Athletics: Sperrin Harrier McCullagh excels at Omagh Half Marathon

Pierce McCullagh with his medal at the Omagh Half Marathon 2016
Pierce McCullagh with his medal at the Omagh Half Marathon 2016

Sperrin Harriers turned out in numbers for the Omagh Half Marathon as well as performing well in local Parkrun events.

The 27th SPAR Omagh Half Marathon took place on Saturday, organised by the Omagh Harriers with charitable support going to the Foyle Hospice.

On a day which also included a 5K fun run and walking event, over 1,300 took part in the half marathon, the third race in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series.

Weather conditions were quite favourable, with spells of light rain falling on a reasonably flat course with some hills.

The Harriers sent a large contingent of runners with Pierce McCullagh the first home in a fabulous time of 1:17:43. His performance was notable, not only as he came third in the over 35 age category, but because he achieved this in his first half marathon.

The next Sperrin Harrier to cross the line was Mark Reid in 1:27:01 closely followed by Paul Conway in 1:27:40. Marty McDermott was a mere second behind in 1:27:41. Paul McLaughlin was also in close pursuit, finishing in 1:28:01.

Continuing to impress was Mark Thom who registered a time of 1:35:06 - over four minutes faster than his previous personal best for the course. Well done to Toirleach Gourley who also achieved a personal best when he finished in 1:37:16.

Malcolm McCullough was next in 1:39:46, followed by Joanne Taggart who was accompanied by husband Brian, both crossing the line in 1:40:24. Finishing after them, but with a faster chip time of 1:40:13, was Patsy Hughes.

John McElroy completed in 1:46:45 and then came Barry O’Neill in 1:47:46. Next was Nicola Gillespie whose chip time of 1:47:29 improved on her previous personal best by three minutes.

Roddy McIvor (1:47:46) was followed soon afterwards by Joe Curry (1:47:59), Russell Bell (1:49:06), Stephanie Henry (1:52:38) and Catherine Farley (1:56:28).

PARKRUNS

Tanya Quinn led the Harriers in, taking the top four female positions at Cookstown. This included finishing as first lady with a course personal best of 21:00.

Talented junior Harrier Niall McAweaney prevented the ladies from stealing all the limelight when he also registered a personal best with a great time of 21:33.

Laura Mitchell scored the third personal best of the day when she finished in 21:56 as second female overall.

Eamonn Cushnahan celebrated his first time at the Cookstown track with a time of 22:28 with Jane Thom taking third female overall in 24:02, followed by Hannah Su O’Callaghan who finished as fourth female in 24:57.

Stephen McWilliams represented the Sperrin Harriers at Ballymena on Saturday and again showed he is progressing after injury with a time of 29:41.

All Club memberships are due for renewal before Thursday 31st March as the Athletics NI year starts on 1st April. Adult membership is £30 and Junior membership is £15. Please contact Registration Secretary Tanya Quinn to renew your membership. Membership can also be renewed at Club training this week on Tuesday and Thursday night.

Sperrin Harriers free junior running camp continues on Tuesdays (6.30pm) at MUSA football courts which include flood lights and a 70m sprint track. A great way for boys and girls aged 12-18 years old to be introduced to the world of running. All abilities welcome.

Train in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Weekly training takes place every Tuesday at 6:30pm in Loughry College and every Thursday night from Turkington’s car park at 6:30pm. Long run training for marathon, half marathon and 5-10 miles takes place every Sunday at 9:00am leaving from ASDA car park. Track training is also available to members every Thursday at Gortgonis Track, Coalisland at 6.30pm.

Please remember that your safety is our first priority and high-visibility clothing should now be worn at all times. no high visibility clothing, no training. all new members are welcome whatever your current running ability.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Saturday 2 April

‘Killylane Klassic’ 5 mile Trail Valleys 5K Challenge Series

Sunday 3rd April at noon

Runher Delamont 5K and 10K