Seapark AC travel to Slovakia for 89th Kosice Peace Marathon:

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Carrickfergus runners enjoy annual trip abroad:

Members of Seapark Athletic Club, based in Carrickfergus, recently travelled to Slovakia for the ‘Kosice Peace Marathon’.

Like most clubs, group outings and trips away are an important aspect of the County Antrim club’s ‘team building’ ethos, with at least one excursion abroad organised each year.  You would be forgiven for asking, why Slovakia?  It’s a long way to travel to compete in a big city race.  However, there was a perfectly good, and genuinely thoughtful reason behind the idea.

Seapark AC member Marain Mach, and his wife, Dorota, hail from Poland and have been trying to get their Carrickfergus running friends to run a Polish marathon for several years, so this year club officials decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to combine the club’s annual trip abroad with the chance to meet the family of their popular members.

In total, fifteen members travelled; six runners, the Seapark AC club president, Alan Richley and family/friends.  Flying to the popular, up and coming Krakow, before taking on the three hour drive to Krosno, Poland.  The group used Krosno as their base throughout the trip – arriving on 4th October and departing on 9th October with the marathon on the 7th October 2012.

With Marain Mach being from Poland, the travelling Seapark Athletic Club representatives met up with the Krosno Running Club, who provided all transport and put on a BBQ for their guests on the Friday evening (5th October).  Gifts were exchanged, including the presentation of a Carrickfergus Borough plaque to the president of Krosno Running Club.

On race day, Sunday 7th October, the nervous marathoners made the two hour trip to Slovakia, where the event took place, in Kosice.  This was the 89th Kosice Peace Marathon and 30,000 runners competed.

The weather was warm and humid, and the course was run over two laps, despite this it was beautiful and very scenic, running through the town and picturesque park, with easy access for spectators.  Water/feed stations provided water in both small, manageable bottle and plastic cups, energy drinks in small bottles, sponges, bananas and oranges.  The organisation of the event was fantastic, kilometre markers were clear and spectators lined the entire route.

On the day, four Seapark AC vests were amongst the marathon runners while two took on the Half Marathon.  Edward Simpson (1:51:54) and Vivien Davidson (1:59:58) broke the two hour barrier, achieving personal bests.  In the marathon, team spirit and camaraderie was evident , with the four friends running the 26.2 miles together, Bobbie Irvine led the high spirited, but tired group home in 3:31:36, just ahead of Gillian Cordner (3:31:37), Rob Gordon (3:31:45) and Gary Connolly (3:32:19).

After finishing, competitors received an excellent goody bag, a well-deserved bottle of beer and a beautiful commemorative medal.  Changing facilities were provided, just a few yards away from the finish line.  The jubilant group celebrated their excellent team performance with a nice meal and numerous beverages before taking in some sights in the remaining days of their trip.

Seapark AC are a friendly, welcoming club with an abundance of quality and enthusiastic members.  Please visit their website at: www.seaparkac.com