Striders Weekly Update 13/12/2023

Posted: 13/12/2023

Weather Warnings Won’t Stop Hearty Striders

Running events were few and far between this weekend and with weather warnings and flooding cancelling more you would think the best place to stay would be home.  However, the bad weather did not put off a number of hearty Scrabo Striders who travelled to Cookstown for the Irwin Spiers Memorial Cross Country that was taking place at Mid Ulster Sports Arena.  Conditions were described as brutal, muddy and wet however were seen to be character building for all, when added to the hills that Striders love so much.  Strider Juniors took to the mud first with Hamish Orr-Stewart (3.51) taking a 3rd place and Rory Braniff (4.45) taking a 16th place in the Under 12s 1k race.  Willow Farrington (8.12) was next to run in Under 14s 1 mile race followed by Luke Braniff (16.35) in the Under 16s 2 miles race.

Senior & Masters Women and Male Vets 60+ were next to take to the start-line and had 3 miles of the challenging course to complete.  First home was Norman Mawhinney (23.44) taking a 2nd place in the Male Vets race.  Jenny Taylor (28.40) was first lady Strider to cross the finish line followed by Rachel Bell (29.53), Lorna McMurray (30.00), Fiona McAvoy (33.46), Amanda Martin (34.53), Martina Finn (36.01), Judith Boyd (37.43), Sonya Summersgill (37.43), Marilyn Kennedy (37.53), Lyndsey Blair (38.32), Gillian Pearson (38.52), Karen Wilson (40.26), Emma McCracken (41.03), Cheryl Alexander (41.15) and Jennifer McAteer (45.00).  Tying his laces extra tight to ensure he finished with both shoes on his feet Matt Bell (33.37) was first male Strider to complete the 4 miles.  He was followed by Graeme McGowan (35.35), Jonathan Swann (39.33), Colin Verth (41.11), Peter Briggs (44.39), Graeme Farrington (46.37) and Chris Edwards (53.00).

A little closer to home 19 striders visited 7 Parkrun venues with Sarah Luce (30.45) running herself a Course Personal Best at Comber and Gareth Davies (20.11) with a Course Personal Best at Bangor.  Over on the Falls, Captain Andy Haylett (19.56) was first finisher on his first ever outing at this parkrun.  Meanwhile Knockbracken Reservoir was a new venue of choice for Georgia McGonigal who, after 3 Personal Bests in the last 3 weeks narrowly missed out on a 4th.  Across the water was another new venue for Strider Gavin McDonnell (29.37) who ran at Cannock Chase Forest, Rugeley.  On Sunday morning Junior Parkrun saw all 6 participants visiting the ever popular Comber where Harry McCready (8.57) celebrated his 21st Parkrun, this equates to marathon distance, by finishing 2nd overall.  Next to complete the 2k course was Keara Simpson (11.20) as 2nd Female, Calum McCready (11.41), Olly Simpson (11.53), Lydia Blair (12.15) 3rd Female and Nathaniel Frazer (14.51).

Sunday afternoon saw the return of the ever popular Annual Striders Festive Four race at the floodgates in Newtownards.  An out and back course which see’s our juniors running 2 miles and adults running 4 miles all whilst in fancy dress, which this year, had the addition of obstacles in the form of extremely large puddles.  Charging home first for the juniors was Luke Braniff (12.54) followed by Hamish Orr-Stewart (13.00), Harry McCready (13.58),  Willow Farrington (14.52), Rory Braniff (15.04), Daniel Barnes (15.18), Heath Farrington (16.53), Keara Simpson (18.17), Adam Haylett (18.29), Lydia Blair (19.03), Calum McCready (20.31), Olly Simpson (20.53)  and Grace Busby 24.36.  Splashing his way home as first adult was Matthew Hallus (24.23) followed by Chef Reindeer Matt Bell (24.35) and Andy Haylett (24.56) .  First Lady finisher was Santa’s little Elf Jenny Taylor (28.42) followed my Chris Burns (29.09), George Johnston (29.39), Craig Simpson (29.51) and Mrs Rudolph herself Rachel Bell (29.56).  Dressed to impress Gordan Coutts (31.14) was next followed by Santas Helper Michael Burgess (31.29), Lorna McMurray (32.02), Colin Verth (32.23), Gary Lyttle (32.24), George McGonigal and Dasher Amanda Martin (32.49).  Next, avoiding the large water feature was Peter Doggart (33.13), Gary Clarke (33.15), Gayle Malough (33.28), Alison Shanks (33.38), Paul Blair (34.01), Fiona McAvoy (34.15), Maxine Dynes (36.46), Striders Santa Norman Mawhinney (37.00), Naomi Magowan (37.27), Max Petrushkin (38.06), Louise Barnes (38.24), Sarah Luce (38.24), Elf Katherine Chesney (39.48), Elf Karen Warnock (40.05), Gillian Pearson (42.05), Cute Little Elf Karen Clarke (42.28), Lyndsey Blair (42.33), Penny Hamilton (42.33), Nicola Forsythe (42.46 with Bad Elves e Graeme Farrington (43.15) and Stephen Braniff (43.15) making a huge splash in the finishing puddle Lorraine Adams (44.25) was next followed by Emma Lyttle (45.10), Elf Jennifer McAteer (45.57), Donna Dugan (47.57), Aimee Braniff (49.56), Lesley Petrushkin (52.10), Mrs Claus Karen Thompson (52.28), Santa’s Little Helper Cheryl McCartney (54.19), Elves Judith Boyd (54.29) and Sonya Summergill (54.38), Mairead Curran (55.53) and event organiser Graeme McGowan (55.54).  Prize giving and mince pies followed at The Ivy Bar to round off another fantastic Striders event.  Thank you to Striders Committee for putting on the event, Graeme McGowan for organising and all our volunteers for helping out.

Scrabo Striders is an all abilities running club that offers 4 training sessions per week, Monday to Thursday at 7.15pm in Londonderry Park.  This includes a session on Wednesday evening for children from age 8.  Non coach led social runs leave from the Square in Newtownards at 6.30pm on a Friday and 9am on a Sunday along with a trail run on a Sunday evening.  Which run is the best of week?  Why not come along and decide for yourself!!


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