On Sunday 22nd September Northern Ireland’s biggest half marathon event took place, the Belfast City Half Marathon. Nearly 5000 runners set off from Ormeau Embankment at 9am, just as heavy rain started, to complete a loop of Ormeau Park before heading down Ravenhill and along the Albertbridge Road.
Some 60 athletes from local running club Scrabo Striders took part and by the first water station the sun was even trying to come out as the rain stopped. The halfway point was in Victoria Park, then onto Airport and Sydenham roads into the city centre, passing City Hall then up Divis and Lower Falls. Once at the Grosvenor road runners could start to think about the finish line.
Then along Great Victoria street, Dublin Road and University back to Ormeau road and the park, with crowds of supporters along the way offering encouragement, music and treats. Runners crossed the finish line to a great atmosphere and of course a nice medal an tee shirt for their efforts.
First to finish for Scrabo was Ricky Jordan in 1 hour 22 minutes and 23 seconds followed by Jonny Kinney in 01:29:48 and Tim mcEwan in 01:32:04. Fourth in the club race was Catherine Cauley in 01:33:17 followed by Norman Mawhinney in 01:36:01, David Parkinson 01:36:04, Laurence Irwin 01:36:52, Peter Kerr 01:37:20, Abrar Hossain 01:38:09 and Colin Harper in 01:39:15.
The sub 1 hour 45 minutes club included Graeme McGowan, Stephen McConnell, Lesley Semple Peter Stevens, Matthew Cavill, Connor McNamara, Kerri Anderson and David Turton with Johnny Wray just outside on 01:45:49. Many Striders broke the sub two hour mark while Elaine McGonigal completed her first ever half marathon in 02:42:29. Congratulations to all, running 13.1 miles on Sunday morning and taking several soakings in the process.
Just a day before club members Liam Rodger and Allie Farley had completed the Dublin Half Marathon, along with Jonathan Winter. Two half marathons two days in a row, why not?
At the weekly Parkruns Curtis McCaw took first place at Comber in 19 minutes 28 seconds for the 5km distance while at the same venue Inge Ferguson recorded a new personal best time of 29:49, as did Paul Donaghy at Belfast Victoria in 20:25.
To find out more about Scrabo Striders Running Club visit www.scrabostriders.com. Training nights are a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:15 pm at Londonderry Park and all are welcome. We would like to emphasise that Scrabo Striders training is for all ability levels and is non-competitive. You will be sure to hook up with a group that runs at your pace and make some new friends. Come along and push yourself!