Striders Weekly Update 19/10/2022

Posted: 19/10/2022

On Sunday, 7 Scrabo Striders were in the Netherlands for the TCS Amsterdam Marathon and Mizuno Half Marathon. Both courses are known for being flat and take in many of the landmarks of the City, with the marathon also including a more rural out and back section along opposite banks of the river Amstel.

Joining over 12,500 other runners for the marathon distance on a sunny and breezy morning were Peter McGonigal and Heath Graham. Peter crossed the finish line within the Olympic Stadium in a time of 3:59:16, followed by Heath in 5:01:23.

The half marathon distance was undertaken by a field of 14,500 runners; among them five Scrabo Striders. First club member to cross the Olympic Stadium finish line in a time of 2:19:54, followed by Nicola Forsythe (2:33:29), Kim Cochrane (2:41:28), Carol Graham (2:43:12) and Elaine McGonigal (2:48:31). Congratulations to all!

On Saturday, closer to home was the Gr8 Dundrum Run, organised by Murlough Athletics Club. A firm favourite on the local running calendar, the race includes 2 miles of beach running at the Murlough National Trust Nature Reserve. Making a return to the racing schedule after a couple of years missed due to the pandemic, the race was well attended with a field of almost a thousand runners. First Strider across the line was Jenny Taylor in 1:05:35, followed by Stephen Herron (1:12:59), George Johnston (1:14:23) and Amanda Martin (1:14:27). Finishing together in 1:16:43 were Fiona McAvoy and Martina Finn, followed by Davy Gordon (1:21:23), Lorraine Adams (1:27:39) and Kathryn Chesney (1:28:07).

Also making a welcome return to the local running calendar was DUNE Half Marathon on Sunday. Covering 13.1 miles between Newry and Dundalk, the race switches direction each time it is run and is well known for a few tough hills along the way. Three Striders were in attendance for this year’s North-South course, with Norman Mawhinney claiming 6th place overall in a field of almost 300 in a fantastic time of 1:24:21, followed by Graeme McGowan in 1:42:21 and Jonathan Bull in 1:43:17.

Also on Sunday at Titanic Slipways in Belfast was the Cancer Focus Pink Run 5K, a non-competitive event raising funds for breast cancer services. Well done to Striders Naomi Fleming and Natasha Graham who were in attendance.

Taking place in many locations around the world this weekend was the Backyard Ultra World Team Championships. This unique event sees teams of runners from 38 countries begin a local Backyard Ultra format race at the same time, with each runner not only competing to be the last runner standing in their own race, but also clocking up points for their country in the overall world rankings. The Backyard format consists of runners starting a 4.167 mile loop on the hour, every hour until only one remains.

Two Scrabo Striders were representing Team Ireland and fighting against some at times horrific weather at the Florence Court event in Fermanagh, organised by Atlas Running. Graeme Black clocked up 66.7 miles in 16 hours, with Dave Stevenson continuing for 24 hours for 100 miles. Overall the Ireland Team amassed 424 cumulative loops of the course, placing them 17th overall. At the time of writing the World competition is still ongoing, with 10 countries having at least 2 runners still going at hour 58!

Parkruns this week saw Striders in 16 different venues. Furthest from home were Peter and Elaine McGonigal at Amsterdamse Bos parkrun before their marathon and half marathon efforts the following day. Bangor parkrun drew a large group of members this week for the occasion of Riley Hanna’s 50th parkrun. Congratulations to Faye Alexander and Sharon Gamble on new overall PBs in Bangor, as well as Kieran (and Alice) McNamara in Enniskillen.

In Comber, Norman Mawhinney was first overall and at Knockbracken, Matt Bell claimed 3rd place and a PB, followed by Rachel Lyttle taking 3rd Female and Colin Verth with a PB. With this being week 1 of the latest iteration of the Club’s parkrun challenge, it’s all to play for with points to be gained for running and volunteering achievements, as well as distance travelled.

Junior parkrun on Sunday saw all the Club’s juniors in Comber, where Riley Hanna took 2nd place and Luke Braniff 3rd.  Personal Bests were recorded by Adam Haylett, Rory Braniff and Keara Simpson, who also claimed first place female finisher. Well done all!

Scrabo Striders running club offer training sessions four nights per week for all abilities, as well as 2 social runs per week and a group trail run on Sunday nights. With something on offer for everyone, new members are welcome to come and try a few sessions before signing up for membership – why not come and give it a go?


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