Athletes’ talent recognised at annual Springwell awards event

Ciara Toner receiving the Female Challenge Cup from Kenny Bacon
Ciara Toner receiving the Female Challenge Cup from Kenny Bacon

Despite the fact that there were a few races available at the weekend the vast majority of Springwell runners opted to have a rest weekend, with a number visiting their local park run, while the remainder concentrated on preparing themselves for the Clubs annual Xmas Dinner and Awards ceremony, held in Ballymoney Rugby Club on Saturday evening.

There were a large number of awards handed out on the night, some of which were performance based and others based on endeavour and contribution to the club in general, as follows:

Kenny Bacon (L) presenting the Male Challenge Cup to Bryan Edgar

Kenny Bacon (L) presenting the Male Challenge Cup to Bryan Edgar

The first award to be handed out was to the Ladies marathon team of Gillian Wasson, Ciara McSherry and Linda Gillen who achieved a fantastic 3rd place overall in the Dublin Marathon female team standings, in which all three ladies ran PBs, plus Gillian set one of her 3 new club records, to complete a superb year of running for her.

Next were the age-graded male and female Club Championships, with a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal awarded over each of the race distances involved.

Male Club Championship: 1st Jim Breen 5 medals, 2nd Gerry O’Doherty 3 medals, 3rd Bryan Edgar 3 medals, 4th Brian Geddis 3 medals, 5th Hugh Boyle 2 medals, 6th Stephen Magill 1 medal and 7th Gary Moore 1 medal.

Female Club Championship: 1st Gillian wasson 5 medals, 2nd Fran McFadden 4 medals, 3rd Ciara Toner 4 medals, 4th Gemma Turley 3 medals and 5th Ali McAlister 2 medals

Judith McLaughlin with the Tenderfoot Award 2015, presented by Kenny Bacon

Judith McLaughlin with the Tenderfoot Award 2015, presented by Kenny Bacon

The Male and Female Challenge Cups were then awarded based on each athletes results over 3 distances, 5M, 10K and Half-Marathon. The winners in these categories were the highly consistant and classy Bryan Edgar and the extremely talented and equally classy Ciara Toner.

Next up were the Newcomer Awards for each of the 3 centres, Jimmy Stewart capturing the Award for Ballymoney, Jonny McKee for Coleraine and Dee Boorman for Limavady. Some great results from these boys over the past season and we look forward to seeing their continued development and progress over the next season.

The Tenderfoot Award for this season was presented to Judith McLaughlin, who has made enormous progress since commencing with the park run in 2014, progressing to Half Marathon distance this year, winning her Age Group at the Kennedy Kane McArthur in the process. One of the many unsung heroes in the Club, so it was great to see Judith being recognised in this way.

The Alison Rankin Endeavour Awards were announced, the recipients being Amanda Connell and Jean-Claude Bourgeois, another two very loyal, dedicated servants to the club, before the Male and Female Sports People of the Year were announced with Gemma Turley taking the Ladies award and Neil Johnston the Male award.

Alison Rankin, winner of the Club Person of the Year Award, with good friend Karen McLaughlin

Alison Rankin, winner of the Club Person of the Year Award, with good friend Karen McLaughlin

Gemma and Neil have both had excellent seasons, with Gemma having raced quite extensively and very successfully whereas Neil has raced more sparingly but equally as successful. Both have been excellent ambassadors for the club and have helped, alongside the many other talented runners in the club, to cement our standing as one of the major forces in club athletics in Northern Ireland.

It is a credit to the Committee and the unsung heroes of the coaching staff, that we currently have so many outstanding, high-achieving athletes in our ranks, which when allied to the extremely promising newcomers who have now bolstered our numbers, making for an exciting time when looking ahead to next season.

Last, but by no means least, the Club Person of the Year Award was presented to the very worthy Alison Rankin, who is not only an extremely fine athlete but also a tremendous organiser and worker behind the scenes, much of the work being unseen, involving many personal sacrifices, in addition to helping with the coaching duties at Coleraine. An immensely popular and worthy winner of this highly prestigious award, well done Alison.

A final presentation was then made to Karen McLaughlin, who has sadly missed most of this season through injury, for her sterling work in organising the catering arrangements at club events throughout the year. Again a very essential and much appreciated service, which involves a lot of unseen work. Hopefully Karen is slowly but surely over-coming her injury woes and will be back in action next season.