Weekly Report – May 9-15 2016

The temperature and the racing season is heating up and the races are starting to come thick and fast (I’ve been called thick more times than I’ve been called fast!). The following are the featured races on their respective days but we’ll start with the future…the Juniors:


Primary School Track Competition at Bangor Sportsplex on Wednesday @ 7pm

The following young athletes competed for both Orangegrove and their Schools:
Olivia Chandler P5 600m Bronze Medal
Jacob McKittrick P6 600m Silver
Ryan Drain P6 Long Jump Silver
Matthew Sykes P7 Long Jump Bronze
Alice Browne P7 Discus

The word on the street (I’m trying to act hip and cool like them) is that the Juniors all contributed and performed fantastically well. Thank you Alice, Matthew, Ryan, Jacob and Olivia for representing the club so well.

County Down Districts on Thursday

Where I was an ‘epic fail’ at trying to act cool there Aaron and Adam were epic successes and are the real deal…check this out:

Aaron McCord – Bronze Medal – jump in 4:68m
Adam Sykes – Gold Medal – CoDown Champions 4x100m relays 52.02 seconds

Brilliant guys, congratulations and well done on what I believe was quite a long day and thanks also to your coaches. A photo of the gold medal is hopefully attached to this report (the closest I’ll ever get to a gold medal!).
Adam and Aaron have both been selected to compete at the Ulster Schools Championships at Antrim Forum this Saturday after their performances so all the best from all the members of Orangegrove AC.


East Antrim Harriers AC have presented their 12th series of Summer Trail Races with Woodburn Forest being the 1st and 4th of this series and, Tardree Forest (3.5 miles) and Ballyboley Forest (4 miles) being the 2nd and 3rd.

This 1st race of this trail series was held on a beautiful Tuesday evening based in Woodburn Presbyterian Church just outside Carrickfergus.

Read the full race report here.

Hill and Dale Series, Race 5 – Rocky

(by Elizabeth Leitch)

8 OAC mountain goats (and cheer leader Liz) made the journey on Wednesday to Leitrim Lodge for Race 5 of this Series efficiently organised by Newcastle AC. Rocky is a 4.25 mile mountain race with 1600 feet of climbing. It was a glorious evening, nearly too hot for climbing but great for the supporters and photographers!

First home for Orangegrove was Chairman Thomas Leitch, 16th place, 37:48 in his first race of this year’s series. Next was Darren Marshall with 46:19, then Michael O’Donoghue in 46:38. Junior coach Eoghan Rainey was next in 56:34, closely followed by Verity Cornford. Next Sharon Dickenson finished in 64.42, Judith Dalzell in 67:54 and Stephen Craig finished in 68:43. The race was won by Newcastle AC’s Barry McConville in 33:22 whereas the First Lady was Dromore’s Diane Wilson with 38:29.

Next week is LoughShannagh which is 5 miles and 1700 feet of ascent…..all welcome!!!!!


On Friday 13 May 2016, nearly three hundred athletes descended on the Mary Peters Track in Belfast for the annual Les Jones Memorial 10k, an event hosted by Athletics NI and sponsored by ChampionChip Ireland.

Read the full race report here.



(by Sarah Malcolmson)

For the last 3 years, the Downpatrick Lions Club has organised the 3 Lakes Race to raise money for their designated charity. This year’s race, which was in aid of the Downs Syndrome Association and supported by East Down AC, took place on Saturday 14 May, starting and finishing at the idyllic setting of the Lakeside Inn on the shores of the Ballydugan Lake. There were two options: a Fun Run over 7k or a 15k for the more experienced runners.

Enticed by Joe Quinn’s description of the route as “all road, good surfaces, scenic and generally flat”, three Orangegrove ladies set out on a gloriously sunny morning to take part in an event that surpassed all of their (reasonably high) expectations! All three chose the 15k route, which took them along the peaceful country roads around the Ballydugan, Magheralagan and Loughinisland lakes. In addition to the shimmering beauty of the lakes, they were treated to panoramic views of the majestic Mourne Mountains.

The event was superbly organised, with ample parking, seamless registration, plenty of marshalls, distance markers at every kilometre and light refreshments at the end. The experience is best summed up in the words of Jenny Powell: “Definitely my best run this year. Here’s to more like it!”.

A total of sixty-nine runners took part in the 15k, which was won by Brendan Teer (00:51:59) and Niamh Kellett (01:03:41), both of East Down AC. Sixty-three runners took part in the 7k Fun Run.

Alison Hall-Thompson 1:25:32
Jenny Powell 1:25:32
Sarah Malcolmson 1:30:32


On Sunday 15 May well over one thousand athletes took to the start line of the annual Strabane to Lifford Half Marathon, organised by Strabane District Council and the relatively newly amalgamated Lifford-Strabane AC. The race started in Northern Ireland (in Strabane) and took competitors over the border to Lifford in Ireland.

In an interesting race, all of the pre-race favourites played a major part in proceedings, but it was two Project Africa Athletics men who stole the headlines. Eric Koech and Dan Tanui took second and third place respectively at the Belfast City Marathon earlier this month, but on this occasion, things were different.

Dan looked sharp over the shorter distance as sealed victory in 1:06:09 (1st place), with Eric following in 1:07:22 (2nd place). Previous winner of the event, local hero Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), followed up his win at the recent Killyclogher 10k with a 3rd place finish in 1:09:47.

In the ladies race Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC) excelled in the absence of friend and club mate Ann-Marie McGlynn. The Northern Ireland international looked in top form as she broke the tape in 1:15:21, which not only saw her take 1st place in the ladies race, but 9th place overall. Outgoing Champion Claire McGuigan may not have retained her title, but ran well to take 2nd place in 1:25:51, ahead of the consistent Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC), who followed in 1:32:37 for 3rd place.

Regarding Orangegrove, I can say that the consistently impressive Des Fahy gained 44th place with a time of 1:26:52 at a pace of 4:07 km/h and that Michael O’Donoghue, Darren Marshall and Sharon Dickenson all popped up again to run another race in the same week. Recent recruits Greg Calvin and David Doey also joined in the joy (or pain!) of this half marathon. Times:

44th Des Fahy 1:26:52
267th Michael O’Donoghue 1:42:27
313th Darren Marshall 1:44:31
378th Greg Calvin 1:47:39
580th Sharon Dickenson 1:57:48
728th David Doey 2:04:29

5k was won by Paul Barbour of Omagh Harriers in 16:49


Ulster Schools Championships (Juniors)
Ballybeen 5k
Annaghmore 5/10
Wilkies 5 mile
Albertville 4 mile
Runher 5/10
Hill n dale
One World Run.


(Update about the Buffs)

A very limited, special and select crew have qualified for the CCB (Club Championship Buff) award after taking part in the 1st 7 out of 7 races nominated in the CCC (Club Championship Calendar). The lucky people who are now officially ‘buffed’ are:
Alison Hall-Thompson, Catherine Fearon, Jenny Powell, Andy McIntyre, Gerald Harvey, Ian Grant, Marty O’Brien, Reg Sanlon and the male Captain, Robin Montgomery.


Yes, from next week we are thinking of having a report-writer solely dedicated to Michael O’Donoghue’s running exploits after racing in Woodburn, Rocky, Les Jones, Falls Parkrun and Strabane this week… the rumours that he turned up with a fake ID to run the 4x100m relay in Schools competition on Wednesday are unfounded. Only joking Michael… we are all impressed with your appetite for the sport and proud that you are an OG member.


Thomas celebrated his birthday with a 1st position in Armagh Parkrun whereas Robin led a recce party to the Falls Parkrun on Saturday before we travel there for a Club Championship Race on 4 June (photo attached) and finished 2nd himself.

Stormont showed that the future is the youth when they took charge on the hill with PBs galore. No walks about walks here (or talks about talks!), it was all-out sprinting from Rory and Benjamin Hall-Thompson, Ryan Drain and Chloe Browne. Aaron McCord chose to be in Opposition and opted for Victoria Park but also got a PB.

Others of note were a wee hometown PB for Chris Downey (19:23) on his 8th appearance whilst Nicola Downey (27:29), made a debut on that course: Colin Sykes was in Southwick, Greg Calvin was running again in Portrush and Mark Williamson was at St Helen’s for the 7th time.

The following is a link to the consolidated parkrun list of Orangegrove runners: http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=17953&eventdate=2016-05-14

If you want to give a little back to your local parkrun or be part of a bigger team, please consider volunteering by contacting Gerry on belfastvictoriahelpers@parkrun.com.