On Wednesday evening eight hundred runners descended on Queens PEC for the annual Queens Race around the River 5k road race.
This year a 3k event was introduced as well. Such a squad of Acorns were travelling to the race, the newly bought supercoach with 10 extra seats was needed, time at a premium as the 3k race started over half an hour before the 5k race.
The driver skilfully got the Acorns to the startline with seconds to go before the start of the 3k. Conditions were perfect for running and all signs pointed to quick times.
With no time to properly warm up for the 3k, Andrew Shaw, John Knocker and Daire Hinfey just had to grit their teeth and go for it.
All three had great runs - Andrew in first in 11.42,followed by John in 12.47,closely followed by Daire in a great time of 13.14.
Next up was the main 5k event, the air was bristling with tension, as a who’s who of the north’s middle distance runners gathered at the start.
The flat,fast course starts at the Annadale embankment and covers two and three quarter laps, each lap 1.8k finishing outside Queens PEC.
Even more was at stake as the race was doubling up as the NI and Ulster 5k Road Championships. A bit of jostling for position went on, with not an inch given as the race got ready to start and then bang they were gone.
Clonliffe harriers Gary Murray set of at a cracking pace, inviting everyone else to keep with him or get dropped. All the Acorns ran their hearts out with lots of pbs.
First three Acorn men to finish were Darrell McKee 16.00pb, followed by Shane Billy Donnelly running out of his skin in 16.21 pb,f ollowed in third place by Martin McVey 16.37pb.
First three Acorn ladies were Natalie Hall 19.08pb, followed by Leanne pocket rocket Sands in 20.21pb, closely followed by Mrs Shine Annemarie McKernan 20.36pb.
Special mention goes to Cathaoir Purvis who ran a pb of 16.43, which won Cathaoir his first NI and Ulster Championship silver medal Junior u19; well done, Cathaoir.