26extreme Causeway Coast Marathon Events 2017:
On Saturday 23rd September 2017, well over one thousand athletes descended on the stunning Causeway Coast area of Northern Ireland for the annual 26extreme Causeway Coast events, a series of races ranging from 10k to 40 miles. All races took place along the stunning Coastal paths in the area around the world famous Giants Causeway.
The 40 mile Ultra was the first event to start and it saw the hardy athletes cover a course that would take them from Portstewart to Ballintoy and back to the finish line in Portballintrae. After David Hamilton had led early on, David Jones came through at approximately 10 miles and played a part for the remainder of the race – he led for much of the way, until approximately 29 miles when he was joined by Chris Leitch at the front. Literally nothing separated the pair as they covered the remainder of the course. In the end, they crossed the finish line side by side in 5:45:14 for joint 1st place. Jonathan Gibson, who had run well throughout, claimed a well-deserved 3rd place in 5:49:42.
The ladies Ultra lead did not change just as much, actually it didn’t change at all, but that took nothing away from what was an excellent display of long distance running. Ireland international Susan McCartney took charge from the gun, with fellow Irish ultra star Louise Smart and the highly respected pairing of Fran McFadden and Helena Dornan all vying for the final podium places. Susan gradually increased her lead as the race progressed, eventually breaking the tape in 6:30:17 (1st place). Louise claimed 2nd place in 7:04:51, with Fran completing the top three in 7:22:22 (3rd place).
In the well supported Marathon race started in Portballintrae and took athletes along the coast to Ballintoy, where they turned and made their way back towards the atmospheric finish in Portballintrae. Chris Denton and Gillian Wasson made their intentions clear from the off, dominating their respective races.
Chris made short work of the tough course, clocking an impressive 3:29:31 for 1st place. Brian Wynne did close the gap in the latter stages, but it wasn’t enough to worry Chris; Brian crossed the line in 3:33:54 for 2nd place. Rasmus Pederson followed a minute later in 3:34:53 (3rd place). Gillian sealed victory by just over ten minutes – the Ballymena Runners star broke the tape in 3:55:29 (1st place) and was joined on the podium by Jill Hamill and Sile Brennan. Jill covered the distance in 4:05:32 for 2nd place, with Sile running 4:19:14 for 3rd place.
In the Half Marathon, the athletes raced from Ballintoy to Portballintrae; a stunning 13.1 mile course. Mountain runner Timothy Johnston took charge and ran out comfortable winner in the men’s race. The Mourne Runners man crossed the finish line in 1:32:10 for 1st place – Chris Murray ran 1:37:38 for 2nd place, before Ross Armstrong secured the final prize-winning place in 1:40:19 (3rd place). International mountain runner Martsje Hell led the field home in the ladies race, cruising across the line in 1:43:21 (1st place). Laura O’Driscoll recorded 1:45:09 for 2nd place, while Sonia Knox ran 1:49:48 for 3rd place.
The 10k race was the final event of the day to get underway, and saw competitors race from Dunseverick along the coastal path to the finish at Portballintrae. Ballymena Runners star Connor Reid impressed with a 42:06 clocking for 1st place. In the ladies race, Orangegrove AC’s Sarah Steer ran out victorious in 56:35 (1st place).
Full Results: 26extreme Causeway Coast Events 2017 PROVISIONAL Results