Gibson leads NI runners in Clonakilty, while Rea achieves podium finish in London:
On Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th February 2013, at least five runners from Northern Ireland took part in the inaugural Clonakilty Back 2 Back Marathons in Cork, Ireland. The event, which takes competitors over a scenic 26.2 mile course each day, is expected to grow in popularity after its first running, with many participants enjoying the coastal route.
However, with 149 entrants starting Saturday’s race and only 112 completing both days it shows just how difficult the two day race can be. Ian James (Wrexham AC) won the men’s title in 6:13:45 (2:54:39 and 3:19:04), while Sharon Woods (Mallow AC) lifted the ladies top prize in 7:08:36 (3:28:06 and 3:40:27).
Steven Gibson (Marathon Club Ireland) ran two sub four hour marathons, 3:59:15 (Saturday) and 3:58:55 (Sunday) to lead the NI athlete’s home in 28th place. Not far behind was Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), who just missed a podium place in the ladies race, she finished in 4th place after covered the distance in 3:52:40 on Saturday and 4:05:31 on Sunday, meaning that her overall time was 7:58:15. This secured 29th place overall.
Another Seapark AC member, Gary Connolly crossed the line in 3:56:23 on Saturday, but ran an understandably slower 4:06:00 on Sunday. His overall time of 8:02:27 gave him a 33rd place finish. Despite beating Gary to the line on Saturday, Murlough AC’s Gerard Rowe (3:54:48) finished in 35th place after recording 4:09:08 on Sunday. His overall time was 8:04:07.
Ken Beggs, a member of the 100 Marathon Club, but better known for his connection with East Antrim Harriers had an overall finish time of 8:48:55 (63rd place), after notching up 4:13:02 (Saturday) and 4:35:45 (Sunday).
Another Northern Ireland man competing over long distance at the weekend was Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), who took part in the London 50k Ultra Marathon on Sunday 17th February 2013. The well-known Belfast based athlete made a welcome return to ultra-racing, finishing in an excellent 3rd place after completing the hilly, multi-terrain course in 3:50:32. The race was won by Danny Kendall (Serpentine Running Club) in 3:47:08.
Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series 2013:
On Saturday 16th February 2013, Sperrin Harriers held the fifth race of their Winter League Series at An Creagan Heritage Centre, Omagh.
After having to cancel the original running of the event because of extreme weather conditions, organisers deserve credit for rescheduling the race so quickly. Covering 5 miles in distance, the race was dominated by Sperrin Harriers, with Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) claiming another victory in the series. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the talented Harrier though; he had to see off a strong challenge from club mate Niall Brown.
In the end, it was Pierce who broke the tape in 28:42, ten seconds ahead of Niall (28:52) in 2nd place. Aidan O’Hagan made it a 1-2-3 for Sperrin Harriers when he crossed the line in 29:34 to take 3rd place.
Cheryl Caldwell (Sperrin Harriers), a consistent performer in the series, matched her male club mate’s success, crossing the line in 35:52 to seal a notable victory in the ladies race. Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers), another regular on the podium, took 2nd place in 36:57 while Unattached athlete Anne Killen (37:31) just pipped Greencastle AC’s Olivia Mullin (4th place - 37:32) to the post, claiming 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) – 28:42, 2nd Niall Brown (Sperrin Harriers) – 28:52, 3rd Aidan O’Hagan (Sperrin Harriers) – 29:34
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Cheryl Caldwell (Sperrin Harriers) – 35:52, 2nd Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) – 36:57, 3rd Anne Killen (Unattached) – 37:31
Scullion produces magic in Birmingham, while NI athletes qualify for Athlone finals:
On Saturday 16th February 2013, Northern Ireland man Stephen Scullion, formerly attached to Northern Belfast Harriers but now representing Clonliffe Harriers (Ireland) and St Mary’s University AC (England) lined up against Double Olympic Champion and athletics legend Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles AC/Team GB) at the British Athletics Birmingham Grand Prix. Competing over 3,000m, Stephen smashed his personal best for the second weekend in succession, clocking an outstanding 7:58.11 (7th place) this time around. The race was by Mo Farah in 7:42.00.
Closer to home, several Northern Ireland runners were in action in the opening day of the AAI National Senior Indoor Championships at the AIT Arena, Athlone (Ireland). Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) recorded 7.33secs to qualify for Sunday’s 60m final, this time also meets the AAI standard set for the European Championships.
Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) qualified for the 400m final after running 57.42secs, while Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) came through his 400m heat in 49.19secs and will also compete in tomorrow’s final. Another man celebrating a new personal best is Patrick Hamilton (City of Derry AC), he ran 1:53.57 in his 800m heat to qualify for Sunday's final.
British Athletics Birmingham Indoors Grand Prix Results: Birmingham Indoors 2013 Results
NI runners Pollock and Harty achieve podium finishes:
On Thursday 14th February 2013, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on Armagh for the 23rd running of the Armagh International Road Races.
Held within the historic ‘Mall’ area, in the heart of the City Centre, the course is surrounded by iconic buildings which provided the perfect backdrop for any race photography. The evening kicked off with nine junior races, with nearly all having upwards of one hundred participants.
As the junior athletes basked in the glory of their achievements, the International Ladies/Open Ladies/Veteran Ladies/Junior A and Junior B Ladies toed the line for their 3km race. After a short wait, while the astute race officials made absolutely sure that all the athletes were behind the marked start line, the horn sounded and the runners set off.
Almost immediately, Mary Cullen (North Sligo AC) headed for the front, where she was joined by Ava Hutchinson (DSD AC), Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC), Claire Duck (Leeds City AC), Mary Kate Champagne (USA), Ellie Stevens (Loughborough University), Rachel Bamford (Otley AC) and Sarah Hood (Tipton AC).
As the race progressed, Mary continued at a relentless pace and gradually broke clear of the group. She was followed by fellow Irish runner Ava Hutchinson, while several of the others tussled for the final podium place. Whilst the athletes completed their final lap, spectators scurried to get a position close to the finish, and as they did so Mary Cullen came into sight. Looking strong, the recently crowned Raheny 5 course record holder (25:55) covered the remaining yards effortlessly and crossed the line in a new Armagh 3km ladies course record of 9:07.88.
Ava Hutchinson (9:16.96) finished well to take 2nd place, while Northern Ireland lady Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC) produced an excellent final lap to secure a well-deserved 3rd place finish in 9:27.09, her best time over the course to date.
North Belfast Harriers’ Breege Connolly (9:51.38) was the second Northern Ireland finisher in 10th place, while her club mate, the in-form Claire Connor recorded 10:25.49 to claim 19th place and was the third NI lady home. Current Junior B category course record holder, Yasmin Wilson (Ballyclare HS) stepped up to the mark, winning the Junior A category in 10:38.72. Catriona McGloin (Beechmount Harriers) had the honour of collecting the Junior B award, after crossing the line in 11:18.61, and Louise Rudd (Stockport AC) was the first female veteran finisher in 10:11.10 (14th place).
The crowd barely had time to draw breath before the extremely efficient time-keepers/officials set off the International (Confined) Men’s 5km race. Due to the fact that the entrants had to have run sub seventeen minutes to enter the race, it was common knowledge that it was going to be a quick race. However, the pace the men covered the first lap in was nothing short of breath-taking!
It was a pleasant suprise to see Northern Ireland man Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) head the massive lead group as they came through the first lap, Brendan Gregg (USA), Stuart Gibson (Cambuslang Harriers) and Eric Ashe (USA) were also amongst the front runners. Eventually, the lap speed began to regulate and Brendan Gregg took charge, with Andrew Wils (New Marske Harriers), Ethan Shaw (USA), Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC), Richard Weir (Derby AC), Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Tristan Mannix (USA) all still in the mix.
As the bell sounded and the runners went into their final lap, several surges were made but by the time they had returned to the finish area it was obvious that it was going to be close. A group of approximately five runners charged towards the finishing tape, and in the end it was American Ethan Shaw who had the honour of breaking it in a winning time of 14:11.71. Richard Weir (Derby AC) and our very own National Half Marathon and Marathon Champion Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) finished neck and neck, but it was Richard (14:12.40) who just edged it, with Paul taking 3rd place in 14:12.46.
St Malachys AC’s Joe McAlister (14:26.92) was the second Northern Ireland man to finish in 13th place, while Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC) crossed the line in 14:40.66 to secure 22nd place, making him the third Northern Ireland finisher. Special mention must go to early leader Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), although he fell off the early pace he managed a staggering twenty two second personal best after clocking 14:42.09.
The final race of the evening brought the Male Open, Male Vet’s, Junior A and Junior B runners to the start line. Like the earlier races, this was an exciting affair with the leading runners altering positions time after time until the very end.
Niall Robinson (North Down AC) and Robbie Matthews (Dunshaughlin AC) continually took on the pace but it was Lagan Valley AC’s Conal Kirk who held on until the closing stages to make the decisive move, in the final straight he made a well timed surge to seal an impressive victory in a new course record of 8:46.52, this also secured the Junior A title for the Belfast based man. North Down AC’s Niall Robinson (8:49.73) was next across the line in 2nd place, making him the 1st Male Open competitor home.
Dunshaughlin AC’s Robbie Matthews (8:51.57) finished in 3rd place overall, making him 2nd in the Male Open category and Stewart Orr (Cambuslang Harriers) completed the top three Male Open finishers in 8:58.14 (4th place overall). Francis Marsh (North Down AC) was the first veteran finisher in a brilliant 9:19.46 (8th place), while pre-race favourite David Robertson (Cambuslang Harriers) ran out clear winner of the Junior B category.
Top 3 Finishers (Selected Categories):
Ladies 3km Race: 1st Mary Cullen (North Sligo AC) – 9:07.88, 2nd Ava Hutchinson (DSD AC) – 9:16.96, 3rd Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC) – 9:27.09
Men’s 3km Race: 1st Conal Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) – 8:46.52, 2nd Niall Robinson (North Down AC) – 8:49.73, 3rd Robbie Matthews (Dunshaughlin AC) – 8:51.57
Foster, Harty and Scullion do Northern Ireland proud in Sheffield:
This weekend (Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th February 2013) three of Northern Ireland’s top athletes took on the UK's best at the British Athletics Indoor European Trials & UK Championships in Sheffield.
On Saturday 9th February 2013, Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) won her 60m heat in 7.47secs, before recording 7.43secs (4th place) in her semi-final to reach the final. In the early evening final, which boasted a world class line up; Amy completed the 60m distance in 7.44secs. This was slower than her season and personal best but it looks as if this could be an excellent year for the talented young lady. The final was won by former IAAF World Youth Championships gold medallist Asha Philip (Newham & Essex Beagles) in 7.15secs.
On the same evening, Stephen Scullion of North Belfast Harriers, but wearing the blue and white quartered vest of St Mary’s University AC, was up against an outstanding field in his 3,000m race. This included two time Armagh International Road Race podium finisher and defending UK Champion Johnny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers).
In an exciting race, Stephen featured well throughout, but in the end it was Bristol & West AC’s David Bishop who made a late surge to claim the victory in 8:06.98. Stephen finished in an excellent 7th place, recording a new 3,000m personal best of 8:10.78.
On Sunday 10th February 2013, Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC) produced an excellent performance in the 3,000m. Running alongside the likes of Jessica Judd (Chelmsford AC), Ellie Stevens (Birchfield Harriers) and Lily Partridge (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC), Kerry just missed out on a podium finish but ran a new indoor personal best of 9:20.95 (4th place). The race was won by Lauren Howarth (Leigh Harriers) in 8:56.48.
Further afield, On Saturday 9th February 2013 City of Derry AC's JP Williamson who is currently studying at Lindsey Wilson College in America took part in the 'DePauw University Invitional Indoor Meet'. Competing as part of a relay team and also as an individual, JP had to run in two one mile races within an hour. He covered his relay leg for Lindsey Wilson College in 4:22, guiding them to a 2nd place finish before running his individual one mile race in 4:25 (5th place).
Full DePauw Invitional Results: DePauw University Indoor Invitional Meet 2013 Results
26extreme to host Belfast's first urban Ultra Marathon:
26extreme, organisers of some of Northern Ireland’s most exciting running events, such as the Mourne Way Marathon and Causeway Coast Marathon have announced their latest offering. The new event will take place on Sunday 8th September 2013 and will attract many Northern Ireland running enthusiasts, especially given it’s connection with an immensely important part of the country’s history.
The ‘TQ101k’ Ultra Marathon will start in the Titanic Quarter, Belfast and continue 50.5k towards Donaghadee before turning back and return to the finish in Belfast. The 101k competitors won't be running alone, as they will be joined on the home straight by the TQ50k and the TQ25k entrants.
This will be an exciting annual event, which will increase by 1k each year to commemorate the maiden voyage of the Titanic! The distances available will be:
101k - Out and back - Starting in Titanic Quarter.
50k - Linear route - Competitors will be transported to start line by bus.
25k - linear route - Competitors will be transported to start line by bus.
This is an event not to be missed! Route maps and further details will be uploaded to www.26extreme.com shortly! Entries open MARCH 2013!
Belfast Half Marathon 2013:
Another exciting announcement has been made this week, with regard to road racing in Northern Ireland. Belfast is to host a new Half Marathon, on Sunday 22nd September 2013.
The event is an extension of the hugely popular Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, which enjoys its 32nd running on Monday 6th May 2013. Danny O’Connor, Chairman of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon organising committee, commented:
“We’ve been considering holding a half marathon for a number of years now, and this seemed the appropriate time to launch such an event for the first time.
“Due to the logistics of organising the main marathon, and the associated events on the day, it is not feasible for us to hold a half-marathon at the same time as the main event, and so we have decided to hold this event in September,” Danny explained.
“This means that it will be the ideal opportunity for those intending to take part in the main event to gauge how their training is going and the progress they are making.
Launching the new Belfast City Half Marathon, the Lord Mayor, Alderman Gavin Robinson, said:
“Half marathons are hugely popular events, and I congratulate the organisers of the Belfast City Marathon on taking this step. I am sure it will be hugely successful, with both local runners and those from further afield, and I wish everyone involved all the best for September.”
The new Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon will start at Belfast City Hall and finish at the newly refurbished Mary Peters Track. Details of the exact route will be announced at Easter. Online entry is available now at www.belfastcitymarathon.com
The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is sponsored by Athletics Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Daily Mirror, Podium 4 Sport, Saucony, Sport Northern Ireland, Tayto, Translink and U105. This year’s official charity is Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.
Belfast Half Marathon article taken from Athletics NI website.
On Saturday 2nd February 2013, Northern Ireland runners Eoghan Totten (Newcastle AC), Stephen Scullion (North Belfast Harriers) and Robin Brown (North Down AC) were in action at the BUCS Cross Country Championships in England.
In a quality field of over three hundred competitors, all three performed to their usual high standard but it was Stephen who excelled. He recorded 33:32 over the 9.8km course to finish in 3rd place. Young Eoghan crossed the line in 34:41 (20th place), while Robin (36:02) finished in 50th place. The race was won by Steve Connor (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC).
Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) was also in action over the weekend, competing over 60m at the Dussman Indoor Games in Luxembourg. Amy finished in 3rd place after running 7.9secs, the race was won by Dutch athlete Jumile Samuel in 7.30secs.
Results: BUCS XC Championships Results 2013
Sperrin Harriers host fourth race in Winter League Series:
On Saturday 2nd February 2013 Sperrin Harriers hosted the fourth race of their well supported Winter League Trail Series at Drum Manor, Cookstown.
In the absence of Pius McIntyre, a consistent winner in the series so far, it was Sperrin Harriers’ own Pierce McCullagh who stole the headlines. He completed the 10k course in 36:11, just ahead of Carmen Runners’ Michael Kerr (36:18) and Omagh Harriers' Jason Walsh (36:31) who took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.
Anne Paul (City of Derry AC), previous series race winner secured victory in the ladies event. She broke the tape in 41:28, while the host clubs Rosemary Hargan (49:13) finished in 2nd place. Olivia Mullin (Greencastle AC) claimed 3rd place in 50:22.
Top 3 Men: 1st Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) – 36:11, Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) – 36:18, 3rd Jason Walsh (Omagh Harriers) – 36:31
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 41:28, Rosemary Hargan (Sperrin Harriers) – 49:13, 3rd Olivia Mullin (Greencastle AC) – 50:22
On Saturday 2nd February 2013, Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC) completed a hat-trick of 1500m wins. Racing at the Birmingham Indoor Games she clocked 4:23.79 to seal her third win in as many weeks, the time wasn’t just as fast as Kerry would have liked but a decent effort considering she had to force the pace alone. Kerry now hopes to race over 3000m in Sheffield next weekend.
Full Results: Birmingham Indoor Games 2013
McGarry and Sandford win at Stormont:
On Saturday 2nd February 2013, 26extreme took their Winter Series to Stormont Estate, Belfast. This was the second time the series has visited parliament buildings, with the previous event being held under moonlight.
Colm McGarry (Unattached) celebrated victory, breaking the tape in 36:50. This was his first victory in the series and one he’ll remember. Regular 26extreme follower Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) took 2nd place in 37:13, while Patrick Brennan (Unattached) claimed the final podium place in 37:25.
Lagan Valley AC’s Anne Sandford was the outstanding performer in the ladies race, moving clear from the off Anne claimed victory in 40:11. Unattached athlete Barbara McCluskey (48:05) was the next lady home, ahead of (Unattached) Grace Ervine who took 3rd place in 49:23.
Top 3 Men: 1st Colm McGarry (Unattached) – 36:50, 2nd Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) – 37:13, 3rd Patrick Brennan (Unattached) – 37:25
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:11, 2nd Barbara McCluskey (Unattached) – 48:05, 3rd Grace Ervine (Unattached) – 49:23