County Antrim Harriers Impress on Home Turf

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County Antrim Harriers put in solid performances at the 85th running of the Malcolm Cup Cross Country, held in the Sixmile Park, Ballyclare, on Saturday 23rd November.  Recent heavy rainfall meant conditions underfoot were very soft and challenging, however the morning showers cleared in time for the races, and the support from Club members was enthusiastic.  Nine Harriers toed the line in the competitive 3 mile race, while new member Darren Craig impressed in the 4 mile race.  Congratulations to Wendy Forsythe, who fresh from her international debut representing Northern Ireland that the British and Irish Masters XC last weekend, won her age-group.  Results: 3mile race – Samuel Dunlop 20:16; Ruth Morrison 22:35; Claire Oliphant 23:39; Helen Baird 25:21; Irene Downey 25:22; Suzanne Dickey 25:40; Karen Wilson 27:06; Margaret Beattie 27:52; Wendy Forsythe 29:55.  4mile race – Darren Craig 28:07.

Previously, on Saturday (16th November) eight Harriers were in action at the popular 26 Extreme Tollymore Trail Marathon events.  The chilly dry day meant that conditions were perfect for running the beautiful rough forest trails and hills of Tollymore; with half marathoners completing one loop, marathoners two loops, and ultra-participants three loops.  First to toe the line were training partners Lyn Hardie, Sarah Kinnear and David Hamill in the Ultra event (40 miles).  Unfortunately David had to reluctantly pull-out early due to injury; but the ladies continued, crossing the line together in an impressive 7:35:09, to take a well deserved podium place (third female finishers).  Andrena Berry and Patricia Hamill represented the Club in the marathon distance and the duo both ran strongly.  In the half marathon Claire Oliphant and Rachel Lloyd all gave gutsy performances.

At the recent annual charity event ‘Run in the Dark’ in Stormont Estate, Shelley White and Karen Haddock donned their head-torches to race the 5k (one loop); while Simon McDowell and Chris Dickey took on the 10k (two loop).  Elsewhere John Holmes was the sole Harrier at the first race of popular Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series at Davagh Forest.