The period from Boxing Day until the New Year weekend saw a resumption of serious competitive racing for local athletes.
On Friday 1st January 2016, nearly four hundred athletes descended on the new look Glenariff Forest Park just outside Waterfoot (County Antrim) for the 20th annual running of Ballymena Runners’ traditional Race Over the Glens.
Springwell had a good number of runners entered with some doing it for the first time and in fact Jonny McKee running it blind, not even having had a practice run around what is a fairly brutal course.
Despite that, in addition to a fairly late night, Jonny ran strongly to finish an excellent 14th Overall in 40:58 although, i am fairly sure, with better preparation he could significantly improve that.
Jonny was followed by Ballymoney Newcomer of the Year Award Winner, Jimmy Stewart who amply illustrated just why he won that award, powering round in an impressive time of 44.32, finishing 40th Overall in a field of 370 finishers.
Third Male club finisher was Bryan Edgar, winner of the 2015 Pure Running Half Marathon Series, in 45th Overall with a time of 44;51. Worth mentioning too, that both Bryan and Jimmy competed despite suffering from the ongoing effects of recent heavy colds.
Other notable performances came from strongman Thomas Moore, a Triathlon specialist, who knocked an amazing 2’ off his time from last year and the effervescent Hugh Boyle who finished 2nd in the MV60 category and is still recovering from his bad accident of a year ago.
Our Lady representatives also performed exceptionally well with Ciara McSherry 1st home, showing her great potential once again, finishing 82nd Overall in 47:39 but, more importantly, 5th Lady Overall and third in the FO age group. A fantastic run by Ciara in such a quality field.
Second Lady finisher for the club was Gillian Wasson, who finished 84th in 47:55 again winning her age category, for the second time in less than a week and sixth Overall in the Ladies race. An excellent result for Gillian considering how close the two races were together and all the racing Gillian has done this year.
Third Lady finisher was the always consistent and impressively competitive Kerrie McIlmoyle who glided round the course in a great time of 49:44 to finish 109th overall. With Molly Brennan finishing a terrific 13th lady, in a 52:58, this enabled our squad of flying ladies to win the Team prize in what was a superb performance all-round.