McAlister and Alexander Claim 2016/17 Winter League Titles
Once again the Eighth Series of the Winter League went down to the wire with the top spots and many of the category prizes up for grabs going into the final race at Parkanaur Forest.
In the Overall men’s competition it was Eoin Hughes (Acorns AC) who made a determined start finishing second at the Lough Fea 5K race and then first at the Davagh Forest 10K race, while Michael Crawley (City of Derry Spartans) the reigning champion, and Vincent McAlister (Unaffiliated) also made strong showings at these races. In the third race at An Creagan 5M, Vincent McAlister declared his challenge for the title by claiming second place ahead of Eoin Hughes and went on to cut Hughes’ lead in the Series at the fourth race, finishing first at Drum Manor Forest 10K. Going into the final race Hughes led by the minimum and needed to finish ahead of McAlister to take the title. However, McAlister was in determined mood at Parkanaur Forest 10M and seized the lead from the off with a strong pace that Hughes struggled to maintain going into the third and final lap of the course. McAlister went on to take first place and with this winning performance took the Winter League Overall Male title.
In the Overall Female category Karen Alexander (Acorns AC), Ciara Toner and Karen McLaughlin both of Springwell Running Club were the leading contenders. Karen Alexander set out her title intentions picking up perfect scores with wins at the Davagh Forest 10K and Drum Manor Forest 10K races. Her main challenger Ciara Toner finished a place behind her in both these races and took first place at the intervening Lough Fea 5K race to maintain her chances of taking the title. Although Alexander went into the final race at Parkanaur Forest 10M as leading contender, Toner had a chance of taking the overall title by beating Alexander. However, Alexander was in winning form again finishing first to take the title with a perfect score of 3, well ahead of Toner who could only manage third place. Karen McLaughlin finished fourth at Parkanaur Forest for the fourth time in the series, to take third lady in the league overall.
In the male age categories there was stiff competition in the Male Junior between Peter Cush (unafilliated) and Alexandre Pimental (unafilliated), with the latter coming out on top in the final race. In the M35 category Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) and Martin McVey (Acorns AC) battled it out with the host club runner coming out on top, while in the M40 category Dave Slater (Enniskillen Running Club) took first place in the final race to edge out the challenge from Alex Brennan (Ballymena Running Club). Denis Cush (unaffiliated) and Paddy Corr battled out for the M45 category prize but injury after the third race put an end to Cush’s part in the competition leaving the path clear for Corr to notch up winning scores in the final two races.
It was also a close affair in a number of the female categories. Most notably, Laura Mitchell (Sperrin Harriers) and Leanne Sands (Acorns AC) battled it out in the Female Open category with the host club runner prevailing, while in the F45 category second place in all of her races was enough for Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) to take the prize ahead of Maria Magee (1zero1 Athletes).
A number of athletes recorded perfect scores in three or more races to take category prizes, including Alexandre Pimental (Unaffiliated) in Male Junior category, Grace Carson (Mid Ulster AC) in the Female Junior category, Dave Slater (1zero1 Athletes) in the M40 category, Angela O’Neill (Sperrin Harriers) in the F40 category, Paddy Corr (Unaffiliated) in the M45 category, Andy Gregg (Larne AC) in the M50 category, Irene Clements (1zero1 Athletes) in the F55 category, Frank Rea (North Down AC) in the M60 category and Bernie Sonner (Sperrin Harriers) in the F65 category.
The eighth series of the Winter League has been the most successful to date since it began, attracting almost 900 entries, with well over 400 individual athletes taking part in one or more of the five races. Runners from right across N. Ireland and the Republic of Ireland took part and the Davagh Forest and Lough Fea races increased their numbers over last year, with Lough Fea having more than a 40% increase in runners at the start line. The series drew a significant number of high profile athletes, making for strong competition in a league that is now considered to be one of the premier fixtures in the winter running calender.
Thank you to all those who supported the race and particular thanks goes to those who helped stage the enjoyable events. Thanks also goes to the Forestry Service for the use of Davagh Forest, Drum Manor Forest and Parkanaur Forest venues and facilities, to Mid Ulster Council for the use of Davagh Forest and Lough Fea venues and facilities, and to An Creagan Centre for the use of its venue and facilities. We hoped you enjoyed the series and look forward to seeing you again at the end of the year for the ninth series.
The prize giving night will take place in Cookstown Hockey Club, Molesworth Street, Cookstown at 8pm on 30th March 2017. The complete set of results for all categories in the Eighth Series of the Winter League can be viewed by clicking on the button above.
Davagh Forest 10K on 10th December 2016
Lough Fea 5K on 7th January 2017
An Creagan 5M on 21st January 2017
Drum Manor 10K on 4th February 2017
Parkanaur Forest 10M on 25th February 2017
Eighth Series of Sperrin Harriers’ Winter League
The Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series has grown into one of Northern Ireland’s best loved trail race series, attracting all types of runners from the beginner to top athletes. Its popularity is testimony to the scenic venues, great atmosphere and warm welcome that makes the league so unique.
The league consists of five off road races. Runners are welcome to come along to run single races, or to complete the series. Runners have to run a minimum of three races to compete in the league.
The new venue for the 10 mile race of Parkanaur Forest Park, Castlecaulfield, just outside Dungannon proved a popular addition and has been retained for this year’s series. The variety of distances remain the same as last year with a 5K, two 10Ks in two different venues, a 5 mile, and a 10 mile, with the last four races have been arranged to ensure the distances gradually increase to build up training for the 2017 season.
Entry fee to each race is £6 affiliated and £7 un-affiliated with tea, coffee and refreshments being served to all runners taking part. Registrations will open prior to each event from 10.30am with all races starting at 12 noon.
There are separate male and female competitions with perpetual cups awarded to both the top male and female scorer. Overall prizes will be awarded to the top three scorers in both the male and female categories. Age Category prizes will also be awarded to 1st and 2nd best scorers. Last year almost 60 prizes were awarded with almost £1000 of cash prizes given out. (Number of categories and prizes awarded dependent on achieving overall entries targets and sufficient entries in each age category). Age category will be based on the entrant’s age as at 10th December 2016.
The scoring system of the series ensures that places can be gained and lost right up to the final race and last year was no different with many of the categories up for grabs going into the final race. Details of the scoring system can be viewed by clicking on the button below.
Please help us with the administration by pre-registering, and then you can simply pay the entry-fee for each race, on race day. You only need to register your details once. Your details will be retained for all subsequent races in our 2016/17 Series. Click on Pre-Register button above to pre register.
Results for the races in the Winter League will be posted here after each race. Click on relevant button above.
2015/16 Winter League
The 2015/16 Sperrin Harriers’ Winter League was the most successful series of the league since it began, attracting a total of 880 entries, with 430 individual athletes taking part in one or more of the five races. Popularity of the Winter League increased dramatically again last year with the numbers participating up 30% on the previous year, and some races even having a 80% increase in runners at the start line. Runners from right across N. Ireland and the Republic of Ireland took part. The new venue for the 10 mile race of Parkanaur Forest Park, Castlecaulfield, just outside Dungannon proved a popular addition and has been retained for this year’s series. The series drew a significant number of high profile athletes making for strong competition in a league that is now considered to be one of the premier fixtures in the running calender.Final Winter League Standings 2015/16 Final Winter League Standings 2014/15