Striders Weekly Update 14/06/2023

Posted: 14/6/2023

Scrabo Striders Article 12th June 2023

By George McGonigal

Local running club Scrabo Striders celebrated its 7th birthday on Saturday evening, with a members’ only running event on the trails of National Trust, Mount Stewart with over 110 members taking part. Staring with a handful of midweek runners, the club with over 250 members has maintained its position as one of the largest running clubs in N. Ireland and is known for its all-inclusive approach to training.

In temperatures around twenty Celsius the first race of the evening was the 2km kids’ competition, where Lucas Darragh took 1st place in 7 minutes 34 seconds, followed by Luke Braniff in 7:53, then Willow Farrington in overall 3rd 8:15 (1st girl) just ahead of Lauren Semple 8:18 (2nd girl), then Bobby McGonigal third placed boy in 8:26. Hamish Orr-Stewart was next in 8:29 followed by Rory Braniff 9:05, Joe Brown 9:09, Eva Coey third (3rd girl) in 9:17, Adam Haylett 9:41, Joshua Bingham 10:06 and a second later Keara Simpson, Callum McCready 10:22 and Heath Farrington in 10:29.

Finishing in under 12 minutes were Isobella Haylett 11:03, Phoebe Coey 11:14, Parker Clements 11:15, Lydia Blair 11:19, Michael Bingham and Lexi Brown 11:48 and Layla Moore 11:58. Jake Clarke in 13:55 just a second ahead of Maddie Dynes, then Rachel Brown 14:50, Dylan Graham 15:09 and Alice McNamara marking her competitive debut in 15:29. It was great to see the competitive edge of the Juniors as they approached the finish line, doing their coaches and parents proud. Well done all.

The adults’ race was four miles much deeper into the forest trails of the Mount Stewart estate, where humidity became the challenge as well as distance. The winner was Martin Strachan in 23:55, 2nd place Curtis McCaw in 24:24 and 3rd place Andy Haylett in 25:51. Its hard to overstate how good these times are given the hilly terrain and heat. Next across was Daniel Clarke in 27:34, Matthew Halus 28:31, Graeme McGowan 29:33 and Abrar Hossain in 30:23.

The ladies’ race was won by Jenny Taylor in a fantastic time of 30:31 with Alison Jenks taking second place in 33:34 and Sarah Johnston grabbing third a few seconds later in 33:37. Very well done. Under 32-minute finishers were Jonathan Winter 30:33, Dean McGhee 31:28, Mark Arnold 32:05, George Johnston 32:07, Gareth Davies 32:39, Colin Campbell 32:49 and Kieran McNamara in 32:56.

The 7th Anniversary race was also a fundraiser on behalf of member Lorraine Adam’s grandson George. George is two years old and isn't walking yet and has been recently diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy. Funds raised will go towards specialist intensive therapy and purchasing equipment that is needed to help in his development. The club were fortunate to have Lady Rose Lauritzen join us for the group photo at the front of Mount Stewart.

Also on Saturday two Scrabo Striders travelled to the Irish Runner 5 Mile Irish Championships in Phoenix Park, Dublin. A super 41.21 time was achieved by Mark Arnold and an Irish M65 Championship 1st place record by Norman Mawhinney in a time of 31:25. Fantastic times gents, thanks for flying the purple flag. This was Norman’s treble, having recently taken the M65 title over 5k and 10k distances as well. Phenomenal!

Saturday morning Parkrun continued with strong support from Scrabo Striders members, with nine runners trying out new venues, two personal best times and two course personal best times recorded, one first place and one second place plus a 50th Parkrun milestone. Comber was most popular where Matthew Halus was first Strider home in 19:10 to secure a new PB followed by Michael Johnston 20:14, Norman Mawhinney 21:37, Paul Blair 24:28 and Michael Williams completing the 5km in a time of 24:44. Kris Williams secured a new course personal best of 28:25 while Gillian Bailie ran Comber for the first time.

Over at Stormont George Johnston was first Strider, completing the 2 loop course in 22:49 followed by Steven Hanna 23:10 (PB), Peter McGonigal 24:45 and Ken Rodgers 28:11. Club Junior Willow Farrington took second female place in a time of 23:36 over at Valley, Newtownabbey where Chris Edwards 28:15 and Karen Wilson 32:32 ran the course for the first time. Two more first-timers at a new venue were Hannah Magee and Luke Mars who completed Wallace Park, Lisburn in 55:22 and 55:23 respectively.

Crawfordsburn parkrun is renowned for having challenging hilly terrain but Abrar Hossain made it look easy, completing in a time of 25:25 while Kathy Henderson secured a new course PB of 35:32. Not far away in Bangor Ollie Seeger was first Strider across in 25:35 followed by Gavin McDonnell in 30:39, while Allie Farley and Liam Rodger completed Sixmilewater in 35:50, along with their whippets Dante and Otto who love a bit of barkrun. Solo Striders this week were Jonathan Winter in Carrickfergus 22:51, Rachel Boyle at Portrush 27:52 and furthest away Thomas Steele taking first place at Navan Parkrun in a blistering 18:40

Sunday morning Junior Parkrun is a 2km distance and this week Nathaniel Frazer grabbed a new course PB at Belfast Victoria in 12:20, Willow Farrington 09:57 over at Bangor while Lydia Blair ran Lough Moss for the first time in 13:19.  Well done to all Scrabo Strider’s park-runners, displaying some #purplepower in warm conditions.

If you would like to take up or get back to running, Scrabo Striders is the perfect club for it. We have training available throughout the week and great weekend social runs, plenty to choose from. Find out more at .


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