Over the last number of weeks there has been a steady increase in the number of events as we build up to the Spring/Summer season.
On Saturday, hundreds of athletes descended on the home of Northern Ireland’s government, Stormont Estate, for the final event of this year’s Athletics NI XC League, the Stormont XC.
A party of our budding superstar juniors made the trip up to Belfast to get a race before the Irish Schools XC in Sligo next weekend. Hermione Skuce had a great run to finish first girl home in the U15/17 race, with Andrew Gordon doing equally well to finish 2nd in the U15 Boys race and top ten fiinishes for Niamh Carr, Rebekah Hunter and Elle Beveridge. With Eleanor Blair also finishing well, it was another very successful day, all-in-all, for the squad and their coaches.
In the Male Open/Vet race, won by North Down ACs’ Dennis Scott in 25:29, there was another excellent performance by the continually improving Jonathan McKee, who claimed 16th place in 27:29 in a high quality field, followed by Paul Thompson, 35th in 28:38 and Junior Coach and driving force behind their considerable success this year, enjoying a rare outing, Ali Bratton finishing 126th in 35:21.
Gerry O’Doherty deservedly wrapped up the MV60+ league win with a 2nd place in his race on the day, so congratulations to Gerry, who has dominated the series to date.
Also on Saturday 27th February 2016, the 19th century restored building of Raceview Mill in Broughshane played host to a brand new 10k road race, sponsored by ABO Wind NI and in association with local events management company, 26extreme.
For Springwell, first runner home in a strong ninth place and second MV35 was Jimmy Stewart who, amazingly, ran a PB of 39:14 on this tough course, despite having focused his training to-date on the Larne Half, illustrating that there is much yet to come!
Behind Paula, in a remarkable racing debut comeback, Lady Chair, Karen McLaughlin claimed a fabulous 2nd place overall, plus 1st FV45, in a highly respectable 42:42, despite having started a little too fast over the first 2 miles, catching and passing, then dropping, both the eventual lady winner and a stunned Sergei, only for the wheels to temporarily come off on the steep ascent.
Another one who enjoyed a happy racing debut return was Caroline Irwin who, not only claimed 4th place in the Ladies race but, also 2nd FO.
With Catherine Pinkerton-Moore finishing seventh Lady it gave us three Ladies in the top ten, so well done girls!