Striders Weekly Update 08/09/2023

Posted: 8/9/2023

One of the highlights of the Scrabo Striders’ calendar is the annual Last Strider Standing competition at Castle Ward.  The format is known as a “Backyard Ultra”, where competitors start a 4.167 mile course on the hour every hour, until they either do not finish a lap (DNF Did Not Finish), do not finish a lap within the hour (also DNF), or choose not to begin the next lap (DNS Did Not Start).  The reason for such a precise lap distance is because if competitors complete 24 laps (24 hours), they will have ran 100 miles.  Once all but one of the competitors have dropped out, the last runner must complete a full lap on their own within the hour, to be crowned Last Strider Standing.

93 Striders began at midday on Saturday, with Elaine McGonigal and Paul Coulter choosing not to start loop two (DNS2).  DNFs were Fiona McDonald, Hannah Robinson, Naomi Fleming, Sharon Gamble, Sheena Crone and Laura Bingham.  In loop 2, Andy Haylett, Joanne Wray, John Bingham, Norman Mawhinney, Paul Blair and Sonya Summersgill were DNS3, with Angie Crone, Cheryl Macartney, Dawn Cudworth, Donna Dugan, Karen Thompson, Lynn McGonigal and Mariead Curran DNF.  Carol Graham, Cheryl Alexander, Chris Hollies, Clare McIlveen, Kurtis Hunter, Peter McGonigal finished after loop 3, with DNFs recorded by Chris Green, Gary Clarke, Gillian Kerr, Jennifer McAteer, Jilly Coey, Liam Rodger, Maxine Dynes and Siobhan Kane.

Loop 4 was the final loop for Andrea Cairns, Catherine Cauley, Colin Harper, Dee Patterson, Karen Farrelly, Ken Rodgers (all DNS5) as well as Chris Russell, Emma McCracken, Jenna Lavery, Johnny Wray, Karen Clarke, Kathleen Henderson, Kim Cochrane, Lorraine Adams, Lyndsey Blair, Naomi Magowan, Nicola Forsythe, Sarah Luce and Stephen Braniff.  Amanda Martin and George Johnston were DNS6 at the end of loop 5, with Karen Warnock, Darren Johnston, Graeme Farrington, Ian Frazer, Karen Wilson, Linda Dugan, Natasha Graham and Richard Bovill DNF.  Jill Long (DNS7), Alison Shanks and Olli Seeger (DNF) said farewell after loop 6.

Completing beyond marathon distance (29.17 miles) on loop 7 were Claire Briggs, Judith Boyd, Louise Barnes, Penny Hamilton (DNS8) and Emma Stewart (DNF).  Colin Campbell, Colin Verth, Dean McGhee, Rachel Boyle, Steven Hanna chose not to begin loop 9, with Chris Edwards, Graeme McGowan, Kieran McNamara and Mark Arnold DNF on loop 8.  As the light began to fade, James Cole-Boyle (DNS 10), Gayle Malaugh and Gordon Coutts (DNF) finished up after 9 loops.  Heath Graham gave it his all in the dark, recording a DNF after 10 loops.

The final 8 continued to complete loops 11 and 12, with Emma Clements, Manny Farrelly, Matt Bell, Michael Burgess and Michael Williams (all DNS13) all content to stop after receiving their 50 mile medals.  Jenny Taylor and Alison Busby completed one more lap (DNS14) to finish in joint 2nd place and 1st females, leaving Abrar to do lap 14 alone to become Last Strider Standing for the 2nd year in a row.  Congratulations to all competitors and a huge thank you to George McGonigal and his team for all the hard work organising another fantastic LSS event.

While the majority of LSS participants rested weary legs a number of other Striders headed to the ever popular Laganside 10k.  This year the race was capped at 1,500 runners who started and finished in Ormeau Park, taking on Ormeau Embankment before starting a second lap of the towpath.  First of the purple vests to cross the finish line was Peter Stevens in a fantastic time of 44.50, followed by Jonathan Swann 49.24, Paul Kirkwood 1.01.13, Clare McIlveen, who completed 8.4 miles yesterday, 1.02.38 and Christine Kirkwood 1.33.46

Sunday saw Norman Mawhinney and Heather Baron travel to the City of Derry for The Waterside NI and Ulster Half Marathon Championship, with both Striders taking podium positions in their age category.  Another 1st in the M65 for Norman running a 1.25.38 and, in her first run as a Strider, Heather took 3rd in the M45 category with 1.38.06.  The Half Marathon has been on the go since 1981 and is the longest running race in the local athletics calendar.  Starting in Ebrington Square, the course took participants across the river to the Cityside, taking in parks, greenways and bridges and finishing at St Columb’s Park.

Travelling a little further afield, Jonathan Winter was the Solo Strider to attack London Big Half Marathon for the second year in a row.  In conditions that were described as brutally hot, the run started near Tower Bridge and headed towards the Docklands, then back to cross Tower Bridge before heading out towards Greenwich and the finish line beside Cutty Sark.  Jonathan completed the 13.1 miles in a fantastic time of 1.50.48

Parkrun this week was completed by 20 striders at 6 different venues.  The most popular being Dunleath Playing Fields, that saw a course PB and a 2nd place from Matthew Halus (19.11), a first time from Luke Braniff (21.52), Rory Braniff (30.21) and Aimee Braniff, who also ran herself a PB (35.40), and a Course PB and 1st female finish from Willow Farrington (22.19).  Over at Comber, Curtis McCaw finished 1st (18.13) while Gareth Davies ran himself a PB at Stormont (21.52).  A 2nd and 3rd female finish was achieved by Kathryn Chesney, CPB (29.56) and Martina Finn, first timer (29.57) respectively.  Thomas Steele took 2nd place with a new PB (17.40) at Knockbracken Resovoir.

Junior Striders were out in force with 13 of them running at 2 venues.  Personal Bests were run by Phoebe Coey (10.45), Harry Harper (9.11) and Hamish Orr-Stewart (8.16), which saw him finishing first overall at Comber.  Course PBs were ran by Willow Farrington (8.13), which saw her being the second female finisher at Bangor, Eva Coey (9.10) and Harry McCready (8.20) with a second place finish at Comber.  Also over at Comber, Keara Simpson was 3rd female finisher (10.20).  Brilliant running yet again from all our Juniors.

Scrabo Striders is an all abilities club offering a variety of training sessions.  With training nights on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7.15pm in Londonderry Park, we have something to suit all.  For more information take a look on our Facebook page or at .

Sheena Crone & Michael Burgess


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