Young athletes perform well at Championships

Girls U15 Podium 2nd Ellen Kirk (Springwell), 1st Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley), 3rd Kerry McDowell (Dromore AC).
Girls U15 Podium 2nd Ellen Kirk (Springwell), 1st Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley), 3rd Kerry McDowell (Dromore AC).
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Springwell juniors travelled to the Mary Peters Track on Saturday and Sunday for the NI & Ulster Track & Field Championships.

Despite heavy rain causing challenging conditions, the young athletes all performed well.

800m - Girls U14 Hermione Skuce 3rd 2:31.72; Girls U16 Holly Woodhead 1st 2:22.29 (PB), Aine McKinney 3rd 2:24.10; Boys U17 Zac Hutchinson 3rd 2:03.32 (PB); Boys U18 Brian Tweedie 1st 2:09.41 (PB).

1500m - Girls U17 Aife McSheffrey 3rd 4:46.73(PB); Boys U17 Luke Dinsmore 3rd 4:13.98 (PB); Boys U18 Conor Christie 2nd 4:12.69 (PB).

Girls U15 80m Hurdles - Ellen Kirk 5th 15.36.

Girls U15 High Jump - Ellen Kirk 2nd 1.40m.

Boys U20 5000m - Ryan Murray 1st 18:20.

Shot Putt - Mathew O’Reilly 1st 12.60m.

Discus - Mathew O’Reilly 3rd 32.41m.

On Saturday, a record number of athletes (and spectators) descended on the stunning Mourne Mountains for the annual running of the 26extreme Mourne Way Marathon Series, an event that offered competitors a choice of distances, namely Ultra Marathon (52.4 miles), Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.

In the Ultra Marathon the torrential rain which greeted the ultra-runners as they assembled subsided just before the 6.00am start, much to the delight of the athletes and race officials.

The race was won by Don Travers (Newry City Runners) in 8:11:56 (1st place).  Springwell’s Ultra distance specialist, Nicki McPeak finished fourth in 8:46:25.

Respected endurance runner Susan McCartney completed the gruelling distance in 10:17:48 to secure top honours ladies race.  Springwell’s Fran McFadden claimed second place in 10:51:22, an excellent achievement after her marathon personal best in the Walled City Marathon six days ago.

The strong marathon field set off from Donard Park, Newcastle at 12.30pm, making their way up through Donard Forest before veering right across the Mourne Way towards Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.

Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) led the field home securing victory in 3:21:06.  Ange Stevenson (Newcastle AC) finished strong in the ladies race to win in 4:42:26.

Springwell’s Eddie Clyde and Nigel McNeill completed the 26.2 miles in 5:23:19 with John Butcher and Simon Moore coming home in 5:40:09.

On Wednesday evening, Ballymena Runners welcomed well over three hundred athletes to their annual Fairhill 5 Mile Road Race, which takes place in the heart of Ballymena Town Centre.

The enthusiastic spectators lining the finishing straight welcomed Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders) as the strong running distance athlete powered home in a speedy 24:15.

Breege Connolly (North Belfast) looked a class above the field as she cruised into the finish, clocking 28:37 to take top honours in the ladies race.  Fellow North Belfast athlete, Cathy McCourt crossed the line in 30:29 for second place before Christine Quinn (31:56) just pipped last year’s winner Springwell’s Gemma Turley (4th place - 32:01) for third place.

One hundred and three runners turned out on a damp Saturday morning for the Portrush parkrun. Low tide at 10.13am meant the sand was firm and the narrow estuary enabled the run to start and finish on the beach, only the third time this has been possible.

There were 17 first timers, 37 PB’s and representatives of 7 different athletics clubs taking part.

Springwell’s Glenn Millar was first home in a time of 18:40 and teammate Sonia Knox was first lady home in 19:23, both runners achieving new PB’s. Sonia also broke her own female course record by 13 seconds, which she had set on 1 February.

Christopher Millar finished third in a PB time of 19:11 and Kerrie McIlmoyle was 2nd lady in 22:06 at the Derry City parkrun. Bronagh Kearns ran a PB 25:37 at the ECOS parkrun.