On Saturday 21st May the CompareNI.com Endurance Running Challenge took place in the beautiful private grounds of Baronscourt, near Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone. Some 95 runners took part in a variety of races choosing from 5 or 10 km distances to 6 and 12 hour endurance challenges.
In the endurance challenge competitors ran a 5.3 km long multi-terrain loop comprising a clockwise loop of the stunning Lough Catherine on a mix of terrain including tarmac, forest trail and some muddy sections. One gentle uphill too for good measure. Over time this sap the energy from the legs so it was no mean feat that the male 12 hour event winner Declan Leung toughed out 18 laps of the circuit totalling 59.28 miles. The ladies’ event was jointly won by Judith Boyd and Sonya Summersgill who stuck together from the start and completed 14, a total distance of 46.11. Phenomenal performances.
In the 6-hour endurance event Laura Gordon took first place with 9 laps and 29.64 miles. Aaron Woodman of Willowfield Harriers went out strong from the start and completed 14 laps and 46.11 miles to take the male first place. Many other endurance competitors achieved new personal bests in terms of distance / time which is fantastic to see.
Contrary to the weather forecast the day started out sunny and even warm at times with just the occasional shower to cool our runners down. Muggy conditions do make the running tougher so more persistent rain in the evening was a welcome relief for the 12-hour competitors. After dark the game changes, the course becomes a different animal and mental toughness is also to required to run for hours in pitch dark with only a head torch for guidance.
The 5 km race, a single loop of the lough, was won by Lee Maginnis in a time of 19 minutes 9 seconds with Dylan Moore and Matthew Sprat taking second and third. The first lady was Claire Magee in 25:43 with second place going to Alison Donnell and third to Lauren McBride. The 10km runners completed a second lap of the lough with Joseph Cairns taking first place in 39:40, Norman Mawhinney in 2nd place in 40:57 and Bryce Mortland 3rd in 42:56. The ladies’ 10K winner was Sarah Benton in 46:52 followed by Clare Kearney in 50:44 and Una Corrigan in 53:15. Well done all.
The event, organised by Gaithouse Events, draws competitors from across Northern Ireland and as far away as England on this occasion. Commenting on the challenge race director George McGonigal said “it never ceases to amaze me how many runners run for longer and achieve greater distances than they thought possible and it is a privilege to help make this happen”.
Managing Director of event sponsor CompareNI.com, Ian Wilson, commented “We want to help encourage local communities to have fun and give running a try with the Compare NI Baronscourt Endurance challenge and 5/10k races. We’re proud to continue to support local runners, and we would like to thank the team at Gaithouse events for helping make that possible. We believe being active and running in particular, is a great way to get healthy and reduce stress.” Compareni.com is Northern Ireland’s dedicated price comparison website.
Gaithouse Events would like to thank all our competitors for making it a great sporting occasion. Next up Greyabbey / Argory Back to Back Challenge on 16th July.
Photos – Judith Boyd, Sonya Summersgill, Declan Leung, Scrabo Striders travel from Newtownards to Baronscourt.