Athletics: Sperrin Harriers take part in international cross country

Sperrin Harriers Ladies at the IAAF Cross Country
Sperrin Harriers Ladies at the IAAF Cross Country

On Saturday, the Sperrin Harriers team made the trip to CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus for the annual IAAF International Cross Country event.

With this event having international status, there was plenty of hype surrounding the competitors, which arrived from Kenya, Uganda, Belgium and Bahrain, to name but a few of the represented countries.

On a local level, top runners such as Stephen Scullion, Paul Pollock and Fionnuala Britain were all in attendance.

As well as the International races, there were points up for grabs for all the local clubs as part of the NI Cross Country Championship and League, which the Sperrin Harriers were taking part in.

Weather conditions were dull earlier in the day, but brightened up and conditions under foot very slippy following the recent wet weather.

With over 25 members in attendance for the races, it gave the team a good chance of picking up points as part of the league.

In the ladies race, Karen Alexander, Nuala Kelly, Jacqueline Mulligan, Cheryl Cardwell, Shauna Young and Leeann Whittle were in the “A” team and everyone finished in under 29 mins, the “B” team weren’t far behind with Wendy Walker, Julie Brodison, Deidre Bradley, Fiona Devlin and Louise Kelly at finishing in under 31 minutes. Overall the ladies finished with a brilliant 5th place overall.

In the men’s race there were 15 Harriers taking part, including Bliadhan Glass who continues to perform exceptionally well at Cross Country and Jonathan Dempsey, who was running his second race in three days. Overall the team had an outstanding performance with a 4th place finish in the overall team standings.

Well done to the Harriers team for their continued support and effort in the Cross Country league.

Antrim IAAF Senior Women:- 34th Karen Alexander 21:27; 52nd Nuala Kelly 23:12; 60th Jacqueline Mulligan 24:01; 65th Cheryl Cardwell 24:32; 87th Shauna Young 26:50; 102nd Leeann Whittle 28:45; 107th Wendy Walker 29:23; 111th Julie Brodison 29:46; 112nd Deirdre Bradley 29:55; 114th Fiona Devlin 30:24; 116th Louise Kelly 30:53.

Antrim IAAF Senior men:- 68th Bliadhan Glass 37:03; 71st Jonathan Dempsey 37:20; 75th Aaron Meharg 37:51; 80th Diarmuid O’Kane 38:19; 82nd Sean O’Gara 38:33; 85th Sam Linton 38:49; 89th Paul McLaughlin 39:12; 91st Martin Loughran 39:22; 104th Alan Shaw 40:57; 110th Kevin Conway 42:31; 116th Martin McGirr 43:31; 124th Oliver Murphy 44:46; 127th Stephen Kerr 44:59; 130th Richard Smith 45:03; 133rd Adrian Whittle 46:38.

On New Year’s Day seven Harriers made the trip to Glenariff Forest for the annual “Race Over The Glens” organised by Ballymena Runners.

There was nothing short of torrential rain as the 300 runners set of along the 6 mile course, which takes you to the foot of the Glens and back again.

The course is known as one of the toughest on the running calendar due to the hills, which are literally walking pace at certain points along the route.

Jonathan Dempsey had a great run finishing in 20th place overall and the first of the Harriers to cross the line.

Well done to all who took part in this very tough event. Thanks to Ballymena runners for their post-race hospitality.

Results:- 20th Jonathan Dempsey 43:47; 76th Oliver Murphy 49:56; 102st Gary McGuckin 52:29; 118th Paul Martin 52:59; 119th Jeremy Dobson 52:59; 136th Jason O’Neill 54:05; 199th Michael McCrory 58:46

The final race of the 2013 Calendar too place at Loughmacrory Football Club on New Year’s Eve, with almost 500 runners taking part in this year’s event.

Almost 20 Harriers took part in the race including Gavin Corey, who had a fine run and an 8th place overall in 28:50, and Delfim Pimentel who finished in 11th place and was second in his class.

Results:- 8th Gavin Corey 28:50; 11th Delfim Pimentel 29:30; 29th Martin Loughran 31:40; 34th Ashley Hughes 32:17; 55th Raymond Thom 33:55; 60th Roger McLean 34:18; 69th Eoin Loughran 34:29; 70th Fergal McElroy 34:41; 80th Barry Loughran 35:08; 87th Barry O’Neill 35:59; 92nd Frank McGurk 36:04; 121st Damian Kerr 37:10; 123rd Patsy Hughes 37:12; 141st Anthony O’Neill 38:31; 212nd John McElroy 40:23; 247th Fiona Devlin 42:07; 295th Samantha Convery.