Springwell’s Gillian Wasson wins the Lurig Challenge

Gillian Wasson winner of the ladies race and Gerry O'Doherty 1st M55 at the Lurig Challenge. (S)
Gillian Wasson winner of the ladies race and Gerry O'Doherty 1st M55 at the Lurig Challenge. (S)

On Saturday, hundreds of runners and spectators descended on the coastal village of Cushendall for the Lurig Challenge.

The mountain race, which attracts a variety of athletes, covers 3.5 miles in distance (with 375m of ascent) and is part of a weeklong Heart of the Glens Festival.

After starting in the middle of the village, the seemingly endless string of runners made their way uphill, negotiating steps and farming land before reaching the open mountain.  

Once there, the athletes made their way up the north face of Lurgethan, and on reaching the summit, they descended back towards the village, where they were welcomed by the exceptionally loud crowd, which was 6-7 deep in places.

As predicted, there was an interesting dual between Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) and Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) at the front, but in the end, it was the City of Derry Spartan, who reached the village and the cheering crowds first; Allan turned onto the home straight and made short work of the downhill finish, crossing the line in 28:06.  The always impressive Jonny was next home in 29:33, while his in-form club mate, Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) claimed the final podium place in 30:47.

In the ladies race, Springwell Running Club athlete Gillian Wasson, a runner up in the event for the past two years, looked strong as she dominated proceedings to lead the ladies home in 35:36 (1st place).  Local lady, Catherine McLaughlin (Glens Runners) received one of the loudest receptions, when she secured second place in 37:28.  Lagan Valley AC’s Hazel McLaughlin crossed the line third in 40:17.

Springwell’s David Jackson finished in 34:54 closely followed by Gerry O’Doherty 35:27 (1st M55), Chris Millar 37:42 and Thomas Fleming 44:32.

Springwell’s Bryan and Margaret Edgar travelled to the Isle of Man on Sunday for the Microgaming Half Marathon. In poor weather conditions Bryan finished fourth in 1:21:34 and Margaret ran a PB 2:04:03.

Jim Breen was Springwell’s sole representative at the Ballinderry Bridge 10K race. Jim completed the scenic route in 40:45 to win the M60 age category.

On Sunday, nearly three hundred athletes took part in the annual Riverine 10K road race, hosted by Lifford AC. In damp conditions Springwell’s Alistair completed the course in 40:26.

On Monday 4 August, a large number of runners from Northern Ireland, among them Gary Moore and Catherine Pinkerton-Moore, took part in the Dublin Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon.  Gary completed the 13.1 miles in a PB time of 1:34:24 and Catherine 1:40:22

Glorious sunshine welcomed the runners to Saturday’s Portrush parkrun. Although conditions were excellent, the beach start and finish was not possible due to the width of the estuary, and the run returned to the traditional promenade route.

There were 198 runners (second largest turnout to date), 58 first timers, 19 PB’s and 16 different athletics clubs represented. Last week (2nd August) Portrush were proud to be the largest parkrun event in NI, with their attendance of 161. Springwell’s Glenn Millar was first home in 19:24 and Sonia Knox first lady in 20:05.Before the run brothers Daniel and Rory Thompson were congratulated on achieving their 10th parkrun