Personal bests and individual goals were well and truly smashed last month, as over 300 people of all ages and abilities took part in the first ever Virtual ABC 10K race across the borough’s city, towns and villages.
Organised by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council and supported by Armagh Athletics Club and Banbridge Athletics Club, the virtual event was arranged in place of the Bann 10K, Craigavon Lakes 10K and the Armagh 10-mile road race due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Uniting everyone from walkers and joggers to fun runners and seasoned athletes, the inclusive event saw over 300 participants successfully complete the 10K distance between Saturday 19 June and Sunday 27 June at a time and place, which was convenient to them.
Just like the wide variety of race competitors, the event was filled with many different stories of resolve and motivation – as for some it was the culmination of 10 weeks of training on ABC Council’s Virtual 5K to 10K Programme and for others it was the perfect opportunity to push themselves towards achieving a new personal best time.
For added incentive, a number of spot prizes were up for grabs including vouchers from Get Active ABC, Rushmere Shopping Centre and Café IncredABLE at South Lake Leisure Centre.
The 2021 Virtual ABC 10K prize-winners and their back stories are:
DIY finish line – Ewa Henderson: A recent participant of ABC Council’s Virtual 5K to 10K Programme, Ewa Henderson completed her first 10K along the Newry Canal Towpath, using chalk for the start and finish lines. In celebration of this personal milestone, Ewa’s husband was at hand to cheer her across the finish line.
Best of the borough – Audrey Buckley, Susan Hanna and Lisa Sherman: Keeping the running up since graduating from council’s Couch to 5K Programme in October; friends Audrey Buckley, Susan Hanna and Lisa Sherman completed their 10K at Edenvilla Park.
Family Involvement – Jonathan and Hannah Ross: Father and daughter duo Jonathan and Hannah Ross, both started running during lockdown when Hannah began a school running challenge. Now avid runners, the pair completed their first 10K run with flying colours.
Inspiration Award – Stephen Turner: Another graduate of council’s Virtual 5K to 10K Programme, Stephen Turner completed his first 10K on Father’s Day – with cheers of delight from his eight-year-old daughter Ruby at the finish line. From being unable to run back in December to then completing a 10K within six months, Stephen is truly a wonderful role model for his daughter.
Congratulating everyone that took part in the event, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr said:
“Very well done to the hundreds of children, adults and families that took part in our first virtual 10K race – and many congratulations to our worthy prize-winners.
“Albeit very different to previous years, we hope the convenience and flexibility of this virtual event has helped reach and appeal to people who may not have previously considered it. Now with this achievement firmly under everyone’s belt I would encourage everyone to continue running and keep up the good work.”