NewsRoad Racing

Seeley Cup, 2/12/23

The Seeley Cup, now in its 41st year commemorates an outstanding local athlete, Hollywood man Joe Seeley of Willowfield Harriers who died at a young age. Some of North Down AC’s senior members have fond memories of training and racing against Joe. Appropriately the annual 10k race along the Ormeau Embankment and through Ormeau Park attracts a top class field every year and is a guaranteed sell out. 

More than 50 NDAC athletes were among the assembled crowds for the mass start on the embankment on Saturday 2nd December, with most requiring an extended warm up on a cold winter afternoon, ditching hoodies and additional layers at the last minute. Undeterred by chilly temperatures many went on to record personal best times with the women’s team finishing in 4th place and the mens’ team recording a best ever position of second place! 

The overall winner was another Hollywood man, and Irish marathon Olympian Paul Pollock racing for Kent AC who won in 29:59. The remaining podium spots went to Neil Johnston of Annandale Striders in 30:19 and Kieran Kelly of Dublin based Raheny Shamrock AC in 30:20 before North Down AC’s Craig McMeechan stormed home to a 4th placed finish in a PB of 30:26. The remaining NDAC men in the scoring 6 were Finn Johnson 22nd 32:27, Ashley Dixon 25th 32:41, James Graham 27th 32:44, Daniel Dines 54th 33:37 and Jamie McMeechan 56th 33:42. Ross Murray 33:48, Ricky Jordan 34:33, Sean McLaughlin 34:41, Francis Marsh 34:50 and Jonathan Gibson 34:53 all placed in the top 100 among an extremely competitive field. Josh McDowell 34:55, Dean Varley 35:28, Aaron McAuley 35:45, Steven Donegan 35:49, Declan Magee 36:05, Nick Irvine 36:22, Alasdair Mair 36:46 all had fine runs while Alan McConnell’s 36:36 was a 30 second PB on his Bangor 10k time and more than 4 minutes faster than last year’s Seeley Cup.  Maol Larkin 36:47 and Andy Lowry 36:51 were followed by Rachel Gibson leading the NDAC womens’ team in 37:01. The next group of NDAC runners included David Massey 37:14, Colin Walker 37:20. Jason McMinn 37:34, Brian Barron 37:56 and Philip Mulligan 38:25. Fiona McQuillan ran 38:57 ahead of Michael Hennessy 39:23 and Darren Edgar 39:21. Luke Dobson recovered from a sub 20 minute first place at Crawfordsburn park run last week to go below 40 minutes at 10k for the first time in 39:23. Tom Agnew 39:41 and Stuart Anderson 40:08 were closely followed by the third placed NDAC woman, Clair Quigley who took 5 seconds off a 5 year old PB to finish in 40:19. Lisa Tomalin made up the scoring quartet of NDAC women in 41:09. Brian Geddes 42:34 was followed by Luke Hamilton who smashed his PB in 43:04. Helen Byers paced him throughout and was also rewarded with a PB of 43:08 just behind Keith Gilmore’s chip time of 43:05. Leslie Wilkinson was the next NDAC finisher in 43:12 ahead of Christopher Williams 42:33, Steven Boyd 43:51, Lindsay Doulton 45:39, Claire Scott 46:29 and Emma Fox 47:00. Wendy Neely’s 47:06 was a PB by more than 2 minutes while Michael Cunningham took nearly 2 minutes off his Bangor 10k time to finish in a PB of 48:02. Jill Aiken 48:19 was closely followed by Heather Beattie in a PB of 48:23, Emma Murray 48:35, Olivia Cumming 49:24, Karen Keery 50:00 and Lisa McMeechan 50:36 while Pat O’Driscoll rounded off a series of excellent NDAC performances in 1:03:58.