Athletics: Sperrin Harriers conquer Walled City Marathon

Mark Reid Chairman of Sperrin Harriers with Jacqueline Mulligan and Cheryl Cardwell who were Winter League Trial winners.INMM2314-349
Mark Reid Chairman of Sperrin Harriers with Jacqueline Mulligan and Cheryl Cardwell who were Winter League Trial winners.INMM2314-349

A team of Sperrin Harriers of made the trip to Derry early on Sunday morning for the second Walled City Marathon.

Although the start of the race was damp with some light rain, this soon dried up as the temperatures rose to 17 degrees leaving it very muggy and warm.

Cross-Country Plaque winners pictured at the Sperrin Harriers presentation evening. Included in the picture is chairman Mark Reid.INMM2314-348

Cross-Country Plaque winners pictured at the Sperrin Harriers presentation evening. Included in the picture is chairman Mark Reid.INMM2314-348

There was no shortage of support along the route of the marathon as streets were lined with cheering spectators.

Paul McLaughlin was the first Harrier home in 3 hours 11 minutes, followed closely by Adrian Glendinnig 3h 17m and Adrain McCreesh with 3h 23m.

Damien Kerr was also in fine form with 3h 37m and Ciaran Donaghy with 3h 42m. Jason O’Neill’s training was certainly paying off as he completed 3h 45m and Anthony O’Neill with 3h 48m.

All went great for Joanne Bell who ran her fourth marathon with a personal best of 3h 50m. Right behind was newest Sperrin Harrier, Joe Loughran who finished comfortably with a personal best of 3h 56m also shaving 30 mins from his previous best. Darren Warnock was next finishing in 3h 57m.

Anthony Fox made a return to marathon running and finished with 4h 3m. Laura McCreesh made a fantastic impression on her first marathon with 4h 10m and was paced around by Connor Martin who also had 4h 10m.

Next up was Michael McCrory with 4h 19m and Fiona Devlin who also made the Walled City her debut marathon and finished in 4h 22m. Frances CW completed in 4h 28m, while Deirdre Conway with 4h 38m and is already looking forward to her next marathon.

Louise Kelly attended the Jengana 10k on Saturday at Shane’s Castle in Antrim. Louise finished the race in 53 minutes 31 seconds. Well done Louise.

Pierce McCullagh claimed top spot this week at the Cookstown Parkrun with a time of 17 minutes 5 seconds. Other Sperrin Harriers were Mark Reid 18:39, Colm McGuckian (pb) 19:28, Martin Foster (pb) 20:29, Fergal McElroy 20:30, Adrian Rea 22:41, Russell Bell 22:59, Alison Colgan 33:22.

Sperrin Harriers hosted the Winter League awards night on Thursday 29th May at Cookstown Hockey Club which drew many top athletes from all parts of the country.

It was a pleasure to have 91 year sporting enthusiast John McKeag join us for the evening. The BBC recently broadcasted a documentary about the achievements that John McKeag and Patsy Forbes had gained through their sporting careers.

The awards were presented following an evening buffet. The award winners are as follows:

1st Male overall- Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers)

3rd Male overall- Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC)

1st Male 40- Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC)

Joint 1st Male 50- Barry O’Neill and Brian Bradley (both Sperrin Harriers)

1st Male 55- Jim Breen (Springwell RC)

2nd Male 55- John Knocker (Unattached)

1st Male 60- Tommy Harraghy (Sperrin Harriers)

1st Male 65- Francis Boal (Lagan Valley AC)

2nd Female overall- Jacqueline Mulligan (Acorns AC)

3rd Female overall- Cheryl Cardwell (Acorns AC)

1st Female open- Hannah Su (Sperrin Harriers)

1st Female 45- Maureen Mallon (Sperrin Harriers)

1st Female 50- Frances CW (Sperrin Harriers)

Apologies were expressed form the following athletes who could not attend- Patricia Campbell of Omagh Harriers, Michael Kerr of Carmen Runners, Raymond Doherty of Finn Valley AC, Mark Alexander of Ballymena Runners, Michael Crawley of Acorns AC, Shauna Young and Delfim Pimentel.

Training continues as usual at 6.30pm on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Loughry and anyone wishing to train on Sunday morning can contact Sean Donnelly on 07518983646.

All new members are welcome, whatever your current running abilities. Further details can be found on facebook and www.sperrinharriers.co.uk.