DTC snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at the 2nd annual 6 x1600m track relay against our friends at Tafelta AC (Magherafelt).
Jim Green showed maturity beyond his 17 years to bring DTC home in the lead at the end of the first leg. David Stewart went out hard on leg two but paid the price as Tafelta took a significant lead by the one-third mark of the contest.
Despite both Mark Quigley and Cathal McLaughlin making solid contributions over the next two legs, Tafelta still maintained a healthy advantage.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man and Ben Mellon was that man, contributing the first sub-5 minute clocking to put Adrian Boyle within striking distance at the final changeover.
The former Irish Masters’ 800m champion showed all of his expertise as he quickly closed the gap before sitting in wait at his rival’s shoulder. The laps ticked away without any change before Boyle unleashed a vicious kick with 120m to run.
It was all over with Boyle breaking the tape well clear of his opponent and registering the fastest split of the relay.
Thanks to Francis Purvis and all at Tafelta for an enjoyable morning despite the cold and breezy conditions.
Hundreds of people turned out this week in County Tyrone to bid farewell to the late Oliver McCullagh. The Greencastle man’s cortege from his home to St. Patrick’s Church, Greencastle was led by lone piper Michael Kelly and representatives of clubs from all over Ulster. McCullagh was not only the originator and organiser of the Greencastle 5 Miles road race but also an influential figure in the development of the sport in mid-Ulster.
Fr. Eddie Gallagher led an emotion-charged requiem service with the following extract reading from Ecclesiastes:
There is a time for everything,
And a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die.
Oliver was heavily involved in activity but sadly his time came much too soon. He will not be forgotten and is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Olivia (Mullin), sons Pierce and Connor, their respective partners, and grandsons and granddaughters. May he rest in peace. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
DTC athlete David Stewart set a new M55 record in finishing eighth in the pentathlon event in Barga, Portugal. David set personal bests in all five events. His best individual result came in the 1000m with a 3:20.69 timing which was worth 719 points. (results at https://emaci22.vercel.app/results)
Other DTC athletes were in action at the Buncrana parkrun where they filled the top three positions in windy conditions (four in the top ten).
Adrian Boyle 18:49 (74.76%)
Cathal McLaughlin 18:50 (80.88%)
David Mellon 20:08 (69.37%) …9th Conor McIlveen 23:35
Across the water DTC’s Stephen Logan was second in the Beverley Westwood parkrun in 19:43 (69.23%).
21 November 2021 – Adam Kirk-Smith headlined a busy weekend for DTC athletes with a fine 24th place in the National Senior Cross Country, making him the first Ulster-based athlete across the finish line. Good news also is that AKS has committed himself to DTC for 2022 becoming our first contract athlete for the year.
22 Andrew Coscoran Star of the Sea A.C. 31:52 23 David Mansfield Clonmel 31:53 24 Adam Kirk-Smith Derry Track Club 32:02 25 James Dunne (U23) Tullamore Hrs 32:04
Elsewhere David Mellon scored his second consecutive (third in all) win at the Buncrana parkrun, coming home in windy conditions with a 20:22 clocking. David hopes to complete his Malcolm McCausland recorded 24:55.
Mark Quigley showed a continued improvement since joining DTC with a runner-up spot at the Derry City (5.3km) parkrun.
“Tough course!,” said Mark. “Came through 5K at 19:23 so happy enough with that, 20:41 and second place overall.”
The legend just continues to grow as Jason Smyth adds another Paralympic gold medal. The 34-year-old Eglinton sprinter breasted the tape yesterday for victory in the T13 100m at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics after what was the tightest race of his career. It was his sixth gold Paralympic gold medal in a career that stretches back to Seoul in 2008 and he remains unbeaten in that period.
However, never before did he have to dip so frantically as he did on this occasion with Algeria’s Skander Djamil Athmani closing down the Irish man’s advantage in the final phase of the race.
Unlike the sluggish start in his heat earlier in the morning, Smyth was out of the blocks like a bullet in the final, gaining a two metre advantage on Athmani, who is the national able-bodied record holder of Algeria with a 10.29 second mark.
After that it was a case on clinging on and the Derry Track Club sprinter did just that, straining every last sinew in his body, as Athmani gained by the stride.
A last desperate lunge at the line saw Smyth home by the finest of margins, one-hundredth of a second, in a new Paralympic record of 10.53 seconds. Mission accomplished! And it was a relieved and happy Smyth, draped in a tricolour, who spoke after the event.
“Delighted, obviously an extremely close race. I knew coming into it that the Algerian had run quick in the heats, and he’s run very quick this year – quicker than I have,” he said with obvious relief.
“So, I knew I was up against it. If I reflect back on the year I’ve had, it’s probably one of the toughest years I’ve had in quite a while with injuries. Nine months ago, I was wondering if this was me done. Three months ago, I was wondering would I be at the Games and to be able to be at this level. But we got things right and we came together right at the right time.”
This week was Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. For athletics followers, Patriots’ Day is synonymous with the Boston Marathon but unfortunately the event did not go ahead on its usual date for the second consecutive year.
The first Boston took place in 1897 and was inspired by the marathon race in the previous year’s Summer Olympics in Greece. Its course goes from Hopkinton in southern Middlesex County to Copley Square in Boston and had run without interruption until the cancellation of the 2020 event.
That inaugural event only attracted 15 starters, but more recent editions have seen around 30,000 registered participants each year. The Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 established a record as the world’s largest marathon with 38,708 entrants, 36,748 starters, and 35,868 finishers. Apart from the active participants, the event attracts 500,000 spectators each year as well as a worldwide television viewership.
Winner of the first race was Irish-American John J. McDermott who covered the 24.5 mile course in 2:55:10. The event was scheduled for the then recently established holiday of Patriots’ Day, linking the race with the Athenian and American struggles for liberty. The race, which became known as the Boston Marathon, has been held every year since then, even during the World War years & the Great Depression, until 2020.
In 1924, the starting line was moved from Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland to Hopkinton Green and the course was lengthened to 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 km) to conform to the standard set by the 1908 Summer Olympics and codified by the IAAF in 1921.
Probably the most unfortunate Boston Marathon was in 2013 which was still in progress when two homemade bombs were set off about 180 metres yards apart on Boylston Street, in approximately the last 200m of the course. The race was halted, preventing many from finishing, but not before three spectators were killed and an estimated 264 were injured.
The last Ireland-born athlete* to win Boston was Niall Cusack. The Limerick man entered the 1974 race as an unknown entity with New Yorker Tom Fleming the favourite. His university East Tennessee paid his way to the race but Cusack, on an impulse, decided to pin a shamrock to his fishnet vest. Little did he know how important an element that shamrock was to play in his win.
Cusack started conservatively, he did not hit the front until 10km and was never headed thereafter. At the halfway mark he was one minute ahead of Fleming. And cruised home 46 seconds ahead of the tearful American in a time of 2:13.39, the second fastest winning effort up to that point. Finishing well down the field was an up and coming Bill Rogers, who subsequently became synonymous with Boston and New York.
He started the race not quite an unknown, despite having won the NCAA cross country two years earlier but crossed the finish line as an international star. “I didn’t realise how big this event was until I crossed the line,” said the former St. Munchin’s College student. “It was bedlam. The Irish in Boston went mad – they were stuffing ten and twenty dollar bills into my bag. I was the toast of Boston.”
Cusack had represented Ireland at the 1972 Olympics in the 10,000m and went on to a second Games in Montreal 1976, finishing 55th in the marathon. He later won the 1981 Dublin City Marathon but never managed to scale the heights of his triumph in Boston 47 years ago this week.
*Contrary to popular belief Niall Cusack is not the only Irishman to win Boston. Jimmy Duffy (born Sligo 1 May 1890 – 23 April 1915) was the winner of the 1914 Boston. Two years earlier, representing Canada he was fifth in the Olympic Marathon won by Co. Antrim’s Ken McArthur representing South Africa – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Duffy