Runners and Spectators enjoy Lurig Challenge
by Ryan Maxwell from NIRunning
On Saturday 10th August 2013, a record number of mountain running enthusiasts brought the small coastal village of Cushendall to a standstill as they gathered for the 22nd annual Lurig Challenge.
The race, which is part of the Heart of the Glens festival, started in the village and took competitors to the summit of Lurig, before returning to the well supported finish area on the Main Street in Cushendall. The course measured 3.8 miles and included 1,100ft of ascending.
The athletes started in the heart of the village and made their way towards Lurig to huge cheers from the hundreds of admiring spectators; once on the mountain, the race began to take shape, with Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) leading David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC), Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners), David Jackson (Springwell Running Club), Emmett McAlister (Ballymena Runners) and Kevin O’Boyle (Ballymena Runners) to the summit. In the ladies race, Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) was in control but had Claire McAuley (Ballyhouston Harriers) and Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) on her tail.
As the traffic around the loud and atmospheric finish area was once neurontin again brought to a halt for the imminent arrival of the athletes, it was David McNeilly who was cheered onto the finishing straight first. The Newcastle AC man cruised into the finish to huge applause, winning in 29:56. Early leader, Paul McAnespie, followed in 30:17 (2nd place) before local man Kevin O’Boyle crossed the line in 31:11 just ahead of his friend and fellow local Emmett McAlister (4th place – 31:16), claiming 3rd place as well as the prestigious 1st local athlete award.
Experienced International Shileen O’Kane gained ground on Gillian Wasson on the descent, passing the talented Springwell Running Club lady and eventually taking top spot in 34:57. Gillian secured the runners up prize in 35:08 (2nd place), while Scottish runner Claire McAuley completed the ladies podium in 37:52. The 1st local lady home was Catriona Kerr (Glens Runners) in 39:18.
Top 3 Men: 1st David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 29:56, 2nd Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) – 30:17, 3rd Kevin O’Boyle (Ballymena Runners) – 31:11
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 34:57, 2nd Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) – 35:08, 3rd Claire McAuley (Ballyhouston Harriers) – 37:52