As the spring racing season starts to pick up, the athletes from Ballydrain were spoilt for choice this week!
Tuesday 14th saw the first race of the relaunched Woodburn Forest Series. This mini-series comprises 3 trail races in May and June around the Woodburn Forest near Carrickfergus. The race was a short yet challenging 3 miles and was won by Jordan Heron in 17:11. Debbie Matchett was first to cross the line for Ballydrain continuing with her fine form of late, running a strong race from the start and crossing the finish line as 2nd female. Claire Ingram was also competing and finished 6th female.

On Thursday evening, the 5th fixture of the Hill and Dale Series organised by Newcastle Athletics Club took place. 18 athletes travelled on another bright but slightly breezy evening to the start line at Shankley’s River to take in the 4 summits of Rocky, Tornamrock, Tiernan’s Castle and Altataggart. First home for Ballydrain was Nathan Beatie who ran an impressive race and showing his strength on this terrain, finished 16th place overall in 37:21. 2nd home for Ballydrain was Nigel Kelly in 42:03 demonstrating that the mountain racing is helping him return to form. 3rd home for Ballydrain was Andrew Wallace with another strong performance in 42:33. First female home for Ballydrain was Amanda Perry in 47:12. Special mention to Fred Strickland who finished first in his age category MV70 with a time of 55:53. Well done!

Friday 19th saw the annual Les Jones 10k which takes place from the Mary Peters Track and is the 5th fixture in the Novosco 10k Series. 9 members from Ballydrain travelled to compete in the course which has the notoriously challenging hill towards the finish line. First home for the club was Sam Hughes in 38:46 and first female was Debbie Matchett in 42:36.

The Ulster Schools Track and Field championship took place on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th May at the Antrim Forum. Club member Jared Martin, representing Regent House Grammar School, ran in the 5000m; Jared is consistently producing impressive results and ran a personal best time of 16:38 to finish in 5th place overall.

Congratulations to Raymond Stanex who completed the Karlovy Vary Half Marathon in the Czech Republic on Friday 17th May. Raymond finished in a very respectable time of 1:39:14 after following his own unique training plan!
East Antrim Marathon Series (EAMS) hosted an event on Saturday 20th to include the marathon distance consisting of 5 laps of the Woodburn Reservoir route. In true EAMS style the weather was damp and grey, but it did not deter two hardy marathon runners from Ballydrain who never seem to rest! William Brown finished in 3:24:55 and Colin Campbell completed the course in 4:35.

On Saturday 20th May, two enduring athletes travelled to the Mournes to compete in the NIMRA Annalong Horseshoe Race. The race started and finished at the Silent Valley Reservoir and covered approximately 25k (depending on route) with an ascent of 2050m. The route included the peaks of Slieve Lamagan, Cove, Slieve Commedagh, Slieve Donard, Chimney Rock and Slieve Binian. Weather conditions on the day proved to be challenging with limited visibility for navigation so respect is due to both Andrew Wallace and Amanda Perry, who demonstrated both skill and endurance to complete the race 3:47:41 and 5:00:11 respectively. Andrew placed 4th in the M50 and Amanda was 2nd in the F45.

Congratulations to Valerie Martin who celebrated her birthday on Sunday by running the Hackney Half Marathon; the challenging race took place on a warm day, but Valerie thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The Portadown Marathon and Half Marathon was on Sunday 19th May; Colin Campbell completed his back to back marathon by completing Sunday’s course in 4:32 – well done Colin! Following his strong performance on Thursday at Hill and Dale, William Alexander completed the Half Marathon distance in 1:43:30.
Club member Brian Bogle, a keen triathlete, competed in the Newry Triathlon Club Camlough Aquathlon and had a successful day by obtaining 11th place overall and a personal best time on the course.


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