Cross Country time for Acorns Athletics!

Karen Alexander powers her way to 4th place
Karen Alexander powers her way to 4th place

This week the main event for Acorns Athletics Club was the start of the Cross Country League in Comber.

The weekly Parkrun also drew a large contingent of members, both old and new!

The week ahead sees us entering the seventh week of the Couch to 5k programme and on Saturday there is a fundraising race in aid of well know runner Francis Stewart, who is currently recovering in hospital from a cycling accident a few months ago.

The Cross Country season kicked off in Comber on Saturday with a full team turnout in both male and female events.

Sixteen runners were required in both categories to score maximum points and the Acorns didn’t disappoint with their support.

Weather conditions were dry with plenty of sunshine, not the usual mud bath that can be associated with XC, but no doubt it will come at some point!

The junior runners taking part were Shane Bradley, Andrew Shaw, Darragh Hinfey and Cathaoir Purvis, all of whom performed very well.

The ladies 6k race got underway at 1.30pm and Karen Alexander was first of the team to finish the three lap race in an excellent 4th place in 23:26. Annemarie McKernan was next of the team to finish after a strong run to 27:44 closely followed by Leanne Sands in 28:43. Stacey Hinfey and Jennifer Bradley had a close battle to finish in 30:01 and 30:06 respectively.

The next group to cross the line were Rhonda Darragh 30:24, Frances Bell 30:27, Deirdre Bradley 30:32 and Wendy Walker in 30:45. Donna Patterson finished strongly in 32:15 as did Erika Kudrenko in 32:33.

Natasha Henry and Tanya Shaw had a close race together and completed the distance in 33:10 and 33:32 respectively. Teresa Mulligan was running in the F50 class and ran a fine time of 34:31.

Edel Kidd and Julie Brodison were separated by a few seconds – 34:47 and 34:58. Amanda McCullagh crossed the finish in 36:54 with Margaret McKee just on her heels in 37:09. The team results were rounded off by Joanne Heavern 37:55, Elaine Hargan 38:04 and Cathy McQuillan 41:50. Well done ladies, excellent running! Only 2 weeks until the next one!

The men’s race with 200 runners got underway at 2.30pm after a delayed start. Bliadhan Glass had another strong inside the top 30 to finish in 28:56, with Francis McDaid not far behind in 29:41.

Pat Groogan put in his usual hard shift in the M50 class in 32:33 with young Diarmuid Logan just a few seconds back in 32:43. Alan Shaw crossed the finish in 33:07, Sam Taylor 33:25 and Gary McGuckin 33:55.

Eugene McAuley had another strong finish in 34:28 as did Oli Murphy in 34:50. Chalky McGuckin, Stephen Kerr and Niall Hassan had a close battle to the finish line in a shade over 36mins.

Philip Morrison had a fine race and completed the distance in 37:47 and Don Brownlee wasn’t far adrift in 39:52. Karl Murphy thoroughly enjoyed the event and crossed the finish in 41:57. Steve Dallas and Garth Campbell rounded off the team results in 44:38 and 45:39 respectively.

Well done lads, superb running!

A late result from last weeks Runher event was Susan Lynch who completed her first ever race in 32:06. Well done Susan!

Well done again to everyone who participated in the various Parkruns on Saturday, especially to all those who achieved personal bests over this 3.1 mile distance.

If you would like to take part in any Parkrun, please register at

If you have already signed up, please ensure your club name is registered as “Acorns AC” to ensure all results are captured correctly.