Neil leads way in nine-strong contingent during Comber 10K

Neil leads way in nine-strong contingent during Comber 10K

22 June 2022

THE Meels Hill & Dale race does what it says on the tin — it takes in Meelmore and Meelbeg on an up and down course.

Last Thursday a crowd of 160-odd runners assembled at Meelmore Lodge ready for the whistle. Although it looked like it might rain, thankfully it held off and while it was blustery at times, it stayed dry.

Before the runners set off, many had a quick chat regarding access to the first checkpoint on the summit of Spellach, as there were three possible route choices.

Decision made, they had to stick to it and once past Spellach all the runners stayed together to summit Meelmore and Meelbeg and then make their way back to where they began.

Three East Down AC members were in the field. Niall Gibney toughed it out to finish 28th in 52.27. Paddy Erskine took 1.06.39 to come 104th overall and Paddy McDonald was 140th in 1.15.20.

The series comes to an end next week with a Friday night run and prizegiving to wrap it up for 2022.


Comber 10K

The popular Comber 10K event hosted by Ballydrain Harriers had been off the calendar for the past two years, so it was fantastic to see it take place on a balmy evening last Friday.

Forecasts had threatened high temperatures of 22 degrees and higher, so the fact that it was overcast was welcomed by most.

The course is a two-lap affair with a few long drags which can take their toll. Almost 700 took part and there was a great buzz in the start area. 

East Down AC had a good entry with Neil Curran being the lead man. He went out hard and hung on. While he said that he suffered, it was not evident going by his sprint to the line and his creditable time of 35.08 which placed him 16th overall.

Dee Murray was delighted to get back to sub 40 with 39.37 on the clock. Niamh Kellett was nervous having not raced 10K in a very long time but she decided just to take it as it came and in the end she really enjoyed the run and was happy with her time of 42.08. Seamus Savage has a soft spot for this race as in 2017 it was the first one that he completed as a member of East Down AC. His time then was 52 minutes, but this year he ran 44.54 with ease. 

Eamon Kelly has been including regular longer runs and Thursday speedwork  in his training on a consistent basis and the combination of the two is paying off handsomely. He got a personal best of 45.26 and didn’t even feel that he was pushed to the wire.

Deirdre Weatherall was pacing it steadily and still managed to get a decent result of 46.46. Sharon Madine, straight from work as usual, jaunted round in 47.03.  Alison Carroll commented that one lap would have done her but she ploughed on to finish in 52.11. Roisin Gaffney wasn’t far behind in 53.14 and Janine Murray, running as a pacer for her sister-in-law, Amanda Ross, brought her over the line in 57.48.

It is fair to say that all were pleased with their race. The square soon filled up with happy runners sporting their medals. The lure of a free pint for the first 60 to the bar also added to the post race atmosphere.

Well done to Ballydrain Harriers for putting on a super race with friendly supportive marshals. The hard work that goes into this event was much appreciated by all concerned.


Dunshaughlin 10K

Patrick Smith, with his knack for finding off the beaten track races, surpassed himself with this one.

It was quite a journey from home to Dunshaughlin in Co Meath to take part, but he reported back was that the atmosphere was superb, the run was challenging but doable and both he and sister Suzy would recommend it to others.

There were over 800 in the pack with some top notch elites leading the field as it was part of the Kia Road Series. The top five males broke 30 minutes. Patrick completed in 50.12 and Suzy was happy with 53.47. One for the calendar next year perhaps?


Niall heads for the hill

Despite having done the Hill & Dale race only three days previously, Niall Gibney headed off to take part in the Flagstaff to Carlingford race, which was organised by Armagh AC.

It was his first time doing this race so he was in fairly unfamiliar territory. The race started in the middle of nowhere or that is what it felt like. 

The was a list of mountains; Anglesey, Clermont, Black Mountain, Carnavaddy and finally Slieve Foye all to be climbed. The finish was via a very sharp descent off Foye down into Carlingford.

The Cooley Mountains are renown for rapid weather changes, which is not ideal when navigation is required, but on the whole the runners were treated to almost perfect running conditions with excellent visibility the whole way.

Niall found the 10 miles and about 3,700 feet of climbing a big ask, especially considering the lack of recovery from his midweek efforts.

He felt that his performance wasn’t up to his exacting standards but was happy to place 33rd out of the select field of 67.