It has been another productive week of competition for the Harriers, highlighted by dominating team performances at the Northern Ireland & Ulster Half Marathon Championships, which were staged at the Ards Half Marathon on Friday evening. The men’s squads took first and second in the team prizes while the women also won gold.
Alan O’Hara led the charge, clocking 1.09.50 on the hilly route and finishing fourth in a quality race that was won by Annadale’s Paul Pollock, soon to represent Ireland in the Marathon at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow. The rest of the gold medal winning team included Andrew Considine (8th in 1.15.55) and Michael Fitzpatrick (10th overall and first in the V40 category in 1.19.20).
The men’s team that earned silver was made up of Gareth Grew (12th in 1.20.38), Laurence Johnston (15th overall and first in the V50 category in 1.22.49), and John McGuigan (17th in 1.23.03). Next home for the club were Kent Swann (21st in 1.24.21), Sean McShane (1.27.58), Arran Rutledge (1.30.45), Greg McClure (1.30.56 and first in the V55 category), Mark Shields (1.35.30) and Andrew Harding (1.47.11).
The Harriers also contributed pacemakers for the event, with Brendan Grew pacing 1.30, Stephen Walker and Gerard McNamara hitting 1.45, and Alan Ritchie and Paul Williams notching 2.00.
Off Road Success – Neil and Mark Scoop Prizes
The Hill and Dale Fell Running Series and East Antrim Harriers Trail Running Series both ended this week with Harriers prominent in the podium positions.
At the Hill and Dale, Neil Carty finished third in the final race of the series on Friday, completing the 3-mile jaunt at Drinahilly in 21.51, including 1,080 feet of ascent. He also finished third overall in the series standings. Simon Reeve was 13th at Drinahilly in 23.04 and third in the V35 series standings.
On Tuesday, the last Trail Race was staged in Woodburn forest over a circuit of approximately 5 miles. Mark McKinstry finished second in the event in 26.39 and secured second overall in the final standings. Gareth Grew also competed in the race and was fifth in 27.42.
Conor Sets 5-Mile PB
Conor Curran scored a personal best over five miles on Saturday at the Irish Runner 5 Miler in Dublin, timing 26.40 and securing 15th overall in an always competitive field.
Greg Continues V55 Success
As a warm-up to his victory in the V55 category at the Ards Half, Greg McClure also won the V55 category at the Loughinisland 5.05 miler on Wednesday (33.02) and was second in the category on Thursday in the Jude Gallagher Ten Miler in Limavady (1.06.12).
Athanasia Achieves Podium in Loughinisland
Athanasia Sevastaki continued her solid season, running 35.26 to earn third place in Wednesday’s Loughinisland 5.05 miler. Mark Shields completed the route in 33.02.
There were a usual string of solid performances at the Saturday Parkruns. Ireland’s Parkrun director and club chair Matt Shields travelled to Derry/Londonderry for their first ever parkrun and finished first in 18.19. He was supported by Falls Parkrun stalwart Jim Clinton, who made the trip and ran 22.00.
At Queen’s, Claire Prenter Donnelly showed good form as the top woman in personal best for the course (20.26). Philip Donnelly and Ciaran Hunter ran 20.55 and 24.20, respectively.
Darryl Blair flew the North Belfast colours further afield in winning the Claisebrook Cove Parkrun in East Perth, Australia, in 16.57. Derek Donaghy was in action in Walsall Arboretum, finishing 7th in 18.56.
At the Waterworks, Brendan Grew (17.34) and Simon Reeve (17.48) led home the field. Also taking part were Gerry Gribbon (19.27), Laurence Johnston (19.32), Tony McNulty (19.49), Kilian Woods (19.55), Tony McCambridge (20.03), Greg McClure (20.04), Sean McShane (20.39), Jack Carberry (21.47), Eamon Sheridan (22.21), Jason Reid (22.26) and John O’Hare (25.37).
John Patience was fourth in Wallace Park (19.22) and Paul Jenkins was fourth at Ecos in Ballymena and first V40 in 18.40. Drew Crawford ran 30.45 in Victoria.
(Images: Alan O’Hara leading the Ards Half Marathon, Roisin Hughes, Mark McKinstry and Greg McClure)