Springwell runners in full flow as they take on some tough challenges

Some of the Springwell gang at Lisburn 10K and Half Marathon
Some of the Springwell gang at Lisburn 10K and Half Marathon

With the racing calender reaching a peak of frenzied activity at this time of year it was another busy week for Springwell.

For anyone looking for something a little different from the normal routine of 10k/Half Marathon etc there is an excellent series of Track events held at the Bangor Sportsplex, Old Belfast Road, Bangor with Registration from 6pm and events starting at 7pm, organised by the North Down AC.

David McGaffin in Tromso, Norway for the Mid-Night Sun Marathon.

David McGaffin in Tromso, Norway for the Mid-Night Sun Marathon.

This series of Open Track & Field Open Meetings are being run by North Down AC over the following dates: Tuesday 24th May 2016 , Tuesday 14th June 2016, Tuesday 26th July 2016, Tuesday 16th August 2016, full details on Athletics Ni/ NI Running websites.

On Tuesday 14th three Springwell members Philip Tweedie, Jonny McKee and Luke Dinsmore travelled to take part in this round of the series, with all 3 competing in the 800M “A” race.

Young speedster Jonny McKee was first home in a tremendous 2nd place clocking a fabulous 2:00:23 in the process! Next in was the flying Luke Dinsmore in 4th overall in a rapid 2:05:50 while coach and mentor Philip Tweedie finished an impressive 5th against all these young bucks, in an extremely competitive 2:10:79! Pure class will out Philip!

Fantastic running by all three, congratulations every-one!

The following evening, Wednesday 15th June, saw thousands of athletes and spectators take to the streets of Lisburn for the well-organised annual Lisburn Half Marathon and 10k road races.

Generally regarded as fast courses, for some reason the weather also tends to be extremely warm, in my experience, tending to reduce the PB potential and this year was no exception! Arriving around 5pm the sun was intense, while in the more exposed areas there was a surprisingly stiff breeze.

While the club had a good turnout at the event, several runners turned up feeling well below par but had decided to run anyway, probably against their better judgement! As a result many suffered in the heat and only a few PBs were posted.

First off was the 10k race and the stream of runners heading out of Lisburn seemed endless. However before we had reached the end of these, the first of the Half Marathon runners began overtaking the back-end of the 10k field, having started some 10’ after. The sheer speed of the eventual Half winner, Stephen Duncan (1:12:21) had to be seen to be believed!

Those on the “sick” list were Jimmy Stewart and Karen McLaughlin, who both ran well beneath themselves due to heavy colds/antibioitics but yet still managed very creditable runs under the circumstances with Jimmy being our first finisher in the Half and placing an excellent 47th overall, while Karen also was well off her normal pace but yet still placed 14th in the Ladies race and 133rd overall.

Several suffered disasters in the early stages of the run but to their enormous credit refused to quit and completed the race despite injury and illness with Warren McIlmoyle, Emma Jamison and Emily McLaughlin all falling into this category, unfortunately. Others, namely a certain Mr Andrew Wilmot just paced themselves very badly, getting caught up in an unwise competitive rivalry with a certain third party in the early stages of the race!

Not all was lost thankfully with Thomas Moore breaking the 1hr 30 barrier and placing 4th MV45 and a great 60th overall and Ciara McSherry having a fantastic run to finish 8th Lady in a new PB of 1:34:41, Ciara also being our first lady home, so very well done to both!

If you consider that most people were about 2-3’ off their Larne pace it illustrates just how well Thomas and Ciara ran on the night!

Kerrie McIlmoyle was disappointed in her time but finished a highly commendable 126th overall and 12th Lady, so again, very well done Kerrie, while Lorraine Abernethy continued her steady improvement by running an excellent PB on the night!

Congratulations also to Ross Armstrong and Helena Dornan , on 1hr 45 and 2hrs 15 pacing duties as usual and coming in practically dead on the time. Great job Ross and Helena!

Jimmy McMullan and Gary Moore were our 3rd and 4th finishers, both having very good, steady runs to finish 90th and 92nd in 1:33:47 and 1:33:49 respectively. Others to complete this tough run were Ali McAllister. Mervyn Thompson, Lynda-Jayne Parkhill and Alison Kelly.

Meanwhile in the earlier 10k race our first finisher was the ever-competitive Catherine Pinkerton, who ran a brilliant PB of 45:37 to place 192nd overall in a massive field of circa 2000 finishers.

Catherine cemented this great effort by running another PB at Limavady parkrun on the following Saturday, showing great form at the moment! Out-standing Catherine!

Great to also see relative newcomer Lizanne Wilson continue to show good progress, running a PB of 52:09 on the night. Great stuff Lizanne, keep up the good work.

Our other members taking part were Ursula Harper and Megan Timms, who both ran well in the tough conditions.

Adding a global dimension to our running world this weekend, David McGaffin headed off to Tromso in Norway to take part in the Midnight Sun Marathon, which brought with it some great Nordic jokes, such as : “what time are you aiming for?” - “Hope to finish before dark!”

David acquitted himself extremely well in what must have been quite different running conditions by finishing 157th out of 964 finishers and 11th out of 48 finishers in the M50-54 Age Cat, not achieving a pb but still running a very respectable 3.35.21

There were 44 different countries represented and David is now the proud owner of the t shirt, medal and a great running adventure!

In another new event on the calendar, run as part of the Antrim Summer Festival, starting and finishing in the grounds of Junction 1.

Finally the moment arrived and off we charged around the fast course, although mile 5 was certainly very tough being a long, lonely straight, battling into a tough headwind.

It was only when we arrived at the finish line that we finally grasped the significance of the £6:47 entrance fee as we all had run 6:47 miles, according to our Garmins!

Initially disappointed at being robbed of a sure PB, Sergei and Hugh were cheered up by being award the first and second Male Vet awards!

Saturday 18th saw another running of this tough marathon route which incorporates two climbs of Station Road near Jordanstown plus the brutal climb to Knockagh Monument, a very tough ask, especially in a marathon on a hot day!

Helena Dornan once more, did herself proud finishing second Lady, before knocking out another 15 miles on Sunday morning!