Queen’s 5k, Belfast 23/03/23
North Down AC were well represented at the Queen’s 5k race in Belfast on Thursday 23rd March. The ever popular 3k junior and senior 5k races always attract a high quality field of runners as the flat course around the Annadale Embankment is a great place to test the results of hard winter training. NDAC had 3 runners in the 3k race; Alex Downey who finished 18th in 10:39, Isla Wiltshire 12:19 and Ellie Dines, 13:03.
Craig McMeechan showed why many elite athletes race cross country throughout the winter by returning to the roads in flying form to finish 3rd overall in 14:30, only 5 seconds behind the winner in a closely fought race. Ben Acheson 16:27, Chris Moran 16:41 and 1st in the M45 age category, Daniel Dines 16:43, Ethan Isles 16:53 and Jonathan Gibson 16:57 all broke 17 minutes while Steven Donegan recorded a PB of 17:06, just ahead of Kevin Harkin 17:07, Dean Varley who also achieved a PB in 17:12, Jack Russell and Nick Irvine both 17:15. Rachel Gibson was the first of the club’s female runners to finish in 17:30. Alasdair Mair 17:45, Katie Moore 18:29, Philip Mulligan 18:39, Alan McConnell 18:59, Alan Massey 19:30, Jodi Smith 19:38, Lucy Cheatley 19:41 all finished under 20 minutes while Luke Dobson recorded a superb, but agonising, chiptime of exactly 20 minutes! The next North Down finishers were Stephanie Graham in 20:07 and Lindsay Doulton 3 seconds behind her, both claiming new PBs. Neil O’Driscoll finished in 20:23 closely followed by Sarah Gibson in 20:37, another PB for the in-form runner! Stephen Wise 20:48 and Andrew Muir 20:59 were the next pair to arrive at the finish line outside the Queen’s PEC ahead of Valerie McDonough 21:17, Ben O’Driscoll 21:44 and Gerard Adair 21:45. The next NDAC finisher, Paula Simpson, rivals Sarah for the most recent PBs, claiming an excellent new PB of 22;15. Lisa McMeechan finished in 24:34 and Hannah Dunne scored a new 5k PB in 25:12 ahead of Luke Hamilton in 25:32 while the patriarch of the O’Driscoll clan, Pat, rounded off O’Driscoll and NDAC finishers in 30:52.