Orangegrove AC Report 9th Oct – 22nd Oct

Compiled by Gillian Logan

In fortnight that saw some of the worst weather conditions any of us have ever seen, OAC athletes training was curtailed slightly but many braved the elements (and more sunnier climates) to take part in a number of races across a mixture of terrain and distances.

Read on for a round up of all the action.

GR8 Dundrum 8 – Saturday 14th Oct by Brian Todd

There are two runs in the year that I look forward to most. One is in March, the magnificent Larne Half Marathon, and the other is in October at the nether end of the Province, the GR8 Dundrum Run, eight miles of magnificence. In its short life the GR8 has become one of the most anticipated occasions of the calendar and must rank as one of the great runs of Europe, possibly the world. It has just about everything, scenery, a super variety of terrain, two miles of magnificent beach, undulating sand dunes, fast safe tarmac sections and all overseen by the sullen majesty of the Mournes. Add to all this magnificent organization by the Murlough Club, hospitality second to none and a welcoming village, what more could you ask for?

The route is superb. The runner heads south on the main road to Newcastle for a few hundred yards before turning right on to Old Road to continue parallel with the main road for the section to the Twelve Arches Bridge over the Ballybannon River. This section of road, Old Road, contains the only significant hill on the route, but it is early in the race and should present no real difficulty. After the Twelve Arches Bridge the route is across the main Newcastle to Belfast road. You will not have to dodge the cars, however, as the police will stop the traffic to allow the runners to pass. Fine, as long as you are not a motorist! On the other side of the road you then enter the trail known as The Cut for a lovely one mile section along the side of an arm of the beautiful Dundrum inner bay. Just short of the Downshire Bridge there is a right turn along Keel Point Road towards Murlough House. Near the House the route takes you right on to undulating boardwalk down to the beach. The beach section is truly magnificent as long as the tide is right and you have firm sand on which to run. On this section the wind may be helpful, or otherwise. The beach section is about two miles long. You will see Newcastle in the distance. At a point just short of the most northerly extremity of the magnificent Royal County Down Golf Course you will be guided on to the boardwalk which will take you through Murlough National Nature Reserve to the car park on the main Newcastle Road. After that you take a sharp right turn for the long, fast sweeping section back to Dundrum where a warm village welcome will await you. This year the hospitality was provided in the village centre rather than the parish hall and very substantial it was too.

In 2017 Orangegrove took this run by the scruff of the neck and made it a round of our Club Championship. A coach was provided which made travel easy and relaxed. Once again we thank Eric Fairfield for his organization and particularly for his good humour too in its execution. This is a race for just about anybody. Every moment of it is enjoyable and there is a very distinct sense of achievement on reaching the end of it in one piece. If you can break the hour, well and good! If you can’t, so what! The following times were recorded by those wearing the very distinctive orange vest (chip times). I am aware that one or two of our brethren may have been running other people’s numbers. Please inform us and the results will be amended…

Andy McIntyre…49.31 (7/904), Andrew Tees…51.35 (13/904), Eric Fairfield…53.03 (25/904), David Montgomery…54.30 (43/904), Chris Woods…57.11, Jonny Weston…57.04, Edwina Ternan…57.54, Brian Todd…59.59, Martin O’Brien…1.00.15, Darren Houston…1.00.55, Ian Grant…1.01.01, Tony Liken…1.01.35, Heather Flint…1.02.33, Steven Anderson…1.03.41, Pauline Bayliss…1.03.55, Andrew Bennett…1.03.55, Julie McKimm…1.04.16, Robin Montgomery…1.05.17, Chris Heaney…1.05.38, Sarah Steer…1.05.58, Jacqui Maxwell…1.07.39, Reg Sanlon…1.07.46, John Neill…1.07.32, Ali McConnell…1.08.02, Gerald Harvey…1.09.22, Sarah Wilson…1.10.36, Ian Millgate…1.11.56, Anna Rankin…1.12.38, Emma McWilliams…1.13.31, Kimberley Reynolds…1.13.42, Ian Wilson…1.13.43, Lisa Fleming…1.15.44, George Gribben…1.16.30, Jill Holland…1.16.42, Sharon Corken…1.16.44, Jason Lanyon…1.16.32, Ben Magee…1.17.38, Jackie Grant…1.18.09, Adrienne Savage…1.18.07, Catherine Fearon… 1.18.23, Brian McFarland…1.19.52, Marcia Sharkey…1.20. 00, Judith McCann…1.22.07, Karen Russell…1.22.07, Sharon McFarland…1.25.12, John Ferris…1.27.26, Anne Devlin…1.33.55, Jean Stone…1.33.55.

The 2017 GR8 was won by Jonathan Roebuck (MRF Running) in 46.58 and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) was first lady in 48.51.

The above results have already been incorporated in the Club Championship table which can be viewed elsewhere. Grateful thanks to the Club Captains for their hard work in this area and to all members of the committee for their diligence and contributions. Saturday 14th October, 2017, was a super club day for Orangegrove. To have four club members in the top 50 was exceptional. To have such a large turnout of runners overall, regardless of where they finished, most certainly made it a day to remember and one of which to feel truly proud.

Comber Cup – Saturday 14th Oct

The first event of the Athletics NI XC league was the Comber Cup which is hosted by Ballydrain Harriers AC at the Billy Neill complex just outside Dundonald.

Males in the Open category, under 20’s and masters compete in The Comber Cup race which covers a distance of 8km.
Females in open, masters, under 20’s and male vet 60+ complete in The John McKeag cup, covering a distance of 6km and named after the well known stalwart of Ballydrain Harriers. Orangegrove AC was represented in both races with the results below:

Paul Woodman 0:33:35.2
Paul Tyro 0:36:38.1
Lindsey Tyro 0:26:06.1

Well done all on the race opening of the XC season! There will be a few more Orange Vests at this weekends Bobby Rea Memorial XC!

Palma Marathon – Sunday 15th Oct by MOD

This event on the popular holiday location of Mallorca had a 10k, half marathon and marathon distance included. The Half Marathon distance was easily the most popular of the races with 3900 entrants with 2600 runners doing the 10k and 1000 doing the full marathon.

I tend to do longer distance races if I’m travelling abroad so decided to go for the full marathon distance having heard good reports from people in OAC from previous years
The route starts and finishes in Parc de La Mar next to the impressive Cathedral next to the Port. It would then go west along the coast for 5k before returning to the cathedral and doing an extensive tour of the old town passing several palaces and churches. The marathon was a 2 lap course of the half marathon route which meant that at the half finish I was directed to pass the finish line and go round again which is tough for the morale!

It was 27 degrees on the day which would easily be the warmest conditions I’ve faced in a race. On the second lap along the coast I was making a determined effort to get some shade in the old town as quickly as possible! Thankfully it was a well supported race with water stops every 5k with sound systems playing Balearic House tunes. There were several local runners present that I knew from Ballydrain, Dub Runners, Magherafelt and Sperrin Harriers which added to the experience.

My finish time was 4.06.44. I got to halfway in 1h55m but the sun took its toll! The Spanish dominated the podium places. The winner was Cristofol Castaner Bernat with a time of 2.31.19 and first lady was Casado Prieto (2.57.13)

Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race – 21st Oct

All eyes of the mountain running community were on Northern Ireland this weekend as the scenic Mourne Mountains played host to the final event of the SkyRunning UK Season.
Organised by local events and running news outlet, NI Running the event saw competitors from all over the world descend on the picturesque Co Down town of Newcastle for the start of the event on Saturday Morning.

The route is 35km in length with a tough 3370m of ascent and 9 peaks to take on, including Northern Ireland & Ulster’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard.

Competitors take on a route comprised of forest path, fire roads, single track, granite trail and tough uneven broken fell making for a tough challenge.
Sharon Dickenson has kindly provided this summary of her and Darren Marshalls experience of the event…

Toeing the line for the Skyline was a big decision this year with the storm conditions predicted to hit and right up until the day before it was unconfirmed if contingency plans were being put into place…..A weather window appeared and the race director released a statement that the race was going ahead with the full route but the cut off at halfway was being strictly enforced with anyone between 3-3:15 being advised if they continue conditions were expected to deteriorate and they continue at their own risk. By the col it was clear it was going to be a tough day both above and below conditions where horrendous. Darren Marshall managed to stay on his feet….most of the time and battle the gale 40mph winds off the Commedagh ridge and Donard…to finish with a sub 6 pb of 5:53:43… fantastic 50th place brilliant running. Further down the field things began to deteriorate after making the cut off at Fofanny and preparing for a second onslaught of the Skyline home every piece of regulation kit was swiftly in place at Ott. Thoughts of the mini bus 1 mile down the road taking all the other cold wet n exhausted athletes back to Newcastle was never far away… Loughshannah summit the winds increased and the weather front hit….sadly over the next few summit’s the idea of an emergency route became more likely and the conditions on Bearnagh had to b seriously contemplated as unsafe to continue with a risk of exposure being a reality. Meelmore Summit with 2 marshals and another athlete safely in tow …the run off Meelmore to a warm car was initiated with quite a few painful slides encountered….credit in this event goes to the race organisers who endeavoured to give everyone a chance to race but unfortunately the weather took it’s casualties such is the nature of fell running. The mountains were there again this morning basked in blue skies….

A special mention goes to OAC’s Andrew Tees who volunteered as a tail runner for the first half of the race. Where he had to follow behind the slowest runners to make sure nobody got lost or injured between the start and the half-way checkpoint. Andrew reports that It was a really grim day on top of the Mournes. Strong wind and lots of rain from storm Brian meant it was really cold and wet… the conditions underfoot were incredibly slippery. Without volunteers like Andrew these events could not be possible so well done!

Local athletes Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) and Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) were the male and female winners of the event.

2017 Masters XC Trial – 21st Oct – with help from Jacqui Maxwell

It’s not often you get a Storm named after you to celebrate your 66th Birthday! Happy Birthday to club favourite Brian Todd who was one of the brave OAC athletes to take part in the annual Masters International XC trial in what was described as extremely muddy conditions!

The Masters XC is an annual trial for athletes aged 35 and over who are also members of the NI Masters Athletics Assoc. The trial consists of a women’s 6K and men’s 8K at the Dub playing fields.

The first 4 males and females (plus 2 reserves) in each age cat make the NI Masters Team for an International XC event including NI, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. It’s NI’s turn to host in 2017 and the race is on 18 Nov in Gransha, Derry.

I am pleased to report that both Jacqui Maxwell & Brian have qualified to represent their respective age categories next month! The club is very proud of you and we know that both Julie McKimm & Chris Woods turned out brave performances and it will only be a mater of time before both don the Norn Iron jersey!

Good luck to Brian and Jacqui next month!

Red High 10k – Sat 21st Oct

George Gribben was the only Orangegrove entrant in the Red High 10k in Downpatrick George reports a hilly but enjoyable route and was rewarded with first place in this age category, clocking 54mins 54 seconds (unofficial). Congratulations George!

NI Duathlon Kirkistown – Sunday 22nd Oct

Brian Todd and Gillian Logan made the journey down to Kirkistown race track on Sunday morning to take part in a Duathlon hosted by local events outfit, NI Duathlon. The conditions for the 2 mile run, 10 mile cycle and finishing 2 mile run were windy (Brian brought the storm and the milk chocolate digestives!)

Brain finished the course in: 1:11:35
Gillian finished the course in 1:13:17


As always there was a good turnout of OAC athletes at Park Run events all over the country.

A consolidated list of all runners is available here:…

A special mention to Edwina Ternan & Lyndsey Tyro who finished 1st female at Belfast Victoria and Stormont respectively!

Edwina capped off a great run of recent performances to clock a superb time of 19:47. Edwina has been working hard all summer and it is great to see her go under that coveted sub 20 minute 5km!

Lyndsey continued her good form to produce a new Park Run PB (20:12). Super running indeed!