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Belfast Half Marathon 17/09/23

North Down AC was well represented at the biggest half marathon in Northern Ireland on Sunday 17th September. Almost 40 runners from the club lined up in the rain outside Ormeau Park to begin the 13.1 mile route through east and west Belfast and the city centre. While the runners might not have minded the cooling rain too much, having got used to it during most of their training runs in the last couple of months, they appreciated the dedicated spectators who lined the course to cheer half marathoners on their way through the streets and parks. The weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm or musical talents of the Rock Choir South Belfast and Lisburn who treated runners to a superb choral medley of songs; the 2:15 pace group particularly enjoyed the choir’s version of The Buggles classic ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ on their way through Victoria Park! The bouncy bridge, Samson & Goliath, city centre crowds and the noisy party atmosphere of the Air Ambulance cheering station on the Falls Road kept runners entertained, motivated and focused before they returned to the city centre, Botanic, Ormeau Road and the finish line in Ormeau Park. 

First of the North Down runners to cross the finish line was Ross Murray in 28th place overall recording a superb PB of 1:15:03. Francis Marsh was the next NDAC runner in 1:16:54 followed by Declan Magee 1:18:50. Dean Varley set a PB of 1:21:22 finishing ahead of Aaron McAuley who took 2 minutes 30 seconds off his previous best time to finish in 1:21:44. Andrew Nicholson 1:23:21 was followed by Alan McConnell who ran a superb debut half marathon finishing in 1:23:59. David Massey 1:24:01 and Andy Belshaw 1:27:12 both recorded PBs while Darren Edgar’s 1:28:15 was a course PB. Alan Massey ran 1:29:02 closely followed by Clair Quigley 1:29:34 and Sarah Gibson 1:29:46, with both girls setting new PBs and breaking 90 minutes for the half for the first time. Barry Rooney 1:32:24 was followed by Andrew Muir 1:34:09, Mark Ramsey 1:34:09 and Stephanie Graham 1:35:14. Noel Eager can lay claim to being the most consistent runner in the club, matching his 2019 Belfast Half Marathon time of 1:35:15! Valerie McDonough 1:35:55, Lisa Tomalin 1:36:39.and Keith Gilmore 1:38:58 all finished comfortably under 100 minutes before Sarah Connolly took 5 minutes off her previous best time to finish in 1:42:41. Emma Fox 1:46:43 and Emma Murray 1:47:35 both set new PBs while Nicola Ingram’s 1:48:05 was her fastest time at the Belfast Half. Paula Simpson was next club finisher in 1:48:38 ahead of Wendy Neely with a 4 minute PB in 1:49:01. David Balmer 1:49:27, Richard Garrad 1:55:00, Tracy McKittrick 1:57:23, Kaitlyn Massey 1:57:52 and Emma Hegarty’s PB of 1:58:59 saw them all finish comfortably under 2 hours. Sian McGuire 2:01:03 and Tash Hughes running her first half marathon in 2:12:46 were next to finish. 2:15 pacer Donald Smith crossed the line with 32 seconds to spare in 2:14:28 and David Milligan recorded a massive 11 minute PB in 2:17:27. Jill Eager smashed her PB by an incredible 15:54 to complete the half marathon in 2:19:50. Gemma Caughers 2:20:24, Alex Irvine 2:22:32 and Rebecca Nicholson 2:29:07 were next back to Ormeau Park before the club’s final finisher, Pat O’Driscoll 2:44:03. 


[photo: Francis Marsh]

[photo: Clair Quigley]

[photo: Alan McConnell]

[photo: David Balmer]

[photo: Andrew Nicholson]

[photo: Pat O’Driscoll]