There was busy week for the club starting last Sunday with the Walled City Marathon.
Runners Tackle the Heat at Walled City Marathon
Last Sunday saw over 1,200 athletes take to the streets of Derry/Londonderry bringing the Maiden City to a standstill with the city playing host to the 4th Annualrunning of the SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon. The event has proved immensely popular with the running fraternity since its inception four years ago both locally and from abroad, with the race entry limit reached well before race day. The race itself is largely organised by City of Derry Spartans club and takes in the now famous ‘Peace Bridge’ over the Foyle River and finished beside the Guildhall in the city centre.
Whilst the men’s race was dominated by Kenyans Eric Koech (2:23:47, 1st) and Dan Tanui (2:23:50, 2nd), both from the Project Africa Athletics camp, the ladies race was won by pre-race favourite Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) 2:47:25, followed byEngland based runner Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), in 2:56:14 and Claire McGuigan (Lifford-Strabane AC) 3rd in 3:07:13.
Despite the early 8.30am start time competitors still had to compete with some hot temperatures throughout the course of the 26.2 mile event and first home for the Ballymena club was Ryan Armstrong, 28th overall in 3 hours 5 mins 29 secs. In completing the race Ryan has now completed his 48th marathon, all completed within the last four and a half years. Ryan hopes to break the half century marathon milestone by the end of the summer. Having broken the 3 hour barrier earlier this year, Rodney Agnew opted to go just that little bit slower having signed up as a pacer for the 3 hour 15 mins finishing group and did just that crossing the line in 3 hours 14 mins 31 secs. Next home was John Hasson finishing in 49th overall in 3 hours 14 mins 32 secs. Next was club ladies Marathon record holder Catherine McQuillan. Whilst Catherine didn’t beat her previous best set at Belfast last year she did record an impressive time finishing in 3 hours 23 mins 15 secs and 77th overall. Catherine was followed by Peter Coulter, 393rd, 4 hrs 4 mins 2 secs, Susanna Allen, 459th, 4 hrs 10 mins 9 secs, paddy Millar, 644th, 4 hrs 28 mins 30 secs, Jim Moore, 4 hrs 29 mins 9 secs, Peter Fleming 4 hrs 29 mins 35 secs, Brigid Quinn, 851st, 4 hrs 49 mins 47 secs, Norman and Sharon Stephens 4 hrs 58 mins 59 secs.
Brigid Quinn didn’t disappoint as usual winning her age category.
Kerry Makes it Three from Three
Continuing on with her recent good form after setting a new club ladies mile record Kerry Bamber switched to the trails last Tuesday night when she recorded her third win in the East Antrim Trail Race Series at Ballyboley Forest just outside Larne.
The third race of the series saw another great turn out from Ballymena Runners with 33 members from the club making up the 180 strong entry. The race in Ballyboley Forest was held over a 4.1 mile route in what were bright warm sunny conditions. Once again the event was well organised by host club East Antrim Harriers.
Although Kerry won the ladies race yet again she was made to work hard for her win by Patricia Blair of Larne AC and Claire Donnelly. The Ballymena girl found herself down in third spot at the half way mark, however she managed to haul herself back up to pole position to take the win in 26 mins 54 secs with only 12 secs between the first three ladies with Blair second in 27 mins and Donnelly third in 27 mins 6 secs.
Highest overall finisher for the Ballymena club was Matthew Morrow, well up the field with a top ten finish in 5th spot with a finishing time of 24 mins 28 secs. Remaining Ballymena Runner times and positions were as follows; 19, Jack McKenna, 26:22, 24, John Hasson, 26:34, 29, Kerry Bamber, 26:54, 30, Pawel Lapinski, 26:55, 33, Nigel McClintock, 27:12, 37, Seamus Kelly, 27:45, 38, Daniel McClelland, 27:53, 41, Daire Hasson, 28:02, 43, John Donnelly, 28:13, 45, John McClelland, 28:37, 51, Colin Hoey, 28:58, 74, Judith Worthington, 31:13, 97, Gary Spence, 32:45, 104, William Dunseath, 33:13, 105, Helen McCormack, 33:14, 114, Susanna Allen, 33:45, 119, Alison Foster, 34:06, 125, Abi Savage, 35:12, 132, Andrea Wylie, 35:56, 140, Emma Donnelly, 36:23, 150, Naomi Hutchinson, 37:43, 151, Beverly Kidd, 37:46, 155, Helen Beattie, 38:21, 157, Adrian Dodds, 38:58, 162, S McFall, 40:06, 163, Karen Hunter, 40:07, 168, Wendy Moore, 41:08, 174, Caroline Clarke, 43:28, 175, Mary Duffin, 43:28, 176, Rosemary Morrow, 44:01, 177, Mairead Agnew, 44:04, 178, Lilian Quigley, 44:05
Podium finishers for the Men’s and Ladies were Men: 1st Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) – 22:53, 2nd Paul Horan (North Belfast Harriers) – 24:01, 3rd Paul Curley (North Belfast Harriers) – 24:16 and Ladies: 1st Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) – 26:54, 2nd Patricia Blair (Larne AC) – 27:00, 3rd Claire Donnelly (Unattached) – 27:06
Hill and Dale Category Wins for Ballymena Ladies
Two nights later the off road action continued with Race 9 of this year’s Hill & Dale Series, which covered Hen & Cock Mountains in the Mournes The race saw almost 200 runners taking part in a race which started and finished at the bottom of Hen Mountain and saw competitors negotiate 3.5 miles in distance and 1,600ft of ascent.
There were two age category wins for Ballymena Runners in the race with Gillian Wasson and Paul McAllister both topping their respective age groups. Tim Lowry also made his debut run in the mountains at the event.
First home for Ballymena was Connor Reid, 25th overall in 34 mins 19secs. Connor was followed by Mark Alexander 30th in 35 mins 20 secs with Gillian next, 58thin 38:53, Paula, 80th 41:09 and debutant Tim Lowry, 123rd, 47:03.
Overall winners were Men: 1st William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 28:15, 2nd Zak Hanna (Newcastle AC) – 28:29, 3rd David Hicks (Newcastle AC) – 28:59. Ladies:1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 33:04, 2nd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 35:54, 3rd Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) – 38:17
Podium Spot for Richard at Antrim
The next night it was back to County Antrim with the Active Antrim Five mile race that started and Finished at Antrim Forum Track and following a course in and around Castle Grounds over a fast and flat course.
After its inception a few years ago, the race has become increasingly popular with competitors, probably because of its flat and fast course, which starts and finishes on the track at Antrim Stadium.
Runners man Richard Agnew did enough to secure third spot overall in 28 mins 21 secs.
Full Ballymena Runners times as listed; 3, Richard, Agnew, 00:28:21, 19, Ian, McCracken, 00:32:57, 43, David, Rainey, , 0:37:09, 47, Chris, Magill, 00:37:51, 56, Moyra, McKinley, 00:38:54, 63, Pamela, Kane, 00:39:48, 71, Kelly, Courtney, 00:41:35, 82, Geoff, McClean, 00:43:19
Top 3 Men: 1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:11, 2nd Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) – 28:03, 3rd Richard Agnew (Ballymena Runners) – 28:21.
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Amy Bulman (Unattached) – 31:52, 2nd Lyndsey Tyro (Orangegrove AC) – 33:44, 3rd Sile Brennan (Orangegrove AC) – 34:48
The weekend rounded off with another all female race with Sperring Harriers hosting their annual 'Stunnerz in Runnerz' 5 mile road race from Meadowbank Sports arena in Magherafelt, County Derry/Londonderry.
Ballymena Runners had nine ladies competing in the race ked home by Gerry McClintock in 39th overall in 40 mins 3 secs, Gerry was followed by, 62, Emma Donnelly, 42:17, 110, Sinead Scullion, 45:21, 117, Nikki Hassan, 46:22, 150, Mairead Agnew, 48:23, 154, Mary Duffin, 48:53, 174, Gemma Moore, 50:49, 175, Kate Dempsey, 50:50, 199, Sylvia Ringer, 53:50.
There will be a full report on James Hamilton’ exploits in Italy and Jonny Graham, John Hasson and Judith Brown at the 26Extreme Mourne Way marathon event next week.