Striders Weekly Update 27/03/2024

Posted: 27/3/2024

Portadown Festival of Running was the main event of the running weekend this Sunday. Hosted by Portadown Running Club and offering both 10K and Half Marathon options, the event this year saw record numbers with almost 1000 athletes across the two races.

With both routes starting in the town centre and running south along Gilford Road, with the Half Marathon extending to Gilford itself, before returning to Portadown along the Newry Canal Tow Path, the courses offered excellent PB potential.

The 32 Striders in attendance certainly capitalised on that potential, with an incredible 17 PBs recorded! Leading the club across the Half Marathon finish line, and clinching 3rd place in the M40 category as well as a PB was Martin Strachan in 1:17:08. The next five Striders across the line all also recorded Personal Bests, with Andy Haylett in 1:24:19, Matt Bell (1:25:37), Colin Harper (1:28:35), Trevor Woodside (1:29:44), and Michael Warke in 1:30:52. Next in was the Club’s first female with Catherine Cauley finishing in 1:35:15, followed by Jordan McIntyre with a PB of 1:37:24 and Heather Baron in 1:40:33. George Johnston was next in, with a time of 1:42:46 breaking a PB which had stood since 2001! Following George Across the line was Rachel Bell with another PB of 1:42:59, then Ally Gray (1:48:37), Darren Johnston (1:53:22; PB), and Penny Hamilton with a PB of 1:53:58. Completing the sub-2 hour contingent was Steven Hanna in 1:59:53, followed Dee Patterson in 2:00:48 (PB), Jenna Lavery in 2:13:46 (PB), Karen Wilson on her Half Marathon debut in 2:14:11, Emma McCracken (2:14:22; PB), Natasha Graham (2:14:27; PB), Peter McGonigal (2:14:28), Chris Edwards (2:16:20) and Gordie McEwan in 2:29:09. Huge congratulations to all runners on an astounding performance!

The Club’s 10K entrants were led in by Judith Boyd, claiming 3rd place in the F40 category with a finishing time of 51:29, followed by Olli Seeger (54:11), Sonya Summersgill with a PB of 54:42 (and managing to record a 5K PB in the process!), Clare McIlveen (57:24), Sarah Luce (58:12), Georgia McGonigal with a PB of 1:02:42, Elaine McGonigal (1:07:14), Cheryl Alexander (1:07:15) and Jennifer McAteer in 1:16:13. Well done to all on representing the Club so well!

Sunday also saw Norman Mawhinney travelling to Dunboyne, County Meath, for the 53rd Dunboyne 10K Road Race, this year incorporating the Athletics Ireland National 10K Road Race Championships. Amongst a large field of 1260 runners taking on the single loop course, Norman crossed the line in 39:38, retaining his Irish M65 Championship title – congratulations Norman!

The club would like to thank and congratulate Sheena Crone for recently completing her Athletics Coach certificate. Passing this tough course will enable Sheena to lead sessions for our Fundamentals group, adding to the club’s already impressive skillset and providing excellent opportunities for junior athletes.

The big achievements continued at parkrun at the weekend, with Louise Barnes celebrating her 100th run milestone in style with a PB finish at Dunleath Playing Fields. Among 22 other club members celebrating with Louise, PBs were also had by Gillian Pearson and Maddie Dynes, with Course PBs from Michael Burgess, Faye Alexander and Eva Alexander.

Other overall parkrun PBs were achieved by Gillian Bailie while celebrating her 25th Milestone in Bangor, Sara McMaster on her first outing at Knockbracken, and Penny Hamilton at Stormont. Stromont also saw Course PBs from Gareth Davies, Luke Braniff, Heath Farrington and Aimee Braniff on her 10th 5K parkrun.

At junior parkrun on Sunday, Heath Farrington ran the 2k distance for the 100th time, achieving a Course PB in Bangor in the process. Joining Heath were Luke Braniff, Willow Farrington crossing the line as 2nd female, and Rory Braniff. Meanwhile in Comber, Joshua Bingham was 2nd overall, followed by Joe Brown, Keara Simpson (3rd female), Olly Simpson, Maddie Dynes, Lydia Blair and Rachel Brown with a PB. Elsewhere, Nathaniel and Harriet Frazer ran at Waterworks and Lyla McNamara in Lurgan.

With the busy road race season now in full swing, 2 of Scrabo Striders own open races are currently accepting entries. Run The Runways on 10th May offers 5K (age 11 and over) and 10K (age 16 and over) options, as well as the rare opportunity to run on the totally flat runways of Ards Airfield – offering perfect PB potential.  There’s also the option of a 2K run for under 16s, ensuring fun for the whole family. With the now famous Striders hospitality also on offer for post-race refreshments it’s sure to be a great evening.

Also open for entry is the ever-popular Ards Half marathon and Walk on 28th June. Starting in the town centre and taking in the scenic hills around Scrabo before heading into Comber then back to Ards Blair Mayne Leisure Centre for the finish line, the challenging course is a firm favourite with many runners. For more information and entry links for both races, visit or search for Scrabo Striders Running Club on Facebook.

Offering up to 4 training sessions per week for runners of all abilities, as well as social runs on Friday evenings, Sunday mornings and Sunday evening trail runs, Scrabo Striders is a friendly and welcoming club where prospective new members are always welcome to come and try a few training sessions. Why not get in contact and come along?


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