Coca-Cola Lisburn Half Marathon & 10K

Last Wednesday arguably one of the biggest events on the Northern Ireland running calendar took place on the streets of Lisburn with the 2016 Coca Cola Lisburn Half Marathon and associated events being hosted by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council. There were literally thousands of competitors taking part in the spectacle which included a Half Marathon, 10K race and also a Fun run which saw the largest mass entry of the three races.

With the added incentive of the Half Marathon being a round of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series and the 10k race part of the inaugural Novosco 10k Grand Prix this was enough to ensure a bumper entry for both races with almost 1,200 in the Half Marathon race and 1,900 in the 10K race.

Ballymena Runners spilt themselves between the two evens on the night with the majority of the club opting for the longer 13.1 mile Half Marathon event.  James Turtle was in fine form to clinch a top ten finish in the Half Marathon race finishing in 8th overall and also winning his age category with an impressive finishing time of 79 mins 46s. Next home in the Half Marathon was Jim Moore 86:36 followed by Judith Brown, 1:40:26 and Jack McKenna, 1:41:40. Next in was Rodney Agnew who was on ‘Pacing’ duties tasked with setting the pace for the 1 hour 45 mins finishers. Rodney set the pace well for the group finishing in 1:44:52. Next in was Glenn McGall, 1:47:50, Gerry McClintock, 1:55:57 and David Scullion 1:57:04. Also on pacing duties were Mark Alexander and Sharon Harvey, these pair were tasked with showing the 2 hour group round. Again the pair set the pace perfectly finishing in 1 :58:21 and 1:58:02, obviously a good pace for their fellow club mate Emma Donnelly who finished in 1:58:03. Next in for the club were Laura Reid, 2:01:59, Sean Hayes, 2:02:16, Brigid Quinn, 2:04:04 and Helen Beattie, 2:11:06.

In the shorter 10K race Nigel McClintock was the first Ballymena finisher in 65th overall in 40 mins 26 secs. Nigel was followed by Sharon Orr and Aidy Dodds both finishing with the same time of 59 mins 42 secs.

Half Marathon winners, Men 1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 1:12:21, 2nd Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) – 1:16:19, 3rd Marc Jennings (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:16:20. Ladies:  1st Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) – 1:19:51, 2nd Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 1:22:11, 3rd Shona Crombie-Hicks (Cheltenham AC) – 1:26:34.

10k Race winners;  Men:  1st Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) – 31:51, 2nd Adam Kirk-Smith (London Heathside AC) – 32:10, 3rd Daniel Dawson (Dromore AC) – 32:37.  Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 37:43, 2nd Jodi Smith (North Down AC) - 39:17, 3rd Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) – 40:53.

Hill and Dale Race No 10

Next up was another round of the Hill and Dale Series On Thursday night with nearly one hundred and fifty athletes Tackling Race 10 of this year’s Hill & Dale Series, which covered Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Meelbeg.  The ‘Meels’ race, which started and finished close to Happy Valley Car Park, saw competitors negotiate 3.5 miles in distance and 1,800ft of ascent.

Ballymena Runners had only two runners out on the night relative newcomers to the mountain running scene, Tim Lowry and Alastair Donaghy. First of the pair to finish was Tim in 45.44 with Alastair Finishing in 58:24.

Antrim Festival 10K

Friday night saw Antrim and Newtown abbey Borough Council host their inaugural Antrim Festival 10K race which started and finished at the shopping centre of Junction One. The race had a small turn out with 70 runners but has the potential to be a good race in the future. Ballymena Runners had only one representative at the race with John Donnelly finishing in 9th Overall in 42 mins 59 secs over a slightly long course. Overall winner was Eoin Hughes in 36:51

Night of 3,000m Races

Also on Friday evening Acorns AC hosted their ‘Night of 3,000m Races’, now in it’s second year at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt.

Once again the Ballymena club had only one member competing with Kerry Bamber in action. Having just reset the club Ladies Mile record Kerry was out to set another club record with no recorded 3,000m time for the ladies within the club.

Obviously Kerry set a new record for the club but did so with an impressive time of 10:51:36 which saw her record the second fastest time for the ladies on the night behind Beechmount Harriers’ Catherine Diver in 10:44:97.

International Team Debut for James

What should have been a dream debut for Ballymena Runners track man, James Hamilton, representing Great Britain turned out quite the opposite with a double disappointment for the young Doagh based T20 athlete.

James was delighted to earn selection to the Great Britain team that were travelling to Grossetto, Italy for the IPC Athletics European Championships recently. James was selected to run in the 1,500m and 800m events. In the first day at the 1,500m final James was unfortunate to have his shoes clipped from behind and was forced into completing the race with only one shoe! James eventually crossed the line in 4:20:65.

The following day in the 800m semi final there was definitely no ‘luck of the Irish’ for James when this time he was tripped and fell on to the track end any bid for glory.

Whilst it wasn’t a good experience on the track for James, he will have gained invaluable experience being part of the GB squad for the week which will stand him in good stead for the future.

26 Extreme Mourneway Marathon

Three members of the club tackled the Mournes recently when they took on the Mourneway Marathon events hosted by 26 Extreme events company. Jonny Graham and John Hasson took on the full marathon distance race whilst Judith Brown took on the Half Marathon distance event. John Hasson was the first to finish over the Marathon distance finishing in 4 hours 4 mins 47 secs. Jonny Graham was next in 4 hours 44 mins 46 secs. Judith finished the half marathon race in 2 hours 1 min 56 secs.