CHAMPION Ulster cyclist Mary Hunter a member of Dromara CC was the local star of a world class pre-Olympic 22-mile time trial in Belfast on Sunday.
The quality line-up at the Stormont Estate included Londonderry-based Olympic individual pursuit silver medalist Wendy Houvenaghel, Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya and Hanka Kupfernaghel from Germany, a triple winner of the World Cyclo-Cross title.
Top cyclists from across Ireland also took part but Mary was one of only two Ulster competitiors who qualified for this prestigious event - the first Olympic time trial ever staged on this island and one of only four being held across the UK for the London games.
The circuit for Sunday’s trial was a major test of skill, stamina and endurance taking in Newtownards, Bangor, Holywood and Tillysburn before the competitiors returned to the finishing line at Stormont.
Mary who recently recorded the fastest lady’s time in a top international event in Majorca finished a highly credible 24th out of 55 competitors in Belfast and although she was slightly disappointed by her performance it was a remarkable achievement given the opposition and the tough cycling conditions on the day.
Last year, representing Ulster, Mary won a major competition in Kerry and her impressive cycling CV also includes numberous other events in Ireland, Britain and Europe.
A popular member of the Dromara Club Mary works full time as a Peronal Trainer and Fitness Instructor at the DW Sports and Fitness complex on Belfast’s Boucher Rd.
Sunday’s Celtic Chrono event also included a charity leisure cycle involving hundreds of participants which raised money for Action Cancer, the NSPCC, Diabetes UK and Aware Defeat Depression.
The time trial winner was Wendy Houvenghal who completed the gruelling course in just 48 minutes and 35 seconds.