Larne and London, Purplepower Nationwide

Posted: 28/3/2019

Last weekend was a very busy one for members of local running club Scrabo Striders. Glorious sunshine arrived for the 2019 AES Larne Half Marathon, where the 13.1 mile course takes in a coastal route starting at Larne Leisure Centre, Tower Road and includes the Town Centre before heading north on the scenic Coast Road. At Ballygally the course takes in Cairncastle before returning to Coast Road and finished along the beautiful promenade towards Larne Leisure Centre.

Two coach loads of Striders, 90 in total, completed the course which saw Norman Mawhinney the first Scrabo Strider to finish in 1 hour 23 minutes, an overall 71st in a field of nearly 2100 competitors. Second and third Striders were Ian Frazer and Jonny Kinney, followed by Johnny Wray with a new personal best (PB) time of 1:33 and Thomas Steele.

The club’s first lady finisher was Catherine Cauley in 1 hour 36 minutes followed by Laurence Irwin, Graeme McGowan (PB), Stephen McConnell, Peter McGonigal, Colin Harper (CPB), and Peter Stevens. Finishing in under 1:45 were Simon Gay, Tina Boal, Gary Hunsdale (PB), Connor McNamara and Olli Seeger (PB). Phenomenal performance.

With the 1 mile hill now a memory next came Lesley Semple (PB), David Turton, Barbara McKechnie (CPB), Andy Palmer, Marty McConnell (PB), Andrew Boal, Gareth Logan, Mark Halus, Leanne Campbell (PB), Paul Morrow, Amanda Piesse (PB), Liz Turton, Cheryl Mulholland, Gary Clarke, George Cash (PB), Ross Caughers (PB), Mark Leathem and Amanda Martin.

On the inland portions of the course it felt more like a day in June than March, so the gentle sea breeze of the coast road was very welcome on the return leg. The next distinctive purple vests to cross the line were Linda Dugan (PB) on two hours followed by Jenny Gargan, Kurtis Hunter, Mark Gilmore, Rachel Boyle, Fiona McAvoy, Sheena Crone (CPB), George McGonigal and Dawn Ross in under 2:06 with Liam Rodger, Ken Rodgers, Gareth Robson, Lyndsey Blair, Alison Busby and Rachel Patterson finishing in under 2:10. Liam had actually doubled back to encourage other Striders along!

A number of Scrabo Striders made Larne their first ever half marathon race, namely Ken Rodgers, Lyndsey Blair, Julie Anne Andrews, Suzanne Dines, Susanne McVea, Lynda Croskery, Jenny Taylor, Beverley Blaine, Maria Page, Lynsey Wightman, Suzanne Dines, Claire Briggs, Vanessa Mannis and John Brown. Others recording new personal best times included Joanne Wray, Wendy Thompson, Nicola Honeyman, Scot Knight, Steven Craythorne, Andy Boal, Mark Halus, Greer Munday and Catherine Lavery…..coaching and training paying off right there! Congratulations to you all.

On Sunday 24th March three Scrabo Strider athletes took park in the London Landmarks Half Marathon. From cultural landmarks to the city's quirky and hidden secrets, thousands of runners explored the capital on a route like no other, starting on Pall Mall and finishing by Downing Street. Husband and Wife running team Justin and Shannon Clegg completed in 1 hour 47 minutes followed by Phillippa Wilson in 2:09. Well done.

In the first year of competing Scrabo Striders Ladies collected a prize for 8th placed club in the Athletics NI Cross Country League with our gents’ team placed 10th. A solid performance on which to build for next year.

Even with all this competitive running the Club was well represented at the local Saturday morning 5k Parkruns. At Ward Park in Nicola Forsythe clocked a new course personal best as did Jonathan Keenan and Karen Thompson at Orangefield, while at Parkway in Comber Curtis McCaw took overall first place in 17:47 and Beverley McKee recorded a new personal best of 28:53. Meanwhile Lynn Sheldon took 3rd Female at the Larne Parkrun.

by George McGonigal

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