Another successful Newry City Marathon
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
ANOTHER hugely successful Newry City Marathon. Sunday's event that incorporated a half marathon, 10-mile walk and fun run, as well as the full 26.2 miles marathon, was acclaimed by all who participated or watched.
The new Warrenpoint Road route too was an outstanding success with an almost pancake-flat course that ensured fast times. Fair play to race directors Jackie Malone and Damian McStay, as well as their hard-working committee, who left no stone unturned in their quest to ensure a great day for all.
Jackie told the Democrat: "It was a wonderful occasion and a festival of fitness. Hill Street was alive as the masses poured up it to finish outside the offices of main sponsors, Newry Credit Union. Well done to all who participated."
The winner of the marathon was Gary O'Hanlon who retained his crown from last year. The Louth man surged across the finish line in the excellent time of 2.36.14.
Local man Don Travers, who has twice won the race, was second in 2.41.55. The Rathfriland fireman was with his rival at the halfway stage but was unable to stay over the last 13 miles. Still it was a super performance from The Don.
One of the best runs of the day however, came from David Griffin. The Camlough triathlete, who only decided the day before the race to give it a go, clocked a stunning 2.51.58. Other Newry runners who ducked under the magic three-hour barrier were Cathal McGreevy (2.58.59), Stephen Quinn (2.59.29) and Miceal Dillon (2.59.35).
Incidentally Miceal is embarking on a series of marathon distance events to thank the man above for helping his wife beat breast cancer. Miceal already completed Dublin, London, Belfast, and now Newry. He has two more targets - the Mourne Way Marathon and a 40-mile Newry to Belfast ultra-marathon.
Others men who went well in the marathon were Damian Mulholland who was a mere 21 seconds over three hours and Declan Forde who recorded a super personal best of 3.02.52, while Don Harte also grabbed a PB of 3.09.51.
Although arguable the performance of the day came from Liosa McKeown who won the women's race with a stunning 3.13.18. The sweet-striding Belleeks' lady was never in any real danger of losing the race but she kept up her relentless metronomic pace to win in style, chopping seven minutes from her previous personal best of 3.20. By the way Liosa had the fastest marathon time by a lady from this area in over 30 years (in 1983 Roma McConville won the Belfast Marathon in 2.58.). Other ladies from the Newry area to do well were Caroline Wade and Eimear McCracken who crossed the line together with the clock reading 3.36.17. Superb running.
Another superb piece of running came from partially sighted Andy Fitzgerald, who along with his guide Gary McHale, crossed the line in a astonishing 3.28.54.
Meanwhile in the half marathon that boasted a massive field of well over 700 athletes, the big story of the day was Belfast Marathon winner Freddie Kirotch registering on the day before the race. His presence was a huge catch for race directors Jackie and Damian and shows that their massive hard work is paying dividends.
As expected the Kenyan won the race in the fast time of 1.10.14 although Omagh Harrier Stephen Duncan chased him all the way to the line. Newry's own Eamon White gave a great account of himself over the 13.1 miles distance and was just over a minute slower in 1.11.30. The husband/wife team of Desi and Heather Foley also had super runs with Des seventh overall in 1.18.06 while Heather clocked 1.23.36 and was second lady. Not bad for a pair of cyclists!
Breege Connolly was the first lady in 1.18.37 while Anne Fitzpatrick was third in 1.30.02.
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