The senior men scored a convincing victory at the 77thMcConnell Shield Cross Country on Saturday 12 November in Ballyclare, moving to the top of the rankings in the Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League.
NBH achieved a low of 28 points on the back of Alan O’Hara’s individual win.Larne AC was second with 69. Alan’s time was 28.19, 13 seconds clear of Richard Johnston, who ran unattached.
The men collected a total of 15 league points on the day: ten for winning and five bonus points for having 10 finishers. (NBH had 11 finishers but bonus points are awarded for either 10 or 12 finishers.)
Annadale Striders were top of the league with 15 points after last weekend’s Bobby Rea Memorial Cross Country, while NBH were second with 12. Annadale failed to field a team for the McConnell Shield. NBH now has a two-meet total of 27 points, placing them atop the team rankings, which have yet to be officially released.
NBH produced the winner in the Boys Under 16 category, as Conall McCambridge continued his outstanding season.His time was 12.20, 21 seconds ahead of Albertville’s Glenn McEwan.
Damian Marquess, despite being several years younger than most of the competitors in the Boys Under 14 category, also had an outstanding race.
Cathy McCourt gained the individual honours in the women’s race, clocking 19.05 to finish nearly a minute ahead of North Down’s Roberta Dornan. Cathy was second in last weekend’s Bobby Rea Memorial and looks set to be a force to be reckoned with in the Cross Country League.
Drew Crawford was tops in the Over-70 category, timing a speedy 25.50.
Cross Country running is all about strength in numbers, especially when it comes to competing in the new League, so it was great to see the men’s team field 11 athletes in the senior race.
Darryl Blair continued to improve, finishing an outstanding sixth in 28.50. He was followed home by Neil Carty in 29.11, who was also the first Over-45 to cross the line. Next up were Ed Cooke (30.25) and Lawrence Johnston (31.48 and third Over-50).
NBH also received solid performances from Paul Jenkins (32.08, second Over-35), Travis Todd (32.34), Jim Newberry (33.00, second Over-55), John Patience (33.05), and Greg McClure (35.38). Special kudos for Greg who ran both the Park Run and the cross county on the same day – less than two weeks after completing the Dublin Marathon!
The next competition in the League is Malcolm Cup on 3 December in Ballyclare.
At the Waterworks Park Run, Claire Prenter was the first woman to cross the line, timing a solid 20.24. Eoin McQuillan led the NBH contingent, clocking 18.03 for fourth. The first finisher was former Abbey AC runner Eoin Mullan, currently unattached, in 17.28.
Greg McClure showed he is on the comeback trail, posting a time of 19.50. He was followed home by Francis McCaffrey (20.04), John Lavery (22.57) and Darragh McNairney, who set a new personal best of 24.57.