‘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.
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.
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: