Busy Easter period for Springwell Runners

Springwell athletes travelled to Magherafelt on Saturday for the 2nd running of the Sperrin Harries 5 Mile Classic.

he men’s race produced a tight finish with Adam Boyd and Christopher McPeak going head to head over the last mile with the lead changing numerous times. Adam proved to be the strongest finisher moving away on the finishing straight to win in 26:31 a new course record with Christopher a further 6 seconds back. Tommy Hughes took third in 26:51. The ladies race also produced a new course record with Anne Paul successfully defending the title she won last year in 29:55. Julie Balmer was second in 30:02 and Julie Murphy third in 32:09.

Paul Thompson was first home for the club in 9th place in a time of 28:18 followed by Jim Breen 29:32 (1st MO55), Thomas Moore 30:06, Leslie Ashe 31:36 (1st MO50), Mervyn Thompson 36:34 and Angela Dickson making a comeback to racing after nearly a year out injured 42:53.

Gary Kendall and Kay Hack took up the Castleward Challenge on Saturday both running the half marathon set in Castleward Estate. The race started in the shadow of the 18 century mansion and took the runners on a tour of the 800 acre estate through forest trails, open pastures and shoreline paths along the banks of Strangford Lough. East Down’s Brendan Teer led the field home in 1:17:56 and Seapark’s Gillian Cordner was first lady in 1:41:48.

Gary had a good run finishing 10th in 1:36:52 winning the MO45 age category while Kay came home in 2:02:19.

Thursday evening, 12 April, saw Springwell junior athletes travel to the Mary Peters Track, Belfast for their first test of track and field competition this season.

The Edwards & Co meeting was also the last to be staged at the Mary Peters Track before refurbishment work begins on a new 8 lane international track and facilities. Dame Mary Peters was on hand along with a number of the athletes who competed at the track when it was officially opened on 16 April 1976. Many of the young Springwell athletes took the opportunity to have their evening race numbers signed by Mary.

The evening was dry but a cold wind kept the temperatures low. The athletes had a marvellous evening picking up medals and personal bests along the way.

Springwell results: Boys U11 150m Eoghan Gormley 23.7, Luke Gilfillan 24.5.

Girls U11 150m Natasha Simmons 25.7.

Boys U11 600m Andrew Gordon 2:01, Eoghan Gormley 2:03, Luke Gilfillan 2:15. Girls U11 600m Natasha Simmons 2:25.

Boys U11 Long Jump Eoghan Gormley 2.96 m, Luke Gilfillan 2.66m.

Girls U11 Long Jump Natasha Simmons 2.00m.

Girls U13 200m Emma Elder 40.46.

Girls U13 800m Emma Elder 3:30.

Girls U15 200m Aife McSheffrey 28.99, Leah Gilfillan 30.67, Sinead Gormley 31.80.

Girls U15 800m Aife McSheffrey 2:40.

Girls U15 High Jump Sinead Gormley 1.15m.

Boys U15 800m Luke Dinsmore 2:14.4.

Girls U17 200m Robyn Ennis 31.50.

Girls U17 800m Emma Lusby 2:35, Robyn Ennis 2:43.

Boys U17 800m Conor Christie 2:04.53, Brian Tweedie 2:35.5.

Girls U20 200m Holly Clarke 26.93.

Boys U20 200m Jack Dunseith 24.95.

Boys U20 800m Neil Johnston 2:01.19.

Springwell Juniors in Limavady have now moved back to track and field training for the summer with sessions on Saturday morning at 10.00am and Wednesday evening at 6.00pm.

Thursday the 12 April also saw the first race in Newcastle Athletics Club’s Hill & Dale Series 2012. On a perfect sunny spring evening, 231 runners lined up in Castlewellan Forest Park to tackle the 5.5 mile course, taking in over 1000ft of climbing.

A closely fought men’s race was eventually won by Jonny Steede of Ballymena Runners in 33:14, 22 seconds ahead of second place man, Deon McNeilly of Newcastle AC. In the woman’s race, last year’s series winner, Shileen O’Kane of Lagan Valley AC, continued her dominance in the series taking the lead from Fermo’s Ciara Largey early in the race and finishing first in 40:07 to Ciara’s 41:13. Springwell’s Gillian Wasson, making her debut in the Hill & Dales series, had a close battle with Diane Wilson throughout the race but managed to beat the Lagan Valley runner to third place with a time of 42:12 (also making her first FO35).

Springwell’s Kendall family turned out en masse for the event, with Gary Kendall and Kay Hack finishing in 42:31 and 49:17 respectively in the main race. Ailbhe Kendall had an excellent run in the post primary race to win his age group and finish 6th overall in a time of 7:33. Conor and Ruairi Kendall ran in the primary school race with Conor taking a very impressive third in his age group. Newcastle AC are to be commended for their efforts to put on junior races at many of their Hill & Dale events and it was great to see almost 60 juniors taking part in the two races, which were held before the main race.

Once again, Newcastle AC put on a very professional and well organised race and any runners who fancy trying something a bit different on a Thursday evening should consider giving one of the Hill & Dales races a try.

Bryan Edgar made the short trip to Ballymena to try out Northern Ireland’s latest Parkrun at ECOS Park. Bryan finished 6th completing the 5K course in 17:41.

Conor Christie was a member of the Irish School team which travelled to Perth for SIAB Schools International Cross Country on Saturday 31 March. Conor was the second Irish finisher completing the 6K course in 17:39 and 17th place.

The Olympic Park Run (31 March) was one of a number of events staged as part of ‘London Prepares’; an opportunity to test out the facilities, security etc for each of the Olympic venues. Entry to the Olympic Park Run was by ballot, and Kay Hack was absolutely thrilled to receive an email last November indicating that she was one of the lucky 5,000 who had got a slot, out of over 40,000 applicants. The £15 entry included the event T-shirt and two passes for guests to visit the Olympic village and watch the event- pretty good value.

Tommy Davies, a 26-year-old from Loughborough, was the first runner across the Olympic finish line in a time of 25 minutes and 11 seconds, faster than the current Olympic record of 25.11.2 set by Emil Voigt at the 1908 Olympics in London which was the last time the five mile distance was run at the Olympic Games. The first woman to cross the Olympic finish line was Nell McAndrew in 29:21, how can that be fair to be that beautiful and that fast!

Kay crossed the line with a time 38:44, sandwiched between Roger Black (38:44) and Steve Backley (38:46), and only 20 seconds behind Sally Gunnell, now that’s what she calls making history.