With the wintry conditions of the 2015-16 cross country season now behind them, the NBH took to the start of this year’s road season with gusto. Has the winter training paid off?
‘The Potato race’ – aka NIMRA Glenariff Mountain Race 2016, Waterfoot Co. Antrim:
This was the first race of the NIMRA championship and with a record entry of 100, it shows that runners are branching out further from the road and seeking the thrill that mountain running can often provide. With dry conditions the runners navigated the terrain and blustery wind well, leaving the coastal town of Waterfoot to start the 5.9 mile distance and tackle a hill that was close to a mile long.
NBH had a strong showing throughout the field, with each finisher receiving a free bag of spuds, courtesy of the race sponsor. The seasoned mountain runner Neil Carty finished in 4th place overall with a time of 46:02, this fantastic performance secured him first place in his age category along with what looks like a potato themed trophy. After his efforts on Slieve Gullion last week (hailstones and all), Tommy Simmons had another great race following close behind Neil to finish 6th in a time of 46:28. Further along the course, Phil Mc Ilrath and Rosie Ryan had a strong finish with times of 86:55 and 113 respectively. Great to see the participation from the club at these races. (picture by Jayne Bell, NIMRA flickr page)
Cara Bundoran 10 mile & 10k Challenge, Bundoran Co. Donegal:
Nearly 2000 runners took part in the 10 mile and 10km events in the seaside town of Bundoran this Saturday. With a testing Atlantic breeze and mild conditions the weather may have been better suited for surfing, but nevertheless Breege Connolly crossed the line in second place with a time of 59:01 in the 10 mile event. This offered Breege another solid training race as she gears up for Rio, currently lying 3rd on the list of female Irish marathon qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics (team to be decided on 23rd May).
St. Paddys 5 km, Gransha, Co. Derry/Londonderry:
Over one hundred runners descended upon the Gransha grounds in Derry / Londonderry on Saturday, where the runners availed of a fast course and helped to raise funds for the Foyle Hospice.
No NBH made the journey across the province, with the race being won by Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) in a time of 15:47 and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) in a time of 18:22
Jimmy’s 10km, Downpatrick Co. Down:
Arguably the highlight of the racing this weekend, the well established Jimmy’s 10km was held by East Down AC on Sunday. Organised in memory of Jimmy Murray (a Downpatrick school teacher and a founding member of East Down AC in 1987), it is a solid fixture on the road racing calendar, and this year also formed the first fixture in the newly established Novosco 10k Grand Prix 2016, an age graded series of 10km races throughout NI.
While there is a tough hill 1 mile in, the course is relatively flat and is considered a fast circuit to try and reap the benefits of winter training and offer a benchmark for the season ahead.
Leading a field just shy of 1000 runners, the men’s race was won by Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) in a time of 31:37. Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle & District AC) was the first lady to cross the line in 54:30.
The NBH had a strong contingent toeing the start line and this talent was reflected in the results with three runners finishing inside the top ten. Lindsay Gordon led the NBH men home finishing in 4th position (33:26), seconds later Eamon White crossed the line in 6th position (33:28). Ed Cooke kept up his run of good form finishing inside the top ten for 9th position (33:51). Next to finish from the club was Louise Smith, the 5th lady home (38:32), with Martsje Hell as the 8th lady home (40:00) in what was a strong women’s field. John Murphy (40:22), Greg McClure (40:46) and Padraigin Bingham (1:11:13) rounded off a great effort from the club.
Finishers also enjoyed an impressive spread of cakes, buns and sandwiches (obviously the real test of a well organised event). Keep an eye out for the East Down AC youtube channel for video footage to catch yourself in action. (picture by Fionnuala McConvey, East Down AC )
Addiction NI 10km road race, Ormeau Park, Belfast:
Another popular event in this weekend’s calendar was held on the same day. This 10km race is organised in and around the running hub of Ormeau Park in South Belfast. Raising funds and awareness for the alcohol and drug treatment charity, the race is in its 4th year.
The NBH made good use of this well established and fast course, to finish well amongst the one hundred and twenty one runners, with the pleasant spring conditions near the river being perfect for running. Kent Swann continued upon his impressive winter of racing to comfortably win the race in a time of 34:45, he was followed by the ever consistent Simon Reeve in 4th (37:31). Gerard McNamara placed inside the top ten in 9th (40:46), with Conor O’Rawe (41:25) and Mark Shields (42:36) placing well up the field in 13th and 15th respectively. Niall Armstrong in 55th, (52:27) and Hannah Funnell in 72nd (56:24) rounded off the placings for the NBH.
BMAF Open Cross Country Championships, University of Bath, England:
This Sunday three NBH athletes made the trip across to Bath, England to compete in the British Masters Athletics Federation Open Cross Country Championships. The 8km race pooled together the best athletes from across the UK in the over 35 yo category, and made for a competitive fixture around the University of Bath XC course.
The journey across was well worthwhile for Lawrence Johnston, Jim Newberry and John Patience who collectively won a silver team price in the Male 55 age group. They navigated the course finishing strong, with Lawrence in 31st (28:31), Jim 65th (31:04) and John 84th (33:35), not only securing the team prize but also providing the club with valuable exposure at that high level of UK competition.
Parkrun, Saturday 12th March 2016, @ various events through the province:
With one 50th parkrun anniversary, 9 Personal Best times, and 2 runners from the club racking up a first finisher home, the NBH participation at parkrun events across the province was as impressive as ever. Ormeau Park also held a jogbelfast graduation parkrun, which saw the number rise above the five hundred mark at that event.
2nd John BLACK 16:04 – New PB
36th Paul WILLIAMS 20:57 – New PB
55th Tony REID 22:31 – New PB
3rd David CLARKE 18:42
5th Janice PLUMB 21:05 – 50th Parkun
7th Callum MCILROY 21:33
19th Trisha CAMPBELL 23:47
41st Eva KISSENPFENNIG 22:01 – New PB
50th Kevin LAVERY 22:27
28th Ciaran HUNTER 22:33
5th John MCCONNELL 19:23
1st Paul CURLEY 17:41 – New PB
4th Simon REEVE 18:30
6th Luke KELLY 19:19
7th John Gerard MURPHY 19:21
12th Greg MCCLURE 19:49
14th Joe DRAIN 19:55
18th David CURRAN 20:23
22nd Eamon SHERIDAN 20:50
23rd Conor O’RAWE 20:50
24th Joe NORNEY 20:51
29th Eimear MCBRIEN 21:42
37th Ita MCCAMBRIDGE 22:21
39th Cian MCGRATH 22:40
64th Ciara O’RAWE 24:21 – New PB
66th Kevin MCCANN 24:29 – New PB
76th Niall ARMSTRONG 25:18
90th John O’HARE 25:50
103rd Marian HAYES 26:34
106th Orla MCCAMBRIDGE 26:45
107th Philip MCILWRATH 26:46
127th Martin KELLY 27:39 – New PB
128th John BEGGS 27:40
133rd Megan BEGGS 28:21 – New PB
138th Clare O’HARA 28:40
141st Jason REID 28:43
156th Caroline FRIZZELL 29:46
164th Jacqueline LAWLOR 29:58
181st Claire BRADY 30:44
190th Philomena DONALDSON 31:39
192nd Margaret STEPHENS 31:40
196th Orla YOUNG 31:47
198th Dirdre MURPHY 32:15
209th Catherine CARLETON 33:20
210th Bernadette DUFFY 33:21
211st Eadaoin DONALDSON 33:21
223rd Lynsey FLEMING 34:08
231st Catriona MORRIS 35:03
245th Jennifer CURLEY 35:51
259th Donna MCLAUGHLIN 37:06
274th Jill O’REILLY 39:00
291st Eileen KELLY 44:10