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weekly roundup 12/05/24 – track & field, Gijon Half Marathon, Lagan Valley Fab 5, Termoneeny 5k, Run the Runways, Castle to Castle marathon and ultramarathon, Seán Nickell Last One Standing, Roberta Dornan – Donegal Masters, Clonmel Triathlon.

Track & field

On Friday 3rd May Mark Carberry opened his track season with a 51.41s 400m in the Pitreavie AAC Speed Meet. The following day we had three club members racing at the Dublin IMC at Santry. Craig McMeechan opened his track season with a solid 3:56.34 in the Men’s 1500m A race. In the D race, Ethan Isles was only a shade outside his PB in 4:09.33 while in the E race Dean Varley made his 1500m debut in a promising 4:27.85.

James Budde, Gijon Half Marathon, Spain 04/05/24

James Budde ran the Gijon half marathon in north western Spain on Saturday 4th May, finishing 49th out of @1600 runners in 1:16:25.

Lagan Valley AC 2nd Fab Five Meeting

The second Lagan Valley AC Fab Five meeting took place on Thursday 9th May with a good turnout from North Down AC athletes. Harrison Mair was 3rd in the under 10 600m in a time of 2.04.66. Whilst in the under 12 javelin, Adam Downey was 5th with a throw of 11.01m. Seb Mair had a very busy evening in the under 14 competition; he was 2nd in the 1000m in 3.07.58, 3rd in his heat of the 200m in 30.86 and 13th in the long jump with a jump of 2.83m.

Caitlyn Dickenson was 12th in the under 14s 1000m in 3.32.77.

Moving up to the under 16s, Alex Downey continued his fine form by finishing 3rd in the 1500m in 4.29.31.

In the under 18 200m, Ben Kirk was 1st in his heat (and 2nd overall) in 23.51. In the same heat, Chris Belshaw was 5th in 26.41.

In the senior men’s 1500m, Luke McDowell was 2nd with a PB of 4.24.14, Dean Varley was 5th in 4.29.70 and Alan McConnell was 10th with a PB of 4.53.78.

Alan McConnell, Luke McDowell, Dean Varley

Termoneeny 5k, Magherafelt 10/05/24

Alastair Mair was the first of the family to finish the Termoneeny 5k in Magherafelt on Friday night, finishing 5th in 18:00, however family honours and the prize for 1st junior went to Seb Mair, showing no fatigue from the Fab 5 last night. Seb finished 7th overall in 20:14.

Seb Mair

Run the Runways 5k & 10k, Newtownards 10/05/24.

A good number of North Down AC members were cleared for take off at the annual Scrabo Striders Run the Runways races at Newtownards Airfield on Friday 10th May; in the childrens’ 2k race Caitlyn Dickenson as the first club member to finish in 5th place overall in 7:29. Charlotte Lily Walker was 8th in 6:11 and 8 year old Finn McCullough narrowly missed a top 10 spot against older children in 8:26. Rory McCullough 8:56, Alex Brennan 9:08 and Isla McQuillan 10:50 all had excellent runs too.

Carter Rolston was the first club member to complete the 5k race in 7th place and 3rd MJ in 17:41. Sarah Grant 18:28 and 2nd f was the next club runner to finish. Aaron McAuley 18:36 finished ahead of Sophie Rankin and Coco Smith who had identical chip times of 19:41 but as Sophie crossed the line first she was 1st FJ with Coco 2nd in the same age category. They were followed by Sarah Connolly 20:28, Marion Beattie 23:01, Paula Simpson 23:02, Caroline Gilmore 25:40, Christina Steele 27:36 and  Glenn Frazer 27:50, Jill Eager 28:25, Clare Russell 29:21, Gemma Caughers 29:52, Marie Devine 31:29 and Courtney Thompson 33:20

7 club runners raced in the 10k. Richard McCullough 38;56, Chris Couchman 40:08, Lisa Tomalin 3rd F 42:14, Glynis Boyle 45:02, David Balmer 45:55 and George Emerson 1:05:17.

Aaron McAuley


Lisa Tomalin


David Balmer, Chris Couchman


George Emerson


Glynis Boyle

Slieve Donard Race 11/05/24

3 of North Down’s regular Hill & Dale runners raced to the top of Northern Ireland ‘s highest peak and back down to Donard Park via the quarry on the warmest day of the year so far on Saturday 11th May. The race was won by Newcastle AC’s Zak Hanna in an incredible 51:29! David McKeague was 2nd M45 in 1:07:33 and he also claimed the honour of reaching the summit of Slieve Donald in fewer minutes than his age! Clair Quigley finished in 1:22:20 and veteran mountain man John Adgey won the M80 category in 1:52:59. 

David McKeague, John Adgey, Clair Quigley

Castle to Castle ultramarathon and marathon, Carrickfergus 11/05/24

Fresh from her sub-4 hour marathon in Belfast last Sunday, Jill Connolly ran We Run Wild NI’s ultramarathon, a double marathon from Carrickfergus Castle to Belfast Castle and back again following rural roads, muddy farmers’ lanes and trails over Knockagh, Carnmoney and Cave Hill, comprising more than twice as much ascent as her club mates at the Slieve Donard race! Jill finished 8th in 11:56:51.

Donald Smith settled for marathon distance running 1 way from Belfast Castle to Carrickfergus Castle. He finished 5th in 4:47:29.

Donald Smith, Jill Connolly and fellow ultrarunners Adrian Boyd and Laura Grimes


Donald Smith

Seán Nickell, Barry & John’s Dublin Mountain Backyard Ultra, Wicklow 11/05/24

Seán Nickell lined up at noon on Saturday for another Last One Standing race. Following the concept of these races around the world the participants begin a lap of almost 4.2 miles on the hour every hour, withdrawing or being timed out until only 1 runner remains standing to complete a solo final lap and be crowned the Last One Standing. Eating, drinking, toilet break, brief naps and kit changes must be completed within the hour as the runner is disqualified if they don’t begin their next lap on the hour.  This particular event in the Wicklow Mountains has a higher elevation gain than most courses adding to the challenge. 

Seán used the race as a training run for an upcoming ultramarathon and comfortably passed 100k in 16 hours before withdrawing.

Seán Nickell

Roberta Dornan, Donegal Masters

Roberta Dornan competed in the masters on Sunday 12th May at Lifford Strabane AC,  Co Donegal. The beautiful sunshine and warmth after a recent cold weather training block and her first time using starting blocks on the track made the day even more challenging. However Roberta rose to the challenges and was first F45 400M in a time of 76:67. She also raced the 200m finishing second F45 200m in a time of 30:50.

Roberta Dornan

Clonmel Triathlon, Co Tipperary 12/05/24

The triathlon wing of North Down AC was in action this weekend at Clonmel.
Simon Boyle  finished the sprint triathlon consisting of a 750m swim,  20km cycle and a 5km run in 1.10.19, 2nd M55, while Caroline Coghlin  went one better and won her age group. 
Sophie Rankin also took part in the event in Clonmel yesterday. Her age group – 12-13 year olds raced in an aquathlon 
consisting of a 400m swim and 2k run. Sophie was the 1st female to finish in her age group and 2nd overall in this category.