East Down juniors claim Firmus 5 Series honours

East Down juniors claim Firmus 5 Series honours

5 September 2018

AT the last meet of the Firmus Fab Five Series hosted by Lagan Valley AC at Mary Peter’s Track on Thursday past there were some impressive performances from our junior squad.

Kieran Trainor (U-11 boys) ran1200m in 4’37” on his first time competing on the track. A super effort. The only other male junior, Oliver Robinson,  did a double. The U-13 boys 100m in 15.15” and a strong run in the 1500m saw him finish in 5’40”.  

A promising start to his career as a Year 8 athlete. The sole senior of the night was Davy Foster in 1,500m running a fast 4’50”. Maybe Davy will stick to these faster shorter distances to try and keep up with his daughters.

Girls galore

Two of the aforementioned Foster girls competed in the U-11 girls’ 1200m. In a competitive race Jodi hit the finish line in 4’17” then not far behind was the always-smiling Kari in an impressive time of 4’43”. They both also tried the long jump. 

In the U-13 girls’ 100m EDAC had three runners. Heat one saw Kara Trainor finish well in second place in 15.01. In heat three we saw Lauren Madine win in  a new PB time of 14.16 and Anna Gardiner come home in 15.67 with Lauren taking the overall win and gold medal for the distance. 

Kara’s time placed her sixth overall. It was pleasing to see them follow the lead of the younger girls by trying a field event as well, in this case the discus. Commendable enthusiasm!

Fab five females

The U-13 girls’ 1500m saw a large field of 14 athletes, five of which were EDAC runners and which also included the top class City of Lisburn athlete Katie McCleery, who is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for her age category over this distance. 

McCleery made her intentions clear from the start as she immediately hit the front. Lauren decided to track her run and see how she went and was closely followed by Anna Gardiner, Lucy Foster, Kara Trainor and Emily Burns. 

All five EDAC athletes looked superb over the three and three-quarter laps. On the last bend McCleery tried to hold on, but Lauren moved up another gear waiting and cruised past to take first place with 100m to run and crossed the line in a superb time of 4’57” which is a PB by 18 seconds and puts Lauren 8th in the UK for her age for 2018. That was an outstanding performance.

Anna Gardiner was the next EDAC athlete to finish in 5’05 which is also a significant PB.   

The PBs were coming thick and fast as Lucy Foster came home in 5’17” which was 12 seconds better than her previous best. The ever-improving duo of Kara Trainor and Emily Burns battled it out to the end and almost needed a photo finish to separate them — their times were  5.41.34 and 5.41.90. This race was really exciting to watch with brilliant efforts from all the girls. By filling first, third, fourth, seventh and eighth places, in the field of 14, there is surely cause for celebration at the depth of talent within the EDAC ranks.

Icing on the cake

Last girl to race was U-15 rising star Kirsti Foster in the 1500m. The girls were mixed with a strong U-15 boys’ field and Kirsti did not take the race lightly, despite carrying a slight niggle from hockey. 

She dominated the girls’ field and beat some of the boys too in her race to finish a strong 5’12 to provide a fitting finale to the night and to the track season.

Laganside 10k

Paula Radcliffe was obviously the star of the show, but EDAC had a few sparkling performances themselves. 

Paul Lloyd led the troops home and despite narrowly missing out on the elusive sub 40, he felt that he had given his all in the fast-paced race. His time of 40.08 is tantalisingly close and his consistency has to be commended. 

Phillip Vint, another man who rarely misses a weekend race, came next in 41.10 with Liam Keenan not far behind in 41.36. Gavin Hynds in 41.45 had plenty to celebrate as this was a PB and proves that marathon training doesn’t always slow you down and must be great morale booster for him. 

Deirdre v Paula?

Deirdre Weatherall finished in 42.08 and was slightly disappointed with that. However, she was cheered up by the fact that Paula Radcliffe had decided to run in the pack and was seen in chat with various folk en route. 

This gave Deirdre the chance to have a sprint finish to the line with the women’s marathon world record holder.

Paula also has European and World Championship medals too numerous to mention as well the accolade of four times Olympian. Many would defer to such greatness, but Deirdre is well known for her fresh-faced enthusiasm and took no time to decide that having a result sheet with her name one place ahead of Paula’s was an opportunity unlikely to be repeated.

After reading on Wikipedia that Deirdre is described as the foremost tragic heroine in Irish legend and probably its best-known figure in modern times, she could probably argue that Paula should have been in awe of her rather than the other way round.

This is the spirit that is key to Deirdre’s rise in the ranks and long may it continue.

Liam Smyth — veteran in terms of longevity in these events clocked up a respectable 44.42. Behind him another historic event was unfolding.

Gavin McConvey came in to the finish line in 53.51 declaring that the last time he saw a sub 54 minute 10K was in 2004. Not bad going Gavin, keep it up. 

Roisin Gaffney, another reliable EDAC runner, finished in 54.09 and for once found, despite her love of the sun, that the heat was oppressive and was glad to be done.

Donal at the double

Donal Smith headed to Kildare on Saturday to take part in an a 5k run in aid of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund - but having discovered that there was a 10K race nearby he decided in true horse lovers’ form to hedge his bets and do both. He did say afterwards that it was a lot for one day and he may need a few rest days, but knowing Donal, that won’t last for long.

No one from the club made their way to Derry on Sunday morning for the Waterside Half Marathon which this year was also the NI and Ulster Half Marathon Championships.

What’s ahead?

This will probably come too late for regular readers of the weekly papers, but Tuesday is the night for the annual trek to Castlewellan for the lung busting, for some, Mill Hill Mile Challenge. 

This is a race that is, or should be, on everybody’s bucket list so if you’re going don t’ forget you must register online beforehand. A donation to the charity on the night is all that is required.

Killyleagh event 

Back on the fixture list again, courtesy of the Daye brothers Atlas Running is the KIllyleagh Half Marathon with the option of a 10k for those who are less ambitious.

Registration is in Killyleagh YC Football Club on the Comber Road on Friday evening from 5.30 onwards with the races scheduled to start at 7pm.

The event is to raise money for Action Cancer. I don’t know what the route will be, but it will definitely be scenic taking in country roads with views of Strangford Lough and Killyleagh Castle.

Entre fee as follows: 10k, affiliated £14,unaffiliated £16, medal for all finishers; half marathon, affiliated £23, unaffiliated £25, medal and buff for all finishers. Trophies for first and second male and female in both races.

Refreshments afterwards for all. For further information contact www.atlasrunning.co.uk or for online entries contact  www.sientries.co.uk

Run in the park

If you’re not running in Killyleagh on Friday or even if you are, report to Ward Park, Bangor, at 12noon on Saturday for the beginning of the 24 hour run in the park, to either take part in, (for a while anyway) or to help with the marshalling etc. or just to support the runners.

The event is a fundraiser for the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland Service and especially if you cannot get along to support perhaps you would consider making a donation at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/runinthepark2018