This weekend the main attraction was the ANI cross country league race which took place at The Mighty Oaks near Cookstown. A number of athletes travelled to the venue by the club organised bus and tackled the Acorns Hill as well as what can only be described as a mud bath. Amongst the many park runs that took place Jodi Smith broke the female record at Stormont and Frankie Rea undertook the latest Sperrin Harriers trail series race at An Creagan, also near Cookstown.
Eighteen runners represented the club at the rescheduled Acorns hosted cross country at the MUSC. This year the infamous “hill” wasn’t the main talking point, rather the relentless, unforgiving ankle deep mud which welcomed the runners after negotiating the steep climb. From the eleven female runners on show Jane Stevenson handled the course best with a strong 24th finish followed closely by Clare Kennedy in 25th.
Claire Scott put her cross training to good use as she finished in 31st and ladies captain Helen Byers returned in 35th. Abby Andrews made a welcome return following injury to complete the 3 laps in 42nd place as Lisa McMeechan made it home in 51st and Caroline Crothers, 61st.
Paula Simpson and Elaine McDonnell finished virtually together as they claimed 75th and 76th and Sandra Hall followed a little over a minute later to record 87th spot. Claire McGready enjoyed her latest outing as she completed the ND team in 100th position. The combined efforts of the ladies resulted in a 4th place finish for the team, very respectable.
The men encountered 4 laps of the arena which by now was churned up even more. Alan Massey had a great run to lead the men home in 78th followed by Mitchell Brown in 82nd.
John McGarvey continued his strong running with a solid 88th finish and Colin Walker crossed the line in 92nd. Cliff McCausland tackled the mud to head home the next 3 men with 124th as Gordon Matchett recorded 128th and Allen Cox, 129th. Earlier in the day Megan Briggs, who is already no stranger to the Acorns Hill, finished 3rd in the girls U16 race.
Closer to home and earlier in the day Jodi Smith took care of the ladies park run record at Stormont. The previous record of 19:11 was reduced by 9 seconds as Jodi claimed 2nd place overall in 19:02.
Back in the country and the Cookstown area Frankie Rea ran the 5 mile race around the forest at An Creagan which comprised of two laps. Frankie recorded 47th overall and was a comfortable winner of the O60 category.
Next week see’s the club take responsibility for the Bangor park run whereby all the admin and marshalling duties will be performed by club members. These roles are largely filled now so it would also be great to see as many athletes as possible turn out to run the park run on Saturday, fully kitted out in the yellow and blue of NDAC.