Striders Weekly Update 01/03/2023

Posted: 1/3/2023


As signs of spring appear and we inch ever closer to the start of road racing season it was time to say goodbye to Cross Country.  On a beautiful sunny Sunday the final race of 2022/2023 was the NI & Ulster Senior Cross Country Championships held at Billy Neill Playing Fields.  The course was a 2k loop with hills to start and finish along with rewarding downhills and described by one runner as perfect for white socks with no mud in sight for the first time this series.  There were 6 ladies representing Scrabo Striders and first to finish the 6k course was Jenny Taylor in a superb time of 29.30 followed by Rachel Lyttle (30.22), Fiona McAvoy (33.24), Martina Finn (35.10), Beverley McKee (38.01) and Cheryl Alexander (43.31).  Our Ladies Team finishing in 8th position overall with a total of 406 points.  Congratulations to all Scrabo Striders ladies that took part this season and helped to secure a top 10 position.  The men’s race was 12k and crossing the finishing line first was Norman Mawhinney in an amazing time of 50:48 followed by Andy Haylett (52.31) and Graeme Magowan (53.52).

Also taking place on that beautiful sunny Sunday was Junior Parkrun, like the adults Parkrun this is a timed run however over a distance of 2k.  This week saw 13 Strider Juniors run at 2 different venues with the most popular being Comber where 12 Club Members took part.  First over the line and taking first position overall was Ethan Lappin (8.10) followed by Adam Haylett (9.15) in third position overall and Hamish Orr-Stewart with a Personal Best (9.21).  Following closely was Rory Braniff (9.35), Archie Lappin (9.51) and Joshua Bingham (9.56).  First female strider who also claimed first female finisher was Keara Simpson (10.40).  Our other fabulous Juniors to cross the finishline were Liam Robinson (11.36), Olly Simpson (11.57), Lydia Blair taking 3rd female finisher (12.43), Nathaniel Frazer (15.13) and a personal best from Harriet Frazer (15.17).  Over at Bangor  Willow Farrington finished in an impressive 8.29 which bagged her 2nd female finisher.  A great turnout from our Juniors.  As our Club Parkrun Challenge continues Willow Farrington is currently top of the Juniors leader board followed by Keara Simpson and Joshua Bingham.  Not to be ruled out and sitting in fourth place is Olly Simpson.

Sunday 26th February 2023 was World Marathon Day and 11 years after pulling on her trainers for the very first time Scrabo Strider Jennifer McAteer pulled them on again for the first event of the East Antrim Marathon Serious  which took place at Mossley Hockey Club.  Taking on the half marathon Jennifer completed the course in a time of 2:58.02.  No stranger to longer distances Colin Campbell competed in the marathon which saw him complete the 26.2miles in 4:24.01.  Medals were a lucky dip that saw Colin earning a Down medal from the FATLAD series and Jennifer receiving an EAMS  Independence Day Challenge medal.

All runners know that a great Saturday begins with Parkrun and this Saturday was no different.  With 50 participants running at 12 venues, Belfast Victoria was the most popular.  A flat course which incorporates 3 loops of the park and is perfect for a Personal Best and this week saw Rachel Lyttle (22.47) and Nicola Forsythe (30.12) doing just that.  Claiming a course personal best was Fiona McAvoy (25.48), Martina Finn (26.16) with Sheena Crone completing this Parkrun for the first time.  Over at City Parkrun in Craigavon Luke Mars, Hannah Magee and Paul Magee all  partaking in this parkrun for the first time.  First time status was also clocked up for Matthew Halus, Mark Halus, Darren Johnston and Elaine Johnston at Hillsborough Forest, Jonathan Keenan at Portrush and Richard Bovill at Ormeau Park.  Course personal bests were achieved at  Crawfordsburn County Parkrun by Jonathan Bull (26.40) and Leanne Campbell (26.54), at Stormont by Tina Boal (22.27), Gavin McDonnell (26.52) and Elaine McGonigal (33.37) and at Ormeau Park by Louise Barnes (27.07) and Karen Thompson, known to most as Mrs T (33.47).  Stormont also saw Marty McConnell running himself an overall Parkrun PB of 23.05 and an exceptional run from Willow Farrington who ran herself a personal best of 22.13 which gave her an overall finishing position of 3rd female.  A massive Striders congratulations goes to Norman Mawhinney who ran at Dunleath Playing Fields and not only took second place overall which was a personal best but finished 1st in his age category with a grade of 93.15%.

Scrabo Striders is an all inclusive club with training Monday to Thursday at Londonderry Park at 7.15pm, Social runs Friday evening and Sunday morning along with Foundations (12+) meeting Monday evenings and FUNdamentals (8-11 year olds) meeting Wednesday evening.  There really is something for everyone and whether you are new to running or making your comeback you will find training to suit you and members offering a warm welcome.  More information can be obtained from our Facebook Page, Scrabo Strider Running or by contacting our committee meetings at  So, what are you waiting for?  Come give us a try!!

This weeks article was written by Sheena Crone


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