Scrabo Striders Shine at Annual Awards Ceremony

Posted: 8/11/2019

Local Running club Scrabo Striders held their Annual Awards Dinner at Clandeboye Lodge last Saturday night, in the magnificent ball room. The Club, which has seen a significant growth in membership and is now in its fourth year, presented awards for a range of member achievements’ throughout the previous twelve months.

Following a drinks reception Club Chairperson Fiona McAvoy welcomed over 170 people to the event and with the assistance of Coaches and Committee Members presented the awards. First up were the winners of the “8 Strides”, Norman Mawhinney and Liz Turton, with Steven Craythorne named most improved runner. This is an internal Club competition where athletes must complete 6 out of 8 prescribed racing events though the year, mostly road with some cross-country running. Just over 100 members successfully rose to the challenge, a big increase on the year previous. Well done all.

The next awards were the male and female Captain’s Cup. These are presented to members who have shown particular dedication in their running and embody the Club spirit in every way, as judged by the incumbent Captains Kerri Anderson and Colin Harper. To their total surprise and to loud applause the Captain’s Cup this year went to Graeme McGowan and Sonya Summersgill.

The Vice-Captain’s Shield was then presented to Stephen Ballagh as winner of a challenging cross-country and trail race. Next up was the Coaches Choice Award for sustained high performance, this year awarded to Karl Henderson for the gents category and Nicola McNamara for the ladies, presented by head Coach Norman Mawhinney.

During the year several members only “Club Races” are held at various locations and athletes’ performance recorded. For 2019 Club Racer of the Year awards went to Ricky Jordan and Cheryl Alexander, while awards for best performance in the monthly 3km time-trial races went to Karl Henderson and Leanne Butler.

The Couch to 5K program has always been a great introduction to running, with many completing it going on to join local running clubs. Scrabo Striders decided this year to create an award that recognised continuation of this running journey, with the C25K Award going to the fabulous Kelly Houston. 2019 saw the Club’s first endurance event take place at Castle Ward, where Dave Stevenson took the “Last Strider Standing” trophy for 17 hours of running.

There were also a set of fun awards for other “achievements” not totally related to running as follows, Most Colourful Leggings : Patricia Adams, Best Amateur Course Measurer : Kieran McNamara, Let’s Get a Selfie : Karen Clarke, War of The Roses : Justin & Shannon Clegg, Best photo Pose : Kim Cochrane and Oops I missed the Photo : Caroline Smyth.

With the formalities complete members enjoyed a delicious three course meal followed by a ballot with some great prizes and a disco to the small hours. The Committee would like to thank all those who had a role in organising this great evening and in particular Karen Farrelly, Lyndsey Lappin and Chair Fiona McAvoy. Scrabo Striders has now grown to over 320 members.

In running news the Run Forest run Series kicked off at Minnowburn on Sunday. In the 5km race first Strider home was Nicole Clegg in 35 minutes 56 seconds followed by kim Cochrane in 36:02, Clare McCormick 36:55, Erin Donnelly 38:50, Susanne McVea 44:40 and Mariead Curran in 49:06. In the very popular 10km race Thomas Steele was the first home for Scrabo, claiming 9th place in a field of 500 runners with a fantastic time of 41:52.

Next came Justin Clegg in 45:19, Peter McGonigal 47:44, Paul Sheldon 47:46 and Scrabo’s first lady Shannon Clegg in 48:17. Next across was Lesley Semple in a second under 51 minutes followed by Paul Morrow, Michael Brown, Lynn Sheldon and Deborah Wilson all sub 53 minutes. In under an hour came Ian Bailie, Ken Rodgers and Stephen McCormick. Richard Murray, Jacqueline Magee, Angie Crone, Scot Knight, Karen Thompson, Denise Knight, Elaine McGonigal and Rhonda Magowan also ran. Well done to all our forest trail fanatics.

Norman Mawhinney was the sole Strider at the McConnell Shield cross-country while Martin Finn completed the New York Marathon in an impressive 4 hours, 11 minutes and 53 seconds. Closer to home Victoria Atkinson and Dean McGhee recorded new personal best times of 24:29 and 25:49 at Ormeau and Comber Parkruns respectively.

The 2019 Pure Running Half Marathon Series concluded with Scrabo Striders picking up lots of placements. Awards were presented on Athletics NI premises at the Mary Peters Track during the week. Overall first places went to Ricky Jordan in the Male Open category, Lyndsey Blair in Female Open and Liz Turton in F60.

In F50 Barbara McKechnie, Fiona McAvoy and Dawn Ross took 2nd, 3rd and 4th places with Sheena Crone 4th in F40. David Turton and Norman Mawhinney claimed 2nd and 3rd in the M60 category with Graeme McGowan 4th in M35. Well done all in representing Scrabo, having completed a minimum of six half marathons.

By George McGonigal, Vice-Chair

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