Carty and McLaughlin win Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast Hills 10k
by Ryan Maxwell from NIRUNNING
On Saturday 25th May 2013, nearly one hundred runners took to the paths and trails of the scenic Cavehill Country Park, Belfast for the Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast Hills 10k race, organised by North Belfast Harriers. The event is the third race in the NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association) Grand Prix Series.
The interesting course takes competitors past Belfast Castle, before they ascended towards the intriguing caves and the summit at McArts Fort; where the perfect weather conditions allowed stunning views over Belfast, Carrickfegus, Strangford Lough and the Mourne Mountains. The tired runners then got some respite in the form of a long gradual downhill section to the finish line.
After a race briefing from course director Matt Shields, the runners were on their way. It wasn’t long before news began to filter through that David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) had moved clear of the chasing pack, which included Christian Nachitigal (Phoenix Cycle Club & Chain Reaction Cycles), Nat Glenn (Larne AC), Peter Morrison (North Belfast Harriers), Andy Gregg (Larne AC) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners).
Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) was heading the ladies field, with Violet Linton (LVO), Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers), Victoria Simms (Holme Pierrepont RC) and Nuala Muldoon (North Belfast Harriers) in pursuit. As the leading men reached the highest point of the race, McArts Fort; experienced mountain runner Neil Carty had forged a gap between cipro himself and David McNeilly, and was looking strong as the men sped towards the gradual long downhill section to the finish.
As the spectators basked in the glorious sunshine, debating who would appear into the finishing stretch first, Matt Shields signalled that the first runner was in sight. As the well organised race officials prepared themselves for duty, it was their club mate, Neil Carty who turned the final bend, covering the remaining metres quickly, Neil crossed the line in 41:19 to secure top spot; an excellent win for a man that is always in or around the podium positions. David McNeilly followed, taking 2nd place in 41:55 before Simon Reeve, looking remarkably fresh despite having completed a parkrun before this race, completed the top three finishers in 43:30 (3rd place). In the ladies race; Hazel McLaughlin, a runner up in Thursday night’s Hill & Dale ‘Millstone’ race, bettered that position on this occasion, securing 1st place in 53:28. Violet Linton (LVO) recorded 54:55 (2nd place) to finish just six seconds ahead of Helen Weir who took 3rd place in 55:01.
Top 3 Men: 1st Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 41:19, 2nd David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 41:55, 3rd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 43:30
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 53:28, 2nd Violet Linton (LVO) – 54:55, 3rd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) – 55:01