Weekly Report, Monday 11th June-Sunday 17th June

Complied By Brian Todd

This is usually a busy time of the year but for some reason this week seems just a little lacking in competitive races. Nevertheless, there was Orangegrove representation at the Dromara 5k on Wednesday evening and there was the usual significant OAC presence at Thursday’s Hill and Dale race in the Mournes. There may well be at least some Orangegrove vests at Carlingford on Sunday for the annual Flagstaff mountain race and there will, of course, be the usual plethora of parkrun PBs on Saturday morning throughout the length and breadth of our province and beyond. Members of the Junior Club will also be in action on Saturday at the Northern Ireland and Ulster U14-U17 Age Group Championships at the Mary Peters Track.

Brian Todd and Gerald Harvey, two of the oldest but not necessarily the wisest of OAC members, had the idea that they would run a nice easy little 5k race on Wednesday evening, and Dromara (in aid of Cancer Research UK) fitted the bill perfectly, or so it seemed.

However, down came the rain and with it a fairly significant breeze and lower temperatures than we have been used to lately. Now this part of County Down is drumlin country and most of the significant drumlins in this locality seemed to be brought together to constitute the route of this 5k race. This wasn’t a flat 5k, nor a hilly one; this was an absolutely mountainous 5k. The final half kilometre was, conveniently, downhill to the finish, but by this time most competitors were too knackered to take any advantage from it. Nevertheless, we survived the ordeal and the typical country spread in the village hall, served by homely local ladies, lifted our spirits and was some compensation for our earlier efforts:

Brian Todd…22.21 (age category winner)
Gerald Harvey 28.01

The Dromara 5k was won by Zak Hanna (Newcastle AC) in the remarkable time (for the course) of 16.12 and Susan Smyth of the host club, Dromore AC, was first lady In 19.40.

Now, Thursday evenings at this time of the year mean only one thing, Hill and Dale, and this year a significant little coterie of Orangegrovers has been making its way south to the Mournes to partake in Hill and Dale masochism.

This week it was The Meels, taking in Slieve Meelmore (the big Meel) and Slieve Meelbeg (the little Meel). However, if you look at your ordnance survey map of the area carefully you will discover that the small one is actually bigger than the big one by about 25 feet. This is Ireland, remember! The reality is that neither of them are small and they do represent a significant impediment to those foolish enough to attempt to run up them and then down again. The race distance is only about three and a half miles but you will encounter about 1800 feet of height gain in that distance.

Below is a list of those of our club who were brave enough to be in the Mournes last Thursday evening:

Robin Montgomery…39.23
Michael O’Donoghue…47.29
Verity Cornford…49.58
Lisa Fleming…53.03
Edwina Ternan…58.54
Selina Myles…1.07.07.

Very well done indeed!

The Hill and Dale ‘Meels’ race was won by Colm Murtagh (Newcastle AC) in 28.40 and Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners) was first lady in 34.53.

Members of the Junior Club were in fine fettle at the Northern Ireland and Ulster U14-U17 Age Group Championships at the Mary Peters Track on Saturday, despite the inclement weather.

In the U17 Boys’ 200m Final, Adam Sykes won gold in 23.24. Aaron McCord won the bronze medal in 23.97. On a different day it would have been silver. Huge PBs for both boys and assured qualification for the All Ireland’s at Tullamore. Very well done indeed.

Reegan Neill McKenzie was 6th in her tough U16 100m heat in 14.71. Not a PB, but difficult weather conditions undoubtedly played a significant role in this race.

Rory Carson had a super day out on Saturday, winning the U16 200m race in 23.55 and the U16 100m race in 11.57. Again, easy qualification for the Tullamore All Ireland’s.
In the U17 100m race Adam Sykes was 2nd in a photo-finish in 11.45. Aaron McCord was 4th in 11.80, Nathan Stewart 5th in 11.82 and Lewis Hamilton 8th in 12.47. All these times were either personal bests or equalled previous personal bests.

Ronan McPeake was 9th overall in the U15 boys’ 800m race.
Very well done indeed to all in the Junior Club at this level, athletes and coaches. Grateful thanks to Gillian Sykes for the information. Gillian’s full report can be accessed by following the link below.

NI & Ulster Age Group Championships 2018What a fantastic day (apart from the weather) at the NI & Ulster U14-U17’s Age…

Posted by Orangegrove Athletics Club Juniors on Monday, 18 June 2018

Sunday saw one of the most important events in the Northern Ireland Mountain Running (NIMRA) calendar, the annual race from Flagstaff Hill in the Cooley Mountains to Slieve Foye and the beautiful village of Carlingford on the shores of Carlingford Lough below. The route is about eleven miles long with over 3000 feet of climb. If you are very quick it will take you about 1 hour 30. If you are a normal human being it could take you up to four hours, more if the mist descends. This is country I know well. I used to smuggle a little contraband in those hills as a youngster in the 1950s. Back then the idea of runners running through them would have seemed ridiculous.

Over fifty runners were involved this year and very well done indeed to OAC representative, Andrew Tees, who completed the course in an impressive 2.19.28 to finish in 16th place.

The Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race was won by Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) in 1.47.00 and Esther Dickson (Newry AC) was first lady in 2.08.25.

Parkrun continues to inspire and motivate week after week. Even the most unlikely of athletes are attracted by the simplicity of the whole affair, the friendships it forges, the social interaction it allows and the attainable targets which it presents. This week 39 club members ran parkrun somewhere.

The following Orangegrovers deserve particular mention; the in-form Lyndsey Tyro was first lady finisher at Victoria Park in a personal best time of 19.07.

Also at Victoria Park, Jake Dalzell (JM15-17) ran a personal best time of 23.17.

David Montgomery was the fastest Orangegrove finisher at Victoria Park in 18.48 (8th).

At Stormont parkrun Martin Walker recorded a personal best time of 27.17. David Gribben was second finisher at Comber parkrun in 19.53.

There was a fair amount of parkrun tourism this weekend. David Gilliland was at Ashton Court (Bristol) parkrun in 25.49, Catherine Fearon was at Gladstone parkrun (London) in 28.38 and David Fletcher was at Hilly Fields parkrun (London) in 21.15.

‘No volunteers; no parkrun’. The famous words still ring true. If you do value parkrun, well then do something occasionally to keep the ship afloat and off the rocks. A volunteering roll to suit your experience and personality will be found for you. Start the process by emailing Gerry Ward, the Run Director, at belfastvictoriahelpers@parkrun.com.