Club Report 30th APRIL – 6th May 2018

With the Belfast Half Marathon falling on Bank Holiday Monday, 7th May, 2018, there was a dearth of weekend activity to fill my pages. Nevertheless, parkrun continued as usual and there were seven year anniversary celebrations at Victoria park on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. However, there was some weekday activity and Friday evening brought the NiRunning Mile 2018 at the Mary Peters Track which just happened to be an OAC Club Championship event. Thursday evening saw the OAC mountain men and ladies in the Mournes for Round 4 of this year’s Hill and Dale Series, the one-way trek to the summit of Binnian. The OAC youngsters were also at it this week, and very successfully too, at the Ulster Schools District A meeting at the Mary Peters Track. On Thursday there was at least one OAC junior medal awarded at the Firmus track meeting, also at the Mary Peters Track. Now, brevity is the order of the day and what follows is my attempt to be as brief and to the point as it is possible to be!

The Ulster Secondary Schools’ District A (Co. Down) intermediate and senior athletics meeting was held at the Mary Peters Tracks on Thursday 2nd May. It turned out to be a very successful afternoon for a group of our younger OAC athletes performing for their various schools. Well done to Aaron McCord who won a silver medal in the intermediate boys’ 100m hurdles. Ruby Baxter won a bronze medal in the senior girls’ 200m while Adam Sykes won gold in the intermediate boys 100m. Nathan Stewart won silver in the intermediate boys 100m. In the 4×100 relay event Lewis Hamilton, Nathan Stewart and Adam Sykes and a non OAC team mate won gold for the third year running. Very well done indeed! In the long jump and triple jump events Klint Depayso showed promise despite an ankle injury. Leo McMillan was unfortunate not to make the intermediate 100m final in which Aaron McCord just narrowly missed being placed. Aaron McCord and Oscar Wilson were members of the Wellington College intermediate 4×100 relay team which led the race for a time before a baton fumble ended their efforts.

All in all, a super day for the coaches and athletes of the junior club. Tip of the iceberg I suspect!

An additional well done to Aaron McCord who won a silver medal in the Under 17 200m race at the recent Firmus meeting at the Mary Peters Track.
Round 4 of the Hill and Dale Series enticed our mountain runners to Slieve Binnian this week. This is a spectacular race, if it is a race at all. The athletes gather on the Head Road above Annalong and then assault Binnian via a track in the vicinity of Crocknaroe and the Cross Water River.

The distance is only about two miles but the height rise in the distance is over 2000 feet. So, it is not one for the faint hearted or the sane. The views from the top of Binnian can be spectacular but the evening turned out to be a dull one with low cloud cover which even made navigation difficult at times. Soft ground conditions did not help.

Very well done indeed to the following members of OAC who rose (very literally) to the challenge. The OAC contingent was led home by Verity Cornford in the following times:

Verity Cornford…36.52
Michael O’Donoghue…37.21
Lisa Fleming…44.06
Stephen Craig…47.52
Judith Dalzell…48.06
Selina Myles…48.51

The race was won by Zac Hanna (Newcastle AC) in 21.24 and Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) was first lady in 27.00.

A beautiful balmy Friday evening at the Mary Peters Track provided ideal conditions for this year’s NiRunning mile event, run in conjunction with the British Milers Club. This year there was added OAC interest by the fact that the event also constituted one of our Club Championship rounds. So, there was plenty of orange on display in and around MPT. Essentially competitors elect to run in a race which suits their pace. When the gun sounds you run four laps of the track as hard as you can to achieve your result. Sounds easy. It is not! I personally remember last year staggering about the place uncertain about who I was or what I was doing there for some time after finishing. As the evening progresses the pace increases and it ends with a showdown involving the elite men.

The following results were attained by OAC runners:

Stephen Orr, 4.55.06, Des Fahy, 5.31.84, David Fletcher, 5.37.03, Chris Woods, 5.37.85, Robin Montgomery, 5.39.47, Tom Smith, 5.54.36, Stephen Hamilton, 5.56.05, Martin O’Brien…5.57.11, Michael O’Donoghue, 5.57.48, Edwina Ternan, 6.04.50, Stephen Anderson, 6.06.00, Julie McKimm, 6.17.42, Rachel Woodman, 6.18.43, Gillian Logan, 6.21.19, Isaac Orr, 6.34.17, Ian Wilson, 6.42.25, Reg Sanlon, 6.55.19, Jacqueline Maxwell, 6.56.64, Lisa Fleming,7.01.12, Jenny Powell, 7.07.58, Martha Orr, 7.15.65, Judith McCann, 7.15.92, George Gribben, 7.16.25, Adrienne Savage, 7.25.87, Jackie Grant , 7.37.44, John Ferris, 7.48.24, Sharon McFarland, 7.49.86, Anne Devlin, 8.19.71.

Very well done indeed to all who toed the line, in particular Stephen, Isaac and Martha Orr for their spectacular performances on the night and for turning it into a family affair!
Incidentally, the fastest mile of the night was achieved by James Trainer (North Belfast Harriers) in 4.35.79.

And some great news just in from Prague in the Czech Republic where Andy McIntyre and Catherine Fearon were running in the Volkswagon Prague Marathon. It would appear that Andy scorched around the course in the amazing time of 2.50.59 to set a new Orangegrove club record for the distance. Very well done indeed!

Catherine also completed the distance in the much more sensible time of 4.34.20. Very well done indeed to both Andy and Catherine. Your Club is very proud of what you have achieved this weekend!

There were seventh anniversary celebrations at Victoria Park parkrun on Saturday morning in almost perfect running conditions.

Michael Broadhead, running as part of the Paul Pollock Dream Run Dublin 2018 team, was first OAC finisher in fourth place in a personal best time of 18.02. Very well done indeed!

While most OAC members were at Victoria one or two others were at Wallace, Ormeau and Stormont. At Wallace, Brian McFarland (28.42), Sharon McFarland (32.13) and Ben Magee (30.38) were first timers. At Ormeau Jacob McKittrick (JM11-14) was fourth finisher in 19.38.

Don’t forget the volunteering bit. Just email Gerry Ward at and a little job will come your way before you have had time to say no!

I understand that no Club report appeared for the period 23rd- 29th April. Below are some results which deserve not to go unreported (especially mine!)

Hill and Dale….Slieve Martin (Thursday 26th April)
Andrew Tees…39.52 (22/274)
Verity Cornford…56.48
Lisa Fleming…1.01.55
Selina Myles…1.20.13
Scrabo Striders Run the Runway 10k (Friday 27th April)
David Gribben…40.15 (9/276)
Scrabo Striders Run the Runway 5k (Friday 27th April)
Ross Robinson…19.40
David Fletcher…20.40
Steven Gilliland…21.30
DKIT 10K (Dundalk) Wednesday 25th April.
Brian Todd…44.32

Best of luck to all those running in the Deep River Rock Belfast Marathon on Bank Holiday Monday.