Gideon Kipsang, Laura Bickerstaff and Matt Shields lead the way at McConnell Shield XC!

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East Antrim Harriers McConnell Shield XC:

On Saturday 4th November 2017, East Antrim Harriers hosted the 83rd annual running of their long established McConnell Shield XC.  The event, which incorporates both junior and senior races, took place in Sixmilewater Park in Ballyclare.

The day kicked off with the Under 14 Boys and Girls 1 mile race, which was won by Charlie Curley (Mid Ulster AC) and Kirsty Foster (East Down AC) in 5:41 and 6:16 respectively.  The Under 16 2 mile race followed and proved just as competitive, with Gavin McCaffrey (Ballymena & Antrim AC) clocking 11:28 for the win in the Boys race – Dromore AC’s Bethany Nixon took the Girls title in 12:46.

It was then the turn of the Senior and Masters athletes to take to the start line.  In the closely contested feature McConnell Shield XC (5 miles) race, which covered 5 miles, Derry Track Club’s Gideon Kipsang edged victory in 26:40 (1st place).  Glaslough Harriers’ Conor Duffy took the runners up prize in 26:48 (2nd place), before Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) completed the top three in 27:27 (3rd place).

Mark’s performance and that of his club mates John Black, Eamon White and Nat Glenn secured the McConnell Shield for North Belfast Harriers.

Laura Bickerstaff (Dromore AC) continued her excellent recent form with a well-deserved victory in the Ladies 3 mile race.  After taking second place at last week’s Bobby Rea XC, Laura bettered that with a 18:19 for 1st place.  North Down AC’s ever consistent Sarah Lindsay followed in 18:34 (2nd place), with Ballymena Runners’ Paula Worthington crossing the line in 19:03 in 3rd place.

The Vet60+ Men’s race was run as part of the Ladies 3 mile event, and it was respected coach and athlete Matt Shields (North Belfast Harriers) who led the way.  Matt claimed 2nd place overall and 1st place in the Vet60+ race in 18:29. Eric Montgomery (Lagan Valley AC) impressed with a 20:09 for 2nd place, while Vet70 World Champion Jim Patterson (Newcastle AC) again showed his form with a 3rd place finish in 20:18.

Full Results:  McConnell Shield XC 2017 Results