Runner of the Month – July 2021

An epic tussle unfolded as some fantastic achievements last month earned deserved recognition. Harriers voted in their numbers for those who either shone at training, raced faster, or completed one of the ultimate tests of endurance.

Here are the Runner of the Month nominees for July:

Dawn Blain drew praise for how her hard work and consistency has been paying off.
“She has been improving every week.”

Alex Davidson was again in the reckoning for the coveted cup based on his speedy showings every Saturday morning.
“Pains me to say it, but his many parkrun PBs and overall training make him a worthy candidate. But please never tell him I said that.”
“Consistently beating and improving his 5k times at parkruns. Great efforts!”
“Alex has quietly got himself back into PB shape with some stunning 5k efforts. In the process he’s shown there’s hope for the more “seasoned” runners still chasing times!”

And then there were two…

As the votes piled in, a pair of Harriers could barely be separated.

David Esler earned lavish praise and deserves an extra-special mention for the incredible accomplishment of becoming an Ironman at the Celtic Warrior triathlon event.
“Consistently hard training and smashing his Ironman.”
“One word – Ironman.”
“For his outstanding versatility in train

Runner of the Month – June 2021

Galvanised by the return of parkrun and increasing races, Harriers stepped up to the mark in June with some sparkling runs and gritty performances. A flurry of PBs, hiking in the mountains and a battle back from injury woes all caught the eye.
So without further ado, here are the Runner of the Month nominees and what you had to say about them:

The indomitable Janet Grew drew praise for her steely spirit and refusal to remain on the sidelines.
“Janet’s a perfect example of never giving up after injury after injury… good to see Janet back at training and doing races… one of my heroes.”

Patricia Curistan also impressed by completing the Mourne Seven Sevens, a test of endurance and mountain skills which this resilient Harrier met head-on.
“For her efforts round the Mournes for charity. Awesome achievement.”

Moving on, speed obviously runs in the Davidson family genes. Our chairman, Alex Davidson, proved his regular exhortation that ‘winter miles equals summer smiles’ by getting into PB-shape at the Valley.
“It was fantastic to be back at parkrun in June, and one of the results that really stood out on the first weekend was Alex. He’s obviously worked really hard through lockdown, and great to see him in terrific shape and running fast times again.”

Not to be outdone, Ben Davidson smashed his own PB with a spectacular 19:47 run at the Valley parkrun.
“Ben has been training really well on Tuesdays and it paid off with a first ever sub-20 5k. Also special mention for Tom Fleming with a brilliant 18:35 at the Valley.”

Brilliant running and well done to everyone for the hard-earned nominations. However, top billing will come as no surprise given the stellar form this Harrier has shown on both road and trail.

Runner of the Month for June is: Kevin Donnelly.
“Kevin is the most humble and unassuming man who seems to just get faster and faster. He has had amazing performances this month, including a PB at the Coast Road 10k.”

“Kevin’s had a brilliant all-round month of training and racing. He followed up a fantastic 10k PB at Down Royal with an impressive showing at the Cairncastle Fell Race.”

Congratulations Kevin on the richly deserved recognition!

Runner of the Month – May 2021

It is hard to believe that our last Runner of the Month award was back in November! Thankfully as restrictions begin to ease and we can get back to training and racing, we can also get back to honouring the efforts put in by members each month.

There was definitely no shortage of effort throughout May, with a mixture of hard work in training, fast racing and mammoth distances completed. This has been reflected in a number of worthy nominees:

First up, Gemma Fowler: “Gemma has improved so much in her running.”

Next up, Neil Campbell: “Neil’s performance at the recent NIURA event was outstanding. Not only did he run 100K but he achieved a podium winning third place. Congratulations Neil.”

Not forgetting, Lee O’Boyle: “For his superb effort and 1st place at the NIURA 100k race.”

As always there can only be one winner and for May it is none other than Angela Stevens!
“Serious amount of training and effort went into completing her recent ultra marathon! Such a fantastic achievement!”
“Fantastic performance at her first ultra marathon!”
“All I can say is 50k, unbelievable.”
“Amazing lady running her first ultra.”

Congratulations Angela, well deserved!

Runner of the Month – October 2020

It’s Dark in the Morning, its Dark in the Evening…..Winter is coming and the restrictions remain but the Mallusk Harriers crazy crew are not letting that stop them from dusting off the hi-viz, putting the trainers on and getting the miles in the legs…..even though very few of us have anything to train for!   Who needs training anyway, our members have lost the plot so much that they seem to practically wake up in the morning and decide to run a marathon without any training (not recommended by the way!). In early October we had several Harriers who put on the Harrier vest, or the vest of their charity, and took part in the Virtual London Marathon across various locations.

Suzanne was nominated for the energy she invested in taking part in the VLM with very little training and despite the horrible weather that day she always had a smile.
Angela was nominated for also completing the VLM, her commitment to her training and taking on a lone run in awful conditions was inspiring.
Paul was also nominated for a cracking PB at the VLM…he tried and failed to keep that one quiet! well done Paul.
Janet was nominated for her great determination coming back from injury, she is getting fitter and faster week by week – her hard work is paying off – keep at it Janet!
Sarah was nominated for always giving her all at training sessions, she fits her long runs and training around her very busy job working as an A&E Doctor.
Pamela Mooney was nominated for how she has persevered through injury. Pamela had planned to run the Wild Atlantic Way 500km but not one to let that stop her she pushed through and walked the distance instead. Great going Pamela and we will hopefully see you back at training very soon.
Alan Erwin was nominated for how he has returned to running after a long injury, he is getting fitter, stronger and faster and making huge progress…he was rewarded for his consistency in training by smashing his 10k PB at Down Royal – keep working hard Alan – no slacking off!
We can only have one winner though…..and this month it is Gemma!! Gemma had several nominations for how much her running and form has improved over the last few months.
Her friendly and happy nature does not go unnoticed (too happy at intervals so we will have to watch her and make her work harder )
Gemma puts every effort into her training while still being encouraging to others and is a wonderful asset to the club.
Congrats Gemma – well deserved.

Runner of the Month – February 2020

We are very nearly out of the dark nights and I for one cannot wait – although it hasn’t stopped the hardy Harriers and they continue to plod around the ‘not the bermuda triangle’ of Glengormley or crawl up and down the hills of Mallusk …..some even choose to run 50k from castle to castle!!

We had some lovely words about our nominees this month;

Suzanne Brennan was nominated for continuously giving 100% to her training.

Pamela McCafferty was nominated for her dedication to training and cross country, most recently she finished her long rung with Stormont cross country – her can do relaxed attitude makes her a great runner.

Dermot Boyd was nominated for representing the club so well at the Born to Run series, and still manages to find time to support the club as photographer at other events – thank you from us all Dermot!

This month we had one harrier who stood out for not only his commitment to his training, but also as an all-round great guy and fellow club member….our very own Ken McAuley.

Ken is a gentleman, he is encouraging at training, he listens intently to advice and cares about other club members training as much as he does his own.

He hasn’t always had it easy and has suffered his fair share of injuries…but his positive attitude has got him back running and he is in amazing form, which culminated in a PB at the Carlingford Half marathon at the weekend.

It’s always great to see Ken’s smiling face and hear his words of encouragement as we train. Well done Ken, a very worthy recipient of Runner of the Month

It wasn’t cold that night at all.

Runner of the Month – September 2019

As the cold dark training nights begin to set it, September seems like a distance memory already.
September saw many Harriers taking on some of the biggest local (and not so local) races in the running calendar,
Laganside 10k, Belfast Half Marathon, The Great North Run and Berlin Marathon... to name a few!
Ramunas Stanevicius again earned himself a nomination, becoming a bit of a habit now, but to be expected with his consistent progress month after month!
"Outstanding participation in races but particularly his PBs at Laganside, Belfast Half and more recently at Valley Parkrun."
Club newcomer Bernard McKeaveney earns his first ROTM nomination, some say it is because of his great progress since joining the club, others say it is because he has been bribing people with cake, I'll let you decide!
"Has only just joined the club but has been out smashing race after race. Always with a smile and is getting lots of PBs. He is a great asset to the team. Plus, if he wins he might make cake"
Alan Erwin - great to see Alan back to full strength following a lengthy period of setback due to injury. This month saw him continue to grow from strength to strength with an amazing PB in Belfast Half marathon.
"For me the standout performance this month has been Alan Erwin. He is looking so strong in training and it paid off with a 1:30 half marathon that I'm not sure he could believe himself.
Fantastic especially considering his setback with injury at the start of the year."
Lee O'Boyle. Yep, the men's cappy himself earned a few nominations for his club representation at Berlin marathon, running a PB in the process.
"Lee has had an incredible few months and his performance at the Berlin marathon was outstanding. He’s always encouraging others and gives so much to the club".
"Outstanding performance at Berlin Marathon. Lee is always so committed to his training and also finds time to give so much back to the club in his role as male captain."
But there can only be one winner... and what a winner...
This lady has been the ROTM bridesmaid so many times recently, but it's time to put a stop to that! Consistent training has just seen PB after PB in all distances over the last few months and she has represented the club in race after race all across the country. A fantastic performance at the Great North Run did not go unnoticed and has earned her a long overdue ROTM award. Well done
"Anita from the beginning of her training for the GNR she was determined, and this showed in all her runs leading up to the GNR with numerous PB's. She did amazing in the GNR and deserves to be ROTM"
"Anita has been deserving of ROTM for the last few months and always seems to get pipped to the post. Another outstanding month for her with PBs and a great run at GNR. Consistent training paying off"
Well done to all of the nominees and thank you for your votes!

Runner of the month – July 2019

After some heroic performances in June many harriers covered a lot of miles in July as well. Admittedly for most, this came in the form of air miles with the destination being a sunny clime with a beach and a cocktail at the end of it. However, there were a few hardy harriers who kept plugging away at training and races that shone through our abject summer weather.

Two harriers that carried on where they left off in June were Lee O’Boyle and Micky McAuley. They were jointly nominated for completing the Denis Rankin round:

“Both these guys are an inspiration and true gents. Despite their gruelling training schedules they always have time to talk and encourage other members over every distance.”

Angela Stevens was nominated for her unwavering pursuit of racing the entire pure running series as well as our own club championship. She’s been simply described this month as “Knocking out half marathons in style”!

The runner up this month is Anita Piatek whose dedication to training paid off with a fantastic 5k personal best

“Anita has gone from strength to strength. Her hard work and determination has seen her get pb after pb.”

“Constantly improving, Anita has been consistent at training and ran a fantastic 5k PB at Derrytresk”

This month’s winner has been in great form too. He notched up a brilliant age category win at the Sea 2 Sky 5k and we finally managed to get him on the other side of the camera for once.

“Dermot has had a great month with a number of PBs and age category prizes at races.”

“Dermot has shown great determination coming back from injury. He ran a personal best 5 mile and had an age category win at Sea 2 Sky and in adverse weather conditions too.”

“His performance at recent events, seems he gets a PB every time and it’s because of his hard work and dedication!”

Congratulations and well deserved; July’s runner of the month is Dermot Boyd!

Runner of the Month – June 2019

June was a jam packed month in the racing calendar and as always the Harriers were out in force. From EAMS 6hr Challenges, Comber 10k, Energia 24, ultras in the Mournes, marathons along the coast and the best challenge in the calendar, Mallusk Harriers 24 in 24.

Firstly, a massive congratulations to all the 24 in 24 runners. What an achievement and a big thank you to all the support crew and volunteers. 24 in 24 was a huge success and the money is still coming in for the Children’s Hospice.

Now onto the nominees and some of the reasons for their nomination by their club mates….

Gillian Bainbridge was nominated for Energia 24. This girl has been out from injury for the good part of a year, has turned up to every circuits class because she can’t run but recently started back to Tuesday night sessions. During Energia her foot started to hurt pretty painfully to the point were she couldn’t run. Instead of dropping where the team would have just fallen down the leaderboard, she walked and ran when she could and the team finished with 123.3 miles between them. Outstanding Gillian showing amazing determination and team spirit.

Joanne Milne has struggled with injury but was nominated for her outstanding run at EAMS 6 hour challenge and then at Energia. Great spirit and game for anything!

Laura Campbell was nominated for her excellent running at Energia. Laura showed great determination and strength of character on the day and ran amazingly well always remaining upbeat with a smile on her face. So proud of her

Joe Mathers for 24 in 24, The quiet man! Like the other crazies Joe just got on with this mammoth task.

Laura Rose, for 24 in 24, very impressed with her performance and attitude during 24in24. She clocked up an impressive amount of mileage and led most if it from the front, maintaining a great pace.

Lee O’Boyle, where do you start? So dedicated to his training and supporting others. Lee’s achievements this month were outstanding, completing all 24 parkruns and success at the Mourne way ultra. The determination you have Lee is in another league! Amazing performance in the Mourne ultra and 24. Lee is constantly training to the highest level he works hard in everything he does. Winning the ultra was great to see. It was a long time coming. He smashed 24in24.

Neil Campbell was nominated for his leadership in the 24 in 24 event on the day.

Paddy Brooks, with great runs at Lisburn Half Marathon and Comber 10k shows the training he’s putting in is really paying off. He also managed a few 24 in 24 parkruns to support the team which was greatly appreciated.

Peter McGarry was nominated for another marathon record, enough said 😉💪

The winner of Runner of the Month was difficult to track down. Some say he was off in another country hatching another plan with his minions and others say they see him wondering aimlessly around Victoria park counting laps…… Runner of the month for June is Mr EAMS, Craig Mills aka Gru. Craig has recently joined the headers corner of the club with his 101.3miles in just over 22hrs as Energia 24. What an unbelievable achievement and outstanding running. These words speak for themselves “Craig ran over 100 miles”. This outstanding performance at Energia 24 gets my runner of the month vote. What a fantastic effort, there literally are no words……… other than Congratulations. Craig, you absolutely smashed it!

Runner of the Month – May 2019

May was Belfast Marathon month and no surprise that the nominations for ROTM are dominated by those who were taking part.
We now know that those marathoners were actually ultra-marathoners by 500m or so, however our first nomination for May goes to a duo who took on an Ultra of all other proportions.
Tiffany and Danny Donaldson
“This is a joint nomination for these two amazing crazies who take on distances and terrains that would make a hardy sailor cry. Their adventure at the Cateran 55 mile ultra was an incredible achievement. An absolutely inspiring pair.”
Clare Teer, Louise Ladd, Lisa Kerr, Karen McKee, Pamela McCafferty and Dave Gibson all received nominees for their efforts in Belfast Marathon.
Clare, “for her preparation leading up to the Belfast City Marathon, her first Marathon, she managed to overcome lots of challenges along her journey.”
Louise and Lisa, “often go under the radar because they had to do a lot of their long runs on their own but they both followed their plans and ran a great first marathon in Belfast.”
Pamela, “showing dedication and commitment along with her daughter when training for her first marathon.”
As runners, we are all too aware that injury can be looming just around the corner.
Angela Stevens was out for a long time due to injury, but through patience, persistence and determination she has shown us this month that injury makes the comeback all the sweeter
“Angela has made a fantastic return after her horrendous injury at Sea to Sky last Summer with PBs at Valley and Waterworks parkruns and at the Newry Half Marathon. She’s ever supportive and aces all her races. Great to have you back Angela.”
“Great to see Angela back to her best after a long spell on the sideline – some great recent performances at parkrun and the Pure Running Half Marathon series”
However, there was a clear winner this month and fully deserved considering how he blasted around his first marathon in an incredible time, hardly breaking in to a sweat, lots of potential to come in the future and a great discipline in sticking religiously to his training plan….
ROTM for May is: Stephen Gallagher
“Smashing his first marathon with an unbelievable time”
“Stephen worked very hard and executed his marathon plan to perfection. A superb time for a first marathon, some great things to come!”
“Absolutely smashed Belfast. His training and progress has been great to watch. He has gone from strength to strength. Well done Stephen!”
Congratulations to all the nominees and thank you to everyone who voted!

Runner of the Month – April 2019

After a long winter it is always great to get into April with the better weather and extended nights. So it was rather disappointing to get pelted with hail stones in our first training session back at the playing fields in a scene that took me back to our XC race in 2018 (nicknamed ‘In the bleak Mallusk winter’).

If the weather didn’t hot up then at least the performances from our runners did. As always there were plenty of different races to choose from with club members taking on new distances and notching up PBs all over the place.

Belfast marathon was held on a new day with a new route but not as some of the club thought on a new month with a few nominations coming through for performances in May. We’ve ‘adjusted’ the results accordingly and you may have to wait slightly ‘longer’ to see your comments come through… Rest assured we’ll save these nominations for May’s ROTM.

April started with Manchester marathon where Kevin Donnelly had a fantastic run smashing his marathon PB by 17 minutes. He backed that up with two 5k PBs and a 5 mile PB:

“Kevin amazed us all with his performance at Manchester marathon. He is flying these days with a big marathon PB in Manchester! Go Kevin!”

Another Harrier setting new PBs left right and centre in April was Anita Piatek. A half marathon PB at Subway was sandwiched (get it…?) by bests for 5 mile and 5k at Ballymena Belles and Springwell’s Purple ladies race:

“Anita has been absolutely smashing out PBs this month from Ballymena Belles to Purple Ladies. She has been very committed to her training + it is more than reflecting in these great results!”

Mairead O’Hare was nominated for a brilliant performance in her first marathon at London this month which followed a 7 minute half marathon PB at Subway:

“What a fantastic performance in the London Marathon. A very determined Mairead embraced the training and did herself and the club proud getting right to the line. Well done Mairead.”

Running a marathon isn’t easy. Running a marathon a few days after being on crutches is definitely not easy. However, Janet Grew did just that and her achievement of finishing was rightly picked out as an inspiration to other club members:

“Janet showed great determination getting through London Marathon despite adversity and extreme injury”

For some at the club, a marathon isn’t long enough anymore. Congratulations to everyone who completed the Connemarathon (39.3 miles); for many it was their first ultra distance.

Lee O’Boyle has obviously been reading too much Scott Jurek. The legendary ultra runner finished second in his first ever ultra… and that’s exactly what Jurek did 25 years ago . Lee’s tireless work ethic is an inspiration to others at the club:

“His dedication to sport and training is inspiring and his achievement at Connemara ultra was incredible. Couple all that with his unassuming attitude and his willingness to help and encourage others embodies what I love about running. Congratulations Lee.”

We also had two ladies running their first ultra at Connemara. Our ladies’ captain Suzanne Brennan was nominated for her ultra training and race:

“Suzanne really dedicated herself to the training and was always positive about the whole experience which paid off with a great run on day”

Well done to everyone nominated and keep doing what you are doing. However, our winner this month pipping the rest on the list was Sharon Dunn. Sharon has been knocking on the door of ROTM for many months and her ability to maintain her levels of excellence has finally got her the biggest share of the vote this month. Here’s what you all had to say:

“Sharon worked and trained so hard for her first ultra and absolutely smashed it! What I love about Sharon is how modest and humble she is about her achievements. Her attitude towards training and her strength and determination is inspiring. Go girl x”

“I’m nominating Sharon Dunn for her total dedication to training and it was brilliant to see that pay off at Connemara ultra. Well done Sharon!”

“EAMS, Connemara and now taking on 24 in 24, this girl is amazing”

“She trained so hard for Connemara and showed great dedication which paid off on race day with a great performance. She continues to go from strength to strength and fully deserves ROTM for April”

Well done Sharon, a very deserved winner. Good luck with your preparation for 24in24!