‘Cracker’ Performances from East Coast AC over Festive Period!

The Christmas period is renowned for over indulgence and festivities; however, for East Coast AC members, after Santa has been, the turkey barely has enough time to cool before Boxing Day arrives and signals a busy period in the sporting world.  The most popular event over the festive period was the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker, where 29 members joined almost 900 other athletes for the unique but challenging event.  On Boxing Day, the club held it’s annual Killylane Klassic trail race which included a junior 1200m event.  Parkrun was also well supported with members attending events in Belfast and Larne.


Castlewellan Christmas Cracker

On Monday 28th December 2015, 29 East Coast AC members along with a superb support team descended on the County Down village of Castlewellan for the 32nd annual running of the well-organised Castlewellan Christmas Cracker, hosted by Newcastle AC.  The festive favourite requires athletes to pair up with another runner to complete the course; some opt to run ahead of their team mate, but wait at the 'meeting point' close to the finish, while others run together the whole way.

The course, which measured approximately 8.3 miles in distance, started in the town centre before taking the competitors into the scenic Castlewellan Country Park, where they would negotiate several tough ascents and some excellent trails before passing the stunning Castlewellan Castle en-route to the atmospheric finish line.


Brothers Justin Mawell and Ryan Maxwell were the first familiar faces to reach the finish, covering the course in 1:10:57 to take 91st place overall and 70th in the male category.  Next to finish was the pairing of Iain Bailie and Alex Robertson, both running well to finish in 1:16:09 (148th place overall and 108th in the male category).  


Peter McManus, Murray Deller, Gary Hawe and James Robinson finished close together, however it was the Peter and Murray who led the way in 1:24:05 (234th place and 159th male team), followed by Gary and James in 1:24:28 (241st place and 163rd male team).

Karl Joyce and David Finlay both ran well, completing the distance in a time of 1:26:54 (258th place and 170th male team).  Catherine Maxwell and Nikki McNeill were the first of the club’s ladies to finish, crossing the line in 1:28:50 in 270th place overall and 27th placed ladies team.  Stephen Smyth and Adrian Smith were the 319th team to finish, clocking 1:34:54 to take 185th placed male team.  Willam Gallagher and Lesley Robinson were the first of the club’s mixed teams to complete the course, the duo finished in 1:35:23 to take 321st place overall and 86th placed mixed team.


Dressed as festive elves, Sandy Plumb and Paul Clements were next to reach the finish line, recording 1:37:17 (337th place overall and 190th male team) for the difficult course.  The next familiar faces were Angela Campbell and Lisa Graham, finishing in 1:37:43 to take 341st place overall and 58th female team.  Sharon McAuley and John Steele crossed the finish line in 1:40:11 (364th place overall and 100th mixed team), followed by husband and wife pairing of Brian and Ruth Maltman in 1:43:22 (382nd place overall and 106th mixed team).

Friends and training partners Kelly Deller and Sharon Kirkpatrick teamed up for the event, both ladies ran well over the course, completing it in 1:45:29 (390th place overall and 86th ladies team).  Conor Sheridan crossed the line in 1:47:44 to take 111th placed mixed team and 393rd place overall.  Rosie Kerr and Tracey Shannon covered the 8.3miles in a time of 2:04:22, securing 424th place overall and 110th placed ladies team.


Killylane Klassic

On Boxing Day (26th December 2015), the club held it’s 4th race in the Championship Challenge Series; the Killylane Klassic – a 5 mile trail race around Ballyboley Forest, starting and finishing and Killylane Reservoir.


With a mass start, handicap times were added on to the competitors finish times at the end of the race to determine who would be crowned the winner of the championship race.  The first to finish on the day was the in-form Murray Deller, crossing the line in 29:30 (1st place), followed by Drew Girvin (37:11 – 2nd place) and Alex Robertson (37:46 – 3rd place).  Brian Maltman secured 4th place in 38:44, before Iain Bailie crossed the line in 39:23 to take 5th place.  

Alan Glover and Karl Joyce both ran well, clocking 39:55 (6th place) and 40:36 (7th place) respectively, before William Gallagher cruised towards the finish line in a time of 41:45 (8th place).  James Robinson was next to finish in 42:58 (9th place), followed by Sandy Plumb in 44:04 (10th place).  Sarah Girvin was the first lady to finish in a time of 52:00, with Gary McNeill crossing the line just one second later in 52:01 (12th place).  Kelly Deller took 2nd place in the ladies category with a time of 53:59, before Daniel Girvin arrived after having taken (at least!) one wrong turn during the race and finishing in 1:03:03 (13th place).  Rosie Kerr and Patricia Campbell were almost side by side throughout the race, however in the latter stages Rosie opened the gap to take the final podium spot for the ladies in 1:04:14 (3rd place), with Patricia following in 1:04:42 (4th place lady).


After the handicap times were added on to the actual 5 mile finish times, Sarah Girvin was crowned the winner with a total time of 1:02:00, followed by Alan Glover in 2nd place and Drew Girvin in 3rd place.

Once the senior races had finished, it was time for the juniors to take to the start line of their 1200m out and back trail race.  The race for first place was hotly contested between the Patterson siblings, with both Kelly and Charlie recording the exact same finish time of 4:06, however it was Kelly who edged forward at the finish line to take 1st place and Charlie awarded 2nd place.  Harry Plumb was next in 4:30 (2nd boy) with Hannah Clements finishing in 4:31 (2nd girl).  Curtis Robertson (5:23) and Maggie Deller (6:33) took the final podium spots in their respective categories.  Rebecca Robertson (6:44 – 4th girl), Rachel Urwin (7:08 – 5th girl) and Alfie Urwin (9:24 – 4th boy) all ran well.


Parkrun

On Christmas Day, Paul Clements and Hannah Clements were in action at the Waterworks parkrun in Belfast.  Running together, the duo recorded 24:16 for the 5k course, with Hannah securing 9th placed lady and Paul taking 92nd place overall.


On Boxing Day (26th December 2015), a number of athletes took to the start line of the popular Larne parkrun, where this week, running superstar Paula Radcliff made an appearance and encouraged our members in along the finishing straight.  Hannah Clements showed no signs of fatigue from the previous days parkrun in Belfast after she recorded a new parkrun personal best; finishing as 2nd placed lady in 23:12.  Kenny Holmes finished next in 23:40 (19th place), followed by Stephen Smyth in 24:59 (24th place).  Lionel Date (26:05 – 30th place) and Paul Clements (26:46 – 31st place) both ran well in what was their 19th and 79th parkrun outings respectively.


On Sunday 27th December 2015, yet again a large crowd of East Coast AC juniors descended on Larne’s Town Park for the weekly Larne Junior parkrun.  Charlie Patterson and Kelly Patterson both took the top spots again, with Charlie clocking 7:52 (1st place overall) and Kelly 8:41 (1st place girl).  Hannah Clements claimed 2nd placed girl when she recorded 8:49, followed by Kate Ewings in 9:53 (4th place girl).  Charlotte Dean performed well, finishing in 10:07 (5th place girl), followed by her sister Matilda Dean in 12:38 (10th place girl).  Young Rachel Urwin secured 15th place in the girls category when she crossed the line in 14:58.

Local parkrun events take centre stage as Christmas approaches!

During a week when festive preparations took centre stage for many, athletes from East Coast AC were not deterred from lacing up their racing shoes to take on local events, namely the Larne parkrun and the Larne Junior parkrun.


On Saturday, the ever improving Brian Maltman led the black and yellow vests home at the Larne parkrun, taking 5th place in 21:58.  Iain Bailie followed closely in 22:12 (6th place), before young Hannah Clements completed the 5k course in 25:03, taking 1st place in the ladies event.  Another junior star, Harry Plumb reached the Drainsbay finish line in 25:43 (18th place), with club mates Paul Clements and Stephen Smith both recording 25:59 to take 21st place and 22nd place respectively.  Stephen Kerr followed on from his competitive debut for the club last week with another personal best of 27:07 (25th place), while Morna Wright showed that she is working her way back to full fitness with a 33:18 finish for 13th place in the ladies competition.  Young Christopher Campbell completed an excellent day for East Coast AC when he crossed the line in 34:51 (41st place).


Sunday saw the 3rd running of the newly established Larne junior parkrun, which is held within the confines of the Town Park in Larne.  Young Charlie Patterson clocked an age category record at his first attempt at the event, completing the 2k course in 7:51 for 2nd place.  Kelly Patterson followed in 8:32, which was enough to take 1st place in the girl’s category; Bradie Hogg crossed the line just one second later in 8:33 (2nd place girl).  Hannah Clements impressed with an 8:51 (4th place girl) finish, which saw her cross the line just ahead of Daniel Gillan and Kian McAllister, who ran 9:23 (8th place) and 9:33 (10th place) respectively.


Zoe Whitford and Lola Hogg claimed top ten finishes in the girls category, with Zoe recording 9:53 (8th place girl) and Lola following in 10:48 (10th place girl).  Charlotte Smyth also ran well, covering the three laps in 11:01 (11th place girl), which was enough to see her finish just over a minute ahead of her younger brother Oliver Smyth, who ran 12:16 (19th place).  Eva Conway finished in 13:09 (14th place girl) and was followed across the line by Rachel Urwin, who again showed great potential for the future.


Chris Davis and Bradie Hogg lead the way at local parkrun events!

As the traditionally busy festive period approaches, junior and senior athletes from East Coast AC have been in action over the weekend.  The club also held its annual Christmas Party, which as always, proved to be an excellent evening.


Larne parkrun was the main focus of the club’s outings the week, with no less than sixteen athletes in action across the senior and junior parkrun events.  On Saturday, ten club members toed the line for the 104th running of the Larne parkrun in Carnfunnock Country Park.  In cold and wet conditions, nearly forty hardy competitors completed the challenging (but rewarding) 5k route, starting and finishing at Dixon Hall, Drainsbay.


Club captain Chris Davis was in good form as he led the field back into the Drainsbay finish line in 20:54 (1st place).  Ryan Maxwell (21:03) and Brian Maltman (21:27) worked their way through the field well to take 2nd place and 4th place respectively, with James Robinson following closely in 21:57 (5th place).  Iain Bailie covered the course in 22:46 (7th place), while the fast improving Donal Ward clocked 24:53 for 15th place.  Parkrun regular Paul Clements crossed the line in 24:57 (16th place), before Steven Kerr, competing in his first ever event, impressed with a 27:26 (23rd place) finish.  Young Curtis Robinson braved the tough conditions to edge his father, Alex Robertson, to 25th place in 29:01; Alex followed in 29:03 (27th place).


On Sunday, East Coast Cheetahs star Bradie Hogg, who recently represented County Antrim (alongside Hannah Clements) at the All Ireland XC, produced arguably the performance of the weekend when she sealed 1st place overall at the Larne junior parkrun, having completed the 2k course in 8:05.  Kian McAllister followed just over a minute later in 9:06 (5th place), while Lola Hogg (5th place girl - 10:32) and Mark Date (15th place – 10:49) also impressed.  Oliver Smyth ran well to finish in 11:23 (16th place), before young Rachel Urwin negotiated the enjoyable Town Park based course in 14:11 (10th place girl).


In other news:  The East Coast Cheetahs held their annual Christmas Party as part of their well-attended and enjoyable Thursday night training.  The club are also planning a Christmas outing to the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker on Monday 28th December 2015 – Anyone interested in a place on the bus should speak to Connor Sheridan as soon as possible.

Dean, Patterson and Plumb claim podium spots at Malcolm Cup XC!

This week, once again it was the club’s junior athletes who stole the show, with Charlotte Dean, Kelly Patterson and Harry Plumb all taking podium spots at the popular Malcolm Cup XC.  There were also impressive performances at the Action on Hearing Loss 5 Mile, Loughgall 10k and parkrun events.  The club also held a charity spinathon in aid of Larne Adult Centre which was a great success.


Malcolm Cup XC

On Saturday 5th December 2015, a number of East Coast AC members braved wet and windy conditions as they joined hundreds of other athletes and spectators at  Sixmilewater Park in Ballyclare for the Malcolm Cup XC, an event hosted by Annadale Striders - it was also the latest fixture in the Athletics NI Cross Country League.

The extensive event programme kicked off with a junior race before the Ladies and Vet 35+ Men took to the start line for their 3 mile event.  In the junior Under 11’s race, three East Coast AC Juniors (‘Cheetahs’) took to the start line of what was a muddy and blustery 0.5mile course.  Harry Plumb and Charlie Patterson both had strong runs and were amongst the front runners from early on.  Harry claimed a well-deserved podium place (3rd place) when he finished in a time of 3:36.  Charlie followed just two seconds later after taking a tumble before the finish line, finishing in 3:38 to take 6th place.  In the girls category, young Charlotte Dean looked quite the professional as she made the tough XC conditions look effortless, Charlotte claimed 1st place in a time of 4:34.


In an exciting Under 13 girls 1 mile event, Kelly Patterson worked her way through the field well, Kelly had an excellent run, taking 2nd place in 6:36; a mile time many would be proud of on the track, never mind on the gruelling XC conditions!


It was then the turn of the Senior and Under 20 men to take to the start line for their 4 mile race, which included East Coast AC’s Callum Sittlington.  By now, the wind had whipped up further and the underfoot conditions had deteriorated.  However, the field got off to a flying start.  Callum ran well in the lapped course, taking 11th place in the U20 category with a time of 35:52.

Born 2 Run ‘Run Forest Run’ Loughgall 10k

On Saturday 5th December 2015, just shy of four hundred runners took on Born 2 Run’s Loughgall 10k race in County Armagh.  The event was the third race of the event management company’s Run Forest Run Series.  The course, which measured just short of 6.2 miles, saw competitors complete a short section on the road through the picturesque village of Loughgall, before returning to Loughgall Estate through the impressive main gates.  The route then followed the forest paths around the estate, passing Loughgall Golf Course.


Recent Dublin Marathon finisher Conor Sheridan completed the course in 57:16, securing 352nd place overall.


Action on Hearing Loss 5 Mile Run

On Sunday 6th December 2015, highly respected charity Action on Hearing Loss NI welcomed athletes and fitness enthusiasts to their annual 5 mile road race and associated 1 mile run, which started and finished at Hazelbank Park in Newtownabbey.


The fast and flat ‘out and back’ route will attracted East Coast AC’s Brian Maltman, Karl Joyce and David Finlay.  Brian was the first familiar face to reach the well-supported finish line, claiming a top twenty place in 36:15 (19th place).  Karl was next, finishing in 38:35 to take 28th place overall, followed by David in 47:42 (93rd place).

Parkrun

As always, Larne parkrun was the choice for many of our members on Saturday (5th December) morning.  Justin Maxwell led the way for athletes around the two lapped Carnfunnock based course, finishing in a new personal best over the event in 17:57, taking 1st place.  Iain Balie used the event as a warm up for his 1 hour spinathon session later in the day, running well to claim 5th place in 22:30, matching his previous best attempt on the course.  Parkrun regular, Paul Clements ran well, covering the 5k in 24:50 (13th place), before Lionel Date crossed the line in 26:29 as the 20th place finisher.  The mother and daughter duo of Jacque and Eva Craig secured 5th and 7th place in the ladies category with Jacque clocking 31:06 and Eva 33:14.  Eva’s running partner Sarah Girvin claimed 8th place in the ladies category with a 33:15 finish time.


This week’s Larne junior parkrun, now held for the second time was well supported by many of the East Coast AC juniors.  Bradie Hogg was 1st girl and 2nd overall, followed by her team mate Hannah Clements was 2nd girl but also 3rd overall when she completed the 2k course in 8:27.  Kian McAllister secured 7th place in a new personal best (time not confirmed), followed by Daniel Gillan (9:28) in 9th place and Emily Lavery (9:31) as 3rd placed girl.  Charlotte Smyth and Mark Date both achieved personal bests when they ran 9:44 (6th place girl) and 10:03 (16th place) respectively.


There were more personal bests smashed when Oliver Smyth crossed the line in 10:57 (20th place), followed by Abbie (11:15 – 8th place girl) and Evie (11:39 – 9th place girl) Lavery who both ran well.  Eimear Ward reached the finish line as 11th placed girl in a time of 13:08 which was a new personal best for the young athlete.

Charity Spinathon

On Saturday (5th December), the club organised a charity spinathon, held in D’s chip shop, raising funds for the charity of the year, Larne Adult Centre.  The event was a great success, with three spin bikes on the go from 12 noon to 8pm.  Total funds raised will be announced in the coming days, but until then, the club would like to thank everyone who supported this event.


A special thank you must go to D's for the use of their premises and to all their customers and staff. Thank you also to club member/coach Jenny Magill for the loan of her spin bikes and everyone who donated vouchers and added to the hamper, and raffle in general; not forgetting each and every person who came along to spin, help out, sponsor or donate money.


We have raised a significant amount of money. As all sponsorship money is not yet collected we will let you all know as soon as possible. Again, thank you again and if you still want to donate please get in touch - it's never too late!


East Coast AC Impress at Seeley Cup!

On Saturday 28th November 2015 East Coast Athletic Club members again showed a strong presence at the popular Larne Parkrun. 


In the picturesque setting of Carnfunnock Country Park, members took on the challenging, but scenic route. The always impressive Brian Maltman was the first of the East Coast athletes home, finishing the time trial in 4th place (21:01). Iain Bailie was next home for the club, as 5th male. Iain's time of 22:30 was a new event PB. 


East Coast AC Cheetah and recent County Antrim Cross Country representative Hannah Clements lead the ladies home, taking 2nd place in the female category with a time of 23:51. Hannah was first Junior Women Under 10 to complete the testing course.  Parkrun regulars Paul Clements and Sandy Plumb were next to cross the Drains Bay finish line, taking 11th (25:06) and 13th (25:35) place respectively.  


Young Curtis Robertson completed the Carnfunnock course for the first time, pursued by his dad Alex, following their club mates along the coast and into the finish area in 20th (29:27) and 21st (29:28) place respectively.  Curtis was 1st place in the Junior Male Under 10 listings.  Jacque Craig was the next female to reach Dixon Hall, taking 6th position in the ladies event (31:21). Jacque was soon joined by Sarah Girvin, who completed the 5 kilometre route in 32:47.


Later in the afternoon, in Belfast, a sell-out crowd of one thousand runners, including four from East Coast Athletic Club descended on Ormeau Park, for the annual Seeley Cup 10k road race.  The popular race is seen by many as the road racing ‘season closer’ and despite losing its NI & Ulster Championship status, the event has never lost its prestige.


In wet and windy conditions, Justin Maxwell, Murray Dellar, Chris Davis and John Steele set off on the lapped course, which starts on Ormeau Embankment and finishes in Ormeau Park, taking in a relatively fast route around the aforementioned Embankment and Ormeau Park.  


It was Justin who led the Coastal Club home, taking 53rd position in 35:41.  Murray was next home, crowning off a fantastic season with a time of 38:49 (160th), with Chris only minutes behind in 41:36 (305th).  John, in his first full season in the sport, competed well, finishing well into the top half of the field with a time of 45:53 (480th).

Hogg & Clements Impress at All Ireland XC Championships!

Born 2 Run ‘Run Forest Run’ Gosford 10k

On Saturday 21st November 2015, just shy of five hundred runners descended on Gosford Forest Park just outside Armagh for the annual Born 2 Run Gosford 10k, which was the second race of the event management company’s Run Forest Run Series.


The tough but scenic course proved popular with competitors and despite it being such a challenging route, East Coast AC’s Conor Sheridan had a strong run.  Birthday boy Conor completed the 10k course in a time of 47:43 to take 108th place overall.

AAI National ‘All Ireland’ Age Group XC Championships

On Sunday 23rd November 2015, two of the club’s junior members – Bradie Hogg and Hannah Clements – represented County Antrim at the AAI ‘All Ireland’ Age Group XC Championships in Santry, Dublin.


It was a day of fierce competition, with the start-lists littered with talent which of course included the two East Coast AC girls who put in impressive performances.  The girls were racing in the Under 12 race where almost 150 young athletes toed the line.  Junior club captain Bradie Hogg finished in 97th place overall and 3rd for the County Antrim Team.  Hannah Clements followed shortly after in 115th place overall, and 4th for the County Antrim Team.  The talented duo’s performances put County Antrim 11th place in the County Team Points.


The club are extremely proud of Bradie and Hannah’s achievements which is just deserved after their hard work in training recently.


Parkrun

On Saturday, athletes were once again in action at the local Larne parkrun based in Carnfunnock Country Park.  Brian Maltman claimed 2nd place in the tough 5k course, clocking a new personal best of 21:18.  Brian was followed by Iain Bailie who finished in 22:38, taking 5th place overall.  Andy Guy took 10th place in 23:31, before Paul Clements crossed the line in 24:25 (14th place).  


Sandy Plumb finished in 25:15 (17th place), followed by Johanna McIlroy in 27:27 (4th place lady).  Eva Craig and Jacque Craig both ran well, finishing in 31:50 (7th place lady) and 31:51 (8th place lady) respectively.  9th placed lady was awarded to Cyndy Hay who completed the course in 33:02, followed by Paul Cunningham in 34:42 (31st place).

Sunday (22nd November 2015) was the first running of the much anticipated Junior parkrun, a 2k time trial based in Larne’s Town Park. Harry Plumb was the first member to finish, completing the lapped course in a time of 8:43 to take 4th place.  Daniel Gillan and Ewan Davis finished just one second apart, with Daniel crossing the line in 9:21 (9th place) and Ewan in 9:22 (10th place).  Young Kian McAllister impressed with a 9:44 clocking to claim 12th place, followed by Carrie Burleigh in 10:27 (7th place girl).  Emily Lavery and Christopher Campbell both had superb runs, with Emily taking 8th place in the girls category (10:29) and Christopher taking 25th place overall in 10:37.  


Mark Date and Charlotte Smyth had a strong finish, however it was Mark who crossed the line first in 11:06 (33rd place) with Charlotte following in 11:07 (12th place girl).  Luke McIlroy took 23rd place in a time of 11:17, before a speedy Oliver Smyth crossed the line in 11:43 (37th place).  Caitlin Pike was placed as 14th girl, followed by Evie (13:01 – 21st place girl) and Abbie (13:03 – 22nd place girl) Lavery who both ran well.  Eimear Ward finished in a time of 13:13 to take 23rd place in the girls category, followed by young Rachel Urwin who proudly crossed the line in 15:28 as 32nd placed girl.

Andy Guy Wins Tollymore Trail Marathon!

In what was another busy week for the club, the highlight has to be Andy Guy’s impressive victory at the Tollymore Trail Marathon.  But, if that wasn’t enough, there were numerous other top class performances including Allyson O’Toole representing Northern Ireland at the British & Irish International XC, Murray Deller taking 5th place in the Tollymore Trail Ultra, as well as great runs and personal bests at the Sheakspeare 10k, Run in the Dark, Tollymore Trail 10k and half marathon, and last week’s McConnell Shield XC.


26extreme Tollymore Trail Marathon Events

On Saturday (14th November 2015) a large number of East Coast AC members travelled to Forest in County Down for the Tollymore Trail Marathon and associated events, which included an Ultra (40 miles), Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k.  The races covered looped routes with participants completing one loop for a half marathon, two loops for a full marathon and three loops for the ultra-marathon. All routes are within the confines of the stunning Tollymore Forest Park.


Starting at 8am, Murray Deller took to the start line of the Ultra Marathon; Murray has shown great talent over the last few months, after strong performances in the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, Causeway Coast Marathon and Seven Sevens, he was going into the race in fine form.  Murray didn’t disappoint, he paced himself well over the 40 miles to claim a 5th place finish in a time of 5:37:32.


The next event of the day was the marathon, where Andy Guy took on the 26.2mile challenge.  Andy went into the race as one of the favourites due to his exceptional performances in recent marathons and pacing duties.  At half way, Andy kept well within the leading pack, but it wasn’t until the latter stages of the race when he began to move out front and open up a gap on the chasers.  Andy crossed the line one minute ahead of his nearest rival, claiming victory in 3:04:41 (1st place).


In the half marathon, Karl Joyce led the way for the black and yellow vests, taking 16 minutes off his previous attempt at the course just one year ago to finish in 1:53:56 and in 124th place.  Alex Robertson followed in 1:54:28 (130th place), showing he is well and truly back on track after recent injuries.   John Steele was the next familiar face to finish, running well in what was his first off-road half marathon to cross the line in 1:57:03 (156th place).

No stranger to the 26extreme events, Lee Stirling looked strong as he reached the finish line in 174th place, clocking a time of 1:58:26 for the 13.1mile course.  Nikki McNeill was the first of the club’s ladies to complete the half marathon, bettering her time on the Causeway Coast half by almost 20 minutes, finishing in 2:10:48 to take 255th place. 


Sharon Kirkpatrick was another athlete who slashed their time from the recent Causeway Coast Half Marathon, taking approximately 30 minutes off her time to finish the Tollymore Trail event in 2:16:24 (286th place).  


Brian Maltman, Kelly Deller and Amanda Clements took part in the popular 10k event which attracted almost 150 other competitors.  Brian showed no signs of fatigue after his recent Dublin Marathon exploits, running well to claim a top twenty finish in a time of 48:13 (18th place).  Amanda ran a strong race, finishing in 84th place overall in a time of 1:01:31.   Kelly Deller had a strong run of 1:03:38.

British & Irish International XC

On Saturday 14th November 2015, Allyson O’Toole joined a large number of Northern Ireland based athletes for the 28th annual British & Irish Masters International Cross Country in Santry Dublin.  Representing Northern Ireland, Allyson faced tough opposition from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.


In almost perfect cross country conditions, Allyson ran well in her Vet35 ladies team which also included Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Jodi Smith (North Down AC).  Allyson finished as 18th in her category in a time of 24:36.


Shakespeare 10k

Also on Saturday (14th November 2015), Peter McManus travelled to Stratford-Upon-Avon for the Shakespeare 10k, a 10k road race set in Long Marston Airfield which boosted a flat, fast course.  Peter achieved a new personal best in a time of 47:02 which secured 75th place overall.

Run in the Dark

On Wednesday 11th November 2015, East Coast AC athletes descended on the picturesque home of Northern Ireland's Parliament, Stormont Estate in Belfast for the worthwhile 'Run in the Dark' 5k and 10k races, which were part of a worldwide initiative in over 30 cities to raise funds to assist people with spinal injuries.


In perfect running conditions, a seemingly endless field of runners set off with the challenge of immediately negotiating the hill towards Parliament Buildings – this itself created an excellent spectacle as their flickering red lights matched the colour of the famous building in the backdrop, which was lit in red as a mark of respect for Remembrance Day.


The 5k race consisted of one lap, while the 10k competitors took on two laps of the course, which incorporated the roads and paths within the Estate and surrounding streets, including the Newtownards Road where the thousands of runners would re-enter the grounds and make their way towards the finish.


In the 5k race, Cate Devine ran well to finish as 210th lady in a time of 32:59.  Johanna McIlroy completed the 10k event and performed to her usual high standard with a finish time of 53:07 (56th place lady) (to be confirmed).

McConnell Shield Cross Country

On Saturday 7th November 2015, five East Coast AC athletes descended on Sixmilewater Park in Ballyclare for the 81st annual running of East Antrim Harriers’ McConnell Shield Cross Country.  The event was also part of the ongoing Athletics NI Cross Country League 2015/16.


The first races were the junior events where the junior club captain Rhys McManus and talented club mate Kelly Patterson lined up for the Under 14 race which measured approximately 1 mile and consisted of one lap around the park.  One of the youngest competitors, Rhys McManus (9 years) was the first member to cross the line, doing so in fine fashion to take 6th place in the boys category in a time of 6:30.  Kelly was rewarded with an impressive 5th place finish (girls category) for her efforts when she finished in 6:41.

The Men’s race was the final event of the day which measured 5 miles in distance and was one of the most exciting races to watch due to the plethora of talent taking part.  Not usually seen on a cross country field, Justin Maxwell ran well to finish in 42nd place with a time of 30:45.  Club captain Chris Davis had a fast final lap to secure 143rd place in 35:37.  Using the event as training for the upcoming Seeley Cup, Allan McCullough performed well after crossing the line in a time of 39:14 to take 192nd place.


County Selection for Junior Athletes

East Coast AC are extremely proud to announce that East Coast Cheetahs Bradie Hogg and Hannah Clements have been selected to represent County Antrim at the upcoming Athletics Ireland 'All Ireland' Cross Country Championships in Santry, Dublin (on 22nd November 2015).


Bradie and Hannah's selection follows on from some superb performances by East Coast Cheetahs at the recent NI & Ulster Age Group XC Championships in Jordanstown and is evidence that the club's highly successful and respected junior programme is benefiting junior athletics in the Borough.


East Coast AC Senior Coach Mark McManus spoke of his delight at Bradie and Hannah's selection:


"As Senior Coach of East Coast AC, it's very difficult to put into words how proud I am, but... I am so pleased to see that two of our Cheetahs have been selected to represent County Antrim at the All Ireland XC Championships.

This is testament to the fantastic efforts and dedication put into each and every training session and determination put in at every race, it is also excellent for the club - it proves that our Cheetahs are going to provide a positive future for the town of Larne.

I'm also delighted for Bradie and Hannah's parents, it's a very proud moment for them, and they have supported what we do at the Cheetahs from day one!

Thanks must also go to all of the coaching team for the fantastic work that they do every week as volunteers. We are building a future for athletics in the town and at the minute we have a very stable foundation built!"

Maxwell, O’Toole, McManus & Patterson claim Victories at Monster Dash!

The week’s action started early with the annual Airtricity Dublin Marathon, where Conor Sheridan and Brian Maltman impressed in their first marathon attempts.  The Halloween weekend brought with it the return of the club’s Monster Dash 5k and associated Monster Mile fun run.  East Coast AC topped the podium in both the 5k and the Mile events.  On Saturday, Justin Maxwell took a 5th place finish at the Run 4 Rescue 10 mile race in Annalong.


Airtricity Dublin Marathon

On Monday 26th October 2015, Conor Sheridan and Brian Maltman joined hundreds, if not thousands of athletes from Northern Ireland who also made the cross-border journey to Dublin for the 36th annual Dublin City Marathon, which also incorporated the AAI National Marathon Championships. This year saw the event once again stretch it’s participant records, with over 15,000 competitors taking to the start line.


Despite the wet and at times blustery conditions, the East Coast AC duo performed to their usual high standards, this time in what was their first attempt at the marathon distance.  Conor paced himself well over the 26.2 mile route, finishing in a time of 3:55:29 to take 4,605th place overall and 1,030th in his category.  Brian was cheered along into the finish line by proud family and friends, finishing in 4:14:45 and in 6 929th place and 1,338th in his category.


Monster Dash 5k

On Friday 30th October 2015, the club held it’s 2nd annual Monster Dash 5k trail race and associated Monster Mile in Carnfunnock Forest and Country Park.  The event started with a ‘Monster Mile’ where the East Coast AC junior members yet again showed off their talent.  Kelly Patterson took 1st place overall followed by Rhys McManus who was 1st male finisher.  Young Bradie Hogg claimed 2nd place in the ladies category and was joined on the podium by clubmate Hannah Clements, making it an all East Coast AC podium in the girls event.  There were impressive displays from all East Coast AC juniors, all running well in what was a unique, fun event.


After the Monster Mile, it was the turn of the nearly one hundred strong field to take to the start line of the Monster Dash 5k.  The event, despite its fun Halloween theme, is a competitive affair and takes athletes on a tough but rewarding course within Carnfunnock Country Park and the adjoining Carnfunnock Forest, with only head torches to guide the way.

At the front end of the field, East Coast AC trio Justin Maxwell, Murray Deller and Mark McManus, and Annadale Striders’ Conor McMullan all played their part.  However, in the end, it was Northern Ireland and Ireland international Justin Maxwell who sealed victory, crossing the line in a new course record of 21:23 (1st place). Murray Deller, the winner in 2014, showed no signs of fatigue following a good run at last week’s Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, recorded 22:16 for 2nd place, with Mark McManus completing the podium places in 22:31 (3rd place).


The ladies race was also close in the early stages, with very little splitting Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) and reigning Champion Allyson O’Toole (East Coast AC). After an excellent dual, it was Allyson who came out on top, defending her title in 25:16 (1st place).   One of the highlighted performances of the evening was young Charlie Patterson, Charlie completed the 5k course in an impressive 25:30 which not only secured him 8th place overall, but 1st junior finisher.


Club captain Chris Davis was next to cross the line, clocking 26:12 (10th place), before Alex Robertson and Stephen Smyth sprinted down towards the finish, running 28:19 (17th place) and 29:29 (19th place) respectively.  An almost unrecognisable Angela Campbell ran well to take 7th place in the ladies category with a time of 30:49, followed by Adrian Smith in 31:15 (25th place).


The trio of Daniel Gillan, Karl Joyce and David Finlay then finished just seconds apart, with Daniel taking 38th place in 37:16, and Karl and David both recording 37:18 (39th and 40th place).   Tracey Parke and Amanda Clements both ran well, finishing in 38:03 (17th place lady) and 38:05 (18th place lady) respectively.  Amanda Murray (43:23 – 25th place lady), birthday girl Sonia Ross (43:26 – 26th place lady) and Karen McFaul (43:36 – 27th place lady) all finished in quick succession.  

A large group of East Coast AC members then appeared towards the finishing area as the clock struck 47 minutes, some say it was coincidence but others may presume they were too scared to run alone!  Sarah Girvin (47:01 – 31st place lady) led the group, with William Gallagher (47:02 – 60th place), Katie Glover (47:03 – 32nd place lady), Casey Robinson (47:04 – 33rd place lady) and Lesley Robinson (47:05 – 34th place lady) all following.


East Coast AC would like to thank everyone involved in organising the event, supporting the event and of course the athletes who dared to run!  The club would also like to thank the events sponsors: All Stars Sports Academy, Ballygally Castle Hotel, Maine Soft Drinks, Tesco, The Flower Room, Bake Bakery and Brian A Todd Estate Agents.

Run 4 Rescue

On Saturday 31st October 2015, Justin Maxwell supported the annual Mourne Runners ‘Run 4 Rescue’ 10 mile event in Annalong, County Down, a fundraiser event for the highly valued Mourne Mountain Rescue Team.


The event covered a tough but scenic route, starting at sea-level in Annalong before taking in road and coastal trail sections – athletes then took on a continuous climb towards Dunny Water, where they turned and made their way back towards the finish at the local Community Centre, located on the edge of a pleasant green area beside the sea.

Justin Maxwell didn’t show any signs of tiredness from his win at the Monster Dash 5k just hours earlier, when he finished in 5th place in a time of 1:05:30.


Parkrun

On Saturday morning, East Coast AC members were once again in action at the local Larne parkrun in Carnfunnock Country Park.  Harry Plumb was the first member to complete the tough 5k course, and he did so in fine fashion, achieving a new personal best of 23:06 and finishing in 11th place.  John Steele also finished in 23:06 and claimed 12th place.  Kenny Holmes was the 13th finisher when he crossed the line in 23:28.


Young Hannah Clements took 2nd place in the ladies category with a finish time of 24:32, just hours after taking a podium spot at the Monster Mile on Friday evening.  Hannah's father Paul followed in 24:53 to take 17th place overall.  David Hall was next to finish, recording 26:39 for the distance (22nd place), followed by Charlotte Smyth (32:39 - 9th place lady), Mark Date (32:42 new personal best - 35th place), Karl Joyce (32:43 - 36th place), Johanna McIlroy (32:45 - 10th place lady), Eva Craig (33:39 - 12th place lady) and Jacque Craig (33:40 - 13th place lady).


Oliver Smyth joined his sister at the finish line when he finished in 43rd place in a time of 35:04 setting a new personal best.  Sally McKeown was next to reach the Drains Bay finish area, clocking 35:56 as she crossed the line (17th place lady), followed by a determined young Imogen Taylor who set a new personal best of 40:23 (18th place lady) along with her mum Colleen who finished in 40:25 (19th place lady).

East Coast AC Excel at Skyrunning and Junior XC Events!

This week and last week club members once again excelled in a variety of events.  Allyson O’Toole was selected for the Northern Ireland team in the British & Irish Masters International next month after her performance at the NIMAA Cross Country race last week - Rhys McManus claimed a third place finish in the NI & Ulster Even Age Group Championships, in what was the first time in over 20 years that a club from Larne has been represented in a junior Northern Ireland and Ulster cross country championships; East Coast AC had 12 junior athletes competing.  Corey Urwin took 1st place in his category at the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, while other members impressed in the Skyrunning UK weekend of events.


Garmin Mourne Skyline GTR

The Skyrunning UK weekend action kicked off on Friday evening in Newcastle, County Down with the Garmin Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race; a 2 mile uphill only race with approximately 1,000 ft of ascent.  


East Coast AC had four members taking on the challenge which started in darkness on Newcastle promenade and progressed into Donard Forest and up the historic Granite Trail towards the finish at Millstone Quarry, overlooking the town.  Lee Stirling, Peter McManus and Phil Smyth were all within close proximity of each other as they climbed the granite steps towards the gruelling uphill finish line.  Lee finished first in a time of 25:42 to take 22nd place, with Peter and Phil following in 26:03 (23rd place) and 26:31 (25th place) respectively.  Kelly Deller ran well to take 10th place in the ladies category with a finish time of 32:19.

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR

After the Friday evening exploits in the Mournes, members were in action at the Skyrunning weekend in Newcastle when they took part in the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race (MTR).  


Considered by many to be Northern Ireland’s toughest race, the Mourne Skyline MTR covers 35km’s with a whopping elevation gain of 3,370m. Starting and finishing in the seaside resort of Newcastle, the race is now considered to be a highlight not only of the Skyrunning UK calendar but also the racing calendar in Northern Ireland.  The gruelling but stunning course requires athletes to cover nine of the highest peaks, finishing with the highest mountain in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard (850m).  


At 0800 leaving the promenade of Newcastle, the cold temperatures, strong winds and light rain certainly added to the trepidation of a tough day in the mountains for the club’s two participants, Corey Urwin and Murray Deller.  Corey Urwin had an absolutely superb run when he looked to cruise down towards the finish line, clocking 5:15:33 for the distance and claiming 37th place overall as well as a category win in his M45 category. 


After being cheered on at half-way by his East Coast Cheetah daughters, Murray Deller pushed himself to the limits in the tough final sections of the course, and it paid off when he finished in the top 60 (59th place) with a time of 5:38:27 (this also ensured he now has the family bragging rights on the course!).


The Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR team would like to thank all the club’s members who helped make the race possible by supporting the event whether by spectating, marshalling or course set up; it is all very much appreciated.

NI & Ulster Even Age Groups

Also on Saturday (24th October 2015) at the Ulster University of Jordanstown (UUJ) in County Antrim, East Coast AC junior athletes competed in the first Age Group Cross Country Championships of the season. Categories from Under 10 to Under 18 were represented in the Championships, and interestingly, this was the first time in over 20 years that a club from Larne has been represented in a junior Northern Ireland & Ulster XC Championships; this is a credit not only to the junior athletes at the club but especially to the coaching system that East Coast AC has set up; East Coast AC is the only club in the area which offers UKA qualified coaching to junior athletes (under 16).


In the Under 10 girls race, Zoe Whiteford lined up alongside almost 50 other competitors for the 1000m event.  Zoe ran well to finish in 23rd place in a time of 5:10 and was the 3rd County Antrim athlete to finish.  In the 1000m Under 10 boys race, Rhys McManus, Theo McToal and Ewan Davis all took part; Rhys claimed a podium spot when he clocked 4:21 (3rd place), just one second off the 2nd place finisher.  Ewan Davis was the next black and yellow vest to cross the line, finishing in 5:17 (25th place), with Theo hot on his heels and recording a time of 5:22 to take 27th place.

Four of the club’s girls took part in the Under 12 girls event which measured 1500m and attracted almost 100 other runners.  Club captain Bradie Hogg led the way for the team, finishing in 22nd place in 6:29 and as 5th County Antrim girl.  Hannah Clements impressed with a sprint finish to clock 6:49 and secure 41st place, followed by Lucy O’Toole who finished in 7:05 (54th place).  Charlotte Dean also ran well to place as 65th finisher in a time of 7:17.  


Three East Coast AC athletes took part in the Under 12 boys event (1500m) which was just as popular as the girls race; attracting almost 100 junior athletes.  Harry Plumb and Charlie Patterson battled it out over the course and in the end the boys crossed the line at the exact same time of 6:14, however it was Harry who was awarded 54th place and Charlie 55th place.  Jake Dempsey ran a strong race to finish in a time of 7:13, claiming 85th place overall.


Another of the club’s talented junior athletes, Kelly Patterson was in action in the Under 14 girls 2500m event which attracted almost 100 runners.  Kelly performed to her usual high standard, running 12:09 to secure 66th place.

GR8 Dundrum Run

Last week (Saturday 17th October) Conor Sheridan and Phil Smyth took part in the popular GR8 Dundrum Run; a challenging multi-terrain race, covering a scenic 8 mile course on road, trail, boards and sand, starting and finishing in the shadows of the Mourne Mountains in Dundrum.


In preparation for the upcoming Dublin Marathon, Conor ran well to finish in 173rd place in a time of 1:01:35.  Phil followed just eight minutes later in 1:09:40 which secured him 369th place overall.

NIMAA Cross Country

Also on Staurday (17th October 2015), Mark McManus and Allyson O’Toole joined hundred of other athletes at the annual Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Association (NIMAA) Cross Country, which was held at the sun-basked DUB Road Playing Fields in Belfast.  The event doubled up as the trials for the upcoming Masters British & Irish XC International. 


The first event of the day was the ladies and vet 65+ men 6k, where Allyson O’Toole took to the start line.  Allyson paced her run well and gradually moved up the field to finish 5th in her category and an impressive 15th place overall in a time of 23:19.  In the second event, the male masters 8k, Mark McManus covered the course in 28:41 to take 10th place in his category and 35th place overall.


Allyson’s performance on the day ensured she was selected for the Northern Ireland team at the British & Irish Masters International to be held on Saturday 14th November in Santry, Dublin.  Well done Allyson!


Parkrun

This week (Saturday 24th October), at the local Larne parkrun, John Steele secured 2nd place with a time of 21:41, followed by Karl Joyce who achieved a new personal best of 23:48 (7th place).  Paul Clements completed the 5k course in 24:22, finishing in 9th place.


Joyce wins Championship Race as XC Season Kicks Off!

This week, clubs all over Northern Ireland kicked off their cross country season, and East Coast AC was no different.  Over 60 athletes turned out for the cross country races held in Seacourt, Larne which started off with the junior 800m where Rhys McManus and Hannah Clements stole the show.  The day finished with a 2.7 mile senior race won by Justin Maxwell and Connie Hodge - however, it was Karl Joyce who deservedly took home the trophy for the handicap based Championship Challenge Series event.


Club Junior 800m XC

On Saturday 10th October 2015, almost thirty junior athletes turned out for the club’s 800m cross country race, held in conjunction with the Championship Challenge Series of events.  After a fast start from all the athletes, it was junior club captain Rhys McManus who was able to hold on to the pace,  crossing the line in 1st place in a time of 3:02.  The in-form Charlie Patterson was next to finish after clocking 3:16, before Jay Mackness claimed the final podium spot in 3:23 (3rd place).

The girls then began to near the finish line, with Hannah Clements leading the way to claim 1st place in 3:29.  Katie Ewings and Charlotte Dean had a sprint finish across the line in a time of 3:31, however it was Katie who edged forward first, taking 2nd place and Charlotte settling for 3rd.  Sisters Hannah and Lucy O’Toole were another pair who made for an exciting finale, both clocking 3:32 however young Hannah surged clear at the end to claim 4th place in the girls event and Lucy was awarded 5th place.


Competing in her first cross country event, Erin Scott impressed with a finish time of 3:38 to take 6th place in the girls category.  Kian McAllister and Curtis Robertson were next to reach the expectant crowds; Kian finished in 3:42 (10th place overall) and Curtis followed in 3:44 (11th place overall).  Carrie Burleigh (3:53 – 7th place girl), Lois Scott (3:55 – 8th place girl) and Daniel Brennan (3:56 – 14th place overall) all followed in quick succession, before Alicia Kuchocha powered down the finishing straight to take 9th place in the girls category with a time of 4:07.

Young Matilda Dean was next to finish in 4:23 (10th place girl), followed by Eimear Ward (4:24 – 11th place girl) and Samantha Braniff (4:28 – 12th place girl). Competing in his first official race as an East Coast Cheetah, Mark Magee smiled as he made the final push towards the finish, covering the course in 4:34 to take 19th place overall.  Katie Monaghan (4:37 – 13th place girl) then led a large group of junior athletes in towards the finish, including Keilan McManus (4:38 – 21st place), Maggie Deller (4:39 – 14th place girl), and Rebecca Robertson (4:39 – 15th place girl) who all ran well.


Ethan Shannon completed the 800m in 4:53 to claim 24th place overall, before brothers Elys Leetch-Armstrong (25th place) and Darcy Leetch-Armstrong (26th place) finished in 5:12 and 5:19 respectively.  


A determined looking Imogen Taylor crossed the line next, clocking 5:28 to claim 16th place in the girls category, followed by Rachel Urwin in 5:46 (17th place girl).  The youngest competitor of the day, Alfie Urwin joined his sister at the finish line and was cheered in by the now large crowd of spectators, finishing in a time of 5:54 and taking 29th place overall.

East Coast AC Championship Challenge Race 3

After the junior race, it was time for the seniors to take to the start line of the third race in this year’s Championship Challenge Series.  Due to a change in course, the undulating cross country race measured approximately 2.7 miles and included three laps of the Seacourt based ‘green area’.


In what was a mass start, Justin Maxwell, Corey Urwin and Murray Deller all moved clear into the lead, however it was in the second lap when Justin began to up the pace and opened the gap.  Justin continued his lead to take 1st place in a time of 16:11.  Murray was rewarded for his efforts with a 2nd place finish in 16:48, with Corey claiming the final podium spot in 17:07 (3rd place).  Club captain, Chris Davis moved through the field well to take 4th place in a time of 18:31.


Callum Sittlington impressed as he gradually edged clear of the chasing group of runners, completing a fast final lap to secure 5th place overall in 18:50.  Daniel Girvin and James Robinson both ran well to finish in 18:58 (6th place) and 19:05 (7th place) respectively, followed by Dublin Marathon bound Conor Sheridan who finished in 19:25 (8th place).  Drew Girvin was next to cross the line in a time of 19:42 (9th place), before Kenny Holmes made his debut for the club with a 10th place finish in 20:05.

Next to finish was Alex Robertson in 20:19 (11th place), before Karl Joyce who covered the course in 20:45 (12th place); Karl was also crowned the winner of the championship race once all handicap times had been added on to actual finish times.  Connie Hodge was the first lady to finish, after having dominated the ladies race from about 800m, Connie put in a strong display of front running to take 1st place in 21:49.  Keith Hetherington and Phil Smyth both ran well in 21:52 (14th place) and 22:04 (15th place) respectively.


2nd place in the ladies category was awarded to Angela Campbell (22:21) who was chased in right to the finish line by Jim Scott, who recorded 22:25 (17th place).  Nikki McNeill and Catherine Maxwell swapped positions throughout the event, however it was Nikki who showed her strength in the final lap to claim 3rd place in the ladies category with a 23:41 clocking; Catherine followed in 24:02 to secure 4th place.


Jackie Davidson was cheered into the finish line after running 24:39 (20th place), followed by the in-form Lynn Magee who claimed 5th place in the ladies category with a time of 24:45.  Sharon Kirkpatrick looked strong running towards the finish line, completing the distance in 25:20 as 6th placed lady.  Friends and training partners Linzi Conway and Fiona Rolston both covered the final yards quickly to finish in 26:46 (7th place lady) and 26:55 (8th place lady).

David Finlay finished next in 27:31 (25th place), followed by birthday girl Sarah Girvin who finished as 9th place lady in 28:38.  Valerie Lyttle and Donna Robertson entertained the crowds as they sprinted side by side towards the finish, however it was Valerie who just edged clear to take 10th placed lady, with Donna securing 11th place, both in a time of 29:14.  Hazel Ritchie made a welcome return to competition after she ran 29:47 (12th place lady), followed by Colleen Taylor who just dipped under the 30minute mark, finishing in 29:58 to take 13th place in the ladies category.


Tracey Shannon was next to finish, covering the three laps in a time of 30:48 to claim 14th placed lady.  Patricia Campbell and Rosie Kerr both ran well, finishing in 31:50 (15th place lady) and 38:00 (16th place lady) respectively.


Zombie Run

On Sunday 11th October 2015, Lee Stirling along with a group from Just Active gym in Larne, completed the Zombie Run.  The Zombie Run is a 5k obstacle course held at ‘The Jungle’ in Magherafelt, where runners are chased by ‘Zombies’ whilst trying to complete as many of the obstacles on their way towards the finish as possible.


Parkrun

At the local Larne parkrun (Saturday 10th October), Harry Plumb was the first member to complete the 5k course, covering the distance in a time of 24:11 to take 14th place overall.  Hannah Clements secured 3rd place in the ladies category in 24:28, followed by Sandy Plumb in 24:29 (16th place).  Paul Clements and John Steele ran together to complete the course in 25:52, with Paul taking 23rd place and John finishing in 24th place.  


At Carrickfergus parkrun, Johanna McIlroy finished in 6th place in the ladies category with a time of 26:55.

Girvin & McManus Claim Podium Places as East Coast AC Athletes Excel!

This weekend was another busy one for the club, with representation from teams at the NI & Ulster Road Relay Championships in Victoria Park, Belfast and the popular Runher Titanic 10k.  Further afield in Scotland, Corey Urwin and Daniel Girvin took on the Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon.  Drew Girvin’s last minute decision to race the Ben Nevis Braveheart Half Marathon paid off when he secured 2nd place in the event.  The club also increased it’s number of coaches when five more members qualified as Athletics Coaching Assistants.


NI & Ulster Road Relay Championships

On Saturday 3rd October 2015, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on Victoria Park, Belfast for the Northern Ireland & Ulster Road Relay Championships, an exceptionally well organised event hosted by popular East Belfast club Orangegrove AC.  The event also incorporated the Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Association (NIMAA) Road Relay Championships.


The exciting race programme kicked off with a number of junior races, which proved to be both fun and competitive; supporters were treated to some impressive performances, highlighting the up and coming talent within the province.  The first event was the Primary School Girls 800m where Hannah Clements looked strong in the front group of girls.  Hannah led the way for East Coast AC, with Charlotte Dean, Rebecca Robertson, Maggie Deller, Matilda Dean and Imogen Taylor all in pursuit.  In the Primary School Boys 800m, junior team captain Rhys McManus narrowly missed out on the top spot, but still excelled, claiming 3rd place overall.  Rhys was followed by Harry Plumb, Curtis Robertson, and Keilan McManus who all ran well.

After the aforementioned junior events had warmed things up for the senior and master’s races, next up for the club was the Masters Men, with their teams of four athletes completing 3,380m each.  The athletes set off at a blistering pace and it was Justin Maxwell who went first for the team, covering his 2 laps in 10:50, before handing over to Mark McManus who ran 11:21.  The third leg was completed by Andy Guy who ran well in 11:34, followed by Murray Deller who took the team into a 10th place overall after running 11:50, giving a total time of 45:33.


The penultimate race of the day brought the Senior Ladies to the fore, with the teams of three again completing 3,380m each.  This time it was track star Allyson O’Toole who set off first, completing her two laps in a speedy 12:44, before handing over to Catherine Maxwell who clocked 16:30 for the 2nd leg in the event.  The final laps were covered by Donna Robertson (19:19) who impressed with a sprint finish to claim 27th place overall in a total time of 48:33.


In the final race of an excellent day of competition, the Senior Men lined up for their 4 x 3,380m event.  The Senior team consisted of Brian Maltman, Karl Joyce, Alex Robertson and Conor Sheridan.  Brian looked strong as he set off to complete the first leg for the team, covering the laps in 12:58 which is 1:32 quicker than his time at the event last year, showing just how much this in-form athlete has progressed.  Brian passed over to Karl who ran well to complete the two laps in 14:28, before Alex Robertson completed a good day for the Robertson family when he clocked 13:46.  Conor Sheridan was cheered into the finishing straight by friends and club mates, securing 27th place for the team after he ran 13:30, resulting in a total time of 54:41.

Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon

Corey Urwin and Daniel Girvin travelled this weekend to Scotland for the Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon, an event which is classed as one of the UK’s toughest triathlons. Taking place on Saturday 3rd October, the challenge is a 1.2 mile sea loch swim, a 56 mile road cycle, and a 13 mile hill run to the summit of Ben Nevis and back; the UK’s highest mountain.


Corey Urwin completed the 1.2 mile, 2 lap open water swim in 42:09 (71st place), before covering the 56 mile cycle in 2:43:50 (46th place) and finally impressing with a 3:09:45 time for his 13 mile run which was 19th place in this discipline.  Corey’s overall time of 6:45:15 secured him 31st place and 7th in his category.


Daniel Girvin started off speedily in his swim, making it out of the water in 18th place after a time of 34:16.  Unfortunately Daniel Girvin had to pull out of the event due to injury during the cycle section, everyone at East Coast AC wishes him a speedy recovery.


Ben Nevis Braveheart Half Marathon

Travelling over with Daniel Girvin as part of the Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon, Drew Girvin made a last minute decision to take part in the associated Half Marathon.  The Half Marathon took on the same route as the run section in the main triathlon and as such, also included a tough run to the summit of Ben Nevis.


The decision to run paid off, as club secretary Drew put in a top class performance, claiming 2nd place overall and 1st in his category after running 3:34:05.

Runher Titanic 10k

On Sunday 4th October 2015, thousands of athletes and spectators turned out for the annual Runher Titanic 10k and 5k road races in the ever growing Titanic Quarter of Northern Ireland's capital city, Belfast.  Both the 5k and 10k routes were run over fast and flat courses, setting things up for those chasing personal bests.


Connie Hodge was the first lady home for the club, crossing the line in an impressive 50:15 to take 48th place out of over 800 runners.  Sonia Ross was next to finish, covering the 10k course in 1:06:03 (566th place), followed by Donna Robertson in 1:09:01 (646th place).  Karen McFaul ran well to take 686th place in a time of 1:10:11.


Amanda Murray clocked 1:10:47 for the distance (705th place), before Dawn Ralph and Sarah Girvin finshed in 1:11:38 (722nd place) and 1:13:55 (748th place) respectively.  Completing in her first 10k race, Steph Bird covered the 6.2 miles in a time of 1:25:04 to take 814th place.

Parkrun

This week the Larne parkrun once again proved popular, with five members taking on the Carnfunnock based 5k course.  Before heading off to Belfast for the NI & Ulster Road Relay Junior events, Harry Plumb and Hannah Clements both completed Larne parkrun in 24:06 (10th place) and 24:19 (2nd place lady) respectively.  Paul Clements and John Steele were next to finish, with the duo both crossing the line in 25:47 (17th place).  Sandy Plumb was next to finish, covering the course in 27:43 to take 26th place.


New Coaches

This weekend, East Coast AC gained five new Coaching Assistants!  Kieran McKeown, James Robinson, Kelly Deller, Lionel Date and Karen Monaghan all qualified as Athletics NI Coaching Assistants.

Members Enjoy Causeway Coast Events!

26extreme Causeway Coast Events

On Saturday 26th September 2015, 15 of the club’s athletes took on the 26extreme Causeway Coast events, a series of races ranging from 10k to 40 miles, along the stunning Causeway Coast.


The hardy ultra-runners were first to toe the line, as they set off from Portstewart Strand on a 40 mile jaunt that would take them to Ballintoy, where they would turn and re-trace their steps back to the atmospheric finish at Portballintrae.  This included Nigel Taylor who was completing this type of event for the first time.  Nigel always looked comfortable as he made his way from Portstewart to Ballintoy and then back to the finish in Portballentrae.  Nigel covered the tough 40 mile course in a time of 9:09:00 to take TBC place overall.

In the Marathon, which took the competitors from Portballintrae to Ballintoy and back, via the world famous Giants Causeway, it was Murray Deller who represented East Coast AC in this event.  Murray has been impressing lately in every race he has entered, and this was no different; finishing in 24th place in a time of 4:00:57.


The Half Marathon, which started in Larrybane Head and finished in Portballintrae, was by far the most popular choice for members, and attracted the biggest crowd of the day, with 418 athletes completing the course.  Lee Stirling was the first familiar face to reach the finishing area, looking strong as he powered up the final climb to finish in 2:14:54 (126th place).  Karl Joyce and Stephen Smyth made for an exciting finish, with the pair just seconds apart as they entered Potballentrae; however it was Karl who surged ahead to cross the line in 2:17:26 (145th place), with Stephen following in 2:17:36 (147th place).

Angela Campbell had a superb run especially considering this was her first off-road race; finishing as the club’s first lady home in 2:25:47 to claim 52nd place in the ladies category.  Nikki McNeill was next to be cheered on by the expectant crowds at the finishing area, looking strong as she reached the finish in 2:29:45, claiming 59th placed lady.


The next athlete to be cheered along by the East Coast AC spectators up towards the finish was Martin Conway, Martin looked strong as he made the final climb to cross the line in 2:33:21, taking 240th place overall.   Just over two minutes later, Lionel Date finished the 13.1 miles in a time of 2:36:00 (264th place); this was Lionels third half marathon in as many weeks.  Lionel has completed the Great North Run, followed by last week’s  Belfast Half Marathon and now the Causeway Coast Half Marathon, all this was for charity and shows the true determination he has had.

Friends and training partners Sharon Kirkpatrick and Kelly Deller were the next to complete the course; Sharon burst on to the finishing straight to cross the line in 2:46:27 (120th place lady) before Kelly covered the final yards with her young daughter Maggie, finishing in 2:54:42 to take 149th place in the ladies category.


The final athletes to take to the start line on what was an epic day of action, were the 10k competitors.  Mark McManus set off from the Portmoon start-line quickly and never let up as he quickly made his way towards the Giants Causeway before descending towards the finish at Portballintrae; Mark claimed 2nd place in 41:37.  Alex Robertson showed he has definitely back on track after a recent injury, finishing in 16th place in a time of 54:25. Amanda Clements and Fiona Swann were the next to be cheered towards the atmospheric finish area, Amanda ran 1:10:06 (51st place lady) while Fiona ran well to cross the line in 1:13:59 (62nd place lady).


Parkrun

This week, members were in action in two parkrun’s; the local Larne parkrun and the Queen’s parkrun in Belfast.  At Queen’s parkrun, Suzanne Lough covered the 5k course in 45:46 to take 53rd place in the ladies category.  In Larne, it was young Hannah Clements who led the way for club members; taking 2nd place in the ladies category in a time of 24:01.  Paul Clements and Sandy Plumb followed in 24:47 (13th place) and 25:00 (15th place) respectively, before David Hall who crossed the line in 27:14 (21st place).  Johanna McIlroy secured 5th place in the ladies category after running 27:45 for the undulating course, before John Steele (who was accompanying his young granddaughter around the course) finished in 29:30 (29th place).  Sally McKeown was next to finish, completing the Carnfunnock based 5k in 32:15 to take 11th place in the ladies category.

Adele Neill Impresses at World Championships!

This week was another busy week of competition for East Coast AC members, with a number of impressive performances across a number of disciplines and terrains.  The action kicked off early on Saturday morning when Gary Hawe started the 2 day Mourne Mountain Marathon, followed by Adele Neill’s star performance on the world stage at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.  On Sunday, personal bests were had for members at the Belfast Half Marathon and a large turnout attended the Ballyboley Trail Race which was Race 2 in the club’s Championship Series, including a junior 1 mile event.


ITU World Triathlon Grand Final

On Saturday 19th September, Adele Neill was in action at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago, USA.  The event attracts the world’s top triathletes and includes the ITU Age Group Standard Championships (Olympic distance) which Adele competed in.  Representing Ireland, Adele produced an outstanding performance, finishing in a total time of 2:26:13 to take 30th place in her category.


Adele’s 1500m swim started at the Monroe Harbour in Chicago and included a 375m northerly swim before turning and swimming 1125m south to exit the harbour near the Field Museum; Adele completed this section in 29:41 and entering transition 1 in 56th place in her category.  The 40k cycle consisted of a 2 lap course within the major city’s streets; during this Adele began to really come in to her own, passing over 40 other competitors and moving up in the standings.  The final discipline – 10k run – was made up of 3.5 laps on roads lined with spectators; Adele continued to move up the pack, covering the distance in 49:26 resulting in her overall finish of 30th place.

Belfast City Half Marathon

On Sunday 20th September 2015, East Coast AC members joined over 3,500 athletes in Belfast, for the Belfast City Half Marathon, which also incorporated the NI & Ulster Half Marathon Championships. In its relatively short existence, the event has established itself as the province’s largest Half Marathons, proving popular with both competitive runners and those looking to raise worthwhile funds for local and national charities.  The new course, which encompasses East Belfast, the City Centre and the Lower Falls, was described as “super-fast” by organisers and this was proved to be correct as many of the clubs athletes recorded personal bests.


Club captain Chris Davis led the way for the black and yellow vests, clocking 1:35:24 (337th place) for the 13.1mile course and achieving a new half marathon personal best.  Another member to set a half marathon personal best was John Steele, who followed in 432nd place in a time of 1:37:54.  The ever-improving Brian Maltman was next to cross the line, running a new personal best of 1:39:46 to secure 508th place.


Conor Sheridan kept up the long string of personal bests with a superb run of 1:43:04 (665th place), followed by official (1:45:00) Half Marathon pacer Andy Guy who yet again didn’t disappoint with his pacing duties when he led in a crowd of athletes in a time of 1:44:49.  Peter McManus slashed his previous personal best by approximately 5 minutes when he crossed the line in 1:51:08 to take 1,064th place.

Sandy Plumb bettered his 2014 time at the event when he finished in 1:52:20 (1,111st place), followed by Lionel Date in 1:51:56 (1,122nd place).  This was Lionel’s second half marathon in as many weeks and is part of his ‘three marathon challenge’ – completing three half marathons in three weeks as part of a fundraising campaign.  Paul Clements made a welcome return to competition when he secured 1,208th place in 1:53:41.


Tracey Parke impressed in what has been her fourth half marathon this year, missing out on a personal best by a mere 23 seconds, finishing in 1:58:33 (331st place lady).  Training partners Lynn Magee and Nicola Robinson both ran well, clocking 2:01:31 (395th place lady) and 2:01:32 (397th place lady) respectively.  Janice McGuckin completed her first ever half marathon in fine fashion, crossing the line in 2:33:12 to take 940th place in the ladies category.

Club Championship Race 2 – Ballyboley Forest Race

Also, on Sunday 20th September 2015, East Coast Athletic Club held the second race of this year’s (2015/16) Club Championship Challenge Series.  The 4.2 mile route comprised mainly of undulating forest trail, with enough uphill to keep even the most enthusiastic athlete honest.  24 runners took part, setting off at various stages, based on individual handicap times.  


Taking on this course for the first time, Dawn Ralph set off first, followed two minutes later by Fiona Rolston. With 22 of her club mates keen to catch up.  Fiona ran well, passing Dawn and holding off the challenge to finish in first place, coming into the well-supported finish line in of 42:42.  Next to enter the forest finish was Sharon Kirkpatrick who impressed with a time of 39:46, claiming 2nd place in the event.  It was Davy Hall, who ran a park run Personal Best 24 hours earlier, who took the final podium spot, with a time of 37:17.  


Fourth place was contested between the speedy Murray Deller, Alex Robertson and Lee Stirling.  It was Murray, the fastest Male runner of the day, who lead the trio home in 26:13, with Alex Robertson in 5th (32:14) and Lee Stirling in 6th (33:47).  Despite having not long returned from injury, Alex lower his time from last year by 9 seconds. James Robinson put in a fast finish to claim 7th place after running 29:19 for the distance, before Linzi Conway ran 40:49 for 8th place.  Fastest Female of the day, Allyson O’Toole was the next athlete across the finish line, taking 9th place in 28:51.  Iain Bailie then led the way for what seemed like an endless stream of runners, Iain finished in an actual time of 30:56 (10th place), followed by Club Secretary Drew Girvin (11th – 30:19), Valerie Lyttle (12th – 45:20) and Angela Campbell (13th – 35:44). Both Iain and Valerie completing the challenging route quicker than in 2014.

Nikki McNeill and Kelly Deller both ran well, with Nikki finishing in an actual time of 37:19 (14th place) and Kelly in 42:34 (15thplace).  The ever-improving Lisa Graham looked strong as she neared the finish, clocking 40:06 to take 16th place overall. Amanda Clements, like a few of the aforementioned participants, ran the course for the first time, finishing impressively in 17th place (43:19), before Fiona Swann (46:06) and Karl Joyce (34:57) reached the end of their journey in 18th and 19threspectively. Sonia Ross (20th – 44:53) and Dawn Ralph (21st – 50:10) finished strong and before Justin Maxwell crossed the line in 22nd place (28:38).  Paul Cunningham (48:35) and David Finlay (40:24) received loud cheers as they neared the finishing area, in 23rd and 24th place respectively.


East Coast Cheetahs and some friends took part in a one mile race, just prior to the senior group event.  Rhys McManus (6:11), Charlie Patterson (6:12), Kelly Patterson (6:30), Curtis Robertson (7:21), Hannah O’Toole (7:33), Lucy O’Toole (7:34), Zoe Whiteford (7:35), Charlotte Dean (7:46), Cameron Smyth (8:30), Birthday Boy Jake Dempsey (8:31), Matilda Dean (9:47), Katie Monaghan (9:48), Rebecca Robertson (9:58), Keilian McManus (10:22), Imogen Taylor (11:10), Elys Leetch Armstrong (11:25), Darcy Leetch Armstrong (11:31) and Maggie Deller (13:54) all ran very well, completing the hilly course in times ranging from 6:11 to 13:54. Well done!

Mourne Mountain Marathon

Gary Hawe was in action this weekend at the Mourne Mountain Marathon which took place over Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September 2015.  Gary joined hundreds of hardy mountain runners will take on the gruelling two day event, which is sponsored by Consarc Design Group and Jackson Sports.  


In the event, competitors (teams of two) only receive their event maps on starting the race; they then plot their course in a way that will allow them to cover all checkpoints in the quickest time possible.  There are three distances on offer to participants, they are 55k (‘A’ Class), 45k (‘B’ Class) and 35k (‘C’ and ‘D’ Class).  Gary along with friend Barry Pullin competed in the ‘C’ class and covered the course in a total time of 6:22:40 over the two days.


Parkrun

At the local Larne parkrun, Hannah Clements was the first member to finish in a time of 24:15 to take 3rd place in the ladies category, followed by her father Paul in 24:49 (14th place).  Young Kian McAllister took approximately 2 minutes off his previous best at the parkrun when he finished in a time of 26:17 (17th place).  David Hall was next to finish in 27:03 (20th place), before Bradie Hogg covered the 5k course in 27:10 (7th place lady).  Patrice Murphy clocked a new personal best of 27:19 (9th place lady), followed by Robyn Crawford who has made a welcome return to competition, finishing in 31:25 (14th place lady).  Sally McKeown and Mags Clements completed the East Coast AC representation at the event, running 32:15 (15th place lady) and 38:56 (23rd place lady) respectively.


John Lindsay Memorial Torr Head Cycle Challenge

Also on Sunday (20th September 2015), Glenda Stewart and Roy McMullan completed the John Lindsay Memorial Torr Head Cycle Challenge starting at Ballygally and heading up the picturesque Antrim Coast and back into Ballygally, Larne 

McManus Duo Claim Victories at Wilderbeast Events!

This weekend members were racing in both local events and the famous Great North Run in Newcastle, England.  Father and son duo Mark and Rhys McManus both claimed 1st place finishes at the Wilderbeast 5k and Junior Races; while a number of members completed the challenging 10 mile route and performed to their usual high standards.  In England, four members took part in arguably the world’s most famous half marathon – The Great North Run, and closer to home Stephen Kennedy completed the Ballinderry Bridge 10k.  Although, it wasn’t all just about the running; East Coast AC triathletes took on the Green Glens of Antrim Triathlon and keen cyclist Louise McAllister completed the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive.


Wilderbeast

On Saturday 12th September 2015, just over one hundred athletes descended on the picturesque Glenarm Castle for the inaugural running of the Wilderbeast 10 mile trail race and the associated race programme, which also included a 5k trail race and junior events. 

The race covered a challenging but exciting course which took in parts of the extensive Castle grounds as well as the neighbouring Glenarm Forest.  In the junior event, Junior Club Captain Rhys McManus stormed to victory, claiming a well-deserved 1st place finish.  Rachel Urwin and Keilan McManus also both ran well in what was a fun yet competitive event.


In the 5k, Mark McManus followed in his son’s footsteps when he too claimed a 1st place finish in a time of 19:19, almost two minutes ahead of his nearest rival.  In the main 10 mile event, Corey Urwin claimed a top ten finish in an impressive 1:06:53 (6th place).  John  Steele was the next familiar face to finish, crossing the line in a time of 1:18:07 (25th place).  Lee Stirling covered the course in 1:28:21 to take 48th place, followed by Sandy Plumb in 1:33:32 (59th place).


Ballinderry Bridge 10k

Also on Saturday, Stephen Kennedy completed the popular Ballinderry Bridge 10k race.  This was the 5th annual running of the event, which covered mostly road, but also involved a small amount of trail. The interesting course straddles two counties and takes in three bridges, starting in the County Derry/Londonderry village of Ballinderry, before taking competitors back and forth into the neighbouring County Tyrone, by way of bridge crossings, before finishing back where it began.  Stephen finished in 41:13 to take 16th place overall.


Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive

Also on Saturday (12th September 2015), Louise McAllister took part in the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive, in association with Chain Reaction Cycles Flagship Store Belfast; a unique event based on the iconic North Coast offering an unforgettable cycling experience through some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the island.  Louise covered the 126k (including 4,390ft of ascent) course which started at finished in Ballycastle in a time of 5:58:06.

Great North Run

On Sunday (13th September 2015), four East Coast AC members took part in the Great North Run which starts in Newcastle (England) and finishes 13.1miles later in the coastal town of South Shields.  


In warm conditions, Rowena Davis was the first member home in 1:53:45 which was a new personal best for last year’s most improved athlete.  Running with Rowena was her husband Chris Davis who followed one second later in 1:53:46.  Friends and training partners Lionel Date and Jacque Craig followed together in 2:24:09.


Green Glens of Antrim Triathlon

Also on Sunday (13th September 2015), three of the club’s triathletes took part in the first ever Green Glens of Antrim Triathlon based in Cushendall and organised by the Glens Cycling Club and Olympian Triathlon Club.  The event started with a 750m swim, followed by a 21.5k cycle towards Glenariff (ascending 1,100ft), and finishing with a 5k cliff path run.  


Danny Hylands was the first member to complete all three disciplines, finishing in a total time of 1:23:25 to take 16th place (swim 19:43; bike 42:33; run 22:09).  Stephen Whelan was the 31st finisher in a time of 1:27:00; completing his swim in 22:21 and cycling the 21.5k in 43:42 before finishing with a 22:05 5k run.  Junior athlete, Callum Sittlington impressed with a 1:28:09 finish time (35th place), his speedy swim (19:01) set him up well for the cycle (46:51) and run (23:14) which followed.


Parkrun
At the local Larne parkrun, Brian Maltman claimed a 4th place finish in a time of 21:42, followed by young Hannah Clements who was 1st lady home in 24:53.  Johanna McIlroy (27:15 – 4th place lady), David Hall (27:29 – 21st place) and Roisin Lavery (27:49 – 5th place lady – new personal best) all ran well and finished in quick succession.  

In Carrickfergus, Maureen McCollum completed the 5k course in 28:30 to take 11th place in the ladies category, followed by Conor Sheridan in 30:32 (46th place).

Junior and Senior Members Impress from 1 Mile to 52 Miles!

This week was another busy week for the club with forty members competing in events ranging from 1 mile to over 50 miles in Belfast, Larne, Ballymena, Newtownabbey, St Albans and Fortwilliam.  The weekend action kicked off when Nigel Taylor started his 12 hour challenge in the St Albans Stampede, and Justin Maxwell climbed the UK’s highest mountain (Ben Nevis) as part of the classic Ben Nevis Mountain Race.  On Sunday, the junior athletes showed the seniors how it’s done when they produced some top class performances in the Laganside Junior Mile.  In the senior Laganside 10k event, fourteen members completed the two lap course with many achieving personal bests along the way.  Also on Sunday, Callum Sittlington yet again excelled in the world of triathlon when he took a 2nd place finish in the junior male category at the Stena Triathlon.


St Albans Stampede 12 Hour Enduro

On Saturday 5th September, Nigel Taylor travelled to St Albans (England) for the St Albans Stampede 12 Hour Enduro.  The St Albans Stampede is an ultra marathon running event, organised by the St Albans Striders running club, held in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, covering parts of Heartwood Forest and Nomansland Common.  The challenge is to cover the most amount of distance (in miles) over a designated time period of 12hrs.


Nigel produced arguably his best performance in his running career to date; completing 13 laps of the (approx.)  4.1mile course to finish well up the field in 11th place with a total distance covered of 52 miles (in 11:35:21).  This notable achievement is all the more impressive given that it is Nigel’s first race over the half-marathon distance, setting him up well for the up-coming Causeway Coast Ultra in a few weeks time.

Ben Nevis Mountain Race

Also on Saturday (5th September), Justin Maxwell made a return to competition after a recent injury.  Justin travelled to Fortwilliam (Scotland) along with a number of other NIMRA members for the prestigious annual Ben Nevis Mountain Race; a race to the top and back down again of the UK’s highest mountain, standing at 1,344m above sea level.  Justin completed the event in a total time of 2:22:19 to claim 212th place overall.


Laganside Junior Mile

Before the main Laganside 10k event on Sunday (6th September 2015), a number of the club’s junior athletes competed in the popular Laganside Junior Mile race based in Ormeau Park, Belfast.  Young Charlie Patterson led the East Coast AC juniors home, with an outstanding performance, claiming a top ten place in what was a highly competitive field; Charlie clocked 6:06 for 10th place overall and 1st in his age category.  

Not to be outdone by her younger brother, Kelly Patterson claimed a podium spot in the girls event, with a 6:07 finish time, Kelly claimed 3rd place.  Another top ten place was achieved when junior star, Hannah Clements recorded 6:52 for the mile, claiming 10th place in the girls category and taking almost twenty seconds off her 2014 time at the event.  Hannah’s club mate and friend, Charlotte Dean followed just seconds later to take 11th place in the girls category with a time of 7:00.  Alex Murray ran 7:09 (35th place), while Jay Murray was next to finish in a time of 7:52 (50th place); Ewan Davis  (8:08 – 55th place) and Curtis Robertson (8:11 – 56th place) also impressed as they powered into the finishing straight.  Sophia McFaul impressed in what was her first race with a 31st place (approx.) finish in the girls category in a time of 9:13.  


Two of the club’s younger athletes, Matilda Dean and Rebecca Robertson crossed the line next, with both running well in a time of 9:21 (33rd placed girl) and 10:39 (47th placed girl) respectively.

Laganside 10k

After the exciting Junior Mile event, the action turned to the Laganside 10k (incorporating the Northern Ireland & Ulster 10k (Road) Championships).  In pleasant running conditions, albeit a little breezy, the competitors set off on the two lap (one long lap followed by one shorter lap) course which would take them towards the City Centre before veering towards the Lagan Towpath and onto the Ormeau Embankment.


A total of fourteen East Coast AC athletes took to the start line, but it was Mark Jordan who led the black and yellow vests home first; Mark completed the course in 40:44 to take 186th place overall.  Chris Davis was next to finish, crossing the line in 42:34 (243rd place), followed by Brian Maltman in a new personal best of 43:16 to take 257th place.

Friends and club mates, Iain Bailie and John Steele were the next familiar faces to make their way into the Ozone finishing area, with Iain running 43:33 (272nd place) and John following in 44:14 (283rd place).  Gary Hawe claimed a new 10k personal best when he covered the distance in 44:50 to take 301st place overall.  Sandy Plumb finished next in a time of 50:09 (462nd place), before Glenda Girvin who recorded 51:57 to claim 109th place in the ladies category.


Tracey Parke secured a new personal best of 52:38 when she finished as 121st placed lady, followed by Dianne McMillan who impressed in her first competitive race for the club with a 1:03:26 finish time (303rd place lady).  Amanda Murray clocked 1:07:28 (346th place lady), while Karen McFaul finished next in 1:07:45 (349th place lady).  Dawn Ralph followed in 1:09:20 (365th place lady), before Heather Shaw and Rosie Kerr crossed the line in 1:12:24 (381st place lady) and 1:14:51 (393rd place lady) respectively.


Stena Triathlon

On Sunday (6th September 2015), Callum Sittlington took part in the Stenaline Triathlon in Newtownabbey; a sprint triathlon starting in the Valley Leisure Centre.  Callum performed to his usual high standard, completing the 750m swim in 13:26, the 20k cycle in 44:41 and the 5k run in 21:07 resulting in an overall finish time of 1:21:06.  This secured Callum 15th place overall, but even more impressively, 2nd place in the competitive junior category of the race. 

Parkrun

This week yet again, Larne parkrun and Ecos parkrun were popular choices for members, with no less than twelve members stepping up to the 5k distances.  In Ballymena, Lionel Date (along with son Mark) covered the course in 31:05 to take 102nd place and ensuring that young Mark achieved a new personal best.


In Larne, Drew Girvin led the way with a finish time of 21:48 to secure 5th place.  Conor Sheridan slashed over thirsty seconds off his previous personal best, when he crossed the line in 22:01, taking 7th place.  Talented young Rhys McManus also recorded an impressive new personal best of 22:47 (9th place), accompanied by his father Mark McManus who followed in 22:49 (10th place).


Sandy Plumb was rewarded for his efforts with a 17th place finish in a time of 23:53, followed by Paul Clements who completed the course in 24:24 (20th place).  Paul was followed by his daughter Hannah just two minutes later; Hannah crossed the line in 26:32 to take 3rd place in the ladies category.  Tracey Parke and David Hall were next to finish, with Tracey clocking 27:34 (5th place lady) and David 27:36 (33rd place).  


John Steele ran the course with granddaughter Brooke, in a time of 31:08 to take 40th place overall, followed by Sally McKeown and Sarah Girvin who both ran well in 32:33 (12th place lady) and 33:50 (15th place lady) respectively.

Members Participate in Mass at Numerous Athletic Events!

This week the club’s members were in action in a variety of events and disciplines.  The action kicked off on Tuesday with the annual East Antrim Inter-Club race where great camaraderie was shown and 48 members raced with the men’s team claiming 3rd overall.  The weekend races started on Friday evening when Rowena Davis took a top ten place in the Killyleagh 5 Mile Race, followed by Saturday’s events including the Rathlin Run which attracted 12 East Coast AC members and where Murray Deller won a category prize and a top ten finish.  Also on Saturday, four of the club’s triathletes travelled to Castlewellan for the the Mourne Triathlon and the road runners in the club made use of parkrun events in Larne, Ballymena and Portrush.  On Sunday, both junior and senior athletes took to the streets of Carrickfergus for the Storming the Castle 10k and Chasing the Knight 1 mile races.


East Antrim Inter-Club Race

On Tuesday 25th August 2015, over 250 athletes turned out for the East Antrim Inter-Club Race, which was held in Cairncastle, Larne.  The annual event brings clubs located within the East Antrim area together and this year East Coast AC battled it out with hosts Larne AC, Ballymena Runners, East Antrim Harriers, County Antrim Harriers, Whitehead Runners and Seapark AC for the prestigious team prizes and individual honours.

The race requires men to complete a 5 mile ‘out and back’ course, with six athletes to count in the team standings; meanwhile, the ladies cover a 4 mile ‘out and back’ route, and each team needs four runners to count.  Although the main focus of the race is based around the team competition as well as the charitable aspect of the event, there are of course, prizes for the individual winners.  


In wet and blustery conditions, 48 East Coast AC athletes set off on the long gradual downhill start to loud cheers from the assembled spectators.  The ladies were first to return, with last year’s winner Allyson O’Toole well ‘in the mix’ amongst a large team from Ballymena Runners who were leading the field.  Although usually seen competing in shorter track events, Allyson performed to her usual high standard, finishing in 4th place in a time of 26:39.  Next for the club in the ladies race was Laura Hogg who bettered her 2014 time at the event by over forty seconds, finishing in 28:24 to take 9th place. Competing in the event for the first time, Connie Hodge impressed with a 32:12 finish time, claiming 25th place.

Angela Campbell then led a tightly packed group of East Coast AC ladies; Angela crossed the line in 33:56 (31st place), with Catherine Maxwell (34:01 – 32nd place), Nikki McNeill (34:02 – 33rd place), Glenda Girvin (34:15 – 35th place) and Ruth Maltman who bettered her 2014 time by over two minutes (34:25 – 38th place), all following in quick succession. 


Patrice Murphy and Tracey Parke finished next in 35:00 (42nd place) and 35:04 (43rd place) respectively.  Glenda Stewart crossed the line in 35:19 (46th place), followed by Sharon Hunter (36:03 – 51st place), Katie Glover (36:30 – 53rd place) and Lisa Graham (36:48 – 56th place).  Only seven seconds then split the trio of Kelly Deller (38:07 – 68th place), Sharon Kirkpatrick (38:11 – 69th place) and Linzi Conway (38:14 – 70th place) who all ran well.  Amanda Murray was next to finish, running 39:11 for the four miles to take 77th place.

Amanda Clements was the next black and yellow vest to climb the hill to the finish, clocking 40:04 for the distance (83rd place).  Fiona Rolston took a massive 3 minutes 14 seconds off her previous best at the race last year, finishing in 41:18 to take 87th place. Sally McKeown (41:51 – 90th place), Sonia Ross (41:52 – 91st place) and Donna Robertson (41:58 – 92nd place) all finished in quick succession, before Valerie Lyttle crossed the line in 97th place clocking 42:42.


Fiona Swann ran well with a 42:57 finish (101st place), followed by another group of East Coast AC ladies; Doris Kirby (43:48 – 103rd place), Karen McFaul (43:58 – 104th place), Dawn Ralph (43:59 – 105th place), and Heather Shaw (45:30 – 111th place) who all performed well.

In the men’s 5 mile race, it was recent track medal winner, Mark McManus who led the field for East Coast AC, finishing in 15th place in a time of 30:53.  Recent Seven Seven’s finisers, Murray Deller and Corey Urwin were next to finish, with the duo clocking 31:50 (19th place) and 32:17 (21st place) respectively.  The next familiar face to cross the line was club captain, Chris Davis who secured 31st place in 33:02.


John Steele and Callum Sittlington made up the remainder of the men’s team (first 6 to finish), and their performances of 34:40 (44th place) for John and 35:45 (46th place) for Callum helped the team secure a well-deserved third place in the team standings.  Brian Maltman then showed off the significant improvement he has made in the past twelve months, slashing his previous best on the course by almost 7 minutes (6:52) and running an impressive 36:35 for the five mile course to take 51st place.

James Robinson ran well with a 36:40 (52nd place) finish time, followed by Iain Bailie in 36:59 which secured him 53rd place overall.  Gary Hawe and Conor Sheridan finished just seconds apart, with Gary running 38:21 (61st place), and Conor finishing in 38:25 (62nd place).  Alex Robertson made a welcome return to competition after a recent injury, covering the course in 38:42 to take 64th place.


Stephen Smyth used the event as a warm up for his weekend run in Rathlin, performing well to claim 68th place in 39:25, before Lionel Date powered up the hill into the finish in 41:07 (79th place).  Martin Conway was next to finish (41:53 – 84th place), followed by Karl Joyce (42:53 – 89th place), David Finlay (43:18 – 91st place), Jim Scott (44:26 – 95th place) and club newcomer Aaron Kinkaid who finished in 47:06 (98th place).

Killyleagh 5 Mile Road Race

On Friday evening (28th August 2015), Rowena Davis took part in the East Down AC organised Killyleagh 5 Mile Road Race.  Rowena performed well in the popular annual event, proving her hard work in preparation for the upcoming Great North Run is paying off; Rowena completed the course in a new personal best time of 38:56, claiming 10th place in the ladies category and 3rd in her category.


Mourne Sprint Distance Triathlon

On Saturday 29th August, four of the club’s triathletes took part in the Castlewellan based Mourne Sprint Distance Triathlon.  Starting with a 750m swim in Castlewellan Lake, then a 20k out and back cycle towards Katesbridge which included some spectacular views of the Mournes, then a 5k run around Castlewellan Lake; the popular event attracted in excess of 250 athletes.


Recent Wasdale Ironman finisher, Danny Hylands was the first East Coast AC man to finish, covering the entire course in an impressive 1:18:43 to take 56th place (swim 15:12; bike 37:49; run 22:47).  Stephen Whelan followed less than a minute later claiming 66th place in a time of 1:19:34, after completing the swim in 16:50, covering the bike section in 37:11 and clocking 22:36 for the 5k run.


Junior triathlete Callum Sittlington impressed yet again when he finished in 111th place overall and 1st place in his category (male junior 16-17) in a total time of 1:24:25 (swim 14:09; bike 42:00; run 25:35).  Roy McMullan was next to cross the line; his quick swim time of 15:50 set him up well for the final two disciplines, having completed the cycle and run in 43:35 and 27:43 respectively, he finished in 170th place in 1:30:44.

Rathlin Run

Also on Saturday (29th August 2015), a number of East Coast AC members and their families took the short but stormy boat journey across from Ballycastle to Rathlin Island for the Rathlin Run 10 Mile race, hosted by NiRunning and Belfast Activity Centre.  The tough and undulating, but incredibly scenic route started at the Harbour Bay before taking athletes on a ‘bumpy’ journey out towards the West lighthouse before heading back into the Harbour area for the new, more atmospheric finishing area.


The in-form Murray Deller led the way for ECAC, claiming a well deserved 7th place in 1:12:22 which secured him 1st place in his category.  Drew Girvin was next to finish, crossing the line in 35th place and covering the 10 mile course in a time of 1:23:12.  After performing well in Tuesday night’s inter-club race, Brian Maltman yet again didn’t disappoint when he clocked 1:24:52 to take 44th place.

Karl Joyce finished next in 1:26:46 (53rd place), followed by John Steele (57th place) and Conor Sheridan (58th place) who crossed the line together in 1:27:38.  Stephen Smyth looked strong, despite the tough running conditions, as he entered the finish area and crossed the line in 1:30:49, claiming 68th place overall.  Next to finish were the East Coast AC ladies, with Tracey Parke leading the way in 1:39:30 (29th place lady), followed by Lesley Robinson in 1:40:23 (30th place lady).


Glenda Girvin made the last minute decision to race, and it turned out to be a good choice as she was rewarded for her efforts with a 32nd place finish in the ladies category and recorded a time of 1:41:11 for the course.  Kelly Deller ran well, covering the 10 miles in 1:57:30 (58th place lady) followed by Rosie Kerr who received the loudest cheer of the day, finishing in a time of 2:28:36 to claim 63rd place in the ladies category.

Storming the Castle 10k

On Sunday (30th August 2015), a large number of East Coast AC senior and junior athletes took to the streets of Carrickfergus for the new Storming the Castle 10k event. The course started at Carrickfergus Leisure Centre and covered a relatively flat and fast course, before finishing at Carrickfergus Castle.


As a warm up to the main event, there was a kids 1 mile race – Chasing the Knight 1 Mile - which was well supported by the East Coast Cheetahs, including Charlie Patterson, Bradie Hogg, Kelly Patterson, Rhys McManus, Keilan McManus, Hannah O’Toole, Lucy O’Toole, Maggie Deller, Cameron Smyth, Katie Monaghan, Annie Deller, Imogen Taylor, Curtis Robertson, and Rebecca Robertson.  (No official times are available for the 1 mile race)

In the main event of the day, the 10k race, it was Iain Bailie who led the familiar faces home, covering the fast course in 43:58 to take 47th place overall. Next across the line was Connie Hodge, finishing in an impressive time of 49:10 to claim 11th place in the ladies category, followed by Nikki McNeill who achieved a new 10k personal best of 52:25 when she finished as 29th placed lady.  Jim Scott had a good run, finishing in 53:11 (160th place), before David Finlay crossed the line in 54:42 to take 173rd place.  Glenda Stewart impressed with a 55:32 finish time (43rd place lady), followed by Lynn Magee and Nicola Robinson in 56:29 (48th place lady) and 57:22 (62nd place lady) respectively. 


Amanda Murray was the next familiar face to finish, covering the 10k in 1:01:41 to claim 88th place in the ladies category.  Championship Challenge race 1 winner, Karen McFaul was the next club member to reach the finish, clocking 1:08:22 (136th place lady), followed just seconds later by club mate Donna Robertson who ran well to finish in 1:08:35 as 138th placed lady.


Parkrun

On Saturday (29th August) morning, members were once again in action at parkrun events in Larne, Ballymena (Ecos) and Portrush.  In Larne, Sandy Plumb was the first club member home in a time of 25:58, securing 14th place, followed by Johanna McIlroy who finished in 27:02 to take 2nd place in the ladies category.  Junior athlete Daniel Gillan secured 19th place with a 28:09 finish time, before Sally McKeown crossed the line in 33:35 (9th place lady).  The next member to finish was Dawn Ralph who ran 34:46 for the undulating 5k course (12th place lady), followed by Stephanie Bird who clocked a new personal best of 40:23 (15th place lady).


In Portrush, Hannah Clements and her father Paul Clements took part in the popular but tough parkrun; with both completing this 5k for the very first time they ran well, finishing in 25:56 (14th place lady) and 26:02 (73rd place) respectively.  In Ballymena (Ecos parkrun), Charlotte Dean clocked 27:00 (12th place lady) for the 5k course, followed by Lionel Date and Mark Date, who ran 31:17 to take 100th place.


Lap The Lough

On Sunday (30th August 2015), Louise McAllister and Martin Taylor both completed the Lap the Lough cycle challenge, the 85 mile event starting from Peatlands Park in Dungannon, involved competitors cycling anticlockwise around Lough Neagh.  Although results are not yet available at the time of going to press, this is a great achievement for all involved and just rewards for months of hard training.  

McFaul Wins East Coast AC Series Opener!

This week, East Coast AC members impressed over a variety of events, including track and field, 5 mile road races and 5k parkruns.  The action kicked off on Thursday evening when three of the club’s junior members took part in the Firmus Energy Super 6 finale at the Mary Peters’ Track.  Five mile road races were then the popular choice for many at the weekend with the Mallusk Five Mile on Friday evening and the club’s 5 Mile Road Race on Saturday morning.


Firmus Energy Super 6

The final event in the Firmus Energy Super 6 Series was held on Thursday (20th August 2015) evening, and three of the club’s junior members took part in a variety of events, with all producing top class performances (as usual!).  In the mini boys 150m, Charlie Patterson ran a strong race to finish in 25.77, claiming 19th place overall.  Not content with this performance, he competed in the popular long jump event; Charlie impressed with a 2.99m jump, securing 6th place and a new personal best.  


Kelly Patterson lined up for the under 13 girls 800m; Kelly ran a great race, narrowly missing out on a podium spot when she clocked 2:41.14 to claim 4th place.  Kelly also threw impressively in the shot put event, achieving a distance of 6.20m to take 5th place.  Charlotte Dean took to the start line of the mini girls 600m, Charlotte ran well to finish in 6th place in a time of 2:17.84.

Mallusk 5 Mile Road Race

On Friday 21st August 2015, a number of East Coast AC athletes travelled to Mallusk for the second annual running of the Mallusk 5 Mile Road Race. The tough course which included a long gradual climb for the first couple of miles, attracted in excess of two hundred competitors.


John Steele was the first black and yellow vest to cross the finish line, covering the course in 36:50 to take 66th place overall and an impressive 3rd place in his category.  Next to finish was Alex Robertson, who showed he is well on track after a recent injury, finishing in 40:28 (107th place), followed by Karl Joyce in 44:17 (143rd place).  


Tracey Parke performed well to finish in a time of 46:27, securing 46th place in the ladies category.  Training partners Jacque Craig and Lionel Date completed the course together, covering the 5 miles in 49:40 to finish in 184th place and 61st placed lady respectively.

Club Championship Race 1 – 5 Mile Road Race

On Saturday morning (22nd August 2015) the club held the opening race of this year’s (2015/16) East Coast AC Championship Challenge Series; the 5 Mile Road Race – a 5 mile course starting and finishing at Larne Leisure Centre.  Almost 40 members lined up along the promenade as Ryan Maxwell set everyone off individually based on their handicap times; with Steph Bird starting first right through to Mark McManus who was last to take off on the 5 mile route.  


Having been the third person to set off, Karen McFaul worked her way up into first place, coming into the well-supported finish line in a time of 1:03:24, giving her an actual 5 mile time of 54:24.  Next to enter the promenade finish was Rosie Kerr who impressed with a time of 58:10, taking 3 minutes off her previous attempt at the race in last year’s Series and claiming 2nd place in the event.  The final podium spot was hotly contested between Karl Joyce and Linzi Conway who finished just two seconds apart; however it was Karl who pipped Linzi to the post, finishing in an actual time of 38:27 and gaining an impressive 21 places to take 3rd place; Linzi finished in 4th position with an actual 5 mile time of 46:59.

Gary Hawe put in a speedy finish to claim 5th place after running 35:56 for the distance, before Stephanie Bird ran 1:06:30 in what was her first attempt at the distance (6th place).  Nikki McNeill then led the way for what seemed line an endless stream of runners, Nikki finished in an actual time of 42:09 (7th place), followed by the fastest male athlete, Mark McManus (30:00 – 8th place), Sally McKeown (48:51 – 9th place), and David Finlay (39:55 – 10th place) who all made the top ten.


Amanda Murray and Angela Campbell both ran well, with Amanda finishing in an actual time of 48:56 (11th place) and Angela in a new personal best of 40:35 (12th place).  The ever-improving Brian Maltman looked strong as he neared the finish, clocking 34:16 to take 13th place overall. Kieran McKeown (33:57 – 14th place), Daniel Girvin (31:07 – 15th place), and Murray Deller (31:52 – 16th place) all received loud cheers as they neared the finishing area.

Although crossing the line at the same time of 1:07:53, James Robinson just edged clear to take 17th place (actual time of 35:23) and Glenda Stewart 18th in an actual time of 42:53.  Catherine Maxwell ran 43:26 to take 19th place, before Jim Scott was the 20th finisher in a time of 42:31.  Conor Sheridan (36:40 – 21st place), Lesley Robinson (42:21 – 22nd place), Mark Jordan (33:34 – 23rd place), and Lisa Graham (45:05 – 24th place) all impressed, crossing the line in quick succession.


Fiona Rolston was the next athlete to finish, covering the out and back course in 51:44 (25th place), before friends and training partners, Lynn Magee and Nicola Robinson both clocked 45:45 to take 26h and 27th place respectively.  Davy Hall (44:25 – 28th place) was followed into the finishing area by Ironman Corey Urwin who was accompanied by not one but two children in the buggy; Corey impressed with a 33:39 finish time to take 29th place.

Heather Shaw put in a good performance to finish in a time of 55:16 (30th place), followed by the fastest lady on the day, Connie Hodge in a time of 40:22 (31st place). The always smiling Paul Cunningham crossed the line in 52:59 to take 32nd place, before birthday girl Patricia Campbell claimed 33rd place in 55:02.  Kelly Deller was the next lady home, running 47:48 (34th place), followed by Amanda Clements (48:06 – 35th place), Valerie Lyttle (51:06 – 36th place), Donna Robertson (51:10 – 37th place), and Dawn Ralph (56:04 – 38th place) who all ran well.


The fastest men on the day were Mark McManus (30:00 – 1st), Daniel Girvin (31:07 – 2nd) and Murray Deller (31:52 – 3rd), while Connie Hodge was the fastest lady for the club in a time of 40:22 (1st), with Angela Campbell taking 2nd in 40:35 and Nikki McNeill 3rd in 42:09.  The club would like to thank everyone who helped support the event whether by running or marshalling.  Race 2 in the Series will take place on Sunday 20th September with the 4.2mile Ballyboley race.

Parkrun

This week (Saturday 22nd August), Ballymena (Ecos) and Larne were again the parkrun of choice for many East Coast AC members.  In Ballymena, Lionel Date along with his son Mark, covered the 5k course in 32:32 (Mark) and 32:33 (Lionel) to take 124th and 125th place respectively.


At the local Larne parkrun, the highlight of the day was young East Coast AC star, Hannah Clements celebrating her 50th parkrun.  Stephen Millar was first home for the club, claiming a new personal best in a time of 21:08 (5th place), before John Steele who was racing for the second time in as many days claimed 17th place in 23:50.   Hannah Clements achieved a new personal best of 23:51 when she secured 3rd place in the ladies category, followed by her father Paul in 24:11 (20th place).  


Ruth Maltman took 9th place in the ladies category with a time of 27:18, followed by junior athlete, Daniel Gillen who achieved a new personal best of 27:49 in 32nd place.  Corey Urwin used the parkrun as his warm up for the later 5 Mile Club Race when he ran the course alongside his young daughter Rachel (whilst pushing his son in the pram and keeping an eye on his dog who was trying to keep up!) in a time of 38:57 (64th place).  Note:  there may be a discrepancy with this week's Larne parkrun results; all above times have been taken from the official Larne parkrun website. 

Road, Mountain & Triathlon:  ECAC Impressed in All!

This week, East Coast AC athletes produced quality performances at road, mountain and triathlon events, once again showing their versatility.  The first event of the week was the Coleraine 5 Mile road race, where John Steele narrowly missed out on a podium spot for his age category.  On Saturday, the black and yellow vests were out in abundance; at the prestigious Seven Sevens British Championship mountain race and the must-do event for multi-sport enthusiasts, the Lough Neagh Triathlon.


Coleraine 5 Mile Road Race

The week’s athletics action for the club kicked off on Wednesday 12th August (2015) at the annual Coleraine 5 Mile Road Race; this year sponsored by Edwin May Nissan. The event attracted a quality field of nearly three hundred athletes including our very own John Steele, Iain Bailie and Sandy Plumb.


John Steele was first home for the club, completing the 5 miles in a time of 33:58 (71st place), which also secured an impressive 4th place finish in his category.  Iain Bailie appeared to have put his recent injury behind him when he clocked 34:42 for a 83rd place finish, followed by Sandy Plumb in 38:20 to take 134th place.

Seven Sevens

On Saturday 15th August 2015, three of the club’s mountain runners descended on the seaside town of Newcastle, County Down for the British Fell Running Championship Series finale, the Seven Sevens Mountain Race. The route, classed as a long race in terms of both the British Championships and the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championships, saw athletes summit the seven highest peaks in the scenic Mourne Mountains.  


At 30.5k in distance, with 2,675 metres of ascent, the race covered Slieve Donard, Slieve Commedagh, Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Meelmore, Slieve Meelbeg, before crossing Ben Crom Dam and onwards to Slieve Binnian and Slievelamagan - from Slievelamagan, participants made their way towards the 'Brandy Pad', following the well trodden path to Donard/Commedagh Saddle, before descending all the way to the finish in Donard Park at sea level.


Recent Wasdale Ironman Corey Urwin set the pace for the East Coast AC men; the talented athlete looked strong on the climbs and descended well to finish in a total time of 5:02:35, securing 58th place overall in what was a quality and internationally filled field.  At half-way both Mark Jordan and Murray Deller were almost side by side, and after almost 20 miles, the pair were only split by a matter of minutes; Mark finished in 5:51:46 (104th place) and Murray followed in 5:53:46 (106th place).


The Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) have also expressed their thanks to the team from East Coast AC who volunteered at the Ben Crom Dam checkpoint.

Acti-Snack Lough Neagh Triathlon

Also on Saturday (15th August 2015), four of the club’s talented triathletes took to the start line of the popular Lough Neagh Triathlon, this year sponsored by Acti-Snack and based in Ballyronan Marina.  All four took part in the sprint distance event which included a 750m swim, followed by a 20k cycle and then a 5k run.


With almost 400 competitors registered, the sell-out event is one of the most popular in the triathlon calendar, as well as being part of the Triathlon Ireland National Series.  International triathlete and one of East Coast AC’s leading ladies, Adele Neill was the first home for the club when she was placed 18th lady and 4th in her category with a total time of 1:20:00.  Adele started with a 19:05 swim time, followed by 37:12 for her 20k cycle and a 5k time of 21:43.


Stephen Whelan was the next East Coast AC member to take on the three tough disciplines and did so in fine fashion; finishing in 111th place overall in a total event time of 1:21:45.  Stephen started off well with a 22:57 swim, followed by a 34:57 cycle and finished with a 5k run time of 21:23.  Photo courtesy of Ken Murphy photography.


Next home was junior star, Callum Sittlington, who although braved a bad fall during the cycle section, finished well as 4th in his category and 154th overall.  Callum’s swim time of 19:50, followed by a cycle of 38:51 and a 5k run time of 25:01 meant he covered the entire course in 1:25:48. 


Although relatively new to the world of triathlon, Roy McMullan can regularly be seen on the results lists for many’s an event recently.  Roy finished impressively under the 90 minutes mark with a 1:29:54 finish time (189th place), made up of a 22:58 swim, followed by a 37:56 cycle and finally a 25:52 run.


Half Ironman

Also on Saturday, England based club member Peter McManus was in action as part of a Half Ironman relay in England.  Given his running talent, Peter was detailed the 13.1 mile running leg of the the event, which he completed in 1:56:00.

Parkrun

Every Saturday the club has great representation at parkrun events and this week was no exception, with members completing the free 5k timed runs in Larne, Ballymena (Ecos) and Newport (Wales).  The Larne parkrun, based at Carnfunnock Country Park was won by East Coast AC’s Andy Guy who took 1st place in a time of 19:24.  Brian Maltman was next to finish in 21:38 (6th place), before John Steele crossed the line in 22:26 (8th place).  Completing his 53rd parkrun, Sandy Plumb covered the 5k course in 24:26 (15th place), followed by Martin Conway who finished in 25:30 to take 19th place.


Junior star Hannah Clements is now just one more parkrun away from being part of the ’50 club’, she finished her 49th run in a time of 26:08 securing 3rd place in the ladies category, Hannah’s father Paul followed just one second later in 26:09 (21st place). 


Glenda Stewart achieved a new personal best of 26:58 when she finished as 4th place lady, before Johanna McIlroy reached the finish in 27:23 to take 5th place in the ladies category.  Sharon Hunter was next to finish, recording a new personal best of 27:41 over the 5k course, finishing as 7th placed lady.  Davy Hall claimed 33rd place when he finished in a time of 28:12, followed by young Charlotte Smyth who achieved a personal best for the second time this month, running 31:31 to take 12th place in the ladies category.  Not to be outdone by his sister, young Oliver Smyth impressed with a 39:37 finish time, taking 56th place overall.  Steph Bird completed the East Coast AC representation at the event when she ran a new personal best of 42:02, securing 22nd place in the ladies category.


In Ballymena, Charlotte Dean, Lionel Date and Mark Date all completed the Ecos parkrun.  Charlotte was first home for the club, covering the 5k course in 26:11 to take 11th place in the ladies category.  Lionel along with son Mark (who was completing his very first parkrun), ran the event together, with Mark finishing in 33:47 (98th place) and Lionel following just one second later in 33:48 (99th place).


Further afield in Wales, Sally McKeown took to the start line of the popular Newport parkrun.  Sally joined a large field of over 450 other athletes and ran well to claim a 105th place finish in the ladies category with a time of 31:42.

£1,047 Raised for Cancer Focus NI!

This week, East Coast Athletic Club presented a cheque to Cancer Focus NI for £1,047; raised by the club and it's members at the recent Lagan Dragon Regatta.


The regatta (31st May 2015) was organised by the Lagan Dragons, a dragon boat team rowed by cancer survivors.  The regatta was used to raise some much needed funds for Cancer Focus NI and also raise awareness.  


The East Coast AC team, captained by Linzi Conway, thoroughly enjoyed the event, and claimed 7th place.  Thank you to all who supported this event and donated very kindly to the fantastic charity.


Picture courtesy of Matthew Hall, Black Light Studios. 


Deller Impresses at the Lurig Challenge!

Lionel Date kicked off this weeks action on Monday 3rd August 2015, with an impressive run at the Dunmore Festival 6k Road Race in County Galway, Ireland! The event which is part of the Dunmore Festival Week attracted over 250 runners. The East Coast AC athlete covered the challenging 6 Kilometre route in 28:50 for 64th place.


On Friday 7th August 2015, in the County Tyrone, Stephen Kennedy and Claire Conway represented East Coast Athletic Club at the 5 mile Stanley Reid Memorial Road Race in Cookstown. The pair were amongst a record field of almost 350 runners who took on the notoriously undulating route. Claire and Stephen completed the course together, taking 251st and 252nd places respectively, with a time of 48:56.


On Saturday 8th August 2015 East Coast Athletic Club members again showed a strong presence at the popular Larne parkrun. Stephan Millar was the first of East Coast athletes to complete the Carnfunnock course, finishing the 5k time trial in 4th place, with a new Personal Best time of 21:20. John Steele, a regular at the event was next home for the club, in 5th position (21:43). The youthful Hannah Clements (25:45) was first female to cross the line for the East Coast club in 5th place, with her dad Paul Clements (25:45 - 22nd) close by. Sharon Hunter completed Parkrun for the first time, taking 9th place in the Female category with a fantastic time of 28:41. 


Kian McAllister, a Junior Male under 10 competitor, took 39th place overall in 29:02, before Daniel Gillian (JM11-14) reached Drains Bay finish in 44th place (30:08). The impressive Charlotte Smyth was next home for the East Coast AC, finishing in 20th position with a new Personal Best time of 31:50. Sally McKeown was the next female to reach the finish line, taking 22nd position for the ladies event (32:49). Sally was soon followed by Parkrun regular Patricia Campbell in 33:43 (33:43).

Also on Saturday 8th August 2015, further along the famous Antrim Coastline, four East Coast AC members completed the Lurig Mountain Race in Cushendall. The event, which is approximately 3.5 miles in distance, with 375 metres of ascent was part of a week long festival in the area and saw a mix of mountain, road and fun runners convene for the classic 'to the top and back' course.


Nearly 400 competitors took to the start line, with East Coast Athletic Club's Murray Dellar making it back to the village finish line in a new personal best time of 35:22 for 30th place. Brian Maltman was next across the line, like Murray, showing his qualities over a mix of terrain. Brian completed the relentless route in 44:58 (126th). Not to be outdone, East Coast ladies Kelly Dellar and Sharon Kirkpatrick ran very well, crossing the atmospheric finish line together in 1:04:17 for 300th and 301st positions respectively.

Parkrun PB's for East Coast AC's Jordan & Steele!

In what was a quieter week for many athletes, East Coast AC members still impressed over the 5k distances in Stormont, Ballymena and Larne.


Running Blind

On Saturday 1st August 2015, a number of East Coast AC athletes travelled to Stormont for a unique new running event – Running Blind.  Running Blind is a 5k organised by Pathfinder Dogs to raise funds for the training of guide dogs for blind people.  The run required participants to run in pairs, with one blindfolded and one as a guide, swapping over after one lap.


Although the event was aimed at fundraising and creating awareness, there was a competitive edge to proceedings and the East Coast AC athletes performed well in what was a tough but enjoyable race.  Tracey Parke was the first member to finish, along with partner Janice McGuckian in a time of 35:03 and taking 45th place.  Karl Joyce and David Finlay were just seconds behind in 35:06 to finish in 48th place.  Gillian Leetch-Armstrong finshed in 89th place, covering the 5k in a time of 41:03, followed by Dawn Ralph and Sarah Girvin who crossed the line in 41:42 (93rd place).

Parkrun

This week yet again, Larne parkrun and Ecos parkrun were popular choices for members, with no less than fourteen members stepping up to the 5k distances.  In Ballymena, young Charlotte Dean recorded a time of 26:32 at the Ecos parkrun, giving her a 16th place finish in the ladies category.


In Larne, Mark Jordan led the way with a new personal best of 20:13 to secure 6th place.  John Steele notched another six seconds off his personal best last week, when he crossed the line in 21:23, taking 10th place.  In his first outing since the excruciatingly tough Wasdale X Ironman, Danny Hylands impressed with a run time of 22:23 (15th place).


The talented young Bradie Hogg was rewarded for her efforts with a 3rd place finish in the ladies category, finishing in a time of 23:50, followed by another talented up and coming star, Harry Plumb completed the course in 24:47 (31st place).  Harry was followed by his father Sandy just a few seconds later; Sandy crossed the line in 24:59 to take 32nd place.  Hannah and Paul Clements were next to finish, with both clocking 26:46 and Hannah achieving 6th place in the ladies category and Paul 35th place overall.


Johanna McIlroy celebrated her birthday weekend with a top ten finish in the ladies, placing as 8th in a time of 27:29.  Louise and Kian McAllister both ran well, especially given that this was young Kian’s first attempt at the parkrun; both athletes finished in 28:35 with Louise placing 11th in the ladies category and Kian as 42nd overall.  David Hall and Sally McKeown both ran well with David finishing in 28:56 (43rd place) and Sally following in 32:05 (13th place lady).  Patricia Campbell completed the East Coast AC representation at the event, finishing as 17th placed lady in 33:27.

East Coast AC Dominate the Podiums in a week of Track, Tri & Road Race Action!

As we start to write each weekly report this summer, the same thoughts arise "So many races and so many people competing!", however, none more so than this week. As we trawled through results from various events, it brings a great sense of pride… junior athletes are developing and beginning to take podium spots in well-respected events throughout the country, and the seniors are pushing themselves to the limits in new events, new distances, and achieving top results in everything they do.


This week there were a number of junior athletes competing at the Dalriada Duathlon in Glenarm and the Firmus Energy Super 6 in Belfast; with Charlie Patterson taking a well-deserved victory and Rhys McManus and Kelly Patterson taking podium spots in their respective races.


The club was well represented at the Dalriada 5k and 10k during the week, as well as the Sunrise Run which was organised in memory of late club member Paddy Campbell.  


On the track, Mark McManus and Allyson O’Toole claimed Silver medals at the GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships, and members showed true team spirit when they joined together for the relay events which resulted in the ladies claiming a Bronze in the 4x400m.  The club’s triathletes impressed with two events in one week; the Dalriada Triathlon in Glenarm and just a few days later the popular Belfast Titanic Triathlon where Callum Sittlington was the first junior male to finish (outside of the top 3).  

Dalriada Duathlon and Triathlon

The week’s action kicked off on Wednesday with the Dalriada Festival which included a Junior Duathlon and Senior Triathlon.  The junior duathlon which consisted of a short run through the grounds of Glenarm Estate followed by a cycle on closed roads and finishing with a final short run through the scenic grounds, was a popular choice for many of the club’s junior athletes.  


Podium spots were secured in both the Under 10’s and Under 12’s event; Charlie Patterson claimed an impressive 1st place in his Under 10 race and Kelly Patterson was placed 2nd in her Under 12 race.  Other participants include Charlie Stewart, Imogen Taylor, Ally Kirkpatrick and Katie Kirkpatrick (no official results are available for this event).

After the junior athletes showed off their talents in the duathlon just a few hours earlier, it was time for the club’s senior triathletes to take centre stage in the Dalriada Triathlon, also part of the Dalriada Festival in Glenarm.  The sprint distance triathlon consisted of a 750m swim taking place in the sheltered and invigorating waters of the Irish Sea, followed by a leisurely (or not) transition from the water to start the 20k cycle inland, up and above Glenarm village, gaining spectaular views on the return leg. The event finished with a 5 km run course which was flat and fast, taking in the scenic grounds of Glenarm Castle estate.


Stephen Millar proved he is back on track after a recent break at the beginning of the year due to injury, when he finished in 13th place overall with a time of 1:22:26 (swim 14:50, bike 42:51, run 22:57) which also secured 2nd place in his category.  Next to finish for the club was a young triathlete with great potential - Callum Sittlington. Callum’s 15:00 swim, followed by 45:30 cycle and 23:32 run meant he claimed 20th place in a total time of 1:25:31 and also secured 2nd place in his category.


After only taking up the sport of triathlon recently, Roy McMullan has impressed with top class performances in each of his races, and this was no different.  Roy completed the course in a total time of 1:33:26, including a 15:58 swim time, a 47:54 bike time, and 26:57 for the 5k run (40th place).

Firmus Energy Super 6

On Thursday evening (23rd July 2015), junior athletes Rhys McManus and Charlotte Dean travelled to the Mary Peters’ Track in Belfast for the fifth meet in the Firmus Energy Super 6 Series; a series of track and field events to encourage young athletes to ‘have a go’ at a variety of events while also providing high level competition for the more experienced senior athlete.


Charlotte Dean was first to take to the start line in the Under 13 Girls 100m; Charlotte ran well to cover the distance in a time of 17.85, taking 16th place.  


Rhys McManus was competing in the Mini Boys 1000m event and impressed as he gradually moved towards the head of the field, finishing fast in 3rd place in a time of 3:36.46.

Dalriada 5k & 10k

On Friday 24th July 2015, a record number of athletes turned out for the annual Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k races in the coastal village of Glenarm. The 10k competitors were faced with a challenging but scenic two lap route, while the 5k athlete completed one lap of the same course.  


In the 5k, Donal Ward was the first man home for the club, clocking 25:40 to take 45th place.  Louise McAllister followed in 27:28 (13th place lady), before junior athlete Daniel Gillen crossed the line in 28:35 (70th place).  Mother and daughter duo of Gillian and Caitlin Pike finished together, with Gillian clocking 32:01 (36th place lady) and Caitlin 32:03 (35th place lady).  One of the youngest competitors, Oliver Smyth, crossed the line in 33:04 (105th place), followed by Fiona Swann and Tracey Shannon who ran 33:26 (47th place lady) and 34:29 (49th place lady) respectively.  Ashley Smyth ran well in 37:40 to take 65th place in the ladies category.  Competing in her first 5k, Catherine Beggs covered the course in 38:36 to claim 69th placed lady.

In the 10k event, Iain Bailie and Conor Sheridan finished well up the field and just seconds apart, with Iain clocking 47:54 (36th place) and Conor 48:10 (40th place). Training partners Stephen Smyth and Adrian Smith encouraged each other around the course and crossed the line side by side, however chip timing meant that Stephen took 56th place in 51:31 and Adrian 57th place in 51:30.  


Connie Hodge took a top ten finish and was the first female home for the club in a time of 52:01 (10th place lady).  Lionel Date looked strong as he reached the finish line, covering the course in 53:20 to take 68th place overall.  Tracey Parke and Glenda Stewart both ran well to finish in 55:47 (21st place lady) and 58:16 (26th place lady) respectively.  


Next to cover the challenging route were three more of the club’s ladies; Jacque Craig led the trio in 1:03:59 (40th place lady), before Amanda Murray (1:07:13) and Donna Robertson  (1:09:06) completed the East Coast AC contingent and a great day for the club in 45th and 46th place respectively.

O’Brien Challenge

On Saturday 25th July 2015, Karl Joyce joined almost fifty other hardy athletes from across the province in Davagh Forest, close to Cookstown, for the annual O'Brien Challenge, an event co-hosted by Sperrin Harriers.  The tough 26.2k course took in the impressive Davagh Forest trails and proved popular with competitors.


In arguably his toughest race to date, Karl excelled with a time of 2:38:09 for the 26k challenge which secured him 38th place.  


Belfast Titanic Triathlon

For the second time in under a week, Roy McMullan and Callum Sittlington were in action in the world of triathlon events, this time at the popular Belfast Titanic Triathlon which attracted almost 180 athletes.  Both competing in the sprint event, the duo faced a 750m swim in Belfast Harbour, just below the Lagan Weir, followed by a 20k cycle along Belfast’s Donegall Quay towards the Odyssey complex, Holywood Exchange and back to Queen Elizabeth Bridge.  The final discipline comprised of a 5k run  towards the City Hall before returning to the Titanic area to finish.


In poor conditions Callum Sittlington took 1st place in his category (outside of the top 3 positions) with a total time of 1:15:42 and 20th place overall which was quicker than his 2014 performance in the same event.  Callum started well with a 13:48 swim time, followed by a 37:09 cycle and a 24:04 run.  Roy claimed 75th place after completing the swim in 15:27, covering the 20k cycle route in 40:48 and finishing the 5k run in 28:48, resulting in a total event time of 1:26:28.

The Sunrise Run

On Sunday 26th July 2015, nearly fifty competitors took to the start line of the club’s own organised annual Sunrise Run.  The race was 5k and started and finished at Dixon Hall in Larne in memory of late club member and friend Paddy Campbell.


Although the main focus of the event was on celebrating the life and achievements of Paddy, there was of course a competitive edge to proceedings.  After a dominant run, it was Daniel Girvin who led the field home, completing the challenging two lap course in 19:23 (1st place).  


Chris Davis and Drew Girvin followed in 20:39 (2nd place) and 21:37 (3rd place), before John Steele clocked 21:51 (4th place) for the distance.  After missing out on the event last year due to a serious injury, James Robinson was cheered into the finishing area after running 22:19.

Hannah Clements was rewarded for her efforts with a podium spot, finishing the ladies race in 3rd place in a time of 25:17, followed by her father Paul in 25:18 (11th place).  Another father and daughter duo finished next, with young Rebecca Robertson crossing the line in 27:51 (7th place lady) followed by her father Alex in 27:54 (20th place).  Sandy Plumb encouraged young Curtis Robertson around the Carnfunnock Country Park based course, both finishing in a time of 28:33 (21st and 22nd place).  


Karl Joyce was next to finish in 29:15 (23rd place) followed by Nicola Robinson who sprinted down the finishing straight to cross the line in 29:53 (9th place lady).  Katie Glover (30:30 – 26th place lady), Jacque Craig (30:35 – 12th place lady) and Lionel Date (30:35 – 28th place) all finished in quick succession.  Linzi Conway finished in 33:02 (13th place lady), just one second ahead of Fiona Rolston who completed the course in 33:03 (14th place lady).


Patricia Campbell and Donna Robertson received loud cheers as they crossed the together in 34:35 (15th & 16th place ladies), followed by Eva Craig in 43:25 (17th place lady).  East Coast AC would like to thank everyone who volunteered at the event as well as those who supported the early morning event and raised much needed funds for NI Chest Heart & Stroke (final balance to be confirmed in the coming days).

GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships

Also on Sunday (26th July 2015), a number of members travelled South to Tullamore for the GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships. 


The first event of the day was the 100m, where club coach Jenny Magill competed in the Vet 35 race; Jenny came in in 7th place in a time of 16.08, just 0.01 seconds off her previous best at the distance.  In the 200m event, Jenny Magill again lined up for the Vet 35 race; in what was her first competitive attempt at the distance, Jenny ran a time of 34.57 to take 9th place.


East Coast AC female athlete of the year (2014/15) proved her worth when she secured a national silver medal in the 400m event (Vet35 category) by running 1:06.09, missing out on 1st place by less than one second.  In the same event, but running in the Vet 45 heat, Gillian Leetch Armstrong made her track debut with a 1:22.98 clocking for 5th place.

Next up was the men’s 400m, where the club’s head coach Mark McManus was in action.  Mark covered the 400m in a time of 54:27, narrowly missing out on 1st place by 0.64 seconds, but claiming a well-deserved silver medal in 2nd place.


The final events for the East Coast AC contingent were the 4x400m relays, where the club had representation in both the male and female events.  In the men’s race, the team of Mark McManus, Andy Guy, Kieran McKeown and Murray Deller all ran exceptionally well to complete the distance (covering one mile) in a time of 4:05.75 which secured 7th place.  In the ladies event, the team of Allyson O’Toole, Jenny Magill, Glenda Girvin and Gillian Leetch-Armstrong were rewarded for their efforts with a prestigious bronze medal when they crossed the line in 3rd place in a time of 5:28.14.

Parkrun

This week, East Coast AC members yet again travelled to Ballymena and Carnfunnock for the Ecos and Larne parkruns.  In Ballymena, Charlotte Dean completed the 5k course in 26:21 to take a top ten spot in the ladies category (9th place).  Meanwhile, in Larne, there were celebrations for Sandy Plumb’s 50th parkrun as well as a number of personal bests from members.  John Steele led the way with a personal best of 21:29 to take 5th place, followed by Brian Maltman in 21:42 (6th place).  Junior club captain, Bradie Hogg took an impressive 2nd place in the ladies category after running 23:41 for the distance.  Friends Sandy Plumb and Paul Clements both ran well, with Sandy covering the 5k course in 24:09 (17th place) and Paul following in 24:40 (18th place), before the talented young Harry Plumb finished in 24:56 (19th place).  Another talented junior star, Hannah Clements claimed 5th place in the ladies category with a finish time of 26:06.

Impressive Performances From 5k to 100 Miles!

This week East Coast AC athletes showed off their impressive talents at a variety of events, from 5k to 24 hours; the black and yellow vest was worn with pride.  The action kicked off on Friday evening with the Sea 2 Sky multi-terrian race and the Energia 24 hour race on the Mary Peters’ Track.  On Saturday, members travelled to Dervock for the Kennedy Kane McArthur Festival of Running, the local Larne parkrun and further afield, the Isoman Quarter Marathon in Redditch.  East Coast AC was again represented in the world of triathlon at the ‘hardest Olympic distance triathlon in the North’ – the Browns Bay Beast Triathlon organised by Hi-Elbow.


Sea 2 Sky

On Friday 17th July 2015, mother and son duo of Jacque Craig and Karl Joyce travelled to the seaside town of Newcastle (Co. Down) for the Born 2 Run organised  annual 'Sea 2 Sky 10k' race.  In windy conditions, they covered a trail and road based course, which in places, offered excellent views over Newcastle and the surrounding area.


Karl Joyce looked strong as he neared the finish line, running well over what was a challenging course, clocking a finish time of 58:41 which secured him 415th place.  Jacque Craig was placed 244th in the ladies category when she crossed the line in a time of 1:10:19.

Kennedy Kane McArthur Festival of Running

On Saturday 18th July 2015, nearly three hundred athletes descended on the County Antrim village of Dervock for the annual Kennedy Kane McArthur Festival of Running, an event which offered runners the opportunity of racing over 10k and Half Marathon distances.  The latter was also part of the Pure Running Half Marathon Series.


Both John Steele and Sandy Plumb took to the start line of the half marathon event along with almost two hundred other athletes.  John Steele impressed in what was only his second attempt at the distance, covering the 13.1mile route in a time of 1:45:55 (83rd place).  Sandy Plumb had a good outing also when he finished under the infamous two hour barrier with almost two minutes to spare, finishing in a time of 1:58:12, securing 133rd place overall.

Energia 24 Hour Race (inc AAI National 24hr Championships)

At 6:45pm on Friday (17th July 2015), NI and Ireland international Justin Maxwell lined up for the start of the annual Energia 24 hour race at Mary Peters Track in Belfast, which once again incorporated the AAI National 24 hour Championships, therefore attracting participants from across Europe and as far afield as Australia and the Philippines, all of whom run through the night and into Saturday 19th July, finishing at 6.45pm in the evening.  


Justin started off well; after 6 hours he was in 6th place and working his way through the field with 39 miles covered.  However, after approximately 85 miles, Justin began to suffer from the effects of a damaged hamstring which resulted in severe swelling behind the knee; determined to cover 100 miles he battled on and went through the landmark distance in approximately 17 hours.  At which point, he stepped off the track after guidance from medical staff, in the hope that the swelling would reduce and allow him to continue.  Unfortunately, this was not the case; however, Justin’s distance of 100.7 miles secured him 26th place.  Everyone at East Coast AC wishes Justin a speedy recovery.

Browns Bay Beast Triathlon

Also on Saturday, (18th July 2014), Stephen Whelan took part in the Browns Bay Beast Triathlon; described as the toughest Olympic distance triathlon in the North!  The event comprised a 1.5k swim in the ‘balmy’ waters of Brown Bay followed by a very undulating and demanding 40k bike and 2 lap hilly 10k run.


Stephen most definitely ‘beat the beast’ when he took a top twenty position (18th place), after an impressive overall finish time of 2:37:29 for all three disciplines.  Stephen’s swim time of 29:35 set him up welk for the 40k bike section which he covered quickly in 1:18:49, after all of this he still managed a speedy 10k in 46:52.


Newton Isoman Quarter Marathon

Also on Saturday (18th July 2015), Peter McManus was in action at the Newton Isoman Quarter Marathon, a 6.55 mile race around Arrow Valley lake (Redditch, England) and the surrounding areas. The event was organised alongside the popular Isoman triathlon.


Peter completed the 6.55 miles in 51:56, although no official results are available at present, Peter performed well and was placed high in what was a competitive event.


Parkrun

This week, Larne was the parkrun of choice for many members.  Brian Maltman led the way for East Coast AC when he completed the tough course in 22:11 to take 8th place.  Young Bradie Hogg impressed when she was 3rd placed lady in a time of 24:35, followed by Johanna McIlroy in 27:54 (7th place lady).  Junior athlete, Daniel Gillan secured a new personal best of 28:48 when he finished in 32nd place, before Patricia Campbell crossed the line in 35:32 (16th place lady).


East Coast AC Members excel at Road and Track events!

This week, athletes took on road and track events including the North Down AC track and field meet, the Great Rossa Run, the Titanic Half Marathon, Titanic 10k and the ever popular parkruns in Larne, Ballymena and Worcestershire.


North Down AC Track & Field Meet

The week’s action kicked off early with Tuesday evening (7th July 2015) racing for Allyson O’Toole and Jenny Magill at the third North Down AC Track and Field Meet in Bangor.  Making her debut on the track, club coach Jenny competed in the 100m event, crossing the line in a time of 16:07 which secured 5th place in her heat.  Allyson O’Toole lined up in the first of the ladies 400m races, clocking 66:68 for the distance which was first place in her heat.


Great Rossa Run

On Sunday 12th July 2015, Stephen Kennedy joined over four hundred other athletes at the second annual running of the Great Rossa Run in Ardboe, County Tyrone; an event that offered competitors a choice of three distances, namely Half Marathon, 10k and 5k.


After completing the 10k in last year’s event, Stephen decided to ‘up the distance’ this year and ran in the half marathon.  Stephen put in a top class performance to claim 21st place in an impressive time of 1:31:42.

Titanic Half Marathon and 10k

Also on Sunday (12th July), four East Coast AC members travelled to Belfast’s Titanic Quarter for the much talked about Titanic Half Marathon and 10k.  Conor Sheridan ran well in the half marathon, finishing in a time of 1:48:24 which secured him 162nd place overall.  Competing in her third half marathon this year, Tracey Parke showed she is in top form when she crossed the line in 211st place and clocking 1:54:10.  


Friends Karl Joyce and club newcomer David Finlay both completed the 10k; Karl covered the course in a time of 49:08 taking 41st place, before David followed in 64th place after running 52:18.


Parkrun

On Saturday morning (11th July 2015), a number of members completed the weekly 5k parkrun time trials, with the local Larne parkrun being a popular choice for many.  Drew Girvin led the way for the East Coast AC contingent in Larne, finishing in 10th place in a time of 21:17, before John Steele covered the course in 22:05 to take 12th place.  Sandy Plumb completed the tough course in 24:13 (29th place) before his son Harry crossed the line in 24:58 (35th place).  Junior captain Bradie Hogg secured 6th place in the ladies category when she finished in 25:06.  Johanna McIlroy’s time of 27:26 meant she was the 8th placed lady to finish, followed by young Daniel Gillan in 29:32 (53rd place).

At the Ecos parkrun in Ballymena, Charlotte Dean was the first black and yellow vest to finish, clocking 26:58 for the distance and securing 14th place in the ladies category.  Mother and daughter duo of Colleen and Imogen Taylor completed their first Ecos parkrun side by side, with Imogen finishing in 42:09 (50th place lady) and Colleen 42:10 (51st place lady).


In Worcestershire, Peter McManus ran a new personal best of 23:19 at the Evesham parkrun, claiming 29th place.

East Coast’s Clements gives Star Performance at North Coast!

In a week where it seemed everyone had Tall Ships fever and temperatures began to soar, East Coast AC members produced a number of top class performances in running events both locally and as far as the Scottish Isle of Harris.  


North Coast 10k

The week’s action kicked off on Thursday evening (2nd July 2015) with the North Coast 10k in the sunny seaside town of Portrush.  In warm conditions, Gary Hawe led the East Coast AC athletes in towards the finish line, completing the 6.2mile course in a time of 46:49 (49th place), followed by Nigel Taylor and John Steele who were just seconds apart in 47:42 (56th place) and 47:47 (57th place) respectively.  Sandy Plumb had a great run, dipping under the fifty minutes in a finish time of 49:42 to take 73rd place.  


The performance of the night has to go to the father and daughter duo of Paul and Hannah Clements; junior athlete Hannah completed her first 10k, crossing the line with Paul in an impressive 51:16 (87th and 88th place).  Jim Scott was cheered into the finish area by family, recording 54:37 for the distance to take 117th place.

Spelga Skyline

On Saturday 4th July 2015, Mark Jordan and Phil Smyth descended on Spelga Dam for the sixth race of the ongoing Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship, the Spelga Skyline – for the first time, the race was run officially in memory of Denis Rankin with the winner being awarded a special trophy in memory of the late mountain running star.


The event, hosted by BARF saw competitors cover a tough 21k course, which incorporated 1,400m of ascent.   In misty conditions, the athletes set off uphill from Spelga Dam and negotiated the summits of Butter Mountain, Slieve Meelbeg, Slieve Loughshannagh, Slieve Muck, before crossing Deers Meadow to Slieve Moughanmore and onwards to Pierces Castle, Rocky, Hen and finally Cock Mountain before the technical descent back to the Spelga Dam finish line.


The in-form Mark Jordan impressed with a finish time of 4:05:12, claiming 26th place overall and 3rd in his category.  Phil Smyth had an excellent run, when he was 28th to cross the finish line in a time of 4:15:03.

Hell For Leather 10k

Also on Saturday (4th July), Johanna McIlroy travelled to Moneyglass for the Hell 4 Leather 10k Road Race.  Although no official results are available at present, Johanna performed to her usual high standard and placed well in the almost two hundred strong field.


Harris Half Marathon

On Saturday, Peter McManus completed the Harris Half Marthon, a popular event in the Scottish running calendar and one which attracts a large number of entries from the Scottish mainland and beyond.  Peter ran well over the scenic but undulating route which starts on the spectacular sandy beaches on the west side of the island before climbing across a stretch of rugged, loch-strewn moorland and finally descending towards the finish in the vibrant ferry port of Tarbert.  Peter completed the 13.1 miles in a time of 2:06:25, claiming 108th place overall.

Parkrun

This week the club had an abundance of members attending parkrun events, the free weekly timed 5k run.  In Larne, John Steele took 10th place 22:40, followed by young Bradie Hogg who achieved a new personal best of 23:19 (2nd place lady).  Paul Clements ran well in 23:20 (19th place), before Sandy Plumb crossed the line in 23:59 (21st place).


Junior athlete, Hannah Clements secured 3rd place in the ladies category with a 24:31 clocking, followed by another young runner, Daniel Gillen in 28:49 (39th place – new personal best).  Sally McKeown completed her 26th parkrun in 33:00 to claim 18th placed lady.  Imogen Taylor achieved a new personal best of 44:43 (43rd place lady) while running with her mother, Colleen Taylor (44:44 – 44th place lady).


In Ballymena’s Ecos parkrun, young Charlotte Dean secured 9th place in the ladies race with a finish time of 27:21.  In the popular Waterworks parkrun in Belfast, Stephanie Bird ran a new parkrun personal best of 41:13, taking 47th place in the ladies category.


East Coast AC Excel in a Busy Week of Road, Trail, Tri and Mountain events!

This week East Coast AC athletes impressed in both running and triathlon events, with many taking part in the final race of the EAH Forest Trail Series, the Hill & Dale Series, the Ards Half Marathon and also two of the club’s triathletes completing the Hell of the West and the Ballywalter Sea Sprint Triathlon.


East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series

The week’s action kicked off on Tuesday 23rd June 2015, when East Antrim Harriers welcomed nearly two hundred athletes to the fourth and final race of their popular annual Forest Series.   The final race was run in Woodburn Forest, just outside Carrickfergus, where competitors completed a tough 4.5 mile course in warm conditions.


Mark Jordan was the first black and yellow vest to cross the finish line, and did so in fine fashion, taking a 23rd place finish in 29:39.  The ever-improving Brian Maltman was next in a time of 31:46 (46th place), before James Robinson and John Steele followed just seconds later in 31:54 (48th place and 5th in age category) and 32:18 (54th place) respectively.


Sandy Plumb was the next East Coast AC man to complete the 4.5mile course, crossing the line in 34:34 to take 76th place.  Connie Hodge was the first lady home for the club when she recorded a time of 35:36, claiming 17th place in the ladies category.  Lionel date finished well after a battle with a swarm of flies three miles into the course, clocking 37:37 to take 98th place.  Lesley Robinson ran well to take 31st place in the ladies category in a time of 38:42 (5th place in age category).  Gary Hawe also completed the event but due to an issue with results, no times are available at present.

Hill & Dale Race 11

On Friday evening (26th June 2015), Mark Jordan and Phil Smyth were in action at the finale of the 2015 Hill & Dale Race Series hosted by Newcastle AC.  This week, competitos reconvened in Donard Park in Newcastle for the running of the Drinahilly race.  The Drinahilly course, in comparison to the other events in the Series is considered as a flat fast trail route comprising of 1,080ft ascent/descent.


Although Mark raced just a few days earlier at the EAH Forest Trail Series, he showed no signs of fatigue when he ran an impressive time of 27:29 to take 51st place and 4th in his age category.  Completing in every race of the Series, Phil ended on a high note when he descended down towards Donard Park to cross the line in 31:31, claiming 114th place overall. Photo courtesy of Newcastle AC.

Hell of the West Triathlon

On Saturday (27th June 2015), Adele Neill travelled to Limerick, Ireland for the Kilkee Hell of the West Triathlon; one of the longest running triathlons in the world.  The olympic distance triathlon is organised by the Limerick Triathlon Club and starts with 1500m in the relatively calm waters of Kilkee’s horse shoe bay, but with a 44km cycle against the winds of west Clare and a 10km hilly run along the rugged coastline of Loop Head – this is not an easy race for any triathlete.


Adele was competing in the event as part of the Super Series, the second of six races as part of the National Championships of Triathlon Ireland.  Adele’s swim time of 30:09 set her off for a good start, completing the 44k cycle in 1:19:37 and finishing with the 10k run in a time of 45:18; giving an overall time of 2:37:02, this secured an impressive 8th place in the ladies Super Series as well as 11th lady overall.  Photo courtesy of Hi-Elbow Triathlon Club.

  

Ards Half Marathon

On Friday 26th June 2015, Murray Deller took to the streets of the County Down town of Newtownards for the annual Ards Half Marathon, which was the sixth race of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Half Marathon Series.


In humid conditions, the eight hundred strong field set of the tough but rewarding course.  Almost immediately, Murray made his way into a strong looking pack of runners and it looked from the off that he was in good form and heading for a personal best.  This was indeed the case, as Murray reached the atmospheric finish area in a time of 1:28:24.  


Peninsula Sea Sprint Triathlon

On Sunday (28th June 2015), relative newcomer to the world of triathlon, Roy McMullan proved he has certainly got a talent in the multi-discipline event when he travelled to Ballywalter for the Peninsul Triathlon Club hosted Sea Sprint Triathlon.  The East Coast AC man performed well on the East Coast town in the Ards peninsula, claiming a 67th place in a total time of 1:25:16.


The event consisted of a 750m open water swim, 20km bike and 5km run and Roy excelled in each of the disciplines, completing the swim in 16:41,before cycling 20k in 40:30 and finally running the 5k run in 24:09.

Parkrun

On Saturday morning (27th June 2015), members took part in two local parkruns, the Larne parkrun based in and around the grounds of Carnfunnock Country Park and the Ecos parkrun in Ballymena.  In Larne, no less than fourteen athletes took park in the free 5k run.  Chris Davis led the way for East Coast AC when he took 7th place in 20:39, followed by Justin Maxwell in 21:19 (8th place).  Event regulars Brian Maltman and John Steele finished just seconds apart, with Brian running 21:47 (14th place) and John running 21:58 (15th place).  Completing his 55th parkrun, Paul Clements finished in 19th place in a time of 22:39.  


Next it was the club’s junior athletes who finished closely together, with Harry Plumb covering the tough 5k course in 24:17 (24th place), followed by newly elected  Girls Junior Captain Bradie Hogg in 24:19 (3rd place lady), before Hannah Clements took 5th place in the ladies category in 24:47.  Sandy Plumb recorded 25:01 for the distance to secure 30th place in what was a competitive field.  Johanna McIlroy was awarded 8th place in the ladies category when she finished in a time of 28:11, with Cyndy Hay following in 32:04 to claim 17th placed lady.  


Junior athlete Caitlin Pike and Patricia Campbell both ran well, finishing in 33:17 (23rd place lady) and 33:37 (24th place lady) respectively.  Suzanne Lough completed the East Coast AC representation at the event with a 44:48 finish time to take 27th place in the ladies category.  


In Ballymena, young Charlotte Dean covered the Ecos parkrun in a time of 26:34, claiming 7th place in the ladies category.

Track, Tri and West Highland Way... Class Acts by East Coast AC!

In what is one of the highest profile weekends for the club, it is impossible to pick the performance of the week; East Coast AC athletes not only did themselves proud but did the club proud when they impressed at events in Scotland, England and of course our home, Northern Ireland.  The club competed over the mountains in style, with Justin Maxwell claiming a 4th place finish in the West Highland Way and Mark Jordan and Phil Smyth completing race 10 in the Hill &Dale Series.  On the track, Mark McManus and Allyson O’Toole were awarded medals in the NIMAA Track & Field Championships.  In the world of triathlon, Corey Urwin and Danny Hylands took on the ‘World’s Hardest Full Ironman’ (Wasdale X), while Stephen Whelan completed the Causeway Coast Triathlon.  Road running wasn’t forgotten about either, with Lisburn 10k, half marathon and fun run attracting a large group of members with many achieving personal bests.  Although we may be biased, this weekend has most certainly shown off the talent within the club across a variety of distances, terrains and even disciplines. 


West Highland Way

In the early hours of Saturday (20th June 2015) morning, club chairman and international athlete Justin Maxwell took on one of the UK’s toughest long distance events, the 95 mile West Highland Way Ultra, which included approximately 4,000m of accumulative ascent.  The classic race, which year on year attracts top class competition takes athletes from Milngavie to Fort William (Scotland).

Justin proved he is one of the country’s top endurance athletes when he moved his way through the field to finish in 4th place in a time of 17:58:31.  If this wasn’t impressive enough, Justin’s 95th mile was ran in a time of 5:38!


NIMAA Track & Field Championships

Also on Staurday (20th June 2015), two of the club’s track stars travelled to the home of athletics in NI, The Mary Peters’ Track, for the Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Association Track & Field Championships.  Running in the 400m and 800m, club coach Mark McManus showed his worth when he was awarded not one but two gold medals for his category.  In the 400m Mark ran a time of 53.9 seconds which was a seasons best.  Up against stiff competition, Mark impressed yet again in the 800m, taking 3rd place overall and 1st in his category with a time of 2:08.95.


Allyson O’Toole proved she was a worthy winner at last week’s prize giving when she came home with two bronze medals in both of her events, the 400m and 800m.  In the 400m, Allyson ran a new personal best of 1:05.84 but didn’t stop there, she also ran her best ever time in the 800m event with a 2:31.01 clocking.

Wasdale X

On Sunday (21st June 2015), Corey Urwin and Danny Hylands took on the ‘Wasdale X’ - the worlds hardest Full Iron Man Triathlon. Set entirely in England's Lake District National Park, this Ultimate Triathlon challenges Triathletes in all three disciplines.  The 2.4 mile swim in Wastwater, England's deepest and most forbidding freshwater lake is both breathtaking and aw-inspiring. The 112 mile bike leg takes in all the Lake District road passes, closely following the legendary Fred Whitton sportive route, whilst the run section (marathon distance – 26.2miles) takes the athletes along the top of the 500m high Wasdale Screes before ascending England's highest peak, Scafell Pike.  At 140 miles (226km), with a record breaking 16,994 ft (5,180m) of ascent, Wasdale X is quite rightly described as the Ultimate Triathlon.


In his first ever Ironman event, Corey powered through each of the three disciplines to finish in an outstanding 37th place, including 18th in his category in a time of 16:15:55.  Although this was Danny's second Ironman, it was most definitely the toughest, however Danny didn't let that deter him, he covered the swim, cycle and run in an impressive 17:02:51 to take 51st place overall.

Lisburn Half Marathon, 10k & Fun Run

On Wednesday 17th June 2015, thousands of athletes brought the City of Lisburn to a standstill as they took on the annual Lisburn Half Marathon and 10k road races, as well as the popular 3k fun run.  


The half marathon, which is also part of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series boasted a new flatter, faster course; however, that was in some ways negated by the blustery conditions, especially in the first section of the course.  Matthew Hewitt continued to impress after his win at the recent Mourne Way Half Marathon, when he took a top ten placing in what was a talented field.  Matthew finished in 1:18:18 (9th place), all the more inspiring give that this was his second ever attempt at the race distance.  One of the club’s most improved athletes, Tracey Parke ran well also, finishing just outside the two hours in 2:00:15 (placing not available).

In the 10k, Chris Davis led the way with an 81st place finish in a time of 40:40.  Karl Joyce had a strong run, finishing in 52:44 to claim 657th place.  Although relatively new to running, Glenda Stewart showed she has quite a talent when she crossed the line in 54:49 to take 209th place in the ladies category.  


Siblings and junior members, Kelly and Charlie Patterson ran in the popular 3k Fun Run.  After what seemed as an endless field of runners, it wasn’t long before Kelly soon followed by Charlie returned to the finish line.  Although the event was not officially timed, Kelly and Charlie both performed to their usual high standards and finished well up the field.

Hill & Dale Race 10

On Thursday 18th June 2015, Mark Jordan and Phil Smyth joined nearly two hundred other athletes for Race 10 of the Hill & Dale Series 2015, hosted by Newcastle AC.  The ‘Meels’ race started at 'Happy Valley' in the heart of the stunning Mourne Mountains, covering a 3.5 mile route, incorporating 1,800ft of ascent over Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Meelbeg.


Fresh from his Mourne Way Marathon two weeks ago, Mark finished in 79th place with a time of 40:08.  Phil, who has completed in every Hill & Dale race to date had another good run, finishing in 43:17 to take 115th place.


Causeway Coast Triathlon

On Saturday (20th June 2015), Stephen Whelan travelled to Portrush for the Causeway Coast Triathlon.  Stephen completed the first discipline, the two lap swim course on East Strand measuring a total of 1.5k in 34:41, followed by the 37k bike section in a time of 1:06:26.  Stephen clocked 48:39 for his final 9.3k run, finishing on White Rocks Beach in a total course time of 2:33:28 to claim 76th place.

Parkrun

Also on Saturday, the club was well represented at the Larne parkrun, a free weekly 5k time trial held within the confines of Carnfunnock Country Park.  Dan Girvin was first home for the club in 19:16, taking 2nd place, followed by his father Drew Girvin in 21:08 (10th place).  John Steele recorded 21:45 for the distance, with friends Paul Clements and Sandy Plumb following in 23:02 (21st place) and 23:12 (22nd place) respectively.


Junior athlete, Hannah Clements ran well to take 4th place in the ladies category with a finish time of 25:03.  Tracey Park and Charlotte Dean both achieved personal bests when they finished in 26:50 (9th place lady) and 27:12 (10th place lady) respectively.  11th placed lady was Johanna McIlroy who crossed the line in 27:31, before young Charlotte Smyth completed the East Coast AC contingent in 38:07 (22nd place lady).


Gran Fondo

On Sunday (21st June 2015), Glenda Stewart took part in the inaugural Gran Fondo Giro D’Italia.  Glenda completed the 55k Belfast section which attracted thousands of spectators in what was a significant event for Northern Ireland.


ECAC Athletes Enjoy Club Championship Finale!

This week East Coast AC members competed over a variety of terrains and distances, including races in the Mourne Mountains and shorter 5k road events as well as the popular multi discipline sport of triathlon.  On Saturday evening, the club celebrated it’s 2nd birthday with the annual prize giving evening for the 2014/15 year, presenting members with trophies for a number of awards as well as announcing the winner of the East Coast AC Championship Challenge Series.


Hill & Dale Race 9 (Hen & Cock)

The week’s action kicked off on Thursday evening (11th June 2015) with Race 9 of the popular Hill & Dale Series. On this occasion, nearly two hundred athletes took on Hen & Cock Mountains, covering a route that measured 3.5 miles in distance, with 1,600ft of ascent.  Phil Smyth, who is now no stranger to these events having completed in each one to date, took on the challenging course and ran well to finish in 140th place in a time of 46:57.  Photo used courtesy of Newcastle AC.

Club Championship Race 11 – 5k

The final race in the East Coast AC Club Championship Series was held on Saturday 13th June, a 5k race starting and finishing at Sandy Bay in Larne.  With a mass start, all athletes started off together just after 9am and pre-determined handicap times were then added to each runners result to give final championship times.


In windy conditions, international athlete Justin Maxwell, completed the 5k route in a time of 18:04.  Andy Guy was 2nd after running 18:40, followed by Daniel Girvin in 19:16 (3rd place).  Murray Deller took 4th place in 19:41 before Mark Jordan and Drew Girvin finished in 20:08 (5th place) and 21:11 (6th place) respectively.  


Brian Maltman continued his good form of late with a time of 21:20 (7th place), with Alex Robertson (22:01 – 8th place), John Steele (22:26 – 9th place) and Conor Sheridan (22:51 – 10th place) all running well and completing the top ten.  Sandy Plumb looked strong as he crossed the line in 23:21 (11th place), followed by Lee Stirling in 23:45 (12th place); Lee’s time meant he was awarded 1st place in the championship race once his handicap was added, proving that he is back to form after a period of injury.  Karl Joyce and Alan Glover both ran well with Karl taking 13th place in 24:40 and Alan taking 14th place in 24:54.


Glenda Girvin was the first lady home after running 25:00 for the distance, followed by Jim Scott in 25:26 (16th place).  The second lady to finish was Ruth Maltman who covered the course in a time of 26:05, before Glenda Stewart took 3rd place in the ladies category in 26:12.  Club newcomer David Finlay ran 26:42 (19th place), followed by Johanna McIlory (27:06 – 4th place lady), David Hall (27:14 – 21st place) and Kelly Deller (29:34 – 5th place lady) who all finished under 30 minutes.


Sally McKeown secured 6th place in the ladies category with a finish time of 30:38, followed by Paul Cunningham in 32:08 (24th place).  Friends Patricia Campbell and Marie Glover both ran well in 32:23 (7th place lady) and 32:45 (8th place lady) respectively, before Christine Irwin crossed the line in 34:55 to claim 9th place in the ladies category.  Once handicap times were added to the actual finish times, Lee Stirling was awarded 1st place, with Jim Scott in 2nd and Karl Joyce and Glenda Girvin jointly placed as 3rd.

Firmus Energy City of Derry Triathlon

On Sunday 14th June, two of the club’s triathletes travelled to the City of Derry for the Firmus Energy City of Derry Traithlon; a 750m open water swim in the River Foyle followed by a 20km closed road cycle culminating in a 5km flat run that takes in key attractions around the City including the iconic Peace Bridge.


Adele Neill claimed 12th place in the ladies category with a total time of 1:20:20, completing the swim in 16:05, the cycle in 39:58 and finishing with an impressive run time of 22:37.  Adele’s time also secured her 3rd place in her age category.  Competing in his third triathlon in no less than three weeks, Roy McMullan produced another top class performance with a 1:29:02 finish time to take 218th place overall.  Roy completed the swim in 19:47 before a fast cycle of 39:48 and finally running the 5k in 26:15.


Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race

On Sunday 14th June 2015, Phil Smyth joined over sixty other mountain runners at the annual Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race.  The event was the fifth race of the ongoing Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship.  Phil completed the 11 mile course (including 3,000ft of ascent) in an impressive time of 2:32:54 to take 50th place overall.


Parkrun

With the local Larne parkrun being cancelled this week, a number of members travelled to Ballymena for the popular Ecos parkrun.  Paul Clements secured a new 5k personal best when he finished in 21:36 to take 24th place.  It was personal bests for all in the Clements household when young Hannah Clements ran 24:00, claiming 3rd place in the ladies category.  Another talented junior athlete, Harry Plumb followed in 24:26 to take 53rd place overall.

2014/15 Prize Giving

On Saturday evening (13th June 2015), the club’s members relaxed after the morning’s 5k race with an evening of entertainment in the form of the 2014/15 2nd Annual Prize Giving.  After an introduction from the club’s chairman, Justin Maxwell, the nominees and winners of each award were announced by Ryan Maxwell along with details of each nominees performances during the period.  The evening was a great reminder to all of some of the club’s achievements during the past twelve months, as well as a chance for the club to say thank you to all who have represented East Coast AC during competitive events.  


The nominees and winners were as follows:

Club Championship Challenge Series Winner

1st place – Ruth Maltman

2nd place – Glenda Girvin

3rd place – Mark Jordan


Most Improved Athlete

Nominees:  Glenda Girvin, Chris Davis, Tracey Parke, Rowena Davis, Murray Deller

Winner:  Rowena Davis

Female Athlete of the Year

Nominees:  Allyson O’Toole, Catherine Maxwell, Glenda Girvin, Adele Neill

Runner Up:  Adele Neill

Winner:  Allyson O’Toole


Male Athlete of the Year

Nominees:  Matthew Hewitt, Murray Deller, Justin Maxwell, Andy Guy

Runner Up:  Matthew Hewitt

Winner:  Justin Maxwell


Female Veteran of the Year

Nominees:  Glenda Girvin, Adele Neill, Allyson O’Toole, Morna Wright

Runner Up:  Adele Neill

Winner:  Allyson O’Toole


Male Veteran of the Year

Nominees:  Mark McManus, Kieran McKeown, Andy Guy, Murray Deller

Runner Up:  Kieran McKeown

Winner:  Andy Guy

Female Performance of the Year

Nominees:  Morna Wright at Rathlin Run (category winner), Allyson O’Toole in Track & Field (medal winner), Adele Neill at Lough Cutra Castle Half Ironman (2nd place), Allyson O’Toole at East Antrim Inter-Club Race (1st place)

Winner:  Adele Neill at Lough Cutra Castle Half Ironman (2nd place)


Male Performance of the Year

Nominees:  Justin Maxwell at Armagh International Road Races (5k pb), Matthew Hewitt at Mourne Skyline GTR (3rd place), Murray Deller at Brustin Brae Challenge (1st place), Andy Guy at London Marathon, Kieran McKeown at NIMAA 400m (Gold)

Winner:  Matthew Hewitt at Mourne Skyline Granit Trail Race (3rd place)


Club Person of the Year

Nominees:  Justin Maxwell, Mark McManus, Catherine Maxwell, Rosemary Kerr

Winner:  Justin Maxwell


Female Spirit of East Coast Award

Winner:  Fiona Swann


Male Spirit of East Coast Award

Winner:  Chris Davis


Paddy Campbell Memorial Trophy

Winner:  Kelly Deller


Junior Captains

Boys Captain:  Rhys McManus

Boys Vice Captain:  Cameron Smyth

Girls Captain:  Bradie Hogg

Girls Vice Captain:  Hannah Girvin


East Coast Athletic Club would like to thank everyone who made the night possible and all members for their hard work during the year.

Matthew Hewitt wins Mourne Way Half Marathon as ECAC enjoy a variety of events!

In a week when the sport of athletics has been the focus of so much negative publicity, athletes from East Coast Athletic Club have been producing performances that would make you wonder if if they had visited a certain American coach; however, their achievements prove nothing more than the fact that good old fashioned hard work and dedication pays off!


In terms of quality performances over tough terrain and weather conditions, the local athletes very much proved themselves to be hard characters and worthy competitors.


Ballymena Runners Fairhill 5 mile Road Race:

There may not have been just as many races on the official fixture calendar this week, but those that were, attracted huge crowds. The busy week kicked off on Wednesday 3rd June 2015 with the Fairhill 5 mile road race in Ballymena. As this event was also considered (by East Coast AC) as an external race within the Club Championship, there was an excellent turnout.


In almost perfect running conditions, it was the in-form Murray Deller who led the ECAC contingent home in 30:11. Mourne Way Marathon bound Mark Jordan followed in 32:40, before four black and yellow vests finished within twenty seconds; Drew Girvin (34:16), Brian Maltman (34:33) and James Robinson (34:33) crossed the line before John Steele, Alan Glover and Alex Robertson recorded 35:03, 35:31 and 35:32 respectively.


Paul Clements looked in good form as he finished in 36:09, while the ever improving William Gallagher crossed the line in 36:51. A mere eighteen split Adrian Smith (37:20) and Gary Hawe (37:38), but there was even less between Sandy Plumb and the club's first female finisher, Connie Hodge. Sandy covered the route in 38:01, with Connie running 38:07. Lionel Date continued his return from injury with a 39:01 finish, while David Finlay missed a forty minute finish by just thirty seconds when he ran 40:36.

One of the Club Championships top performers, Ruth Maltman reached the Main Street finish area in 41:24 – Karl Joyce produced a strong finish, crossing the line in 41:44 before the always impressive Tracey Parke ran 42:19. 


Glenda Stewart and Kelly Deller finished in 42:52 and 46:17 respectively. Paul Cunningham dipped under the 50 minute barrier when he ran 49:24. Club newcomer Amanda Murray looked impressive as she finished in 50:01 (4th place). Christine Urwin joined her club mates in 54:08, while Karen McFaul completed the ECAC contingent in 59:07.


East Coast Cheetahs also had the opportunity to participate in the event, with at least three taking part in the 2.5 mile run associated with the 5 mile race. Rhys McManus claimed 2nd place, with fellow Cheetahs Hannah Clements and Harry Plumb following close behind.


After the Club Championship handicap times had been taken off the official finish times, club 'new'boy' David Finlay was declared as the winner, with Murray Deller and Connie Hodge being the fastest make and female athletes.

Mourne Way Marathon Series:

On Saturday 6th June 2015, at least sixteen East Coast AC members and friends joined athletes from all over the world at the annual 26extreme Mourne Way Marathon Series; the exciting programme of events included a 52.4 mile ultra-marathon, a marathon, a half marathon and also a 10k, all of which covered the stunning mountain-trails of the Mourne Mountains.


Club and Committee member Chris Davis could not have picked a harder marathon to celebrate his birthday, but the quickly improving athlete worked hard alongside fellow ECAC man and friend Mark Jordan to cross the line side by side in 5:06:16 (70th and 71st place). There were four familiar faces in the Half Marathon, with Matthew Hewitt, Phil Smyth, Murray Deller and Kelly Deller all taking to the start line.


Matthew put in arguably the performance of his life in what was his half marathon debut. The Richill based athlete was always a contender, but as the field reached the half way mark, Matthew put in a fearless decent which allowed him to move clear of the field, before winning in 1:24:14 (1st place). Murray Deller narrowly missed a top ten finish in 1:38:42 (13th place), while Phil used his recent Hill & Dale experience to secure a 1:55:29 (52nd place) finish; a smiling Kelly Deller, alongside daughter Maggie finished in 2:28:24 (187th place).


In the 10k race, Brian Maltman produced an excellent performance to narrowly miss a top ten finish, crossing the line in 45:26 (14th place). Philip Greer looked strong as he cruised across the line in 48:09 (25th place). Nicola McNeill also ran well and negotiated the tough terrain to finish in 57:27 (87th place), just ahead of club mate and friend Sharon Kirkpatrick, who clocked an excellent 59:13 (98th place). Martin Taylor put his recent injury woes aside as he completed the course just outside the one hour mark in 1:01:52 (109th place). Despite hurting her foot, Amanda Clements finished strongly in 1:04:06 (115th place). Alongside the adult events, for the first time, there were a programme of races for children – East Coast AC members Rhys McManus, Kielan McManus, Maggie Deller, Annie Deller, Imogen Taylor, Toby Taylor, Katie Monaghan and James Home all performed well!


Black Pear 1 mile Time Trial:

In England, club member Peter McManus took part in the Black Pear Athletic Club 1 mile time-trial event. The ever improving athletes put his recent training to the test and put in a good performance to record a mile time of 6:41.


Crooked Lake Triathlon:

On Sunday 7th June 2015, club members Danny Hylands and Roy McMullan joined nearly five hundred fellow triathletes at the Crooked Lake Triathlon in Camlough, just outside Newry (County Armagh). Ironman Danny completed the course in 1:15:25 (114th place) will the ever consistent Roy McMullan crossed the line in 1:27:39 (297th place).

Parkrun:

As always, East Coast AC athletes attended 5k parkrun events around Northern Ireland – this week, the Larne parkrun and ECOS parkrun were the focus of attention for club members.


In Larne, John Steele, who was running with Paul Clements for most of the way, finished in 22:51 (12th place), with Paul following in 22:54 (14th place). Sandy Plumb returned to the Drainsbay start/finish area in 23:56 (19th place), just ahead of son Harry Plumb, who recorded an excellent 24:26 (20th place). Young Hannah Clements excelled, leading the ladies home in 24:28 (1st place lady), while Karl Joyce recorded 25:09 (23rd place). 


Daniel Gillan ran 29:50 to finish in 33rd place. Jacqui McLoughlin, a regular at the event, ran 27:23 to secure 4th place in the ladies standings, before Sally McKeown and Tracey Shannon timed 30:47 (8th place lady) and 33:53 (11th place lady) respectively. Suzanne Lough completed the ECAC contingent in 44:01 (13th place lady).


In Ballymena, young Charlotte Dean joined nearly one hundred and fifty athlete on the start line of the ECOS parkrun. Charlotte, a regular at the event, completed the course in an impressive 26:17, taking 12th place in the ladies category.


Also this week...

East Coast AC were well represented at the local Larne Maratime Festival and Larne Alive's Night Time cycling event. Club members, family and friends took to the town's streets for both of the events, which proved very popular with local residents.

Maxwell competes at World Championships on another busy weekend for ECAC!

In an extremely busy week of competition, East Coast AC went international, with athletes taking part in events in France, Scotland, Ireland and of course, Northern Ireland.  Justin Maxwell competed for the Ireland team at the Ultra Trail World Championships whilst Brian Maltman took on the Edinburgh Half Marathon and Andy Guy paced the Walled City Marathon to perfection.  Members got the weekly fix of the trails and mountains at the 7th Hill & Dale Race, the annual Belfast Hills 8.8k event and the 2nd race in the East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series.  


As well as competition, the weekend brought with it two fantastic fundraising events; the Race for Life and the Lagan Dragons Boat Race.


East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series:  Race 2 – Tardree

On Tuesday 26th May 2015, over one hundred and fifty athletes turned out for the second race of this years East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series, which on this occasion, took place in Tardree Forest in Antrim.  The course measure 3.3 miles in distance and covered a challenging route which no less than eight East Coast AC members took on.

Friends and training partners Mark Jordan and Chris Davis both ran well, with Mark making it to the finish line first in a time of 22:08 taking 25th place, followed by Chris in 22:18 (27th place).  James Robinson, a regular in the Series last year, finished in 48th place (24:24), before John Steele clocked 25:11 for the distance (60th place – 3rd in age category). 


Relative newcomer to running, Gary Hawe ran well to secure 73rd place in a time of 26:10.  Alan Glover and Lionel Date were only seconds apart, making it an interesting and competitive race between the duo, with Alan finishing in 26:58 (87th place) and Alan in 27:03 (89th place).  East Coast AC’s only female representative at the event, Lesley Robinson claimed 37th place in the ladies category in a time of 30:10.

Hill & Dale Series (Race 7 – Loughshannagh)

On Thursday 28th May 2015, Phil Smyth took on the seventh race of this years Hill & Dale Series, hosted by Newcastle AC.  Loughshannagh was the venue of choice, with competitors taking on a tough 5 mile course, which incorporated 1,700ft of ascent.  As with tradition, the route was reversed, which saw the athletes cover the course 'anti-clockwise'.  As well as being a Hill & Dale race, this event was also part of the NIMRA Championship, falling within the 'short' course criteria.


Phil Smyth impressed again at this event which was arguably the toughest of the Series races to date; completing the course in 1:03:52 to take 141st place.


IAU Ultra Trail World Championships

In the early hours of Saturday morning (30th May 2015), Justin Maxwell represented Ireland at the IAU Ultra Trail World Championships in Annecy, France.  Alongside team mates Jonny Steede (Unattached), Dan Doherty (Inishowen AC), Paul Tierney (Ambleside AC) and Barry Hartnett (Tipperary Triathlon Club), Justin performed well over what was a gruelling course, measuring 85k in distance, with 5,500m of accumulative ascent.  Justin secured 92nd place in 11:09:56 which helped Ireland claim 13th place in the world rankings.

Belfast Hills 8.8k

Also on Saturday (30th May 2015), Johanna McIlroy and Jim Scott joined nearly one hundred other athletes for the 3rd annual Belfast Harriers Belfast Hills 8.8k mountain-trail race.  The race offered participants a unique ‘urban’ opportunity to test themselves over the trails of Cave Hill Country Park, taking in the stunning views from Belfast Castle, Bellevue and McArt’s Fort.


The East Coast AC duo of Jim and Johanna ran well as they encouraged each other around the tough yet scenic course, with both athletes making use of their recent hill training sessions with the Club.  The pair crossed the line side by side in a time of 55:50 to claim 67th (Jim) and 68th (Johanna) place.

SSE Walled City Marathon

On Sunday 31st May 2015, East Coast AC’s Andy Guy was official pacer for the 3rd annual running of the SSE Walled City Marathon.  Despite the windy conditions, Andy took control full of his 3 hour pacing pack, setting off from the Everglades Hotel in the Prehan Area of the City, where they completed a short 'out and back' section before heading towards the City Centre via the well used River Foyle towpath.  Andy covered the 26.2 mile course in a perfect pacing time of 2:59:40, helping a large number of runners achieve the infamous sub-3 hour finish time.


Edinburgh Half Marathon

Also on Sunday (31st May 2015), Edinburgh hosted it’s popular half marathon which was part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, a weekend of activities ranging from 5k to marathon distance.  Brian Maltman made the journey ‘across the water’ to Scotland’s historic capital city for the 13.1mile race.  The race, which was once voted as the fastest half marathon in the UK certainly lived up to its name when Brian secured a new personal best over the course.  Brian crossed the finish line in 1:42:41, which wasn’t only an impressive personal best (almost 13 minutes off his previous attempt at the distance) but exceptional given the fact that Brian has only taken up running less than year ago since the Club’s Jog Larne programme last summer.

Leinster Masters Track & Field Championships

On Sunday (31st May 2015), two of the club’s star track athletes made their way to the Leinster Masters Track & Field Championships in Tullamore, Ireland.  Mark McManus and Allyson O’Toole competed in the hotly contested 800m event with both athletes putting in top class performances.  Ally and Mark took first place in their categories, with Ally running 2:31:97 and Mark running 2:09:14 for the distance.


Race for Life

Also on Sunday, a large team of East Coast AC ladies took part in the largest and most popular ‘Race for Life’ 5k and 10k; a women-only annual event held at Stormont in Belfast to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.  The 5k event started in the morning (10am) with the 10k starting a few hours later in the afternoon at 2pm.

Although the race was not timed, it was a fantastic way for club members to fundraise through the sport that they love, with both young and old lacing up their trainers for both distances.  Members that took part include, Imogen Taylor, Colleen Taylor, Ashley Smyth, Charlotte Smyth, Caitlin Pike, Gillian Pike, Nikki McNeill, Charlotte Dean, Katie Glover, Suzanne Lough, Anne McAllister, Patricia Campbell, Marie Glover and Matilda Dean and Donna Robertson.


Parkrun

This week East Coast AC yet again supported the local Larne parkrun as well as the Ballymena based Ecos parkrun.  In Ecos, all eyes were on young Rhys McManus who cruised around the course in an impressive new personal best of 21:36 (17th place) along with his father Mark McManus (21:37 – 18th place).


John Steele was the first man home for the club at the Carnfunnock based Larne parkrun, finishing in a time of 22:11 to take 12th place.  John was followed by Paul Clements in 23:05 (19th place), before his friend and training partner Sandy Plumb crossed the line in 24:10 (24th place).  Junior star Hannah Clements secured 5th place in the ladies category after running 26:33 for the 5k distance.  East Coast Cheetah, Jake Dempsey was rewarded for his efforts in training with a new personal best of 27:21 (37th place), followed by fellow junior athlete to achieve a personal best, Caeli McLoughlin, in a time of 28:21 (7th place lady).  Another young up and coming athlete, Daniel Gillan completed his first ever parkrun in an impressive 29:07.

Lagan Dragons Fundraising Regatta

On Sunday (31st May 2015), East Coast AC athletes swapped their trainers for paddles when they took part in the Lagan Dragons Charity Boat Race.  The ‘Lagan Dragons’ are a dragon boat team based at the River Lagan (Belfast) for women with a diagnosis of breast cancer and the regatta was a way for the team to race money for Cancer Focus NI.


East Coast AC were one of seven teams taking part in the event, and the team were in high spirits despite being a little ‘out of their depth’ at times against the more experienced rival teams.  The East Coast AC team consisted of Linzi Conway (team captain), Gillian Leetch-Armstrong, Marty (aka Mary) McToal, Johanna McIlroy, Cate Devine, Catherine Beggs, Jacqui McLoughlin, Fiona Swann, Iain Bailie, James Robinson, Dawn Ralph, Jacqueline Mulvenna, Morna Wright, Doris Kirby, and Fiona Kirkpatrick.

In the first heat, team ECAC were up against hot favourites, the home team - ‘Lagan Dragons’.  The heat proved entertaining for team members and spectators alike; with continuous songs and cheer down the Lagan, ECAC may not have had the fastest time but certainly lifted the crowds sprits and built the atmosphere for what would be an enjoyable day of fundraising.  


In the second heat, the team had gained two new members fresh from their Race for Life exploits just hours earlier, Katie Glover and Suzanne Lough joined the boat whilst Fiona Swann found her calling when she moved up front to be ‘drummer’ and team coach.  After a slow start, the team went out on their last attempt ‘all guns blazing’, with the final race being lost with only the narrowest of margins, a photo finish may indeed have been required!  Team ECAC finished in 7th place but altogether raised in excess of £500 for Cancer Focus NI.

Clements Hits 50 as Neill & Hewitt also Excel!

On one of the busiest weekend of the year, East Coast AC athletes were once again in the thick of the action. Distance, terrain and challenging conditions did not stand in the way of the local athletes as they impressed at events across the province.


Hill & Dale Series (Race 6 - Rocky):

The weekend action kicked off early (Thursday 21st May 2015), when club members Phil Smyth and Catherine Maxwell took on Race 6 of the ongoing Hill & Dale Series; on this occasion, Rocky Mountain was the venue of choice, with over 200 athletes taking on four summits, which accumulated to 4.25 miles in distance and 1,600ft of ascent. 


Phil, who has completed every race in the Series this far, once again showed his ever improving strength in the mountains when he crossed the line in 49:31 (132nd place). Despite taking a bad fall, Catherine produced arguably her most impressive performance in the mountains to date, completed the tough course in 57:13 (28th place lady).

Runher Coastal 10k and 5k:

On Friday 22nd May 2015, at least twelve East Coast AC ladies joined close to 1,500 competitors at the annual, and very popular, Runher Coastal Challenge 10k and 5k events, which took place on scenic trails along the North Down coastline.


The 10k race started in Seapark and the 5k set off from Rockport, with both finishing within the confines of the scenic and atmospheric Crawfordsburn Country Park, close to Bangor.


Connie Hodge continued to show her potential, leading the black and yellow vests home in an excellent 47:56 (45th place). Tracey Parke produced the performance of her life to slash an incredible eight minutes off her time on the course last year, after crossing the line in 52:04 (116th place). Less than five minutes split the remainder of the East Coast AC ladies in the 10k; young Sarah Girvin impressing with 1:01:32 (469th place) finish and was closely followed by Lesley Robinson (521st place – 1:02:37) and Amanda Murray (563rd place – 1:03:27). 


Just twenty three second split Hazel Ritchie and Christine Irwin, with Hazel clocking 1:04:09 (589th place) and Christine 1:04:32 (601st place). Dawn Ralph and Jacque Craig crossed the line together, recording 1:06:21 (637th place) and 1:06:22 (638th place) respectively.


In the associated 5k, Gillian Pike and Ashley Smyth both performed to their usual high standard. Gillian dipped under the infamous 30 minute marker when she completed the challenging course in 29:56 (33rd place). Ashley followed in an excellent 35:53 (118th place).

Mayfair 10k:

The weekend action continued on Saturday 23rd May 2015, when a number of club members made the short journey along the A8 to Ballyclare for the inaugural Mayfair 10k road race and associated 5k, an event hosted by County Antrim Harriers as part of the annual Mayfair celebrations.


Iain Bailie was the first familiar face home as he crossed the line in 42:55, taking 44th place. The always improving John Steele followed in 46:07 (77th place), before Alan Glover recorded 46:55 (85th place). 


The strong running trio of Alex Robertson (91st place - 47:41), Stephen Smyth (97th place – 48:07) and Gary Hawe (101st place – 48:40) crossed the line in quick succession, while Sandy Plumb missed a sub 50 minute finish by the narrowest of margins; still his 50:03 (121st place) finish time was an impressive outing over what was a hilly course.

Angela Campbell powered into the finish area to cross the line in 52:09 (28th place lady), just ahead of Polly Dix, who covered the 6.2 mile route in 52:45 (32nd place lady). Despite finishing one place behind Polly, 10k debutant Jim Scott's chip time saw him record 52:43 (144th place) for a notable performance. Tracey Parke showed little signs of fatigue from her excellent run at the Runher Coastal 10k just over twelve hours earlier when she crossed the line in 54:02 (41st place lady); the smiling Gillian Leetch-Armstrong finished in 54:34 (44th place). 


Glenda Stewart, Karen Monaghan and Patrice Murphy, three ladies still quite new to the competitve racing scene, showed their potential with strong performances to complete the ECAC contingent in the 10k – Glenda ran 56:20 (51st place lady), with Karen and Patrice finishing in 56:54 (54th place lady) and 58:58 (63rd place lady).


In the competitive 5k, Johanna McIlroy was in good form as she produced a stong performance and narrowly missed a top ten finish in the ladies race as she crossed the line in 28:35 (11th place lady).

Newry 10k:

On Sunday 24th May 2015, East Coast AC ladies Jacqui McLoughlin, Joanne Knox and Doris Kirby lined up alongside hundreds of fellow runners at the annual Newry Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k event.


All three worked hard and were rewarded for their efforts; Jacqui was well in the mix as she finished in 36th place in the ladies race, having crossed the line in 55:06. Joanne and Doris could hardly be separated, but in the end it was Joanne who claimed the friendly 'bragging rights', after running 1:03:05 (74th place lady), with Doris following just behind in 1:03:42 (76th place lady).

Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon (Half Ironman) and Try-A-Tri Triathlon:

This week also saw East Coast AC athletes impress in the world of triathlon, with Adele Neill and Roy McMullan impressing at separate events. At the gruelling Lough Cutra Castle Half Ironman in Galway (Ireland), Adele Neill well and truly staked a claim for 'athlete of the week' status as she climbed the podium in what was her first time competing over Half Ironman, or should we say, ' Half Ironwoman' distance. The international duathlete/triathlete completed 1,900m swim in 35:24, the 96k cycle in 1:36:49 and the final 21k run in 1:44:15 to secure 2nd place in an overall time of 5:27:35. 


In Camlough, just outside Newry, Roy McMullan looked in good form as he completed the Try-A-Tri Triathlon, which comprised of a 250m swim, 6k cycle and 3k run, in 43:44 (23rd place).


Parkrun:
Parkrun has become part of the local running community's staple diet; a weekly opportunity to improve their 5k personal best in a safe and non-competitive environment – an opportunity taken by many East Coast AC athletes each week.

This week, despite the plethora of quality performances, a special mention must go to Paul Clements – Paul, a regular at the Larne parkrun completed his 50th parkrun, an excellent achievement and one that has guided him from novice runner to recognised athlete status. 

On a memorable day, Paul completed the two lap Larne parkrun course in 22:53 (17th place); he was accompanied by wife Mags (12th place lady – 37:37) and daughter Hannah (1st place lady – 24:53). Club mate Conor Sheridan also ran well, and was the first ECAC member home in 22:42 (12th place). At the ECOS parkrun, young Charlotte Dean again impressed with a 27:00 finish, securing 24th place in the ladies category.

Elsewhere this week...

In England, Richill based East Coast AC man Matthew Hewitt showed that he is back to his best following injury as he recorded 16:33 for a 3.3 mile course; interestingly, the Armagh parkrun regular recorded a massive new 5k personal best during the race, passing through the 3.1 mile marker in 15:33! 


Coming Up:

- Saturday 13th June 2015 see's the final East Coast AC Club Championship Race, an external event at Larne parkrun as well as our 3rd annual Club Awards Night in St John's Masonic Hall, Larne. The event is open to club members, family and friends and tickets are available to purchase on the club website.

Patrice Murphy Wins Brustin Brae Challenge!

On Tuesday 19th May 2015, the club held it’s 9th Race of the East Coast AC Club Championship Challenge Series.  With the name ‘Brustin Brae Challenge’ and knowing that the course was selected by Justin Maxwell (well known for his fondness of ‘not-so-easy’ runs), it was no surprise that the runners were a little apprehensive as to what lay ahead of them.  

A total of 45 members turned out for the event which had a staggered start system, using pre-determined handicap times, the runners were set off in order with Rosie Kerr first and Andy Guy going off last.  Once leaving ‘The Meeting House’ and enjoying a downhill start, the athletes would be greeted with the first of the climbs on the Brustin Brae Road; followed by a rare flat section of the course and a downhill recovery before the final and probably most brutal of the climbs,towards the finish line which was situated at the peak of the ascent.


Although set off just over two minutes after the first runner, Patrice Murphy quickly caught up on the runners ahead of her and before long was in the lead; holding on to this position right to the end to finish in 1st place in 27:02 (giving a corrected time of 24:47 for the course).  Iain Bailie looked powerful as he made his way to the finish line after gaining an impressive twenty seven places during the race, he finished in 2nd place in 27:26 (corrected time 18:26).  After an uphill sprint finish, Catherine Maxwell secured 3rd place in 27:40 (corrected time 22:40), followed by Ruth Maltman in 27:44 (4th place - corrected time 22:29).

Martin Taylor, Murray Deller and Stephen Smyth all finished in quick succession, with Martin finishing in 28:12 (5th place – corrected time 24:12) and the fastest man on the night, Murray Deller in 28:14 (6th place - corrected time 15:54) before Stephen Smyth took 7th place in 28:15 (corrected time 20:15).  Jim Scott looked happy to see the finish line, making his way across it in 8th place (finish time 28:32 - corrected time 22:32).  


Lionel Date and Alan Glover both worked hard together on the final climb, with Lionel finishing in 28:35 (9th place - corrected time 21:35) and Alan (who has now completed every race in the Series to date) following in 28:37 (10th place - corrected time 19:27).  The runners then began to come in thick and fast, with only seconds separating each as they made their way to the finish line.  Leading what looked like an endless stream of athletes, Glenda Stewart crossed the line in 29:00 to take 11th place and resulting in a corrected time of 24:00 for the distance.  Kelly Deller made a last minute surge to finish alongside Tracey Parke, with both runners clocking 29:01; Kelly had a corrected time of 24:41 (12th place) and Tracey’s time was calculated as 23:31 (13th place).

William Gallagher had a good run to finish in 14th place in 29:02 (corrected time 21:02), before Nikki McNeill in 29:03 (15th place - corrected time 24:18).  Conor Sheridan was the 16th runner to finish to loud cheers from the gathered spectators, finishing in 29:05 and a corrected time of 19:35.  Mark Jordan stormed up the hill gaining places as he did so, reaching the line in 29:09 (17th place - corrected time 17:59).


No stranger to hills the last few weeks, Phil Smyth finished in 18th place in a time of 29:10 (corrected time 20:40), followed by Lynn Magee in 29:12 (19th place - corrected time 23:52).  The fastest lady of the night, Connie Hodge, ran a corrected time of 23:52 and finished as the clock showed 29:13 (20th place).  Daniel Girvin got the bragging rights in the family when he finished in 21st place in 29:16 (corrected time 16:46), however Chris Davis wasn’t far behind in 29:17 (22nd place - corrected time 17:27).  Gary Hawe and Drew Girvin both ran well, finishing in 29:25 (23rd place - corrected time 20:25) and 29:26 (24th place - corrected time 18:56) respectively.


A determined looking Alex Robertson powered his way up to the finish, claiming 25th place in 29:32 (corrected time 20:02), followed just three seconds later by Amanda Clements in 29:35 (26th place - corrected time 26:05).  Running a corrected time of 16:12, Andy Guy finished in 27th place in 29:42, before the in-form Johanna McIlroy who secured 28th place in 29:44 (corrected time 24:04).  Brian Maltman impressed as he worked his way up through the race, finishing in 24:05 to take 29th place in a corrected time of 19:15.

Karen Monaghan received encouragement from supporters as she covered the final yards quickly and gaining a few more places along the way; Karen finished in 30th place in 30:14 (corrected time 25:44).  Christine Irwin and Adrian Smith finished side by side, with both runners clocking 30:15; Christine was awarded 31st place in a corrected time of 29:15 and Adrian’s corrected time was 20:45 (32nd place).  Danny Hylands looked strong as he made his way up to the finish, securing 33rd place in 30:16 (corrected time 19:16), followed by Karl Joyce in 30:18 (34th place - corrected time 22:48).


Paul Cunningham made a welcome return to competition after a recent injury and break from the sport; the popular athlete finished in 30:20 to take 35th place (corrected time 28:20).  Working hard right to the end, John Steele ran 30:37 (36th place - corrected time 20:07), followed by Allan McCullough who had a good run in 30:42 (37th place - corrected time 19:32).  Jacque Craig claimed 38th place in 30:44 (corrected time 27:44), with Sally McKeown (30:49 – 39th place - corrected time 27:44) in pursuit.

In one of the most exciting sprint finishes of the night, Sandy Plumb just edged out Valerie Lyttle right before the line; Sandy finished in 30:57 (40th place - corrected time 22:27) with Valerie just one second behind in 30:58 (41st place - corrected time 28:43).  Known for encouraging others during their races, it was time for James Robinson to receive some encouragement of his own as he made his way up the final climb; finishing in 31:06 to take 42nd place and a corrected time of 20:26.


Donna Robertson continued with her love of running hills with this event, finishing in 43rd place in a time of 31:16 (corrected time 29:01), before Stephen Whelan clocked 31:45 to take 44th place (corrected time 21:05).  Rosie Kerr looked focused along the final stretch of the hill, finishing in 33:47 (45th place).


The club would like to thank everyone who helped make the event possible, including the marshalls, social committee, timekeepers and those who came out to support our members.  Full results are now available HERE and current Championship standings now reflect the most recent race HERE.

Patterson Number One at NEBSSA Finals!

In a week where much of the country was gripped on Motorcycle racing and a certain Agricultural show, East Coast AC members were excelling in other forms of activity - athletics. The week’s action started early with the popular East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series commencing on Tuesday which attracted a number of East Coast AC athletes. Both senior and junior club members competed in Track and Field events, including the North Down AC Track and Field Meet, the NEBSSA Finals and the Ulster Schools Athletics Finals. The club’s mountain runners were also well catered for with Race 5 of the Hill & Dale Series being held on Saturday in Newcastle, County Down. 


A special mention must also go to Charlie and Kelly Patterson who competed in the Firmus Energy Super 6 Series two weeks ago, however due to a delay in results, their outstanding performances are mentioned in this weeks report.


East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series Race 1

On Tuesday 12th May 2015, East Coast AC athletes turned out in support of Ballyclare based club East Antrim Harriers, who were hosting the opening race of their well-established annual Forest Trail Series. The Series opener took place over a 3 mile course within the confines of Woodburn Forest, just outside Carrickfergus. The almost perfect racing conditions attracted close to two hundred athletes from around the province, including fourteen East Coast AC members.

Mark Jordan excelled over the undulating course with a 27th place finish in a time of 20:09 which was also enough to secure 5th place in his age category. The continually improving Brian Maltman didn’t disappoint when he followed in 21:47 (48th place) showing that his hard work in training is definitely paying off. John Steele and James Robinson finished just seconds apart, with John finishing in 22:06 (53rd place) and James in 22:19 (54th place). Alan Glover had a good run, finishing in 61st place in a time of 22:40.


Relatively new to running, Connie Hodge impressed when she was the first lady for the club to cross the finish line, taking 19th place in the ladies category in 24:22. Lionel Date showed he is back to fine form after a recent break from competition due to injury when he finished in 24:37 (91st place). Training partners Angela Campbell and Polly Dix both ran well to finish in 24:55 (24th place lady 3rd in age category) and 25:22 (30th place lady 5th in age category) respectively.


Sandy Plumb put in a strong performance over the trails, crossing the line in 25:45 to secure 110th place overall. Next to reach the atmospheric finishing area were Karl Joyce, Lesley Robinson and Lisa Graham who all finished in quick succession; with Karl leading the way for the trio in 26:02 (116th place), followed by Lesley in 26:03 (34th place lady) and Lisa in 26:05 (36th place lady). Glenda Stewart claimed a top 50 spot in the ladies category when she crossed the line as 47th lady in a time of 27:03.


The next race in the Series is held on Tuesday 26th May and will be in Tardree Forest.

North Down AC Track & Field Meet

Also on Tuesday (12th May 2015), Mark McManus and Allyson O’Toole travelled to Bangor for the North Down AC Track & Field Meet (No. 2). In what were windy conditions, both athletes took part in the 800m event, with Allyson O’Toole clocking an impressive 2:36.33 to claim 6th place overall and 2nd in her age category. Mark McManus secured 3rd overall with his time of 2:11.54 and 1st in his age category.


NEBSSA Athletics Finals

On Wednesday 13th May 2015, up and coming junior athlete Kelly Patterson took part in the NEBSSA finals in Antrim Forum, representing Larne Grammar School. Kelly was the star of the show in the 800m race, running a well paced race to 1st place in 2:42.00.


As well as the individual 800m event, Kelly also participated in the 4x100m relay. Kelly helped her Larne Grammar School team secure 2nd place in what was a fast and exciting event.

Hill & Dale Series (Race 5) Slieve Donard

On Saturday 16th May 2015, Newcastle AC welcomed over two hundred athletes to Race 5 of their ongoing Hill & Dale Series in Newcastle, County Down. The 'Slieve Donard Classic' measured approximately 5.5 miles in distance and took competitors from Newcastle Main Street to the top of Northern Ireland’s highest mountain (Slieve Donard), which stands at 850 metres.


Aside from the start and finish along the Main Street (via Donard Park), competitors were free to choose their own way to the summit and back, with some opting for the Black Stairs and others, the more runnable Glen River Path.  


Competing in his 5th consecutive Hill & Dale race, Phil Smyth proved he has taken to mountain running like a duck to water. Phil climbed strongly up the Glen River Path, making his way towards the peak before turning and producing a fast finish back down to the town centre, crossing the finish line in 1:36:53 (151st place). 

(Picture courtesy of Newcastle AC)

Ulster School Secondary School’s Athletics Final

Also on Saturday 16th May 2015, Kelly Patterson took to the track for the second time this week; this time competing in the ‘Milk It’ Ulster Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships Final. Kelly’s Larne Grammar School relay team (4x100m) were unfortunately disqualified for a changeover error, however the Club would like to congratulate all involved on getting this far and for their performances in the championships to date.


Firmus Energy Super 6 Series

On Thursday 30th April 2015, Charlie and Kelly Patterson were again in action at the Mary Peters’ Track in Belfast for the second instalment of the Firmus Energy Super 6 Series. The core idea of the “Super 6″ series hosted by Lagan Valley AC has been to encourage young athletes to ‘have a go’ at a variety of events while also providing high level competition for the more experienced senior athlete.


In the Mini Boys 600m event, Charlie Patterson excelled with a finish time of 2:02.53, securing him a well-deserved 2nd place. Charlie’s second event of the evening was the shot (2kg); Charlie replicated his placing from his running event with another 2nd place finish, throwing a distance of 5.30 metres.


Kelly Patterson took to the start line of the Under 13 Girls 200m race. In what was one of the closest races of the evening, Kelly secured 7th place in 31.70 secs (missing out on a podium spot by just 0.5 of a second). Kelly’s second event of the night was the Under 13 Girls 800m race, yet again the up and coming star put in a top class performance to take 12th place in a time of 2:53.12. In the East Coast AC members final event of the evening, Kelly impressed in the high jump when she jumped a height of 1.05 metres (10th place).

Parkrun

This week, members were in action in the Ecos parkrun in Ballymena and the local Larne parkrun based at Carnfunnock Country Park in Drainsbay, Larne. Junior athlete, Charlotte Dean has been making regular appearances at the Ecos parkrun, this time running well to take 22nd place in the ladies category in a time of 27:33.


In Larne, Brian Maltman continued on from his fine form at Tuesday’s forest race to secure a new 5k personal best of 21:21 (6th place). John Steele took a top ten spot, running 22:50 (10th place) before Paul Clements finished in 23:10 (13th place). Angela Campbell claimed 4th place in the ladies category with a 25:27 clocking, followed by two of the club’s popular junior athletes, Harry Plumb and Hannah Clements. Harry covered the tough course in 25:38 (26th place), with Hannah following in 25:44 (5th place lady).


Lisa Graham achieved a new personal best when she finished in 26:13 to take 7th place in the ladies category, followed by her son and East Coast Cheetah, Jake Dempsey who finished in 27:42, also securing a personal best for the 5k distance. Roisin Lavery claimed 9th place in the ladies category when she finished next in 28:28 (new personal best); Roisin’s daughter Emily Lavery ran well to complete the distance in 30:01 (12th place lady).


Taking up running almost one year ago to the day, Sally McKeown celebrated with a 32:28 clocking at the parkrun, claiming 18th place in the ladies category. Sisters Evie and Abbie Lavery couldn’t be separated, and even after a fast finish along the path towards Dixon Hall, the pair crossed the line together in 34:29 (22nd and 23rd place ladies). Also celebrating her one year running birthday, Christine Irwin completed the distance in 34:30 taking 24th place in the ladies category. Mags Clements made a welcome return to competition; the popular athlete completed the course in a time of 37:48 (28th place lady).

Members Impress over Marathons and Mountains!

This week East Coast AC members took part in a variety of events, with many achieving personal bests along the way.  Bank Holiday Monday usually means just one thing for runners in Northern Ireland, that is, the annual Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and Relay; Andrew Guy completed the marathon distance as part of the official pacing team, along with a number of East Coast AC relay teams.  The Hill & Dale Series returned on Thursday with the usual weekly fix for our mountain and trail running enthusiasts in what was Race 4 of the Series.  The weekend events were well supported, with members completing the Annalong Horseshoe mountain race, the Darkness Into Light 5k, the EAMS 10k and of course many parkruns.


Belfast City Marathon

This week, the action kicked off early on Monday 4th May 2015, when tens of thousands of runners and spectators took to the streets of Northern Ireland's capital city, Belfast for the 34th annual running of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and the associated Relay event.  


This year, the majority of members took part in the relay event whilst Andy Guy was on pacing duties; he was given the job of being official pacer for the athletes hoping to achieve a sub 3 hour finish time.  Tracey Parke also completed the walk event in the morning of the race as part of the Hastings Hotels (Ballygally) team.

In bright but breezy conditions, the seemingly endless field set off on the undulating course that would see them make their way from City Hall to the finish line in Ormeau Park, via East, North, West and South Belfast, as well as a section in Newtownabbey.  In the marathon, Andy Guy, fresh from running a personal best at the Virgin Money London Marathon just one week earlier, paced to perfection.  Andy ensured the large group of athletes he was running with made it in under the infamous 3 hour mark, with himself crossing the finish line in 3:00:55.  Although not racing, Andy was placed 58th place overall (12th place in M40 category).


East Coast AC members and friends made up a total of six teams in the popular relay event which consisted of five legs ranging between 3.4 and 7.1 miles.  The first team home were the ‘East Coast Dreamers’ made up of Stephen Smyth, Glenda Girvin, James Robinson, Iain Bailie and John Steele; they completed the 26.2 miles in 3:17:33 which secured them 47th place overall and 14th in the mixed relay category, but more importantly, bragging rights over fellow club mates and friends.  The ‘Robertson Jammers’ made up of Sandy Plumb, Paul and Hannah Clements, Alex Robertson, William Gallagher and Brian Maltman, followed just over ten minutes later in 3:28:13, claiming 88th place overall and 47th in the male relay category.


Team ‘Youth Inspirations’ made up of Corey Urwin and friends finished next in a time of 3:49:18 (269th place overall, 112th male relay team), followed by Helen Stranney’s ‘Woodside Wonders’ team who finished in 3:50:41 (295th place).  Karl Joyce and David Finlay both ran well in their team ‘#2Slow2Furious’ which finished in 1388th place in a time of 4:39:40 (948th mixed team), before Catherine McClelland’s team ‘Balls and Dolls’ finished in a time of 4:53:21 (1617th place, 1093rd mixed team).

Hill & Dale Race 4

On Thursday 7th May 2015, Richill based Matthew Hewitt and Doagh based Phil Smyth joined over two hundred athletes for the fourth race of the ongoing Hill & Dale Series, a well organised and popular set of trail and mountain races hosted by Newcastle AC.  On this occasion, Slieve Binnian was the location of choice, with competitors faced with a short but tough challenge, a 2 mile uphill only route, which incorporated 2,000ft of ascent.


Matthew, a regular in the 2014 Series, impressed in his first outing in the current year’s Series when he took 23rd place in an excellent 26:55.  Phil, who has completed each race to date, climbed well to finish in 37:19 (150th place).


Annalong Horseshoe

On Saturday 9th May 2015, experienced mountain runner, Corey Urwin travelled to 'Dunnywater', close to Annalong (Couty Down), for race three of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship Series.  The race, organised by Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners (BARF), is considered a long distance route, for the purposes of the Championship and covered 21k in distance, with approximately 1,550 metres of accumulative ascent.

After starting in Dunnywater, the route progressed towards the wet open mountains along a stoney track, in the direction of Chimney Rock and onto Slieve Commedagh via the Brandy Pad; from the summit cairn of Northern Ireland's second tallest mountain, the competitors then negotiated a steep descent before climbing to the summits of Cove and Slieve Lamagan.   The rough descent from Slieve Lamagan was followed by the ascent to the final summit of Slieve Binnian (the location of Thursday's Hill & Dale event) – from here, participants followed  the Mourne Wall before turning towards Carrick Little car park and a one mile section of undulating road to the finish line.  


In what was most certainly a challenging course and faced with stiff competition, Corey Urwin didn’t fail to impress; claiming 25th place, Corey recorded 2:44:23 for the distance which also secured 2nd place in the M45 category.

Darkness into Light

Early on Saturday morning (very early, 4am to be exact!), Paul Clements travelled to Cookstown for the Darkness Into Light 5k; an annual 5k run/walk sponsored by Electric Ireland and organised to raise funds for Pieta House, a centre for the prevention of self-harm and suicide.  The race which starts at 4am, aims to have runners crossing the finish line just as dawn is breaking; adding an atmospheric and exciting finish to the event.


The continually improving Paul, didn’t let the early start affect his run as he recorded 21:45 for the distance which secured an impressive 6th place finish.

Bromsgrove 5k Fun Run

On Sunday (10th May 2015), Peter McManus took part in the Bromsgrove 5k, a fun run organised as a fundraiser for Lukaemia and Lymphoma Research.  Starting at Bromsgrove Rugby Club and taking a tough, undulating route, Peter ran well to claim 16th place in a time of 29:08.

East Antrim Marathon Series (EAMS) 10k

Later on Saturday afternoon (9th May 2015), dressed in ‘superhero’ attire, Jacque Craig took part in the East Antrim Marathon Series 10k which was organised to raise some much needed funds for the Cameron PANDAS fund.  On the day, there were three distances to choose from; a marathon, half marathon or 10k run/walk.  Although no times are available at the time of going to press, Jacque ran well over the tough course which started at Greenisland Golf Club and consisted of one lap out towards Lough Shore via Newtownabbey Way.


Parkrun

This week, East Coast AC had a total of 13 members participating in three parkruns throughout the province.  The top performance must go to Matthew Hewitt who took 1st place at the Citypark parkrun in Craigavon.  Matthew, who has taken a break from recent competition due to injury, proved he is back on track when he clocked 17:39 for the 5k distance.


Callum Sittlington and Sandy Plumb once again travelled to Ballymena for the Ecos parkrun, which had a record turnout of 209 runners.  Callum was first home for the club in a time of 22:39 to take 42nd place, followed by Sandy in 23:14 (50th place).


In the local Larne parkrun, Paul Clements led the East Coast AC members home, running the 5k distance in 22:14 to claim 5th place, this is even more impressive given the fact that he raced in the Darkness Into Light 5k just hours earlier.  James Robinson followed just seconds later in 22:23 to take 8th place, before John Steele recorded 22:55 to finish in 9th place.


Junior star, Hannah Clements claimed 2nd place in the ladies category when she finished in 26:02, followed by Jim Scott who achieved a new personal best of 26:15 (18th place).  Jacqui McLoughlin yet again recorded a new personal best of 26:36 (3rd place lady).  Johanna McIlroy proved her hard work in training is paying off when she finished in a new personal best of 26:55, taking 5th place in the ladies category.  Cate Devine was the next familiar face to reach the Drainsbay finish area, clocking 29:16, a new personal best and 12th place in the ladies category.  Doris Kirby ran well over the undulating forest trails to finish in a time of 31:29 (20th place lady), followed by Suzanne Lough who finished in 44:39 (27th place lady).

PB Haul for East Coast AC Members at NiRunning Mile!

This week, junior and senior members once again took part in events across a variety of terrains  and distances.  The action kicked off on Thursday evening with the third instalment of the Hill & Dale Series in Kilbroney Forest Park, Rostrevor, followed by an evening of mile races at Mary Peters’ Track in Belfast on Friday evening.  Weekly 5k parkrun events were well supported by members on Saturday morning, whilst many members are preparing for the upcoming Deep Riverrock Belfast City Marathon on bank holiday Monday (4th May 2015).


Active Financial NiRunning – BMC Mile

On Friday 1st May 2015, NiRunning hosted their increasingly popular 'NiRunning Mile' event, which this year, was sponsored by Northern Ireland based company Active Financial and organised once again in conjunction with the British Milers Club (BMC).


In perfect running conditions, no less than fifteen East Coast AC members, accompanied by a large number of family and friends, turned out at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters’ Track in Belfast for the 4th annual running of the event, which this time consisted of twelve races.

The first race of the night was the ’10 plus’ minute mile in which Suzanne Lough took to the start line of.  Suzanne got loud cheers as she made her way around the track, completing the one mile in a new personal best of 12:06.26 (33rd place lady overall).  The next race of the evening, the 9-10 minute mile race had a family feel to it when mother and daughter duo of Donna and Rebecca Robertson participated in it.  Donna took over 10 seconds off her previous attempt at the distance during club training when she finished in 9:08.55 (31st place lady), however it was young Rebecca who claimed the family bragging rights when she slashed her previous best by over two minutes, finishing in 10:22.48 (32nd place lady and 2nd girl under 9).


Sisters Hannah and Lucy O’Toole lined up in the evening’s next race, the 8-9 minute mile event.  Young Hannah had the entire stadium in awe with her performance when she completed the mile in a time of 7:08.90 which placed her as 17th lady but also 1st under 9 female and 2nd placed junior girl on the night.  Lucy also ran exceptionally well, crossing the line just ten seconds later in 7:19.46 to claim 18th place lady and 2nd in the under 12 girls category.

Three more East Coast AC members took part in the 7-8 minute mile race, with Martin Taylor, Charlotte Dean and Curtis Robertson all lining up together in what was another exciting race for spectators.  Martin took 15 seconds off his previous attempt at the distance (club 1 mile time trial) when he finished in 7:08.83, resulting in 119th place overall.  Charlotte Dean paced herself well on the four lap race, completing the mile in a time of 7:26.79 which was 8 seconds quicker than her previous best, thus securing 21st place in the ladies category and 1st placed under 11 girl.  Curtis Robertson received loud applause from the crowds as he completed each lap with a beaming smile, the talented young athlete finished in 7:56.28 to take 140th place overall and 5th in the boys under 9 category.


The 6-7 minute mile was so popular that 3 races were held, with four East Coast AC members, both senior and junior taking part.  In the first of the races, Allyson O’Toole, Alex Robertson and Rhys McManus lined up together with ten other competitors.  Allyson, who is more used to shorter distances, impressed with a strong performance, covering the distance in a time of 5:50.12 which achieved 6th place in the ladies category and third in the Vet 35 category.  

After each one of his family producing top class performances before him, Alex was no different, running well to take 9 seconds off his previous best to finish in 6:10.86 (92nd place overall).  Young Rhys McManus proved he is most certainly following in his father’s footsteps when he clocked a ‘head-turning’ 6:15.29, this secured 96th place overall and 1st in the under 9 boys category.  James Robinson, taking part in the second of the 6-7 minute mile races, showed sheer determination in the final 100m, crossing the line in 5:48.57 (72nd place overall).


Another popular race, the 5-6 minute mile, was split into three events due to demand, with Mark McManus and Murray Deller both taking part.  In the first race, Mark appeared to look comfortable, staying well ‘within the mix’ in the opening laps; it wasn’t until the final 400m when he began to surge clear, crossing the line in 5:04.37 (22nd place overall and 1st Vet 40 male).  The in-form Murray Deller lined up in the second race, looking strong on each lap as he passed the crowded grandstand; Murray impressed with a 5:29.44 finish which secured him 49th place overall.


The final races of the evening were the much anticipated sub 5 minute mile events.  Although known for competing in races much longer than this, East Coast AC’s Justin Maxwell made a last minute decision to take part, and one which paid off; despite having raced less than 24 hours earlier, Justin performed well , clocking 4:55.27, the 14th fastest time of the night.

Hill & Dale Race 3 – Slieve Martin

On Thursday 30th April 2015, Justin Maxwell, Phil Smyth and Catherine Maxwell joined hundreds of other athletes who turned out for the third race of the ever popular Hill & Dales Series hosted by Newcastle AC.  On this occasion, Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, was the venue of choice for the Slieve Martin course, which covered 4.25 miles in distance with 1,740ft of ascent.


The East Coast AC trio’s finishing order from Race 1 (Castlewellan) was replicated in Race 3 when Justin Maxwell was first home for the club, finishing in 12th place in a time of 37:22.  Phil Smyth was next to finish; the newcomer to mountain running has impressed each race and this was no different, finishing in a time of 54:54 to take 179th place.  Catherine Maxwell completed the East Coast AC representation at the event when she crossed the line as 33rd place lady in a time of 1:00:55.


Parkrun

On Saturday morning (2nd May 2015), members were in action once again at a number of parkruns throughout NI and England.  Peter McManus took to the start line of the Brueton parkrun based in Solihull (West Midlands, England).  The popular parkrun attracted almost four hundred other running enthusiasts and Peter ran well to secure 140th place in a time of 24:36.  


In Ballymena, Sandy Plumb and Callum Sittlington took part in the Ecos parkrun.  Callum was narrowly close to his parkrun personal best when he ran an impressive 21:27 for the 5k distance (13th place).  Sandy achieved a new personal best of 22:59 when he was the 34th finisher.


The local Larne parkrun attracted seven East Coast AC members, with the ever-improving Paul Clements being first over the line in a time of 22:40 to take 7th place.  John Steele was next to finish in 25:11 (20th place), followed by upcoming junior athlete, Hannah Clements in 25:30 (6th place lady).  Jacqui McLoughlin ran a new personal best of 27:14 (7th place lady), before David Hall crossed the line in 34th place in a time of 27:24.  Johanna McIlroy was next to finish, covering the course in 28:31 to take 9th place in the ladies category.  Cate Devine took almost two minutes off her previous best at the distance when she ran a new personal best of 29:33 (14th place lady).

East Coast AC Members Excel at the World's Most Iconic Races!

This week, East Coast AC members once again impressed over a variety of distances and terrain; from 600m to 26.2miles over road, mountain, track and trail.  The action kicked off early this week, with the Track & Field Meeting in Bangor on Tuesday night, followed by the second race in the Hill & Dale Series in Tollymore Forest on Thursday and then the popular weekend events, including the infamous London Marathon, the iconic Three Peaks Mountain Race, the cross border Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon, and of course parkrun events.


Virgin Money London Marathon

On Sunday 26th April 2015, Andy Guy lined up alongside in excess of forty thousand fellow runners at arguably the world's most famous race, the Virgin Money London Marathon in England.  Shown live on television, the event attracted a huge amount of media attention due to he outstanding line-up and the fact that it was Paula Radcliffe’s last ever competitive race; however for East Coast AC members, all eyes were on Andy and his 26.2 mile journey through the streets of London.  In what was his fourth marathon, Andy paced the race well and looked strong yet focused as he made his way on the The Mall for the final metres of famous event.  Andy smashed his previous marathon best when he crossed the finish line in a time of 2:49:09 to claim a very respectable 701st place.  


Well done Paula...

East Coast AC would also like to express our congratulations to ladies marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, who has strong connections to Larne and recently spoke to club members prior to club training, on a long and extremely successful career.  Paula, a former world cross country champion, still holds the ladies marathon record of 2:15:25; set in 2003 at the London Marathon - today, Paula enjoyed the race and crossed the line in 2:36:55!

3 Peaks Mountain Race

On Saturday 25th April 2015, Justin Maxwell travelled to Yorkshire to participant in the iconic ‘3 Peaks’ race.  The event which started in Horton, takes in the summits of Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough before returning to the finish line in the countryside town (Horton).  


In poor weather conditions, the top class field covered 23.3 miles and approximately 5,279ft of ascent, which proved a good test for Justin as he continues his build up to several forthcoming long distance events in the coming months.  Club Chairman Justin covered the course in 3:33:46 to claim 60th place.


Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon

Also on Sunday (26th April 2015), Karl Joyce took part in the Strabane to Lifford Half Marathon.  The race started in Northern Ireland (Strabane) and took competitors over the border to Lifford in Ireland.  Karl put in an impressive performance to clam a new half marathon personal best of 1:52:39 when he finished in 391st place overall.

 Hill & Dale Race 2 – Tollymore Forest

On Thursday 23rd April 2015, five East Coast AC members joined just under three hundred athletes at the second race of Newcastle AC's Hill & Dale Series 2015.  The event took place in Tollymore Forest, just outside Newcastle (County Down) and measured 5 miles in distance with 900ft of ascent.  Mark Jordan led the way for the club, looking strong as he climbed the final hill to the finish, recording a time of 40:50 to take 109th place overall.  


Alan Glover and Phil Smyth both ran well over the tough course, reaching the bottom of the final climb together resulting in a competitive final dash to the finish; Alan covered the final yards quickly to reach the line just ahead of Phil in a time of 47:38 (214th place) with Phil clocking 47:50 (217th place).  Catherine Maxwell was next to finish, having descended well in the latter stages of the race, Catherine took 39th place in the ladies category with a time of 50:18.  Karl Joyce completed the East Coast AC contingent at the event; covering the tough course in 54:51, Karl claimed 259th place overall.


North Down AC Track & Field Meet

On Tuesday night (21st April 2015), Mark McManus and Alyson O’Toole took to the track for the North Down AC Track & Field Meeting (No. 1) in Bangor.  Both athletes competed in their respective 600m events; a popular distance on the night.  With three male 600m races, Mark McManus lined up in the second race of the evening; Mark ran well to finish in 1:34.52 to take 3rd place in the heat and 1st place in his category.  Allyson O’Toole raced well for what was her first attempt at the distance, clocking 1:52.71 to take 9th place and 1st place in her category.

Parkrun

Ballymena and Larne parkrun’s attracted a crowd of East Coast AC members for their weekly 5k time trial runs.  In Ballymena, Callum Sittlington, Sandy Plumb and Charlotte Dean took to the start line of the Ecos parkrun; a popular event which attracted almost one hundred and fifty other running enthusiasts.  Callum continued on from his impressive performances in the last few weeks of competition, with a new 5k personal best of 21:24 (15th place).  Visiting the Ecos parkrun for the first time, Sandy ran well to take 37th place in a time of 23:38.  Junior athlete, Charlotte Dean took on the course for the fourth time in as many weeks and was rewarded with a new personal best of 25:53 (11th place lady).


In the local Larne parkrun, nine members completed the scenic 5k run held within Carnfunnock Country Park.  Brian Maltman and James Robinson both had good runs, however it was the birthday boy James who just pipped Brian to the finish line, claiming 5th place in 21:53; Brian followed just two seconds later to claim a new personal best of 21:55 (6th place).  Junior athlete and future star, Hannah Clements was rewarded for her efforts with a 1st place finish in the ladies category when she recorded 25:13 for the distance.  David Hall and Jacqui McLoughlin both put in strong performances to finish in 27:45 (16th place) and 27:51 (2nd place lady – new personal best) respectively.


The next members to reach the Drains Bay finish area were Sarah Girvin and Cyndy Hay; Sarah ran well to finish in 30:21 (8th place lady) and parkrun regular Cyndy clocked 31:33 (9th place lady).  Martin Taylor (accompanied with daughter and East Coast Cheetah, Imogen Taylor) completed the undulating course in 38:32 (18th place), before Suzanne Lough recorded a new personal best of 41:58 to take 14th place in the ladies category.

Podium Place for Patterson as Athletes Excel over Road, Mountain, Track & Trail!

As the evenings get brighter, we are seeing more and more athletes take on mid-week races and this week was no exception; members represented the club at track and field events, mountain races, duathlons  and of course the ever popular road running races.  The action kicked off on Thursday with the Firms Energy Super 6 Track and Field Series in Belfast and the Hill and Dale Series in Castlewellan, followed by a weekend of racing at the Lisburn Duathlon, Airtricity 10 Mile Road Race, Mud Madness, and of course the ever popular parkrun events.


Firmus Energy Super 6

This week saw up and coming stars Charlie Patterson and sister Kelly Patterson represent East Coast AC at the popular Firmus Energy Super 6 Track & Field Series opener at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast on Thursday (16th April 2015).  Up against quality competition, both performed exceptionally well. Charlie managed to secure a silver medal in the Long Jump after jumping 2.92 metres. He followed this up with a speedy 13.68secs in the 80 metres, which saw Charlie claim 12th place.


Kelly was also on top form at the event, finishing in or around the top ten in three separate events. In the 100 metres, Kelly crossed the line in 15.57secs, taking 9th place. She followed this up with a 5:56.02 (14th place) 1500 metres, before covering 3.21 metres in the Long Jump; this was enough to see Kelly take 11th place.

Hill & Dale Series (Castlewellan) Race 1

Also on Thursday (16th April 2015), Justin Maxwell, Phil Smyth and Catherine Mawell travelled to the scenic Castlewellan Country Park in County Down for the first race of this year's Hill & Dale Series, an eleven race Series hosted by Newcastle AC.


The Series opener measured 5.5 miles in distance with 1,080ft of ascent and from the off, Justin Maxwell was well in the mix of the front runners.  Justin negotiated the tough climbs and fast downhills well to claim 5th place in a time of 35:35.  Phil Smyth and Catherine Maxwell were both taking part in the Series for the first time, running well to reach the uphill finish area in 54:39 (241st place) and 55:35 (34th place lady).


Airtricity 10 Mile Road Race

On Sunday 19th April 2015, Andy Guy joined hundreds of athletes on the streets of Derry/Londonderry for the final 'official' preparation race for the upcoming Airtricity Walled City Marathon (which takes place on Sunday 31st May 2015); the Airtricity 10 mile road race, which started and finished in the recently re-developed Ebrington Square.  Andy performed to his usual high standard when he took a top ten placing and completed the 10 miles in a time of 1:01:34 (10th place).

Lisburn Duathlon

On Sunday (19th April 2014), one of the club’s talented junior athletes and duathlon star, Callum Sittlington travelled to Lisburn for the final race in the Lisburn Triathlon Club hosted Lisburn Duathlon Series at Down Royal Racecourse.  The event consisted of a 2 mile run, followed by a 10 mile cycle and a final 2 mile run.  Callum, who has improved on his finish times in each race of the series didn’t disappoint with the final outing; completing the event in a total time of 59:32 (Race 1 – 1:03:56, Race 2 – 1:01:17).  In this event, Callum started off well, recording 13:45 for the first run, 30:46 for the cycle and completing the final 2 mile run in 13:34, Callum was rewarded for his efforts with a well-deserved 24th place overall and 2nd place in his male 16-19 category.

Parkrun

This Saturday (18th April 2014), East Coast AC members were taking part in no less than four different parkruns, with the most popular being the local Larne parkrun in what was its 71st running.  There must have been something in the air around Carnfunnock that day as several members achieved personal bests on the challenging 5k course.  Brian Maltman was the first man home for the club when recorded a new personal best of 21:57 to take 9th place, proving just how much he has improved in such a short space of time since taking up running just last year.  The always-impressive Paul Clements was next to finish in 22:23 (14th place), followed by John Steele in 23:14 (23rd place) and Sandy Plumb just one second later in 23:15 (24th place), claiming a well deserved personal best by almost one minute.


Jim Scott ran well in what was his first attempt at Larne parkrun, reaching the finish line in a time of 27:08 to claim 38th place.  Glenda Stewart,  Jacqui McLoughlin and Gillian Pike all achieved more personal bests when they finished in 27:13 (5th place female),  28:01 (6th place female), and 28:50 (7th place female) respectively.  David Hall continued his fine form since the Larne Half Marathon with a finish time of 29:01 which secured him 42nd place overall.

Sarah Girvin notched up a new personal best of 30:02 when she finished as 10th placed lady, before Cyndy Hay recorded 32:56 for the distance to take 12th place in the ladies category.  Suzanne Lough reaped the rewards of her efforts in training when she achieved a new personal best of 43:20 (15th place lady).  Next it was one of East Coast AC’s youngest members, Imogen Taylor accompanied by her father Martin Taylor; Imogen completed the parkrun course for the first time in 45:31, taking 16th place in the ladies category, with Martin following just one second later in 45:32 (63rd place).


In the Antrim parkrun, Hazel Ritchie joined almost two hundred others for the Loughshore Park based 5k run.  Hazel recorded a new personal best when she finished in 31:49 to claim 56th place in the ladies category.  In Ballymena, junior athlete Charlotte Dean took on the Ecos parkrun for the second time in as many weeks, this time taking almost one minute off her previous attempt, with a new 5k personal best of 26:18 (10th place female).  Peter McManus continued the personal best haul when he completed his local Arrow Valley parkrun in Redditch, England; Peter ran well to finish in 90th place in a time of 24:21.


Mud Madness

On Sunday 19th April 2015, Gary Hawe travelled to Portadown for  the Jaffa Cakes sponsored 'Mud Madness'; a gruelling 2 x 2.5 mile lap mucky course of fields, ponds and bogs.  In energy sapping thick mud, Gary along with two friends friends, was faced with almost 60 tough obstacles, which they had to negotiate at speed; Gary completed the course in 1:37:51 to claim 32nd place overall (lap 1 – 54:07, lap 2 – 43:44).

East Coast AC Belles Impress in Ballymena!

East Coast AC athletes impressed this week at a number of events in Belfast, Ballymena, Larne and the West Midlands in England.  The action kicked off with Saturday morning parkruns, followed by the popular Titanic 10k in Belfast on Sunday and the ladies only Ballymena Belles event on Tuesday evening.


Titanic 10k

On Sunday 12th April 2015, Karl Joyce joined thousands of athletes at the picturesque Titanic Quarter of Belfast for the annual Titanic 10k road race, hosted by Athletics NI.  In bright but blustery conditions, Karl set off on the flat and fast 6.2 mile route, crossing the half way point in 26:33 before picking the pace up in the final 3 miles to cross the finish line in 50:46, securing  498th place overall.

Ballymena Belles

On Tuesday 14th April 2015, a crowd of East Coast AC ladies joined over two hundred athletes from across the province turned for the 2nd annual Ballymena Belles 5 mile road race in Ballymena, a ladies only event organised to raise money for charity.  Competing in only her second ever competitive running event, Connie Hodge was the first black and yellow vest to finish, completing the 5 miles in 40:24 to take 28th place.  The in-form Tracey Parke was next to finish, recording an impressive 43:38 for the distance (59th place), followed by Glenda Stewart in 45:32, taking 83rd place.  


Catherine Maxwell was next to finish in a time of 46:57 (99th place), before Kelly Deller, Sharon Kirkpatrick and Amanda Clements all finished in quick succession, with Kelly running 49:53 (130th place), followed by Sharon in 50:01 (131st place) and Amanda in 50:03 (133rd place).  


Julianne Greer and Valerie Lyttle ran together supporting each other throughout the race, the duo finished just one second apart, with Julianne claiming 150th place in 51:10 and Valerie following in 51:11 (151st place).  Patrice Murphy was the next familiar face to enter the finishing ‘green’, running well to take 160th place in 52:01.  Another newcomer to not only the racing scene but running in general, Donna Robertson impressed with a finish time of 54:57 for the distance (183rd place).  A happy looking Heather Shaw was next to finish in 56:00 (188th place), before Rosemary Kerr crossed the line in 1:00:22 to take 205th place.

Parkrun

On Saturday 11th April 2015, East Coast AC athletes took to the start lineof three parkruns; Kingsbury, Larne and Ecos.  In the local Larne parkrun, fourteen members completed the 5k route through Carnfunnock Forest Park.  The first home for the club was Brian Maltman who recorded a new parkrun personal best of 22:21, taking 11th place.  Paul Clements was next to be cheered into the finishing area, recording 22:49 for the distance (15th place), followed by the talented young Harry Plumb in 23:45 (24th place).


Hannah Clements continued her recent run of personal bests with one more, clocking 24:13 to take 5th place in the ladies category, followed just one second later by John Steele in 24:14 (28th place).  Sandy Plumb ran well to take 31st place in 25:10, before Ruth Kelly claimed a new personal best of 25:53, claiming 9th placed lady.  Young Charlie Patterson performed well in his first ever parkrun with a finish time of 25:57 (37th place), Charlie was followed by Ruth Maltman who ran a new personal best of 26:16 (10th place lady) and his sister Kelly Patterson who took 11th place in the ladies category with a time of 26:47.


Johanna McIlroy continued her impressive running since the recent Larne Half Marathon, finishing in a new personal best of 27:34 (13th place lady), followed by Patrice Murphy in 33:22 (23rd place lady).  Suzanne Lough completed the East Coast AC contingent in Larne when she finished as30th place lady in 44:09.


In Kingsbury Water parkrun (West Midlands, England), Peter McManus joined over two hundred athletes for the free timed 5k.  Peter ran well to claim 68th place in a time of 25:16.


Junior athlete, Charlotte Dean travelled to Ballymena for her second attempt at the popular Ecos parkrun.  Charlotte claimed a new personal best when she completed the 5k in 27:13, claiming 17th place in the ladies category.

East Coast AC Athletes Serve Up An Easter Treat!

This Easter weekend East Coast AC members have been busy with three consecutive days of racing events.  On Saturday, members raced the NiRunning 5 Mile Trail Race at Ballyboley Forest just outside Larne as well as the Ballyliffin 10 Mile Coastal Challenge in Donegal.  This was followed by an exciting day of junior racing at the Easter Family Fun Day hosted by East Coast AC, held in Larne’s Town Park on Easter Sunday.  On Easter Monday, a large number of members travelled to Whitehead for the annual Whitehead 5 Mile Road Race which was included as Race 8 of the club’s Championship Challenge Series.  If all this wasn’t enough, members completed various parkruns in Redditch, Ballymena, Craigavon and Larne.


NiRunning 5 Mile Trail Race

On Saturday 4th April 2015, ten East Coast AC athletes joined nearly one hundred others at the 2nd annual NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race, which was held within the confines of Ballyboley Forest, starting and finishing on at the scenic Killylane Reservoir, just outside Larne.  Murray Deller was the first member to finish in an impressive 31:21 to take 12th place.  Brian Maltman and Callum Sittlington finished a mere three seconds apart, with Brian just pipping Callum to the post in 37:33 (39th place).  Callum’s time of 37:36 not only mean he secured 40th place overall but also 1st place in his male junior category.

Friends and training partners William Gallagher and Glenda Girvin raced the course almost side by side, this continued right through to the final uphill climb, with William running 39:49 (53rd place) and Glenda following in 39:52 to take 15th place in the ladies category.  Running in his first competitive race for the club, Gary Hawe impressed with a 40:30 clocking to claim 56th place.  The in-form Tracey Parke yet again put in a strong performance to finish in 42:56 (20th place lady).


Glenda Stewart showed she most definitely has the ‘racing bug’ when she ran well to finish in 46:19 (26th place lady), before Kelly Deller and Patricia Campbell completed the course in 46:41 (28th place lady) and 55:33 (32nd place lady) respectively.  A large number of members supported this race in varying volunteering roles and the organisers would like to express their sincere thanks for this.

Ballyliffin 10 Mile Coastal Challenge

Also on Saturday (4th April 2015), Jacque Craig travelled to Ballyliffin in County Donegal to join over 800 runners for the Ballyliffin 10 Mile Coastal Challenge, an event now in its 7th year.  Despite the tough course, which finishes with a two mile section along the beach, Jacque clocked an excellent 1:58:22 to take 597th place overall.


Whitehead 5 Mile Road Race

On Monday 6th April 2015 (Easter Monday), nearly two hundred athletes and even more spectators descended on the County Antrim town of Whitehead, just outside Carrickfergus, for the annual Whitehead 5 mile road race.  The popular long standing Easter Monday fixture has become a ‘must do’ event and just like 2014, the weather was perfect as the athletes took on the challenging three lap course.  This event was also used as an East Coast AC Championship Challenge Series Race and as such, all athletes were given pre-determined handicap times and actual results compared to these after the race finished.

Just like the NiRunning Trail Race 48 hours earlier, Murray Deller was the first man home for the club after running 30:37 for the distance; this was enough to secure a well-deserved 16th place.  Chris Davis was the next black and yellow vest to reach the finish line in a time of 31:34 (21st place), followed by Drew Girvin in 34:50 (48th place).


James Robinson showed he is getting back to form after running 35:15 to take 51st place overall, before the ever impressive Paul Clements followed in a time of 35:57 (59th place).  Alan Glover, Sandy Plumb and Alex Robertson all followed in quick succession, with Alan crossing the line first in 37:44 (82nd place), followed by Sandy and Alex in 37:49 (approx.) and 37:53 (85th place) respectively.  


William Gallagher and Rowena Davis encouraged each other around the three lap course, finishing together with William clocking 38:15 (89th place) and Rowena taking 90th place in 38:16.  Glenda Girvin ran well in what was her second race over the Easter period, finishing in 38:25 to claim 92nd place.  Adrian Smith covered the final yards quickly to cross the line in 38:55 (97th place) to loud cheers from the expectant crowds.

Brian Maltman and Karl Joyce were next to finish, crossing the line just one second apart, Brian claimed 106th place in 39:46 and Karl 107th place in 39:47.  The next familiar faces to speed down the finishing straight were John Steele (118th place) and Tracey Parke (119th place), both covering the distance in a time of 40:26.  Angela Campbell ran well to finish in 41:23 (128th place) followed by Catherine Maxwell in 42:40 (139th place).


The trio of Ruth Maltman, Johanna McIlroy and Ruth Kelly crossed the line within thirty seconds of each other; Ruth Maltman recorded 43:25 (143rd place), followed by Johanna who ran 43:35 (146th place) and Ruth Kelly - 43:46 (149th place).  Kelly Deller was cheered on by family and friends as she neared the finish line, working hard right to the end to claim 163rd place in 46:00.  Within a space of six seconds, three more East Coast AC ladies had crossed the line, Sally McKeown (49:35 – 174th place), Katie Glover (49:37 – 175th place) and Sarah Girvin (49:38 – 176th place) all finished in quick succession.


As the conditions seemed to get warmer, athletes continued to come in thick and fast; Valerie Lyttle braved the heat to finish strongly in 51:26 (179th place).  Donna Robertson performed well in what was her first ever competitive race, finishing in 53:16 to claim 184th place.  Patrice Murphy and Dawn Ralph completed the East Coast AC contingent at the popular event, completing the 5 miles in 54:12 (185th place) and 56:10 (188th place) respectively.

Parkrun

On Saturday (4th April 2015), no less than fifteen members completed 5k parkrun events.  Matthew Hewitt returned to the Citypark parkrun in Craigavon, claiming 1st place once again in a time of 17:22.  In Ballymena, East Coast Cheetah, Charlotte Dean completed the Ecos parkrun in 29:58 to claim 42nd place in the ladies category. 


The local Larne parkrun was a popular choice for members, with many achieving personal bests.  Daniel Girvin performed well to take 3rd place in 19:09, followed by Corey Urwin who achieved a new personal best of 19:42 (4th place).  Drew Girvin took 12th place in 22:10, before Paul Clements completed the 5k course in 22:27 to take 15th place.  Young Harry Plumb ran well to finish in 23:57 (24th place), followed by fellow ‘Cheetah’, Hannah Clements in a new personal best of 24:35 (2nd place lady).  Sandy Plumb proved he is back in form with a 5k time of 25:28 (29th place).  Junior star Kelly Patterson was the 3rd lady to finish when she crossed the line in a time of 25:41, achieving a new personal best for the course.


Jacqui McLoughlin was another member to claim a new personal best when she finished in 28:34 to take 8th place in the ladies category.  Next to finish were Caeli and Caoilfhinn McLoughlin, with both girls running well to finish in 31:05 (12th place lady) and 33:08 (13th place lady) respectively.  Patrice Murphy claimed 14th place in the ladies category when she finished in 33:24 followed by Keegan McLoughlin in 33:31 (56th place).  Suzanne Lough ran her 8th parkrun in a time of 45:12, taking 25th place in the ladies category.


In Redditch, Peter McManus completed the Arrow Valley parkrun along with his wife Patricia in a time of 44:42 (315th place).

Easter Races

On Easter Sunday (5th April 2015), East Coast AC held an Easter themed Family Fun Day for the community which included a number of ‘Easter Races’ for children and adults alike.  The day’s events started with an Under 6 running race of 400m.  


The girls race was first, with 7 taking part; Fern Davis and Maggie Deller gave spectators an exciting display of competition but in the final yards it was Fern who surged clear to win in  2:01 (1st place), Maggie followed in 2:04 (2nd place).  The final podium spot was claimed by Amy McKeen in 2:44 (3rd place).  The boys under 6 400m was just as exciting as the girls race, with Sam McKeown and Charlie Stewart battling it out right to the end.  Sam claimed top spot in 1:57 (1st place), with Charlie taking 2nd place just one second later in 1:58.  Ethan Shannon secured 3rd place in a time of 2:01.

The next race in the days busy event schedule was the 6-11years 800m, again with the girls race first and the boys afterwards.  In the girls race, it took approximately 200m for the front runners to begin to appear, with Hannah Clements and Kelly Patterson running clear from the chasing pack.  The two girls continued to run together until the final 100m when Kelly began to move clear, continuing to increase this gap right to the finish line, securing 1st place in 3:09 with Hannah following in 3:11 (2nd place).  Third place was another hotly contested affair, and by the 400m mark, it looked as though it may be awarded to either Hannah O’Toole, Lucy O’Toole or Zoe Whitford.  Similar to the first two positions, the 3rd place wasn’t decided until the final 100m when Lucy and Zoe surged clear, with both girls crossing the line together in 3:30 to take joint 3rd place.


The boys 6-11years 800m was another highly anticipated event, with a total of 15 boys taking part.  By half-way, the top three positions were beginning to become apparent, with Charlie Patterson taking the lead and Harry Plumb and Rhys McManus hot in pursuit.  Charlie continued his fine form of late to claim victory in 3:09 (1st place), followed by Harry who ran an impressive time of 3:11 for the distance (2nd place) and Rhys  claiming the final podium spot in 3:14 (3rd place).

The Under 6 Duathlon attracted a large crowd of spectators for the 100m run, followed by a 400m cycle and a final 100m run.  Charlie Stewart impressed during the cycle leg of the race, gaining a large advantage which he held through to the end to take 1st place in a total time of 2:47.  Matthew Crawford and Rebecca Robertson took 2nd and 3rd place after finishing in 3:09 and 3:20 respectively.


The 6-11years Duathlon was the final junior only event of the day, and attracted a field of ten eager competitors.  Kelly Patterson and Harry Plumb battled it out in the first 400m run, however it was in the 800m cycle that Kelly really took the lead, going into the final 400m in first place and continuing to take victory in a time of 5:40 (1st place).  Harry looked strong as he covered the final 400m run, completing all disciplines in 5:49 to claim 2nd place.  Third place was awarded to Zoe Whitford who impressed with a total clocking of 5:55.


The day culminated in an exciting Family Relay event, where instead of passing the baton, Easter Eggs would be passed from one relay runner to the next.  Teams of three would take on one lap each of the 350m course, with teams being categorised into combined age groups of under 70, 70-80 and over 80.  Team ‘Chavs’ secured first place in a time of 3:14, followed by Team ‘Robbo’ in 3:30 (2nd place) and ‘The Mighty Girvins’ in 3rd place (3:33).  


The committee would like to thank all those who supported and helped make the event possible, your help was very much appreciated.

Patterson Produces Performance of the Week!

This week junior and senior members took to the start lines of no less than seven events ranging from one mile to 13.1miles in distance in Belfast, Omagh, Newtownabbey, Lisburn, Larne and Redditch (England).  


Powerade Queens Race Round The River 5k

On Wednesday 25th March 2015, a sell-out field of seven hundred and fifty athletes took to the start line of the annual Powerade Queen's 'Race Round the River' 5k road race, which also incorporated the NI & Ulster 5k (Road) Championships.  In cold and blustery conditions, Chris Davis led the way for the East Coast AC team around the two and a half lap course, completing the 3.1miles in a new personal best of 19:03 (166th place).  Allyson O’Toole and Adele Neill both impressed with new personal bests; Allyson finished in 19:45 (22nd place lady) and Adele claimed 5th place in her V40 category with a 20:06 clocking (30th place lady).  


John Steele performed well after his great outing at the Larne Half Marathon just last week, finishing in 357th place in a time of 22:13.  More personal bests were achieved when Sandy Plumb, Tracey Parke, Valerie Lyttle and Sally McKeown all crossed the finish line.  Sandy ran well to finish in 23:41 (426th place) followed by the in-form Tracey Parke who claimed 100th placed lady in 24:58.  Training partners Sally and Valerie crossed the line side by side in 29:35 to take 130th and 132nd place in the ladies category respectively.

SPAR Omagh Half Marathon

On Saturday 28th March 2015, Sandy Plumb joined nearly two thousand competitors  at the SPAR Omagh Half Marathon.  The 13.1 mile event was the third race of the well supported Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015, and was by far the most popular to date.  Sandy performed well over the undulating course in what were very windy conditions, clocking a time of 1:57:49 for the distance to take 1,181st place overall.


Rabbit Run

On Sunday 29th March 2015, members joined over three hundred other competitors at the Rabbit Run 5k in Hazelbank Park, Newtownabbey, organised in aid of the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.  As well as the 5k event there was also a ‘Bunny Hop’ 1 mile junior race.  In the 1 mile event, East Coast Cheetah and recently crowned Junior XC Series (Mini Boys) winner, Charlie Patterson, put in the performance of the day.  Charlie cruised to victory to take 1st place in time TBC.


In the 5k event, junior star Kelly Patterson proved she is certainly one to watch when she claimed 11th place in the ladies category with a finish time of 28:37.  Valerie Lyttle followed in 32:20 to finish as 44th placed lady.

Lisburn Duathlon

Also on Sunday (29th March 2015), junior multi-sport star Callum Sittlington was in action once again at the Lisburn Triathlon Club hosted SERE Down Royal Duathlon Series Race 2, Lisburn Duathlon.  The event consisted of a 2 mile run, a 10 mile cycle and a final 2 mile run.  After covering the first section in a fast 14:02 clocking, Callum completed the cycle in 30:35 before running 15:07 for the final 2 miles, finishing in a total time of 1:01:07 to take 14th place overall and an impressive 2nd place in the junior male category.


Parkrun

On Saturday 28th March 2015, five members took part in the local Larne parkrun based in and around Carnfunnock Country Park.  Paul Clements was the first man home for the club in a time of 23:20 for the 5k distance, securing 7th place.  Paul’s daughter Hannah followed in 25:19 to take 3rd place in the ladies category before Angela Campbell who crossed the line in 26:23 (4th place lady).   Personal bests were achieved for both Johanna McIlroy and Suzanne Lough when they completed the tough course; Johanna ran 28:01 (7th place lady) taking almost thirty seconds off her previous best on the course and Suzanne slashed her previous best by over two minutes when she finished in 43:37 (16th place lady).  


On the same day, England based Peter McManus travelled to the Arrow Valley parkrun in Redditch.  Peter ran 26:42 for the distance to claim 124th place.

East Coast AC Enjoy Larne Half Marathon!

In what was the largest sporting weekend for the club this year to date, members competed in events ranging from 5k to 51k, with many achieving personal bests or starring in competitive races for the very first time.  Almost sixty members laced up their racers for events this weekend including the popular Larne Half Marathon and associated relay, the Wicklow Way Ultra and parkrun events in Larne and Belfast.


Larne Half Marathon

On Saturday 21st March 2015, almost sixty East Coast AC members joined thousands of athletes and spectators  in Larne for the 26th annual AES Larne Half Marathon.  The well organised event, hosted by Larne AC, was also the second race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015.

In perfect running conditions, the seemingly endless field of runners set off on the 13.1 mile journey which would take them firstly on a two mile section through the town before moving on to the famous County Antrim coastline, between Larne and Ballygally.  Once athletes reached Ballygally, they would complete a short undulating loop towards Cairncastle which then led them back to Ballygally for the return back along the Coast Road to the finish area along the Promenade at Larne Leisure Centre.


Mark Jordan was the first East Coast AC man home for the club, Mark smashed his previous time on the course (2014) by almost seven minutes when he finished in a new personal best of 1:34:04 taking 210th place.  Another man to achieve a personal best was Chris Davis, taking almost eight minutes off his 2014 time on the course, Chris finished in 1:37:48 (273rd place) proving just how much he has improved over the past year.  The next black and yellow vest to cross the line was Danny Hylands; Danny had a superb run with a fast finish along the atmospheric promenade, clocking 1:38:44 for the distance, claiming 290th place.

Renowned for setting personal bests in almost every race he competes in lately, Paul Clements yet again didn’t disappoint with the Larne Half Marathon.  Despite picking up an injury