Striders Weekly Update 20/12/2023

Posted: 20/12/2023

The weekend’s racing kicked off on Saturday morning with the continuation of the Run Forest Run series, organised by Born2Run. The series of 5 and 10 kilometre trail races has become a firm favourite in the winter running calendar for many, offering 6 scenic courses through a selection of the province’s forests. This week it was the turn of Tollymore Forest, with both the 5 and 10KM races comprising a single loop, taking in the undulating forest path along the banks of the Shimna River.

In the 10K event amongst a field of 602 runners, first Scrabo Strider over the finish line was Graeme Farrington in 55:15, closely followed 10 seconds later by Chris Edwards in 55:25. Louise Barnes was next in 59:12, followed by Sarah Luce in 1:03:10.

171 entrants decided to take on the 5K option, and the charge of Scrabo Striders was led by Luke Braniff finishing in 22:02, followed by Willow Farrington in 23:34, Lauren Semple in 26:16, Karen Wilson in 30:15 and Stephen Braniff in 34:07.

Sunday presented two options for club members, with the Race Around the Lake in Camlough offering a 7 mile road race, and Derry Cross Country an altogether different running experience offering 6km of well-churned mud.

Sarah Luce and Jennifer McAteer opted for the former, with the race this year selling out and enjoying its biggest ever turnout with 454 finishers, each claiming a unique snow globe medal. Proceeds from the event are to be donated to eight-year-old Bobby Browne from Bessbrook, who was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2022 and is currently in search of a blood stem cell donor. Crossing the finish line in 1:16:46 was Sarah, with Jennifer opting for the walk and finishing in just over 2 hours.

5 Strider men decided to tackle the mud in Derry as Athletics NI’s Cross Country season continued with its sixth event, hosted by City of Derry Spartans in the grounds of Thornhill College. Distinct from the other events of the season, the Derry event sees all senior athletes (Men, Ladies and Vets) running together in a single race. The Strider contingent was led across the line by Norman Mawhinney in 27:05, closely followed by Matt Bell (27:18), Andy Haylett (27:41), Graeme McGowan (27:59) and Peter Briggs (32:55).

Striders had the usual significant showing at parkruns at the weekend too, with almost 50 members taking on the weekly 5km timed run in 12 different venues. Most popular was Comber where Maxine Dynes achieved a new overall parkrun personal best (PB), and course PBs were had by Darren Johnston and Keara Simpson.

Also claiming a coveted overall PB this week was Gareth Davies at Knockbracken, while course PBs were had by Chris Burns at Stormont and Colin Campbell at Waterworks.

Ten striders ran at a new parkrun venue this week, with furthest travelled being Michael Burgess and Cheryl Macartney continuing their parkrun tourism by ticking Sligo off the list for the first time.

Comber was the place to be for junior members on Sunday for junior parkrun, with a contingent of 12 runners joining Maddie Dynes for her 21st junior parkrun, receiving a wrist band for attaining cumulative marathon distance. Luke Braniff was first overall to cross the finish, claiming a course PB in the process, followed by Hamish Orr-Stewart in 2nd place and Willow Farrington in 3rd. Next was Rory Braniff, Heath Farrington with a course PB, Keara Simpson (3rd F), Joe Brown, Phoebe Coey, Adam Haylett, Penelope Davies (PB), Lydia Blair, Olly Simpson and Maddie Dynes.

Well done to all this week’s runners across the various events for representing the club so well!

Scrabo Striders Running Club provides a friendly, encouraging environment for runners of all abilities to train together. Now offering up to 4 training sessions per week, with the return of the popular Progression and Rehab sessions in January 2024, it’s the perfect time to come and try a few sessions to see if you want to sign up and progress your running in the New Year. Also on offer are 3 social runs per week on both road and trails; and numerous members-only events and social occasions throughout the year. More information on


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