North Belfast Harriers Crush the Competition at the Cross Country in Cold Coleraine
Podiums & Team Trophies at the NI & Ulster Intermediate and Masters XC
On Saturday 17th January 2015, hundreds of athletes from across the province descended on the University of Ulster’s Coleraine Campus for the ChampionChip Ireland sponsored NI & Ulster Intermediate and Masters Cross Country Championships 2015. The North Belfast Squad that had travelled faced typical cross-country conditions on the one mile lap course.
The cold and snowy mud was soon flying off the heels of the athletes in the Men’s Masters 7.5k five lap race which included seven Harriers. Eamonn White, Alan O’Hara and Neil Carty were in contention for top ten and possible podium placing’s. Whilst also running well in the top half of the field were Laurence Johnston and David Clarke, John Patience and James Wallace. As the race entered into the final lap Eamonn and Alan were both racing hard for 3rd place. This had pulled them away from the chasing pack and as they crossed the line, it was Eamonn who was given 3rd in 29:03 with Alan in 4th also in 29:03. Neil Carty was also racing well for position and ensured 6th place, just 2 seconds behind 5th in 29:40. Team success was then brought home to North Belfast Harriers with the placing of Laurence Johnston (1st M55) in 28th 32:09, David Clarke (2nd M55) in 31st 32:21, John Patience in 49th 33:38 and James Wallace in 51st 33:42. With over 10 points clear, 1st place in the Masters Men team competition was the first item of silverware awarded to the club.
Three laps of a churned up course now faced the Ladies Intermediate and Masters 4.5k race. Again, North Belfast Harriers were well represented with Louise Smith, Claire Connor, Paula Wallace and Ita McCambridge in the Women’s Masters. Whilst the trio of Penny Lindsay, Janice Plumb and Trisha Campbell were entered into the Intermediate race. From the start Louise and Claire were amongst the front runners setting the pace. Penny, Janice and Trisha were also running well and were easily in the top 25 places. Whilst Paula and Ita were picking their way through a very congested field and avoiding the less sure-footed competitors who were sliding and even falling around them. With a clearer sight of the finish line, it was Louise Smith who powered through the mud to claim 1st place in the Womens Masters race in 20:00. Claire Connor also claimed a hard earned podium place finishing 3rd in 20:17. Paula Wallace clocked 23:44 for 27th position and Ita McCambridge crossed the line in 25:38. In the Womens Masters team competition it was a much closer affair with 11 points separating the top 5 teams. After all the calculations and countbacks, North Belfast Harriers were awarded 4th place. In the Intermediate race, Penny Lindsay crossed the line in 21:28, just missing out on a top ten place in 12th. Not too far behind, Janice Plumb and Trisha Campbell were also racing hard together with Janice claiming 14th place in 21:43 ahead of Trisha, 15th in 21:46.
The Intermediate Men’s 10.5k event was going to be challenging enough with 7 laps, but as “they” say ‘Cross-country is 90% mental, whilst the other 10% is in the mind!’ and by now the course was very cut up and slippery. North Belfast Harriers were represented by seven athletes thought to have both the psychological and physiological strength for undertaking the task of not just racing but also potentially bringing home the coveted team trophy. The test of all of the winter training put in by Mark McKinstry, Conal McCambridge, Andrew Considine, Thomas Simmons, John Black, Kent Swann and Greg Lavery began in the usual frantic style as all of the runners tried to get that crucial advantage at the start. Youthful exuberance saw a large lead pack, which included Conal, tear away from the start. Mark McKinstry soon joined them at the front and as the laps progressed, all of the Harriers were competing well in the top half of the field. The pace of the front three carried them away from the chasing pack into the final lap. Mark Mckinstry maintained a strong pace to cross the line in a clear 4th place 41:18. Conal McCambridge (2nd MJ) had done enough to finish untroubled in 13th in 43:04. Andrew Considine (3rd M35) raced into the finishing straight to take 15th in 43:19. At this point the team competition was still wide open with at least four clubs in contention. Thomas Simmons placing well in 20th 44:24 was the next Harrier to cross the line. A few other clubs vests were now in the finishing straight and the Harriers had three out on the course closing in on the final muddy metres. John Black, closely followed by Kent Swann took the last two places in the top 25 in 45:10 and 45:15 respectively. Greg Lavery (1st M40) 45:55 completed the set and with all seven Harriers in the top 32 places, it was possible that “the plan” had “come together”. With 101 points, the North Belfast Harriers team took 1st place and the iconic trophy, with a winning margin of 20+ points over their nearest rivals.
all photos from NiRunning
Winter League Wonderland Drum Manor 10k
Sperrin Harriers Winter Trail League also went ahead on Saturday at Drum Manor Forest Park. The third race in the series comprised of two laps of the 5k scenic course through the forest. 170 entrants competed from 30 clubs. Due to heavy snowfall conditions underfoot were very treacherous. Three Harriers competed. Martin Cox finished 12th overall and won M50 with a time of 40.53. Helen Weir finished 57th overall with a time of 47.05. Padraigin Bingham finished 166th overall with a time of 1:18:39.
Saturdays icy and snowy conditions meant that some parkruns were cancelled. Several Harriers still managed to get their weekly 5k with even a PB for John Murphy at Ormeau.
23rd Luke KELLY 21:50
48th Nuala MULDOON 24:04
4th Tony MC CAMBRIDGE 17:42
5th Andrew MILLIGAN 17:51
32nd Greg MCCLURE 20:57
8th John Gerard MURPHY 19:26 – New PB
25th Mark SHIELDS 20:59
58th Tony REID 23:00
62nd Athanasia SEVASTAKI 23:11
4th Philip Patrick DONNELLY 19:39
25th Damien GILL 22:36
38th John LAVERY 24:01
45th Aodhan O’REILLY 24:31
54th Jim CLINTON 25:13
69th Siobhan DRAIN 22:51
70th Joe DRAIN 22:52