Ards Half Marathon 2017

Posted: 4/7/2017

Scrabo Striders take the Ards Half Marathon by Storm

ardshalf-marathon-2017If you tried to drive through Newtownards on Friday evening you couldn’t help but notice the town’s major running event was underway, yes the 10th Anniversary Ards Half Marathon & Walk saw the roads filled with over 730 runners taking on the renowned challenge of a hilly 13.1 mile (21.1 km) course and hundreds of walkers completing a non-competitive 9 mile circuit.

Well known and often feared in the running community the course out to Comber and back encompasses two hills participants won’t forget, namely the Scrabo Road and the Moate Road hills. The latter is a particular challenge as runners and walkers face it in the later stage of the circuit. With plenty of water stations manned by enthusiastic volunteers, jelly beans handed out along the way, loud music blasting at the top of countryside hills and a man in very strange trousers shouting “encouragement” from the top of a van with a loud hailer, the level of support for those taking part was phenomenal, creating a brilliant atmosphere.

We had 71 half marathon entrants, the club’s largest event turn out and for many their first ever half marathon run. The first Strider home was Jonny Kinney followed by Jonathan Wray both of whom completed in under 1 hour 40 minutes. Our first lady across the line was Lynn Sheldon and our second lady was Kirsty Meredith, both completing in under two hours. A further nine Striders finished in under 1 hour 50 minutes, namely Simon Hodge, Darren Simmons, Kieran McNamara, Connor McNamara, Paul Sheldon, Emmanuel Farrelly, Nigel Martin, Russ Armour and Garry Cavill.

Sunday morning long run training seemed to be paying off for the Club as a total of 25 athletes recorded times of under two hours and 44 Striders completing in under 2 hours 15 minutes. Next in was Lee Couper, Ian Frazer in 1 hour 52 minutes for his first ever half marathon, Mervyn Kinney, Alan Steen, Colin Harper, Mark Leathem, David Turton, Keith Campbell, Graeme McGowan, Gary Clarke, Curtis Allen, Olli Seeger, Barbara McKechnie, Maureen Rea, Justin Clegg (first ever half marathon), Emma Kelly, Phillippa Wilson, Ronnie Geddis, Alison Busby, Paul Kirkwood, Sharon Frazer, Jenny Fry, Robert Neill, Andrea Cairns, Abrar Hossain, Lyndsey Lappin, Linda Dugan, George McGonigal (first ever half marathon), Charles Allen, Tracey-Anne Kirk and Amanda Martin.

The weather on the Friday morning was bit bleak, but by later afternoon the sun had started to come out, the rain showers had stopped, the temperature was just right for running and the breeze was nature keeping us all cool when we needed it. No doubt this helped the remaining club members complete the course in good time as follows – Deborah Erskine, Paige Reilly, Dawn Ross, Catherine Lavery, Wendy Thompson, Emma Geddis, Nicola McNamara, Christine Lougheed, Stephen Campbell, Lindsey Allen, Lorraine Adams, Eileen Pollock, Dawn McEvoy, Karen Farrelly, Jenny Smyth, Greer Munday, Kathleen Henderson (first ever half marathon), Christine Kirkwood, Joanne Wray (first ever),  Nicola Irvine, Nicola Honeyman (the two Nicolas first half marathon), Karen Clarke, Carleen Seeger, Victoria Armstrong, Suzi Kinney and Michael Honeyman.

At every hill crest and bend in the road there were groups of people cheering the runners on, the marshalling was to a very high standard and Ards & North Down Council are to be congratulated on a professionally organised and well run 10th Anniversary event. Scrabo Striders Running Club committee would like to add our thanks to the police, marshals, the Irish Guards and “Donal” their mascot who was seen chilling at several locations around the course, supporters, council staff and crowds for coming together to create such an enjoyable event. Last but certainly not least a huge well done to the sea of purple vests striding past Scrabo, we are so proud of each and every one of our members.

Looking forward to next year already!

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