Bigger and better from Springwell

It’s been another very productive week for Springwell RC with national medals, representative honours, personal bests, personal milestones, and even further distances than recent weeks.

Gael & John Butcher and Amanda Kershaw at the Safety Solutions Belfast 24

This week saw the purple vests in action in marathons in York and Amsterdam, a 24 hour race at Victoria Park in Belfast, a Half Marathon in Cambridge, cross country championships at Queen’s playing fields in Belfast as well as Parkruns across the country.

Yorkshire Marathon

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The 8th Yorkshire Marathon on October 17 incorporated the British Masters Marathon Championships. Starting and finishing at the University of York, the course provides competitors with a perfect opportunity for fast times and personal bests.

Alan Steen at the Cambridge HM

Taking part in his first marathon since before the covid lockdown, Paul Thompson had ambitions for a podium place in the Masters Championships and he didn’t disappoint. Paul produced a great run of 2:52:25 to finish 62 nd overall and win his age category in the British Masters Championships. Springwell RC’s other member at the event, David Campbell produced a personal best run of 4:00:06 to finish 1148th.

Amsterdam Marathon

The Amsterdam Marathon on October 17 gives competitors just a taste of an Olympic experience with the race starting and finishing in the iconic 1928 stadium.

The 1928 Olympics were the first games to have the Olympic torch lit for the duration of the games and the venue where the great Paavo Nurmi won his ninth, and final gold medal in the 10,000m. First held in 1975 the event now attracts almost 14,000 runners to the streets of Amsterdam.

Alan White at the Limavady Parkrun

The race has been a popular destination for Springwell RC members, and this year Liam and Nicola Frizelle made the trip to the Netherlands. Liam finished 2442 nd in 3:35:58 and Nicola 3445 th in 3:52:13.

Safety Solutions Belfast 24

This year Drumachose Primary School celebrates its 50th anniversary and, to mark the event ,the school are proposing to build and resource a state of the art multi-sensory room and upgrade the outdoor learning environment for all pupils.

To support the schools fund raising efforts Springwell RC’s John Butcher, his wife Gael and friend Amanda Kershaw undertook the challenge of a 24 hour race. John is an experienced marathon runner and has undertook the 24 hour race twice before, but Gael and Amanda were very new to this experience with their furthest distance prior to this event being a mere fifteen miles.

Fergal Mackle at the Portrush Parkrun

The midday start in Victoria Park, Belfast, on October 16 took place in fine autumnal weather but, as the afternoon progressed to evening a persistent rain moved in to dampen the enthusiasm as darkness fell. The laps of Victoria Park accumulated throughout the night and into the morning and by noon on October 17, John had covered 100.56 miles and Gael and Amanda 62.59 miles each. This was a fantastic effort by John, Gael, and Amanda for a worthy cause. If you would like to support them, you can still donate at Just Giving, search for John Butcher, Amanda Kershaw and Simon Moore.

Masters XC Championships

The NI Masters Cross Country Championships and trials took place at the Queen’s University playing fields in South Belfast on October 16. Taking part in her first ever cross country race Springwell RC’s Carolyn Gilfillan finished sixth in the F35 category, an excellent result that deservedly earned a place on the Northern Ireland team to compete against Ireland on November 13.

Cambridge Half Marathon

Paul Thompson (not from Yorkshire marathon unfortunately)

With his own footlights review, Alan Steen took to the streets of Cambridge for the Half Marathon, finishing 5419th in 2:02:45.


There were 44 Springers out parkrunning at six venues this weekend with six personal bests recorded. Gary Kendall combined his personal best at York parkrun with his 250th Parkrun. “Well done” to Gary on achieving this milestone.

York - Gary KENDALL 20:54 PB, David CAMPBELL 26:07

Portrush - Alan NEVIN 18:39, David O’NEILL 18:45, Maurice WALKER 19:25, Rhys WALKER 21:13, Mervyn THOMPSON 23:42, Alan PLATT 24:03, Paul MOORE 24:19, George BRIEN 24:52, Patricia CRAIG 25:41, Barry MCBRIDE 25:44 PB, Andrew WILSON 25:48, Grainne MOORE 26:04, Alanna MILLAR 26:04, Fergal MACKLE 26:09, Andrew WILMOT 26:38, Liz DOWEY 27:20, Amanda SCOTT 27:59, Roisin WALKER 29:43, Catherine BYERS 31:07, Pauline DUKE 32:03, Emer THOMPSON 47:38, Aisling HYNES 56:21

Citypark - Lorraine ABERNETHY 29:01

Roisin Walker at the Portrush Parkrun

Limavady - Chris DENTON 17:45, Adrian FINLAY 24:08, Kevin MCLEAN 24:19, Janet PATRICK 25:14, Leanne QUIGLEY 25:53, Alan WHITE 27:21, David MCCOOL 27:38, Heather MCLAUGHLIN 33:14, Nicola WHITE 33:41

Dungannon Park - Ali SHAW 19:44

Garvagh Forest - Judith BUCHANAN 22:14, Roy BUCHANAN 23:30 PB, Michael MCKEOWN 23:38 PB, Majella MCATEER 24:05, Sylvia POLLOCK 25:57, Mariette MULVENNA 26:38, Anne Marie MCKENNA 29:46 PB, Paul MCKENNA 29:48, Caroline OWEN 36:03 PB