Harriers Win Athletics NI Junior Club of the Year

jimmyjrclubNorth Belfast Harriers were awarded the Athletics Northern Ireland 2013 Junior Club of the Year at the Athletics Northern Ireland Awards on Wednesday 20 November.

The award builds on other recent achievements, including junior coach Jimmy Nolan winning Volunteer of the Year in 2012, Matt Shields winning Services to Coaching in 2011, and the club earning the overall Club of the Year award in 2011. On the same day at the Athletics Ireland Awards in Dublin, Sharon Trimble won the Mountain Runner of the Year award as part of the Irish women’s senior team that also included Sarah McCormack (Clonliffe Harriers AC), Kate Cronin (Raheny Shamrock AC), and Sarah Mulligan (Dundrum South Dublin AC). The team won the bronze medals at the World mountain running championships in Krynica, Poland.

In the past year, the NBH junior section has dramatically increased its membership (to over 100 from 50 in 2012 and 30 in 2011); included up to 20 additional local children in weekly sessions; integrated ten children with special needs; secured a Sported grant to work with under-represented groups, organised volunteer opportunities; and facilitated a three-day Adventure Camp for 40 children in Castlewellan Forest.

10975728455_56c43aaa54_bThese activities support NBH’s holistic approach, emphasising fun and participation while encouraging juniors to give back to the sport. At Belfast’s Culture Night the club provided multi-skills activities for children, while at the City Council’s ‘Belfast Day’ it provided ‘come and try it’ sessions. Juniors also volunteer at the Parkrun. NBH devised a rewards system that values good attendance and commitment for training and volunteering, not just performance. This approach encourages new children into all aspects of the sport without applying undue pressure.

Performances have also improved, as quality coaches fanned out around the north of the city providing five weekly sessions at various locations (Belfast Castle, Girls Model, Boys Model and University of Ulster). NBH increased its number of certified coaches to 19 (qualifications ranging from Level 3 to LIRF). NBH also improved its connections with Beechmount Harriers and Orangegrove through inter-clubs sports activities and the joint organisation of events like cross country races.

As junior athlete Rebecca Marquess said at the launch of Sported: “I hope that North Belfast Harriers continues to grow as it gives the children of North Belfast a club to be a part of.”

Best Achievements of the Year

· Maintained Gold Clubmark Status

· Increased junior membership to over 100 from 50 in 2012 and 30 in 2011

· Increasing number of qualified junior coaches to 19

· Integrating ten special needs children

· Received £2000 grant from Sported to work with under-represented groups

· Increasing junior volunteering (Culture Night, Belfast Day, Parkrun)

· Organised 3-day Adventure Camp

· Developed links with other clubs through inter-clubs sports activities

· Member of Clubs for Young People (CFYP) and use their facilities

· Rebecca Marquess addressed Sported launch with Sir Keith Mills

· Caitlin Maguire – Ulster Champion 100m U15 & 2nd U15 60m (Semi – finalist at national 60m in Athlone) Also 4th in 200m U15.

· Micheal McGreevy – 3rd 100m U15

· Rebecca Marquess – 4th 100m U18 & 3rd U 17 60m (Semi Finalist at all national 60m in Athlone)

· Tony McCambridge – 3rd Ulster Cross Country U12 & 13th National Cross Country).

· Conal McCambridge –5th in the Ulster U18 Cross Country

· U12 Team – 3rd Ulster Cross Country.

· Conor McQuillan 4th 3000m U16.

· Beth Kennedy 5th U14 75m hurdles.

· The juniors also picked up lots of medals at the Power NI Super Series.

(Images: Jimmy Nolan accepts the Junior Club of the Year Award from Athletics NI president Gerry Lynch, image courtesy of Athletics NI. Coaches, volunteers and athletes from NBH at the Awards Ceremony)

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