Dervock Half Marathon
A fair sprinkling of Orangegrovers made their way north on Saturday morning to Dervock for the McArthur Kennedy Kane Festival of Running half marathon event, a round of the Pure Running/Championchip Ireland Half Marathon Series. Dervock has one famous athletic son, as the aforementioned name would suggest, Kennedy Kane McArthur who won the Olympic gold medal for the marathon event in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm while running for his adopted country of South Africa. Ken’s time was 2hr 36min 54.8sec, although back then the marathon event was over a distance about 1.2 miles shorter than the current distance.
On Saturday the following members made it to the start line for the half marathon event: Darren Houston, Michael O’Donoghue, Jonny Weston, Brian Todd, Gillian Logan, Carolyn Beattie, Emma McWilliams and Trish Magill. Conditions were just about perfect, dull and dry and not too warm. The single loop route is an almost completely rural one. Apart from Dervock the only other village passed through is Stranocum. The undoubted highlight, however, is the opportunity to run through the famous Dark Hedges, made world famous by their inclusion in an episodes of Game of Thrones. Nearly every photograph of runners in the race will have been taken amongst the serpentine beeches at this iconic location.
The following times were recorded by our runners:
Great running from Darren Houston on what was far from an easy course. MOD was not too far behind, laying to rest an unpleasant memory he carried of a torrid run he had at Dervock a couple of years ago. The indomitable Gillian Logan was first OAC lady to cross the line, happy to tick off another half in her worthy quest to complete ten halfs in one hundred days for Cancer Focus NI. Jonny Weston and Carolyn Beattie were steady as usual and Trish Magill too had a great day at the races. Spare a thought for Emma McWilliams who, despite feeling unwell, started the race and showed steely determination throughout to see it through regardless, and in a respectable time too. Lesser mortals would have stayed in bed on Saturday morning.
The Dervock Half Marathon was won by Paul Thompson (Springwell AC) in 1:19:11 and Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) was first lady in 1:23:34.
We are very grateful to the Springwell club, Mags Mathieson and her team and the people of Dervock for their impeccable organisation and enthusiastic support throughout the race.
Thanks to Springwell Running Club for the photos.