The Sperrin Harriers enjoyed a very successful weekend, attending several events in Tyrone which included a number of podium positions, a half marathon in Larne, and a full marathon in Portstewart.
On Saturday 19th the Washingbay Green Run took place at Washingbay Centre, close to Coalisland. The event attracted over 220 runners who enjoyed pleasant running conditions, both dry and with little wind.
The Harriers had representatives in all three distances, the half marathon yielding some notable results.
Brian Taggart had a tremendous day when he finished the Half Marathon second overall with a time of 1.19:04, smashing his previous personal best by three minutes. Following him was Colly Gallagher who crossed the line in 01:26:27, with Kay Devlin the next Harrier home in 01:30:58.
Cheryl Cardwell distinguished herself with another great run, finishing as overall first lady in 01:34:28; she was followed by Martin Donaghy (01:38:42); Leon McKee (01:39:07); Kieran Campbell (01:39:56); and Fiona Atkinson (02:04:44).
The first Harrier home in the 10K was Paul McLaughlin who came an impressive fifth overall with his time of 40:12.
Following him was Malcolm McCullough in 44:46, closely pursued by Patsy Hughes in 45:24, with Barry O’Neill next in 48:52.
The first lady Harrier to cross the line was Maureen Mallon in 58:28, who was subsequently joined by Jacinta Morgan in 69:22.
Louise Kelly was the Harriers representative in the 5K race, completing it in 25:13.
Taking place on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) this race started and finished at the Altamuskin Community Centre, located six miles from Ballygawley.
On a very hilly course, and against tough opposition, Harrier Gavin Corey came third in 28:24, matched by Pauline McGurren who placed as third lady in 32:02. John McElroy completed the Harrier triumvirate when he crossed the line in 36:50.
The Omagh Tri Club Sprint Duathlon on Sunday 20th consisted of a two mile run, 10 mile bike, and two mile run, on a course with some testing hills that started and finished at Healy park in Omagh.
Remarkably, given his performance at Altamuskin only three days earlier, Harrier Gavin Corey placed first with a time of 51:02. Many congratulations to him for this tremendous achievement, especially following after his success on Thursday.
Saturday saw an unprecedented 1,900 runners attend the 24th AES Larne Half Marathon, an event which also constituted the second race of the Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2016.
The spectacular scenery of the Antrim Coast Road and favourable running conditions were enjoyed by Adrian Rea, the first Harrier home in a time of 01:48:10. He was soon followed by Jane Thom who headed a long line of Sperrin ladies when she finished in 01:49:39.
Stephanie Henry was next in 01:54:01, followed by Alison Colgan (01:57:34), Clare Noble with a personal best of 01:59:57, and Brenda Darragh who also achieved a personal best (02:23:56) when she and her pacemaker Andrea Linton crossed the line together.
Congratulations to them for performing in such a densely packed field of runners, and especially to those who achieved personal bests.
The second event in the North Coast Marathon Series took place on Sunday 20th. The Series is officially recognised by the Marathon Club Ireland, and this particular run began and ended at Portstewart, involving a route that took the runners along undulating coastal roads with fine views of the turbulent Atlantic.
Following the previous week’s 26 miles at East Antrim this marked Darren Warnock’s 54th marathon and Deirdre Conway’s 22nd. This is genuinely impressive when many would struggle to finish one such event. They completed the course under a clear blue sky in 4:17:00 and 4:39:00 respectively.
Amid a strong field Harrier Pierce McCullagh ran brilliantly to take first place at MUSA Cookstown Parkrun with a personal best of 16:44.
Next was Mark Thom who also registered a personal best when he crossed the line in 20:08; and was followed by Sperrin Junior Niall McAweaney who ran very well in his first Parkrun with a time of 21:57.
Gail Lees added to Saturday’s personal bests when she crossed the line in 26:32, with Karen Thom also achieving a PB of 27:00.
On Saturday Hannah Su O’Callaghan completed the tough Armagh course in 25:14.
Harrier Tanya Quinn’s already great form continued to improve when she finished in the top five at Ecos Parkrun and as first lady with a parkrun overall personal best of 20:58. This was all the more impressive as it was her first run at the Ballymena course. Stephen McWilliams crossed the line in 30:12.
Well done to all Sperrin Harriers who took part in races this past week, particularly those who achieved a personal best! Please assist the compilation of the weekly press report by e mailing your results to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday 26th March
SPAR Omagh Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run, Omagh Leisure Centre. Half Marathon 11am, Half Marathon Walk 10am.
Mussenden 10K Challenge, Peter Thompson Hall Castlerock at 1pm.
Sunday 27th March
Ballygalget Community Road Race at noon.
Monday 28th March
Whitehead Easter Monday 5 Mile Road Race at noon.
Scenic Carn 10K & 5K Run, Slaughtneil GAC at 11am.
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 and every Friday at Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt at 8pm. Cross country training continues in Loughry at 12 noon on Sundays.