Athletics: Sperrin Harriers perform well in London Marathon 2016

Harriers before London Marathon 2016
Harriers before London Marathon 2016

Saturday saw 400 runners travel to Eglish in support of Cormac Run 10K and 5K races, organised by Cormac Trust awareness regarding sudden cardiac deaths in young folk.

The day sunny, a light wind was moving across a relatively flat course. Paul McLaughlin was first Harrier across the line, fourth in 39:36. Hot on his heels, Pauline McGurren took fifth overall and 1st lady in 39:56. Gareth Cardwell completed a top ten triumvirate, 40:08 and taking sixth.

They were followed by Malcolm McCullough 43:23; John McElroy 44:37; Patsy Hughes 45:13; second lady Harrier Laura Mitchell 45:28; Martin Donaghy 46:11; Roddy McIvor 46:37; Barry O’Neill 46:56; Stephanie Henry 49:56; Catherine Farley 52:23; and Fiona Atkinson 54:06.

Stephen McWilliams registered his fastest 10K this year 62:38; Melissa Glasgow 65:04;Jacinta Morgan 1:06:12; Bronagh McKenna 1:08:35; and Danielle McCrory 1:08:35.

On Sunday almost 40,000 took part in 36th London Marathon, starting after a countdown from spacefaring astronaut Major Tim Peake. The largely flat course followed River Thames, beginning at Blackheath and finishing in The Mall alongside St. James’s Park.

Nine Sperrin Harriers contributed to landmark of one million runners to have completed since it started in 1981.

Marty McDermott was first to finish with a tremendous PB 3:12:14, chased by Mark Reid in 3:23:38, Sean O’Gara in 3:27:31, Ciara Coyle with a PB 3:35:08. Close behind was Joanne Taggart with PB 3:35:52, accompanied across the line by husband Brian.

Nicola Gillespie was able to celebrate her own PB 4:04:24, a mammoth 22 minutes off her previous best. Next was Eamonn Sheehan with badly blistered feet in 4:06:15; Russell Bell completing in 4:15:29.

As they proceeded around the course the Harriers were cheered by a strong and vocal support team who positioned at strategic points along the route to give encouragement.

Well done everyone, runners and supporters, for contributing to a fabulous day.

On Wednesday 20th this 5K event took place on a fast route along the River Lagan. Harrier Gavin Corey battled an injury which meant he had to walk a portion of the course; he bravely finished in 19:01.

While in London to support the marathon runners a number of Harriers were able to take advantage of the local Mile End Parkrun facilities.

Toirleach Gourley completed the course in 21:25, to be followed by Jane Thom (25:08); Maureen Mallon (29:14); and Briege McCann (29:42).

Mark Thom was also able to enjoy a London Parkrun, completing the Southwark course in 19:49; an overall Parkrun personal best for him.

A number of Harriers decided to run somewhat closer to home on Saturday. The first Harrier to finish at Cookstown was Connor Martin who achieved a personal best with his time of 18:49. Mere seconds behind was Fred Devlin in 18:51, with Tanya Quinn taking 3rd lady in 20:41. Adrian Rea bagged himself a personal best of 20:56, and Sean Hamill completed the day for the Harriers when he finished in 23:42.

Upcoming running events: Wednesday 27th April:Purple Ladies 5K, Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre at 7:30pm.

Sunday 1st May: Letterkenny AC Northwest Charity 10K, Letterkenny at 2pm.

Monday 2nd May: Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, Belfast City Hall at 9am.

Friday 6th May: Holy Family Primary School 5K, Castledawson Road at 7pm.

Saturday 7th May: Killyclogher 10K, Killyclogher GAA, Drumakilly Road at 11am.

Sunday 8th May: Termoneeny 10K & 5K Road Race, Termoneeny Community Centre at 1:30pm.

Stunnerz ‘N’ Runnerz returns for its fifth year on Saturday 11th June, Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt, at 12 noon. Open to women of all ages and abilities, the day will give female runners the opportunity to test themselves in an officially timed yet friendly environment, supporting Pretty ‘n’ Pink breast cancer charity. With DJ, buffet, charity raffle and more, it promises something for everyone.