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Weekend Report

After the ultra & mountain exploits of Billy & Gareth, it was the turn of some of runners to take on some shorter distances in various parts of the UK this weekend. Firstly Brandon McKeown participated in the NI Club League over 1500m and finished in an excellent time of 4.22 for 9th place. Well done also to Chris Collins who ran a PB time of 36.38 over the 10k in a race in Bedford, also for 9th position. And we better mention Ross Mercer who smashed the 17 minute Parkrun barrier to run 16.44 at Belfast Victoria Parkrun. But we all know that’s not a race & positions don’t matter…! Well done lads. Great to see some fast times.

Spelga Skyline

On what was the hottest day on record in Northern Ireland, most people were putting their feet up and relaxing. But not Gareth Blair who took on the heat & terrain of the Mournes to finish well up the field in the Spelga Skyline race. Gareth underlined his impressive endurance capabilities that we’ve seen since he joined the club by finishing 26th overall and 3rd in his age category, completing the 21km hilly course in just over 4 hours. Well done Gareth!

Co Down 5K

Brandon McKeown backed up a great year of training last night with an excellent time of 16.28 in the Co Down 5k. This doubled up as the NI Championships & Brandon finished in 54th place. We’ve seen great progress from Brandon & this is a clear sign of hard training paying dividends.

The First Double Denis Rankin Round

We kind of have run out of superlatives for Billy Reed but last weekend he became the first ever person to complete a Double Rankin Round in the Mournes. For reference that’s almost 110 miles and 42,000 feet of climbing! What a performance. Here’s a video documenting this incredible achievement. Well done Billy - and we loved the fact you finished it in your club vest!

Coast Road 10K

Before we get on to an incredible personal achievement from one of our club members this weekend, we also had several runners race in the Coast Road 10k yesterday organised by Larne Athletic Club . Great to see PBs, returns to racing & first outings in club colours. Ross Mercer was our first runner over the line in a new PB of 35.04. Colin James returned to racing action in the club vest less than a minute later & new recruit Matt McDowell also ran a PB. Results: 39th: Ross Mercer 35.04 47th: Colin James 35.40 86th: Matt McDowell 37.18 166th: Michael McDonald 40.24 202nd: Mark McElhinney 41.53 253rd: Phil McNeill 43.44 265th: Peter Fraser 44.14 335th: Davy Lennon 47.04 PB 454th: Andy Moore 51.55

Running in Antrim and Newtownabbey Plate

Our club have been delighted to win 2 bits of silverware this week! Not only did we already pick up the Team Prize at the Woodburn Forest Series, but we were also presented with this award from The Antrim & Newtownabbey Sports Forum. This award recognizes significant contribution to the development of the sport of running in the Borough. This was awarded to us on Tuesday night by council representatives and Sponsors, Greys of Ballyclare. Pictured are our Secretary Jeanette Burton & Treasurer Norman Caughey.

Woodburn Forest Series

Congratulations to Nick Weston who finished 3rd Overall, Brandon McKeown who received the Male Open prize, Chris Collins for winning the M40 Category & Gareth Blair for his victory in the M45 Category. Really consistent performances from all four lads - well done! We are delighted that our Club took the Team Prize in the brilliantly organised Woodburn Forest Series. Well done to all our runners who turned out & contributed so well to the winning team’s effort and thanks to the organizers of the Series for their hard work & effort.

Jimmy's 10K

Yesterday Ross Mercer competed in the ‘Jimmy’s 10k’ event at Bishopscourt. Ross ran a controlled race to finish 36th in an impressive time of 36.16. Yet another strong performance from Ross, with more to come in the weeks ahead.

Cairncastle Fell Race

More strong performances from Nick Weston, Chris Collins & Gareth Blair in the Cairncastle Fell Race today organised by East Coast Athletic Club . All 3 finished well up a strong field, posting good times over the challenging & undulating 10 mile route. Nick finished 6th in 1.20.36 Chris finished 22nd in 1.26.26 Gareth finished 30th in 1.28.48 Well done lads. Thanks to Keiran Scullion for photos & East Coast for organizing a great race.

Smyth Cup 5 Mile Handicap Race

It was great to see such a great turnout of our club runners for the Smyth Cup 5 Mile Handicap Race last night. The route goes through Ballyclare Town Centre out to Doagh then back to Ballyclare via the main road. Despite setting off as one of the last runners, Colin James came through the field to finish 1st in a time of 29.07. Tim Khanna was pipped into 2nd place ahead only a few seconds clear of Davy Lennon who backed up his good performances over our lockdown Time Trials. Special mention to new recruit Matt McDowell for his first turnout in the Club Vest!

Down Royal 10K

Another Harrier who’s been busy in racing action in the past week has been Rick Hill. He ran 37.11 in the Down Royal 10k last weekend and then competed in his first ever 3000m track race last night as part of Annadale Striders Meet at Mary Peters Track. Rick finished 6th in his race in a time of 10.08.

Woodburn Forest Series - Race 2

Another strong performance from the Harriers squad at this weeks 2nd race in the Woodburn Forest Series to put us in a strong place in the overall team standings. Congratulations to Nick Weston for his podium place & special mention to Chris Collins for lining out & gaining a Top 10 finish 3 days after his 50k Ultra! Results: 3rd Nick Weston 25.20 5th Brandon McKeown 26.31 6th Chris Collins 26.52 10th Gareth Blair 27.51 29th Peter Fraser 30.44

Northern Ireland Ultra 50K Championship

Last Saturday we had 2 runners competing in the Northern Ireland Ultra 50k Championship. Chris Collins held on strongly to complete the 50k in a time of 3.42 and finish in 8th position, while John Neill finished his first ever Ultra Marathon in 4.00 for 13th place. Well done to both men for enduring both the distance & the tough conditions. Rumour has it that the stairs were a challenge the next day!

Woodburn Forest Series - Race 1

It’s great to be back racing again! Here are some of the Harriers who were in action last night in Race 1 of the Woodburn Forest Series. The hooped vests featured heavily at the front end of the race with 4 of our runners finishing inside the Top 10. Well done lads! 4th Nick Weston - 16.58 6th Brandon McKeown - 17.21 7th Chris Collins - 17.29 8th Rick Hill - 17.49 13th Gareth Blair - 18.28 28th Billy Reed - 20.24 31st Peter Fraser - 20.33

Denis Rankin Round

We are constantly amazed by the achievements of our own Billy Reed, but this past weekend he gave yet another incredible endurance by completing the Denis Rankin Round for 2nd time. The Denis Rankin Round is a circuit in the Mourne Mountains covering 90km and 6500m in ascent. The challenge is to complete this within a 24 hour period, but Billy managed to complete it in a time of 15.52, which we believe to be well inside the top 10 recorded times for the round ever. Here's a short video made by his daughter Chloe to document some of the adventure!

McKillen Shield

Tonight we held our own in-club Handicap race in Sixmilewater Park. This race was over 8 miles on grass and was for the McKillen Shield, which is one of the oldest trophy’s in the club and has been competed for almost 100 years! Mark McElhinney secured the victory with a super run and a great effort to hold off Ross Mercer on the last lap who had cut through the field for 2nd. Chris Collins came 3rd with even mile splits and consistent running in advance of his upcoming Ultra race. Well done all who took part and thanks to the time keepers and support crew.

Afternoon of 5000's

Great to see another of our runners make a return to competitive racing this afternoon at the excellently run “Afternoon of 5000s” event organised by North Belfast Harriers . Rick Hill ran strongly to finish 5th in his race in a new personal best time of 17.28. We look forward to seeing more Harriers in action in the coming weeks!

Virtual Belfast and Down Royal Half Marathons

It’s been great to see some of our club members back racing again over the past couple of weeks. First up, Chris Collins took on the Half Marathon distance at Down Royal last Saturday, finishing in 14th position in an excellent time of 1.21.32. Then today Mark McElhinney (pictured) & Ross Mercer both took part in the Virtual Belfast Half Marathon. Ross, becoming something of a virtual specialist after a superb marathon effort last year, ran 1.20 while Mark proved he’s been training hard over lockdown by running 1.33. We look forward to seeing more of our runners get back to racing over the weeks ahead.