The seemingly beautiful sunny conditions this weekend were somewhat deceptive as the air was cold and the breeze quite cuttting, making running conditions not just as perfect as they might appear.
There were fewer local events this weekend, and an unusually lownumber of Springwell members turning out, although there was a distinct international flavour plus an emphasis on marathons, with Ali McAllister travelling to Palma and Emily McLaughlin to Rome, for their respective marathons.
John Butcher and Chris Denton ran the Manchester marathon and Charlotte Miller and GJ Conerney travelled southwards to compete in the Connemara International Marathon.
On Saturday (April 9) nearly three hundred athletes from across the UK descended on the coastal town of Newcastle (County Down) for the first race of this year’s British Fell Running Championships, the Donard-Commedagh Horseshoe, hosted by the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA).
The 14 kilometre route, incorporating 1,200 metres of accumulative ascent was classed as a medium race in terms of the British Championships, and saw the hardy fell running enthusiasts climb Northern Ireland’s two highest mountains, Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh. Not for the faint-hearted, this race was littered with top-class Fell running talent from across the Uk and Ireland!
Springwell’s lone representative was the gentlemanly Chris Millar who faired extremely well, despite the lack of racing recently, finishing 165th overall in 01:58:44, on this decidedly tortuous course!
Athletics NI’s Titanic 10k road race:
On Sunday 10th April 2016, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on the picturesque and continually growing Titanic Quarter of Belfast for the annual Titanic 10k road race, hosted by Athletics NI.
In bright but windy conditions, well over one thousand runners set off on the flat and fast 6.2 mile route and spectators witnessed some exceptionally fast running, despite the potentially difficult conditions. Springwell had 8 runners out on the day with 3 confirmed PBs’, from Brian Geddis, Catherine Byers and Denise Walker. Full Springwell results: Brian Geddis 39:42 PB, Mervyn Thompson 46:15, Christina Shiels 58:13, Catherine Byers 58:16 PB, Amanda Scott 01:00:04, Denise Walker 01:03:50, Bernie Drain 01:01:06, Julie-Ann Tweed 01:06:19
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, Emily McLaughlin: Run a marathon, obviously, in hot conditions, after training for it in freezing cold conditions!! Emily was not pleased with her 4.40 time but under the circumstances it was a great effort and a real achievement, so well done!
Similarily, in sunny Palma, Ladies Captain, Ali McAllister ran yet another sub 4 hour marathon, but also found it a struggle to adapt to the hot conditions, again having had to train in our recent very cold spell.
Meanwhile in Manchester our two lads aquitted themselves very well with John Butcher, recent Brian Campbell Award Winner, running his 41st marathon as 4hour pacer and finishing in 3:59:52. Great pacing John! Chris Denton, despite a lack of training due to a recent injury, still managed to churn out a fantastic 3hrs 25 seconds. Finally, in beautiful Connemara, Charlotte and GJ finished their marathon in 4 hours 19mins.
At the Mid-Ulster Spring Duathlom held at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt, Springwells’ triathlon specialist, Alison Rankin and triathlon newcomer Brenda Boyle captured brilliant 1st and 3rd places overall