Larne AC Athletes Out in Force

On Saturday 26th January 2012, forty Larne Athletic Club members travelled to Lurgan for the prestigious Northern Ireland & Ulster Junior and Masters Cross Country Championships. In the opening event of the day, the Male Masters 8km race, Craig Hutchinson was Larne AC’s sole representative. He completed the course in 31:06 (19th place), which saw him take 2nd place in the Vet50 category.

Next up were the Masters/Intermediate and Junior Women for their 4km race; Larne AC fielded a total of three teams, quite possibly a club record. The clubs leading lady, Geraldine Quigley steered the red, white and black vests home in 18:34 (31st place). Rhonda Brady continued her recent good form, clocking 19:19 (45th place), just ahead of Trisha Campbell (19:45) in 53rd place. Trisha’s outstanding performance was made all the more special as it was her first ever competitive outing over Cross Country terrain.

Two of the clubs other rising stars, Lyndsey Haggan (20:11) and Bernadette Campbell (20:29) followed in 66th and 76th place respectively before Ruth Wilson crossed the line in 21:11 (88th place). International Duathlete Jenny Magill made an excellent comeback to Cross Country racing, finishing in 21:42 (95th place).

Heather Baxter (109th place – 22:26) continued her marathon preparation with a solid run, finishing just ahead of Rhonda Montgomery who ran 22:55 (112th place). Bernie Regan showed that she is getting back to her best after a long spell out through injury, she crossed the line in 24:29 (119th place), seconds ahead of Gillian Given (120th place – 24:32) and Irene Beattie (121st place – 24:39).

Ever improving Michelle Woods recorded 26:02 to finish in 127th place, while Geraldine Hastings, competing in her first Cross Country event for the club ran 27:06 (130th place). Good friends Rosemary Kerr (135th place) and Heather Shaw (136th place) could not be separated, both crossed the finish line in 34:58.

As the rain began to fall and the course deteriorated, the men took to the line for their 10km race. A total of twenty two Larne AC vests set off amongst the high quality field, as the laps progressed places were won and lost, but in the end it was Bernard Brady (24th place – 39:54) who just pipped Greg Lavery (25th place – 39:54) to the post, although both were awarded the same finish time.

Nat Glenn ran a tactically perfect race, working his way gradually through the field to finish in 40:06 (27th place), while hard working Wayne Morrow clocked 40:45 (37th place). Andy Guy (47th place – 41:28), James Brown (53rd place – 41:42) and Phelim McAllister (54th place – 41:45) all finished close together.

Bryan Magee (61st place – 42:14) took his strong Mountain Running backround into the muddy park, producing yet another notable performance. One of the clubs long distance specialists, John McManus crossed the line in 42:28 (66th place) before club chairman Andy Gregg finished in 42:43 (70th place).

Mark McManus (72nd place – 43:08) celebrated his recent International call up with a gutsy performance, finishing just ahead of the clubs own Cross Country ‘race director’ and lover of all things muddy, Billy Thompson (86th place – 44:18). Paul Tilson (101st place – 46:25) and John Neill (102nd place – 46:28) finished just three seconds apart, with Bert Shaw (46:44) just behind in 105th place.

David Noble recorded 47:10 (110th), and was followed across the line by James Robinson in 47:19 (111th place). Kieran McKeown, a man better known for his sharpness over shorter distances finished in 48:17 (116th place). Allan McCullough (118th place – 49:26) ran well, finishing ahead of Ian Brennan (121st place – 52:50), who had to hurdle the inflatable finishing arch as it was being de-constructed!

Lionel Date was forced to withdraw after three laps because an ongoing ankle/lower leg injury and everyone at the club wishes him a speedy recovery.

The men’s team finished in 5th place in the team competition, this was a commendable position considering the amount of talent competing in the event.