Half Marathon Trails and Dark Hedges

Posted: 9/8/2019

On the evening of Saturday 3th August Scrabo Striders Running Club held their “Run the Trails” open race at Mount Stewart, an all abilities running event comprising a 10km and Half Marathon (13.1 mile) chip-timed race around the beautiful forest trails and lake of the estate, starting and finishing in from of the iconic Mount Stewart House. The novel location drew just over 400 competitors and plenty of supporters to the event, blessed with cloudy but warm conditions.

Setting off at 6:30pm to cheers of support and music playing, the 10K race got underway with some 299 entrants smiling and waving for the many cameras. Competing one loop if the course, with the infamous Temple of the Winds hill towards the end, the winner was Mark Rushby from Ballydrain Harriers in an impressive time of 38 minutes 38 seconds, followed in second place by Paul Flynn also of Ballydrain in 38:46 with 3rd place being claimed by Dave Smyth of Island Runners in 40:29.

In the ladies race Clair Quigley from North Down AC crossed the line in 44:22 to claim first place followed by Rachel McCusker of Dewsbury Road Runners in 46:53, with 3rd place going to Claire Ingram of Ballydrain Harriers in 47:39. Hosts Scrabo Striders had some 70 athletes entered, coming in overall 12th for the club was Peter Kerr in 45:30, followed by Justin Clegg 46:58 and Peter McGonigal in 47:43. First Scrabo lady was Lynn Sheldon in 53:35, second Emma Clements 53:48 and third Debbie Atkinson in 55:38, while Kelly Houston ran her first ever 10K on the night with Rachel Murdock volunteering as tail runner. Well done all!

The Half Marathon race set off with some 146 athletes taking part. With comments ranging from “challenging” to “tough” to “brutal” the consensus was that the organisers had mapped out a 13.1 mile course to test the entrant’s mettle.

Rising to this challenge in style was Gareth Lyons from North Belfast Harriers who claimed 1st place in a phenomenal 1 hour, 23 minutes and 36 seconds, well ahead of 2nd place Stephen Dickson in 01:29:24 while 3rd place and a spot on the podium went to Michael McLernon of Dromore AC in 01:31:33. First place in the ladies’ race went to Kerry Speers of North Down AC for the second year in a row in 01:37:38, second place to Linda McDougall 01:46:25 and 3rd to Catherine Cauley of Scrabo Striders in 01:48:45. Congratulations guys, setting the bar high indeed.

Scrabo Striders had 46 athletes take on the Half which saw David Stephenson finish first for the Club in 1 hour 40 minutes 51 seconds, significantly ahead of Jonny Kinney 01:47:55 followed by Abrar Hossain in 01:48:15. The first Scrabo lady to cross the line for Scrabo was Catherine Cauley (01:48:45) followed by Lesley Semple in 01:59:26 and Kerri Anderson in 02:01:24.

Next to finish for Scrabo were Thomas Steele, Connor McNamara, Paul Morrow, Justin Black, Shannon Clegg, John Brown and Garry Cavill. Graeme McGowan and Norman Mawhinney brought up the rear and made sure all made it to the finish safely, these gents having already competed a half marathon earlier the same day!

Scrabo Striders running club would like to give a big thanks to Lady Rose Lauritzen and The National Trust and staff without whose kind permission and enthusiastic assistance this fantastic event would simply not have been possible. Also a big thanks to our main sponsor Patton’s Bakery. The Committee would also like to thank all those who provided sandwiches, cakes and buns for the post-race feed, the volunteer course Marshals and of course the nearly 140 Scrabo Striders who competed.

Also on Saturday runners from across the province and further afield descended on the village of Dervock, Co. Antrim for the annual “Dark hedges” Half Marathon and 5 Mile races. Billed as the “Kennedy Kane McArthur” festival of running hundreds of athletes took part, all hoping to great a great picture taken at the internationally famous “Dark Hedges”

Newtownards running club Scrabo Striders had 12 athletes complete the challenging Half Marathon, with first club finisher Ricky Jordan recording an impressive 01:30:48 time. Not far behind came Norman Mawhinney in 01:34:04 followed by Donavan Jones 01:36:17, then Graeme McGowan 01:47:43, David Turton 01:49:09 and George Cash in 01:57:08 to complete the sub two hour club.

In comfortable running conditions the next Strider to finish Barbara McKechnie in 02:0342 followed by Fiona McAvoy 02:03:59, Rachel Diesta 02:06:50, Liz Turton 02:09:25, Wendy Thompson 02:21:32 and Gavin McDonnell in 02:35:51. A great display of #purplepower.

On the evening of Wednesday 31st July the increasingly popular Donaghadee 5K road race took place, organized by Dee Runners. Scrabo Striders had a huge turn-out of 105 athletes, turning the Dee purple for a while. First to finish for the club was Ricky Jordan in a blistering 18 minutes 40 seconds taking overall 4th place. Then came Norman Mawhinney in 19:45 and Tim McEwan in 19:51. I the ladies race first Strider across the line was Kerri Anderson in 22:39, followed by Cheryl Mulholland in 23:43 and Emma Clements in 23:58.

Sheena Crone completed her 50th Parkrun at Comber on Saturday in a time of 28:40 while over at Stormont Leanne Butler secured a new personal best of 34:45.

by George McGonigal, Vice Chair

Scrabo Striders at Run The Trails 2019.jpg

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