Striders Weekly Update 10/01/2024

Posted: 10/1/2024

On 1st January 6 Scrabo Striders started the new year with a bang by participating in Ballymena Runners’ Race Over the Glens. The ever-popular race, now running for over 30 years, was once again a sell out event. Almost 450 runners took to the 10km trail course through the stunning scenery of Glenariff Forest Park, taking on steep inclines, mud ruts, steps and technical sections.

First Strider across the line was Jenny Taylor in 56:25, followed by Chris Burns (59:19), Lorna McMurray (1:00:19), Amanda Martin (1:10:14), Fiona McAvoy (1:10:23) and Martina Finn (1:14:50).

A cold and frosty weekend of running kicked off on Saturday with the third instalment of Born 2 Run’s Run Forest Run series of winter trail races. The very popular series encompasses scenic runs through some of the Provence’s well known forest and woodlands. This week was the turn of Loughgall Country Park, with both 5- and 10-kilometre options on offer.

In a 550-strong field of entrants across both events, the contingent of Scrabo Striders present was led across the 5K finish line by Luke Braniff in 22:38, followed by Willow Farrington in 24:42, Karen Wilson (29:49), Stephen Braniff (37:39) and Tina Hewitt in 50:37. Opting for the 10K distance were Chris Edwards, crossing the line in 55:19, and Sarah Luce who finished in 1:04:36.

Sunday morning saw the return of Ballygalget Athletic Club’s 5 and 10K runs, with an out and back route along Ballygalget Road and Ballygarvigan Road. Scrabo Striders were well represented as usual. Mirroring the previous day’s 5K result, Striders were once again led home by Luke Braniff and Willow  Farrington, in 22:10 and 22:12 respectively, this time followed by Eva Coey (26:47), Heath Farrington (27:08), Chris Edwards (27:08), Paul Kirkwood (27:49), Phoebe Coey (30:33), Karen Wilson (30:38), Stephen Braniff (33:40), Karen Thompson (38:59) and Christine Kirkwood in 39:56.

In the 10K, Norman Mawhinney was the first Strider home in 44:17, followed by Maxing Dynes in 56:58 and Lorraine Adams in 1:09:40.

There was a flurry of activity on Saturday morning this week, with many parkruns having to cancel events due to icy conditions and runners keeping each other updated with the list of cancellations while trying to find a venue to run at. With Bangor, Comber and Crawfordsburn among the local cancellations, the venue of choice ended up as Stormont for 25 club members, where overall parkrun Personal Bests (PBs) were claimed by Judith Boyd and Maxine Dynes. Course PBs were also had by Colin Harper, Gareth Davies and Chris Burns.

In Orangefield, Matthew Halus finished in 3rd place overall, while Graeme McGowan achieved a Course PB. Joe Brown chose Victoria Park for his 25th parkrun, joined by Lexie Brown and Rachel Brown on her first ever 5K Parkrun. Meanwhile at Valley parkrun in Newtownabbey, Georgia McGonigal completed the event for the first time.

The cancellations continued on Sunday morning as the icy conditions prevailed for junior parkruns. 3 of the club’s junior members made it to Bangor, where a last minute change of course made the event possible. Harry McCready finished in 3rd place overall, while Penelope Davies achieved a PB and Calum McCready completed his first run at the venue.

January has kicked off with a bang for Scrabo Striders training nights, with the usual Monday and Wednesday night training being supplemented with the return of the 9 week Progression program on Tuesday and Thursdays, with the aim of progressing runners from 5 to 10K distance, or for those building back up again after injury. The club’s all-abilities ethos has runners of every speed training together and encouraging each other across all sessions. Now is the perfect time for prospective new members to come along and try a few sessions and blow off some January cobwebs in the process. In addition to the coach led training sessions, there are 3 social runs per week, with a Friday night run round Newtownards, longer miles on Sunday mornings and Sunday night trails all on offer, as well as regular social activities and members-only events. Why not come along and give it a go and see if it’s for you? More information on or by searching Scrabo Striders Running Club on Facebook.


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