Saturday (2nd) saw County Antrim Harriers putting in solid performances at the 85th running of the McConnell Shield Cross Country, held in the Sixmile Park, Ballyclare. Conditions underfoot were perfect, the sun shone, the course was testing, and the support from Club members very enthusiastic (and much appreciated by those racing!). Six Harrier ladies toed the line for the 3 mile race, while five Harrier men took park in the 5 mile race. Both races attracted a quality field and the Harriers all gave competitive performances. Special mention to Wendy Forsythe on her age-category win, and to Alexandra McLaughlin, Kris Kelly, and Sam Purdy on their cross-county debuts.
Saturday also saw husband and wife, Chris and Suzanne Dickey, at the first race of the popular Born 2 Run “Run Forest Run” series in Minnowburn. The hilly but scenic route covered track, forest trail and county roads. The superb autumnal weather, along with a great atmosphere helped contribute to a great race experience for both – with Suzanne enjoying her distance debut; and Chris achieving a PB.
On Sunday morning, Aaron Anderson was in fine form at the EAMS Halloween Frightener Half Marathon, achieving a podium place. Elsewhere, adventurous Harriers, Eileen Stewart, Martin Graham, Barbara Dalton and Lorna Hagan were in action at the tough“We Run Wild NI” half and full marathon events. The event promised to take runners back to nature, and they certainly did with trails, self-navigated routes, puddles and many hills! While in Belfast, Mandy Yau-Wilson and Helen Cummings were at the Decathlon Sports Series 10k, the duo ran well over the fast, flat course.
Also on Sunday, Claire Oliphant was Stateside on to tick-off another marathon major, this time the New York City Marathon. Keeping a good pace around the five boroughs of the iconic city, Claire finished in Central Park in a superb time.
Previously, sixteen County Antrim Harriers, and the thousands of others, who toed the line for the 40th anniversary of popular SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon. The Harriers’ months of focused and dedicated marathon training paid off, with a plethora of PBs, and strong distance debuts given. The enthusiastic crowd support, and with many Club members down to support and spectate, buoyed everyone. Special mention to Margaret Waterfield, Gillian Moore and Helen McKenzie on their superb distance debuts.
Elsewhere Louise Smart was representing Ireland at the IAU World 24 Hour Championships in Albi, France. Unfortunately injury meant that Louise had to make the difficult decision to retire after 12hours (and 101.49km) – the Club is very proud of her achievement and wishes her a speedy recovery.