The May Bank Holiday weekend could mean only one thing, the Belfast City Marathon and as a result, very little in the way of competitive racing at Club level over the weekend.
However, on Wednesday night, members were treated to a superb display of Ladies only racing, with their very own Purple Ladies 5K, around the roads of Ballymoney, starting and finishing at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre.
This year saw record entries, once again organised with immense efficiency and attention to detail, by the experienced Kenny Bacon, club coach at the Ballymoney centre, backed by a squad of dedicated and loyal club members, who also provided the catering supplies.
Thanks must also go to Springwell’s financial sponsors for the 4th consecutive year, the GES Group and Mr Tom Grant, also to the Council for the use of the Joey Dunlop Centre and their help in providing not just facilities but also the course marking equipment and Coastal Core for providing the necessary and much appreciated first-aid services. Finally, thanks to Peter Jack for providing an interesting and informative official commentary!
Purple Ladies 5k (Pictures on page 37)
On Wednesday, Springwell Running Club hosted the 4th annual running of their Purple Ladies 5k road race in Ballymoney. The ladies only event attracted a record number of nearly 300 athletes.
From the gun, the very talented Natalie Hall, Acorns AC, who is the current NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion, showed that she meant business, setting off at a prodigious pace which initially only Springwell’s extremely fast-starter, Sonia Knox, was able to match.
Closely following these pair, was a whole clutch of quality runners, including Springwell’s own Karen McLaughlin, Alexandra Kirk and Kerrie McIlmoyle along with the classy duo of Paula Arthur-McCarthy (Ballymena Runners) and Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers)! To be fair, Paula has been suffering from a foot injury while Sarah-Jane was still on the mend from a chest infection. Finally, just behind this group, easing herself into the race in her normal manner was danger woman Gemma Turley, just off the radar but still very much in touch, along with Alison Rankin and Molly Brennan!
As the race continued it became clear that Natalie had the strength and pace to hold off her rivals, while Sonia dropped back into the clutches of the rapid finishing Gemma Turley, who had progressed steadily through the classy field after the first mile. The Acorns AC athlete extended her lead and broke the tape in a 18:54 PB to secure 1st place, while Sonia just about saw off club mate and 2015 Champion, Gemma, to take the runners up prize in 19:13 , before Gemma crossed the line in 19:18.
Great to see both Sprinwell girls run so well as they also have had injury problems over the winter, greatly restricting their ability to train and race but, on this showing, they are certainly on their way back!
Just a short distance behind these 3, the many spectators witnessed a race between the remaining runners in the lead group which saw a brilliant run from Kerrie McIlmoyle putting everything into the finish, narrowly beating team-mate Alexandra Kirk, claiming 4th and 5th places in 19:47 and 19:48 respectively!
Full story online!
Almost immediately the spectators were treated to another splendid 3-way sprint between Paula Arthur-McCarthy, Sarah-Jane and our own Karen McLaughlin, with Paula just edging out Karen and the Sarah-Jane, all finishing inside the 20’ mark!
Rounding out the top ten were the also-recuperating Alison Rankin, 9th in 20:14 and in 10th, claiming 1st Female Junior spot, Molly Brennan in 20:25.
In a great night for our Springwell ladies we also enjoyed a weighty haul of Age Group wins/awards as follows: Sonia Knox 1st FV40. Kerrie McIlymole 1st FV35, Karen McLaughlin 1st FV45, Molly Brennan 1st FJ, Gemma Turley 2nd FO, Alex Kirk 3rd FO, Alison Rankin 2nd FV40, and Eileanoir Blair 2nd FJ.
Top 5 Ladies: 1st Natalie Hall (Acorns AC) - 18;54, 2nd Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club) - 19:13, 3rd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) - 19:18, 4th Kerrie McIlmoyle (Springwell Running Clnb) - 19:47, 5th Alexandra Kirk (Springwell Running Club) - 19:49
A great night was finished off with an excellent post-race supper and the awards ceremony which was extremely well attended.
It was also a great opportunity to chat with many of our club members, male and female and my own personal high-light was when the delightful Ursula Harper complimented me greatly on my Press Reports, adding somewhat breathlessly, that she really liked “my funny bits”.... to which I could only retort, “Ohhhh matron....”!!
Apologies to anyone who may have recorded a PB but, I really need you to tell me! Please and thank you!
Full Springwell Results:
Sonia Knox 19:13, Gemma Turley 19:18, Kerrie McIlmoyle 19:47, Alexandra Kirk 19:48, Karen McLaughlin 19:57, Alison Rankin 20:14, Molly Brennan 20:25, Caroline Irwin 21:31, Brenda Boyle 22:12, Eileanoir Blair 22:52, Monica McCarthy 23:06, Loise McDonnell 23:09, Catherine Butcher 23:11, Lynda-Jayne Parkhill 23:11, 35 Julie Millican 23:14, Emma Jamison 23:28, Rosanna Jack 24:09, Mary Brogan 24:17, Emily McLaughlin 24:30, Lizanne Wilson 25:35, Carolyn Crawford 25:49, Nicola Stewart 26:00, Aalison Kelly 26:02, Ursula Harper 26:09, Christina Shiels 26:10, Noelle Watterson 26:11, Julie Clark 26:13, Elaine Montgomery 26:57, Fiona Walker 27:04, Nichelle Atchison 27:08, Rachel Blee 27:24, Roisin Walker 27:56, Tracey Mitchell 28:05, Michelle Sweeney 28:08, Paula Morgan 28:14, Louise Scullion 28:18, Rebecca Clarke 28:20, Amy Dobson 28:44, Roberta French 29:04, Alison Borland 29:05, Lorraine Abernethy 29:08, Denise Walker 29:18, Emma Birrell 29:35, Monica McClenaghan 30:28, Emer Thompson 30:51, Bernie Drain 30:54, Julie-Ann Tweed 31:01, Joanne McClenaghan 31:23, Victoria Smyth 32:37, Paula Taggart 32:37, Lauren Anderson 33:34, Claire Crawford 34:24
Limavady Grammar 5K
On Friday evening there was a 5k at Limavady Grammar School organised by The PTA. A number of Springwell Juniors took part, with unofficial results aas follows: Eileanoir Blair 1st female in 5k, Aaron Craig 1st under 18 male in 5k with a PB and 3rd overall, Laura Brolly 2nd in 1k, Boyd O’Neill 3rd in1k.
Well done to all, great running!
It was a low tide for Saturdays parkrun, with a beach start and finish. Initially the sun was shining, making conditions pleasant, though they were not ideal PB conditions due to a stiff westerly breeze making for a tough return leg from the flag. To make matters worse, by the time the runners had reached the halfway point the sun had disappeared, to be replaced by ominous black clouds which then turned to sleety driving rain, leaving hands and head somewhat cold and enthusiasm somewhat diminished!!
The stony beach conditions at the Whiterock end of the beach had diminished somewhat from the previous week but this was offset by a large number of acorns that suddenly appeared this week- Acorns of the running kind that is!
It was great to see the large turnout of runners from our neighbouring Mid-Ulster running club, Acorns AC, who brought a bus load to complete the parkrun , as part of their annual beach training day, headed by their coach, the enthusiastic dynamo that is Francis Purvis!
Amazingly however, there were still a good number of PBs’ recorded, including our own Andrew Wilmot and Philip Crawford, plus Ballymoney Newcomer Stephen McCook! A big well done to all 3 and good to see Stephen McCook progress so well, still being a competitive footballer, though perhaps in his twilight years(??). Stephen looks to have the potential to develop into a fine runner and we look forward to seeing him continue to improve as the year goes on.
Junior runners Noah Armstrong, Sarah Gibson and Zoe Mitchell completed their 10th parkrun.
First finisher was Springwell runner, Jonathan McKee in 17.24 and first lady was Acorn AC runner, the impressive Natalie Hall in 20.39, fresh from her fantastic victory in Wednesdays Purple ladies 5k in Ballymoney, closely followed by our own Lady Chair, the incedibly fabulous Karen McLaughlin, who now also cycles over 20 miles, to and from the parkrun, as you do!!
This week there were 259 runners ( a new attendance record) , of whom 69 were first timers and 45 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 20 different athletics clubs took part.
Meanwhile in Limavady, the irrepressible Davy MacNicol brought his racing shoes and duly recorded an excellent PB! Well done Davy!!
Jonathan MCKEE 00:17:24 Chris DENTON 00:19:15 James STEWART 00:19:35 Bryan EDGAR 00:19:54 Brian GEDDIS 00:20:14 Stephen McCook 00:20:50 PB Karen MCLAUGHLIN 00:21:08 Nigel ARMSTRONG 00:21:48 Mervyn THOMPSON 00:23:12 Andrew WILMOT 00:23:17 PB, Philip CRAWFORD 00:23:46 PB Bob MCLAUGHLIN 00:24:59 Emily MCLAUGHLIN 00:25:35 Sonia KNOX 00:26:00 Sarah CHESTNUTT 00:26:16 Rosanna JACK 00:26:33 Lizanne WILSON 00:26:44 Jack BLEE 00:27:10 Debbie TUTTY 00:27:39 Carolyn CRAWFORD 00:28:39 Judith MCLAUGHLIN 00:28:43 Jim BLEE 00:28:52 Margaret EDGAR 00:29:03 Sharon BINGHAM 00:29:04 Rebecca CLARKE 00:29:28 Rachel BLEE 00:29:58 Amy DOBSON 00:30:15 Michelle SWEENEY 00:30:23 Molly BLEE 00:30:46 Ross & Noah ARMSTRONG 00:31:31 Emma BIRRELL 00:32:08 Kenneth BACON 00:32:56 Jennifer PATTERSON 00:33:52 David PATTERSON 00:34:02 Fiona WALLS 00:34:03 Zara HUNTER 00:34:14 Emer THOMPSON 00:39:49
Edinburgh - Robert Workman 24.49
Ecos- Kay Hack 24.54, Gary Kendall 35.39
Ormeau - Deborah Gilliland - 21.03
Limavady - Davy Macnicol 22.39 PB
Elgin ( Scotland) - Lindsay Holden 28.34
As a final footnote, congratulations and best wishes to Gemma Turley and partner Bill McDonald, who got married on Friday 29th!