VC Shield Challenge for Scrabo Striders

Posted: 19/10/2019

On Saturday past and in glorious sunshine local running club Scrabo Striders held their annual Vice Captains Shield race, to the beautiful backdrop of Crawfordsburn Forest Park. This was a race with a difference, a handicap system was employed that say the slowest runners set off first with the delayed start time increasing until the fastest runner sets off. The intent is to level the playing field and give everyone an equal chance of winning over the 3.5 mile trail course.

Overall first went to Stephen Ballagh in a finish time of 45 minutes 47 seconds followed by Karl Henderson and Matthew Cavill. In the ladies race Kathryn Chesney took 1st place (4th overall) in a finish time of 46:02 followed by Sheena Crone and Gayle Malaugh. The fastest actual times over the ground went to Ricky Jordan and David Parkinson tied on 24:23 and for the ladies to Lesley Semple in 27:56. Well-deserved shortbread and tea awaited post-race and thanks to Connor McNamara and Kerri Anderson, the club’s vice-captains, for organising the event.

Saintfield on Sunday was a soggy affair for the annual 5km and 10km road race hosted by Saintfield Striders. In the 10k first in for Scrabo was Ricky Jordan (overall 7th place) in 38 minutes 38 seconds followed by Jason Lindsay in 41:18 and Norman Mawhinney in 42:43. Next came Graeme McGowan 45:34, Paul McKnight 46:16, Simon Gay 47:07, Paul Sheldon 47:38 and John Brown in 49 minutes exactly.

In the ladies race Caroline Dwyer was firs across the line for Scrabo in 50:04 clocking up a new personal best at the same time, followed by Victoria Atkinson 50:20 and Deborah Wilson in 50:39. Not letting the rain get the better next came Lynn Sheldon in 51:47, Amanda Martin 52:05, Liz Turton 52:27, Andrea Thompson 53:15 and Gayle Malaugh in 54:37. Gayle had come third in the VC Shield the previous day, great running!

Getting to the post-race food earlier the 5k runners did Scrabo proud. Gareth Nelson was first for the club in 25:14 followed by Anton Lupari 29:07 and Sonya Summersgill in 29:31. Alison Rodgers recorded her first sub 40 5 km in 39:51, well done.

Next all the way to Chicago, Illinois where Andrea Cairns and Peter McGonigal completed the Chicago Marathon, flying the purple flag for Scrabo. Congratulations guys. Then back home to Stormont Parkrun where Catherine Cauley took first female place with a new course personal best time of 21 minutes 3 seconds for the 5km distance. At the same venue Jonathan Winter and Russell Armour secured new PB times of 22:12 and 24:06 respectively, while Shannon Clegg took 2nd female spot at Dundalk Parkrun in 23:54. Well done all.

So why not join Scrabo Striders? Training nights are a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:15 pm at Londonderry Park and all are welcome. We would like to emphasise that Scrabo Striders training is for all ability levels and is non-competitive. You will be sure to hook up with a group that trains at your pace. The club also has a great social side as well. You can find out more at

By George McGonigal, Vice-Chair

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