Striders Weekly Update 05/07/2023

Posted: 5/7/2023

A firm favourite in the Scrabo Striders running calendar is the Ards Half Marathon with this year’s main sponsor being UPS.  The event took place on a wet but warm Friday evening starting and finishing on South Street close to Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.  The route begins with a small loop of the town before heading into the picturesque countryside of Newtownards and Comber and then make their way along the Comber to Newtowanrds carriageway before veering up the notorious Moate Road heading back into the town.  Volunteers and Spectators lined the streets to cheer on the 500 plus runners and 35 plus walkers that bravely took on the Hills of Newtownards.  The course maybe challenging but this year both the Male and Female course records were broken with an astounding performance from Craig McMeehan, North Down Athletic Club in 1:11:57 and Ivana Anderson in 1:20:08.  First Strider home was Thomas Steele with a PB of 1:20:08 and 17th overall followed by Martin Strachan placed 23rd (1:22:19) and Norman Mawhinney (1:24:06) who not only placed 27th overall but also took first place in the M65 age category.  Men’s Captain Andy Haylett, wearing the number 1 bib, was a top 50 finisher in 1:29:27.  Next to follow was Marc Neill pacing a fabulous 1:29:45 followed by  Matt Bell running himself a Course PB of 1:34:14 and James Cole-Boyle in 1:40:20.  Taking on the course for the first time, Michael Burgess ran an overall half marathon PB of 1:41:44 closely followed by Michael Johnston in 1:43:35.  First lady Strider home was Rachel Bell with a Course PB of 1:47:46 followed by Jonathon Bull with a PB of 1:48:39, Jenny Taylor who perfectly paced her 1:50:00 and George Johnston in 1:50:30.  Another PB was earned by Dean McGhee in 1:51:27 followed by David Kennedy (1:51:46), Sarah Johnston (1:52:36), Michael Warke (154:22), Martin Oakman (1:55:03), Christopher Murdock (1:56:07), and Emma Clements (1:57:28).  Bagging herself a 2nd place F55 age category win was Amanda Martin in 1:57:44 followed by Curtis Adams with a PB of 1:58:19 and completing the course for the first time was Colin Verth in 1:58:38.  Next to follow was Manny Farrelly (1:59:08) and Stephen Heron (1:59:50) followed by another perfectly paced run by Catherine Cauley (2:00:20) and Colin Harper (2:00:21).  Not far behind were first timers Michael Williams (2:02:52) and Chris Burns with a PB of (2:03:52).  Taking a 2nd place in the F60 category was Martina Finn in 2:04:32 followed by first timer Darren Johnston in 2:05:04 and Katy Lyttle with a PB of 2:05:30.  The purple vests continued as George McGonigal (2:06:21), Hector Adair (2:06:27) and Olli Seeger (2:07:18) crossed the line followed by Karen Farrelly with a massive 15minute PB of 2:08:07.  Rachel Boyle was next to finish (2:09:43) followed by Pacer Abrar Hossain (2:09:57) and Gayle Malaugh (2:10:06).  Next saw Clare McIlveen (2:10:54), Ian Frazer (2:11:55), Catherine Lavery with a Course PB of 2:12:01, Kathy Dobbin with a PB of 2:14:55 and Kurtis Hunter and Louise Barnes both in 2:15:26.  On target were pacers Graeme McGowan and Colin Campbell (2:19:22) followed by first timer Ken Rodgers (2:21:19), Vanessa Mannis (2:24:44), Gavin McDonnell (2:24:44), first timer Mark Kearns (2:27:07) and Beverley McKee (2.27:06).  Bringing in the 2:30 Party Bus were Pacers Lyndsey Blair and Heath Graham (2:29:14) with passengers Moses Matovu (2:29:35), Natasha Graham who earned a PB of 2:29:35 and Peter McGonigal (2:29:36).  Emma McCracken was next over the line in 2:32:05, Luke Mars and Hannah Magee with PBs of 2:32:23 and 2:49:54 respectively, Jennifer McAteer (3:11:10) and tail runner for Sheena Crone (3:11:07).

Friday evening was the 10th anniversary of Bob & Berts North Coast 10k which saw solo Strider Mark Arnold take on the sandy course finishing in a fantastic time of 50:17.

A run with a difference is the infamous Noel McKee’s Pie and Pintathon in Whitehead.  A charity event which began in 2016 and see’s participants travel 4miles taking on a pie and pint after every mile!  A popular event for Striders which this year raised money for local charity Music and Mind who promote a healthy body, healthy mind approach to wellbeing.

This week 52 Striders took part in 12 Parkruns the furthest afield being Steven Hanna at Ciermont Waterfront, Florida and also included 21 runners trying out a new parkrun for the first time.  Personal Bests were achieved by Sarah Luce (27:24), Rory Braniff (30:59) and Jilly Coey (37:40) with Course Personal Bests racked up by Gillian Bailie (43:21) at Comber, Willow Farrington (22:20) on her 150th Parkrun, Graham Farrington (26:19) and Karen Wilson (30:48)  all at Ormeau Park.  Matthew Halus (19:47) which also earned him 3rd male finisher at Orangefield and Steven Hanna (23:37).  Strider Curtis McCaw took 2nd place at Comber in 18:24 and Norman Mawhinney on his debut outing at Mullingar finished 3rd in 18:35.  A special mention for David McMahon on his 25th Parkrun!

Another fabulous week for our Junior Striders that saw Hamish Orr-Stewart finish 2nd at Comber Parkrun in 8:25 followed by Harry McCready in 3rd place in 8:36 and Joe Brown in 9:23.  Next to finish was Joshua Bingham in 9:26 which was his 21st Parkrun earning him Marathon status!  Adam Haylett ran 10:28 with Keara Simpson following as 1st Female in 11:01 and Lydia Blair not only finishing as 2nd female but also bagging herself a PB of 11:02.  Also running a PB was Calum McCready in 11:09 followed by Olly Simpson in 11:38 and another Marathon status this time for Nathaniel Frazer who earned a PB of 12:04.  Sisters Lexie and Rachel Brown finished the sea of purple crossing Comber’s finish line in 13:48 and 15:04 respectively.  Over at Bangor the achievements continued with 3rd male finisher from Luke Braniff (8:01), a 2nd female finisher from Willow Farrington (8:28) following her CPB the day before, a Course PB from Rory Braniff (9:14) following his PB the day before and a PB from Maisie McNamara (18:19).  Fantastic running from all!


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