NewsRoad Racing

Queen’s 3k & 5k, 13/03/24

The annual Queen’s 5k road race round the bridges took place earlier than in previous years on a cool evening in perfect running conditions on Wednesday 13th March. Almost 1000 athletes, including at least 50 North Down AC members  took part in 3 races over 3k and 5k. This year, as well as the standard 5k race, the event included a championship 5k with athletes submitting a recent sub-20 minute time to qualify, affording 3k finishers and runners warming up for the standard 5k, superb views of the fastest road race in Northern Ireland. 

The 3k was the first event of the evening; runners lined up on the Annadale Embankment before racing over the Ormeau Bridge, along the Stranmillis Embankment, crossing the King’s Bridge before passing the start line and racing to the finish line at the entrance to the QUB PE Centre on Stranmillis. 5 North Down AC runners took part in the 3k with Sebastian Mair leading the pack back to the PEC in 11th place in an outstanding  time of 10:29. The runners in front of Sebastian were all older than him ranging from 13 – 18 years old. James Blease was 22nd in 10:50 followed by Holly Blease in 28th in 11:06. Sophie Rankin was 31st in 11:09. She was the first 11 year old  to finish. Caitlyn Dickenson completed the NDAC finishers in 12:19 in 58th out of 101 runners including many adults. 

The elite 5k race attracted 321 runners from throughout Northern Ireland and further afield all over to the flat, fast course. They followed the same route as the 3k, starting closer to the King’s Bridge and completing 2 1/2 laps of the course to finish at the PEC. Brhane Gebrebrhan of Annandale Striders won in 14:31, with the local club collecting 3 of the top 5 spots. 22 North Down AC runners raced with Daniel Dines 35th 15:54 leading the club members. Finn Johnson was close behind in 15:58 followed by Matty McParland 16:09, Oliver Playfair 16:25, Ethan Isles 16:28 and Luke McDowell 16:56 all earning top 100 finisher spots. Nick Irvine 17:06, Andy Lowry 17:14, Thomas Steele 17:16, Alasdair Mair 17:19 and Alex Downey 17:30 were followed by Dean Varley 17:33, Declan Magee 17:35 and Jack Russell who made a welcome return to racing in 17:43. Alan McConnell 17:45 was followed by the first lady from the club and the 17th female finisher, Katie Moore 17:59. Chris Belshaw 18:02, Rachel Gibson 18:05, Simon Boyle 18:29, Colin Walker 18:33, Sarah Grant 18:41, Darren Edgar 18:51 and Clair Quigley 19:47 ensured that all the NDAC runners in the elite race finished comfortably inside 20 minutes.

The standard 5k race attracted a strong field of North Down athletes too, including several who would have fared well among the previous race; John Ewing’s return to form continued with an 18:52 finish in 25th place. Mitchell Brown 48th 19:31 and Stephen Wise 19:47 in 66th all broke 20 minutes while Lisa Tomalin was the first of the club’s female runners in 20:03. Neill O’Driscoll 20:36, Fiona McVicar 20:37, Donald Smith 20:48, Luke Hamilton 20:49 and Helen Byers 20:50 all dipped under 21 minutes closely followed by Ben O’Driscoll 21:07, Lindsay Doulton 21:13 and Glynnis Boyle 22:00. Paul Lynas 22:34, Heath Beattie 22:36, Olivia Cumming 23:03, June McMinn 23:15 and Paula Simpson 23:27 ahead of Kim McCourt 24:49, Lisa McMeechan 25:01, Michael Roberts 27:07 and Hannah Dunne 27:30. Pat O’Driscoll paced himself to a strong 36:12 finish as a warm up for the Craic 10k on St. Patrick’s Day.

Some 5k finishers