Fairhill 5 mile Road Race 2017:
On Wednesday 7th June 2017, nearly five hundred athletes took on the annual Fairhill 5 mile road race, a well organised event hosted by Ballymena Runners.
Following a recent fire in the Town Centre area, organisers were forced to slightly amend the route. However, it remained a fast two lap course.
At the head of the pack, nothing separated Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) and Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) during the first 2 miles – but as the race approached the half way point, Mark moved clear, with Keith approximately 3-4 seconds behind and Andrew the same distance back. Jonny Steede (Glens Runners) was still well in the mix.
Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) led the ladies into the second lap, with local lady Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) hot on her heels. Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) and Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) were battling for the final podium place.
As the race progressed, Mark progressively moved clear of Keith and Andrew – Andrew himself was caught by the strong running Jonny Steede, who moved into third place as the athletes headed back towards the Town Centre finish line. In the end, Mark secured top honours in 25:02 (1st place), with Keith following in 25:36 (2nd place). Jonny was rewarded for his efforts with a 3rd place finish in 25:56 – Andrew followed in 26:06 (4th place).
The exciting ladies race produced an epic finish – the duel between early leader Denise and the chasing Kerry continued until the very end, when a late surge from Kerry saw the Ballymena Runners athlete edge victory in a new personal best of 30:55 (1st place). Denise claimed the runners up spot in 30:58 (2nd place), while Debbie out-paced Karen (4th place – 32:21) in the second half to take 3rd place in 32:07.
In the associated 2.5 mile race, Termoneeny Running Club athlete Jarlath Hughes claimed 1st place in the men’s race, with Hannah Clements (East Coast AC) leading the ladies home.
Top 3 Men: 1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 25:02, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 25:36, 3rd Jonny Steede (Glens Runners) – 25:56
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) – 30:55, 2nd Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 30:58, 3rd Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) – 32:07
Full Results: Fairhill 5 mile Road Race 2017 Results