Press Release 11th June 2017

Fairhill 5

On Wednesday 7th June Ballymena Runners hosted their annual Fairhill 5 mile road race with almost 500 athletes taking part. Despite being forced to amend the course due to a recent fire, the event remained a fast two lap race.

Springwell RC’s Steve Magill at the Fairhill 5 (Photo Richard McLaughlin)

Springwell RC’s Steve Magill at the Fairhill 5 (Photo Richard McLaughlin)

Springwell RC’s Dale Corbett at the Fairhill 5 (Photo Richard McLaughlin)

Springwell RC’s Dale Corbett at the Fairhill 5 (Photo Richard McLaughlin)

For the first two miles the lead was closely contested between Mark McKinstry (north Belfast Harriers), Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) and Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers). At the half way point Mark opened a lead of 3-4 seconds from Keith with Andrew a similar distance behind in third.

In the ladies race Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) led into the second lap, with Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) in second and  Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) battling with Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) for the final podium place.

Karen McLaughlin (Springwell RC) and Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) at the Fairhilll 5 (Photo Richard McLaughlin)

Karen McLaughlin (Springwell RC) and Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) at the Fairhilll 5 (Photo Richard McLaughlin)

In the second lap Mark extended his lead over Keith and Andrew with Jonny Steede (Glens Runners) eventually catching Andrew as the runners headed back towards the Town Centre finish line.  Mark held the lead to finish first in 25.02, with Keith second in 25:36.  Jonny secured third place in 25.56 and Andrew fourth in 26.06.

The ladies race was a very closely contested event with early leader Denise and the chasing Kerry going stride for stride until a late surge from Kerry saw the Ballymena Runners athlete secure victory in a new personal best of 30.55 for first place.  Denise claimed second place in 30.58, while Debbie took third in 32.07 from Karen in fourth with 32.07.

Springwell RC was well represented with several podium places in the various age categories. Karen McLaughlin (1st F45) and Hugh Boyle (1st M60). Colin Loughrey (2nd M45) and Mandy Stewart (2nd F35). Bryan Edgar (3rd M50)

Springwell RC Results - Steven Magill 18th 29.08, Colin Loughrey 25th 29.54 (2nd M45), James Stewart 29th 30.17, Bryan Edgar 30th 30.20 (3rd M50), David Shiels 40th 31.05, Dale Corbett 45th 31.39, Thomas Moore 53rd 31.52, Karen McLaughlin 32.21 (1st F45), Hugh Boyle 63rd 32.20 (1st M60), Terry Glenn 68th 32.47, Simon McLean 73rd 33.16, Jean Claude Bourgeois 119th 35.28, Steven Thompson 132nd 36.09, Mervyn Thompson 135th 36.17, Catherine Shiels 149th 36.47, Mandy Stewart 182nd 38.25 (2nd F35), Elaine Montgomery 285th 43.35, Margaret Edgar 297th 44.13, Kenneth Bacon 427th 53.59

The Boom Foundation 10k

The 5th annual Boom Foundation 10k was hosted by Springwell RC on Thursday 8th June at the University of Ulster in Coleraine. The event, in aid of this cancer charity attracted over 100 runners despite an afternoon of torrential rain and yellow weather warnings. By start time at 7.30pm the rain stopped and the runners had perfect running conditions with cool calm weather for the two lap race. Steven McAlary (Springwell RC) made his intentions clear from the start with a very fast pace to establish a lead that he was to maintain for the entire race to win in a personal best time of 34.31. Rhodri Jones (Springwell RC) and Paul Coyle (Foyle Valley AC) contested the other two podium places Rhodri moving clear in the second lap to take second place in 36.33. Paul finished third in 37.39.

The start of the Boom Foundation 10k

The start of the Boom Foundation 10k

In the ladies race Ciara Toner (Springwell RC) continued her recent excellent form to win with a personal best time of 38.21. Denise Ward (Foyle Valley) was second in 43.44 and Meabh Close third in 45.44.

In the relay event Paul Thompson and Jack Culbertson won in 35.41, Philip Tweedie and Niamh Carr were second in 37.48 and Sonia and Callum Knox were third in 44.07.

Springwell RC’s Elaine Montgomery, Catherine Byers, Lorraine Abernethy and Emer Thompson

Springwell RC’s Elaine Montgomery, Catherine Byers, Lorraine Abernethy and Emer Thompson

Springwell RC Results - Steven McAlary 1st 34.31 PB, Rhodri Jones 2nd 36.33, Colin Loughrey 4th 38.01 (1st M45), Ross Armstrong 5th 38.18 (1st M35), Ciara Toner 5th 38.21 PB (1st lady), Philip Mullan 7th 38.25 (1st M50), Stephen Fillis 8th 38.36, Jeff Young 12th 39.48 PB, Dave Sexton 14th 40.43 (1st M55), Maurice Walker 15th 41.19, Gerard Mullan 16th 41.35, Allister Jamison 18th 42.09 (1st M40), Meabh Close 34rd 45.44 (1st F45), Stephen Smyth 25th 45.53 PB, Hugh Deighan 26th 46.27, Catherine Pinkerton 27th 46.46 (1st F40), David Boorman 29th 47.29, Thomas Close 34th 48.01, Peter Fleming 35th 48.05, Lynne Young 37th 49.07 PB, Geoff Glass 39th 49.21 PB, Elizabeth Deighan 41st 49.23 (1st F55), Pamela Howe 42nd 49.32 (1st F50), Maxine McGregor 43rd 50.00, Mark Neely 44th 50.10 PB, Janet Patrick 45th 50.29 PB, Andrew Wilson 46th 51.02, Jim Platt 49th 51.37 (1st M65), Mary Brogan 51st 52.12, Josephine Quinn 53rd 52.47, Michael Rankin 54th 54.02, Alanna Millar 55th 54.04, Brenda Burns 57th 54.19 PB, Betty Anne O'Kane 58th 55.28, Kate McNichol 59th 55.40, Colin Connolly 61st 55.58, Caitriona Mackle 67th 56.45, Ally Kelly 68th 56.52, Laura Wilson 69th 56.52, Deborah Archibald 70th 57.02, Paula Morgan 72nd 57.32, Kathy Donaghey 73rd 58.01, Fergal Mackle 76th 59.00, Hayley Neely 77th 59.20, Noelle Watterson 79th 59.35, Barbara Ferguson 81st 1.00.21, Karen Robinson 84th 1.01.40 PB, Emer Thompson 87th 1.04.14, Lorraine Abernethy 88th 1.04.14, Catherine Byers 89th 1.04.14, Elaine Montgomery 90th 1.05.19, Jennifer Moore 93rd 1.06.56, Deborah Purdy 95th 1.08.31, Megan Timms 96th 1.14 46

Newcastle Hill and Dale Series – Race 9 – Loughshannagh

The Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) refer to this race in the following manner, ‘this is full blooded mountain affair taking in Carn, Doan, Loughshannagh and Ott’, making it undoubtedly the toughest of all the Hill and Dale Series resulting in it doubling as a NIMRA Championship Race. Covering a distance of 5 miles and an elevation of 1,700 feet the race in itself is tough enough before you consider Thursday night’s torrential rain and wind in the Mourne Mountains. Springwell RC had one representative at this event with Colin Brennan 52nd in 57.07 (4th M50).

Springwell RC’s Colin Brennan at Loughshannagh

Inter Counties Fell Running Championships

The Inter Counties Fell Running Championships, hosted by Rossendale Harriers, took place on 10th June at Cowpe Village, near Waterfoot Rossendale in Lancashire. With their recent excellent form in the Newcastle AC Hill and Dale Series of races brother and sister Oisin and Molly Brennan were both selected to represent Northern Ireland in the U19 race at this event. The 8.6 km race incorporated 426m of climbing and with the skies darkening and the rain starting as the U19 race started it made for a very challenging event.  The heavy rain combined with strong winds meant a testing run into the wind on the outward section of the course. After some steep initial climbs out of the village to Black Hill and Cowpe Lowe there was a fast flat one km transition along broad farm track before the arduous climb to the summit of Whittle Hill. Now with the winds on their backs for the return leg the runners reversed the route reclimbing Cowpe Lowe and Black Hill before the plunge back to Cowpe village. Oisin was the first NI representative across the line in 10th place with a time of 45.23 and Molly was 12th lady (26th overall) in 54.34.

Springwell RC’s Molly and Oisin Brennan at the Inter Counties Fell Running Championships.

Springwell RC’s Molly and Oisin Brennan at the Inter Counties Fell Running Championships.

26 Extreme Mourne Way Marathon

Saturday 10th June saw the annual 26 Extreme Mourne Way Marathon event, with race distance from 10k to an Ultramarathon of 52 miles with a half marathon and marathon also available. When you consider, not only the distance but also the terrain over which they are run through the Mourne Mountains you will understand just how challenging these events are. But as the 26 Extreme slogan reads, ‘We don’t do easy.’ The Ultramarathon starts in Kilbroney forest park in Rostrevor and makes its way through the forests and moors of the Mourne Mountains to Donard Park in Newcastle where, having already covered over 26 miles and 4,000 feet of elevation runners turn and make their way back to Rostrevor and the finish. Springwell RC’s Peter Cromie successfully defended his title from 2016 with another win in this race in a time of 7.17.11, more than 22 minutes ahead of the second place finisher. Club mate Stephen Rainey also rose to the challenge finishing 18th in 9.29.28.

The marathon event which started later in the day from Donard Park followed the same course across the Mournes to the same finish in Rostrevor. Springwell RC had three runners in this event with John Butcher 98th and Nigel McNeill 99th in identical times of 5.15.52. Julie – Anne Millar finished in 121st with 5.34.04.

Northern Ireland Track and Field Championships

The 2017 Championships were held on Saturday 10th June at the Mary Peter’s Track in Belfast. Springwell RC was well represented at this meeting with some excellent performances from our junior section. Aine McKinney is the Ulster Champion in the U19 800m, winning in a personal best of 2.20.88. Hermione Skuce took second in the U17 1500m with a personal best of 4.57.72 and Elle Beveridge took third in the U18 1500m with 5.38.65. Andrew Gordon just missed the podium in the U17 1500m but ran a personal best of 4.17.02. With these performances all four have qualified to compete in the Irish Track and Field Championships in July.

In the U15 1500m Toni Donnelly ran a personal best of 6.10.89 to finish 16th and Matthew Beveridge also in the U15 1500m ran a personal best of 4.44.92 finishing 6th.

In the senior 1500m Neil Johnston had a brilliant run finishing 4th in 3.51.15 - the top three finishers were all Commonwealth Games qualifiers. Jonathan McKee was 9th in 4.03.92 and Luke Dinsmore 11th in 4.07.25.


It was a tough beach for Saturdays Portrush parkrun, the tide was in and the camber only made it even more difficult. Grace Goode was congratulated on her 10th parkrun, Trevor McKeeman on his 50th , and Davy Patterson,Mark Myer and Catherine Myer on their 100th.

Faye McLernon and John Doherty were congratulated on their wedding due to take place later that day, but still managed time for a parkrun first.

First finisher was Chris Denton in 19.36 and first lady was Sophie McCluney in 22.41

This week 206 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 35 were first timers and 11 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 17 different clubs took part.

17th June sees the Causeway Triathlon in Portrush, but its business as usual at parkrun, although runners are reminded that the Watersports Centre is being used by the triathlon organisers that day so just make your way directly to the parkrun flags on the beach when you arrive.


Portrush - Chris Denton 19.36, Andy Deal 23.38, Mervyn Thompson 23.52, Roy Buchanan 24.55 PB, Gary Kendall 26.06, Pamela Howe 26.29, Patricia Craig 26.37, Andrew Wilson 26.45, Elizabeth Deighan 27.30, Camilla Long 28.02, Ali Mc Allister 28.03, Donna Costello 28.39, Bob McLaughlin 29.57, Jasper Long 30.22, Andrew Wilmot 30.23, Debbie Tutty 30.45, Deborah Archibald 30.47, Grainne Moore 31.08, Judith McLaughlin 31.08, Fergal Mackle 31.09, Jack Blee 31.24, Liadhan McAnena 34.47, Deborah Purdy 35.02, Norma Snelling 35.35, Rachel Blee 35.35, Emma Birrell 35.39, Jim Blee 35.46, Kenneth Bacon 37.53, Molly Blee 45.39, Fiona Walls 51.37

Limavady - David Shiels 20.01, Ryan Gray 20.29, Jeff Young 20.56, Will Colvin 21.01, Martin Smith 21.59 PB, Catherine Shiels 24.15, Janet Patrick 24.38, Andrew Kincaid 27.39, Barbara Ferguson 29.01

Woodbank - Maurice Walker 22.04

Ecos - Raymond McCann 19.36 PB, Christopher Capper 32.16

Stunnerz in Runnerz

Sperrin Harriers held their 'Stunnerz in Runnerz' (ladies only) 5 mile Road Race from the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt. The hot and muggy weather did nothing to deter competitors with over 200 taking part. Karen McLaughlin (Springwell RC) followed up her age category win at the Fairhill 5 on Wednesday with another age category win finishing 6th overall in 33.19.

Springwell RC’s Karen McLaughlin at the Stunnerz in Runnerz (Photo Richard McLaughlin)

Springwell RC results - Karen McLaughlin 6th (1st F45) 33.19, Mary Brogan 66th 43.25, Louise McDonnell 67th 43.26, Elaine Montgomery 95th 45.10, Melanie Millar 100th 45.30, Catherine Byers 119th 46.29, Noelle Watterson 134th 47.29, Monica McClenaghan 210th 53.19

newsletterPaul Irwin