James is comeback king

James is comeback king

1 August 2018

THE Downpatrick RGU 10k road race in aid of Down Special Olympics was held last Wednesday night.

The prizes were presented by Frank Donnelly, chairman of the Special Olympics Club after which he thanked everyone involved for the support given.

Newcastle AC’s runners were not quite as dominant in Wednesday night’s 10k and relay as they were last year, although with three in the top five finishers, including top female in Sinead Murtagh (5th overall) and Kieran Morgan (3rd), I suppose they could give me an argument on that. 

East Down’s James Savage was second for the second year running and it is good to see him back in competitive mode again.

The race was won by Lagan Valley’s Brian Young (37.20),  with Newcastle’s Frank Cunningham in fourth and Downpatrick’s Barry Kelly making up the top six and claiming the first over 45 male trophy in the process. 

East Down also claimed the top over 35 and over 55 trophies in the shape of Dermot Cahill and Liam Keenan who were eighth and 14th respectively.

East Down Ladies

Deirdre Weatherall improved her 2017 performance by taking the runners-up spot in the women’s event with Lisa Corry Saintfield Striders in third.

Ballydrain Harriers took the next two age category prizes with Catherine Miskelly first over 35 and Heather Stanex first over 45 for the second year running.


The relay race was a total whitewash for East Down couples, the East Down pairing of James Savage and Callum Kent taking the overall title with the all female category going to Kirsti and Lucy Foster and the mixed team trophies going to Andrew Telford and Lauren Madine.

Crossgar 10k

On Friday night I went to watch the Crossgar 10, which has been officially measured since last year and was pleasantly surprised to see that almost 200 runners turned out on an ideal evening for running. 

From the outset the rarely seen, but hugely talented Darrel Cooper (unattached), took the race by the scruff of the neck and was well clear long before he exited Drakesbridge Road at 9k to cruise home in 34.04 with Mark Smith (35.00) from Mallusk Harriers in second and Jared Martin (35.45) of Scrabo Striders in third. 

Martin Willcox (36.57) was next man home in fourth place, and he consistently nails down excellent times over this distance.

Pride of place must go this week to Paul 

Lloyd who broke the 40 minute barrier for the first time, clocking in his eyes, a barely believable, 39.53. Well Done Paul, take pride in this achievement.

Slieve Bearnagh

Niall Gibney continued his love affair with the mountains when he took part in the Slieve Bearnagh Race on Saturday.

This was no stroll in the park as it takes in Meelmore, Bearnagh and Meelbeg and while I don’t know how far exactly that is, it just tires me out writing it down.

Niall completed the trip in 59.49 to claim 13th place in a field of 60 so he can certainly claim to be a true mountain runner now.

Well done Niall.

Dublin on Sunday

On Sunday Neil McCartan headed for Santry Stadium for the Irish National Championships and acquitted himself very well.

After qualifying comfortably in fifth  place in 3.59.63 in his 1500 metres heat he ran a brave race  in the final and took  ninth place in a much more eye-catching time of 3.52.62.

Winner was top Irish runner John Travers in 3.47.45.