Johnston Carrol and Bickerstaff win at Malcolm Cup XC

04 December 2017

Johnston Carrol and Bickerstaff win at Malcolm Cup XC

Photo: John Glover.

Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) and Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) retained their titles, while in-form Laura Bickerstaff (Dromore AC) took top honours in the ladies race as athletes turned out in force for the Malcolm Cup XC 2017 (Saturday 2nd December 2017).

Competitors from across the province descended on Sixmilewater Park in Ballyclare, for the Annadale Striders hosted event, which was the third race of the ongoing Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League 2017/18.

QUB student Neil Johnston broke the tape first in the 4 mile Malcolm Cup race, clocking an impressive 21:36 (1st place).  Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) followed a mere five seconds later in 21:41 (2nd place), while 2016 third place finisher Seamus Lynch again completed the top three in 21:46 (3rd place).  In the Under 20 category, Ballymena & Antrim AC athlete Isaac McCollum emerged victorious in 24:31 (1st place).

Meanwhile, in the ladies 3 mile race, Dromore AC duo Laura Bickerstaff and Rebekah Nixon, winners of the opening races of the ANI XC League, went head to head in an epic encounter.  In the end, Laura edged it by one second, crossing the line in 18:02 (1st place).  Rebekah took 2nd place in 18:03, before North Down AC’s Rachel Gibson recorded 18:29 for 3rd place.

The host club’s Paul Carroll again collected the Veteran 3 mile race top prize, after leading the field home in 16:55 (1st place).  Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) claimed the runners up prize in 16:58 (2nd place), with David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) running 17:29 for 3rd place.

The exciting programme of races kicked off with the Under 11 800m event, which was won by North Belfast Harriers’ Max Reid (1st place – 3:15) and Willowfield Harriers’ Lilly Jackson (1st place – 3:49).  This set the tone for the highly competitive junior races that followed – City of Lisburn AC’s Jack McCausland (5:22) and East Down AC’s Lauren Madine secured 1st place in the Under 13 1 mile race.

In the Under 15 2 mile event, in-form Sean McGinley (Olympian YC) won the boy’s race in 11:04 (1st place), while Megan Briggs (North Down AC) took the girl’s title in 13:24 (1st place).  North Down AC’s Thomas Patterson won the Under 17 3 mile race in 17:22 (1st place), with Bethany Nixon of Dromore AC securing top honours in the girl’s equivalent 2 mile race in 12:30 (1st place).

Elsewhere this weekend…

Northern Ireland and Ireland international Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) put in an impressive performance to secure victory at the Waterford Half Marathon.

The recently crowned AAI National Vet35 XC Champion saw off a talented field to break the tape in 1:06:26 (1st place). Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) claimed 2nd place in 1:06:34, with Thomas Hayes of Kilkenny City Harriers AC completing the top three in 1:06:43 (3rd place) - David Flynn (Clonliffe Harriers) secured 4th place in 1:07:09.  Irish Olympian Maria McCambridge (DSD AC) won the ladies races in 1:17:47 (1st place).