SATURDAY saw in the annual causeway coast half marathon, one of the most scenic and yet toughest multi-terrain races on the running calendar.
Six sperrin harriers arrived to Portballintrae Village Hall for registration before being whisked off in buses to Larrybane Head where the starting point was.
At 12.30pm the 430 seasoned athletes got underway from an old disused quarry.
Karen Alexander and Darren Crozier quickly took their lead positions followed by Marty McGirr and Gary McGuckin. Not far behind was Darren Warnock and Jeremy Dobson. The first three miles of the race was along breathtaking cliff tops, bays and beaches. Then things changed when an obstacle of 400 metres of jagged rocks was next, proving too slippery for Gary and Marty letting Darren Warnock slip past. Not much had changed the rest of the route except that the storm force head winds seemed to increase around the cliffs of the iconic Giants Causeway increasing the difficulty levels.
Karen Alexander was the 1st harrier to cross the finish in Portballintrae with a time of 1.38.53 (5th overall position) 2nd was Darren Crozier 1.49.56 (20th overall position) and 3rd Darren Warnock 1.58.45 (43rd overall. Next was Gary McGuckin with 2.00.08 Marty who had who Achilles problems throughout the race finished 2.07.46 and Jeremy with 2.14.35. Great results for such an extreme challenge!
Warsaw and Berlin marathons
A big well done to Martin Donaghy who was one of the 40,000 athletes who took to the streets of Berlin for what is world renown as the fastest marathon course in world. Martin finished in 3hours 39mins, shaving 14 minutes off his old record.
Another Harrier doing a fine job of representing the club this weekend was Colm Gallagher who was in Poland for the capital city Warsaw marathon. During a warm and sunny 17c, it certainly didn’t put Colm off his stride for the race as he finished in an unreal 3hours 15mins.
Bangor Aurora 10k
Irwin Speirs and Alan Shaw were in Bangor, North Down on Saturday for the annual 10k where a massive turnout of over 800 participants were registered. The race started at 11am from Castle Park and followed the coastal route taking in both Bangor Bay and Ballyholme Bay, before a uturn at Groomsport which lead them heading back to Bangor for the finish at Ward Park. Young Speirs finished in 70th position with a chip time of 40.41, while Alan Shaw was right behind with 41.44 giving him in 75th place. Well done Harriers!
Ballymena Park Run
Another Sperrin Harrier who ran a “blinder” this weekend was Dairmuid O’Kane who finished 3rd overall at Ecos Park, Ballymena. Dairmuid ran a very impressive time of 18.40.
Harriers take top places at Brackaville
Yet another running event on Saturday was the annual Brackaville GAA 10k. The race kicked off at 12noon and lead the runners round the hilly country roads of Coalisland and Roughan. Harrier, Donal Gallager was the 1st overall winner to finish with the fantastic time of 34.50 closely followed by Chris McPeake with 35.00. Next in line was Mel Hughes with 37.46 and Barry O’Neill with 45.50. Other harriers who competed were Kieran Campbell, Gavin Wylie, John McElroy and Frances CW. Well done everyone!!!
The Sperrin Harriers Annual Awards Night has now been confirmed for Saturday November 24, music by Hype. Tickets are limited to 100 & can be purchased from Francie, Wendy and Trevor. This event will celebrate the success of the members throughout the year. Remeber two extra awards are up for grabs this year for the fastest half marathon and also the fastest 5 mile race, see t&c’s. Please book your spaces early to avoid disappointment.
Now in its fourth year, the Sperrin Harriers will host their Winter League Trail Series. The first race of the League will be held at the An Creaggan visitor Centre on Saturday October 27 at 12 noon. Registration from 11 - 11.45am. £3.00 for affiliated members and £4.00 to those unaffiliated to ANI. Hope to see you all there.
A special thanks to those who attended the Sperrin Harriers BBQ making it such a success last Saturday night. A great night was had by all, here’s to the next one.
Galway Bay Half Marathon
Good luck to those travelling to Galway next weekend. Here’s hoping you all find that Galway girl (or guy) to bring home by the name of PB! Safe journey an d happy running!
Cookstown - Loughry Campus at 6.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays & the Rainey Old Boys, Magherafelt.
Meadow Bank Sports Arena on Wednesday at 7.30pm and Monday at 6.45pm, leaving the Arena for a run out on the roads.
Beginners and new members are always welcome as we cater for all abilities. Just like our Facebook page “Sperrin Harriers” for further info, or visit our websitewww.sperrinharriers.co.uk