Drogheda quartet do Masters team proud
ALL eyes were on the Hungarian capital Budapest at the weekend as Drogheda & District AC's men's masters team swapped the red vest to compete for their country at the World Masters Indoor Championships.
Months of training along the banks of the Boyne has paid off for Mark O'Shea, Niall Donnelly, Robbie Maher and Michael Maher who ran great races and many season's bests along the banks of the Danube river.
With 3,800 people racing all told, the Drogheda quartet took part in the 1500m races and Robbie Maher was bitterly disappointed after finishing seventh in his heat on Saturday and narrowly missing out on getting placed in the final. His brother Michael ran a season's best 5:18 in the M50.
In the M40 there was much excitement and disappointment as 30 athletes ran across three heats for 12 qualifying places. Mark O'Shea and Niall Donnelly ran in the first and fastest heat and both lads had season's bests, finishing third and fourth of the 12 qualifiers.
After an exciting day of of racing it was a a quick feed of pasta and early to bed for the lads who were back at it again on Sunday.
In the final O'Shea and Donnelly ran like the wind to hold third and fifth respectively until the last 400m.
It was not only an astounding experience for the lads to have represented their club in the World Indoors, but also a fine personal achievement they can take pride in.
Meanwhile, Drogheda & District's Joe Stafford abandoned his planned training run and raced to the finish line in 1:31:05 when completing the Wicklow Half Marathon last weekend.
The Garden County event is a great mid-season indicator of how training is going for Stafford in preparation for the Boston Marathon.
Some 277km away in Larne, the club's Polish native and long-distance enthusiast Mieczyslaw Jurnochnik ran the largest half-marathon in the North in 1:52:09.
The end of the cross-country season was marked by a mid-week floodlit race in Malahide and the usual DDAC hardy souls made an appearance.
Gerry Mullins was the first club member home and Conor Cooney was placed second in his category.
Over the road in Dunboyne some of the DDAC athletes ran the 4 mile road race. Paul McQuillan was the first male home for the club and Pamela Howard was the first female home for the club. Enda Collins crossed the finish line in 24.20 and David Campbell in 23.32.