On Wednesday 7 August North Down Athletics Club hosted their annual 5k trail run in the ground of Crawfordsburn Country Park. 229 runners took on the undulating course which encompassed both the woodland and costal path of the Park. Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Runing Club) was the overall winner in 17:06. Six Harriers were running with Mark Dugan leading them home taking in 21:24 which saw him place 32nd overall and 3rd in his M50 age category. Other times were Andrew Wallace 22:12; Alice Carson 34:08; Joanne Wallace 35:10; Linnora Phillips 37:54; and Fiona Murphy 38:40.
Brian Bogle was a little further down the coast competing in the Donaghadee Aquathon organised by The Peninsula Triathlon Club the same evening. The event involved a 750m swim across the harbour and a 5k run. Brian finished joint 11th in a combined time of 36 minutes 40 seconds.
On Friday 5 August it was the sixth annual Mallusk 5 mile hosted by Mallusk Hariers. The popular race saw 340 runners take part with North Belfast Harrier’s Mark McKinstry winning in a time of 26:46. Five Harriers were competing and their times were: Karen Hamilton 46:02; Paula Gray 46:56; Catherine Lavery 49:48; Alice Carson 55:23; and Fiona Murphy 1:03:35.
Saturday 10 August was a busy day for the Harriers, Graham Gibson took part in the Lurig Challenge Run, which was part of the Heart of the Glens Festival. The 3.8 mile off-road race started in Cushendall and took the 356 runners to the top of Lurig Mountain, which has an ascent of 1,073 feet. Jonny Steede (Glens Runners) won the race in 29.33. Graham had a strong run on the tough muddy course, placing 124th overall in a time of 46:49. This was a 5 minute course PB for Graham from when he last completed the run in 2012.
William Brown and Colin Campbell travelled to Ballycarry, County Armagh to take part in the East Antrim Marathon Series’ trail marathon. William won the race in 3:21:52. Colin ran 4:27:23 and was thrilled to have reached the milestone of completing his 50th marathon.
Denise Davison ran the Gopher to Badger half marathon in the USA. The 13.1 mile race started in Minnesota and ran over the river to Wisconsin. Although not a PB, Denise was delighted with her 2 hours 3 minute time after over-indulging during her two week holiday!
Saturday also saw the longest and toughest race on the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association calendar, the Mourne Seven Sevens. The 18 mile fell race is a 2,495m (8,100ft) test of endurance and mountain skills. Starting in Donard Park, runners had to climb the seven highest summits in the Mourne Mountains: Slieve Donard (853m); Commedagh (765m); Bernagh (739m); Meelmore (687m); Meelbeg (708m); Binnian (747m); and Lamagan (704m). They followed their own route between a series of fixed checkpoints. Conditions were horrendous on the day with heavy rain and thunder. Five Harriers were however brave enough to tackle the challenge. Well done to: Andrew Wallace 5 hours 47 minutes 38 seconds, Mark Duggan 6:11:38; Nigel Kelly 6:13:38; Mark Elliott 6:47:31; and Paddy Ritchie 7:11:58.
Jonathan Bull was trying something new on Sunday at Carlingford competing in the Carlingford Olympic Triathlon. The event involved a 1500m swim in Carlingford Lough (which had to be halved on the day to 750m as a result of safety concerns due to the adverse weather), a 40km bike through Cooley mountains and flat 10km run along the coast. Jonathan’s overall time including transition was 2 hours 27 minutes 6 seconds. (swim 21:15, bike, 1:09:50 and run 52:40).