Over 40 prizewinners from the 4th Half Marathon Series turned up at Mary Peters Track recently to collect their honours from the sponsors Up & Running.

Associate sponsors include ChampionChip Ireland, Athletics NI and Ward Sports Management. The Series has grown from strength to strength since 2009 and now has eight races covering all parts of the Province and attracted over 8300 entrants.

A special jacket was awarded to the 27 runners who completed all eight races and these included Michael McKeown and Angus McCready who have taken part in all 27 races in the four years the Series has been held. In Michaels case he also collected a voucher for second place in his age group. Noleen Gorman also finished all eight races and also took second place in the Female Open category.

In the age groups there were wins for Roisin Hughes again in the female open with Julie Balmer taking the female 35+ award and was also the fastest woman in all the age groups. Joanne Curran took the Female 40+, Patricia Campbell the 45+, Patricia Brown fro Newry was top Female 50+ and evergreen Mary Mackin was first in the Female 55+.

In the mens categories there were wins for Dennis Scott of North Down in the open, Andrew Considine in the M35, Steve McGrory in the M40 and also the fastest male overall. John Hughes was tops in the M45, Nigel Grier again took the M50 and Jim Breen held his title in the M55. The M55 was the most closely contested category with less than 30 seconds between Jim and Hugh Boyle at one stage before the last race at Waterside.

Glenn Grant from ChampionChip Ireland said: “Plans for 2013 include the expansion of the Half Marathon Series to include perhaps 9 or even 10 races with the aim of exceeding 9000 entrants overall. Satellite tracking is also to be offered to the runners so that friends and family can follow their progress on their mobile phone or tablet computer. It is fantastic this year to see the return of the Waterside Half Marathon in Derry and the addition of the Dervock Half Marathon.”