Harriers Take the Tower

On Wednesday 5 June 468 runners took to the streets around Ballymena for the annual Fairhill 5 Mile. The race is very popular due to its flat and fast course. It was a double celebration for North Belfast Harriers on the night, Mark Minkinstry won the men’s race in 24:46 and Gladys Ganiel took the top spot in the ladies race in 28:09. Ballydrain Harriers Evan Boyce and Debbie Matchett both had good runs, finishing in 32:08 and 32:28. Debbie placed 1st in her F50 age category.

On the back of a very successful inaugural event last year, SEAL Training and Fitness hosted Taking the Tower 10k on Friday 7 June. This was a 10k trail run which took runners on a course round Killynether Woods and Scrabo Country Park. 14 Ballydrain Harriers were amongst the 72 runners who were brave enough to take on the tricky hills. It was a 1, 2, 3 for Ballydrain with Matthew Carville winning the race in 45:36 followed by Nathan Beattie (1st MO) in 46:01 and Paul Flynn (1st M35) in 47:16. Ballydrain’s Amanda Perry was first lady to cross the line in 53:15 with Lisa Corry (Scrabo Striders) 2nd in 53:42 and Alison Stocks (Ballydrain Harriers) 3rd in 55:42. There was more Harrier success with age category wins from Mark Duggan 52:29 (M50); Amanda Jackson 56:16 (F40), Wendy Purdon 1:09:29 (F50).

Saturday 8 June was a busy day with a number of races on the calendar for the Harriers. Stuart McIver and Paul Edgar took part in the East Antrim Marathon Series 6 hour challenge. The challenge is a 4.2 mile loop and participants have to see how many loops they can cover in the 6 hours. Paul and Stuart completed 8 loops in 5hours and 25 minutes a total distance of 34.1 miles. Drew Fowler was in County Louth running in the Glenmore 10 mile challenge which takes runners up and down the relentless hills of Ballygoley and Aghameen. Unfazed by the hills, Drew placed 2nd overall in 1:03:20 behind winner Eammon O’Connor (Glenmore AC) who crossed the line in 1:01:49. Trevor and Ann McClurg travelled to Fermanagh for the Enniskillen 10k. Eskander Turki (Monaghan Town Runners) led the 620 runners home in 32:40. Trevor finished in 50:46 and Anne 54:24

26 Extreme’s Mourne Way Event also took place on Saturday. Runners had their choice of ultra-marathon, marathon, half marathon and 10k distances. Three Harriers Claire Ingram, Fiona Murphy and Heather Gayle were amongst the 204 runners who took on the half marathon. The challenging course, which traversed the foothills of the Mourne Mountains was tough enough but the unseasonal very wet weather during the week made for incredibly muddy conditions underfoot for the runners to negotiate. Jason Wilson (Ballymena Runners) was the overall winner of the race in a time of 1:31:08. Claire Ingram had a strong run, despite carrying a knee injury, to finish 9th lady out of the field of 69 in a time of 2:10:47. Fiona and Heather ran the race together and completed in 3:35:05.

The Comber 10k is fast approaching on 21 June. This is always a very popular event with a flat and fast two-lap course which is ideal for runners chasing a personal best time. To help runners shave those vital seconds off and achieve a PB the Ballydrain Harriers have a pacing team out on the course at 5 minute intervals from 40 to 70 minutes. Online entry is available via Athletics NI at https://online.athleticsni.org/ps/event/Comber10k20192.

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