After all the excitement and action over the Holiday period there was a bit of a lull on the racing scene this weekend, partly due to the weather.
A small group of runners travelled to An Creggan, half-way between Cookstown and Omagh for the race start at mid-day.
The initial driving rain and misty conditions miraculously disappeared just as the race was due to start, leaving pleasant racing conditions.
Springwell had seven representatives out, with three having completed all three rounds to date and three being in the running for individual awards. Trail racing is a completely different game to pounding the tarmac, as the terrain is so varied and mixed, that pacing by a watch is impractical, forcing you to race more by “feel”. This gives a distinct advantage to those who specialise in this form of running and who can judge their efforts better. g.
First home for the club was speedster Bryan Edgar, who has secured second place in MV50 categary, in a great time of 31:12 in 20th position. Bryan has chased hard to win the category but unfortunately that has now gone to Martin Cox of NBH, a specialist in trail/mountain racing.
Next in was Jimmy Stewart in 23rd place in 31:43, belying his “novice” status, having only 6-8 months racing experience under his belt and in his first bout of trail racing. Jimmy is in a very competitive category, with probably the highest number of entrants, so will probably miss out on an individual award, despite placing in the top five in most races and collecting some good “scalps” along the way.
Himself finished in 33:29 and 43rd overall, just failing to win his age group by a second, catching the age group winner on the day, Alvin Taylor of Magherafelt Harriers, right on the line. Sergei is now second in the MV55 category but can still win it, if he can muster a couple of victories in the final two races, a 10K and a 10 miler.
Fourth finisher on the day and currently second in the MV60 category was the evergreen Jim Breen, one of the pioneers of this series, in 34:54 and 58th overall. Devoted runners Bob and Judith McLaughlin made the long trip to An Creggan. They enjoyed the experience thoroughly. Bob finished 113th in 39:24 and Judith 143rd in 45:58. Finally, Paul Dornan was our other finisher coming in 118th in 39:42
A total of 215 competitors finished the race, with Michael Crawley, Unaffiliated, winning in 27:38 and Julie Butler, Omagh Harriers, winning the Ladies race in 31:03, with former Springwell favorite Gillian Wasson, now running for Ballymena Runners, placing fourth Lady in 32:34.
Two of Springwells rising, young superstars, John Gordon and Niamh Carr travelled to Edinburgh to compete in this International Cross-Country event.
Niamh had a great race in a very high class field, finishing second of the Ulster squad and 11th overall. John is also a great talent but, the Loughborough student unforunately suffered a muscle spasm in his back.