It was the first time in Athletics Northern Ireland history that a club has won both the men’s and women’s championships, and only the second time the NBH men have won the title. The men last won in 2000 and the women defended their title from last year. A total of 51 athletes turned out on the day to compete for the club – the second year in a row more than 50 Harriers have toed the line at Seeley.
The individual winners were City of Derry’s Conor Bradley (30.34) and Armagh’s Fionnuala Ross (34.45).
With six to score in the men’s race, it was a well-balanced effort that separated the Harriers from the rest of the contenders. Alan O’Hara set the pace by finishing 6th in 31.07, first in the V35 division. It was a good run against a top quality field, and just a few seconds outside his personal best.
Alan was followed home by Adam Boyd, who clocked 31.57, smashing his personal best by 44 seconds and finishing 12th. Next in was Eamon White in 32.24, who was also first in the V40 category. Connor Magill, despite being ill during the week and suffering stomach problems during the race, came through to finish 22nd in 33.10. Paul Blaney (31st in 33.32) and Neil Carty (34th and 3rd V45 in 33.36) rounded out the scoring.
For the women, it was three to score and the Harriers got solid runs from marathon specialists Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (2nd in 35.16) and Breege Connolly (3rd in 36.42) to lead the way. The third scorer was Cathy McCourt, who clocked 38.21 for ninth overall and first in the V40 category.
Claire Prenter chipped in with a tremendous personal best of 38.28 for 10th, 47 seconds quicker than her previous fastest time. Amanda Perry was next home in 39.11, good for 14th and second in the V40 division, and Judi Graham was 16th in 39.33.
Other category winners were Robert Irvine, who timed a personal best of 38.18 and was third V55, and Thelma McCullough, whose 49.09 was good for third in the V50 division.
There were more solid runs on the day, including Brendan Grew (41st in 34.17), Ed Cooke (42nd in 34.19) and Mark McKinstry, whose 34.53 for 53rd was a personal best. They were supported by Simon Reeve (35.25), Paul McAllister (36.02), Niall Farquharson (36.10), Jim Benson (36.13), John McConnell (37.49), Barry Reid (38.24), Mark McCallion 38.26), Drew Knox (38.50), and Joe Norney, who just dipped under 39 minutes in 38.59.
More excellent efforts from the women included Helen Weir (43.07), Athanasia Sevastaki (43.18), Siobhan Drain (46.14), Paula Wallace (47.03), Ita McCambridge (48.39), Lynn McCullough (49.57), Sandy Carr (52.42), Mary Reid (53.57) and Nuala Connolly (57.16).
There were more Harriers who impressed, including Conor Shields (39.11), Michael McCormick (39.43), Mark Shields (39.53), Philip Donnelly (39.57), Colin Simpson (40.02), Martin Cox (40.16), John Murphy (40.18), Reg Kapur (41.20), Paul Williams (42.22) and Patrick McShane (43.22).
Paddy McCambridge clocked a personal best of 44.01, and at more than 70 years of age Jack Carberry set a personal best of 45.46. Jack surely would have won the V70 category had the prizes extended beyond V60. L.C. Breen timed 46.14, John Robert Johnston set a personal best of 49.12, John Marquess finished in 52.48, and Drew Crawford completed the course in 58.21.
The Harriers who competed all contributed to the championship success, but they were helped on their way by the numerous NBH supporters who lined the course, including parents, partners, volunteers, junior athletes, and senior athletes.
(Photos: top to bottom: Alan O’Hara with Seeley Cup; Gladys Ganiel O’Neill, Fionnuala Ross and Breege Connolly; Claire Prenter and Athanasia Sevastaki; photo of Ed Cooke, Neil Carty and Paul Blaney courtesy of nirunning.co.uk and Gareth Heron)
Grew and Reeve tops at Action Hearing Loss 5 miler
Despite their exertions at the Seeley the previous day, Brendan Grew (27.46) and Simon Reeve (28.37) finished first and second at the Action Hearing Loss 5 Miler in Hazelbank. Club stalwart Nuala Muldoon helped organize this worthy fundraiser, and the club also provided some volunteers on the day.
New recruit Paul Gruhn performed well, clocking 37.18 for the distance.
Junior athletes Katie McCambridge and Rioghnach Catney took part, running the course together in 41.52. John Marquess (42.51), Thomas McKinstry (45.34), and Nuala Connolly (54.26) also completed the route.
The Harriers’ high participation rate in the Seeley meant that there were not quite as many out for the weekly Parkruns. But the club was still well-represented, providing the first finisher at four different venues: Peter Savage at City in Craigavon (17.47), Gregory Walsh at Ecos in Ballymena (17.29), Matt Shields at Ormeau (18.15) and John Lavery at Queen’s 20.22.
Paul Jenkins (10th in 19.22) also took part at Ormeau while Kevin Lavery (5th in 21.29) and Ciaran Hunter (8th in 21.49) completed the course at Queen’s. Jim Clinton ran the Falls in 24.47.
The biggest group turned out on the Harriers home turf at the Waterworks, and included:
|2 Laurence JOHNSTON 00:17:45|
|5 Simon REEVE 00:18:20|
|9 Tony MC CAMBRIDGE 00:18:54|
|10 Gerry GRIBBON 00:18:59|
|11 Sean MCSHANE 00:19:02|
|15 Andrew MILLIGAN 00:20:00|
|23 Greg MCCLURE 00:21:20|
|25 Conor O’RAWE 00:21:44|
|28 Niall ARMSTRONG 00:21:58|
|31 Eamon SHERIDAN 00:22:29|
|33 Piaras MCSHANE 00:22:49|
|34 Sean MCSHANE JR 00:22:52|
|35 Odhran CATNEY 00:22:56|
|45 John O’HARE 00:23:44|
|52 Paul MCALLISTER 00:24:12|
|53 John BURNS 00:24:12|
|55 Nuala MULDOON 00:24:19|
|82 Catherine MCNICHOLL 00:26:56|
|93 Thomas MCKINSTRY 00:28:37|
|99 Kilian WOODS 00:29:42|
|115 Jack CARBERRY 00:32:45|