Runners brave the conditions in Portrush

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With the Larne Half Marathon cancelled due to the adverse weather Springwell Runners made their way to Portrush for the Parkrun.

This run throws up a different challenge each week. This week there was plenty of firm sand but the runners had to battle through a strong head wind on the outward journey. With the wind on their backs most runners recorded negative splits on the run home.

Springwell’s Chris Denton (20:22) and Karen McLaughlin (22:25) were once again the first male and female runners home.

Springwell Times - Bryan Edgar 20:34, Glenn Millar 21:07, Johnny Goldie 21:47, Andy Deal 22:01(PB), Robert Workman 23:08, Jean-Claude Bourgeois 23:16, Mervyn Thompson 23:44, Gary Watton 24:01, Sarah Chestnutt 27:38, Hermione Skuce 28:03, Stephen Smyth 28:52, Margaret Edgar 29:51, Beverly Gordon 30:13, Nicki Higgins 30:13, Victoria Smyth 35:51(PB) and Nicola Farrell 35:53.

Thanks to Caroline, Fiona and Davy for taking control and allowing Andy to run his second Parkrun. Portrush Parkrun is a FREE to enter timed run every Saturday at 9.30 organised completely by volunteers. Everyone loves to run but if you volunteer every now and again then this will insure that there is a constant supply of volunteers every week. If you would like to help at the Parkrun email Andy at PortrushHelpers@parkrun.com.

On Saturday, a number of runners from Northern Ireland braved the poor road conditions to travel south for the Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon, which took place in the notoriously scenic Wicklow Mountains.

The 51km course (with 1,940m of ascending); made up of forestry roads, single track trails and ‘boards’ (approximately two miles of old railway sleepers) was wet and boggy, and covered in deep snow in places; heavy fog also made conditions difficult.  In a quality field, including some experienced international ultra-runners, it was Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) who stole the headlines crossing the line in 4:14:55 to win the race. Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) took the honours in the ladies race winning in 6:08:15.

Springwell’s Nicki McPeak completed the course in 5:41:32 finishing 23rd out of a field of 113.

Emma Lusby and Aife McSheffrey travelled to Athlone at the weekend for the Woodie’s DIY Juvenile Championships at the Athlone IT International Arena. Emma competing in the Girls U18 age group ran 2.31.23 to finish seventh in the 800m and came 11th in the 1500m in 5.28.57. Aife finished fourth in the Girls U16 800m in a time of 2:25:02.

The annual Altamuskin 5 mile road race took place in County Tyrone on Sunday 17 March. Over two hundred runners took on the tough course, with last years winner Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) retaining his title in fine fashion coming home in 25:54.  Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) took second place in 26:25, ahead of Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) in 26:53.

Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) was the well-deserved winner of the ladies race, crossing the line in 29:23. There was an exciting battle for the remaining podium places, with Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC), Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) and Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) all in contention throughout. The three ladies were together for most of the race, before Gemma surged clear at the end, taking second place in 32:08.  Patricia O’Hagan and Julie Butler crossed the line at exactly the same time (32:12), and were awarded joint third place by race organisers.