by Dawn Ross
The weekend that everyone will remember for Storm Dennis!! The Scrabo Striders that braved the elements will certainly remember it well. High winds and driving rain meant everything had to be tied down extra well at Castleward for the Atlas Running trail races including Ultra challenge, Last One Standing. The 4.2 mile course set in the picturesque grounds of National Trust Castleward Estate, was all off round and proved quite challenging. The gusts and rain added to the hilly terrain and the ‘puddles’ made it all the more exciting. The 22 Striders wanting to complete two loops of the course (8.4 miles) headed out first at 1010am and 61 mins later first Strider crossing the finish line was Norman Mawhinney, followed by Ian Frazer in 1:04 and Matthew Cavill in 1:05. Fiona McAvoy was first lady Strider home in 1:17 with Dawn Ross and Sheena Crone following in 1:23. 10 minutes after the start of the first race the gun went for the 4.2mile race. Paul Sheldon was first home in 31:32 and second Steven Quinn in 35:53 and in third, and first lady finisher Lynn Sheldon in 36:39. A further 9 Scrabo Striders runners completed the course in under the hour and a further two in under 1.05. Well done to all runners for completing the races in (as Atlas Running described it) ‘quite moist’ conditions.
By 1200hrs the gales and rain hadn’t eased any when it was time to start the ultra-running challenge, ‘Last One Standing’. As the name says, the runners complete the same 4.2 mile course as many times as possible, all endeavouring to be the ‘last one standing’. The athletes have an hour to complete the course and providing they are back across the finish line within that time they are eligible to go again and complete another loop (if they so wish!). 110 athletes started the challenge including seven Scrabo Striders members. With some having competed in the challenge previously and several setting personal goals all athletes set off determined to complete as many laps as they could possibly manage. After completing 6 laps and 25.2 miles Liam Rodgers decided he couldn’t join his fellow runners on another lap. Chris Green kept going for a further two laps, completing 33.6 miles. Graeme McGowan decided after lap nine and 37.8miles he couldn’t start lap 10 due to head torch failure. After 11 laps (46.2miles) Garry Cavill bowed out and after 13 laps (54.6 miles) Justine Black couldn’t face another lap. Two Striders were now left in the game, Dan Foord and Dave Stevenson. Dan gave it his best shot but at 17 laps and 71.4 miles he had had enough of Castleward Trails. Dave battled on in the horrendous weather conditions with one goal now in sight, 100miles… or more! 24 laps meant 100.8 miles and that 100mile medal was his. And of course he achieved it!! Massive congratulations to Dave on this awesome achievement and congratulations and well done to all the LOS Striders, amazing miles and amazing achievements. Enjoy a well-earned and deserved rest.
Earlier in the day some Striders had also been braving the weather at various parkruns. Some members had travelled futher afield this week to complete the 5km run. Karl Henderson travelled to Penallta Parkrun in Caerphilly, Wales and achieved a personal best of 26:21. Well done Karl. David Rainey headed to An Bonnan Bui Park run in County Cavan for the first time, where the event takes place in the grounds of a closed prison, and completed the course in 32:39. Hope you enjoyed it David. Closer to home and Curtis McCaw, a regular at Comber came in second in 20:24. Well Done Curtis. Scrabo Striders also supported Ormeau, Bangor and Stormont in both running and volunteering. Well Done to all Scrabo Striders.