Striders Weekly Update 31/01/2024

Posted: 31/1/2024

Thursday saw some of the Scrabo Striders junior runners represent their schools in the District A Cross Country races at Delamont.  Competing were Keara Simpson (Mini girls 1.5k 7:20), Harry McCready (Mini boys 1.5k 6:14), Zara Johnston (Minor girls 1.5k 6:50), Daniel Barnes (Minor boys 2.3k 10:29), Willow Farrington, Lauren Semple, Eva Coey (Junior girls 2.3k 9:21, 9:37, 11:08), Luke Braniff (Junior boys 3.5k 13:58) and Matthew Halus (Senior boys 5.8k 22:26).

Born 2 Run Events held another of their Run Forest Run series races in Antrim Castle Gardens on Saturday.  Chris Burns led the Striders in the 10k (46:31), followed by Chris Edwards (51:45), Darren Johnston (51:59), Sarah Luce (58:27) and Naomi Magowan (1:00:11).  Juniors Luke Braniff (21:52) and Willow Farrington (23:24) performed brilliantly in the 5k.  They were joined by Karen Wilson (28:09), Stephen Braniff (32:06), Martina Finn (36:44), Fiona McAvoy (36:45) and Tina Hewitt (50:29).

Norman Mawhinney became M65 Ulster Cross Country Champion on Sunday at the NI & Ulster Intermediate & Masters XC Championships.  He ran the 4k course at Billy Neill MBE Country Park in 16:41.

49 Striders ran at 11 different parkrun locations on Saturday morning.  Curtis McCaw took another 1st place at Comber, with Matthew Halus 3rd and Norman Mawhinney 3rd at Rostrevor.  There were course PBs for Darren Johnston (24:43 Antrim), Andy Haylett (18:55 Bangor) and Paul Blair (24:07 Hillsborough).  Plenty of PBs were recorded at Belfast Victoria, with Emma McCracken (27:56), Jenna Lavery (28:35), Cheryl Alexander (30:33) and Eva Alexander (31:49) all running their fastest ever parkruns.  Jordan McIntyre also celebrated a PB of 21:35 at Ormeau.  Chris Hollies and Michael Burgess headed to Cootehill, running a beautiful course taking in both Counties Cavan and Monaghan.

There were celebrations at Musgrave junior parkrun on Sunday, where 11 Striders joined Luke Braniff on his 100th event.  Harry McCready’s 2nd place finish also earned him a fantastic PB of 7:48, with Luke hot on his heels in 3rd.  The top 3 female spots were taken by Willow Farrington, Eva Coey and Zara Johnston.  Zara also set a PB time (9:40), while Heath Farrington crossed the line just after with a course PB (9:46).  There were great results at Comber too, with Hamish Orr-Stewart 1st, Joshua Bingham 2nd and Harriet Frazer finishing with a PB (13:12).

The end of December saw captains Judith Boyd and Andy Haylett award the Boyd Rice Solicitors sponsored Member of the Month to two more highly deserving runners.  Receiving the Female award was longstanding Strider Gillian Pearson.  Gillian is regularly at club events, training, social runs and races, where she works hard and always smiles as she encourages and supports those around her.  In December she took part in the club’s Festive 4 race, as well as Castlewellan Christmas Cracker.  Gillian competes in a lot of cross-country events, where she has shown herself to be a team player and offers her fantastic Biscoff Truffles to those crossing the finish line at these tough races!

Male Strider of the Month for December was Liam Rodger.  Since joining in 2018, Liam has shown much dedication and commitment to the club as a committee member, coach and competitor at races, particularly endurance events.  He recently completed a couple of marathons, and has set some big distance ultra-marathon goals for 2024.  As coach, he is passionate about helping runners improve, and is full of positivity and encouragement to all.  Liam enjoys touring parkruns with his wife Allie and two dogs (“Bark-runners”) Otto and Dante, not just running but often volunteering at events too.

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Michael Burgess


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