On Wednesday 19 June around 6,000 runners headed to Lisburn for the annual half marathon, 10k and fun run.  The routes which, start at the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex and take in the roads and countryside around Lisburn, are flat, fast and ideal for a personal best time.  1022 runners took on the 13.1 mile half marathon route which was won by Eoin Hughes (Acorns AC) in 1:09:14.  North Belfast Harrier’s Gladys Ganiel took the top spot in the ladies race in a time of 1:18:27.  Four harriers opted for the half distance: the Robert Beattie (1:38:42), Jonathan Lilly (1:45:58), Holly Hunniford (1:49:05) and Graham Gibson (1:53:44).  Robert had a very strong run and achieved a well-deserved half marathon pb.  There were seven Harriers amongst the 1,535 runners running in the 10k.  City of Lisburn AC’s James Edgar was overall winner in 33:47 with Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) first lady in 37:42.  Sam Hughes led the Harriers home in 38:56 followed by Alan Stewart (44:49) and Barry Campbell (45:14). Alison Wilson was the first lady home for the Blues in 52:22.

Friday 21 June saw the Comber 10k which Ballydrain were delighted to host for the fourth year running in the town.  There was a great turn out with 739 runners completing the two-lap course.  Gareth Lyons (North Belfast Harriers) was victorious in 32:49 and Eimear McCracken (City of Lisburn) won the ladies race in 39:45.  Two of Ballydrain’s Junior Members were first across the line for the Club – Matthew Carville placed 6th overall (1st male U20) in a time of 35:41 and Kyle Ross placed 12th overall (2nd male U20) in 36:50 – both boys achieving new 10k pbs.  These were not the only successes on the night for the 82 Harriers racing: Debbie Matchett placed 2nd lady overall, John Tracey 2nd M45, Amanda Perry 1st F45, Colin Stevenson 2nd M50 and Violet Davidson 1st F70.  There were also new 10k pbs for Richard McAlpin (41:08), Michael Browne (43:49), Julie McNeilly (44:52), Lee Rook (45:05), Simon Moffett (45:18), Tim Ewart (45:35), Albert Oscoz (47:57), Joanne Ewart  (49:13), Emer James (55:54), Deborah Sherlock (57:18), Michael Gibson (57:32).  Congratulations to Richard Ewart (53:55) who was running his first 10k.  It was a double celebration for Richard as he completed his 50th parkrun the following day.

The final race in the 2019 Hill and Dale Series, Drinnahilly, also took place on Friday night on the gravel and forest paths through Donard Wood.  The race was just under 3.5 miles with a climb of 240 metres.  Ballydrain’s Jared Martin led the 194 runners home in a time of 23:06. Second home for the Harriers was Andrew Wallace in 29:02 followed closely by Mark Duggan in 29:14.  Christina McConnell was first Harriett home in 32:12, Christina is new to mountain running and thoroughly enjoyed the Series.  Congratulations to all the Harriers that took on the challenge of the Series over the ten races, but most notably to Jared Martin who was the Series Junior Champion (5th male overall) and Fred Strickland who was crowned MV70 Champion.  Alison Stocks was delighted to place 2nd in her FV35 category and Amanda Perry in her FV45.

From Saturday 12 noon to Sunday 12 noon the 10th staging of the Belfast Energia 24-Hour took place in Victoria Park.  The race welcomes competitors from across the globe and the winner is the athlete who records the greatest distance in the 24-hours.  This year’s overall winner was Eoin Keith who completed a staggering 234.58km (or 145.76 miles) and winner of the ladies race was Paula Wright who covered 218.06k (or 135.49 miles).  Ballydrain’s Colin Campbell was on a mission to complete 100 miles and earn the coveted 100 mile jacket.  Colin pulled out all the stops and reached the very level of his endurance and completed just over the 100 miles – an amazing achievement.

Some Harriers decided to try something a little bit different on Sunday and travelled to the Mary Peter’s track in Belfast to compete in the first round of Athletic NI’s Team Trophy League 2019.  Paul Flynn took on the 100m and 400m events, Alan Shearer the 100m and 200m, Sam Hughes the 400m, Debbie Matchett the 200m and 400m, Heather Stanex 3k, Drew Fowler the 800m and 3k, Raymond Stanex the long jump and 200m, Jane Holland the shot and discus and Emma Newell the high jump and long jump.  No records were broken, but a lot of fun was had.

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