo Farah took bronze in the men’s race after a close sprint finish in atrocious conditions.

The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for the whole of Wales on Saturday, and the forecasters did not disappoint. All I can say is…if Thomas Leitch says it was rather cold…it was freaking baltic!

But despite torrential rain and wind, thousands of runners took to the streets of Cardiff to complete the 13.1-mile course, in the footsteps of the world’s greats.

Residents, visitors and 1,200 volunteers lined the streets of the entire city before entrants finished in Cathays Park.

Our collection of cruising, crusading, charismatic, curious, climatic-challenging, chaste Cardiff chasers consisted of:

Andy McIntyre 1:21:48 PB
Thomas Leitch 1:23:00
Jill Holland 1:46:43 PB
Catherine Fearon 2:02:41

Apart from that, and the dreadful weather (!), there actually did appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel as you can see from the Fantastic Four’s brilliant results in that onslaught of rain and wind. Congratulations and I can only admire some of these consistently good performances being executed week in, week out.

I forgot to add that….indeed, even with this weather, Jill managed a PB of nearly 4 mins!! Yes…4 mins! Fantastic performance and time. I am also reliably informed that Andy might also have obtained a Half Mara PB, no wonder with sub 1:22, what a time. I guess all 4 will be begging for more terrible weather in future races…!

We trust you had a good time in Cardiff afterwards (the last time I was there I had more than 1 pint of Brains Smooth and more than 1 Brains Pie(!)).


Now I don’t know if Chris and Nicola Downey were trying to ‘rub it in’ to our Cardiff contingent but…they won the farthest representation trophy again this week in what is described as ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon’. Chris completed the Half Marathon and Nicola the 5.6km Fun Run.

I hope Chris didn’t forget his TOMTOM watch because the OMTOM (Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon) embraced 2 Oceans…the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean.

In what appears to be a most picturesque route the Half Marathon (route in attachment below) started in Newlands/Claremont, processed through Constantia, skirting the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens at the eastern foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town with a view of the 12 Apostles sea-side before finishing at the University of Cape Town.

Chris ran a super 1:36:40 along with 16,000 South Africans singing the ‘Shosholoza’ in the dark. Yes, the race started in the dark and, not to be in the dark about the Shosholoza, it’s is a Ndebele folk song that originated in what is now Zimbabwe but was popularised in South Africa. The song is a traditional South African folk song that was sung by Ndebele all-male migrant workers that were working in the South African mines in a call and response style. The song is so popular in South African culture that it is often referred to as South Africa’s second national anthem.

A mighty race for a mighty competitor. Well done Nicola too on wearing the club vest and we all wish you have as good a holiday as it looks!


As if a half marathon wasn’t enough, Thomas Leitch ran in the Cardiff Parkrun as a warm-up and Chris Downey ran in the Rondebosch Common Parkrun as…a warm-down.

Closer to home but no less special were 50th Parkruns at Victoria Park for Alison Hall-Thompson and Deborah Killen. Congrats to both on what is a landmark and a proud achievement (I never thought I’d reach 50 when I started).

A big shout out to Hilary Bradshaw for a cracking PB of 27:34 at Victoria, an impressive time, and a small whisper (cos he’ll be too tired to read this) to Stephen Anderson who squeezed in a parkrun before doing 21 miles on Sunday.

At Ormeau…Des Fahy was 10th with a super 19:14, Michael O’Donoghue (on his quietest weekend ever) ran 23:37 whilst there were Ormeau PBs for Reg Sanlon (24:00) and Fintan Hurl (25:02).

Impressive Bangor debut times of 22:33 and 23:37 for David Fletcher and Lisa Rodham respectively; Melinda Wilkinson achieved 27:27 at Stormont whereas, Judith McCann got a fantastic PB of 26:44 at a puddly Stormont. Well done… and to Paul Gruhn who was high up the leaderboard at Colin Glen with 26:17.

Yes folks, from the temperate (Omagh) to the torrential (Cardiff) to the gorgeous (South Africa)…the club was ably and proudly represented by its members in the last week, not to mention, during all the parkruns and we’re only starting to Spring forward…