Athletics: Hall takes league title at Sperrin Harriers’ Lough Fea event

Cathy McCourt Ladies winner at Lough Fea
Cathy McCourt Ladies winner at Lough Fea

Sperrin Harrier Natalie Hall claimed the Winter League ladies crown at the Lough Fea 10 Miler.

Natalie was the 3rd lady home on Saturday afternoon in a personal best time of 1 hour, 8 mins and 8 secs. Her finishing place saw her secure the Female Overall title by the slimest of margins over her nearest rival Collette McCourt (Dub Runners, Belfast).

Both girls were neck and neck at the start of the race, but it was Natalie who powered her way around the ten miles to take the honours on the day and for the season.

AAI Masters XC medallist Cathy McCourt 1.02.09, of North Belfast Harriers, was the quickest lady on the day by a comfortable margin over international mountain runner Gillian Wasson 1.06.42 of Springwell RC in second place.

There were no surprises in the men’s competition, as Paul Barbour made it four wins on the bounce.

The Omagh Harrier had already wrapped up the League title prior to this weekend but he showed no signs of resting on his laurels, as he dominated the field yet again with a time of 54.46.

Trail specialist David Simpson came second on the day 56.24 ahead of Sperrin Harrier Pierce McCullagh 59.37 in third.

Our own Gavin Corey didn’t race at Lough Fea but had already secured second place in the League with his fine performances over the winter.

As Connor Reid (Ballymena Runners) was another absentee, his clubmate Alex Brennan’s third place in the final reckoning was also unchallenged.

The second Harrier to finish on the day was Connor Martin 1.05.02 followed by third Harrier Gareth Cardwell 1.06.06.

Gareth’s sister, Cheryl Cardwell matched her brother’s placing in the female race 1.18.30 just behind one of the Harriers’ rising stars Laura Mitchell 1.17.50.

The remaining Sperrin Harriers who finished on Saturday were (in order) Colly Gallagher 1.09.03, Ciaran Donaghy 1.10.26, Tommy Harraghy 1.10.35, Leon McKee 1.14.50, Russell Bell 1.15.54, Mark Thom 1.17.37, Raymond Thom 1.17.49, Paul Fearon 1.18.47, Gary Ward 1.18.48, Joe Curry 1.20.59, Anthony Fox 1.21.00, Adrian Rea 1.23.21, Stephanie Henry 1.27.12, Sean Hamill 1.29.01, Nicola Rea 1.30.30, Fiona Devlin 1.30.46, Andrea Linton 1.33.30, Alison Colgan 1.37.07, Frances Cullen Wilson 1.42.55, Brenda Darragh 1.44.39, Nicola McIvor-Henry 1.47.05 and William Devine 2.15.40.

Eamonn Sheehan managed to fit in his Parkrun while on a family trip to England; his time at St Albans was 20:54.

Shay McKeown continued his recent resurgence in form, clocking a time of 25.08 at Citypark (Craigavon), while Gavin Wylie went sub-20 minutes 19.58 over at Ecos (Ballymena).

As usual, a number of Harriers were in action at MUSA (Cookstown). Amazingly, Paul O’Callaghan, who was getting married to fellow Sperrin Harrier Hannah Su at 12 noon, turned up and finished first place in a great time of 17.33. Adrian Devlin led the way, finishing in 2nd place 18.42; Mel Hughes 19.54 came 4th, while Jason O’Neill 21.32 and Margaret Conway 24.47 each scored a new PB.

Our other finishers were (in order) Barry O’Neill 22.11, Clare McCallion 24.07, Natalie Creighton 31.41 and Kim Charles 31.41.

Junior training was back again this weekend after being cancelled due to freezing weather last Saturday.

The free introductory coaching sessions, for boys and girls aged 12-18, will continue from 10am every Saturday, up to and including 14th March, at MUSA.

If you are a parent or carer, or know a young person who might like to come along next weekend, remember that the sessions are friendly, fun and free. Surely there is nothing better that a young person could be doing with their Saturday morning.

All club members are encouraged to attend the Carmen 10K starting from Carrickmore GFC at 11am on Saturday 7 March. Online Entry will close Friday, 6 March, at 9am.

Training continues 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’ will depart from ASDA at the slightly earlier time of 9:00am.