Sunny Stormont Cross Country

Posted: 14/2/2019

On Saturday 9th February the penultimate race in the 2018-209 Cross Country (XC) League took place in the grounds of Stormont Estate, alongside Prince of Wales Avenue. Organised by Mags Mathieson and the NI Civil Service Athletics Club, the blown down branches had been swept aside and the rain of the previous night gave way to glorious sunshine.

The first races were the Primary School Boys and Girls 1000m, where local running club Scrabo Striders fielded their biggest team yet, some 25 kids taking part. The first boy to finish was Riley Hanna and the first girl was Olivia Smyth, congratulations to all. Great to see some many kids taking part as they are the future of the Club.

In the Women’s Open & Vets race Scrabo had 18 entrants braving the 3.3 miles of mud, mud and hill and very little grass. First to finish for Scrabo was Kerri Anderson in 26 minutes 15 seconds followed by Lynn Sheldon in 27:02, Patricia Adams in 27:21, Liz Turton on 27:43 and Rachel Patterson in 27:47. Next was Linda Dugan in 29:15 followed a second later by Fiona McAvoy, the Julie Longridge, Phillippa Wilson and Carol Baile all completing in under 31 minutes.

Averaging just under 11 minutes per lap of the 3 lap race were Kathleen Henderson and Sonya Summersgill in 32:05 followed by Claire Briggs 32:29 and Vanessa Mannis in 32:31. Leanne Butler finished in 34:46 and Karen Thompson in 44:05 while Debi Allen and Alison Rodgers crossed the line together in 46:02. Well done Scrabo ladies.

Norman Mawhinney took overall 2nd place in the Male Vets 60+ Race in a phenomenal 20:20 before going on to be the first Strider to complete the Male Open & Vets race in 28:17. Hats off to Norman, taking on two cross country races in succession and making it look easy! Next in for Scrabo, completing the now very slippery 4.4 miles, was David Stevenson in 28:37 followed by John Pugh in 31:31, Nigel Martin 32:02, Paul Sheldon 32:32, Abrar Hossain 34:21, Gary Hunsdale 34:34 and Peter Briggs and Marty McConnell both in 36:40.

Pushing hard to complete the 4 laps and starting to figure out what line to take on the steep sections next home for Scrabo was Chris Green in 37:17 followed by Ken Rodgers in 37:25, Graeme McGowan 37:39, David Turton 38:54 and Ian Bailie in 40:26. Finishing up were Mark Gilmore in 42:12 followed a second later by George McGonigal and Stephen Campbell in 43:51. The physical challenge og a wet and muddy cross country course is not to be underestimated as it draws every last ounce of energy from competitors. Well done all.

At Parkway, Comber on Saturday Club member Matthew Halus completed his milestone 100th Parkrun in an impressive 23:40, while at the same event Curtis McCaw took overall 1st in 18:18 while Tim McEwan took 4th in a new personal best (PB) time of 21:07.  Scrabo runners Lynn Sheldon (24:45), Lesley Semple (24:50) and Kerri Anderson (25:01 PB) where the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed ladies. Also at Comber Angie Crone secured a new PB of 30:55 while Laura Cooke recorded a PB of 29:48 at Ormeau Parkrun.

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