Springwell runners put on a great showing at Maghera 10k event

A sea of Purple at Maghera 10k
A sea of Purple at Maghera 10k

The action started early this week with the annual running jamboree that is the Maghera 10k followed by more notable results at the Mayfair 10K.

There was also a monstrous mountain race held at Slieve Donard, Newcastle, then on Sunday the Newry Marathon, again held in extremely hot conditions .

The Fab Four at Newry Marathon

The Fab Four at Newry Marathon

At this always popular, Tuesday night race, there was a fantastic turnout of 42 Springwell Runners making for a sea of purple flowing around this tough, hilly and very warm figure of eight circuit at Maghera.

There were just under 300 entrants for this event, which many a weekend race would love to get, illustrating its popularity. Springwell’s results were, to say the least, simply phenomenal and its hard to know where to start!

Well, here goes, firstly we saw a fantastic 13 PBs, seven Age Group wins and a superb 1-2 in the individual Ladies race with Her Royal Purpleness, Lady Chair Karen McLaughlin, leading the way by not only winning the Ladies race, in an outstanding display of determined front-running but, also running a fabulous PB to boot, thereby helping Springwell Ladies to also take an excellent 1-2 the Ladies Team Awards!

In fact, the Springwell Ladies were superb on the night, with Ciara McSherry second, Fran McFadden 4th, also winning the FV45 Category and running a magnificent PB in the process, followed by our Club Treasurer, Alison Rankin, nabbing an excellent 5th and also winning the FV40 Category.

A sea of Purple at Maghera 10k

A sea of Purple at Maghera 10k

Brilliant running Ladies, well done!

Other Ladies to excel on the night with new PBs, were the ever improving Kerrie McIlmoyle who smashed her PB by an amazing 2’, showing just how well Kerrie has developed this year.

Catherine Shiels and Lorraine Abernethy, plus Glenda Whiteside who captured the second FV35 award, to her very obvious shock, which created much amusement amongst her running colleagues!

In the mens race we saw three tremendous Age Groups wins for Stephen Joyce (1st MV40), Jim Breen (1st MV60) and Hugh Boyle (2nd MV60) while Stephen Fillis, Jason Scott, Anthony Higginbottom (MBE), David McGaffin, Warren McIlmoyle, Noel Harkin, Andrew Wilmot and Paul Campbell all grabbed PBs, in a terrific display of quality running!

The Fab Four at Newry Marathon

The Fab Four at Newry Marathon

There was some debate, unfortunately, around the Male Team Prize which has yet to be resolved but we felt that we had won that also to complete a great night.

Hopefully that will be resolved shortly to further round off a great night for the club.

First home for the club, finishing in an impressive 10th position was the effortless-looking Stephen Joyce, whose youthful looks belie his age and who simply oozes class when he runs.

He was followed soon after by a cluster of PB boys, all showing great form, with Stephen Fillis an excellent 12th, Jason Scott 13th and Anthony Higginbbottom 17th, while David McGaffin (PB), Eddie Clyde and Thomas Moore all finished in the top 30, breaking the 40’ barrier. Superb stuff boys!

In the relay race, a sterling effort by Eleanoir Blair and Aaron Craig saw them capture a superb third place, so well done both!

The heat and terrain combined to frustrate the efforts of some with Aiden Devine and Gerard Mullan pulling up with muscle strains, while in certain others it was transmitted more through a certain amount of apparant mental confusion.

On Saturday 28th May, Newcastle AC welcomed over two hundred athletes to Race 7 of their ongoing Hill & Dale Series in Newcastle, County Down.

The ‘Slieve Donard Classic’ mountain race measured approximately 5.5 miles in distance and took competitors from Newcastle Main Street to the top of Northern Ireland’s highest mountain (Slieve Donard), which stands at 850 metres.

Aside from the start and finish along the Main Street (via Donard Park), competitors were free to choose their own way to the summit and back, with some opting for the Black Stairs and others, the more runnable Glen River Path.

Springwell had three representatives at this event, being father and son team. Colin and Oisin Brennan and ‘Gentleman’ Chris Millar, who have all decided to opt for this very different form of running this season.

Some of the terrain is extremely radical and combines running, crawling, jumping and sliding, at various points!

Overall winner was local man Ian Bailey of Newcastle AC in 53:40. First home for the club was rising young star, Oisin, who scorched round in 01:08:36 to finish 32nd while dad didnt do too bad either, Colin finishing an excellent 62nd overall in 01:16:01. Very well done chaps!

Gentleman Chris, who has been running really well in this series todate, unfortunately did not have a good day, suffering severe cramps on the way down, necessitating several stops to stretch the cramping muscles, yet hobbling home in a still creditable 108th position in 01:24:49. Bad luck Chris!

On Saturday 28th May, Ballyclare based club County Antrim Harriers welcomed a record number of competitors to the second annual running of their much anticipated Mayfair 10k road race.

The number of participants was not the only record broken, with both the male and female course records being demolished.

Top three Men: 1st Dan Tanui (Project Africa Athletics) – 30:30, 2nd Eric Koech (Project Africa Athletics) – 31:21, 3rd James Trainor (Dub Runners) – 35:30

Top 3 Ladies: 1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 36:51, 2nd Jodi Smith (North Down AC) – 38:57, 3rd Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) – 39:37

Springwell again had three contestants at this newish race which is held over a rolling, hilly course, with the extremely hot weather not helping the athletes in their cause.

Gemma (Turley) McDonald had a good return to action, after her recent nuptials, finishing a strong fourth in the ladies race in a very competitive 40:38.

Well done Gemma, great to have you back!

Our other two representatives were Lizanne Wilson in 132nd place, recording 51:22 and Kenny Bacon, 276th in 01:06:21.

Well done both on a difficult day!

On Sunday 29th May, hundreds of athletes took to the streets of Newry for the annual Newry City Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k events;.

The Half Marathon is also the fourth race of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Half Marathon Series.

Springwell had four hardy souls taking part in this extravaganza, which in the current extremely hot weather conditions was a real test of character.

First home for the club in 90th place was recent recruit Helena Dornan in 04:11:19, followed by Noel McAllister in 100th position, in 04:17:01, Ali McAllister in 110th in 04:24:33 and Davy Patterson in 124th in 04:30:53.

Well done to all four for completing the course on what must have been a tortuous day!