Striders Weekly Update 26/07/2023

Posted: 26/7/2023

The running week started early on Tuesday evening with the Portaferry 10 Mile road race, part of the Portaferry Gala Festival. In light drizzle on a humid evening, around 250 runners took part either as individuals taking on the full 10 miles, or as part of a two-person relay team with each member completing 5 miles.

The undulating course started in the town before heading along the coast on Shore road, eventually turning in-land along Ballyblack Road and returning to the town for a fast finish down High Street to the Square.

First Strider home and claiming 12th Place overall (1st M40) and a new Striders 10 Mile Club Record was Thomas Steele in a fantastic time of 59:07, followed by Norman Mawhinney (1st M65) in 1:03:47, and Andy Haylett in 1:05:28. Colin Harper claimed a course Personal Best in 1:06:55, with James Cole-Boyle and Graeme McGowan crossing the line together in 1:13:19. Michael Burgess and Jenny Taylor were next in, both recording 10 Mile PBs in 1:13:59 and 1:15:44 respectively. Next followed Paul Blair (1:21:22), Michael Williams (1:23:16), Amanda Martin (1:24:07, CPB), Peter McGonigal (1:25:15), Heath Graham (1:25:16, PB), John Brown (1:26:03), Christopher Murdock (1:25:27), Dee Patterson (1:38:30), Gavin McDonnell (1:39:47), Beverley McKee (1:42:02) and Hector Adair in 1:42:42.

In the team relay, Striders had 2 teams competing, with Rachel and Matt Bell claiming 3rd place in the mixed team category with a time of 1:09:59, with Judith Boyd and Sonya Summersgill making up the other team and finishing in 1:35:35.

On Wednesday and in somewhat different conditions to Portaferry, Sarah Luce completed the aptly named Tropical 5K in Long Beach, California. In 30-degree heat, Sarah completed the distance in 29:14.

Friday evening saw the return of the popular Sea2Sky run in Newcastle Co Down, hosted by Born 2 Run Events. The 10K course starts at the Promenade, before climbing steeply through Donard Forest. At the 5K mark, runners are rewarded with stunning views of the town before descending for a flat and fast finish along the Promenade. Also on offer is a 5K option starting in Donard Forest.

The two distances together saw a total field of more than 850 competitors, with first Striders home in the 10K being Matthew Halus and Michael Burgess in 48:41 and 48:42. They were followed by Dean McGhee (49:27, CPB), George Johnston and Sarah Johnston finishing together in 57:59, Graeme Farrington (1:00:07) and Mark Halus in 1:05:56.

The 5K saw Jenny Taylor as the first in the club across the line in 22:15, followed by Willow Farrington (22:33), Lauren Semple (24:39), Chris Edwards (26:28), Karen Wilson (32:23) and Kim Cochrane in 49:45.

Also on Friday evening was the Bob & Bert’s Run the Race North Down event in Groomsport, offering both a 5K and 10K option. The 10K event headed towards Ballyholme and along the coast to Bangor before an about turn and back to Groomsport for the finish line.

Three hearty Striders set off in torrential rain, with Kerrie Fox completing the 10K in 1:09:35, and in the 5K race Luke Braniff was 4th overall in 21:45, followed by first female finisher Eva Coey in 26:25.

Saturday’s races got underway with the Larne AC Coast Road 10K. As the name may suggest, this is an out and back route along the stunning Coast Road. First club member across the finish was Matt Bell in 40:09, with Jenny Taylor in 45:15, and Chris Burns claiming a new 10K PB in 47:32. Closely behind was Rachel Bell (47:50), then Amanda Martin (49:40), Chris Edwards (54:10), Dee Patterson (55:07), Naomi Magowan (1:01:41) and Karen Wilson (1:03:19).

Opting for a longer distance on Saturday, 4 striders made the trip to Castleblayney, County Monaghan for the Blayney Rockets 10 Mile race, joining a field of 200 runners. Jonathan Winter was first Strider finisher in 1:22:08, followed by Mark Arnold in 1:31:05, George McGonigal in 1:34:22 and Norman Mawhinney in 1:35:24.

Norman then finished the weekend off on Sunday with the Irish National 10 Mile Championships in Phoenix Park in Dublin. Continuing his recent form, Norman finished as 1st M65, adding the Irish Championship to his long list of accolades since joining the age category.

Even with so many races to choose from, parkruns were as popular as ever this weekend, with 43 club members running in 17 different venues. Personal bests were recorded by Joe Brown in Comber and Martin Conroy in Town Moore in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Luke, Rory and Stephen Braniff all recorded Course PBs at Stormont, as did Norman Mawhinney taking 2nd place at Castleblayney, Rachel Boyle in Crawfordsburn and Peter McGonigal at Dunleath Playing Fields.

Cheryl, Faye and Alexander were First Timers at Garvagh Forest, as was Curtis McCaw at Portrush, where Penny Hamilton achieved her 25th milestone. In Bournemouth, Hamish Orr-Stewart completed his first 5K distance parkrun. Thomas Steele was at Groe in Wales for the first time, while Kieran McNamara was at Nobles on the Isle of Man and Jonathan Bull was as West Links in Scotland. Closer to home, Hannah Magee and Luke Mars ticked Falls parkrun off the list for the first time, as did Chris Hollies in Ormeau.

Sunday’s junior parkruns saw Joe Brown take 3rd place in Comber, followed by Joshua Bingham, Adam Haylett, Daniel Barnes, Rachel Brown (2nd F) and Maddie Dynes celebrating her 11th junior parkrun milestone for cumulative Half Marathon Distance.

Luke Braniff, Willow Farrington and Rory Braniff tried Musgrave junior parkrun for the first time, claiming 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, with Rory earning a PB in the process. Hamish Orr-Stewart took on the Moors Valley junior parkrun for the first time, while Nathaniel Frazer completed Bangor.

The next open race from Scrabo Striders is Run the Trails at Mount Stewart on Saturday 5th August at 5:30pm. This popular event offers 5K, 10K and Half Marathon races as well as a 2K kids fun run, with the usual Striders post-race hospitality afterwards. Entries are still open and this is not one to be missed! See or search for Scrabo Striders Running Club on Facebook for more information.


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