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03 December 2013


Ideal conditions again!! Surely it can't be December?  Well not quite, but mild, calm and the
occasional glimpse of the sun on the last day of November and it's been like this for a while now
and most of the East Down squad who took part in Saturday's Seeley Cup 10K took full advantage
to record a plethora (that's from the Greek word for a whole lot, which along with oxymoron is the
second new word I have learnt this year) of PBs.

It is indeed inspiring to see runners at all levels achieve new targets and enjoy the realisation that
they're better than they thought they were.  It also contributes mightily to countering the frustrations
felt by those of us who are reduced to the roles of spectators so well done and thank you to all of
you – and in the words of someone used to giving it loads of welly “There's more” - or at least there
had better be!  But read on.

A particular word or two for a couple of notable efforts.  Michael Cultra made another significant step up the ladder by clocking 36.37 to take a top 100 place. Given the quality of the field he can justifiably claim to be among the  elite now, an accolade still worn with honour by Liam Keenan 38.41.  Caolan Atkinson stole the headlines normally taken by his Dad with a superb run in his first ever tilt at the 10K distance, recording 40.50 so you'd better look out Barrie – he's behind you!
Notice the seasonal touch to all this?

But seriously though this was no pantomime.  Apart from Caolan there are several more like Gavin Oakes 40.57, Gerard McAuley 41.16 Dermot Cahill 41.29 Stephen Heasley 41.40 and Catherine O'Connor 41.50 all PBs who are knocking very hard at the door of the sub- 40 club and will achieve it in the not too distant future.  Jimmy's Ten perhaps?

Others who have massive improvements to come are Peter Morgan 42.58, Gareth Kelly 43.29 Kieran McMahon 44.35, a splendid run from the new slimline model,  Matthew Tumelty, Tom McClean and Roger Byrne if he puts is mind to it. Another who thinks she can retire now that she has broken the 50 minute barrier is Betty McCartan 49.17 but what's wrong with sub 48?  A great performance , impeccably paced by Tracey McDowell, and likewise from Cathy Burke 50.29 in the presence of Simon McGrattan.  Colm McNeill too continues to chip away at the seconds and I believe he would benefit significantly from  a pacemaker.  A 2 legged one of course!!
Another happy couple were Carmel and Francis Tumelty who combine to inspire a PB for Carmel in 54.42.

Sunday afternoon provided more ideal conditions for the 4th round of the McGrady Financial Services cross country races Series in Kilbroney Park Rostrevor  and in the event 32 Juniors  from P4 age upwards turned out for an exciting hour's racing.

There were several specially noteworthy performances apart from Caolan Atkinson's re-appearance less than 24 hours after his exertions in the Seeley and he produced a battling performance to take 3rd place in the year11 Boys race.  Chloe Galloway showed impeccable timing to win the Year 9 Girls contest with Sarah Glover indicating all she is lacking is confidence in her own ability. Tony Carson finished strongly a will improve his placing next time. Dionne McEvoy and Olivia Burke showed courage and determination finishing their respective races.

Unfortunately I don't have the detailed results as yet so am unable to be more specific and my memory, even from yesterday is not too reliable. Suffice to say that everyone tried their heart out and are looking forward to the final round in Delamont on Saturday 19 January 2014.

Castlewellan Park is the venue on Saturday afternoon for the Charity Relay Run around the Lake in memory of Stephen Shannon with all proceeds to MYMY and PIPS so everyone not heading to Ballyclare for the Cross Country League fixture is encouraged to go along and take part or support in some way.

Joe Quinn
2 December 2013

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