The annual North Down AC Hawtin Shield 5k took place during Crawfordsburn parkrun on Saturday 13th January. Instead of setting runners off at intervals depending on their allotted time handicap as in previous years, this year’s winter time trial took place as part of the regular weekly timed run in Crawfordsburn Country Park with handicaps being subtracted from the runners’ official parkrun times. As usual club members submitted recent 5k race or parkrun times along with their creative excuses for over-optimistic handicaps to the scrutineers who allocated more appropriate time bonuses between zero and 10 1/2 minutes. While Nick Irvine was the club’s first parkrun finisher in 18:35, the 55 North Down AC runners among the 122 finishers had to wait for results to be processed after the final runner completed the route as they tried to work out whether they had actually placed ahead of clubmates who completed parkrun before them. After the counting Johnny McWhinney was declared the winner of a close fought event in an aggregated time of 17:23 while 2nd placed Lois Harkin and Declan Magee in 3rd all finished within 6 seconds of each other. The standard of competition was high with competitors ranging in age from 12 to 80 years old.
Unfortunately North Down AC stalwart Ken Hawtin was unable to be present to award the Hawtin Shield this year so the club’s president, David Seaton made the presentation on his behalf with club members warmly applauding the president’s good wishes to Ken for a speedy return to full health.
2024 Hawtin Shield Winner, Johnny McWhinney