Stewart breaks 60-minute barrier in mountain race

Larne AC competitors at the NiRunning trail race at Ballyboley Forest.

Larne AC competitors at the NiRunning trail race at Ballyboley Forest.

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Larne Athletic Club’s Ryan Stewart took to the start line of the gruelling Carnethy Mountain race on Saturday facing the prospect of a six-mile distance with 2,500ft of climbing. This year was the 44th running of the event, and it is one of the best known hill races in Scotland.

Even though the sun shone, the competitors had to battle strong winds and the conditions underfoot were wet with a scattering of snow and lots of mud! This didn’t hold Stewart back as he stormed home in 58:25 and finished 22nd out of 500 runners. This is an outstanding performance as only 28 competitors broke the hour barrier.

On Sunday nine Larne AC runners made the short trip up over Shane’s Hill to take part in the inaugural NiRunning trail race. With icy conditions underfoot, the runners negotiated the snowy 4.75-mile circuit around the gravel paths of Ballyboley forest.

First home for the club was Bernard Brady in seventh place in an excellent time of 29 minutes. Next to finish was one of the club’s most exciting young prospects Ian McCluggage in 17th place (31:24), followed by Bryan Magee 40th (34:49) and Andy Beattie 48th (36:37). The first lady home for Larne was Bernie Reagan 76th (41:09), and then Gillian Given 85th (41:49).

Michele Woods finished 108th (48:30) and Robin Alexander 110th (48:33), with Irene Beattie who completed the Larne AC contingent crossing the line in 112th place (49:25). Emmett Woods was 29th (33:29).

Larne AC runners also competed in Sunday’s Lisburn Duathlon at Down Royal Racecourse. This is the first of three duathlon events to be hosted by Lisburn Triathlon Club over the upcoming months. Martan Keane and junior competitor, Jack Baxter, were neck and neck after the cycle section, with Keane managing to gain the advantage over the final run to be first home for the club. Stuart Baxter and Dion Wallace also put in strong performances, returning third and fourth respectively.

Parkruns

Ian Brennan narrowly missed out on a course personal best at the Larne parkrun, finishing in fifth (21:54). Helen Kane finished second lady in a course pb of 27:26. Other times: Robin Alexander (29:00), Margaret Ferguson (37:35 pb), Mel Priest (55:17).

Antrim parkrun: Paul Tilson (20:49); Kirsty Sharratt (21:34) and Ruth Wilson (22:43), John Wright (23:26).