Engineering firm FG Wilson were crowned the winners of the inaugural Laganside 10km ‘Corporate Challenge’.

The Corporate Challenge was introduced this year to the Laganside 10km to boost the numbers of competitors from outside local running clubs.

Matt Shields, Chairman of the promoting club North Belfast Harriers, was delighted that so many local businesses took up the challenge and entered teams.

“In these hard times, running is a cheap, healthy and fun activity for everyone to enjoy. All you need is a pair of running shoes,” said Matt.

“We were delighted that so many employers, including FG Wilson, took up the Corporate Challenge this year. We hope it will grow and grow each year so that running in local events like ours becomes more accessible for people who wouldn’t otherwise consider it.”

The winning team from FG Wilson consisted of their top three finishers on the day who were Mark Gracey (71st), Jerry Milliken (84th) and David Playfair (92nd). Over 800 runners took part in the event.

Anyone interested in running can visit for information on training and competing in local events.

Half Marathon

North Belfast Harriers were crowned the Northern Ireland Half Marathon champions for 2011 last Sunday.

On a day of high winds and high drama, the individual men’s race was as close as the team battle – initially.

Stephen Scullion started as pre-race favourite but it was another Stephen, of the Omagh, Duncan variety, who would walk away victorious after 13.1 miles.

The early pace was forced on by Scullion but Duncan couldn’t be dropped and when Duncan made his move at nine miles, it was a decisive one. Duncan opened up into the strong head wind over the last four miles and was over 90 seconds ahead (67.56) of Scullion (69.31) at the end.

Back down the field, Declan Reed ran in isolation for most of the race in third position. Alan O’Hara had club mate Eamon White for company over the first few miles. As the miles ticked by, positions remained unchanged. The strong headwinds favouring those in packs rather than those running in ‘no man’s land.’

Declan Reed ran very strongly to finish third (70.20).

Alan O’Hara ran really solidly to finish fourth (72.37), perhaps feeling the effects of travelling back from Italy late on Friday evening but posting a very good time nonetheless.

The real action was just unfolding slightly further back in the race where the positioning for the team title had turned into a real dog fight, especially as Eamon White began to drift back feeling the effects of an early hard pace.

Pauric McKinney (Letterkenny) and Emmet McGinty occupied the next two places having broken from the pack around 10.5 miles.

They would go on to finish fifth (74.02) and sixth (74.17).

The team race would effectively be decided by the position of the last man – with the title destined for either Belfast or Derry.

With a mile to go, Noel Logan (CoD) and Conor Curran got into a great battle which saw them draw in Eamon White. In a sprint for the line North Belfast man Curran held his form to hold off fast finishing White, both collapsing after crossing the line. Curran (seventh) ran a two minute personal best (74.31) two seconds ahead of White (eighth in 74.33).

Logan finished a few seconds back, the team race having been decided in the last few hundred metres. Paddy Mór Doherty was next across the line for City of Derry (tenth).

Other Harriers who performed well on the day were Lisa Sturgeon (fourth lady), Gerry McNamara 54th in 1.24.10, Alan Ritchie 58th in 1.24.42 and Jim Clinton who ran a personal best of 1.39.43.

Meanwhile Marty Rea was forced to withdraw half way around his 100k international ultra race on Saturday with a calf injury. Good luck to Breege Connolly who is taking part in the Great North Run this weekend.