There was a veritable explosion of racing opportunities this week, which Springwell athletes willingly grasped with both hands!
With almost too many outstanding performances to mention the highlights of the week had to be Neil Johnstons’ Silver Medal performance at the Irish Universities 5000m Track final, Karen McLaughlins’ incredibly gutsy run in the Belles against Cathy McCourt, the explosion of PBs’ at the Bay Road 5k, plus the Dungiven 10k with two marvellous performances from Alison Rankin, in winning the Ladies race in eighth overall and Aiden Devines’ magnificent PB run to capture third overall. Commiserations must go to the unfortunate Thomas Moore who had 3rd place at Dungiven all wrapped up until Aiden passed him some 30 yards from the finish line.
Final mentions must go to Amy Craig (Junior SW), who came second overall in the Valley challenge series on Saturday and Peter Cromie, who completed the full five competitive stages of the toughest race one the planet, Marathon Des Sables, to finish 31st overall!
It was a very changeable day for the Portrush parkrun, but the low tide enabled the route to revert to it’s - out once, back once course. The section of the beach at the cluster of white rocks, was covered by pebbles washed in by the tide, and made that part of the course quite tricky underfoot. First finisher was Springwell runner, Jimmy Stewart, on a recovery run after a blistering PB at the Bay Road 5k on the previous Wednesday, who strolled up and down in a leisurely 19.38 and first lady was team-mate Sonia Knox in 20.33. This week there were 161 runners, of whom 21 were first timers and 23 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of nine different athletics clubs took part. Nice to see Birthday Boy Andrew Wilmot give everyone a half-mile start then play catch-up! Interesting tactics Andrew!!
Belfast Victoria - David Patterson 24.44
Ormeau - Alistair Shaw 19.46
Limavady - Paul Campbell 20.26, Adam Campball 23.58 Aaron Craig 26.55
For results and reports of the Ballymena Belles five mile Road Race, Bay Road 5k Road Race 2016, Dental Solutions 5k, Dungiven 10k, Born 2 Run Castleward Half Marathon & 10k and other Springwell weekly round up go online: www.ballymoneytimes.co.uk
On Tuesday 12th April, a record number of 360 athletes descended on Galgorm Village for the annual Ballymena Belles 5 mile road race. The ‘ladies only’ event, now in its third year, raises money for the worthwhile ‘Pretty in Pink’ charity.
As the ladies set off on the fast start, favourites Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), our own Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) and Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) made their way to the front of the pack. Cathy was the first to move forward and lead the seemingly endless field, but around the half way mark, Karen and Sarah-Jane moved alongside the reigning Champion and at one stage, forced her into third place.
However, the North Belfast Harriers athlete battled back and regained the lead. despite a valiant effort by Karen, especially in the latter stages, it was Cathy who turned onto the finishing straight first, breaking the tape in 33:37 (1st place), sealing her third successive victroy at the event. Karen followed closely in 33:42 for 2nd place, before Sarah-Jane completed the top three in 34:03. Aabsolutely fabulous Karen!
Not far behind we had some more excellent performances with Caroline Irwin claiming an impressive 11th, despite her recent lack of training and racing and the highly consistent Catherine Pinkerton, a strong 12th, out of the huge field of runners!
Great to see so many of our ladies don the purple vest with both new and old faces representing the club! A big well done and thank you to all the girls who took the time and who made the effort to represent the club at this high profile event.
2nd Karen McLaughlin, 11th Caroline Irwin, 12th Caroline Pinkerton, 3th Louise McDonnell, 33rd Mary Brogan, 69th Anne McGilligan, 103rd Ursula Harpur, 105th Julie Clark, 113th Carolyn Crawford, 115th Noelle Watterson, 117th Angela Calderwood, 140th Catherine Byers, 174th Amy Ddobson, 184th Lorraine Abernethy, 190th Bronagh O’Kane, 198th Denise Walker, 228th Bernie Drain
Bay Road 5k Road Race 2016:
On Wednesday 13th April, just over one hundred athletes took to the start line of the annual Bay Road 5k road race in the maiden city of Derry/Londonderry. The popular and well-organised event, which offers participants a flat and fast course, is hosted by City of Derry AC.
At the competitive end of the pack, training partners Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) and Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) always looked like the main contenders, with Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) and Jonathan McKee (Springwell Running Club) battling it out for the remaining podium place. In the ladies race, Titanic 10k runner up Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) looked a class above her competitors, despite a fairly decent field.
Despite the reasonably stiff breeze, which also made it quite cold, there was a simply outstanding set of performances from the good number of Springwell athletes who participated, with no less than 8 PBs and 4 Age Category wins!
The PBs were, Jonathan McKee who also finished a fantastic 4th Overall in a very high quality field showing his class and potential, Jason Scott, which is amazing when you consider he has been concentrating on marathon training recently, the ever-improving Jimmy Stewart, who also captured an excellent 3rd MV35, the suave and debonair Eddie Clyde who must surely be a candidate for the next James Bond, Brian Geddis, also capturing 1st MV55, the elegant Kerrie McIlmoyle, continuing her amazing run of form in capturing PBs over all distances over the recent weeks, in addition to coming home as 1st FV35, plus great runs from Conor McStravick and Kieran Cooke.
Although they did not run PBs, mentions must also go to the remarkable pair Gerry O’Doherty and Jim Platt who captured Age Group wins, despite Gerry suffering a muscle strain half-way through the run. Jims’ time of 23:37 is fantastic considering he competes in the MV70 category! There are a lot of people half Jims age who cannot come close to that!
An outstanding night for Springwell!
Top 3 Men: 1st Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) – 15:12, 2nd Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) – 1:21, 3rd Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) -15:33
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) – 16:17, 2nd Pauline Thom (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 18:20, 3rd Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) – 18:39
4th Jonathan McKee 15:36 PB, 13th John Gordon 3rd JM 16:52, 16th Luke Dinsmore 4th JM 17:04, 23rd Jason Scott 17:35 PB, 25th James Stewart 17:49 PB, 31st Eddie Clyde 18:09 PB, 39th Adam Kerr 18:41, 41st Brian Geddis 1st MV55 18:48 PB, 42nd Aiden Devine 18:49, 48th Gerry O’Doherty 1st MV60 19:25, 50th Catherine Woods 3rd FO 19:30, 52nd Kerrie McIlmoyle 1st FV35 19:35 PB, 53rd Gerard Mullan 19:43, 56th Conor McStravick 20:13 PB, 62nd Niamh Carr 1st FJ 20:54, 63rd Glen O’Donovan 20:56, 68th Abigail McBroom 2nd FJ 21:18, 79th Kieran Cooke 22:56 PB, 85th Jim Platt 1st MV70 23:37
Dental Solutions 5k 2016:
On Friday 15th April, well over one hundred athletes descended on the Maiden City of Derry/Londonderry for the 2nd annual running of the Dental Solutions 5k road race, a well-organised event hosted by Derry City Track Club.
The revised flat and fast course close to the City Centre offered personal best potential and brought an excellent race, however the strong winds that prevailed on the night put paid to any hopes of a PB!
Eventually the mens race was won by the classy Mark McKinstry of NBH in 16:06 and the Ladies race by Martina Mullan of Foyle Valley in 19:45. First home for Springwell was Andy Dowey in 19:32, while in the Ladies race, it was great to see our current Female Athlete of the Year, Gemma Turley, make a welcome return to racing after a lengthy lay-off due to a plantar fascis problem, claiming a fine 4th in the Ladies race.
23rd Andy Dowey 19:32, 31st James McMullan 2nd MV 50 20:06, 38th Gemma Turley 3rd FO 20:49, 66th Dee Boorman 23:40
In County Derry/Londonderry on Saturday 16th April, hundreds of athletes turned out to support the Dungiven 10k road race. The event, which is one of two road races in the town, always proves popular with a number of local clubs, as well as running and fitness enthusiasts
In a race won by Pius McIntyre of Foyle Valley in 34:58, Springwells super trio Aiden Devine (3rd in 40:16 PB), Thomas Moore (4th in 40:22) and Alison Rankin 8th Overall and 1st Lady in 42:05, more than upheld the honour of the club, with all performing superbly on a demanding, rolling course!
Excellent running by all and all the more impressive as Aiden had run very well at The Bay Road 5k just 3 days earlier and this was only Alisons 2nd road race back, after a lengthy period of achilles tendonitis injury problems.
Born 2 Run Castleward Half Marathon & 10k:
On Saturday 16th April, local events management company Born 2 Run welcomed close to eight hundred athletes to the 5th annual running of their Castleward Challenge Half Marathon and 10k races, which were held within the confines of the stunning Castle Ward Estate in County Down.
In the 13.1 mile event, Newry City Runners’ Northern Ireland international Don Travers was in top form as he retained his title from 2015, while Unattached athlete Ursula Campbell was a convincing winner in the ladies Half Marathon, when she broke the tape in 1:41:06 (1st place).
Springwells only representative, David McGaffin had a splendid run finishing a brilliant 9th Overall in 01:34:45, also winning the MV45 Category in the process! Very well done David!
4th Valley Trail Run
The 4th in the Valley Trail Run Series also took place on Saturday, the venue this time being the Roe Valley Country Park.
First home for the club was Kevin McLean in an excellent 23:52, while Amy Craig secured a fantastic 2nd Overall in her Age Group finishing in 33:55.
4th 23:52 Kevin McLean,11th 25:27 Neil McIvor,14th 26:29 Conor McGowan,
19th 27:48 Jake Macnicol,42nd 33:55 Amy Craig
Marathon Des Sables
In an incredible feat of endurance running, in the most inhospitable conditions imaginable, Springwell member, Peter Cromie, completed all 5 competitive stages of the toughest race one the planet, the Marathon Des Sables, to finish 31st overall in a cumulative time of 29H36’05, over 249km of the Sahara desert . (Stage 6 is a charity stage). This is from a starting field of 1000 runners where there were only 281 finishers. Absolutely fantastic achievement Peter, well done!
Irish Universities Athletics Association Track & Field Championships (Ireland):
Meanwhile, on Sunday 17th, Neil Johnston made the long trip south to Dublin to take part in the Irish Universities Track & Field Championships and in a superb run Neill again displayed his true class when he secured 2nd place in the 5,000m final, missing Gold by a mere second!