Springwell Running Club - Press Release 1st October 2017

Grand to Grand Ultra

The Grand to Grand Ultra started on Saturday 23rd September on the rim of the Grand Canyon at an altitude of 5344 feet from where; over the next seven days runners would cover 170 miles (273km) in six stages.  The course would lead them through a mix of terrains, including hard packed sand, soft sand, sand dunes, forest trails, red rock climbs, rocky roads and slot canyons to the eventual finish on the summit of the Pink Cliffs of the Grand Staircase at an altitude of 8698 feet.

With the organisers providing only tent and water, participants had to carry all the equipment and clothing and food they needed to be self sufficient for the seven days meaning having to deal with heavy backpacks as well as the environmental conditions.

Jason Haddy, Aaron Olivier, Juan Francisco, James Creedon and Peter Cromie at the start of the Grand to Grand Ultra

Jason Haddy, Aaron Olivier, Juan Francisco, James Creedon and Peter Cromie at the start of the Grand to Grand Ultra

Stage one started on the rim of the Grand Canyon at 8.00am on Saturday 23rd September with the runners having to cover 30.8 miles on dry dirt trail, roads, brush and fields to their second campsite.  The first stage results were to set the pattern for the event with former World Trail Champion, Erik Clavery the first to complete the stage in 4.23.50.  In second was Limavady man, and Springwell RC member Peter Cromie who finished in 4.44.12. Of the 119 runners who started the race 118 completed stage one.

Stage 2 saw the runners gain some altitude running through the Juniper trees in the Kaibab National Forest covering the 26.9 mile stage to their third campsite.  Towards the end, runners got their first taste of the ultra-soft sand that would challenge them for much of the remainder of the course.  Erik was again first to finish the stage taking 4.20.16 (8.44.06) with Peter again second in a time of 4.49.27 (9.33.39). Four runners didn’t finish this stage and withdrew from the race.

Stage 3 was the longest one of all with 52.6 miles of soft sand dunes and fields of prickly cactus to be negotiated while gaining over 2,500 feet.  The challenge of this stage saw another 19 competitors withdrawing from the race at various points.  Once again Erik led the field home with a time of 11.24.54 (20.09.00) and Peter second in 12.42.22 (22.19.31).  The final runner to finish this stage did so in 29.27.21.

After a day to recover, Stage 4 presented the remaining runners with 26.0 miles through Zion National Park, running the last miles of the stage through the stunning slot canyons.  Erik and Peter continued their excellent performance of the earlier stages once again finishing first, 4.13.29 (24.22.29) and second 4.21.53 (26.41.24).  Three more competitors failed to finish the stage leaving 92 still running.

Peter Cromie during Stage 4 of the Grand to Grand Ultra.

Peter Cromie during Stage 4 of the Grand to Grand Ultra.

Peter Cromie finishing Stage 4 of the Grand to Grand Ultra

Peter Cromie finishing Stage 4 of the Grand to Grand Ultra

Stage 5 was another 26.0 miles with 1,400 feet of elevation gained during the stage as runners closed in on the Grand Staircase.  In the already well established pattern it was Erik completing the stage first in 4.00.09 (28.22.38) with Peter second in 4.18.24 (30.59.48).  All of the 92 that started the stage completed it.

The Slot Canyons of the Zion National Park

The Slot Canyons of the Zion National Park

Stage 6 was a modest 7.7 miles, but don’t think that just because it was near the end that it was getting any easier. With over 160 miles already covered the remaining 7.7 miles were a 2,000 feet ascent on a single track road through alpine forest to the top of the Grand Staircase, with views overlooking the Pink Cliffs to provide those who finished with panoramic views of much of the course.  Erik continued his dominance of the event, once again leading the field home in 1.11.40 with Peter second in 1.18.11.  Once again the 92 competitors who started completed the stage.

The overall positions were in no doubt, with six stage wins out of six, Erik Clavery won overall in a time of 29.34.16, similarly with six second places out of six, Peter finished second in 32.17.59.

The Grand to Grand Ultra event has been described as one of the most challenging multi-stage endurance events in the world and this year’s field of competitors has consisted of former World Trial Champions, Ironman Champions and other World Class Endurance athletes.  Peter Cromie has been competing at the very highest level and his result deserves the highest praise.

Peter Cromie on the Grand to Grand Ultra

Peter Cromie on the Grand to Grand Ultra

Limavady Sports Council Awards

The Limavady Sports Council Awards took place on Friday 29th September at the Limavady Recreation Club.  All the hard work by Springwell RC, that meant that this year’s Jude Gallagher Memorial Round the Bridges Race, was one of the most successful in recent years was recognised when the event won the ‘event of the year’ category.  Race Director, Thomas Moore, whose coordination of the event was instrumental in making it the success that it was, won the ‘administrator of the year’. Thomas’s will now represent Limavady in the administrator of the year category at the Causeway Coast and Glens awards evening.  

Bangor 10k

On Saturday 30th September, Gideon Kipsang (Derry Track Club) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) claimed top honours as over one thousand competitors took to the streets of Bangor for the annual Bangor Classic 10k road race, hosted by North Down AC in association with Belfast City Airport.

Springwell RC’s Catherine Byers, Deborah Archibald, Amanda Scott, Bernie Drain, Kathy Donaghey and Lorraine Abernethy at the Bangor 10k

Springwell RC’s Catherine Byers, Deborah Archibald, Amanda Scott, Bernie Drain, Kathy Donaghey and Lorraine Abernethy at the Bangor 10k

The course took competitors from Castle Park, through the atmospheric Town Centre and onto the picturesque North Down coastline, where they negotiated a flat but harsh promenade section before turning and making their way back towards the town and the well-supported finish area in Ward Park.

Springwell RC’s Alistair Shaw at the Bangor 10k

Springwell RC’s Alistair Shaw at the Bangor 10k

Springwell RC Results - 57th James Stewart 38.46, 61st Alistair Shaw 38.52, 74th Bryan Edgar 39.40, 706th Kathy Donaghey 58.57, 729th Margaret Edgar 58.43, 739th Catherine Byers 58.39, 765th Deborah Archibald 59.38, 850th Amanda Scott 1.03.05, 878th Lorraine Abernethy 1.04.12, 970th Bernie Drain 1.08.38

Commedagh Chase Mountain Race

On Saturday 30th September, Mourne Runners hosted the final race of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championships, and the penultimate race of the mountain running season, the Commedagh Chase.

The event, in the Mourne Mountains, covered a 13k course starting and finishing on the Trassey Track.  The runners initially made their way towards Hare’s Gap, from where they took the ridge to the top of Commedagh, which included Slievenaglogh and Slieve Corragh.  At the top of Commedagh, the runners retraced their steps along the ridge over Slieve Corragh and Slievenaglogh.  On the return route, the course did not go towards Hare’s Gap but instead, took the stile halfway down Slievenaglogh and from there it was a straight out downhill sprint to the finish at the bottom of the Trassey Track.

In the men’s Newcastle AC club mates Ian Bailey and Seamus Lynch went head to head in a race that was to produce a new course record with Ian the eventual winner in 57.46 and Seamus second, finishing in 58.22.  Timothy Johnston (Mourne Runners) completed the podium in a time of 1.02.32.

Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) had to fight hard for the win with Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) challenging for most of the race.  The Lagan Valley runner moved clear on the descent off Commedagh and rapidly extended her lead on the race downhill to the finish line, winning in a time of 1.15.36.  Martsje secured second in 1.20.03, with Bethany Haugh (Mourne Runners) completing the top three in 1.20.28.

Springwell RC Results - 6th Oisin Brennan 1.07.05, 7th Alex Brennan 1.07.25, 19th Colin Brennan 1.19.24

East Donegal Half Marathon

The inaugural East Donegal Half Marathon, in association with Excel Sports, started at 9.00am on Sunday 1st October with over 250 runners taking part. The route started and ended at the beautiful gardens at Oakfield Park, Raphoe.

The first across the finish line was Olympian Caitriona Jennings with a time of 1.18.15, followed by Paddy Ryan (Milford AC) in 1.18. 39 seconds.

Springwell RC had two members at the race with Will Colvin 104th in 1.51.43 and Steven Miles 228th in 2.18.17.

Springwell RC’s Will Colvin and Steven Miles at the East Donegal Half Marathon

Springwell RC’s Will Colvin and Steven Miles at the East Donegal Half Marathon


56 Springwell RC members were out park running in 11 different venues with 7 recording personal bests.

Belfast Victoria - Luke Dinsmore 15.52

Ecos - Raymond McCann19.43, Noel McAllister 23.11

Portrush - Chris Denton 18.40, Karen McLaughlin 20.41, Andy Deal 21.28, Jonno Johnson 22.51, Mervyn Thompson 23.17, Robert Workman 23.24, Jim Blee 23.27 PB, Andrew Wilson 23.52, Claire Ramsey 24.28 PB, Patricia Craig 24.48, Jude Moore 24.55, Roy Buchanan 25.03, Annita McCullagh 25.05, Jack Blee 26.14, Donna Costello 26.32, Debbie Tutty 26.47 PB, Andrew Wilmot 26.56, Sharon Bingham 27.18, Bob McLaughlin 27.35, Lynn Montgomery 28.25, Fergal Mackle 28.29, Ali McAllister 28.31, Rachel Blee 28.40, Emma Birrell 28.44, Judith McLaughlin 29.03, Roisin Walker 29.32, Deborah Purdy 30.44 PB, Liadhan McAnena 30.58, Caoimhe Armstrong 31.07, Pauline Duke 32.32, Kenneth Bacon 33.14, Kay Hack 35.14, Caitriona Mackle 38.20, Emer Thompson 43.19

South Shields - Rebecca Clarke 29.59

Ganavan Sands - Eimear Mullan – Nicholls 18.33

Omagh - Fiona Walls 35.06

Ormeau - Deborah Gilliland 19.45

Larne - Alister Jamison 19.57 PB

Carrickfergus - Pamela Howe 23.40

Limavady - David McGaffin 20.01 PB, Richard Wilson 20.47, Fergus Thompson 20.58, Patrick Gallagher 21.39, Martin Smith 23.19, Roger Poland 23.27, David McCool 23.59, Janet Patrick 24.19, Andrew Kincaid 24.29 PB, Catherine Pinkerton 28.07, Jonathan Lynch 28.15, Julie Corbett 29.33, Zara Hunter 29.52 PB

Stormont - Alistair Shaw 00:27.11


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