Athletics: Real Sperrin Harriers buzz around Loughry campus

Bride-to-be Hannah Su.
Bride-to-be Hannah Su.

After a difficult winter period for MUSA Parkrun, with a number of cancellations due to bad weather, there was a real buzz around the MUSA/Loughry campus on Saturday.

As perfect running conditions prevailed and the event enjoyed its best turnout for some time.

Sperrin Harrier, Natalie Hall, was amongst a number of athletes making their Parkrun debuts and she produced a fine run, finishing as first female in a time of 20:16, just ahead of Club Treasurer, Dean Corey 20.17, who took fifth position overall.

Eoghan Devlin was glad he made only his third Parkrun appearance as he secured a new PB of 19.35, which was good enough for second place overall.

There was more great running from the Harriers as Paul Fearon clocked a new PB of 21.42 to finish inside the top ten overall. Patsy Hughes 22.11 came in a couple of seconds ahead of Barry O’Neill 22.13 and Hannah Su got her hen-weekend off to a great start when she crossed the line a few seconds later, achieving a new PB of 22.20 in the process.

Meanwhile, Fergal McKeown was enjoying the weather so much he thought he would stay out on the course for an extra couple of minutes and eventually came home in 25.04.

Stephen McWilliams 29.38 was the sole club representative at ECOS Parkrun, Ballymena.

Roe Valley Country Park 8K Trail Race- Sperrin Harrier, Tommy Harraghy, who came first in the M60 category at Roe Valley on Saturday with a time of 33.39.

Tommy led the way for a contingent of Harriers in the Vets race, which included: Colm McGuckian 35.28; Kevin Devlin 35.47; Jason O’Neill 36.15; and Russell Bell 37.04.

Sperrin Harriers are proud to introduce a brand new initiative to help get young people into running.  Saturday morning saw the first of six weekly sessions that the club will host free of charge for boys and girls (of all abilities) aged 12-18. 

The sessions will begin each Saturday at 10am at MUSA, Cookstown.

What are the proven benefits of this type of physical activity for a young person?

They are improved cardiovascular health, helps maintain a healthy weight, improves bone health, improves self-confidence and develops new social skills.

It is free to attend all the sessions however, if your child enjoys it, they can become a junior club member for the low cost of £15 per year (although there is, of course, no obligation).

We had a promising start to the initiative on Saturday with a dozen young people enjoying a great bit of exercise and fun with our dedicated volunteers Joanne Bell, Mags Conway, Fred Devlin, Toirleach Gourley, Nicola Rea, Maureen Mallon, Davy O’Brian, Carla Fowley and Michael McCrory.

After the obligatory registrations and introductions, the boys and girls received a dynamic warm-up before giving it their all around an 800m circuit on the Loughry College campus.

Our coaches were very impressed with the raw talent and enthusiasm on show from the young runners; they are sure that there are a number of potential athletics stars among them.

If you are a parent or carer, or know a young person who might like to come along next Saturday, remember sessions are friendly, fun and free.

Training is at 6:30pm on Tuesday at Loughry College, Cookstown. 

The weekly ‘town run’ sets off from Turkingtons carpark, Cookstown, at 6:30pm on Thursday and the Sunday morning ‘long run’ departs from ASDA at 9:30am.