NewsRoad RacingTrack and FieldTrail Racing/Mixed Terrain

weekly roundup 19/05/24 Ulster Schools t&f championships, Hill & Dale – Rocky, Smith Shield, Irish 5k Championships, Seskinore 5k, Glenarm half marathon, Florida Manor 12hr endurance race

Ulster Schools Track & Field Championships Day 1 Minors & Juniors, Day 2 Minis, Intermediates & Seniors, MPT

Following their success in earlier rounds of the schools competitions several of North Down AC’s younger runners once again wore their school colours as they lined up against the best athletes in their age groups in Northern Ireland on Wednesday 15th and Saturday 18th May.

Following his PB in the last round of the 1500m, Bangor Grammar School’s Alex Downey ran a perfectly executed race, accelerating strongly off the last bend to increase his lead and win Junior boys 1500m in 4:27.95.

Alex Downey

Ethan Isles doubled-up on Saturday to place 6th in the senior boys 800m (2.01) and 1500m (4:11.5) in some of the most competitive fields for years. Becka Laffin set an 800m PB of 2:21.53 for 6th in the intermediate girls 800m, while Ollie Playfair toughed it out for 4th in the senior boys 2000m steeplechase after an early fall.  Anna Moran was 3rd in the long jump with a PB of 4.95m, qualifying for the Irish Championships and rounded off a fine day coming 5th in the 300m hurdles.

Anna Moran 3rd

Hill & Dale, Race 5 Rocky 18/05/24

Eleven of North Down AC’s finest fell runners headed to Leitrim Lodge for the 5th race of this year’s Hill & Dale series. The course of almost 10k and close to 5oom of vertical ascent took in the rough roads and grassy and rough stony trails up and over Pierce’s Castle, Tormanrock and Rocky before the steep descent to the start/finish area. 5 of North Down’s runners claimed age group podiums keeping them well in contention for the series prizes which will be determined by the 10th and final race. David McKeague was the first of the NDAC finishers in 39:03 and 2nd M45. Gareth Hardy once again ran strongly in 42:38 followed by 2nd F45 Clair Quigley 50:58, Kevin Mulligan 53:06, Gerard Adair 55:11 and Claire Scott 57:53. Trevor Patterson finished in 1:01:51 and June McMinn 1:02:04 was 2nd F65. John Adgey 1:02:45 was again 1st M80 and Glynis Boyle was 2nd F60 in 1:02:59 with Kim McCourt 1:09:05 and Ian McCreary completing the run in 1:09:58. On one of the warmest evenings in the Mournes this year the North Down runners took advantage of some cold water therapy to refresh their burning calf muscles and cool their feet before the drive home.


Freya Lowry, Smith Shield, Castle Park 16/05/24

Freya Lowry & Brian Smith

The Smith Shield is an annual club highlight at this time of year; presented by one of the club’s longest serving members, Brian Smith, the 5k race comprises 3 laps of Castle Park, however the time handicap system ensures that the winner is rarely the athlete with the fastest net time. Runners submitted their recent 5k times to the organising committee who ensured that the handicap between zero and 11 minutes was fairly applied and on the night runners were set off in groups at 30 or 60 second intervals with the first runner trying to hang onto their lead and subsequent groups tried to outrun those they started with and catch the runner in front. James Budde ran the fastest net time of the evening in 17:16 however this year’s winner of the Smith Shield was Freya Lowry. 

Seb Mair, Seskinore Forest 5k 18/05/24

Seb Mair raced the 5k along the trails and roads in the beautiful setting of Seskinore Forest on Saturday 18th May, finishing 2nd in the U18 race.


Glenarm Castle Half Marathon, 18/05/24

The Born to Run challenge trail races in the beautiful grounds of Glenarm castle took place on Saturday 18th May. There were 5k, 10k and half marathon options but the 3 North Down AC members all opted for the half marathon. 

Tom Agnew was the first of the trio to finish in 11th place overall in 1:37:46. Newest club member Sarah Wilson made her first appearance in a North Down vest, finishing in 1:57:19 and Katie Murray ran the half in 2:27:48.

Sarah Wilson

Irish 5k Championships, Phoenix Park 18/05/24

4 North Down runners joined hundreds of others for the Irish 5k Championships in Phoenix park on Saturday 18th May. Sarah Gibson was first to finish in 20:50 with Roberta Dornan 22:01, Paula Simpson 23:26 and Helen Byers continuing her comeback from injury in 24:07.

Tracy McKittrick – Florida Manor 12hr Endurance Challenge, 18/05/24

North Down AC’s Tracy McKittrick covered the longest distance of the week running loops of a little under 5k in the grounds of Florida Manor on one of the warmest days of the year in a 12hr endurance challenge. She finished 4th female covering 15 laps and a total distance of  more than 74km.