Six Larne runners take part in London Marathon

Members of Larne Athletic Club have this week participated in events in Holland, London, Carlingford, Belfast, Newcastle (County Down) and Ballymena; achieving podium places and personal bests along the way.

On Thursday, Andy Gregg and Bryan Magee took on the second race of the popular Newcastle AC organised Hill & Dale Series in Tollymore Forest. In wet and windy conditions, both performed well. Andy completed the five-mile course, which has approximately 900ft of ascending, in 44:25 (28th place). Bryan, who is just returning to action, crossed the line in 49:48 (81st place).

On Saturday, Geraldine Quigley won the ECOS parkrun in Ballymena. Geraldine, a frequent winner of the weekly 5km time-trial, clocked an impressive 19:47 to claim victory. A special mention must also go to Geraldine’s daughter, Catriona who took second place in 23:30; crossing the line at exactly the same time as Larne AC man, David Henderson MBE.

Further afield, Justin Maxwell produced an excellent performance at the Cooley Legends Half-Marathon in Carlingford. After running the mountainous stage of the tough trail course shoulder to shoulder with the leader, Justin upped the pace as the pair moved onto an undulating road section. This was enough to forge a race-winning gap, Justin crossed the line in 1:23:55, over three minutes ahead of his closest rival, smashing the course record en route.

On Sunday, six local runners took part in the prestigious Virgin London Marathon and they did themselves and the club proud.

Nat Glenn recorded an excellent 2:49:22 in the warm conditions. He was followed by ever consistent Paul Gaskell, who dipped under the three hour mark in 2:59:09. Wayne Morrow battled to a 3:06:55 finish, a brilliant effort considering his recent injury troubles; while John McManus clocked a new personal best of 3:07:32. Sammy Drummond, one of the club’s most respected endurance athletes, crossed the line in 3:10:04, while Ian Brennan put in a strong performance to finish in 4:04:09.

Closer to home, 10 club runners joined 1,400 competitors at the Athletics NI organised Titanic 10k in Belfast. James Brown continued his brilliant form, covering the 6.2-mile course in 34:20 (17th place), a personal best by one second.

Craig Hutchinson followed in 36:33 (37th place), while David Noble (80th place – 39:15) once again broke the sub-40 minute barrier. Nigel Kane crossed the line in 40:13 (115th place). Kirsty Sharratt continued her preparation for the upcoming Belfast Marathon with a strong performance, running 42:30 (203rd place).

Allyson O’Toole finished in 45:26 (324th place), before Mandy Johnston (518th place – 49:09), Bernie Regan (573rd place – 50:03) and Helen Kane (605th place – 50:53) all finished within a few minutes of each other. Elaine Hall ran strongly to complete the course in 53:35 (757th place).

Also on Sunday, Mark McManus swapped his Larne AC vest for an International triathlon suit. The talented coach was representing Ireland at the European Duathlon Championships in Holland.

Competing against some of the best athletes in Europe, Mark finished in 14th place in his closely contested category; completing the 5km run, 20km cycle and 2.5km run in 1:07:06.