Weekly Report – June 20-26 2016

In, out, shake it all about. Northern & Republic of Ireland out of the Euros; NI, Wales, Scotland and England out of EU but Republic in and; Netherlands in Victoria Park and lots of Orangegrovers in lots of races. Welcome to this week’s wacky races:

  • Firmus Relay
  • Drumlough 5 Mile Road Race
  • Hill and Dale
  • NI Masters Track and Field Championships
  • Ards Half Marathon
  • Fields of Life 10k
  • Energia 24
  • Parkrun


Adam and Aaron made up a very last minute U15’s boys relay team for the Athletics NI Rising Stars Squad on Thursday Night for Firmus and without really any practice at all as a team, they managed a fantastic 4th place. Well done guys!

An awesome Orangegrove U17’s team…. 2 X U15’s teams…and 2x U13’s team are predicted for next year!

DRUMLOUGH 5 Mile Road Race

Report by Brian Todd

Gerald Harvey and Brian Todd turned up in Drumlough on Wednesday night. Drumlough is little more than a hamlet set in a lush and fertile vale surrounded by drumlins somewhere between Hillsborough and Dromore. At the heart of the community is the local Presbyterian church hall where the action began, rather ominously beside the churchyard gate just to remind the older brethren amongst us of our mortality. The course consisted of two laps of a roughly square configuration. Three sides of the square were uphill!

This was not a race for the faint hearted, but at least it allowed for a long fast downhill finish. Rain threatened but didn’t materialise. The surrounding countryside was at its most beautiful as the sun began to sink in the west and as the shadows lengthened. The end of the race brought the usual country hospitality; plenty of tea, coffee, biscuits and, unusually, a free hamburger or chips. One or two of us thanked the Lord that we were still on the right side of the churchyard railing!

For six pounds, timing by Championchip, a t-shirt, excellent catering and plenty of craic from the locals. This is the way it should be! The race was won by Zak Hanna in a speedy 27.22 and Amy Bulman was first lady in 31.10, whereas, our club members finished as such:

Brian Todd 34:09 (12th/48)
Gerald Harvey 39:28 (27th/48)


On Friday, 176 athletes descended on Donard Park in Newcastle for the final race of this year’s Hill & Dale Series, known as ‘Drinahilly’ (it kinda woulda put me off straight away…the clue is in the name folks!). The spectacular but hilly trails around Donard Forest and 4.75 miles in distance with 1,080ft of ascent did not deter our fearless foursome.

The Hill & Dale Series is operated by Newcastle Athletics Club and they have offered a wide variation in location, professional support and challenging courses of which at the end, your best 6 results out of the 11 are used for your final placing (presuming you enter at least 6).
Zak Hanna (Newcastle AC) also won this race, in 21:45 this time, whereas his club mate, Mari Troeng won the ladies race in a time of 26:44. Orangegrove finished like so:

Darren Marshall 29:37 (71st/176)
Michael O’Donoghue 34:34
Eoghan Rainey 34:47
Sharon Dickenson 39:20

Well done all four of you for, and with regards to the overall final positions, I can confirm that you four and Thomas Leitch achieved the lofty task of actually competing in enough races to be included in the final standings and proved your bravery, skill, determination and hardiness by gaining these placings:

Men Thomas Leitch 22nd
Men Darren Marshall 101st
Men Michael O’Donoghue 122nd
Men Eoghan Rainey 160th
Ladies Sharon Dickenson 43rd

NI Masters Track and Field Championships

Despite NI’s masterly performance in the Euros it was up to the OG Masters to ensure no premature brave Euro or EU exit at Mary Peters’ Track and…indeed…on this occasion bravery was rewarded and medals were won.

Read the full report here


On Friday, over 500 athletes from all of Northern Ireland (and beyond) took to the streets of the County Down town of Newtownards for the annual Ards Half Marathon, which was the sixth race of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Half Marathon Series.

Read the race report here


The setting for this was the Stormont estate on a beautiful Saturday morning not too long after the Parkrun. Our sole representative here on Saturday was David Doey who is certainly putting in the miles. So much so, that his good time of 1:03:49 may have been slightly less if he had not run the Ards Half-Marathon the night before, the Comber Parkrun in the morning and had 2 laps of the Stormont Hill to contend with! Fair play David.


Over the course of Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June 2016 hundreds of athletes will descend on Victoria Park in Belfast for the popular and well-organised Energia 24 hour Race, which once again incorporates the Athletics Ireland National 24 hour Championships.

Read the full race report here


This Saturday’s Orangegrove Parkrun representation is evident in this link:


The highlights include 25 members running at Victoria Park and Alison Hall-Thompson gaining a PB of 24:16 and Catherine Lavery, on the road back after injury, achieving a PB of 28:44. Well done ladies.

Greg Calvin ran 23:09 & was 26th in his 1st Ecos Parkrun; Gerald Harvey was 43rd & ran 23:56 at Queens; David Doey and Paula O’Reilly ran 27:54 and 32:04 respectively at Comber (David’s debut there); Jacob McKittrick ran 19:54 on his Antrim debut and very nearly achieved an overall Parkrun PB and; Lyndsey Tyro was 1st Lady home at Ormeau with a super 19:56. This was an Ormeau PB for Lyndsey who has ran here a dozen times and very nearly got an overall Parkrun PB.

Finally, I was at Stormont Parkrun and it was all happening there: Stormont Parkrun PBs for myself (Marty O’Brien), Mark Williamson and Fintan Hurl with 21:10, 22:18 & 24:45 respectively but with Fintan destroying his previous Stormont times (the baby must be starting to sleep at nights…).

Pauline Bayliss made a welcome return and put in a good time of 23:17 on her comeback trail whereas we wish the twins on The Hill (but certainly not over the hill) a very happy birthday – yes, Ian Grant and John Neill both celebrated birthdays on the same day – hope you had a good one. However, these twins were behaving like triplets as John and Ian and Melinda Wilkinson were all between 3-5 secs from Stormont PBs with respective times of 22:19, 22:38 & 26:55….great running folks.


Finding out about Belfast Victoria parkrun volunteering opportunities couldn’t be easier. Simply open a recent parkrun newsletter, results email or volunteer email, click on ‘manage my profile’, then ’email options’, then select the events you’d like to hear from and click ‘save opt-in events list’. You will then receive regular emails from those events letting you know all about their volunteering opportunities.


You can see an event’s future volunteer roster via their specific future roster page. To get in touch with the event directly, just send an email to belfastvictoriahelpers@parkrun.com.