Johnston and Connolly Win at Comber Cup XC
16 October 2017
The Athletics NI XC League 2017/18 kicked off in style this weekend, with over 300 competitors taking on the Comber Cup XC (Saturday 14th October 2017). The event was hosted by Ballydrain Harriers in perfect cross country conditions; there was muck… and lots of it!
In the hotly contested Men’s 8k race, North Belfast Harriers duo Mark McKinstry and Andrew Annett both enjoyed early leads, but it was Springwell Running Club athlete Neil Johnston who came through to secure victory. In what was an excellent race, Neil led the field home in 27:27 (1st place).
Newcastle AC youngster Patrick McNiff played a part throughout and was rewarded with a 2nd place finish in 27:33 – last year’s winner Mark McKinstry completed the top three in 27:43 (3rd place). In the prestigious Comber Cup team competition, North Belfast Harriers took top honours.
The Ladies and Vet60+ Men covered a 6k course and it was Olympian Breege Connolly (City of Derry AC) who impressed most. Breege saw off the strong challenge of North Down AC’s Jessica Craig and Macclesfield Harriers athlete Sarah Stockman to claim top spot in 23:02 (1st place). Jessica clocked 23:11 for 2nd place, finishing just four seconds ahead of Sarah, who ran 23:15 for 3rd place.
In the ladies team standings, North Down AC picked up the top prize, the John McKeag Cup. Springwell Running Club’s Gerry O’Doherty was the first Vet60+ athlete to cross the line, running 26:14 (1st place).
Top 3 Men (8k): 1st Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) – 27:27, 2nd Patrick McNiff (Newcastle AC) – 27:33, 3rd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 27:43
Top 3 Ladies (6k): 1st Breege Connolly (City of Derry AC) – 23:02, 2nd Jessica Craig (North Down AC) – 23:11, 3rd Sarah Stockman (Macclesfield Harriers) – 23:15
Top 3 Vet60+ Men (6k): 1st Gerry O’Doherty (Springwell Running Club) – 26:14, 2nd Jim Patterson (Newcastle AC) – 26:26, 3rd Eric Montgomery (Lagan Valley AC) – 26:48
The next round of the Athletics NI XC League 2017/18 will be the Bobby Rea Memorial XC Races on Saturday 28th October 2017.