Striders Weekly Update 27/12/2023

Posted: 27/12/2023

As Christmas approached, it was a quieter week for races.  However, two Striders managed to squeeze in a marathon at the weekend!  First up was Colin Campbell, who headed to Armagh early on Friday morning to run his 9th marathon of 2023.  The event was the Run Armagh Black Eye Friday Marathon, and Colin completed the 9 loops (plus a short out and back to make up to 26.2 miles) in 4:55:22.  Colin plans to complete the East Antrim Marathon Series Back-to-Back marathons on 30th and 31st December in Carrickfergus to bring him up to 11 marathons for the year and 80 in total!

Another of the club’s longer distance runners, Liam Rodger, competed in the We Run Wild Special Request Marathon on Saturday morning, finishing in 5:33:45.  Starting and ending in Carrickfergus, Liam had to follow a demanding route given by GPX, negotiating flooded trails, roads and steep inclines whilst enjoying quiet countryside and great scenery.  Liam loves a challenge, and already has several big ultra-marathons planned for 2024!

Comber parkrun was busy on Saturday morning, with 33 Striders running as Kathy Henderson and Janet Mowat celebrated their 50th and 100th runs respectively.  Along with these fantastic achievements, Rachel Lyttle and Willow Farrington were 1st and 2nd females across the line, and personal best times were set by Colin Harper (19:13) and Maddie Dynes (31:28).  Matt Bell, Chris Edwards, Curtis Adams and Noah Barnes all ran their fastest ever times on the Comber course.  At Stormont, Thomas Steele was 3rd, Naomi Magowan recorded a new PB (27:53) and Rory Braniff ran a course PB.  Amy Forsythe also achieved a course PB at Ormeau.  A total of 60 Striders completed a parkrun, with the club also being represented at Citypark (Craigavon), Knockbracken Reservoir, Bangor, Belfast Victoria and Crawfordsburn Country.

Sunday morning at Musgrave junior parkrun saw Luke Braniff take 1st place, closely followed by Willow Farrington in 2nd!  Rory Braniff and Heath Farrington also ran at this event, while 11 Striders took part in Comber junior parkrun.

The last few months have seen four more highly deserving Striders receive the Boyd Rice Solicitors Member of the Month award, as chosen by club captains Andy Haylett and Judith Boyd.  Jennifer McAteer was presented with the female award in October, after an impressive month in which she ran her 47th and 48th marathons in Chicago and Dublin, as well as competing in cross country and Jog on Cancer 5k.  Jennifer has been described as “an ambassador for the club, flying the flag wherever she goes”.

Male award winner Chris Burns had an outstanding October, running his first marathon in Dublin in a brilliant time of 4:15:31.  Since joining the club earlier in 2023, he has been heavily involved in training, social runs and races, working hard at his running and achieving PB times in a range of distances.  Chris has also joined the coaching team, where his expertise, enthusiasm and encouragement has been appreciated by all who attend training sessions.

Sarah Luce McCready was November’s female MOTM.  Sarah loves to get involved with everything in the club, always welcoming other members and has helped out with the FUNdamentals, the training sessions for juniors aged 8 to 11.  Sarah enjoys travelling all over the country for races, and in November represented the club at cross country, Run to Remember, and Run in the Dark, where she achieved a new 5k PB.

Taking the male award in November was Gareth Davies, an energetic and fast improving runner who provides great encouragement to his fellow club mates as he attends training, races and parkruns.  In a superb month, Gareth recorded PBs in the club’s 3k time trial (11:41), parkrun (19:44) and Seeley cup 10k (41:28), whilst also taking part in Run in the Dark 10k, Run to Remember, Comber Cup XC and Malcolm Cup XC.

This week the club congratulated two of their coaches, Mark Halus and Chris Burns, as they passed their CiRF (Coach in Running Fitness) assessment to become Level 2 coaches.  Scrabo Striders coaches lead fantastic training sessions every week at Londonderry Park and other local locations, where both those who have ran for years and those completely new to running can learn, improve, make friends and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.  Why not come and join in at one of our sessions, social runs or trail runs?  To find out more, visit Scrabo Striders on Facebook or at

Michael Burgess


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