There were Harriers in action over a variety of distances and terrains this weekend, with Marty Rea, Simon Reeve, Cathy McCourt and Eddie Cooke both achieving podium finishes. Marty was third in the South Downs Way 50 Mile Ultra-marathon, while closer to home Simon was third in the Castleward Challenge Half Marathon. Cathy and Eddie were both third at the Sperrin Harriers 5 Mile Classic road race.
South Downs Way 50
Marty Rea battled tough conditions, a tough field, and of course an always tough 50 miles to clinch third in 7 hours, 39 minutes at the South Downs Way 50, which follows a mountainous off-road route between Worthing and Eastbourne. Runners also had to contend with wind, snow, hail and generally cold weather.
Sperrin Harriers 5 Mile Classic
Cathy McCourt and Eddie Cooke both earned third place finishes at the Sperrin Harriers 5 mile classic. For Cathy, it was a welcome return to competition after a year out due to injury. She timed a credible 31.19. Eddie clocked 27.36, in a race won in 27.14 by Larne’s James Brown. Mark McKinstry was 16th.
Castle Ward Challenge
The Castle Ward challenge followed an off-road route at the Castle Ward estate. Simon Reeve covered the route in 1.27.34 to take third as two more Harriers swept to top ten positions: Gerard McNamara in 7th (1.33.38) and Lance Breen in 9th (1.36.31). They were supported by Kilian Woods, who clocked 1.44.57.
Neil Carty at Silent Valley Mountain Race and Hill & Dale
Experienced mountain runner Neil Carty put in a good show at the Silent Valley Mountain race, which is part of the British Mountain Running and Northern Ireland Mountain Running Championships. In an exceptionally competitive field, Neil covered the 16 km course (which featured 1550m of ascent) in 2.06.20. Conditions were also difficult due to snow and boggy ground underfoot. The winner was Borrowdale AC’s Gavin Bland (1.43.00), a former junior and senior British mountain running champion. Neil also placed second in Thursday’s Hill and Dale series race in Castlewellan.
Mark McKinstry represented the Harriers on the track at the NI running mile on Friday at Antrim Forum, notching 5.15.46 to finish eighth. The event was organized by the popular website http://www.nirunning.co.uk/ .
Northern Ireland 5 km Championships – Cathy and Laurence win age categories
The Northern Ireland 5 km road race championships were held on Wednesday at the Bay Road 5 km in Derry/Londonderry. It was Cathy McCourt’s first competitive outing after her long lay-off due to injury and she placed fifth among the women in 19.20, and first among the vets. Laurence Johnston won the men’s V50 category with a good time of 17.44, placing 26th overall.
Parkruns – Gerry Gribben Awarded “50” T-shirt
At the Waterworks, Harriers stalwart Gerry Gribben was awarded his t-shirt for completing 50 parkruns – celebrating by completing the route in 19.37. Lagan Valley’s Davy Wright was also on hand to receive his t-shirt for 100 parkruns.
The Harriers also had the first three runners across the line in Andrew Considine (16:46), Brendan Grew (16.54) and Jim Benson (17.30). Junior ace Conal McCambridge was fifth in 17.43, followed by Sean McShane (11th in 19.17) and Greg McClure (13th in 19.48). Martin Cox was next in 21.15, supported by John Murphy (21.27), Ita McCambridge (22.15 – just one second off her personal best), Nuala Muldoon (22.56), Eamon Sheridan (23.40), Piaras McShane (24.30), John O’Hare (24.33), John Robert Johnston (24.40), Lauren Cox (25.28), Brendan McCambridge (26.21), Patrick McCambridge (26.21), John Burns (27.25) Mary Ringland (27.56) and Tina Haggan (30.33).
At Victoria Parkrun, Athanasia Sevastaki had a fine run of 20.50 to finish as the second woman, Helen Weir clocked 21.34 to finish third woman, and Eoin McQuillan was sixth overall in 18.30. Mark Shields ran 20.52.
At Queens Parkrun, Philip Donnelly finished fifth in 20.13, followed by John Lavery (21.00), Kevin Lavery (23.17) and Ciaran Hunter (25.01).
The Harriers had one runner each at the Falls Park (Jim Clinton, 17th in 25.50) and Wallace Park (John Patience, 6th in 19.24)
(photo of Cathy McCourt by Declan Roughan)