Race to the Tower 2019

Posted: 8/3/2019

Scrabo Striders Running Club held their annual “Race to the Tower” on Sunday 3rd March. This was a 1.2 mile ascent from the Old Belfast Road through the often narrow trails, past the quarries finishing at Scrabo Tower in cool and dry weather conditions.

Forty-five Striders took part in this members’ only race, an increase on last year’s numbers, with Jared Martin winning in a time of 9 minutes 19 seconds and not even out of breath as he crossed the line, closely followed by Curtis McCaw in 9:30 and Matthew Carville in 9:35.

Fourth place went to Ricky Jordan in 10:04, David Parkinson in fifth and 10:40 and Norman Mawhinney in 6th place in 10:29. Then came Andy Crawford, Ian Frazer, John Pugh, Peter Kerr, Owen Campbell, Graeme McGowan and Simon Gay (11:51).

Catherine Cauley was next, taking the first female prize in 12:26, a great performance considering she had already completed a 14 mile marathon training run that morning, followed by Manny Farrelly, Gordon Coutts, Mark Leathem, Justin Black, Abrar Hossain, Colin Harper, Andrew Strickland, Duncan McAllister and Paul Blair in 13 minutes 44 seconds.

The Club’s next lady finisher was Rachel Diesta in 13:51, a huge 2:16 faster than last year earning her the Biggers Improvement award. Ten athletes gave it a go two years in a row, with seven of those recording new personal best times showing how Club training pays off.

Next in 14:01 was Peter Briggs followed by Ken Rodgers, Aaron Blaine, Kerri Anderson, Alison Busby, George McGonigal, Ian and Carole Bailie, Mark Emerson and Ashley Gilliland in 15:52. Having run this myself it felt like the Tower finish was a moving target despite the short course.

Next came Amanda Martin, Beverly McKee, Barry Tate, Julie Longridge, Leanne Butler, Cathy Dobbin, Gillian Pearson, Rebecca Lund, Cheryl Alexander, Nicola Forsythe and Amy Forsythe. Everyone deserving of congratulations for being brave enough to take on this steep hill climb. The course was designed by Kieran McNamara.

The Club would like to thank the marshals and officials without who these events simply don’t happen. On this occasion Hannah Robinson, Beverly Blaine, Fiona McAvoy, Kim Cochrane, Debi Allen, Tara and Lynda Croskery, Sheena Crone, Alison Rodgers, Joanne Wray, Karl, Amelia and Kathy Henderson.

Travelling all the way to the Carlingford Half Marathon to represent their club were Norman Mawhinney and Lisa Maxwell. Out of 850 runners Norman was placed 28th in a phenomenal time of 1 hour 24 minutes while Lisa covered the scenic 13.1 miles in a very respectable 2 hours 5 minutes. Well done to both of you.

Scrabo Striders recorded a total of nine new personal best (PB) times at the weekly Saturday morning Parkruns. At Parkway in Comber Wendy Thompson recorded 28 minutes 13 seconds, Judith Boyd 30:55 and Faye Alexander 32:09, while Lyndsey Blair ran her first ever Parkrun in 31.04.

At Ward Park in Bangor the PBs were David Stevenson 19:37, Lesley Semple 22:45, Peter Briggs 23:41 and George Cash 25:19. Thomas Steele clocked a great 21:53 at Stormont while Steven Craythorne got his PB at Victoria in 29:52, where Curtis McCaw took 3rd place. Well done all, a busy weekend of running.

by George McGonigal

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