Striders Weekly Update 31/05/2023

Posted: 31/5/2023

Scrabo Striders have travelled far and wide on quests to achieve their running goals.

On Wednesday evening, Norman Mawhinney journeyed to County Donegal to compete in the Buncrana 5k, organised by City of Derry Spartans.  Norman completed the scenic route by Lough Swilly in 17:48, once again coming first in his M65 age category.

Ballyclare May Fair 10k took place on Saturday.  Organised by County Antrim Harriers, the course took in Ballyclare town and surrounding rural roads.  Despite the hot weather, Thomas Steele won the M40 age category, and came 6th overall with a time of 36:59.

On Sunday morning, Jenna Lavery ran Edinburgh Half Marathon.  The fast course began in the city centre, taking in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, Scott Monument and Arthur’s Seat before heading to Musselburgh and passing one of the oldest golf courses in the world.  Jenna had a great race, finishing with a new personal best time of 2:18:17.

Newry City Half Marathon and 10k was on Sunday morning, with the start/finish line at The Quays Shopping Centre.  The 10k was an out and back route on Warrenpoint Road, while the half went further on the same road, also including Greenbank Industrial Estate.  In the 10k, Norman Mawhinney took another age category victory and 25th overall with 38:39, followed by Captain Andy Haylett in 29th and 39:18, Michael Burgess (44:13), Jenny Taylor (45:06), Amanda Martin (50:14), Michael Williams (51:16), Dee Patterson (53:06 PB), Chris Edwards (56:05), Clare McIlveen (57:07), Sarah Luce (58:24), Elaine McGonigal (1:04:07 PB), Karen Wilson (1:06:44), Jennifer McAteer (1:08:26).

In the half marathon, Colin Harper led Scrabo Striders with a course PB of 1:31:58, with Matt Bell (1:32:01) hot on his heels.  Following were Jonathan Winter (1:41:22), Rachel Lyttle (1:46:43 PB), Peter McGonigal (2:06:09) and 2:30 pacer Graeme Magowan (2:28:26).

Also on Sunday, Striders took part in Race for Life 5k in Stormont Estate.  This fantastic event raises money for Cancer Research UK.  Cheryl, Faye and Eva Alexander, Louise and Daniel Barnes, Lynn McGonigal, Lorraine Adams, Karen Clarke, Joanne Wray, Angie Crone, Mariead Curran, Emma McCracken and Vanessa Mannis all ran.

Sunday also brought to an end 4 weeks of Captain’s/ Vice Captain’s Challenges.  These have proved to be very popular among members, with much posting on social media showing running, strength and conditioning and health and performance enhancing challenges being completed.  In Week 3, which was Mental Health Awareness Week, Women’s Vice Captain Lyndsey Blair challenged Striders to focus on what they enjoy about running, complete a ‘Feel Good’ run and explain what the positives of that run were.  The strength and conditioning part of the challenge continued, with Coach Norman Mawhinney demonstrating an exercise for runners to try.  Finally, Lyndsey encouraged Mindful Breathing with a 5 minute breathing meditation to relax the mind.

In Week 4, Women’s Captain Judith Boyd set the challenges, which again included strength and conditioning and an exercise suggested by Norman.  The running challenge was ‘Plogging’- go running, pick up and dispose of litter found on the route, encouraging runners to take pride in the places they run and play their part in keeping them tidy and safe.  The Health challenge was ‘Eat a Rainbow’, which involved including fruit and vegetables of a variety of colours in meals to improve health and running performance through diet.  Finally, as a bonus, Judith challenged Striders to get involved in Monday’s 40 minute Paced run, either by following a pacer or by volunteering to lead one of the pacing groups.

71 Striders participated in Parkruns on Saturday morning.  Of the 13 venues, Comber had the most (40) Striders, with 1st placed Curtis McCaw celebrating his 250th Parkrun.  Willow Farrington was 1st female.  There were PBs for Michael Johnston (19:48), Gareth Davies (22:02), Kris Williams (29:42), Naomi Fleming (33:30) and Dawn Cudworth (37:08), and course PBs for Chris Hollies, Catherine Lavery, Faye Alexander, Stephen Braniff and Gillian Pearson.  7 keen tourists made the 180-mile round trip to Holy Cross College in Strabane, including Norman Mawhinney who finished first and broke another course Age Grade record with 90.06%.  PBs were also celebrated at Belfast Victoria by Chris Edwards (26:36) and Calum McCready (30:02).  Course PBs were recorded by Gavin McDonnell (Ormeau), Kathy Henderson (Carrickfergus), Victoria Wightman (Crawfordsburn Country), Sarah Luce (Belfast Victoria), Chris Burns (Stormont), Allie Farley and Liam Rodger (Ecos, Ballymena), Amanda Martin (Castlewellan) and Richard Bovill (Orangefield).  Furthest travelling Strider was Maddie Dynes, who ran at Kilkenny.

In Comber Junior Parkrun, 6 Striders ran, including 3rd placed male Hamish Orr-Stewart and 2nd female Keara Simpson.  In Bangor, 5 took part, Luke Braniff was 3rd overall, Willow Farrington was 1st female and Rory Braniff and Harriet Frazer achieved course PBs.

Captain Andy Haylett awarded his first Boyd Rice Solicitors sponsored Member of the Month (April) to club secretary Gavin McDonnell.  Gavin is a very hard-working committee member, attends many club training sessions and social runs, has ran 233 Parkruns and volunteered 180 times!  In April he represented the club at London Marathon, and again just a week later at Belfast Marathon!  Despite his busy schedule, he always has time to show support and encouragement to others in the club and wider running community.

Captain Judith Boyd’s choice for her first Member of the Month in April was Natasha Graham.  Natasha has been regularly to Progression training sessions and social runs, and has been increasing her mileage in preparation for the upcoming Ards Half Marathon.  In a 6-week period, she achieved PBs in 5k, 10k and 10-mile distances, as well as a course PB at Run the Runways 5k.  She is a hard-working and committed runner who is dedicated to supporting her fellow Striders at training and races.

Find out more about Scrabo Striders by visiting Facebook or .  The club is friendly and welcomes those of all abilities who want to improve their health and wellbeing through running.

Michael Burgess


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