Aplsey claims top spot in Larne AC’s Coast Road handicap race

Raymond Bannon (2nd) Julie Aplsey (winner) Andy Gregg (Larne AC chairman) and Amanda Wood (3rd). INLT 48-909-CON

Raymond Bannon (2nd) Julie Aplsey (winner) Andy Gregg (Larne AC chairman) and Amanda Wood (3rd). INLT 48-909-CON

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Larne Athletic Club’s Julie Apsley won her first handicap race on Saturday as she topped the field of 50 taking part in the Coast Road Handicap Race.

Runners competed over a testing five-and-a-half mile course starting at Drains Bay, winding through Carnfunnock and descending into Ballygally before a fast return along the Coast Road to the finish.

It was the second event in this year’s Handicap Race Series, sponsored by Chekkers Winebar.

Aplsey was first to start and even as she climbed past Cairndhu House a mile into the race, she was running with determination and it looked like she would be very hard to catch.

She maintained a gap and finished first in a time of 1:04:09.

Amanda Woods made a real race of it, but just had too much to do, eventually finishing runner-up in 58:23.

Raymond Bannon in third ran arguably his best-ever handicap race, moving through the field steadily and improving an incredible 47 places on his starting position.

Laura Simpson and Sharon Bell were fourth and fifth respectively, while Kerry Fokkens and Sean McAllister in sixth and seventh both improved their starting positions by at least 35 places.

Mandy Johnston, Laura Brennan and Charlie Meban completed the top 10.

Phelim McAllister’s 33:01 was fastest on the day -six seconds quicker than his previous best time over the course.

Patricia Blair was again fastest lady with a time of 40:32 which, at over three minutes quicker than last year’s result, shows the tremendous improvement she has made.

Congratulations also to all those who took part in the well-supported kids’ races, organised earlier in the morning.

Larne AC would like to thank Bernard and Rhonda Brady for setting the handicap times; quite an achievement, predicting almost 50 runners to finish inside five minutes.

Thanks also to Sammy Drummond for marking the course, Geraldine Hastings for organising prizes, Margaret and Chris Ferguson for refreshments and to those who assisted with timekeeping and marshalling.