Ballytober ‘Mud Bath’ creates an exciting race

On Saturday 5th January 2013 the club held their first handicap race of the year, a Cross Country affair in the Wilson family owned fields adjacent to Ballytober Road in Larne. In what could only be described as “horrendous” mud, runners were set off one at a time on the heavy 4.5 mile course. Club newcomer John Neill produced an impressive display, starting off almost half way through the pack he picked off the earlier starters and led the competitors into the final lap.

Running strongly, he crossed the line in 52:14 (Corrected Time 33:49) to seal a well-deserved victory. David Noble took 2nd place in 52:38 (32:53), while Dan Magill finished in 3rd place after running 52:52 (36:22).

James Somerville finished in 4th place, in a handicap time of 53:36 (42:31) before Nigel Kane (53:53 – Corrected 33:38), Lionel Date (53:56 – Corrected 39:26) and Declan Mc Gaughey (54:02 – Corrected 38:52) all finished close together in 5th, 6th and 7th place.

James Robinson (54:13 – Corrected 33:18) was next home, in 8th place. Paul Tilson (54:30 – Corrected 34:35) and course director Billy Thompson (54:35 – Corrected 31:05) completed the top ten finishers.

Kieran Mc Keown proved that his recent injury worries are behind him, running an excellent race to finish in 54:44 (35:49), while Jackie Wallace (55:04 – Corrected 40:19) just held off a late challenge from in-form Bryan Magee (55:07 – Corrected 29:37) who incidentally, took over five minutes of his time on the same course last year.

Wayne Morrow, the last person to start the race finished as the stop watches showed 55:16. However, his corrected time of 29:01 was the fastest time of the day. Mark Mc Manus produced a strong performance to run 55:21 (30:11) and Ruth Wilson, running on ‘home soil’ did similar. Ruth was the first lady to finish in 55:37, while her corrected time of 40:42 made her the fastest lady on the day.

Having been caught by Ruth several feet from the finish, Amy Beggs clocked 55:38 (47:58) ahead of Heather Baxter (56:01 – Corrected 42:31) and gutsy performer Michelle Woods (56:03). Another excellent run saw Irene Beattie record 56:04 (55:14) despite having to retrieve her leg from an extensive ‘bog’, while Andy Gregg ran 56:20 (31:30).

Bert Shaw finished next in 56:58 (32:58), then Helen Kane (57:14 – Corrected 44:44), Malcolm Robinson (57:27 – Corrected 37:22) and Bernie Regan (57:36 – Corrected 48:06) finished in a train like formation. Raymond Bannon, another casualty of the ‘bog’ ran 58:08 (35:03).

The Larne AC committee would like to thank all members, supporters, family and friends for turning out to make the race so exciting. They would also extend this to the Wilson family for allowing the use of their land, and Billy Thompson for marking out the course. Thanks must also go to Kieran, Denise and Kirsty Sharratt for time-keeping/marshalling, Elaine Hall for the huge array of prizes and Rosie Kerr and Kelly Deller for serving refreshments.

Elsewhere, Larne AC duo Jack and Stewart Baxter took part in the Victoria Park ‘parkrun’ in Belfast. Jack completed the 5km time trial in 22:13 (57th place), while Stewart finished in 23:11 (72nd place).