Foyle Valley's Scott Rankin condemned to yet another second place in Ballyclare

 Foyle Valley's Scott Rankin finished second in Ballyclare behind Springwell's Neil Johnston 
 Foyle Valley's Scott Rankin finished second in Ballyclare behind Springwell's Neil Johnston   Foyle Valley's Scott Rankin finished second in Ballyclare behind Springwell's Neil Johnston 

LIKE Sisyphus in Greek mythology, who was fated forever to roll a boulder up a hill only for it to fall back down and hit him, Scott Rankin seems destined to finish second in races after doing all the running.

It was the runner-up spot again for the Foyle Valley athlete at Ballyclare on Saturday, making it his fourth silver medal finish this autumn. Seven days earlier, the Foyle Valley athlete had plucked defeat from the jaws of victory after enjoying what appeared to an unassailable 100 metres lead going into the last quarter of the Joe Seeley Cup 10K road race.

Fast forward a week to the Malcolm Cup cross country in Ballyclare and the Claudy man uses the same front-running tactics only to lose out on the final lap on this occasion to Springwell’s Neil Johnston, who went on to win by eight seconds.

Newcastle’s Séamus Lynch continued a consistent season by taking third. Mourne’s William McKee, Newcastle’s David O’Flaherty and City of Derry’s Emmett McGinty made up the top half-dozen. Beechmount’s Lorcan Magee, in 12th, collected the trophy for first U20.

North Down’s Jessica Craig was an impressive winner of the women’s, storming home a massive 48 seconds clear of cub mate Jodi Smith with Dromore’s Rebekah Nixon grabbing the bronze medal spot.

The Masters’ race was a competitive affair with Annadale Strider Paul Carroll proving the strongest in the end up. Better known as a triathlon, Carroll was challenged early in the race by North Belfast Harrier before Willowfield’s Paul Rowan came through strong to nail down the runner-up spot.

A number of athletes caught the eye in the under age contests. Beechmount Harrier Peter Gracey was impressive in leading the U17 boys home while North Down’s Murphy Miller was the class act in the U15 girls’ race. Ballydrain Harrier Joel Chambers won a fiercely contested boys’ U13 mile and East Coast’s Rhys McManus was a stylish winner of the U11 boys’ cavalry charge.

Over 400 turned up for the ever popular Born 2 Run’s Loughgall 10k race which was the third race in the Run Forest Run Series. The absence of many of the top regulars meant that there was a new winner in the men’s race in the form of Domhnall Murphy. Another relative unknown Terry McCollum took second with Pace Running Club’s Oliver Cook in third.

The was nothing unknown about ladies’ winner, Cathy McCourt, who was not long returned from taking four individual and one team medal at the World Masters’ Championships in Australia. The west Belfast woman had almost three minutes to spare over Amy Lavery with North Down Catherine Roberts completing the podium.

Portaferry’s Ciara Mageean warmed up for next weekend’s European Cross Country with a smooth win in the Jingle Bells 5K in the Phoenix Park. Donore Harrier John Travers made it three in a row victories in the men’s race with a fast 14:06 mark.

“That sets me up nicely for when we have a go at the world record at the AIT international arena on December 17 in the Believe and Achieve Development meet,” said Travers, alluding to the Irish attempt on the world 4x1 mile indoor record.