Weekly Report – June 6-12 2016

Cork Marathon

Monday 6th June

The week started off in fairly traditional Orangegrove fashion, members new and old contemplated meeting in Victoria Park either to ‘run to the fish’ or give Darren’s circuit class a go, whilst 250 miles away Michael O’Donoghue had his feet up having bagged yet another marathon medal. The Cork edition of the MOD running odyssey promised a flat and fast course, but in sweltering conditions times went out the window and in the end the Master Of Distance settled for a respectable 4:10:54. 551st/1094. Well done Michael, considering the heat, the calf niggle and the long trip to even get to the start line, an effort to be proud of.

Incidentally the 2017 ‘Good for Age Standards’ for the London Marathon are out

The good news is that the club will have at least one additional automatic entry available, the bad news is that Julie McKimm had absolutely no intention of entering, however after such an impressive debut marathon time in Edinburgh I’ve a feeling what seems like a punishment could soon become a reward. Well done Julie.

East Antrim Harriers Trail Series – Ballyboley Forest

Tuesday 7th June

With the sunny weather clinging on for all its worth and torrential downpours threatening, 14 intrepid Orangegrovers braved the midges, the humid conditions and the alleged ghost of Ballyboley to tog out for approximately 4 miles of undulating forest fun. Our man on the front line, Gerald Harvey, reports that after an initial couple of miles which accounted for much of the 97 metre ascent, the course levelled out, skirting the outside of the forest before descending for a fast finish to where first club finisher Robin had prepared a picnic to welcome the others home in fine style.

Robin Montgomery 26:03 (1st M45)
Truly Brown 28:51 (1st F45)
Martin O’Brien 29:38
Emma McWilliams 32:02
Brian Todd 32:03 (1st M60)
John Neill 32:39
Gerald Harvey 32:53 (3rd M60)
Jill Holland 33:20
Sharon Corken 36:01
Brian McFarland 36:24
David Doey 36:42
Lisa Fleming 37:04
Melinda Wilkinson 38:02
Sharon McFarland 42:34

Congratulations to Robin, Trudy and Brian for their excellent age category wins, to Marty O’Brien who backed up his big Fairhill PB from last week with another impressive outing and great to see Lisa Fleming back running well after her recent injury problems. Next up its a return to Woodburn Forest for the fourth and final race of the series on Tuesday 21st June.

Dromara Festival 5k

Wednesday 8th June

From the Irish Droim mBearach meaning ‘Ridge of Heifers’ Dromara annually celebrates it’s heritage with the Ridge of Hiefers festival which incorporates a variety of activities and events, ironically none of which involve young cows! It is interesting to note how many of these festivals and town fairs are now adding a fitness element into what would traditionally be a programme of events with a heavy emphasis on food and drink, certainly a welcome development from an athletics point of view.

And so it was on another clammy and close summer evening that in the homeland of the mechanical marvel Harry Ferguson, 99 athletes lined up to go through the gears on what was considered a testing 5k course with hills a plenty. Orangegrove was represented by husband and wife team, Paul and Kirsty Buchannan who made best use of the extra hill training to finish in 26:15 and 26:20 respectively. Kirsty has confirmed to me that apres race they were happy to revert to the traditional festival activities previously mentioned and that a grand time was had by all.

St Benedicts 10k – Antrim

Wednesday 8th June

Also taking place on Wednesday evening was the third annual St Benedicts 10k, staged by the local college and run entirely in the grounds of Shane’s Castle. Clearly the Ballyboley midges were carrying the running bug and David Doey has been bitten hard.

After a fine effort on a tough forest course on Tuesday night, the new recruit was back for more on Wednesday and despite testing conditions and a well strung out field he acquitted himself very well to finish in 56:39.

David has been in good form since joining the club and has logged his two fastest parkruns in recent weeks, he’s still waiting for his first club vest to arrive, but if he continues at this rate of racing he’ll be ordering a couple of spares to stop his washing machine burning out.

Juniors roundup, with thanks to Gillian Sykes for the report

Thursday 9th June

Well done to Sam, Matthew, Beth, Charlie and Alice who were all competing for their Club/School at Bangor on Thursday in the North Down Primary Schools Meet.
Fantastic performances from everyone.

PB for Sam in the P6 600m with a time of 2.07.7 …those wee legs can run very fast…!!

2nd place again in P7 Long jump for Matthew….along with joint 3rd in 60m sprint in a speedy 9.1 seconds.

Charlie had his first appearance at a track competition for Orangegrove …competing in the P5 long jump…and 60m Sprint. Well done Charlie. 👍🏻

Beth also has a great night competing in both the P6 sprints…long jump and hotly contested girls 600m race …running a fab 2.09.1….another PB…!!!

Alice also stepped onto the track to compete in the P7 Girls long jump, 600m and 60m sprint….phew…don’t know where they get the energy from…!

Well done everyone… Doing their schools and Orangegrove very proud.


Hill & Dale (Hen & Cock)

Thursday 9th June

Race 9 of 11 promised 3.5 miles distance and 1600 feet climbing over both the Hen and Cock mountains, each peak was to be ascended and descended individually with an ‘enjoyable’ run through a bog as the reward at the end of each descent.

Some might say that the only thing crazier than running up a mountain is trying to run back down without breaking an ankle, injuries happen, and you only have to look at the list of required safety equipment which every runner must carry to know that things can go wrong.

That said, I can’t imagine anywhere more scenic to enjoy a run in the recent pleasant weather than where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. In the end four Orangegrove athletes agreed and, as has been the pattern recently, Thomas Leitch led them home in 32:58 which was enough for a terrific 13th place and second in his age category.

As a keen orienteer Tim Robinson was never going to lose his way and, as with Thomas, he took approximately 90 seconds off last years time to finish in 42:02, Eoghan Rainey (51:17) and Judith Dalzell (1:09:08) followed them home to round off another beautiful Hill and Dale evening. Next up on Thursday 16th June is 3.5 miles and 1800 feet of climbing over Meelbeg and Meelmore

Antrim Mixed Terrain Race

Friday 10th June

Formerly known as the Antrim 5 Mile Road Race and now more accurately described as mixed terrain (presumably someone was upset about getting their new trainers dirty last year) 111 runners left their best gutties at home and assembled in cooler than recent conditions for the third annual running of the event on Friday evening. With a five mile course starting on the athletics track and taking in Antrim Castle park, Rea’s Wood and Lough Shore Park there was plenty of scenery to keep the runners mind occupied. On the night the club was represented by two of its best in Lyndsey Tyro and Sile Brennan. Lyndsey is no stranger to the event having finished on the podium in the last two years, and whilst Sile has been running fewer races since the birth of her second child, she did recently make an excellent return to competitive action at the Belfast marathon.

As expected, the ladies performed to their usual high standards and both were rewarded with podium positions, Lyndsey as second lady (33:44, 22nd place overall) and Sile in third (34:48, 27th overall) Many congratulations ladies.

Pick n Mix Pairs 10k

Saturday 11th June

Downpatrick was the setting for the novel concept of the Pick n Mix 10k, with runners completing as an individual before having their time randomly paired with another participant to give an aggregate total for ranking purposes. Planned as a fundraiser for a proposed sensory room in the local Knockevin Special School, the event attracted nearly 200 runners, amongst them Liz Leitch who was in fine form and finished as second lady in 45:57. Liz reports that the twisty hilly route took in several loops of the Downshire hospital as well as part of the town centre and that the post run refreshments were up to the usual high standards set by Joe Quinn and the folks from East Down AC.

NI and Ulster outdoor track and field championships, thanks again to Gillian Sykes

Well done to Aaron, Reegan and Adam who all had fantastic performances at the Mary Peters track on Saturday.

Reegan had a great 80m Sprint in the girls U14’s…getting stronger and faster Reegan.
Aaron came 7th in boys U15’s Long Jump….

Adam hobbled across the line in 5th place in the U15’s boys 100m Sprint after another hip strain. I’d have been looking for a stretcher …!!!

But our athlete of the day was Aaron…. Who sailed through to 2nd place in the boys U15’s 100m sprint.

Mourne Way Marathon/ Half Marathon/ 10k

Saturday 11th June

Undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend in terms of club participation was 26Extreme’s Mourne Way extravaganza. Part of the wider Ulster Way, a 1000km network of paths and trails originally designed to provide a circular link to hostels dotted around the province, the Mourne Way is a 26 mile segment which has long been a popular hiking route. Obviously someone of a running persuasion noted the distance and decided that it would be a shame not to find the extra 0.2 of a mile to make it an official marathon from Donard Park in Newcastle to Kilbroney. With the half and 10k runners being transported to a starting point further along the route, all races and walks finish on a long downhill descent into Rostrevor with the promise of a free burger and a well deserved beer enticing the runner home.

The route itself is mostly on well graded mountain/forest trail, with those on the half and longer distances having to contend with short sections of bog, road and the odd stream to traverse. The club was well represented on the day with members posting the following times:-


Robin Montgomery 4:08:04 (20th)
Michael O’Donoghue 4:56:06  76th)

Half Marathon

Darren Marshall 1:54:01 (37th)
Stephen Anderson 1:55:24
Andrew Tees 1:57:08
Ian Grant 2:03:46
Ian Millgate 2:05:41
Andrew Allen 2:08:24
Rodney Corrigan 2:11:11
Sarah Steer 2:14:07
Verity Cornford 2:18:18
Martin Doherty 2:28:01
Sharon Dickenson 2:29:42
Lisa Fleming 2:46:37
Jill Holland 2:46:37
Sharon Corken 2:46:37
Melinda Wilkinson 2:46:37
Linda Carson-Craig 2:50:25


Ian Wilson 54:20 (54th)
Alison Hall-Thompson 54:21
Sarah Malcolmson 57:50
Louise Browne 1:00:49
Fintan Hurl 1:00:49

Superb running as usual by Robin and another fine effort by MOD, his second in a week, especially considering he fell on the course and later had to attend A&E for a cut to his face. In the half, Darren Marshall, Stephen Anderson and Andrew Tees will be delighted to have dipped under the 2 hour barrier, Ian Grant proved again that he is very much at home in the mountains, as did Sarah Steer who led the ladies home in fine style. Further down the field it seems an entente cordiale was in place between Jill, Lisa, Sharon and Melinda who finished together in a more than respectable 2:46.

In the 10k Ian, Alison and Sarah all dipped under the hour and whilst Fintan and Louise were just over that mark, photos of them enjoying their beer in sunny Kilbroney Park suggest it mattered not a jot. A grand day out for the club which I’m led to believe was enjoyed by all.

Belfast Victoria Duathlon

Sunday 12th June

‘Why Tri when you can Du’ is the motto of the increasingly popular Duathlon series operated by parkrun regular Richard Bradley. Providing a stepping stone from running to cycling and maybe triathlon, Richard continues to host well organised, competitive events for all abilities and in doing so has raised much needed funds for Belfast Tandems, a cycling group for blind and partially sighted people. Brian Todd and Emma McWilliams have been regulars on the circuit over recent months and on a wet and windy Sunday morning they toed the line once more in the familiar surroundings of Victoria Park. In the end it was a blanket finish with Emma finishing on 1:06:13 and Brian 1:06:14. Brian reports that conditions were difficult but that it was great to see club members Eoin Woodman and Liz Leitch marshalling and Gerald Harvey on photography duties. Further details of upcoming events can be found at http://www.niduathlon.com


With so much going on elsewhere one would think that parkrun would have to take a back seat but therein lays the beauty of the event, even on a busy week and with priorities elsewhere there’s still time to jog a few laps of the park and chew the fat over tea and a bun. Nearly 200 athletes accepted the challenge and showed up at Victoria to take one step closer to a milestone t-shirt. Paul Woodman was first Orangegrove male (18:50, 6th place) and Claire Kelleher first female (22:46, 24th). Up and coming junior, Jake Dalzell, had the privilege of the clubs only PB of the day with an excellent 24:56 (57th)

Elsewhere there were PB’s at Stormont for Anna Rankin (25:51) and Karen Russell (26:38), at Comber for Thomas Leitch (19:57, 8th) whilst Hillary Bradshaw (28:15) found that pursuing Kirsty Buchanan and Reg Sanlon was the best route to her new Wallace PB

In the North West, junior member Glen Johnston (21:46, 14th) ran an excellent new PB at Derry parkrun, whilst in Limavady Lyndsey Tyro was first lady (20:03, 5th) and husband Paul finished 3rd overall in 18:48, the travelling Tyro’s are now amongst an exclusive group who have completed all 21 Northern Irish parkruns at least once.


Of course another great feature of parkrun is that it takes very little out of your Saturday morning and our wonderful volunteers put everything in place to make it the best possible experience that they can. Perhaps you would enjoy the privilege of joining this elite group of local heroes, even just for one day? If so, Gerry Ward would love to hear from you belfastvictoriahelpers@parkrun.com.