Belfast, Boston, Castlewellan, Dublin, Paris and Warsaw – it has been a very busy week for the Ballydrain Harriers!

The racing kicked off on Thursday 11 April with the first of the Hill and Dale Race Series 2019 at Castlewellan.  The Series is organised by Newcastle AC and there is a total of 10 races with distances varying up to 5 miles and some 2,000ft of climbing.  The Castlewellan race covered 4.7 miles with a climb of over 1,000ft.  The race was the sixth race in Ballydrain’s Super Series and it saw 36 Harriers take to the start line; for many it was their first experience of running a mountain race.

Jonathan Scott (Mourne Runners) won in a time of 30:54 with Ballydrain junior member Jared Martin placing third overall (first in the male Junior category) in 31:52.  Amanda Perry was first lady home for the Harriers in 40:21.  Fittingly after his incredible run Jared was crowned the sixth ‘Superstar’ in the Super Series with an adjusted handicap time of 28:49.  Second and third on adjusted times were Nathan Beattie (29:43) and William Brown (29:56).

On Sunday the 14 April the MS Society Run for Research 10k and half marathon took place at the Holywood Exchange.  The course consisted of 1 lap for the 10k and 2 laps with an extended turnaround point for the half marathon.  The very windy conditions did not deter the 15 Ballydrain Harriers who took on the half marathon and the 6 who took on the 10k.  Harrier William Brown continued his excellent form of late placing 8th overall in the field of 168 runners in the 10k in a time of 39:18.  Wendy Purdon showed no signs of tired legs from the Hill and Dale and finished first lady for Ballydrain in 53:53.  In the half marathon, Michael Barton was the first Harriers home placing 6th overall in time of 1:20:49. This was a half marathon PB of over 2 minutes and an amazing achievement as just a week ago Michael ran his first sub-3 hour marathon in Manchester where he completed the 26.2-mile course in a blistering time of 2:54:42 (a 14 minute marathon PB).  Amanda Perry, who consistently produces impressive times over all distances, placed 2nd female overall in the half marathon in 1:30:47.  Three Harriers ran half marathon PBs: Stuart McIver 1:24:34; William Alexander 1:43:06; and Paul Cochrane 1:42:24.

Travelling slightly further afield on Sunday 14 April were husband and wife team Patrycja and Richard McAlpin who ran in the Warsaw marathon in Poland.  The McAlpin’s are parkrun veterans who have both trained hard over the winter months to enable them to complete their first marathons.  It was a successful day for them both with Patrycja completing the race in 4:10:25 and Richard in 3:35:26.  Louise Meehan was also running a marahton on Sunday, but in Paris.  Paris is one of the biggest marathons in the world; it starts on the Champs Elysées and takes in all of the city’s spectualr landmarks along the route.  Louise was delighted to run a personal best time of 4:00:12.  Paul Flynn targeted the Boston marathon in Massachusetts, USA.  The course contains the infamous Heartbreak Hill at around the 20-mile mark.  Paul did not let it beat him though and he completed the course in 3:03:39.

Dublin was the location for 23 athletes from Ballydrain who travelled to Phoenix Park for the annual Great Ireland Run which incorporates the National 10k championship.  Over 4,200 runners took part and the race was won by Hiko Tonosa (Dundrum South Dublin) in 30:41.  The fastest time on the day from the  Ballydrain Harriers was by club captain Drew Fowler who ran 35:57.  The fastest time for the ladies was Anne McClurg finishing in 52:51. Deborah Sherlock achieved a 10k PB of 59:09.

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