Striders Weekly Update 22/02/2024

Posted: 22/2/2024

The racing weekend kicked off on Saturday with the final event of Born2Run’s popular Run Forest Run series at Castlewellan. Offering both 5K and 10K distances around Castlewellan Forest Park, the closing event of the 6-race series was as popular as ever, with over 830 finishers across the two distances.

Among them were 8 Scrabo Striders, being led home in the 5K by Luke Braniff in a time of 22:20, followed by Willow Farrington in 24:04, Graeme Farrington in 27:19 and Stephen Braniff in 38:18. Willow’s consistently strong results in all the 5K races in the series were enough to clinch the Female Junior age category prize – well done Willow!

Opting for the 10K distance were Chris Edwards, crossing the line in 1 hour and 20 seconds, closely followed by Karen Wilson (1:00:31), then Sarah Luce (1:04:01) and Jennifer McAteer (1:21:57).

On Sunday, two Scrabo Striders Juniors travelled to Larne for the second race of East Coast AC’s Junior Cross Country Series at Larne Grammar School. Competing in the Minor Boys category was Michael Bingham, covering the 1300m distance in 7:13. Joshua Bingham was next up in the 1720m Junior category, crossing the finish line in 9:11.

The club’s Senior Members had to travel further afield for their Cross Country fix on Sunday, with 25 intrepid Striders making the trip to Carndonagh in County Donegal for the NI & Ulster Senior XC; the culmination of the Athletics NI Cross Country League. Alongside the usual draws of team points and home baked treats for the journey home, this event also marked the first event of the Club’s “Eight Strides” members race series.

The ladies race was first, with a 6000m distance to cover. The strong showing of 18 Striders were led across the line by Amanda Martin in 36:26, followed by Judith Boyd and Sonya Summersgill finishing together in 37:57. Next were Gillian Pearson (39:20), Karen Wilson (41:15), Emma McCracken (41:54) and Karen Warnock (42:41). Finishing together in 45:29 were Jenna Lavery and Cheryl Alexander, followed by Janice McCartney in 47:26, Cathie Lowry (47:32), Elaine McGonigal (48:49), Sheena Crone (49:11), Jennifer McAteer (53:06), Naomi Fleming (53:51), Cheryl Macartney (54:20) and Hannah Robinson in 54:24.

Next up it was the turn of the men, covering 10000m, with Striders led home by Norman Mawhinney in 47:15, with Matt Bell hot on his heels in 47:19. Next in was Graeme McGowan in 49:30, followed by Peter McGonigal (56:18), Michael Burgess (58:02), Chris Burns (59:34), Colin Verth (1:00:55) and Chris Edwards in 1:15:02.

Fantastic work by all who represented the club so well in not just this race but the whole Cross Country league series – the muddy winter miles will stand them all in good stead for the road racing season ahead!

The weekend wouldn’t be complete without parkruns, where 48 club members ran at various venues. Personal Bests (PBs) were had this week by Francis Gilmore in Comber, Jordan McIntyre at Belfast Victoria, and Jenny Taylor in Bangor. Jenny was also 3rd place Female finisher, marking her 25th parkrun milestone in style. Also celebrating a 25th parkrun was Catherine Cauley at Comber, claiming the 2nd place Female finisher position in the process. Matthew Halus was overall 2nd place at Comber and Gareth Davies was 3rd, earning a course PB. Other course PBs were achieved by Daniel Clarke at Belfast Victoria, Fiona McAvoy at Orangefield, and Matt Bell at Queen’s, where Norman Mawhinney was overall 2nd across the line.

On Sunday it was the turn of junior parkrun, where Comber was the only game in town. Hamish Orr-Steward was 2nd place finisher, followed by Willow Farrington in 3rd, then Harry McCready, Keara Simpson (3rd F), Penelope Davies (PB), Nathaniel Frazer (PB), Maddie Dynes, Ollie Simpson, Lydia Blair and Lyla McNamara.

Scrabo Striders is a welcoming and encouraging club where all abilities train together in shared sessions. With 4 training sessions every week, as well as social runs on Friday evening, Sunday morning and Sunday Night Trails, it’s hard to find a running club with more on offer. Prospective members are very welcome to come and try a few sessions before committing to membership so why not come along and see if it’s the right fit for you? More information on or search for Scrabo Striders Running Club on Facebook.


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