Athletes descended on the Billy Neill Playing Fields in Comber on Saturday for the Comber Cup Cross Country. Ballydrain Harriers hosted the event which was the first race of the 2014/15 Athletics NI Cross Country League.
The well organised event was held in perfect running conditions and included numerous junior races, all of which proved to be a fitting ‘warm up’ for the exciting adult races which were to follow. Springwell where well represented in the combined U14/U16 race over 3K. Hermione Skuce finished third in the Girls U14 in 12:23 and Amy Fountain eighth in 14:09. Abigail McBroom led the Girls U16 home to win in 11:40 with Rebekah Hunter second in 12:30, Molly Brennan third in 12:36 and Elle Beveridge fourth in 12:59.
This was a good work out for the girls in preparation for the Age Group Championships on 25 October.
Next up was the ladies and Vet Men 60+ 6K race. North Down AC athletes Rachel Gibson and Jessica Craig were prominent figures at the front throughout. However, in the end, it was Rachel, who secured victory in 23:47 (1st place). Jessica followed just two seconds later in 23:49, before Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) claimed third place in 23:55. Springwell’s Sonia Knox ran a strong race to finish fourth in 24:05 (1st F40) followed by Gemma Turley 25:08, Aife McSheffrey 25:09 (1st F20), Alison Rankin 25:11, Suzanne Arbuthnot 25:29, Karen McLaughlin 26:03, Deborah Gilliland 27:34, Katherine Woods 27:58, Catherine Pinkerton-Moore 29:11. Rosalind Overend 30:11, Alison McAllister 30:26, Catherine Butcher 30:34, Lynn Montgomery 30:40, Rozzy Skuce 31:17, Debbie Tutty 33:02, Amanda Simpson 34:41, Ursula Harper 36:16, Sharon Brown 37:06, Angela Calderwood 38:18 and Claire Shields 38:23.
The Springwell ladies finished second team and secured maximum bonus points a good start to the defence of their Athletics NI Cross Country Crown.
Springwell’s Jim Platt ran a steady race working his way through the field to finish third M70 in 31:30.
The men’s race had a lot to live up to after the excellent display of running from the ladies, and with Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) and Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) amongst those playing starring roles, it did just that. In a talented field, it was the aforementioned men who always looked as if they had something more to give as the race progressed into the latter stages of the 8K course. Brendan Teer showed his class and experience over ‘the country’ when he led the field home in 26:25. Allan Bogle took second place in 27:02, while Mark McKinstry completed the men’s podium in 27:15.
PhilipTweedie 28:38 led the Springwell team home followed by Conor Christie 28:52 (2nd M20), Luke Dinsmore 29:09 (3rd M20), David Jackson 31:27, Christopher Millar 31:31, Colin Loughery 32:10, Gerry O’Doherty 32:20, James McMullan 35:28, Nigel Armstrong 36:08, Ricky Cochrane 36:49 and Richard Baker 37:30.
The Springwell men’s team finished fifth in the team race.
Springwell’s Andrew Dowey and Jim Breen travelled to Armagh on Sunday for the Adidas 10 Mile Road Race. Andrew ran a PB time of 65:09 and Jim finished first M60 in 68:12.
The major prize winners where Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) 53:49 and Maria McCambridge (DSD Dublin) 55:16.
Although high tide was at 8.55am the sand was surprisingly firm in places, mainly due to the early morning low temperatures. The mist soon cleared leaving another sunny run for Saturday’s Portrush parkrun.
Jackie Cunningham was congratulated on being selected as UK parkrun runner of the week and, as such, appeared in the weekly email newsletter sent to all parkrunners.
There were 96 runners 11 first timers, 10 PB’s and 7 different athletics clubs represented, with tourists from Dublin, Glasgow and England, as well as from other parts of the province.
First home was Richard Stringer in 18:33 and first lady home was Springwell’s Linda Gillen in 23:34
Springwell Times - Glenn Millar 18:42, David McAfee 19:56, Gary Kendall 22:05, Robert Workman 22:53, Peter Fleming 22:55, Mervyn Thompson 22:57, Linda Gillen 23:34, David Hughes 25:04 (PB), Bob McLaughlin 26:08, Stephen Smyth 26:24 (PB), Kay Hack 26:26, Melanie Millar 28:08, Judith McLaughlin 29:23 (PB), Chris & Luke Denton 41:52.
Parkrun Tourists - Alistair Shaw ran 19:02 at the Ormeau parkrun. Noelle Watterson ran 28:44, Bernie Drain 29:24 and Catherine Byers 30:38 at the ECOS parkrun.