The running adventures this week for Ballydrain Harriers began in Carrickfergus with the second round of the Woodburn Forest Series. Stuart McIver finished in 6th position in the 4.5 mile trail race in a time of 27:35. Debbie Matchett was 2nd female and 1st in F50 in a time of 29;49, while Amanda Jackson came in 4th female and 2nd in the F40 category in 31:24. Debbie is currently lying second female for the series. Good luck to all for the final event.

Sticking with the trails, 19 members headed to the Mournes again for the 7th round of the Hill & Dales series at Millstone. This was a tough race and the strong wind at the top of Millstone proved very challenging. The race was won by Seamus Lynch of Newcastle AC in 38:36 with Esther Dickson of Newry AC (44:36) first female finished. Jared Martin, who is getting stronger week on week, finished in 3rd position overall with a superb time of 40:50. Jared also finished 1st in the Junior Men’s category. Nathan Beattie (46:43) and Mark Dugan (50:19) completed the top three finishers for Ballydrain. Amanda Perry (52:51) was first female for Ballydrain and finished 1st FV45. Well done to all 19 of the Ballydrain mountain runners on a great performance.

Not content with Hill & Dale on Thursday night, four Ballydrain mountain men took to Ballygally beach for the inaugural Cairncastle Classic Fell Race organised by East Coast AC. The 10-mile race included approximately 670 metres of climbing on mixed terrain to the summit of Knock Dhu. Tim Johnston of Mourne Runners came in first in a time of 1:13:09 with Esther Dickson, Newry AC, coming in first for the ladies in a time of 1:29:59. Finishes for Ballydrain were Mark Dugan (1:38:40), Andrew Wallace (1:42:51), Mark Elliott (1:49:25) and Paddy Wallace (1:58:50).

Also tackling the mountain trails this week was Alison Stocks who was the sole representative for Ballydrain at the Race RunDMC on Divis Mountain. The course offered three different distances – 5 miles, 7.5 miles or 9.5 miles. Alison took on the 7.5 Ridge and Summit and finished in 1:04:37, 8th position overall for the course. Well done Alison.

On Sunday afternoon, Kilmood Playgroup in conjunction with Atlas Running organised a 4-mile fundraising race around Florida Manor in Killinchy. Twelve Harriers took part in this tricky but scenic run around the estate. The close-run race was won by Kyle Ross of Ballydrain (23:33) by 3 seconds from Ross Moore of Saintfield Striders (23.36), with John Tracey (Ballydrain) taking 3rd in 24:03. In the women’s race Lisa Corry of Saintfield Striders took first place in 27:18 with Amanda Jackson (Ballydrain) only a few seconds behind her in 27:26 taking 2nd. Holly Hunniford (Ballydrain) finished off the top three, finishing in 30:37. Well done to the organisers for a well-run event in a beautiful setting, and for the fantastic spread afterwards!

Marathon season continues and this weekend was the turn of the Walled City Marathon in Derry. The event was won by Eric Koech (Project Africa) in 2:34:19 with Natalie Hall (Armagh AC) taking first female in a time of 3:03:35. Ballydrain Harriers were represented by Michael Barton, William Brown and Louise Meehan. William finished in 3:07:44 while Louise finished in 4:05:29. Special mention to Michael Barton who completed the marathon in 2:59:41, coming in in 18th position. This was Michael’s third sub-3 hour marathon in 8 weeks. Well done Michael, your hard work and training has really paid off.

Also pounding out the marathons was Colin Campbell who was taking part in the East of Ireland marathon in Clontarf last week. Colin finished in a time of 4hours 31 minutes – fantastic achievement for his fourth marathon in as many weeks.

In the Czech Republic, Raymond Stanex was taking part in the Mattoni Českè Budějovice half marathon, part of the Run Czech series. Raymond finish in a time of 1:37:20 – 2 minutes faster than the previous race 2 weeks previously. Raymond was running with some excellent company in former Olympian Paul Pollock. Paul managed a fantastic 4th place finish in the event.


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