It has been a hectic time for the Harriers with athletes taking part in races almost every day of the past week. Highlights included podium finishes for Alan O’Hara and Roisin Hughes among a field of 1500 competitors at the Larne Half Marathon on Saturday. Alan bettered his personal best by almost two minutes (68.39) to finish second behind Kenyan Freddy Sittuk (68.20). Roisin was third in the ladies race in 1.28.09.
Larne Half Marathon
Alan and Roisin were part of an exceptionally strong squad of 25 Harriers that took to the streets of Larne, a race which had originally been scheduled for March but was postponed due to snow. Veteran Tommy Hughes, coming off his win in last week’s Derry Walled City Marathon once more performed credibly, gutting out 4th place in 73.55.
Next home was Michael Fitzpatrick, who cracked the top ten with a time of 78.40. He was followed by Mark McKinstry (21st in 1.22.24), Marc Jennings (23rd in 1.23.02), Kent Swann (26th in 1.23.44), John Black (33rd in 1.25.29), Sean McShane (34th in 1.25.57), and Paul Horan (40th in 1.27.13).
Others coming in under the 1.30 barrier were Arran Rutledge (1.29.13), Joe Norney (1:29:35), Greg McClure (1.29.46) and pacer Gareth Grew, whose 1.29.58 was timed to perfection.
There were more strong performances from Gerry Gribbon (1.34.27), Mark Shields (1.34.54), Paul Williams (1.40.54), Patrick McShane (1.40.54), David Woodhouse (1.41.46), Jack Carberry (1.47.24), Kilian Woods (1.50.04), Jason Reid (1.56.29), John Johnston (1.58.14) and Padraigan Bingham (2.26.42).
Among the women, Roisin was supported by Athanasia Sevastaki, who clocked 1.37.08 for 15th, despite having run the Walled City Marathon last week. Geraldine Robinson turned in a 2.18.53 effort.
Gladys and Helen 1st and 3rd at Mourne Way Half Marathon
The Harriers took two podium spots at the Mourne Way Half Marathon on Saturday, with Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (1.28.41) and Helen Weir (1.56.27) finishing 1st and 3rd. Martin Cox also completed the half in 1.57.42.
In the accompanying marathon, Robert Irvine turned in a good effort to take 8th in 4.03.51 and second in the V50 category. Lance Breen also ran the marathon in 4.44.14.
The Mourne Way event included races ranging from an ultra marathon to marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k, all traversing hilly, off-road terrain in the Mourne Mountains and finishing in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor. Runners faced an extra challenge with the warm weather and lack of shade on the wide open course, but – if not too tired – could enjoy stunning views.
Neil Third in Hill & Dale
Keeping on the mountains, experienced fell runner Neil Carty notched a third place finish at Thursday’s Hill & Dale series race at Meelmore Meelbeg. He was first in the V45 category, running 31.15 for a course that covered 3.5 miles and featured 1,800ft of ascent. Simon Reeve was 17th in 34.24.
Eamon and Claire Excel in Craigavon 10k
The Harriers scooped two silver medals at the Craigavon 10k on Wednesday, with Claire Connor (39.06) and Eamon White (32.48) both finishing second. Also turning in solid performances were Alan Ritchie (35.13 for 8th) and Michael Fitzpatrick (35.30 for 9th).
Cathy Second at Fairhill 5 Miler/NI Open Meet/Ballinamallard 10k
Eoin McQuillan clocked a speedy 27.39 to take fifth, a big 53-second personal best. Mark McKinstry timed 28.14 for eighth, while John McAleese ran 33.35.
In Tuesday’s Northern Ireland Open Meet in Bangor, Conor Curran crossed the line second in the 3,000 metres in 9.24.25. And in Monday’s Ballinamallard 10k, Martin Cox cracked the top ten with a 43.10 clocking.
Despite the busy road racing schedule, there will still plenty of Harriers out for the Parkruns. At the Waterworks, Harriers swept the first four positions, led by Conor Curran (16.59), Alan Ritchie (17.18), Simon Reeve (17.50) and Brendan Grew (18.31). Ita McCambridge was the second woman home in 22.40 behind Geraldine Branagh of Dromore.
Junior athlete Conal McCambridge was next in 19.22 for 6th, while Tony McNulty was 7th (19.33).
Gerry Gribbon warmed up for the Larne Half with a 20.41 finish, followed by Eamon Sheridan (22.46), Piaras McShane (23.31), John O’Hare (26.04), John Burns (29.34) and Aaron McCann (35.38).
In Wallace Park, Cathy McCourt was the second woman in 20.30. At Ecos in Ballymena, Connor McQuillan was second in 18:06. At Queen’s, Kevin Lavery was 10th in 22.06 and Ciaran Hunter ran 36.25. Jim Clinton completed the course in the Falls in 26.48 and Thomas McKinstry ran 33:15 in Portrush.