Emotional day as Harriers remember late coach Greg

The race gets under way at Ballyclare Rugby Club. INLT 22-923-CON
The race gets under way at Ballyclare Rugby Club. INLT 22-923-CON
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It was an emotional day for local running club, County Antrim Harriers on Saturday as they staged their inaugural May Fair races in memory of their late chairman and friend, Greg Hopkins.

Over 500 club members, runners and supporters held a minute’s silence prior to the race in tribute to Greg’s and his contribution to the local running community.

Ballyclare Rugby Club was the perfect setting for the races and the running conditions were good.

Personal trainer Joanne Willisgreen provided the warm-up and Dave McKibbin, race commentator for the day, gave a preview of the top athletes. This was very fitting as Dave was one of the original County Antrim Harriers based on Belfast’s Malone Road.

Greg’s son, Chris, and sister, Lynn, along with the mayor Thomas Hogg and the president of BRFC, Alistair Lindsay, John Platt, Charles Hurst Renault, took to the stage with CAH chairperson, Christine Murray. After the minute’s silence, the air-horn blew and both races embarked up the rugby club’s lane in an amazing array of colour before proceeding towards The Square, with the 10k runners heading up the tough Rashee Road to do a circuit out to Doagh and back.

The 5k group ran down Main Street and into the Sixmile Park before heading back to the Rugby Club via Ollardale. Both races attracted a variety of experienced and novice runners which added to the community feel of the event with every runner receiving a T-shirt and ‘goody bag’ for their efforts.

After the exertions of the race, runners had the option of a massage to relieve tired muscles from TDR Academy and Alive Massage.

Christine Murray presented prizes to the winners and CAH are indebted to all the local businesses who provided race and spot prizes for this event.

A special word of thanks must go to the main sponsors Charles Hurst Renault (Newtownabbey) and to John Platt, the Sales Manager who provided lead and sweeping cars. Also to Whites Oats, Neill’s Flour, Valentino’s Pizzeria and Antrim and Newtownabbey District Council.

The event also allows CAH to make a donation to Cancer Lifeline which provided great support to Greg and his family during his illness.

The races would not have been as successful without the commitment of club members and their families and Christine would like to express her gratitude to them in providing the support to make the inaugural May Fair races such an achievement. If you’re feeling inspired, why not join CAH - further details at www.countyantrimharriers.co.uk.