What with so many high profile sporting events on this week it would have been easy to miss some of the excellent performances by our highly talented squad of outstanding athletes.
Thursday evening, 7th July saw over 250 runners gather at the Watersports Centre on the West Strand beach, Portrush, for the annual North Coast 10/5K runs in aid of the Sports Academy George, South Africa, of which Ulster & Irish rugby International Andrew Trimble is patron.
This is a tough run, with the 5K being the parkrun beach course and the 10K utilising the beach on the way out and a short stretch to finish, as well as throwing in a loop out around the Ramore head direction, just to add a bit of spice!
Springwell runners front-loaded the 5K race with young speedster Jonny Mckee taking the overall victory in 18:03 despite having just returned from holiday. Springwell members then also took second, third and fifth places with Dale Corbett (19:19), Chris Denton (19:36) and David Jackson (21:59) all running well on a softish beach, which was not conducive to really fast times, while for the ladies, Nichelle Atchison had a fine run to place 21st Overall in 31:09.
Meanwhile the 10K race, which started at the same time as the 5K, Ben Branagh (St Malachys AC) took overall victory in 33:24, ahead of Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) and Eoin Hughes (Acorns AC).
This time it was the turn of our ladies to shine and of course, as usual, they did not let us down! Placing a brilliant 11th overall, being the first Springwell runner home and winning the Ladies race was the classy Gemma McDonald, who is starting to show signs of a real return to form, which is great to see.
Backing up Gemmas great run were the fabulous Lady Chair, Karen McLaughlin, running as determinedly as ever to clinch third Lady in a terrific 16th overall, plus Deborah Gilliland and Alison Rankin finishing fourth and fifth Ladies. Fantastic running girls, well done!
First home for the men was Andy Deal in 18th place, followed by Gerard Conerney and Nigel Armstrong in 22nd and 26th respectively.
The only downside was the unfortunate DNF for Ross Armstrong who had been well placed to finish first male for Springwell until he badly laddered his tights while performing a preposterous leap for the camera!
Full Springwell results: 11th Gemma Turley (1st Lady 41:17), 16th Karen McLaughlin (3rd Lady) 42:29, 18th Andy Deal 43:03, 19th Deborah Gilliland 43:25, 22nd Gerard Conerney 43:39, 25th Alison Rankin (4th Lady) 43:51, 26th Nigel Armstrong 43:51, 42nd Caroline Irwin 46:43, 53rd Roasanna Jack 49:39, 56th Andrew Wilmot 50;40, 60th Charlotte Miller 51:13 (PB), 83rd Majella McAteer 54:47, 97th Mark Neeley 57:04, 118th Elaine Montgomery 59:10, 158th Emer Thompson 1:07:30.
On Saturday 9th July, four intrepid Springwell runners travelled to Duleek in County Meath to take part in both the marathon and 10 mile runs on the tough hilly courses involved.
With experienced Marathon and Ultra runners Helena Dornan and Ali McAllister taking all in their stride it was however, a baptism of fire for marathon “newboy” Bob McLaughlin, making his debut at the distance! Judith McLaughlin opted for the 10 miler and was probably glad she did!
Thankfully all went well and Bob made a fine debut experiencing no major problems with just a little stiffness the following day, as would be normal.
First home was Helena Dornan in an unofficial 4:20, finishing an excellent 2nd Lady, while Ali completed her fifth marathon this year and 22nd in total in 4:37:41.
Bob ran steadily around the hills to finish in 4:41:50, while Judith completed the 10 mile course in 1:42. Great running by all, well done folks!
On Sunday 10th July, over five hundred athletes from across the province descended on the County Tyrone village of Ardboe for the 3rd annual running of the Great Rossa 5k, 10k and 13.1 mile road races.
This race has built a strong reputation for itself over the last few years, with its quality course and excellent hospitality often mentioned by those who participate.
The 10k and Half courses are reasonably fast, although the final half mile climb to the finish, which stretches out before you, is a tough enough finish, especially when the legs are gone!
This year our Lone Ranger at this event was the prodigious racer Andrew Wilmot, who finds it difficult to fit in training around his racing!
Well I suppose some people train a lot and don’t race much, while Andrew races a lot but doesn’t... anyway well done to Andrew who ran a new PB for the Half Marathon distance, finishing in 1:51:40!
Although the sun lost it’s battle to break through, it was still pleasantly warm for Saturdays parkrun and the heavy rain stayed away just long enough to see everyone safely home and dry.
Portrush runner Jacob Lennox was congratulated on his 10th parkrun, George Brien on his 100th and Wallace parkrunner Judith Bracken on her 50th.
Portrush itself reached a milestone on Saturday, as the finish line has now been crossed over 20,000 times. Amongst the visiting parkrunners was a runner from Spain and one from Chicago.
First finisher was Gary Henderson of Armagh AC in 17.55 and first lady was Springwell junior runner, Hernione Skuce in 21.37. First male finisher for Springwell was Chris Denton.
This week there were 227 runners, of whom 41 were first timers and 24 recorded new Personal Bests.
Representatives of 23 different athletics clubs took part.
It was good to see Mr & Mrs Edgar out running again with their cycling and mountain-walking challenges firmly behind them!
Results: Portrush: Chris DENTON 00:19:11 Glenn MILLAR 00:20:18 Bryan EDGAR 00:20:52 James STEWART 00:20:57 Hermione SKUCE 00:21:37 Karen MCLAUGHLIN 00:22:18 Mervyn THOMPSON 00:23:03 Joshua HAZLETT 00:23:13 PB Robert WORKMAN 00:24:44 Andrew WILMOT 00:25:41 Molly BLEE 00:27:02 Rosanna JACK 00:27:03 Jim BLEE 00:27:26 Patricia CRAIG 00:27:46 Rozzy SKUCE 00:27:49 Norma SNELLING 00:28:14 PB Donna COSTELLO 00:28:22 PB Elaine MONTGOMERY 00:29:27 Jack BLEE 00:29:46 Rachel BLEE 00:29:59 Emma BIRRELL 00:30:41 Amy DOBSON 00:31:40 Margaret EDGAR 00:32:51 Fiona WALLS 00:34:37 Zara HUNTER 00:36:49 Emer THOMPSON 00:46:19 Victoria SMYTH 00:55:21 Joan TRENGOVE 00:56:24
Edinburgh - Trudy Walls 24.35
Limavady- Kerry- Ann McIlmoyle 20.09