NewsRoad RacingTrack and FieldTrail Racing/Mixed Terrain

weekly roundup 15/04/24 LVAC Fab 5, Hill & Dale Race 1 – Castlwellan, Athy Triathlon Club Junior Duathlon, Larne 10 Mile, Manchester Marathon, Belfast Zoo 5k

Lagan Valley AC 1 st Fab Five Meeting

The track and field season began in earnest on a rainy evening at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast on Thursday 11th April with , the first of Lagan Valley AC’s Fab Five meetings, supported by a good number of North Down AC athletes.

Robin Anderson finished 5th in the u12 boys’ 600m in 1.58.50.

In the under 14 girls’ 100m Nyla Hughes finished 2nd in race 2 in 14.69. She also took part in the long jump, finishing 7th with a jump of 3.84m and in the under 14 girls’ 800m Caitlyn Dickenson ran 2.51.13 to finish 17th out of a total of 33 runners.

In the under 16 girls, Erin Coard was 5th in race 1 of the 100m in 14.79.

In the under 18 boys and senior men, three club athletes fought it out in race 1 of the 100m, with the all-rounder Cameron McCracken finishing 2nd (3rd overall under 18) in 11.78, Ben Kirk 3rd in 11.92 and Curtis Hughes 4th in 11.93. In the under 18 girls and senior women’s 100m, Niamh Isles was 5th in race 3 in 14.21 whilst in the shot put, another all-rounder, Anna Moran, finished 2nd in the under 18 competition with a throw of 8.56m.

In the under 18 and senior women’s 800m, Becka Laffin was 7 th (5th under 18) in 2.25.99 (after an exuberant first 200m in 31s!) and Anna Moran was 13th (9th under 18) in a 2.41.11 PB. In the senior men’s 800m, Alan McConnell ran his debut 800m
finishing 10th in race 1 in 2.29.17, whilst in race 2, Ethan Isles was 5th in 2.06.69, after taking on much of the front running after a slow start by the pack, Daniel Dines was 7 th in 2.07.44 and Chris Moran was 10th in 2.09.93.

All the North Down athletes put in superb performances in less than ideal track conditions.

[Caitlyn Dickenson]

Hill & Dale Race 1, Castlewellan

The first of Newcastle AC’s annual 10 race Hill and Dale race series took place in Castlewellan Forest Park on Thursday 11th April. As this race was one of North Down AC’s Grand Prix club races designed to test the club’s athletes over a mixed set of road, trail, track and cross country races throughout the season, even more NDAC runners than usual joined 355 runners on the hilly course comprising tarmac, mud, grass and gravel over @8.5k and @350m of total ascent following the trails around the beautiful forest park. Few had time to pause and enjoy any scenery through the rain and mist as they concentrated all their efforts on keeping upright!  The 18 North Down runners collected 7 age group prizes between them, a couple of them being surprised by their “new” age category as the prizes are awarded on the runner’s age on 31st December! 

David McKeague was the first of the North Down athletes to finish in 38:33 in 12th place overall, and 1st M45. Sarah Grant was 2nd F35 in 43:43 finishing narrowly ahead of Gareth Hardy 43:46. Clair Quigley was 1st F45 in 46:18 followed by Kevin Mulligan 48:25, Luke Hamilton  49:29, Matt Ormesher 50:16, Gerard Adair 51:55 and Donald Smith 52:03. June McMinn 53:21 was 1st F65 ahead of Sarah Gibson 54:11 and Claire Scott 55:07 . Paula Simpson 55:40 was 3rd F55 and  Glynnis Boyle 55:44 was 1st F60 followed by Tracy McKittrick 1:00:24, Trevor Patterson 1:03:24 and Ian McCreary 1:09:31. Sophie Hamilton completed her first Hill & Dale race and finished 2nd FJ in the process in 1:11:31.

David McKeague
Sarah Grant
Gareth Hardy
June McMinn
Tracy McKittrick
Kevin Mulligan
Sophie & Luke Hamilton, and Loki
Gareth, Claire, Glynnis, Donald, Sarah, Matt, Paula, Kevin, David, June, Gerard, Clair, Luke


Schools track and field competition

At a track and field competition between Glenlola, Strathearn and Bloomfield on Saturday 13th April, Caitlyn Dickenson was 1st in the year 9 800m in 2.44, whilst Abbie Small was 2nd in 2.46. Both were representing Glenlola.

Larne 10 Mile road race

The annual 10 mile road race also took place in windy conditions on Saturday 13th April with runners following an out and back course along the promenade and coast road between the town and a turn around point beyond Ballygally, giving athletes a chance to test themselves over the classic 10 mile distance or the opportunity to test their race pace on the last local road race before the Belfast Marathon. 

Tom Agnew was the club’s first finisher in 1:09:26 followed by Clair Quigley 1:09:44 and Sarah Gibson1:11:53 fresh from their tough run in Castlewellan. Les Wilkinson 1:12:59 was followed by Steven Boyd 1:13:17 despite cramping in the final 100m! Nicola Ingram ran a superb 1:19:28 followed by Kate Ferguson in 1:21:02. Paula Simpson’s 1:19:56 was a PB and also earned her 1st F55. Wendy Neely also ran an impressive 1:21:17 with Jill Aiken 1:22:01, Claire Scott 1:22:09, Matt Ormesher 1:22:10, Mitchell Brown 1:24:14 and Olivia Cuming 1:25:28.

Matt, Olivia, Nicola, Wendy, Kate, Sarah, Clair, Les, Paula
Wendy Neely
Claire Scott & Matt Ormesher

Athy Triathlon Club Junior Duathlon

Sophie Rankin took part in the 12-13 year old Triathlon Ireland duathlon organised by Athy Triathlon Club in Narraghmore, Co Kildare on Sunday 13th April. Despite only being 11, she finished her 1k run, 10k cycle and further 1k run in an impressive 3rd. Her younger sister Molly took part in the 9-10 year old event consisting of a 1k run, 5k cycle and a final 1k run. Molly finished 8th.


Manchester Marathon

Starting and finishing near Old Trafford and with a course taking in parts of Manchester City Centre, the Manchester Marathon is one of the biggest marathons in the UK with more than 14000 runners completing the race. 4 speedy North Down AC marathon runners took part with Stuart Anderson first to cross the line in a superb debut marathon time of 3:1-:36. Douglas Gordon was next to finish in 3:14:06 with Alan Massey 3:27:34 and Stephanie Graham taking more than 10 minutes off her PB to complete the marathon in 3:28:16.




Stuart Anderson, Stephanie Graham, Alan Massey

Belfast Zoo 5k

There aren’t many tougher 5k races than the Belfast Zoo 5k, following the paths past some of the zoo’s 110 resident species and giving runners views across Cave Hill and Belfast Lough. With more than twice the elevation of the notoriously hilly Crawfordsburn parkrun the 3 North Down Ac runners who took part in the Belfast Zoo 5k, “the Mane Event,” on Sunday 14th April were challenged from start to finish. A mix up with the route during the course saw some runners directed to a slightly longer or slightly shorter course, however Sarah Connolly was awarded joint first place after completing the longer course in 24:51. Although being the second woman to cross the line in 22:45 Sarah Gibson had been directed to the shorter course and Caitlyn Dickenson was back in action for her second race of the weekend, finishing in 26:31.

Sarah Gibson, Caitlyn Dickenson, Sarah Connolly