Striders Weekly Update 17/04/2024

Posted: 17/4/2024

Striders excel home and away

By Jennifer McAteer

New Strider Karen Collins was the sole Strider on her club debut at Ballymena Belles 5 mile on Tuesday. A female only race, Karen crossed the line in 42:53.

Hill and Dale season kicked off on Thursday with the first race of the series taking place in Castlewellan. Norman Mawhinney was sole Strider at this 8.5km run which took in the lake and hills of the park. Norman finished in 43:16 with yet another M65 win.

On Friday, outgoing captains Andy Haylett and Judith Boyd held the Captains Race at Stormont. A chance for both seniors and juniors to tick off another “stride” on their list, there was a good turnour on a night of mixed weather conditions. The junior race was up first, a 3k race across some mixed terrain incorporating part of the parkrun route, which saw Luke Braniff first across the line in 12:24, ahead of Hamish Orr-Stewart in 13:12 and Willow Farrington in 13:30. In the senior race, a 5.5k route covering the same part as the juniors and another lap of the parkrun route, Gareth Davies was the winner finishing in 20:36, with Matthew Halus in 2nd with 21:06 and Colin Harper in 3rd with 21:23. Jenny Taylor was the first female to cross the line finishing in 24:39, second female Alison Busby (25:34). Emma Stewart finished 3rd female in 26:48.

Larne was a popular destination for many Striders on Saturday. The 10 mile race is billed as flat and fast offering potential for PBs and a chance to test pace ahead of Belfast marathon. With many of the participating Striders having taken part in the Captains race the night before there may not have been fresh legs but there were still some excellent performances, despite warm weather and a very strong headwind on the way back. First Strider home, was obviously not deterred by it being his 3rd event in 3 days, was Norman Mawhinney in 1:06:58, followed not far behind by Matt Bell in 1:08:00. Graeme McGowan was next home for the Striders with a new PB of 1:09:38. Jonathan Winter continuing his return after a layoff was home in 1:19:47. First female Strider across the line was Maxine Dynes in 1:25:59 and Fiona McAvoy came in in 1:28:56. Dee Patterson was next across the line with a PB of 1:30:16, closely followed by Kathryn Chesney also getting a PB of 1:30:48. More PBs followed for Karen Farrelly in 1:37:31 and Jenna Lavery in 1:40:37, a 12 minute PB for her. Karen Wilson, her first time racing at this distance finished in 1:42:05 with Karen Warnock, also doing a 10 mile race for the first time, not far behind in 1:42:40. Emma McCracken was paced to a new PB of 1.43.51 by Peter McGonigal who finished in 1:43:52, Vanessa Mannis crossed the line in 1:48:30, Chris Green in 1:51:34 and Nicola Forsythe finished with a new PB of 1:52:39.

The Mane Event, the Belfast Zoo 5k also attracted a few people willing to tackle the hills of Belfast zoo. This event involved a steady climb to the top of the zoo before then looping past the elephants and giraffes back down to the main entrance before repeating it all over again. First Strider across the line was Norman Mawhinney who was completing his FOURTH event in as many days, in 20:37. Matthew Halus was next to finish in 23:55 while Darren Johnston crossed the line in 29:07. Gordie McEwan was next to finish in 30:40, closely followed by Jonathan Keenan in 30:55. Mark Halus finished well in 32:59 before Chris Green, taking on his 3rd event in as many days crossed the line in 37:21. Ashlyn Allen and Zara Johnston finished together in 38:49, Karen Thompson finished in 42:30 and elaine Johnston crossed the line in 46:46.

With the beginning of April bringing the beginning of marathon season, Manchester was the destination for four Striders this week. Dave Stevenson was the first of the Striders across the line with a strong run of 3:16:43. Following on from her first place at the Captains Race on Friday, Jenny Taylor finished with a new PB of 3:47:29 while Alison Busby also followed up her podium from Friday with a new PB of 3:51:08. Gavin McDonnell completed the Striders contingent in Manchester finishing in 6:11:43.

Comber parkrun was the popular destination this week as Striders turned out in force for Karen Clarke’s 100th parkrun which she completed in 31:13. Matthew Halus came 3rd (19:33), Sarah Luce McCready (27:38) and Cheryl Alexander (31:18) got course PBs and Rachel Brown ran 35:13 (PB) for her 10th parkrun. Elsewhere Michael Burgess maintained Regionnaire status running the new Montalto Estate parkrun in 23:50 with Cheryl Macartney (44:52). Jonathan Keenan touristed at Derry City (24:40) and there were also great runs at Stormont, Bangor, Crawfordsburn and Knockbracken parkruns. For junior parkrun there were plenty making their mark this weekend. Hamish Orr-Stewart (8:31) and Joshua Bingham (9:16) finished 2nd and 3rd at Comber. Penelope Davies (11.02) was 3rd female with a new PBand Micah Boyd ran his first parkrun(13:14). The Farringtons and Braniffs made a first trip to Belfast YMCA parkrun, all four getting PBs, Luke Braniff first in 7:21, followed by Willow Farrington, 2nd in 7:42, Rory Braniff 3rd male in 8.36 and Heath Farrington in 8:37. There were also debut runs at Lough Moss for Nathaniel  (14:24) and Harriet (15:03) Frazer, a PB at Jordanstown for Olly Simpson (10:46) and a course PB at Larne for Lyla Rose McNamara (12:32).

Scrabo Striders Run the Runways on 10th May, with 10k, 5k and 2k options (under 16s only) is now open for entry, a flat route with PB potential. Also open for entry is the popular, challenging Ards Half Marathon and walk on 28 June. For more information on both races visit or search Scrabo Striders on Facebook.


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