THIS IS the week when the Lourdes Stadium is officially reopened as a state-of-the-art athletic hub for the north-east. To mark this new era in Drogheda athletics, Drogheda and District Athletic Club would like to invite all comers to see how fast they can run a mile on the new scarlet tartan.
Tonight Tuesday, December 4, the ' Movember Mile' takes place in the stadium at 8pm. Come fifteen minutes early to sign in and warm up. Alternatively, a second chance is available on this Thursday evening December 6th at 7pm. Once again arrive early to be ready in time.
The mile will be accurately timed and it is free of charge. If you wish to give a donation on the night, any monies raised will be donated to raise awareness of mens' health matters, specifically prostate cancer.
The spread of interests among club members was in evidence again last weekend as they took part in events from 3k cross-country to 13miles on the road.
On a sunny morning in Waterford, Gerry Mullins returned to his home county for one of the country's best value and best organised half marathons. He responded well to the familiar territory by completing the 13.1 mile course in 1:35 and stood by to cheer in Thomas and Gillian Farrelly who completed the hilly course together in 1:57. Gillian later paid poetic tribute to husband Thomas ' who gave up getting his time, to get me across that line'.
There was the romantic sound of hundreds of bells jingling in the frosty air of Dublin's Phoenix Park on the same morning. 1188 participants, all wearing tiny bells took part in the 22nd annual Donore Harriers' 5k Jingle Bells race. St.Coca's Paul Robinson was outright winner and tinkled home in 14:15. First lady to jingle all the way was Dundrum's Linda Byrne in 15:48.
A festive busload of reindeer and Mrs.Claus lookalikes attended from Drogheda, and songsheets helped to steady nerves on the way. Brian Guilfoyle, recently returned from a tour of duty in the Lebanon, prepared the merry gang for their tour of the Park with stretching and robust encouragement. Brian himself soldiered around in a time of 21:18 but Liam Farrell was squadron leader on the day in 21:08.
Among the female infantry, Roisin Donnelly from Monasterboice showed good form with 23:20 on her return to battle, having been missing in action for some time. Annemarie O'Grady also jingled with distinction on Saturday returning from this year's war wound with 29:24. Among the newer faces Rosanna Crean, Pauline Murphy and Margo Duffy emerged fighting with 27:30, 27:57 and 31:21 to their credit.
A long-standing and valued member of Drogheda and District, Jim McEvoy, facilitated Sunday's big event; the Louth Masters Cross-Country Championships, at his wonderful field in Termonfeckin. Dunleer man Kieron Kelly placed first in a competitive field. His time was 18:18 for the 5000m hilly course in damp conditions. DDAC occupied positions fourth, fifth and sixth as core guru Paul Smith, Robbie Maher and Pat O'Grady battled all the way to finish 18:47, 18:52 and 19:02 respectively. These three combined to claim second place in the mens' team event while Paul and Robbie placed second in their agegroups and Pat was the winner in his.
Aonghus O'Connor showed good return to form on Sunday and ran strongly for a nice round 20:00 result. Gareth Curran had the audacity to pip club chairman Declan Monaghan to the post in 21:08, many onlookers concluding that the 6 second difference was all down to Gareth shaving off his movember moustache. Michael Lindsey and Peter Sheridan competed all the way, Michael just coming out on top at 23:43 and ten seconds clear of Peter. Jim Leonard, another true stalwart of local athletics was cheered home in 33:43, his affable attainments always appreciated and admired by the crowd. Jim won the O/70s agegroup prize.
Club Ladies' Captain Nuala Reilly stepped off a transatlantic flight and into her spikes to scoop O/50 gold in Termonfeckin in 13:16 but Yasmin Canning was DDAC's leading female. She took the O/40s award and second spot overall behind Dunleer's Karen Costello, in a time of 12:36, and combined with Sally Tipping and Mary McGreehan for the ladies' team award. Margaret McAuley and Mary Lynn ran well on the familiar hilly field for silver and gold O/55 and Margo Duffy was back in action again on Sunday to collect the O/60 gold making it two consecutive days in the red DDAC singlet - a feat which did not go unnoticed among appreciative clubmates.
Third placed ladies team was also from Drogheda and District AC, constituting Nuala Reilly, Yvonne McMahon and Miriam Gough.