Podium4Sport NIMRA Champs Kicks Off At Glenariff
by Ryan Maxwell
Race photos by Jayne Bell
On Saturday 14th March 2015, mountain runners from across Northern Ireland (and beyond) descended on the coastal village of Waterfoot for the annual Glenariff Mountain Race.
The popular and well-organised event, which is affectionately known as ‘the Potato race’ because of the goodie bag consisting of potatoes, is hosted by Ballymena Runners. It was also the first race of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running (NIMRA) Championship 2015. The course measured approximately 5.9 miles, with 370 metres of ascent.
Early on, it was evident that the race for top honours would be between three men, with Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) coming off the flat 2 mile section and onto the mountain just ahead of the chasing Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Jonny Steede (Unattached). In the ladies race, Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) had already built up a considerable lead on Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Elizabeth Wheeler (IMRA) and Slieve Gullion winner Mary Mackin (Dromore AC)
On the steep ascent of the Glen, Seamus Lynch once again showed his strength on the climb as he closed the gap on Allan Bogle. The pair were now neck and neck and despite Seamus just edging it on the descent, they came off the mountain and onto the final flat and fast section side by side. Jonny Steede followed, with David Steele (Newcastle AC), Sam Heron (Mourne Runners) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) amongst those in pursuit.
The men negotiated the final 2 miles quickly and as the awaiting spectators aired their predictions, it was Newcastle AC’s Seamus Lynch who came into view first. The ever improving athlete covered the final metres on the road quickly, breaking the tape in 42:36 (1st place). Allan Bogle crossed the line in 42:57 for 2nd place, while Jonny Steede completed the top three in 43:56 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, the dominant Shileen O’Kane certainly made amends for last weekend’s navigational mis-hap; there was no getting lost here as the Lagan Valley AC lady cruised to victory in fine fashion, clocking 52:55 (1st place) for the route. Club mate and friend Hazel McLaughlin looked strong as she reached the finish in 59:13 (2nd place), therefore securing the runners up spot. Lorna Sibbett crossed the line in just over the hour (1:00:26) for 3rd place.