Ladies Bring Home the Silverware at Hill and Dale Race Finale
Last week saw the usual Thursday Hill and Dale race fixture switch to a Friday night slot for its finale at the Drinahilly Race after 11 rounds of the series. There was a bumper turn out for the last race of the series with around 180 runners taking part on the night. This fast course race took in the spectacular trails around Donard Forest and 4.75 miles in distance with 1,080ft of ascent.
It was another good night for the Ballymena Ladies at the race with both Paula McAllister and Gillian Wasson winning their respective age categories and Gillian finishing as third overall Lady and Paula finishing 4th overall.
Not only were the two Ballymena ladies winning on the night but they duplicated their wins in the Overall series with both taking home winning trophies for their respective age categories wins over the tough 11 race series! The race series was held in the Mournes area and featured 11 short distance mountain races, with competitors best 6 results from the 11 races counting towards the overall standings.
The Runners had eight members from the club taking part with Jonathan McCloy leading the way fro the group in 14th overall in 25:08 followed by Mark Alexander, 18th, 25:25, Connor Reid, 20th, 25:37, Gillian Wasson, 47th, (1st FV40), 27:46, Paula McAllister,50th, (1st FV35), 27:57, Alastair Donaghy, 125th, 33:20, Ruth Aiken, 131st, 33:58 and Kathryn Grant, 148th, 35:10.
Overall winner on the night was Zak Hanna of host club Newcastle AC in 21:45 with fastest lady Mari Troeng also of Newcastle, 26:44
NEW 24 HOUR RECORD FOR RYAN!
Not one to shy away from a challenge Ballymena Runners Ryan Armstrong was in action last weekend at the Energia 24, a 24 hour race that also included a 12 hour race and 100km race. Ryan is no stranger to the event having completed for the past 2 years, setting a club record of a staggering 106.5 miles at last years event.
This year the competitors would have been glad of a change of venue with the event switching from Mary Peters track to Victoria Park, East Belfast, home of the Victoria Parkrun event. Getting away from the monotony of a 400m lap competitors were running on a mile loop this year with the scenery of the park also breaking the race up.
Ryan beat his record for the race by stretching it out to an amazing 106.8 miles covered during the 24 hour period. Despite suffering calf stiffness in the early periods of the event Ryan recovered to complete the 24 hours setting a new club Record!. During the event Ryan has now completed 51 Marathons.
International Selection for Ballymena Mountain Runners
The club are delighted to announce that four their club members have been selected for Northern Ireland to compete at the Home International at the end of July in the Lake District.
Ballymena Runners will make up 4 of the 10 places in this NI Mountain Running squad. We are extremely proud that the following have been selected:- Alex Brennan, Connor Reid, Gillian Wasson and Paula McAllister.
The club continue to develop this discipline within the club and this has been rewarded with our most successful call up in our history. All at the club would like to offer their warmest congratulations to the selected four and look forward to seeing them you compete for your country.
Trio Tackle Ards Half Marathon
Last Friday saw local runners take on the annual Ards Half Marathon, with over 500 competitors taking part. This race was the sixth race of the popular Pure Running-ChampionChip Half Marathon Series. This year’s event also incorporated the N Ireland and Ulster Half Marathon Championships.
The course is a tough task over an undulating with the start and finish at Newtownards Leisure Centre. Ballymena runners had three members in action with Colin Hoey, John Donnelly and Ian McCracken all competing.
First of the trio to finish was Ian McCracken in 90 mins 8secs in 64th with Colin Hoey next in 93 mins 27 secs in 82nd spot and John Donnelly completing the group in 94 mins 43 secs.
Overall winners were, Men: 1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:10:20, 2nd Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:11:02, 3rd Andrew Monaghan (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:11:12. Ladies: 1st Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) – 1:19:31, 2nd Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 1:22:33, 3rd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:24:31
Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race
The previous Sunday saw four members of the club competing at the recent Annual Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race, one of the tougher races of the Mountain Running Calendar which takes in an 11 mile route featuring covers a tough but scenic 11 mile route incorporating 3,000ft of ascent through the Cooley Mountains, finishing in the atmospheric village of Carlingford.
Gillian Wasson was in fine form yet again with a podium place in the ladies race finishing third overall in 2 hours 34 mins, 30 secs. Alex Brennan was just outside the top ten finisher in 11th overall in 2 hours 12 mins 9 secs and 2nd spot in the MV40 group. Next in was Mark Alexander 15th overall in 2 hours 19 mins 10s with Tim Lowry finishing 29th overall in 2 hours 39 mins 28 secs.
Overall winners were Men: 1st Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) – 1:05:44, 2nd Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) – 2:04:28, 3rd David Hicks (Newcastle AC) – 2:07:08. Ladies: Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 2:09:29, 2nd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 2:10:57, 3rd Gillian Wasson (Ballymena Runners) – 2:34:30