NiRunning 5 mile trail race

A significant contingent of Orangegrove members made their way into the hills above Larne on Saturday morning for the NiRunning 5 mile trail race in the vicinity of Killylane Reservoir and Ballyboley Forest. Organised by Ryan Maxwell and NiRunning, the aim was to raise some much needed funds for the expansion and improvement of the website. If there was ever a running cause which deserved supporting, this is it. Ryan does a tremendous amount of voluntary work for the athletics community in Northern Ireland, all of it in his own time and for the love of the sport. His well written previews and reviews have come to be expected by those of us who run, sprint or jump. He seems to be able to produce results in double quick time and the photographs his website publishes on a regular basis add a sense of fun and anticipation to what we do.

Orangegrove AC is indebted to Ryan and we were happy to support his race as a token of our grateful thanks for his efforts on our behalf. As you might expect the race was very well organised and marshalled with chip timing and a beautiful undulating course. It was very much the smell of pine and the sound of the babbling brook! So much more pleasant than running the soulless industrial estates and the mean city streets. The weather was kind too, cool but not cold, bright but not sunny and, above all, dry. A creeping mist added a little mystery and even foreboding to the occasion. Happily, all of us returned in one piece!

For the record the race was won by David Simpson in 26.53, closely followed by local man Mark McKinstry on 27.31. Joe Craney was the first Orangegrove member to finish on 33.12 (16th overall), followed by Brian Todd (35.07), Liz Leitch (37.11), John Neill (37.49), Louise Browne (38.29), Sharon Dickenson (40.34), Lisa Fleming (42.10), Sharon Corken (45.24), and Melinda Wilkinson (46.24). Kathryn Morrow and Verity Cornford toured round together and reports suggest that in this smiling duo there was much chat, debate and discussion about absolutely nothing. Both ladies sprint finished in a time of 50.26, and thereafter seemed to dominate the photo gallery. Very well done to Liz Leitch who won her age category prize and to Melinda Wilkinson who won a spot prize, possibly because Ryan Maxwell fancied her. As always, those of us who were running were very grateful for the support we received on the ground from Jill Holland, Garry Morrow, Noah Morrow and Thomas Leitch.

Thanks to Colleen Taylor and Gareth Heron at NiRunning and John T Glover for the photos.