Eimear Mullan and Ritchie Nicholls secure XC double for Springwell RC

Rodney Lockhart (YESSS Electrical) sponsor, Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley) 2nd, Richie Nicholls (Springwell) 1st and Neil Johnston (Springwell) 3rd.
Rodney Lockhart (YESSS Electrical) sponsor, Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley) 2nd, Richie Nicholls (Springwell) 1st and Neil Johnston (Springwell) 3rd.

Springwell Running Club hosted the third race in the Athletics NI Cross Country League 2014/15 on Saturday at Ulster University’s Coleraine Campus. The event was sponsored by YESSS Electrical and A-Spec Tyre Services.

The four well-organised junior races attracted future stars from all corners of Northern Ireland and proved a fitting ‘build up’ for the adult races which followed.

The open and veteran ladies, sponsored by A-Spec Tyre Services, were first up for their 3 mile race, which featured several of the front runners from the recent cross country events in Comber and Jordanstown; however, it was an athlete who hasn’t featured so far who dominated proceedings. Local girl and current NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion Eimear Mullan (Springwell Running Club) showed her class, leading from start to finish before crossing the line in 18:00.

Behind, a group containing Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club) and North Down AC duo Jessica Craig and Rachel Gibson battled it out for the remaining podium places. After an exciting race, it was Jessica Craig who claimed second place in 19:22; Cathy McCourt followed just four seconds later in 19:26.

Springwell times - Sonia Knox 19:47 (1st F40), Gemma Turley 19:53, Aife McSheffrey 19:57 (1st FJ), Alison Rankin 20:13, Alexandra Kirk 20:31, Karen McLaughlin 21:34, Caroline Irwin 21:34, Nicola Frizelle 21:48, Ciara Toner 22:18, Deborah Gililland 22:24, Katherine Woods 22:26, Kerrie McIlmoyle 23:18, Catherine Pinkerton-Moore 23:27, Gillian Jones 24:10, Catherine Butcher 24:18, Sarah Chestnutt 24:31, Alison McAllister 24:49, Lynn Montgomery 25:00 (1st F50), Debbie Tutty 26:20, Donna Brolly 27:16, Sharon Bingham 27:25, Angela Calderwood 28:22, Sharon Brown 28:33, Claire Shields 29:10, Karen Smith 29:19.

With four runners in the top four Springwell Ladies were comfortable winners of the team prize and secured maximum bonus points to move back to the top of the league.

The final race of the day was the open and veteran men, sponsored by YESSS Electrical; however, the ‘open’ athletes completed 5 miles, while the veteran runners 60+ veered off to finish after 3 miles. Springwell’s Ritchie Nicholls, looked strong from the off and was joined at the front by Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC); behind, a close group containing the likes of Mark McKinstry (North Belfast), Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), James Budde (North Down) and Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) were waiting to pounce.

As the race progressed, Ritchie Nicholls began to move clear of Allan Bogle and Scott Rankin – Eventually, Ritchie, a top performer for Springwell RC in last years XC League, broke the tape in 27:15 to win. Scott Rankin recorded 28:09 for second place, finishing just ahead of the fast finishing Neil Johnston who secured third place in 28:12.

Springwell times - Philip Tweedie 29:18 (1st M45), Luke Dinsmore 30:16, Rhodri Jones 30:65, Chris Denton 31:15 (1st M40), Paul Thompson 32:14, Ryan Murray 32:25, Glenn Millar 32:45, Bryan Edgar 32:56, Colin Loughery 33:00, Christopher Millar 33:13, Gerry O’Doherty 33:20, Ross Armstrong 34:24, David McAfee 34:43, Stephen Fillis 35:37, Nigel Armstrong 36:55, Richard Baker 37:28, Paul Irwin 37:54, Ricky Cochrane 38:03, Roger Poland 39:17, Brian Calvert 42:55, Darran Alexander 44:17.

The men’s team race was a closer affair but good packing by the Springwell Runner secured the prize by 2 points from current league leaders Newcastle AC. The men also gained maximum bonus points and are now up to fourth in the league after a slow start.

On Monday 27 October sixteen Springwell Runner took part in the 35th Airtricity Dublin Marathon.

This year, the record breaking crowd of over 15,000 competitors negotiated a new course, one which many found more challenging than previous routes; windy conditions also contributed to what was a hard day for some.

Kenyan athletes dominated the major prizes with Elluid Too winning the men’s race in 2:14:48 and Esther Machariathe ladies in 2:34:15.

John Apperley was the first Springwell Runner home in a PB time of 3:02:02 followed by Anthony Higginbottom 3:30:09, Aidan Devine 3:35:37 (PB), Glenda Whiteside 3:36:18, Andy Dowey 3:46:15, Tommy Bradley 3:48:30, Colin Apperley 3:51:11, Cathal McFeely 3:52:03, Kevin McLean 3:55:34 (PB), John Butcher 3:57:39, Ali McAllister 3:57:46 (PB), Simon Moore 3:59:09, Amanda Connell 4:00:17 (PB), Barry McCluskey 4:05:31, Noel Harkin 4:06:42 (PB) and Nigel McNeill 4:16:49.

Jim Breen was Springwell’s sole representative among the one hundred and thirty athletes competing in the first race of the 2014/15 Sperrin Harriers Winter Trail Series at Davagh Forest on Saturday. The Series offers athletes races over a variety of distances, but on this occasion they were faced with a tough 10K course.

Jim completed the course in 45:50 to finish second in the Male 60 age category.

International duathlete Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) looked good from the off and made his intentions clear as he moved clear of the chasing pack to go on and win in 37:35. Collette McCourt (Dub Runners) showed no signs of fatigue after her impressive outing at the Dublin Marathon when she led the ladies home in 45:56.

Conor McStravick was Springwell’s sole representative at the Decathlon Half Marathon & 10K in Belfast on Sunday. Conor completed the Half Marathon in 1:41:36.

The major prize winners were Paul Rowan (Willowfield) 33:43 and Jenny Black (Orangegrove) 37:57 in the 10K; Keith Purdy 1:11:20 and Anne Fitzpatrick 1:30:25 in the Half Marathon.

David Jackson completed the TCS New York City Marathon in 3:13:09 on Sunday.

Alistair Shaw the latest race in the East Antrim Marathon Series on Sunday. Alistair ran the fancy dress marathon dressed as a blond lady in 3:20.

The low tide at 7.42am left the sand quite firm underfoot and the off-shore cross winds didn’t cause too many problems for the runners at Saturdays Portrush parkrun.

Among the 148 runners were visitors from neighbouring parkruns and a few parkrun tourists from England. There were 23 first timers, 8 athletics were represented and 31 PB’s recorded.

Before the run Peter Wilson was congratulated on being the 20th Portrush parkrunner to have completed 50 parkruns and Mervyn Thompson on being the first Portrush parkrunner to have completed 100 parkruns (96 of them at Portrush).

First runner home was Keith Dawson in a time of 18:52 and first lady was Anne Paul in 20:45 completing her first parkrun.

Springwell times - Robert Simpson 20:22, Gary Kendall 21:28, Mervyn Thompson 22:11, Robert Workman 22:38, Linda Gillen 23:08, Bob McLaughlin 24:38, Rozzy Skuce 24:53, Kay Hack 25:59, Melanie Millar 26:48 (PB), Judith McLaughlin 28:41(PB) and Victoria Smyth 34:20.

Springwell’s Alistair Shaw was third runner home at the Waterworks parkrun in 18:33 and Bernie Drain 29:03 (PB) at the ECOS parkrun.