Catherine Miskelly after Last One Standing, Castle Ward
Saturday 15 February 2020 saw the arrival of Storm Dennis, just in time for the second of the 15 races in the Ballydrain Super Series, the Mahee Cup. The Mahee Cup is an open handicap 4-mile cross-country race on a course in fields off the Ballyhenry Road in Comber (with thanks to Andrew Herron for the use of his land). As an open handicap race, runners started in handicap order with those with the lowest handicap starting first; all runners in the Club from Fitness to A Group runners therefore had an equal chance of winning. Handicaps were calculated before the race based on runners fastest 5k and 10k times.
With Storm Ciara last weekend and the heavy rain that Storm Dennis brought, conditions on the course were extremely wet and muddy underfoot, the high winds just adding to the difficulty. None-the-less, 26 athletes were brave enough to toe the start line. As Head Coach Jim Hayes pointed out after the race, the conditions were exactly what being a ‘Harrier Club’ was all about and kept up the clubs’ 88-year tradition.
It was an exciting race with the winter training starting to show improvements across the field – especially in the athlete who was first to cross the line and therefore winner of the Mahee Cup, Intermediate Group athlete Nigel Martin. Nigel completed the course in an actual time of 40:29 (34:29 adjusted), he has been training hard on the trails and in the mountains and was therefore well equipped to deal with the challenging course conditions. Matthew Carville was second in a time of 41:32 (26:21 adjusted) and Luke Wallace third in 41:53 (29:52 adjusted). Amanda Perry was fastest lady around the course in an actual time of 44:56 (32:24 adjusted).
While the Mahee Cup was underway, a special mention should go to the two Harriers, Catherine Miskelly and James Lyons, who undertook a quite different challenge on a very wet and muddy Castle Ward estate: Last One Standing. Catherine, an Intermediate Group runner ran a total of 54.6 miles while Progressive athlete James ran just under 38 miles at the event. Last One Standing, now in it’s 5th year and attended by athletes worldwide, enables runners to see how far they can run by completing repeated 4.2 mile trail loops, with each loop to be completed within an hour. The winner is the last one standing and this year it was Peter Cromie who completed 172.2 miles. Clare Blannwart now holds the women’s course record of running 31 hours.
Comber 10k is back for it’s 5th year on the town centre flat and fast Athletics NI certified course and will take place on Friday 19th June 2020 at 7.30pm. If you are looking for a PB we will have pacers covering 5 minute brackets from sub 40 minutes, 45, 50, 55, 60 and 70 minutes. As always, post-race refreshments will be available. This very popular event sold out early in 2019 – so get entered now! Entries available online via Athletics NI.
Catherine Miskelly at Last One Standing Castle Ward
Nigel Martin, winner of the Mahee Cup
Comber 10k Registration Now Open