Excellent results for enthusiastic Springwell Club athletes

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The local running scene was affected by two main factors this weekend, the first being the Internationl Cross Country race at Greenmount Campus, Antrim, on Saturday and the other being the artic weather conditions which swept the province, causing quite a few parkrun cancellations.

However, it did not stop the Portrush parkrun from going ahead nor did it deter many of the extremely hardy and enthusiastic Springwell runners from togging up and getting their running fix for the weekend, where ever conditions allowed.

Bob McLaughlin, Lorraine Abernathy, Judith McLaughlin and Catherine Byers after the Mount Stewart trail race

Bob McLaughlin, Lorraine Abernathy, Judith McLaughlin and Catherine Byers after the Mount Stewart trail race

IAAF Antrim International XC 2016

On Saturday 16th January 2016, the eyes of the athletic world were on Northern Ireland, as the highly respected IAAF road show descended on CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus in Antrim, for the annual IAAF Antrim International Cross Country.

The event, which was organised by Athletics NI, also included the British Athletics XC Challenge and was part of the ongoing Athletics NI XC League.

Prior to the International events, the exciting programme of competitive Junior races ensured that the atmosphere had built sufficiently for the ‘main’ events.

Neil Johnston in action at the International XC - picture courtesy of NI Running

Neil Johnston in action at the International XC - picture courtesy of NI Running

In the ladies 5,600m event, Fionnuala McCormack finished in 3rd place for Ireland after which, over what was now an exceptionally muddy course, the men set off for their 10,800m event, won by Aweke Ayalew of Bahrain.

A small number of Springwell athletes joined the ranks of these highly accomplished athletes and recorded excellent results.

In the Mens U20 race Luke Dinsmore finished 18th, while in the main race of the day, for the men, we were represented by two of our classiest runners, Neil Johnston and Paul Thompson.

Neil ran superbly to finish 24th overall in 24:57 and 5th of the Northern Irish contingent only being beaten in that respect by the four N.I. International representatives of the day.

The exceptionally muddy course probably did not suit Neils’ fluid style of running, perhaps being more suited to a “strength” style of running, so all-in-all a great run by Neil, in a field of 134 finishers.

Making a rare x-country appearance and despite not having raced much in the past few months, the very talented Paul Thompson ran extremely well in the tough, challenging conditions, finishing 73rd overall in 30:07.

Born 2 Run ‘Run Forest Run’ Mount Stewart 10k

On Saturday 16th January 2016, over seven hundred participants took on the Born 2 Run Mount Stewart 10k, which is part of the ongoing Run Forest Run Series.

A new venue for this year, Mount Stewart is one of the most unique and unusual gardens in the National Trust’s ownership, enjoying the mild climate of the Ards Peninsula on the shores of Strangford Lough.

The race started and finished in front of the impressive 16th century house and the route was a mixture of road and forest trail taking in some of the most notable highlights of this fine estate, from panoramic views of the lough, through the gardens with their Mediterranean feel and past the lake to wooded areas with a range of plants from all corners of the world.

It was no surprise that pre-event favourites and dominant forces within the Series thus far, William McKee and Laura Graham, both of Mourne Runners in County Down, cruised to victory in their respective races.

Again, a small group of Springwell runners made the trip to Co Down to take part and all finished well up in the field.

After last week’s SatNav fiasco, Bob McLaughlin did what he should have done the previous week, switched off the SatNav, consulted a map and simply followed her indoors instructions from the co-pilot’s seat, arriving at his destination with no dramas. Simples, Bob, just like the old days.

First in for Springwell was Bob McLaughlin in 49:31 and 186th position, followed by Judith McLaughlin in 55:28 and 345th position, Catherine Byers in 59:35 and 461st position and finally, fairly recent newcomer to running, Lorraine Abernathy in 1:06:28 and 461st position.

Great to see club members trying new running challenges and experiences and flying the club colours so proudly, well done folks!!