Busy Start to December for Harriers

In an eventful weekend Harriers enjoyed success at races both locally and abroad, including the Seeley Cup, Rudolph Run, and Valencia Marathon. The club also attended a special MUSA Parkrun to remember the much missed Irwin Speirs.

Seeley Cup 10k

On Saturday Willowfield Harriers hosted the 39th year of the prestigious and highly anticipated Seeley Cup 10k, part of this year’s NI and Ulster 10k Championship.

Harriers Andrew Newell and Richard Fox joined the talented field of over 750 who raced through Belfast’s scenic Ormeau Park, Andrew distinguishing himself with a fabulous personal best of 33.54, followed by Richard who completed in a swift 44.32.

Rudolph Run 10k and 5k

Saturday saw the popular Rudolph Run 10k and 5k take place on the roads around the Eskra Community Centre, Co. Tyrone, an annual event organised by the Knockmany Running Club and Eskra Community Association.

Harrier Pierce McCullagh shone on the day, taking first place in the testing 10k with a tremendous time of 34.55. He was joined by Paul McLaughlin and Vincent Hollywood who ran impressive times of 40.48 and 42.14 respectively. Many congratulations go to Eimear Thom who achieved a momentous first 10k in 53.46, with Louise Kelly taking to the 5k course, finishing in 26.35.

Valencia Marathon

On Sunday one of Spain’s top road races, the Valencia Marathon, celebrated its 40th birthday after the pandemic forced last year’s event to be restricted to elite runners. The course started and finished at Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences complex, taking in many of the area’s most iconic sights on a route that was both flat and fast.

Among the 18,000 in attendance were well travelled Harriers Brian Bradley, who crossed the line in 3.27.17, Raymond Thom, who finished in 3.31.43, and Tony O’Neill, who completed in 4.33.14.

MUSA Parkrun, Cookstown

On Saturday the life of Irwin Speirs was celebrated at MUSA. A talented and enthusiastic runner in his own right, Irwin was perhaps best known in the local athletics community for his pivotal contributions as the Run Director of MUSA Parkrun. The success of the event, week in and week out, was greatly supported by Irwin’s unwavering commitment and the invaluable encouragement he gave to all who took part, and the second anniversary of his untimely passing was marked by the dedication of a bench and tree in his memory. While hugely missed his legacy and influence will live on.

Many Harriers joined the throng of runners and walkers who attended the poignant Cookstown event. Adrian Devlin took first place overall in 18.32, followed by Brian O’Donnell (19.30); Steven Dornan (21.55); Tanya Quinn (22.47); Doc Martin (22.47); Patsy Hughes (23.29); Paula Glasgow (23.34); Mark Reid (23.35); Damien Atkinson (24.00); Joanne Fingleton (24.13); Barry O’Neill (27.27); Maureen Mallon (33.50); Briege McCann (33.51); Joyce McMullan (33.52); Melissa Glasgow (33.52); and Grace Glackin (36.03).

Dungannon Park Parkrun

Rachel Hughes completed the 5k Dungannon route in 25.17, closely followed by Catherine Farley (25.37) and Terry Hughes (26.54).

Gunnersbury Parkrun, West London

Congratulations to Jason O’Neill who achieved a new course personal best at London of 21.25.

Sperrin Harriers Winter League

Sperrin Harriers have launched their 2021/22 Winter League series. The Winter League has grown into one of Northern Ireland’s best loved set of trail races, attracting all types of runners from beginners to top athletes. Its popularity is testament to the picturesque venues, great atmosphere, and warm welcome that make the League so unique.

The events are as follows: Lough Fea 5k – Sat 11th December 2021 (Sponsored by Oliver Corey Garages); An Creagan 5M – Sat 8th January 2022 (Sponsored by Coagh Pharmacy); Drum Manor 10k – Sat 29th January 2022 (Sponsored by TES); and Parkanaur 10M – Sat 26th February 2022 (Sponsored by Oliver Corey Garages). Further information and entries are available on the club website.