Best yet as the record tumbles
Athletics - Michael Fearon and Kevin Marron Carlingford races
To help mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of Glenmore AC, every effort was made to ensure that this year's Carlingford 5K - held last Friday evening - was the best one yet.
With more than 530 entries, anticipation for what was going to be a fantastic event was building in the village from early in the afternoon. The weather played its part, and the participating athletes were greeted with warm sunshine and a gentle sea breeze.
Long-time supporter of the club Tommy Neary was on hand to start the race on the stroke of 8pm and the leaders set off at a blistering pace, with the increased prize fund for breaking the course record (thanks to sponsors Bakers Takeaway) on the mind of a few.
The athletes continued on the usual route, out the Greenore Road, before turning back to face the impressive backdrop of Slieve Foy in the distance.
The atmosphere in the village was building, and when the first athlete came into sight of the finish line everyone knew at that point that the course record would be broken.
The massively impressive Yared Derese (Carrick Aces) crossed the line in 14:23, breaking the old course record by three seconds.
He was followed home by Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) in 15:03, with Conan McCaughey from North Belfast Harriers completing the podium places with a time of 15:09.
The quality of the field over the years has firmly established the Carlingford 5K as one of the premier road races in the North East, with an impressive 12 athletes finishing under 16 minutes, 45 athletes under 17 minutes, and a huge 170 athletes inside the 20-minute mark.
The ladies race was equally impressive. Laura Graham (Mourne Runners, winner of the Belfast Marathon and one of Ireland's top female distance runners) dropped down in distance for this event, and managed to finish as first female athlete in a time of 17:01. She was quickly followed by Jessica Craig (North Down AC) in 17:04, with Niamh Devlin from Dundrum South Dublin finishing third in 17:56.
The team prizes were also hotly contested, with North Belfast managing to retain the Michael Fearon Cup for the fifth consecutive year, with Dromore AC in second place. On the female side Armagh AC won the Kevin Marron Cup, holding off a strong challenge from North East Runners.
From a Glenmore AC point of view, 27 members of the club completed the race. Shane Lynch was presented with the Francis O'Reilly Shield for first Glenmore AC male (16:33). Sarah Dooney was presented with the Ciaran Gormley Trophy as first Glenmore AC female (22:52).
The juvenile athletes took to the road earlier in the night, competing in various distances. Trophies were awarded to the top three in each category and medals to the top 10 finishers, with plenty of smiling faces on the night!
U9 Girls 500m: 1st Grace McEvoy (Blackrock AC), 2nd Maeve Walsh (Glenmore AC), 3rd Leah Townsend (Dunleer AC).
U9 Boys 500m: 1st Nathan Robinson (Ace), Jack Newell (Kilkeel AC), Ethan Connolly (Armagh AC)
U11 Girls 750m: 1st Chloe Cooney (Ace), Sadie Murphy (St. Gerards), Cliodhna Reilly (Dunleer AC)
U11 Boys 750m: 1st Conor Brennan (Dunleer AC), Cormac Greene (Dunleer AC), Declan McEntee (Dunleer AC)
U13 Girls 1000m: 1st Sholah Lawrence (Ace), Eimear Cooney (Ace), Dearbhla Allen (St Peters)
U13 Boys 1000m: 1st Shea O'Donnell (Ace), Harry O'Reilly (St.Peters), 3rd Matthew McArdle
U15 Girls 1200m: 1St Ciara Nugent (Armagh), 2nd Niamh Brady (St Peters), 3rd Ava Brady (Glenmore AC)
U15 Boys 1200m: Cian Gorham (St Peters), James Dunne (Glenmore AC), Danny Nugent (Ace)
The Glenmore contingent who completed in the underage races were Eimear Murray & Ethan Nichols (U-9), Gillian Tuohy, Holly McCann, Sarah Duffy & Sophie Cumiskey (U-11), Leah Dunne, Aine O'Reilly, Saoirse Byrne, Elliot Nichols, Craig Tuohy, Christopher Conlon, Peadar Walsh, Daniel Connolly & Seamus Small (U-13) and Ava Ashby & Sarah Mallon (U-15).
Glenmore AC would like to extend a very special thanks to everyone who helped make this event the success it was, namely the committee of Glenmore AC; the club sponsors (especially Bakers Takeaway for sponsoring the course record prize-money); official starter Tommy Neary and John and Mary Mc Geown who helped out enormously on the night; the Red Cross and Gardai for their invaluable service; Donal McDonald who provided a motorcycle escort to all of the juvenile and senior races; Carlingford Tidy Towns for providing eco-friendly usable cups; Carlingford Community Hall committee; all the members of the club and wider community who helped run the event on the night, including those who helped with the stewarding of the event, registration, finish line and catering; residents and businesses in Carlingford for their patience; all the locals and supporters who came out to cheer, clap and encourage all the runners along the route; and finally to the clubs and runners who participated.