Latest Club News
The Ulster Schools Track and Field Championships took place at Antrim on Saturday with conditions the worst in living memory. Incessant rain fell throughout what is a long programme. The athletes and officials managed to stay positive throughout although water seepage meant that not all track events had a photofinish. The club youngsters were out in force, picking up a few titles and performances on the way.
Two 800m races separated by distance but not by weather on Saturday evening. At a meeting in Letterkenny to mark the opening of the new Danny McDaid Track, Mark Patterson was 6th in 1:54.75. In Solihull at the 1st BMC Grand Prix event of the season, Michael Dyer was 4th in the C race in 1:57.10 min. On Sunday Kathy Hetherington threw 39.74m at the Loughborough International.
The Les Jones Memorial 10k took place in good wearther on Friday evening around the Lagan Towpath, Barnetts Demesne and Mary Peters Track; starting and finishing at the track. Unfortunately the course was about 400m too short though it is not normally regarded as a pb course. It was good to see James Budde and Chris Speers back in action and they led the North Down contingent in the mens race with 5th and 18th while Valerie McDonough and Nikki Heywood were 9th and 11th in the ladies race. In the categories, Valerie and Nikki were 2nd and 3rd, Stephen Wise was 3rd M50 and Gary Swenarton was 2nd M60.
Lauren Scott finished her US collegiate track & field season running a 1500m pb of 4:30.94 at the Big 10 conference championships at Columbus, Ohio – placing 7th in heat 3.
The first round of the 2013 Northern Ireland Youth Development League took place on Saturday at Antrim Forum, the YDL having now replaced the Young Athletes League. North Down has in recent seasons had difficulty in the first round with many athletes unavailable but this time there was a better response. There were still too many gaps, with only 3 U13 boys present but the girls turned out well at U13 and U15 levels. These are the key ages in the YDL as the U17’s in Northern Ireland, though competing at the same time are in a separate local league. The league includes a lot of events so there is plenty of scope in future rounds to plug the gaps.
Womens Track & Field Captain Kathy Hetherington (University of Ulster) threw a pb of 41.12m in the Qualifying Rounds of the British Universities Championships at Bedford. She could not quite manage that on Monday in the Final but her throw of 40.86m was good enough for the Bronze Medal. In the long jump, Hannah Lewis (Bath University) was 7th in Monday’s Final with 5.62m.
Julie Balmer had the time of her life on Monday at the Belfast Marathon with 4th overall in the ladies race, 1st Northern Irish/ Irish/ UK and 1st F35/overall master. Finishing close to her best time (Belfast is no course for pbs), Julie went through the halfway mark in 1:29:10 hr and went through the finish in Ormeau Park in 3:00:29. Julie was 47th overall behind Ukrainian and Kenyan opposition. Other North Down finishers included Andy Belshaw 138th in 3:18:37 (3:18:24 chiptime), Sarah Benton 535th in 3:47:57 (3:47:20), Nikki Heywood 588th in 3:51:05 (3:50:26). Pat O’Driscoll in his 27th marathon (13th Belfast) ran 6:33:15 despite requiring treatment at 5 Injury Stationa.
On Thursday, Lagan Valley AC hosted the second of their Power NI sponsored ‘Super 5’ meetings at Mary Peters Track, this time 200m and 800m being the main track events. Not quite as many were were there from North Down this time as is a very busy time on the track at the moment. The U11 and U13 categories again had huge entries. At U11 , Megan Drummond, Katie Kimber, Anabel McNutt and Ross Arnold all did the full quota of events with Megan’s overall win at 150m the highlight. Johnny Moore was 2nd in U13 200m and Grace Arnold was well placed in hers. Olivia Cumming won the U15 girls 200m with Saskia Greer well placed.
Saturday morning saw the 2nd birthday of the Victoria Park parkrun with a bumper turnout of 206 finishers and celebrations to match. For North Down it was good to see the return to action of Darren McKee and Melissa Eccles, both of whom have been sidelined for several months. Darren wsa 7th overall in 18:38 min with Gerry Coy in 4th taking the top club position in 18:21. Melissa was 3rd lady in 21:54 with Jill Aicken 4th in 21:57. All club runners ran well though Helen Irvine was the only one to register a pb.