Prosecco then Dam Busting

(Striders enjoying Friday Night’s Prosecco Run at Castle Ward, hosted by Atlas Running)

The 8th Annual EXTERN DAMBUSTERS races took place on Saturday 17th August at the Silent Valley Mountain Centre, organised by Born2Run events and part of the Pure Running Half Marathon Series. As charity partner each year Extern works alongside 18,000 children, young people, families, and individuals to empower them to change their lives. Homelessness / mental health / young people and families / drug and alcohol issues / refugee support, and more.

The Silent Valley is located within the Mourne area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Northern Ireland. The Valley is surrounded by dramatic mountain panoramas and includes a reservoir built in the early 1900’s as well as the famous Mourne wall. Local running club Scrabo Striders had 7 entrants in the 10K race with Peter McGonigal first home for the club in 44 minutes 40 seconds, followed by Phillippa Wilson in 58:39. Also competing the challenging course were Scot Knight, Elaine McGonigal, Allie Farley, Susanne McVea and Rachel Murdock.

In the Half Marathon race Norman Mawhinney covered the 13.1 miles in an impressive 1 hour 38 minutes and 40 seconds followed by Graeme Topping in 01:41:14 with Lesley Semple the club’s first lady crossing the line in 01:54:53, followed by Paul Morrow in 01:57:24. As expected this hilly course proved a challenge to athletes. Next across for Scrabo was Mark Halus in 02:03:06, Fiona McAvoy 02:06:01, Liam Rodger 02:10:57, Amanda Martin 02:11:26, George Cash 02:14:08 and Lyndsey Blair in 02:24:15. Well done all.

Amanda Martin and Fiona McAvoy

On Friday evening, with the wet weather having given way to glorious sunshine, the Connswater 5 Mile race took place. Starting at CS Lewis Square in east Belfast the route follows the Greenway into Victoria Park for several laps across mixed terrain, road, trail and grass with the finish line back at the square. Scrabo Striders had 16 athletes at the event with Thomas Steele taking overall 47th place in a brilliant time of 33 minutes 49 seconds, followed by Laurence Irwin in 34:58, Norman Mawhinney 37:02 and Cameron McEwan joining the sub 40 minute group in 39:34.

Mark Leathem was next across in 40:10 followed by George Cash, Paul Blair, Gordie McEwan and George McGonigal sub 44 minutes then Gareth Robson and Hector Adair. First Scrabo lady was Jacqueline Bell in 49:40 followed by Lyndsey Lappin and Christine Beattie both on 50:10 then Bill Buchanan and Lyndsey Wightman. A very enjoyable evening complete with a Lion mascot wandering around for selfies!

Striders at CS Lewis Square

All the way to Coleraine now for another 5 mile race. Norman Mawhinney was 66th in a field of 430 entrants completing the distance in a fantastic 32:46, followed by David Turton in 36:44 and Liz Turton in 41:07. Great running guys.

To triathlons next and at the weekend the Portaferry Triathlon took place. As you can guess competitors swam the infamous “Narrows” between Portaferry in Strangford before jumping on their bikes and going for a run. Four brave Scrabo Striders completed the event namely Linda Dugan, Simon Gay, Mark Emerson and Steven McCormick. Hats off to you all.

On Sunday the Club did a “takeover” at Comber Junior Parkrun, organised by our Head of Juniors Phillippa Wilson. Over 40 kids took part in sunshine. Great fun.

Scrabo Striders Running Club continues to encourage new membership. Perhaps you would like to get back into running or have completed a Couch to 5K Program and would like to take running further, then please consider joining the club as it is an inexpensive and fun way to participate in the sport. We train on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening 7:15pm at Londonderry Park and welcome all abilities; you will be sure to team up with those who suit you pace. Find out more at