Ballydrain Harriers Weekly News week ending 1/3/20

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Alison Stocks 1st place @ Back to Basics 5K

On 26th February, also known as World Marathon Day, Ballydrain members Deborah Sherlock and Valerie Martin took part in the half marathon race hosted by East Antrim Marathon Series. The race was an out and back format starting at Carrickfergus Castle and along the coastal route to Whiteabbey. There were 16 runners taking part and Robert Martin was the first finisher in a time of 1:31:16. Katherine Harkness was first female home in 1:43:27. Deborah was 2nd in 2:18:05 followed closely by Valerie in 2:19:23.

Two of our younger club members took part in the Ulster Schools Senior Boys Cross Country. The event was held at Mallusk playing fields. Jared Martin finished in 9th position and Matthew Carville in 17th. Well done to them both.

The Back to Basics 5K race was held on Saturday in Victoria Park. Alison Stocks was the only Ballydrain Harrier to take part and managed to take 1st place on the podium in the women’s race, finishing in a fantastic time of 18:10. Not only did Alison set a personal best, she also managed to take nearly a minute off the current Ballydrain Harrier women’s record of 19:06 held by Debbie Matchett . Congratulations Alison on a superb achievement.

So far the Ballydrain Harriers have had no luck with the weather for the start of the 2020 Super Series.  Two weeks ago, Storm Dennis hit the Peninsula just in time for the second race in the Series, the Mahee Cup cross-country race, which meant very muddy conditions for the runners.  On Saturday 29 February, Storm Jorge arrived and brought strong winds and icy rain for the third race, the Naked Race.  The Naked Race is run over a 5k (3.1 mile) distance and the concept is that athletes predict their finish time before the race and run without the assistance of their watches to enable them to gauge the pace they are running at.  The winner is the athlete who predicts their time within the closest margin.

The Naked Race was run for the first time last year and was a huge success.  The race proved equally popular this year with 42 athletes signing up despite Storm Jorge.  With last year’s route at Parkway under repair, the course was a 2.5k out-and-back route along the Comber Greenway from the Billy Neil Centre.  The flat and fast route, with the wind in the runners favour and on their backs for the return leg, made for a very exiting race.  ‘A Group’ athletes Jared Martin and Matthew Carville were neck-and-neck.  Jared just pipped Matthew to the post completing the 5k in 16:29 which was a 9 second 5k PB, Matthew also ran a 28 second PB finishing in 16:30.  The race was not about who could run the fastest 5k, but which athlete had predicted their time the most accurately.  Progressive Group athlete, Paula Gray came out on top, she predicted her finish time of 26:18 to within 8 seconds.  Colin Bell, A Group, was second closest predicting his 19:16 time within 14 seconds and in third place it was Michael Browne, A Group, who ran 19:54 which was 26 seconds off his predicted time.

With three races down in the Super Series the Leader Board is currently sitting with Matthew Carville, Colin Bell and Luke Wallace in 1, 2 and 3 – but with 15 races across the Series, it is early days and all could change.

Ballydrain Harriers braving Storm Jorge during the Naked Race

Paula Gray winner of race 3 in the BHAC Super Series