Almost 100 athletes from all corners of the Provence gathered at the An Creagan Heritage Centre on Saturday morning for the first race of the Sperrin Harriers ever popular Winter League Trail Series which is now into its forth year.
Unlike last year where the runners would have needed wellies to make their way round the course this year the trails were in ideal condition. With the first sharp ground frost of the autumn, together with clear blue sunny skies, conditions couldn’t have been any better for all the participants.
As they set off at 12pm last years series winner Pius McIntyre Foyle Valley, Allan Boggle Spartans, Glenn Donnelly Sperrin, Pierce McCullough, Mark Alexander Ballymena and Charlie Lennard setting the early pace. Some could have been forgiven for thinking that Pius & Allan were out for a training run as they casually chatted to each other all the way round the first lap with the rest of the field trailing in their wake.
It wasn’t until the second lap that they began to race with Pius pushing himself in front and this was a lead he held as he took 1st overall in 27.29, Allan Boggle was 2nd in 27.37, Glenn Donnelly took 3rd in 28.22 while also representing the Sperrin harriers as 1st harrier home.
In the Ladies race Anne Paul, Spartans, showed total dominance by taking 1st place easily in a time of 31.33 from the ever improving Sperrin Harriers athlete Cheryl Cardwell who was 2nd with a time of 34.37. 3rd place went to Omagh Harriers athlete Rosaleen McCarthin in a time of 35.25.
The Sperrin Harriers results are as follows: Glenn Donnelly 28.22, following some ill health, a great return to form from the well trained Dairmuid O’Kane in 30.43 was up next. Having recently set a PB at the Great North Run at 50 years young, Alvin Taylor, who is possibly in the best form of his life was next to finish in 30.46. Next for the Harriers was Adrian Devlin in 31.15, Jonathan Dempsey in 31.24, Gavin Wylie in 31.39, Kevin Murphy in 32.12, Alan Shaw in 32.27, Irwin Speirs 32.47, Colm Gallagher 32.51 and Ashley Hughes in 33.07.
Raymond Ferguson made a great comeback to running with a time of 33.21, Gerard McNally 33.25, Tommy Harraghy 33.41, Dean Corey 33.55, Trevor Dallas 34.20, Cheryl Cardwell was our 1st lady home in 34.37, Gary Coleman 35.16, Barry Loughran 35.07. Michael McCrory 39.25, Monica Mullin 39.26, Margaret Conway 39.39, Laura McErlain 41.23, Louis Devlin 41.33, Adel McNally 43.28, Roisin McErlain 43.29, Deirdre Bradley 43.32, Bernadette McNally 46.42, Maureen Mallon 50.51 and Ruth Ruddell 51.56.
Sperrin Harriers would like to thank all the athletes and clubs who turned out to support the first race in this years Winter League. The series is open to all runners of all abilities. Whether you wish to take part in the whole series or simply one or two races, everyone is most welcome.
The next race in the Winter League Trial Series will take place in two weeks on Saturday 10 November with Lough Fea the venue for the 5km race. This is sure to be fast and furious and we are looking forward to seeing you all their once again.
As always registration will be from 11.00 - 11.45am with the racing getting underway at 12pm. Tea, coffee & refreshments served to all athletes afterwards. Entry to each race is £3 affiliated and £4 un-affiliated.
At going to press a small army of Sperrin Harriers were all tucked up for an early night in a Dublin hotel as they prepare to tackle 26.2 mile around the streets of Dublin’s Fair City on Monday morning as part of the Dublin Marathon.
We wish them all the very best of luck and we will have a full report on how they got on next week.
Regular training continues at Loughry College Campus, Cookstown, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6.30pm and also at Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt Mondays at 6.45pm and Thursdays at 6.30pm starting at 7.30pm. Everyone Welcome.