ATHLETICS: Harriers enjoy McConnell Shield race

The County Antrim Harriers contingent who took part in the McConnell Shield cross country event. INLT 46-901-CON

The County Antrim Harriers contingent who took part in the McConnell Shield cross country event. INLT 46-901-CON

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County Antrim Harriers put in solid performances at the 81st running of the McConnell Shield Cross Country, held in Six Mile Park, Ballyclare last Saturday.

Due to the heavy overnight and morning rain, conditions were tough underfoot. However, the sun broke through just before the start of the very competitive ladies and Vet60+ men’s three-mile races.

County Antrim Harriers' Ladies' Captain, Eileen Stewart, is set to represent Northern Ireland in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country Championships in Dublin later this month. INLT 46-951-CON

County Antrim Harriers' Ladies' Captain, Eileen Stewart, is set to represent Northern Ireland in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country Championships in Dublin later this month. INLT 46-951-CON

Leading the way for the Harriers was Christine Murray (22:14), closely followed by Natasha Henderson (22:57), Ruth Morrison (23.57), Irene Downey (25:00), Helen Baird (25:14), Gillian Orr (25:32) and Jane Kinnear (27:03).

In the men’s five-mile race, Ben Lowry, making his cross county debut, ran strongly to finish in 36:01.

The club would like to take this opportunity to wish every success to their ladies’ captain, Eileen Stewart, who will be representing Northern Ireland in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country Championships being held in Dublin later this month.

Meanwhile, at the club’s recent AGM, the prize-giving was held to celebrate members’ achievements and improvements over the past year. Awards were presented to the following: Male Athlete of the Year – Glenn Smart; Female Athlete of the Year – Natasha Henderson; Male Veteran of the Year – Chris Barrett; Female Veteran of the Year – Christine Murray; Junior Athlete of the Year – Isaac Fahy; Newcomer of the Year – Aaron Anderson; Performance of the Year – Helen Collins; Most Improved Athlete of the Year – Louise Smart; Best Relay Team of the Year – Julie Young / Claire Oliphant; International Athlete Award – Eileen Stewart; Club Person of the Year – Colin Gilmore / Ruth Morrison.