Striders Weekly Update 04/01/2023

Posted: 4/1/2023

On 27th December, over 650 two-person teams set off on the annual and infamous Castlewellan Christmas Cracker. The approximately eight and a half mile course covers fields, roads and forest trails and each pair must cross the finish line together. With many donning fancy dress for the occasion, the event is a firm favourite in the running calendar, and entries sell out every year.

First Strider across the finish line was Thomas Steele, with team mate Alex Turnbull from Ballydrain Harriers, with a time of 1:16:11, followed by another cross-club team with Striders’ Norman Mawhinney paired up with Mary Slocum from Ward Park Runners completing the course in 1:19:23. Husband and wife team Justin and Shannon Clegg were next over the line in 1:27:55, followed in 1:31:35 by Ballygalget AC’s Andrew Garrett paired with Strider Daniel Clarke.

Jenny Taylor and Alison Busby crossed the line in 1:37:31, followed by John Brown and Stephanie Middleton in 1:48:10, and Amanda Martin and Lynda Martin in 1:55:13. Getting in under the two hour mark were Colin Harper and Manny Farrelly in 1:59:48, closely followed by Catherine and Philip Cauley (2:00:09) and Peter McGonigal and Heath Graham (2:00:28).

Four teams with Strider participants in quick succession were next over the line, led by Marty McConnell and Bill McGuckin in 2:08:00, followed 4 seconds later by Coastal Runners’ Dawn Ross with Barbara McKechnie, and another 4 seconds later by Jonny Kinney and Leanne Campbell, with Tracey Ormesher and Linda Dugan finishing in 2:08:11.

Another cross-club team next with Strider Fiona McDonald crossing the line with Heather Gyle of Ballydrain Harriers in 2:19:26, followed by Caroline Smyth and Joanne Tate 2:21:02, and Lyndsey Lappin and Christine Beattie just 2 seconds later.

Rounding off the Scrabo line-up were 3 more teams with Elaine McGonigal and Cheryl Alexander finishing up in 2:22:26, followed by Kim Cochrane and Nicola Forsythe in 2:30:21, and Natasha and Carol Graham in 2:32:25.

Congratulations to all who participated in this tough race!

The New Year kicked off with the 10K Race over the Glens trail race, hosted by Ballymena Runners. The picturesque route through Glenariff Forest proved the perfect way to welcome 2023 for 5 Striders, with Jenny Taylor first of the club’s runners home in 1:01:28. Gareth Davies was next to cross the line in 1:07:00, followed by Alison Busby (1:11:10), Amanda Martin (1:13:02) and Martina Finn in 1:15:11. Well done to all!

Starting the new year’s road running calendar was the Expleo Running Festival in Titanic Quarter, Belfast. Offering 3K, 5K and 10K options, the races on Monday saw almost 350 runners completing the various distances in very cold conditions.

In the 3K event, first Strider across the line was Rory Braniff in 17:10, followed by Phoebe Coey in 20:06, with Jilly Coey and Gillian Kerr crossing the finish together in 21:17.  The 5K saw Riley Hanna finish in 22:04, followed by Luke Branniff (24:45), Eva Coey (26:40) and Stephen Braniff in 36:00.

The 10K distance was the most popular with Striders, with Norman Mawhinney first club member to cross the line in 38:14, followed by Michael Johnston in 43:35, and Graeme McGowan 12 seconds later. Michael Burgess (46:10), George Johnston (47:56) and Mark Leathem (49:19) all finished with sub-50 times, followed in under 55 minutes by George McGonigal (53:03), Sarah Johnston (53:57) and Gayle Malaugh (54:54). Next in were Clare McIlveen in 58:10, Jenna Lavery in 1:05:49, and Jennifer McAteer in 1:16:24.

This marked Jennifer’s 3rd 10K in 4 days, having previously completed the EAMS back-to-back 10Ks on 30th and 31st Dec in times of 1:18:13 and 1:15:52 respectively. Well done to everyone kicking off the new year with a bang!

Christmas and New Year mean plenty of opportunity for extra parkruns, with “bonus” runs on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in additional to the usual Saturday runs. In total the festive season saw club runners achieve 9 personal bests and 19 course personal bests across 31 total parkruns.

January training sees the return of the popular improver sessions – a structured 9 week plan for those either returning from injury, or wanting to improve miles, endurance or pace for 10K distance. The club’s parkrun challenge will also resume, with points to be had each week for parkrun achievements and volunteering. Alongside regular training, and 3 social runs each week, there’s something for everyone. Why not give that New Year’s Resolution a kick start and come along and try a few sessions? More details on or on Facebook.


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