Springwell at NI Cross Country Championships

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ON Saturday nine junior runners from Springwell rUNNING cLUB made the long journey to Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, to take part in the NI and Ulster Juvenile Cross Country Championships.

The first race Springwell were involved in was the Girls U12, 1500m, which was one medium lap of the undulating park course. Ellie McBroom and Hermione Skuce set a new precedent as they became the youngest members of the club to take part in the championships.

Both girls ran well with Ellie finishing 38th in 6.34 and Hermione just behind 46th in 6.43, with 112 finishers this was a really good performance in their first Cross Country Championships.

A ndrew Gordon went in the Boys U12, 1500m, he was always up at the front of the pack and at one point was challenging for the lead, but as the race came round with 300m to go he had dropped to 6th but found a finishing sprint over the last 100m to take 4th in 5.39 and Springwell’s best finish of the day.

Springwell had a team in the Girls U14 2500m, but with only four runners and four to count they all had to finish. From the start the pace was fast, but the Springwell girls were well placed midway down the field, coming into the final 500m Abigal McBroom pushed for home and crossed the line in a fantastic seventh position in a time of 9.57.

She was followed in by Molly Brennan, who has made a real improvement this year, finishing 30th in 10.41. Next in was Holly Woodhead who, despite suffering from a slight pain in her hip, finished 35th in 10.48.

The fourth member, Aine McKinney, was having a hard time at the halfway mark but kept going and with about 200m to go found a second wind picking off runners to finish 43rd in 11.00.

This was a brilliant team performance from a group of girls who have been together for some years now as they narrowly missed out on All Ireland Team qualification finishing foutth with only the top three teams qualifying. This bodes well for the future.

Oisin Brennan competing in the Boys U14 2500m, ran a steady race to finish 31st in 9.20 with the longer distances suiting Oisin.

The last Springwell runner out was Luke Dinsmore in the Boys U16 3500m. This was Luke’s first race for many months. Pre-race favourite Peter Gibbons, Letterkenny dictated the pace from the start and went on to finish well clear of the rest in 11.44. Luke dug in to finish 14th in 12.16 a pleasing result in his first race back.

The event was well organised in a stunning location and thanks must go to Newry City Runners, Athletics NI and the Newry & Mourne District Council staff. Junior coaches Alistair Bratten and Gerry O’Doherty were very proud of all their junior runners and would like to thank the parents who helped with transport for the long journey.

The next race for the club, both Senior and Junior is the McConnell Shield Cross Country at Sixmilewater Park, Ballyclare on Saturday. With a full race programme the club would like to see as many purple vests there as possible.

Abigal McBroom and Andrew Gordon have qualified for the All Ireland Cross Country Championships in Rathoath, Co. Meath on 25 November, the club wish them the best of luck should they decide to make the long journey south.

 * Conditions were perfect on Saturday for the first race in the Sperrin Harriers Winter League at An Creggan.

Foyle Valley’s Puis McIntyre led the field home in the 5 mile race in 27:29 with City of Derry’s Ann Paul taking the honours in the ladies race in 31:33.

Bryan Edgar was the first Springwell Runner home in 30:27 (1st MO50) followed by Thomas Moore 31:20, Jim Breen 31:47 (2nd MO50), Gerard Mullan 32:11 and Cathal McFeely 34:49.

* The weather was perfect although a little chilly for the Portrush Parkrun on Saturday.

Springwell’s Chris Denton was first home in 18:38 (PB) with Sonia Knox first lady in 22:39 (PB).

Springwell Times - Jean Claude Bourgeois 22:05, Mervyn Thompson 23:22 (PB), Peter Jack 23:31, Graeme Montgomery 23:40, Brian Scullion 23:44, Gary Watton 24:01 (PB), Rosiland Overend 24:39 (PB), Jim Platt 25:06, John Ferguson 26:00, Margaret Edgar 29:52 (PB), Emily McLaughlin 30:13 and Agnes Platt 36:06.

The Parkrun relies on volunteers so if you would like to help out email Andy at PortrushHelpers@parkrun.com. If you would like to run and haven’t registered visit the website (www.parkrun.org.uk/portrush/) and register before 6.00pm on the Friday evening, print out your barcode and bring it with you on the Saturday morning.

* Jim Breen, along with a number of work colleagues travelled to Italy to compete in the sixth running of the International Lake Garda Marathon on October 14.

The strikingly beautiful route, almost entirely along the northern part of Lake Garda lakefront, with the stunning background of the Alps, is surely one of the most scenic of the world’s marathons.

Jim ran a well-executed race to finish in 3:09:43 which was good enough for a top 50 place and 2nd in the male MO55 category. Italy’s Pietro Colnaghi won the men’s race in 2:33:45 and Romania provided the woman’s winner Daniela Elena Carlan in 2:47:18.