Scrabo Striders Dunkers are National Champions

Posted: 5/6/2019

In February 2019 twenty members of Newtownards based Scrabo Striders running club swopped their running gear to take on the Swim 22 miles, Diabetes UK challenge. 22 miles is the equivalent of the English Channel and the challenge required the swimmers to complete the 22 miles between 22 Feb and 22 May. Many of the team hadn’t swum in a long time and for others distance swimming was an entirely new challenge.

The team worked hard, supporting each other on every session and slowly started logging the miles. By the end of the first week the Scrabo Strider Dunkers were in first place nationally and amazingly held that position until the end of the challenge, beating 280 teams in England, Scotland and Wales.

The club held a charity time trial and raised sponsorship for research into Diabetes. 517 miles logged and over £2000 raised is an excellent achievement. Every mile swim by the team was exceptional but special mention should go to Fiona Murphy, who finished within the top ten nationally for her total distance swum.

Massive congratulations go to all those who participated, namely Allie Farley, Susanne McVea, Linda Dugan, Lynda Croskery, Amanda Piesse, Phillipa Wilson, Rachel Boyle, Rachael Murdock, Fiona McAvoy, Fiona Murphy, Debi Allen, Erin Donnelly, Sonya Summersgill, Garry Cavill, Gary Hunsdale, Steven McCormick, Abrar Hossein, Norman Mawhinney, Graeme McGowan and Mark Emmerson. The team would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported and sponsored them along the way.

In running news the 2019 Walled City Marathon took place in Londonderry on Sunday. Scrabo Striders set off before 6 am to compete with Ricky Jordan the first club finisher in 3 hours 4 minutes; that sub three hour marathon isn’t far away. Next came Norman Mawhinney in 3:24, Justin Clegg in 3:43, Abrar Hossain 3:54, Barbara McKechnie 4:15, Rachel Patterson 4:27 and Jill Long in 4:51. Congratulations to you all, a great display of #purplepower.

The Hill and Dale series promoted by Newcastle Athletic Club continued during the week with race number 7, Millstone. James Lappin was the sole Scrabo Strider competing and was placed 19th in a field of 198 runners completing the course in a few seconds under 45 minutes. Well done James.

On Sunday the Kilmood 4 Mile race and kids fun run took place at Florida Manor near Killinchy. In bright blue skies and warm conditions four Scrabo Striders took on this short but hilly course, raising funds for the local Kilmood Play Group. First for Scrabo was Ashely Gilliland in 37 minutes 5 seconds then Sonya Summersgill in 37:26 and Lynn and George McGonigal in 53:42.

Mark Leathem completed his 150th Parkrun this week supported by lots of other Striders at Stormont, where Sonya Sunnersgill picked up a personal best (PB) of 28:27 over the 5km course. Over at Parkway in Comber Curtis McCaw took another 1st in 18:18 while Joe Brown grabbed a PB of 30:25. The PB’s just kept coming for Tina Boal in 21:19 at Victoria Park, Mark Halus in 22:34 at Castlewellan, Stephen Ballagh in 24:41 and Nicola Cameron in 25:52 both at ward Park, Bangor. Congratulations all.

The Ards Half Marathon returns to the streets of Newtownards and Comber on 28th June, start time 6:30 pm. This year the race is being organised by Scrabo Striders running club with assistance from Ards Borough Council and Uhire, the equipment rental company on Jubilee Road. Place are filling up fast so get registered via the Athletics NI website today. If not running why not come out and watch the spectacle of hundreds of brave runners passing by!

by George McGonigal, Vice-Chair


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