Weekly Report Monday 15th October, 2018, to Sunday 21st October, 2018

By Brian Todd


Two very big events will dominate the local running scene this weekend, both unfortunately on Saturday 20th October (unfortunate, in that they clash!).  Down in Dundrum, in the foothills of the Mournes, hundreds of runners will take part in what has become one of the most popular running events of the year, the GR8 Dundrum Run, which has a little bit of everything. I suspect one or two orange vests will make their way south for this one, particularly those who wish to delay the donning of their spiked shoes for as long as possible.
Whether we like it or not the majority of us will be at the Billy Neill Playing Fields on the Comber Road at Dundonald on Saturday afternoon for the Comber Cup Cross-Country races, run so well by our friends at Ballydrain Harriers.

As well as being the first round of this year’s ANI Cross Country League, the event is also the final round of our own 2017-2018 Club Championship. Hence its importance, and the main reason why our numbers in Dundrum will be a little lower than usual. The grounds at Comber Road are ideal for cross country and there is, this year, the added bonus that in 2019 these very grounds will host the International event, traditionally held at Antrim, for the first time ever.

Starting with Cross Country the day began with a series of primary and secondary school races just to soften up the ground for the older brethren. At 1.30pm the John McKeag Cup race (6k) was run for all women and men over the age of 60 years. At 2.15pm the main event of the day took place, the Comber Cup (8k) for all males up to the age of 60. It was a lovely benign autumn day and conditions were just about perfect for cross country. Regarding the cross-country league, each team’s first four runners decide the team’s finishing position but, in addition, each team finisher up to a maximum of 12 can score a single point each. Each team’s best six events out of eight will decide ultimate finishing position and prizes are available for the top eight teams in the league, both male and female.

By the way this weekend also saw the hosting of the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race, part of the Skyrunning UK Series, in fact the final very important round. Many of the world’s best mountain running athletes will be taking part. The route is 35km long and involves 3370 metres of ascent over a notoriously difficult course. The course record is held by Germain Granger in 3.49.39 and the current champion on this course is local Newcastle AC runner Ian Bailey. The race starts on the Promenade in Newcastle and the finishing area is in Donard Park. There might be one or two OAC shirts in the pack. Only time will tell!

So, how did it all go?

It was a magnificent day for cross-country running at the Billy Neill grounds on the Comber Road. The weather was perfect. There was no sunshine but, more importantly, there was no wind, rain or even mud. Very unusual! The grounds at Comber Road were in perfect condition and there was evidence of the International course being laid out. It will be a superb venue. Both the OAC ladies and men were able to field full teams to maximize League points and this was probably achievable by the fact that there were OAC Club Championship points at stake too:

Results (Ladies/The John McKeag Cup/6k)
Heather Flint…26.43
Julie McKimm…27.04
Verity Cornford…28.45
Kimberley Reynolds…28.52
Sarah Steer…29.07
Lisa Fleming…29.22
Jacqui Maxwell…29.52
Jenny Powell…30.16
Judith McCann…30.30
Selina Myles…31.21
Emily Paisley…31.42
Jackie Grant…31.44
Anna Rankin…32.12
Jill Holland…32.12

The ladies race was won by Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) in 20.25. The John McKeag Cup (team of four) was won by the North Down AC team.
The slightly disconcerted and aged Brian Todd ran in the ladies race and finished in 25.04 (MV 65-69 category prize).

Comber Cup (Men/8k)
David Montgomery…30.10
Des Fahy…31.06
Michael O’Donoghue…31.31
Chris Woods…31.54
David Fletcher…32.25
Rodney Corrigan…32.53
Ian Grant…34.01
Paul Tyro…34.22
Stephen Hamilton…35.15
Stephen Anderson…35.18
Reg Sanlon…40.15
George Gribben…43.07

The men’s race was won Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) in 23.49 and the Comber Cup (team of four) was won by North Belfast Harriers.
In due course the final OAC Club Championship results will be released for you delectation, although at this early stage it is looking very much like Julie McKimm and David Mongomery! If it is, very well done indeed.
All of us are very grateful to our Club captains, Stephen and Jill, for their hard work and enthusiasm in putting together and administering such an interesting and varied championship programme.

The GR8 Dundrum Run (8 miles)
Nearly one thousand runners charged up the main street of Dundrum at 1pm on Saturday and amongst them was a fair coterie of East Belfast orange vests. The following members of Orangegrove appear in the results, although there may have been one or two name changes:
Jonny Weston…56.31 (52/922)
Carolyn Beattie…1.03.58
David Gilliland…1.07.54
Martin Doherty…1.14.05
Alison Canning…1.14.31
John Ferris…1.30.43
Sarah Wilson…1.30.43
Jean Stone…1.38.57

Very well done to all who took on this formidable challenge; particular congratulations to Jonny Weston on a magnificent run.

The 2018 GR8 was won by Jonathan Roebuck (MRF Running) in 44.59 and Breege Connolly (City of Derry) was first lady in 48.36.

Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race.

I could not spot any OAC participants in the results of this year’s Mournes Skyline race although I do believe that Orangegrove’s Andrew Tees was the official tail runner for the event, a challenge in itself and a considerable responsibility too. Well done!
Correction! Correction! Correction! (in fact the mother of all corrections).

Club Chairman and general guiding light, Robin Montgomery, was very much in the mix with a fine time of 6.12.02 which placed him in 113th place out of 228 finishers, and there were quite a few who did not finish. Not for Robin a silly old cross-country race without mud! He demanded mountains instead and he got them in abundance. Very well done indeed!
The Skyline race was won by Brennan Townshend (Scott Running) in 3.45.32 and Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) was first lady in 4.44.00. So, the record was broken!

And, parkrun continues unabated. It was a beautiful autumnal morning at Victoria Park. The sun did not shine but that did not detract from the wonderful crimson colours which abounded. However, with this afternoon’s cross-country antics at Comber Road there were not too many OAC regulars stretching their legs anywhere at 9.30am. At headquarters the most notable result was that of young Luke Harte (JM11-14) who was 4th finisher in the excellent time of 17.50. Very well done indeed! At Stormont, David Gribben was 6th finisher in 20.23 and Pauline Bayliss was 2nd female in 22.25. Danny Bradley was at Waterworks where he recorded 19.04 as 10th finisher, a pb for him at this venue. At Orangefield Lyndsey Tyro was 3rd female in a leisurely (for Lyndsey) 25.29. Gerald Harvey was 15th finisher at the same venue in 24.44.

Don’t forget the volunteering bit. It can’t continue if you don’t give a little back. So, contact the Victoria Park team at belfastvictoriahelpers@parkrun.com to offer your services now and again. They will keep you within your comfort zone!