On Friday 22 February Scrabo Striders hosted the Trails Mount Stewart 10k Night Edition in the stunning grounds and gardens of Mount Stewart. Harriers Jonathan Swann, Paul Edgar, Heather Gyle and Fiona Murphy were amongst the 186 runners who took on the challenging course. Strider Curtis McCaw won the race in 38:42, Jonathan finished in 20th place in 44:48 very closely followed by Paul Edgar in 21st position in 44:50. Heather and Fiona ran the race together and crossed the line in 1:20:06.

On Saturday 23 February it was time for the eighth and final run in the Born2Run winter race series Run Forest Run. Thought by many to be the toughest of the eight races the 5k and 10k routes were run on the hilly trail and forest paths around Castlewellan lake and forest park. 235 runners ran the 5k which was won by Gordy Graham (East Down AC) in 17:12. Ballydrain junior member Kyle Ross has had an outstanding race series, he finished second on Saturday to Gordy in 17:49 but this was his seventh podium place of the series, out of the seven races he competed in: he had four wins and three second places (including one first male). Superb running Kyle. Member Kelly Carlisle was running her sixth 5k of the series and she completed in 41:26; well done Kelly. 483 runners ran the 10k race which was won by Noel Kerr (unattached) in 37:09 with Gladys Ganiel the first lady across the line in 37:39. Harriers Debbie Mingout completed in 49:47 and Violet Davidson in 1:11:28. Both ladies completed all eight races in the series and Violet was series winner in her F70 age category. Amazing Violet, you are an inspiration.

Saturday also saw the NI & Ulster Senior Cross-Country Championships at Lurgan Park. This was the final race in NI Athletics 2018 Cross-Country League.  There were 198 runners in the men’s 12k race. First across the line was Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) in 40:58. Five Harriers were running, first three home were Mark Dugan (54:47), Andrew Wallace (58:45) and Robert Beattie (59:44).

The Harriets had a team of 13 out in the ladies 6k race which was won by Breege Connolly (City of Derry Spartans) in 20:06. First three across the line for the Harriets were: Amanda Perry (23:49), Densie Logue (24:29) and Debbie Matchett (24:34). The ladies placed 7th in the team race on the day, overall however in the NI Athletics League the ladies managed to hold on to second place to Beechmount Harriers who placed a very close third – a fantastic achievement from all the ladies who embraced the mud and donned their spikes. Ballydrain ladies would like to congratulate North Down AC ladies team who took the League title. Congratulations also to Mark Duggan and Amanda Perry who claimed the Ballydrain Cross-Country Champion titles for the season.

Men’s Captain, Drew Fowler, travelled slightly further afield on Saturday to Lusk, just North of Dublin, to compete in the East of Ireland Marathon Series 20 mile race. Drew won the race in a staggering time of 2 hours and 3 minutes.

On Sunday member Stephen Watterson competed in the Resolution Run 10k, to support stroke survivors across the UK. The race was a two-lap course that started at Queen’s Sport Upper Malone and then dropped down to the towpath through Barnett’s domain and followed the towpath before climbing back up to the Dub via Mary Peter’s track. Stephen had a strong run and finished 13th out of the field of 222 runners in a time of 44:42.

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