East Coast athletes just keep running at weekend fixtures

East Coast AC's Janice Plumb
East Coast AC's Janice Plumb
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After a record-breaking weekend for East Coast AC last week, it would have been acceptable for club members to enjoy some rest.

However, at least 20 athletes once again donned their racing kit to represent the club on the roads and in the mountains.

There were two major running fixtures on the official race calendar last Saturday (March 29).

These were the Omagh Half Marathon and the Donard Challenge, with top class fields at both events.

In Omagh, Nat Glenn (17th, 1:18:28) was the first of the ECAC contingent to cover the 13.1-mile route.

It was then the turn of three of the four ECAC ladies who collected the team prize at the Larne Half Marathon last week to once again impress; Janice Plumb and Penny Lindsay improved their personal bests after running 1:34:47 (24th) and 1:36:33 (36th) respectively, while Kerry Fokkens recorded an excellent 1:41:17 (54th).

Alex Robertson also put in a strong performance, completing the undulating course in 1:47:07 (725th).

In the heart of the Mourne Mountains, three hardy East Coast AC athletes took on the Donard Challenge mountain race; this was a 10k event, with 850m of accumulative ascent; it was also part of the British Mountain Running Championships, meaning that the local athletes were up against the best mountain runners in the UK.

In extremely difficult conditions and with visibility as low as 7ft in places, all three put in impressive performances. Dan Spencer showed that he is well and truly on the comeback trail from knee surgery, as he led the black and yellow vests home in 1:26:20 (60th place).

Dan was closely followed by ‘Highland Fling’ bound Justin Maxwell, who descended well to finish in 1:27:05 (63rd); Corey Urwin (123rd, 1:38:29) also ran well to complete a good day for East Coast AC.

Closer to home, 11 club members performed well at the Larne parkrun. The weekly 5k time-trial is very popular amongst the East Coast AC membership, and also the wider running community in general.

James Robinson led his club- mates home in 20:09 (3rd place), while the in-form Danny Hylands clocked 21:19 (5th). Sandy Plumb returned to Dixon Hall, where the event starts and finishes, in 26:16 (18th). The fast-improving Michelle Shannon celebrated a new parkrun personal best, when crossing the line in 27:32 (7th); parkrun regular Martin Taylor also ran well, finishing in 29:33 (32nd).

The Girvin family, as always, turned out in force, and it was Hannah Girvin who claimed the family bragging rights, after covering the distance in 31:20 (15th).

Her mum, Glenda, followed just one second later in 31:21 (16th). Young Caoilfhinn McLoughlin ran 32:26 (18th), finishing just ahead of Leah Girvin (19th, 32:48).

Like the Girvin’s, the McLoughlin family were also well represented, with young Keegan and mum Jacqui McLoughlin joining earlier finisher Caoilfhinn at the finish in 43:17 (46th) and 43:19 (21st) respectively.