With a big about-turn in the weather, there were a lot more Springwell athletes pulling on the racing togs this weekend and getting their kicks from running and enjoying the very clement temperatures, for this time of year.
On Saturday 19th December, popular local club, City of Derry AC, welcomed athletes from across the province to Gransha Grounds in the maiden city of Derry/Londonderry for the North West XC, the latest fixture in the ongoing Athletics NI XC League 2015/16.
The Junior races got underway first with eight Springwell Juniors in action and recording some superb results. Emma Alcorn was first off in the Primary Schools race followed by Roan Wilson in the U13 Boys, though the first medal of the day came in the U15 girls where Hermione Skuce stormed home in first place, followed by the clubs Jodie Patterson and Lana Young. In the U17 girls it was a 1st/2nd and fifth for the club, Rebekah Hunter running a brilliant race to take her first ever XC win, followed closely by Aine McKinney second and Holly Woodhead fifth; well done all juniors.
These races were then followed by the combined Open/Masters Male and Female race where again we saw some superb results and running from our Springwell representatives, in a massive field of 277 finishers.
Newly crowned Male Athlete of the Year, Neil Johnston, showed his class by finishing a brilliant 6th place in 19:28 and was first club member home. Neil was ably supported supported on this occasion by 4 excellent team-mates, under-lining the depth of talent we have in the club at present. Jonny Mckee was next home in 33rd place in 21:00, Luke Dinsmore 36th in 21:07, Stephen McAlary 37th in 21:12 and Ryan Murray 53rd in 21:53.
Next home in 85th was the ever excellent Gerry O’Doherty in 23:19, again winning the M60 Age Group by a considerably margin, followed by Thomas Moore 120th in 24:40, Warren McIlmoyle 132nd in 25:20 and Peter Jack 171st in 26:56.
In the Ladies section we had two representatives with Kerrie McIlmoyle having a great run to finish 4th in her age group coming 24th in 26:34 and Monica McCarthy, making her competitive xc debut, finishing in 30:51. Well done to both ladies.
Top 3 Men: 1st Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 18:59, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 19:06, 3rd Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) – 19:08
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) – 22:33, 2nd Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) – 22:39, 3rd Joanne Mills (Newcastle AC) – 22:45
On Saturday 19th December, nearly fifty athletes turned out for a new edition of the famous Knockdhu Classic Fell Race in Cairncastle, just outside the coastal town of Larne.
The tough course covered approximately 4.3 miles with 1,500m of ascent. In windy conditions the field set off along a relatively fast and flat section before encountering their first thigh burning ascent.
The club had only one representative in this race, one of our star performers of this year and new holder of 3 club records, the exceptional Gillian Wasson, who duly finished second in the Ladies Race. Gillian has of course been focusing more on the roads this year in order to gain the newly aquired club records, so this was a return to the fell running side, in which Gillian has previous representative honours and proven class. First place went to Gillians’ International team-mate Shileen O’Kane.
Top 3 Men: 1st Dale Mathers (Mourne Runners) – 47:19, 2nd Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) – 47:26, 3rd Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners) – 47:34
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 52:50, 2nd Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) – 56:46, 3rd Jackie Toal (BARF) – 58:49
It was a warm and predominately dry morning for the annual parkrun Santa run on Saturday and the incoming tide left the sand quite soft in places. Iit was great to see so many of the participants join in the festive fun by running in a variety of Santa/Xmas outfits!
There were a number of visitors from other NI parkruns who were duly welcomed in the normal manner.
Robert Workman ( and dog Millie) were congratulated on completing their 100th parkrun, with Millie being presented with a well deserved bag of dog treats.
This week there were 121 runners, of whom 10 were first timers and 5 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 7 different athletics clubs took part.
After the event an number of parkrunners supported Jim Blee in his charity efforts by joining him for a dip in the sea.
First finisher was Stephen Collins from Southampton University Triathlon Club in 20.17 and first lady was Springwell Chairperson Karen McLaughlin in an excellent 22.49, considering the circumstances, making a long awaited return from injury.
The park run will take place as normal on Boxing Day at the usual time of 09.30
Results: Portrush - Bryan Edgar 20:53, Jimmy Stewart 21:58, Nigel Armstrong 22:06, Eddy Watterson 22.19, Karen McLaughlin 22:49, Jean-Claude Bourgeois 23:28, Sonia Knox and dogs 23:56, Gary Kendall 24:06, Linda Gillen 25:08, Johnny Goldie 25:24, Bob McLaughlin 25:47, Sarah Chestnutt 25:59, Jim Blee 26:07, Robert Workman and dog 26:13, Andrew Wilmot 26:56, Molly Blee 30:03, Judith McLaughlin 30:08, Jack Blee 31:22, Rachel Blee 31:22, Sharon Bingham, 31:35, Catherine Byers 32:20, Donna Costello 33:31, Emma Birrell 34:49, Roisin Wwalker 34:50, Rosalind Overend 35:05, Kenny Bacon 37:40, Fiona Walls 38:16, Ruairi Kendall 39:22, Kay Hack 39:24, Mervyn Thompson 42:21, Melanie Millar 44:51 & Glenn Millar 44:57 with their 2 children
Belfast Victoria- David Patterson 26.10
Ecos - Elaine Montgomery 30.07
Limavady - Angela Hamilton 30.33 - first female