Brendan Teer (East Down AC) retains title in close race:
On Sunday 30th March 2014, nearly one hundred athletes turned out for the annual Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k and associated 5k race in Castlewellan, County Down.
In decent conditions, it was reigning Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) who impressed most. The local athlete, who represented Northern Ireland at the Home Countries XC International in England last weekend, completed the 10k route in 33:28 (1st place). David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC), a third place finisher last year, slashed almost three minutes off his 2013 to take 2nd place in 33:54; East Down AC's Martin Wilcox secured the final podium place in 36:46 (3rd place).
The ladies race brought an interesting battle between England and Scotland, with Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) and Laura Devine (Garscube Harriers) battling it out at the front. In the end, it was Hannah Oldroyd who claimed victory, breaking the tape in 40:10 (1st place). Laura (40:46) claimed 2nd place, before Castlewellan AC's Sinead Murtagh sealed 3rd place in 41:49.
In the associated 5k event, up and coming East Down AC star Aoife Cochrane led the field home in 23:03 (1st place), thus taking a well-deserved win in the girls category. Ruairi King (Club Unknown) followed just over one minute later to win the boys race in 24:08 (1st place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 33:28, 2nd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 33:54, 3rd Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) – 36:46
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 40:10, 2nd Laura Devine (Garscube Harriers) – 40:46, 3rd Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) – 41:49
Full Results: Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k 2014 Results
Bay Road 5k will be Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championship Race:
It has been announced that the Bay Road 5k, a popular annual event organised by City of Derry AC, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 9th April 2014 (7.30pm), will once again host the Athletics NI 5k Road Championships; it will also be the final scoring event in the Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Association 2013/14 League.
The flat and fast course, based around the banks of the River Foyle in Derry/Londonderry is well known to be the perfect setting for personal bests. Entries are available on the night (from 6pm), but pre-entry would be appreciated by organisers. All you have to do is send your name, date of birth, gender, club (if applicable), to: [email protected] The entry fee of £8 (or €10) can be paid and race pack collected from 6pm on race day, at race HQ in the University of Ulster Magee Sports Centre, Rock Road, Derry/Londonderry. The excellent Magee facility is a mere three or four minute jog from the race start on the riverside path adjacent to the Sainsbury's Car Park on Strand Road.
Chip timing will be used and the Prize Fund offers cash awards to the top three male/female competitors in the ‘open’ race and all male/female age group winners from U-20 to Vet70. A large field is expected from both club runners and joggers and the fast, flat Bay Road course has a proven track record of producing personal bests. Further info from Gerry Lynch (City of Derry AC): 07702006667 or email: gerry.l[email protected]
Northern Ireland runners compete outside the province:
On Sunday 30th March 2014, at least six athletes from Northern Ireland joined approximately twenty five thousand participants at the 34th annual running of the Berlin Half Marathon, a race well-known for it's flat and fast course.
Orangegrove AC's Paul Cordner looked in good form as he led the local contingent home in 1:35:18. He (Paul), was followed across the line by Kim McDonald (Dromore AC), Jill Holland (Orangegrove AC) and Kerry Hall (Dromore AC), with the trio recording 1:52:58, 1:53:23 and 1:57:48 respectively. Another Orangegrove AC athlete, Beverley Martin, narrowly missed a sub two hour finish, clocking 2:00:44 for the 13.1m course. The fast improving Kerri Thrower (Unattached) crossed the line in 2:07:14. Kenyan athlete Leonard Komon won the race in 59:14, while Tadelech Bekele (Ethiopia) took the ladies title in 1:10:05.
Also this weekend:
Northern Ireland athletes were in action at indoor events in Ireland and Hungary. At the World Masters Indoor Championships in Budapest (Hungary), Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City Track Club) took 3rd place and the associated bronze medal in the Vet45 1500m event; Cathal ran a brilliant 4:10.80 in the closely contested race, which was won by USA's Nicholas Berra in 4:07.75.
Newry based athlete Geraldine Finegan (Dunleer AC) put in good performances in the 60m hurdles (7th place - 10.21secs) and the 800m (8th place – 2:46.36) before winning a gold medal in the Vet45 Heptathlon. Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC), Tim Shiels (Derry City Track Club), David Priestley (Manchester Harriers), Stephen Galbraith (NIMAA), Pat Logan (NIMAA), Averil McClelland (Lancaster & Morecombe AC), Fiona Argent (Medway & Maidstone AC), Lisa Finlay (Dumfries AC) and Sian Finlay (Dumfries AC) also performed to their usually high standard, despite not bringing home silverware. Full results from the four days of exciting competition are available below.
At the Woodies DIY AAI National Juvenile Indoor Championships, held in the AIT Arena in Athlone (Ireland), Ballymena & Antrim AC men Ben McKeown, Ryan McIlroy, Owen Agnew and Craig Newell collected bronze medals after taking 3rd place in the U-19 4x200m relay event; they ran 1:33.43 in the race, which was won by Craughwell AC in 1:31.83. There were also notable outings from the Newry AC and two other Ballymena & Antrim AC teams. Full results are available below.
Record numbers celebrate Omagh Half Marathon's 25th anniversary:
On Saturday 29th March 2014, a record number of runners turned out for the 25th annual running of the SPAR Omagh Half Marathon in County Tyrone; the race was the third event of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, which has so far attracted nearly five thousand participants, when including the AES Larne Half Marathon and the DUNE Half Marathon.
In pleasant running conditions, almost three thousand athletes embarked on the 13.1 mile journey, which would take them through the atmospheric Omagh Town Centre before moving onto a more rural section, which led back to the Race HQ and a well-supported finish at Gibson Primary School.
At the head of the pack, Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC), Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), Barry Minnock (Rathfarnham WSAF) and Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) all looked good in the early stages, but as the race progressed, it was Gary Murray and Eddie McGinley who began to take control. In the ladies race, Irish Olympian Maria McCambridge (DSD AC) was a dominant figure and looked extremely composed as she gradually built up a massive lead on her competitors, which included Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC), Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC), Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), Siobhan Carroll (Unattached), Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) and Liosa McKeown (Unattached).
As the men went through the 11 mile marker, a comfortable looking Eddie McGinley started to stamp his authority on the race by taking up a position at the front; this proved to be a wise decision by the Annadale Striders star, as NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist Gary Murray did not counteract his move, which meant that Eddie only had the clock and his previous personal best (of 1:08:20) to beat. To huge applause from the awaiting spectators, Eddie negotiated the final uphill section, before breaking the tape in a new personal best of 1:06:35 (1st place). Gary Murray took a well-deserved 2nd place in 1:08:14, before Gary O'Hanlon (1:08:41) just pipped Declan Reed (4th place – 1:08:48) to 3rd place after the pair had enjoyed an excellent dual.
Maria McCambridge was rewarded for her faultless display of front running with impressive victory; the DSD AC lady crossed the line in 1:16:40 (1st place). Karen Alexander continued her notable start to 2014, claiming the runners up spot in 1:24:52 (2nd place), while another athlete in-form, Claire McGuigan, completed the ladies podium less than twenty seconds later in 1:25:09 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 1:06:35, 2nd Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) – 1:08:14, 3rd Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 1:08:41
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Maria McCambridge (DSD AC) – 1:16:40, 2nd Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:24:52, 3rd Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 1:25:09
Full Results: SPAR Omagh Half Marathon 2014 Results
IAAF World Half Marathon Championships 2014:
On Saturday 29th March 2014, Northern Ireland man Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) set a personal best as he was fifth best European when 30th place at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen (Denmark).
The County Down man cut one minute and forty three seconds off his previous 13.1 miles best set at the Bath Half Marathon earlier this month (March 2014) as he clocked a new Northern Ireland Half Marathon record of 1:02:09 in the Danish capital.
Paul was the second best European when he finished 21st in last year's World Championship Marathon Moscow (Russia); "I'm very happy with that run," said the 27-year-old. "I was hoping to break 62 minutes, but taking over one minute off my personal best is a good day's work. I've just came out of Athletics Ireland training camp in Portugal and I didn't really ease down" added the well-respected athlete. "I came through the race strong. I was 29:47 at 10k and 47 minutes at 10 miles. I really felt I could have run a couple more miles today."
The Annadale Striders athlete, who also represents Kent AC, wants to run two 10,000m track races in the US in May, in the hope of achieving qualifying standards for both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. The Northern Ireland man has already achieved the marathon qualifying standard for both the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships. "I plan to run two 10k's in Stanford in May and the European Cup in June, then I want to do well at the Commonwealth Games and on to Zurich for the Europeans."
Kenya's Geoffrey Kipsang took gold in 59:07, the fastest half marathon time this year. Africans filled the first fifteen places in Denmark and the two top European finishers were both born in Africa. Paul Pollock was forty eight seconds behind leading European, Turkey's Polat Kemboi Arikan, who took 16th place.
This article was taken from the BBC Northern Ireland website; it has been slightly altered by NiRunning but should be fully credited to the BBC.
Local athletes impress in British Championship event:
On Saturday 29th March 2014, mountain running enthusiasts from across the UK and Ireland descended on the coastal town of Newcastle (County Down) for the 'Donard Challenge' mountain race, which was also the opening fixture of the 2014 British Mountain Running Championship.
In difficult misty conditions, it was Northern Ireland athletes who impressed most on the tough 10k course, which included 850m of ascending. As the top qulaity field set off, a large lead group, which included numerous local men, including Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) and Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC), led the way through Donard Forest and onto Millstone Mountain; this is where the weather conditions began to take effect. Visibility was as low as 7ft at times, which led to confusion and some navagational issues, with a large number of athletes choosing a more complicated route from Millstone towards the summit of Slieve Donard.
It was Scotland based Northern Ireland international Iain Whiteside who came off Slieve Donard first, but a strong looking Allan Bogle pursued him into Donard Forest. As the pair worked their way back towards the finish in Donard Park, Allan caught and passed Iain; he (Allan) finished fast to claim an outstanding victory in 1:05:25 (1st place). Iain Whiteside followed in 1:05:35 (2nd place), before Neil Northrop (Dark Peak Fell Runners) secured 3rd place in 1:05:53.
Like the men's event, the poor visibility meant that spectators following the ladies race were unable to keep a good track on the standings; like many, pre-race favourites Victoria Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers) and Helen Fines (Calder Valley) found conditions difficult and therefore did not feature as expected. However, this offered an excellent opportunity for others to excel, most notably, experienced Welsh international mountain runner Jackie Lee (Eryri Harriers); Jackie negotiated the course well, before breaking the tape in 1:24:14 (1st place). Emma Gould (Mercia Fell Runners), who won the 'Cloud Nine' mountain race earlier this month (March 2014), took 2nd place in 1:26:42, while Claire Green (Pudsey & Bramley AC) completed the ladies top three in 1:27:33 (3rd place). Lagan Valley AC's Shileen O'Kane was the first local lady to finish in 1:29:42 (5th place). In the team competition, Carnethy HRC (Scotland) won the men's event, while Eryri Harriers (Wales) took the ladies title.
Top 3 Men: 1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 1:05:25, 2nd Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) – 1:05:35, 3rd Neil Northrop (Dark Peak Fell Runners) – 1:05:53
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Jackie Lee (Eryri Harriers) – 1:24:14, 2nd Emma Gould (Mercia Fell Runners) – 1:26:42, 3rd Claire Green (Pudsey & Bramley AC) – 1:27:33
Top Northern Ireland finishers:
Top 3 Men: 1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 1:05:25, 2nd Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) – 1:05:35, 20th Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 1:12:04
Top 3 Ladies: 5th Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:29:42, 9th Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 1:32:44, 16th Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 1:35:55
Full Results: Donard Challenge (British Mountain Running Championship race) 2014 Results - A more in-depth race report can be found on the NIMRA website HERE.
Weekend Preview: Northern Ireland runners to race at home and abroad...
This weekend brings two major events for the local running fraternity to look forward to, the British Mountain Running Championship race in Newcastle (County Down), which we looked at in our 'Special Preview' yesterday (it's available below this Weekend Preview) and the third race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the Omagh Half Marathon in County Tyrone.
Over and above these races, the Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k (and associated 5k) will also take place; Northern Ireland runners will also be in action in Ireland, Denmark, Germany and Israel in the coming day's.
On Saturday 29th March 2014, over two thousand six hundred runners will bring Omagh to a standstill as they take on the 25th annual running of the SPAR Omagh Half Marathon; this will be the third race in the 2014 Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, after successful events in Newry and Larne.
Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and Brendan Teer (East Down AC) could all be amongst the front-runners come race day. Stephen Scullion's impressive performance in 2013 saw him claim victory in a new course record and personal best of 1:04:46; that particular confidence booster sparked an excellent run of results for the England based NI man, which included wins at the Titanic 10k, Laganside 10k, Belfast City Half Marathon and numerous top outings on the track, the most notable of which was a 13:58 clocking over 5,000m at a BMC event in Manchester (England). Belfast man, Eddie McGinley, returned to action after a break since the Dublin Marathon (October 2013) at Jimmy's 10k earlier this month (March 2014), sealing the runners up spot behind Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) in a speedy 31:23. Eddie's only previous outing over the 13.1m distance was at the Belfast City Half Marathon last year (2013), when he crossed the line in 1:08:20 (for second place); despite this being an excellent debut effort, the ambitious Annadale Striders athlete will be looking to secure a new personal best.
Local hero Stephen Duncan should be a welcome addition to the line-up; in an unfortunate set of circumstances, Stephen was forced to pull out of this race at the mid-way point last year and the injury that forced this withdrawal led to him missing the remainder of the year. Thankfully, judging by excellent winning performances at the NI & Ulster Masters XC, Altamuskin 5, Carmen 10k and the Enniskillen XC, the popular athlete seems to be back to full fitness. Having won this race on several occasions, he knows the course well and will undoubtably be there or there abouts in the final stages. Recently crowned Irish 50k Champion Gary O'Hanlon, a fourth place finisher here last year, will be keen to improve on that position. Compared to 2013, Gary seems to be racing sparingly and should therefore be in good shape going into this event. Another man who will be in fine form is Brendan Teer; last weekend, Brendan represented Northern Ireland at the Home Countries XC International in Nottigham (England), where he covered the tough 10k course in 34:12. The East Down AC man's highlight of the year so far was a win at the Albertville 5; he led the field home in 25:47.
The challenge for top ten finishes will be interesting, with a plethora of talent set to race. Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Nat Glenn (East Coast AC), Michael Fitzpatrick (North Belfast Harriers) and Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC) all had good runs at the AES Larne Half Marathon last week, and will be looking for similar here. However, they will have to be on top form, as Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), Samuel Drummond (Larne AC), Kevin O'Boyle (Ballymena Runners), Steve Darby (Barnsley AC), Wayne Morrow (Larne AC), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), Bernard Brady (Larne AC), Aaron Parks (Armagh AC) and NI & Ulster 800m and 1500m, and AAI National 1500m Champion Mark Wright (Annadale Striders) will also be vying for high finishes.
In the ladies race; reigning Champion Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) will prove hard to beat if she decides to defend her title. Ann-Marie was a convincing winner in 2013, after running 1:20:03, and like the men's winner last year (Stephen Scullion), Ann-Marie went on to enjoy an extremley successful year; this culminated in selection for the Ireland team for the European XC Championships in December 2013. More recently, Ann-Marie claimed an superb fourth place finish at the Armagh International 3k last month (February 2014) and won the Airtricity 10k in 35:16.
Fellow Lifford AC athletes, Natasha Adams and Claire McGuigan could also be worth watching. Natasha is the current AAI National Masters 1500m and 3,000m Champion, and also holds the NI & Ulster Masters 3,000m title. The NI lady has been in good form of late, having recorded 1:00:44 at the Cara Bundoran 10m race; she (Natasha) also finished in second place at the SSE Airtricity 10k and won the St Patrick's Day 5k in Letterkenny (Ireland) in 17:24. Meanwhile, Claire McGuigan was the winner of the annual 'Paula's Run' (5k) on St Patrick's Day. Letterkenny AC Olympian Maria McCambridge, a previous winner of this race, could also be a surprise late/elite entry.
Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC), Sarah Kivelehan (City of Derry AC) and Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) will also feature prominently at the front. International athlete Karen Alexander is extremley consistent, she dominated the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series, winning the ladies race at each of the events. On top of that, Karen won the Enniskillen XC, Moira XC and the Dungiven 10k. In 2013, Donna Evans had to settle for the runners up place behind the strong running Ann-Marie McGlynn; Donna's expertise over the distance will prove vital, and we would expect the Finn Valley AC lady to be amongst the top finishers; the same could also be said for Sarah Kivelehan and Hannah Oldroyd, two ladies who are well used to claiming prizes. Sarah won a race at the North West Triathlon Club 5k Series and also finished on the podium during the well supported Series; she (Sarah) followed this up with a decent run at the Stormont XC. Hannah is a regular vistor to Northern Ireland and a follower of parkrun throughout the UK; we have no doubt that if Hannah can fit the new Bangor parkrun in before lining up in Omagh, she will do so! On her last visit to the province, earlier this month, Hannah won the Ecos parkrun in a new course record, then won the Magherafelt 10k that afternoon. The next day, she took second place in the DUNE Half Marathon behind the brilliant Heather Foley (Unattached).
Other ladies who will run well should include, Tara Malone (Enniskillent Running Club), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Liosa McKeown (Unattached), Melanie Minshull (City of Lisburn AC), Janice Plumb (East Coast AC), Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners), Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC), Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached), Rhonda Brady (Larne AC), Laura Bateson (Unattached), Andrea Heslip (Dromore AC) and Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers).
Also on Saturday 29th March 2014, Northern Ireland man and current NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), will represent Ireland at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen (Denmark).
Paul qualified for the event after running a new 13.1m personal best of 1:03:52 at the Bath Half Marathon, where he claimed third place behind two Kenyan athletes. The local man, who now bases himself in England, will be aiming for a new personal best and a high finish.
On the same day (Saturday 29th March 2014), well-known Northern Ireland international and winner of the AES Larne Half Marathon last weekend, Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), and fellow teacher/coach Michael Cooke, will take a strong team from St Malachy's, Belfast to the ISF World Schools XC Championships in Israel. The squad, who won the Irish Schools XC Championships in 2013 includes Paddy Robb, James Smyth, Christopher Connolly, Ronan O'Fril, Darryl McNicholl and Kieran O'Reilly. Their 5k race will take place on Tuesday 1st April 2014.
Closer to home, several teams from Northern Ireland are expected to turn out at the Woodies DIY AAI Juvenile National Indoor Relay Championships, which will be held at the AIT Arena in Athlone, Ireland on Saturday 29th March 2014. Ballymena & Antrim AC and Newry AC are amongst the local club's who will be challenging for top honours.
On Sunday 30th March 2014, athletes from across the province will travel to Castlewellan (County Down) for the annual Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k (and associated 5k). The event starts in the Upper Square, Castlewellan (at 1pm) and is expected to attract several well-known runners, as well as a large number of fitness enthusiasts. Amongst those who could toe the line are local men, and quality atheltes, David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and David McNeilly (Newcastle AC). The international mountain runners could be joined by the likes of Paul Carlin (Newcastle AC), John Kelly (Newcastle AC), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), Brendan Quail (Newcastle AC), Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC), Paula McKibbin (Murlough AC), Natalie Davidson (County Antrim Harriers) and Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers).
On the same day (Sunday 30th March 2014), a number of athletes from Northern Ireland will join approximately twenty five thousand other runners at the 34th annual Berlin Half Marathon in Germany. Paul Cordner (Orangegrove AC), Jill Holland (Orangegrove AC), Beverley Martin (Orangegrove AC), Mark Shields (North Belfast Harriers), Kerri Thrower (Unattached), Kim McDonald (Dromore AC) and Kerry Hall (Dromore AC) will be just some of the local runners who take on the flat and fast course.
This weekend will also see the introduction of a new parkrun to the province, the Bangor parkrun, which will start on Saturday 29th March 2014 (9.30am) will take place every week in Ward Park, Bangor. Northern Ireland’s other sixteen parkrun events will also take place as normal, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.
This Saturday, the 29th March 2014, the British Fell Running Championship bandwagon will roll into to the coastal town of Newcastle, County Down. The Donard Challenge mountain race is the first event of the four race Series. In addition to this, the event will be used as the English Fell Running Championships ‘away day’, therefore counting in the overall standings across the Irish Sea in England.
This new route, classed as a short race in term of the Championship is, as it says in the title, challenging. Measuring 10k in distance, with over 850m of climbing, the race will take in Millstone Mountain before climbing to the summit of Slieve Donard at 850m, then descending all the way to the finish in Donard Park at sea level. This should make every competitor’s journey well worthwhile and satisfy the most discerning fell runner.
The event starts in Donard Park and follows forest roads across the Donard Bridge then taking a rough cobbled path on the south side of the Glen River before turning south-east using the forest paths to reach Checkpoint 1(Drinneevar Quarry Wall at 300m. Map ref. 376287). Runners will then ascend on rough steep ground to reach Checkpoint 2 at Millstone Mountain summit (460m. Map ref. 373285). After making a short boggy descent off Millstone, the main climb, to the summit of Slieve Donard lays ahead.
Underfoot the ground is mostly heather turning to grass with patches of boulders as it steepens towards the summit of Northern Ireland’s highest peak (Slieve Donard Summit 850m. Map ref. 358277). From the top the route is all testing downhill to the finish at sea level. Checkpoint 4, at the small gate at the edge of the quarry forest (Map ref. 371293) will be passed as competitors make their way through Donard Wood, into Donard Park and impending finish.
Scottish International Mountain Runner Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC) will make the trip to County Down for this Championship opener and will go into the event as favourite. However, brothers Rob and Danny Hope (of Pudsey and Bramley AC) are expected to push Finlay over this course, as will former English Fell Running champion Lloyd Taggart of Manx Fell Runners. The well-known Scot Finlay Wild, can climb fast and descent fearlessly. As well as this, his flat speed makes him the one to beat here. Finlay has won the legendary Ben Nevis race in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. So far this year he (Finlay) finished runner up to Orlando Edwards at Carnethy 5 Hill race in Penicuik (Scotland).
Former English and British Fell running Champion Rob Hope has started the 2014 season strongly, with a convincing win at the ‘Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round’. The P&B AC runner put a good forty five seconds into Ian Holmes, with Eryri Harriers’ Matt Roberts taking a very good third. In 2014 Danny Hope (Pudsey and Bramley AC) has won the ‘Ashurst Beacon 6 mile Fell race’ (January 2014) and the amptly named ‘Mr Sparkle’s Dark’un’ (5 mile event – February 2014). Although unlikely to match the pace of his brother Rob, or Finlay Wild, Danny will be looking for a podium spot. Matthew Roberts (Eryri Harriers) is quick on the runnable terrain, so the start and finish of this event will suit him. If Matt can stick with the leaders on the climb he could take a podium finish.
Ambleside AC and Inov-8 pair Ben Abdelnoor and Paul Tierney are both in good form, comfortable in the rough ground and have a good turn of pace. Although a recorder holder at the Lakeland 50 event in Lake District, Ben appears to be concentrating on the shorter fell season in 2014. He sat out the ‘Middle-Fell’ Fell race a few weeks ago and will be ready for this one. Paul finished runner up to local athlete Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) in the Wicklow Way 51k Ultra last weekend; if he has recovered sufficiently, Paul will enjoy this course. Pete Vale (Mercia Fell RC) is a man who always performs to the highest standard and will be there or thereabouts amongst the top vets. Pete ran well at the ‘Edale Skyline’ event last weekend, taking second place behind top Inov-8 and Dark Peak athlete Oli Johnston. Others to watch out for are Richard Roberts of the Welsh club Eryri Harriers and Ian Nixon, another top runner from Pudsey and Bramley AC, who recently took a second place finish at the ‘Sedbergh 3 Peaks’ race. Martin Mikkelsen-Barron (Borrowdale AC) is another who is competitive in this type of event.
On a local front; with Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) expected to be an absentee, the focus will be on Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC). Although experienced Northern Ireland international’s living elsewhere, such as Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC), Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley Fell Runners) and Chris Stirling (Ambleside AC) will also be competing for the first NI position. Another Northern Ireland man based on the mainland, Ryan Stewart (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers/Larne AC), is also in good form and will be wanting to make that known on the bigger stage. Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Emmet McAlister (Ballymena Runners), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) and David Steele (Newcastle AC) have been running well in the mountains and know this course and will be looking forward to this challenge.
Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Richard Hanna (Mourne Runners), Phil Hodge (Murlough AC), Richard Bell (Mourne Runners), Mark King (Newcastle AC), David Gamble (Unattached) Stephen Purvis (Ballymena Runners), Gareth McKeown(BARF), Declan McCrory (Armagh AC), Clarke Campbell (BARF), Andrew Wallace (Ballydrain Harriers), Robbie Evans (BARF), David Bell (Mourne Runners), Ian Bates (Dromore AC), Conor Reid (Ballymena Runners), Pete Grant (Team Purple), Kevin Briggs (Peninsula Triathlon Club), Paddy Ritchie (Ballydrain Harriers), Trevor Wilson (BARF) and the experienced veterans from Mourne Runners, Stewart Cunningham and Harry Teggarty will all be looking to test themselves against the UK’s top mountain talent.
The ladies race will see top mountain stars Victoria Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers) and Helen Fines (Calder Valley Fell Runners) battle it out a the head of the pack. Other contenders will include Charlotte Morgan (Carnethy HRC), Jackie Lee (Eryri Harriers), Caitlin Rice (Glossopdale Harriers) and Hazel Robinson (Ambleside) will ensure that Victoria Wilkinson and Helen Fines don’t get it their own way.
Earlier this month (March 2014), Victoria Wilkinson was the clear winner at the ‘Sedbergh 3 Peaks’ event in England. A week later in the ‘Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round 10 mile race’, Victoria was running well ahead in the women's race, until some navigational issues in the mist put paid to her chance of winning, but she still took third place.
Helen Fines (pictured right), a sub 3 hour marathoner who travels quickly over the longer distances, represented England in 2013 at the WMRA (World Mountain Running Association) Long Distance event in Poland, taking a very credible sixth spot. This year, Helen has also taken first place in long distance races at Mickleden Straddle and Wadsworth Trog, but has form over shorter distances as well, with a win in the Jubilee Plunge race at Moel Famau just before the turn of the year. The English star won the Northern Ireland leg of the British Championship in 2013, held at Silent Valley. Caitlin Rice is a speedy lady and has made a big improvement in her road times lately. That said, she is no stranger to podium finishes in the fell running calendar and this course will suit her. Caitlin started the year off with wins at ‘Hit the Trail 5 and Trigger Tor’ Fell race. In February 2014, Caitlin won the ‘Terry Nortley Radcliffe 10’ near Manchester and took a fifth place at the Carnethy 5 mountain race, behind quality opposition. This good form continued into March (2014) with a win at ‘Ilkley Moor’ and a second place finish at the ‘Sedbergh 3 Peaks’ race. Only last weekend, Caitlin claimed an impressive runners up spot at the popular Edale Skyline event.
Charlotte Morgan of the well known Carnethy Hill Running Club took second place in the Carnethy 5 Hill race in February (2014), against good opposition. Charlotte finished only twenty seconds (1.01:03) behind Irish International XC and Mountain star Sarah McCormick (Moorfoot Runners). Hazel Robinson of Ambleside AC has raced plenty in 2014; she started the year well with a win at the ‘Nine Standards’ Fell race, and followed this up with good performances at ‘Blakes Heaven’ (second place) and the ‘Jarrett Jaunt Handicap’ (second place) and ‘Sedburugh 3 Peaks’ (third place) events in March 2014. At ‘Middle-Fell’ Fell race two weeks ago, Hazel finished well in second place, amongst good competition. Welsh international Mountain runner Jacqueline Lee (Eryri Harriers) is another, who on her day, will compete well in this race. Like Caitlin, this course will suit the lady who is an ever present at Championship events in Northern Ireland.
Although not a Northern Ireland Championship event, local eye’s will be following the well known Lagan Valley AC pair of Shileen O’Kane and Hazel McLaughlin, as well as the always impressive Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), who has been dominating the Northern Ireland scene over the last six months. Tayrn McCoy (BARF), Jackie Toal (BARF), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) and the ever present Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) will also contest the local bragging rights as they aim for the prestige of being the first ‘local’ finisher.
Rathlin Run 2014:
NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) are very proud to announce that from this year (2014), we will be working in association with highly respected charity, Belfast Activity Centre (aka BAC) on the Rathlin Run.
The Rathlin Run is Northern Ireland's most unique, and arguably, most challenging road race. This will be the 13th annual running of the event, which was originally introduced by Raleigh International, before Belfast Activity Centre took the reigns several years ago. In recent years, the event has offered participants the choice between a 10k (6.1m) and a Half Marathon (13.1m), but this year, the decision has been made to revert back to the VERY popular '10 mile challenge', the original distance that caught the imagination of the local running community and cemented the event as an annual favourite. The associated 5k run will also return, and offer an alternative for those wanting to test themselves over (or enjoy) a flatter, shorter course.
The event will take place on SATURDAY 23RD AUGUST 2014, with the 10 mile Challenge kicking off at 1pm and the 5k Run following at 1.15pm.
Belfast Activity Centre's Andrea Kilpatrick spoke of her excitement for this years event, "I am delighted to be working in association with NiRunning this year on the Rathlin Run. It will no doubt add a new dimension to a race that has been very important to people for a number of years. Through the combined skills and knowledge of BAC and NiRunning we anticipate that Rathlin Run 2014 will be the highlight of the year, so be sure to sign up soon."
Ryan Maxwell (NiRunning) added, “The Rathlin Run has been an event that I have participated in and travelled to on a number of times, it's a truly unique race and an excellent experience; having enjoyed and respected the event so much over the years, it is now quite surreal, and really nice to be part of it. This is something we as a team, alongside our friends at BAC, are looking forward to! The fact that it falls on the same weekend as our website's '2nd Birthday' makes it all the more exciting.”
Entries will be limited to 300 (inclusive of both events), so we would encourage everyone to enter early make use of the early-bird options, which are priced at £15 for the 10 mile race and £10 for the 5k.
To enter the Rathlin Run 2014 please contact Belfast Activity Centre on 028 90 600 132; you will be able to pay by debit/credit card (or call to the office with cheque or cash). The entry fee's for 2014 are: RATHLIN 10 mile Challenge - £25 per individual entry (£15 early bird entry available until 31st May 2014). RATHLIN 5k Run - £15 per individual entry (£10 early bird entry available until 31st May 2014).
Special Charity Fundraising Package:
Enter a team of 10 runners to fundraise for your good cause and qualify for a special charity group entry rate of £100 (register and pay by 31st June 2014).
Transport - Important Information:
All runners and supporters must make their own ferry arrangements. To book your outbound and return ferry with the Rathlin Island Ferry visit their on line booking website at www.rathlinballycastleferry.com or contact the booking office on 028 2076 9299. We would recommend that you reserve book your return ferry crossings first before confirming your race registration and payment.
Let your friends know that the challenge is back and save the date! Please follow us on facebook (NiRunning) and twitter (@NiRunning) if you would like to be kept up to date with the Rathlin Run 2014. You can also follow Belfast Activity Centre on facebook (Belfast Activity Centre) and twitter (@BACCharity).
Endurance enthusiasts take on 26.2 miles:
On Sunday 23rd March 2014, organisers of the East Antrim Marathon Series welcomed athletes from across the province to the third event of their popular Series. The event, which started and finished in Newtownabbey (County Antrim) took the thirty hardy competitors on a 26.2 mile journey from Loughshore Park, Newtownabbey to the Cultra Boat Club, just outside Bangor, where they turned and made their way back to Loughshore Park.
Respected distance runner, Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), who was a top ten finisher at the recent Irish 50k Championships, cruised to victory in 2:53:09 (1st place), the fastest time clocked by anyone competing in the ongoing Series so far. Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC) followed in 3:09:28 (2nd place), before Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) completed the men's top three in 3:11:59 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) continued her 100% record; having one the previous to races, Gillian, who had completed the AES Larne Half Marathon in 1:33:29 just 24 hours earlier, crossed the line in 3:30:07 (1st place). Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) clocked 3:37:04 (2nd place), while Lorna Murphy (Unattached) secured 3rd place in 4:08:48 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) – 2:53:09, 2nd Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC) – 3:09:28, 3rd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:11:59
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 3:30:07, 2nd Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) – 3:37:04, 3rd Lorna Murphy (Unattached) – 4:08:48
Full Results: East Antrim Marathon Series (Race 3) 2014 Results
Local stars secure AAI National titles:
On Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd March 2014, a number of junior athletes from Northern Ireland travelled south to Athlone (Ireland) for the Athletics Ireland organised Woodies DIY AAI National Juvenile Indoor Championships, which were held at the impressive AIT Arena.
There were several notable performances by local prospects, with the highlight being AAI National titles for Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC), Oisin O’Callaghan (Newry AC) and Naomi Morgan (City of Derry AC). Roseanna McGuckian produced one of the performances of the weekend to win the U-18 60m in a new personal best of 7.71secs (1st place).
Oisin O’Callaghan looked strong as he powered to victory in the U-17 800m, breaking the beam in 1:58.57 (1st place). This followed a silver medal winning performance in the U-17 1500m race, where Oisin recorded 4:15.81 to finish in 2nd place behind race winner Conall Hayes (Le Cheile AC), who won in 4:15.51. In the U-19 hurdles, City of Derry Spartan Naomi Morgan sealed victory after covering the jumps in a speedy 9.34secs (1st place).
Omagh Harriers’ cross country star, Sean Corry, picked up a silver medal in the U-15 800m after crossing the line in 2:08.72 (2nd place); the race was won by Mark Milner (Tullamore Harriers) in 2:05.82. There were also silver medals for City of Lisburn AC duo Jake Harbinson (pictured above) and Ikenna Nzewi; Jake (2:01.90) took 2nd place in the U-16 800m, behind winner Kevin McGrath (Bohermeen AC), who ran 2:00.21. Meanwhile, Ikenna (2nd place - 7.04secs) finished just after Tallaght AC’s Eoin Doherty (7.01secs) in the very close U-18 60m final.
In the U-19 400m final, City of Derry AC’s Martin McGeady clocked 50.17secs (3rd place) to secure a podium place; the race was won by Paul Murphy (Ferrybank AC) in 48.96secs. Kate Farrelly added to City of Lisburn AC’s medal haul, after running 9.39secs to finish in 3rd place in the U-17 60m hurdles. Elizabeth Morland (Cushinstown AC) won in 8.55secs. Mid Ulster AC’s hot prospect, Martin Mellon collected two bronze medals, in the U-16 60m and 200m. In the 60m race, Martin crossed the line in 7.43secs (3rd place), just behind race winner Daniel Ryan (Moycarkey AC), who won in 7.26secs. In the 200m, Martin finished in 23.85secs; the race was won by Menapians AC’s David McDonald in 23:47secs.
Finn Valley AC 5k and 10k road races 2014:
On Sunday 23rd March 2014, popular County Donegal club Finn Valley AC hosted another of their 5k Series events in Stranolar (Ireland); the race programme also included a 10k race.
There were several Northern Ireland based club’s represented at the event; however, it was a Northern Ireland man representing the host club who led the local athlete’s home. James Speight (Finn Valley AC) was the first NI finisher, after clocking 15:58 (2nd place) to take the runners up spot behind his club mate Gerard Gallagher (Finn Valley AC), who won in 15:30. Foyle Valley AC’s Stephen Connor followed in 16:20 (4th place), while City of Derry AC’s Kevin Hurley (16:45) and Foyle Valley AC’s Matthew McLaughlin (17:29) also claimed top ten places, securing 6th place and 10th place respectively.
The ladies 5k race was won Catherine Dooher (Finn Valley AC) in 19:51. In the 10k race, there were no Northern Ireland based club’s listed on the results, but Paul Ward (Tir Chonaill AC) won the men’s event in 35:06, with Finn Valley AC’s Noleen Porter taking the ladies title in 41:53.
Northern Ireland athletes travel to Wicklow Way events:
On Saturday 22nd March 2014, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland completed the Wicklow Way Ultra-Marathon, a 51k event (with 1,940m of accumulative ascent) which takes competitors through the incredibly scenic Wicklow Mountains, from Glencullen to Ballinastoe and back.
There were quite a few notable performances by the local contingent, none more so than East Coast AC's Justin Maxwell; the Causeway Coast Ultra-Marathon winner finished fourth at this event last year and showed good strength as he battled it out at the front throughout, before moving clear in the latter stages to win in 4:12:00 (1st place). Fellow NI man Eoin Lennon (Unattached) also claimed a podium spot, taking 3rd place in 4:40:30, just under a minute ahead of Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), who crossed the line in 4:41:20 (4th place). Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club) and Cathal McGreevy (Team Purple) recorded 4:55:39 (8th place) and 4:59:00 (8th place).
Murlough AC's Phil Hodge (12th place – 5:07:37) and North Belfast Harriers' Robert Irvine (16th place – 5:18:14) also ran well, finishing just ahead of BARF's Gary Kingston (22nd place – 5:23:02) and Magherafelt Harriers' Mark McGinn (23rd place – 5:23:05), who were separated by just three seconds. Another Murlough AC athlete, Dominic McInerney followed three seconds later in 5:23:08 (24th place), while Kevin Murdock (Team Purple) clocked 5:32:32 (24th place).
Respected long distance athlete, Taryn McCoy (BARF) then secured second place in the ladies race - won by Donna McLoughlin in 5:26:35 – after completing the course in 5:32:34 (2nd place lady). Having crossed the line with Taryn, Stephen Wallace (BARF) had exactly the same finish time of 5:32:34 (34th place). Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), winner of the event in 2013, ensured that NI ladies dominated the podium after taking 3rd place (in the ladies category) in 5:49:10.
Noel Carr (Newry City Runners) clocked 5:53:40 (46th place), while his NCR club mate Ronan Mynes (Newry City Runners) just nipped under the 6:00:00 mark in 5:59:50 (50th place). Mark King (Newcastle AC) and Aaron Shimmons (BARF) finished in 6:10:50 (61st place) and 6:12:51 (64th place) respectively, before Unattached athlete Desi O'Hagan reached the line in 6:15:08 (66th place). Martin Mullan added to the BARF finishers after running 6:17:00 (80th place), this was enough to pip Amy Beggs (Larne AC) and Violet Linton (BARF) to the post, with Amy taking 6th place in the ladies race in 6:39:30 and Violet 8th place in 6:43:10. Crusaders AC's Brian Linton (87th place – 6:44:56), Unattached athlete Orla McElroy (9th place lady – 6:49:00) and Newry City Runners' James McNally (98th place – 6:56:35) then secured top 100 places. Other Northern Ireland finishers included: Fred Hammond (BARF) – 7:10:00 (105th place), John McBride (BARF) – 7:26:40 (112th place), Paul Burchmore (North Fermanagh Running Club) – 7:27:00 (113th place), Clarke Browne (Unattached) – 7:41:00 (118th place), Jackie Toal (BARF) – 7:42:00 (119th place).
Northern Ireland was also represented in the associated 26k race, which took participants from Ballinastoe to Glencullen. Declan Morgan (City of Lisburn AC) led the local athletes home in 2:26:12 (46th place), before Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) narrowly missed a podium place in the ladies race, after crossing the line in 2:30:10 (4th place). Orla Smyth (City of Lisburn AC) continued her training for the upcoming Mourne Way Marathon with a solid performance, the multiple World Transplant Games medallist and record holder finished in 2:45:18 (5th place lady). BARF's Clarke Campbell and Newry City Runners' Tony Malone ran 3:10:10 (154th place) and 3:23:45 (171st place) respectively.
Inter Countries XC Championships 2014:
On Saturday 22nd March 2014, a team of twelve Northern Ireland athletes took part in the Inter Countries International Cross Country in Wollaton Park, Nottingham (England).
Up against strong opposition from Egland, Scotland and Wales, including a 'Combined Servieces' team, all of the local runners put in strong performances. The Junior Women's 6k kicked off proceedings, with Yasmin Wilson (Lagan Valley AC) leading the NI ladies home in 24:37 (26th place), before Omagh Harriers' Elish Flanagan and City of Derry AC's Amy Jackson recorded 25:09 (27th place) and 25:34 (30th place) respectively. Roisin Flanagan (Omagh Harriers) followed in 26:25 (33rd place). The race was won by Engand's Grace Baker (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) in 21:06; England won the team prize, with Northern Ireland finishing in 6th place. International debutant Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) was Northern Ireland's only representative in the Junior Men's 8k, where he crossed the line in 29:03 (31st place). The event was won by Doug Mussan (Notts AC) in 25:27, with England taking the team honours.
In the Senior Women's 8k, NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) impressed with a 30:44 finish time, securing a credible 18th place. The Armagh lady was followed by team mates Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) and Joanne Mills (Lagan Valley AC), with Rachel claiming 25th place in 33:13 and Joanne 26th place in 34:04. The race was won by Catherine Blew (Birchfield Harriers) in 28:07; England won the team prize, with Northern Ireland finishing in 6th place.
Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) lined up for Northern Ireland in the Senior Men's 10k race. AAI National Masters XC Champion Declan Reed was the first of the local athletes to finish, recording 33:12 (19th place) for the distance. A mere five seconds split Scott Rankin and Brendan Teer, with Scott running 34:07 (26th place) and Brendan 34:12 (27th place). Glenn Phair completed the NI contingent in 35:09 (29th place). Hallamshire Harriers' Andy Heyes won the race in 31:33, while England won the team title. Northern Ireland finished in 6th place.
Full Results: Inter Countries XC Championships 2014 Results
Ladies course record smashed as McAlister and Stack excel:
On Saturday 22nd March 2014, over one thousand four hundred athletes turned out for the 22nd annual running of the increasingly popular and well-organised AES Larne Half Marathon, which is the second race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series.
In breezy conditions, the athletes set off on their scenic 13.1 mile journey; after a short but atmospheric Town Centre section, the field reached the iconic Coast Road, at which point, three times winner of the event, Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) had stamped his authority on the race. Joe had a sizeable lead over Half Marathon debutant Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), who in-turn had opened up a gap between himself and a chase group containing David Graham (Unattached), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), James Brown (East Coast AC), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) and Dennis Scott (North Down AC).
In the ladies event, pre-race favourite Heather Foley (Unattached) was first to reach the 5k mark, with Fiona Stack (Raheny Shamrock AC), relay runner Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC), Julia Belyavin (Bristol & West AC), Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), Ann Fitzpatrick (Unattached) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) amongst those in pursuit.
As the race progressed, Joe McAlister continually increased his lead, while Andrew Annett was establishing himself in the runners up position; behind, the early group of David Graham, James Brown, Stephen Wylie, Barrie Atkinson and Dennis Scott were being caught by Francis Marsh (North Down AC) and Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), who were reaping the rewards of a well paced start. Meanwhile, at the head of the ladies field, Fiona Stack had overtaken the in-form Heather Foley, with Julia Belyavin and Marina Campbell looking the most likely contenders for the final podium place.
As the crowd gathered around the seaside finish, it wasn't long before the lead man came into view. As expected, it was Joe McAlister; the St Malachy's AC man, who won Jimmy's 10k last week powered his way along the final section to break the tape in 1:09:44 (1st place), thus claiming his fourth victory at the Larne Half Marathon. The impressive Andrew Annett secured 2nd place in an excellent personal best of 1:11:30, before Stephen Wylie (3rd place - 1:14:20) pipped his club mates Dennis Scott (4th place – 1:14:22) and Francis Marsh (5th place – 1:14:24) to the final podium place.
Fiona Stack's relentless pace back in the Coast Road from the in-land section at Ballygally, saw her come into the final straight well clear; she (Fiona) covered the remaining metres quickly to win in a new course record of 1:19:44 (1st place). Heather Foley continued her good run of form, taking 2nd place in 1:23:09, while English athlete Julia Belyavin crossed the line in 1:25:20 for 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 1:09:44, 2nd Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:11:30, 3rd Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) – 1:14:20
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Fiona Stack (Raheny Shamrock AC) – 1:19:44, 2nd Heather Foley (Unattached) – 1:23:06, 3rd Julia Belyavin (Bristol & West AC) – 1:25:20
Relay Winners: 1st Men's Team - Ballymena Runners (1:16:46), 1st Ladies Team - Larne AC (1:42:26), 1st Mixed Team - Lagan Valley AC (1:25:37)
Full Results: AES Larne Half Marathon 2014 Results Note – Photograph's from the AES Larne Half Marathon have been added to our Photo Gallery.
Weekend Preview: Athletes set for events in Larne, Nottingham, Bolton...
After the first race of the Pure Running – ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series last weekend in Newry/Dundalk (DUNE Half Marathon), the fixtures from the first half of the Series will now come thick and fast, with one of the best attended and most popular events, the AES Larne Half Marathon taking place this weekend. Northern Ireland athletes will also be in action in Wicklow (Ireland), Nottingham (England), Bolton (England) and Stranolar (Ireland).
The main focus of the weekend’s local activities will centre on the aforementioned AES Larne Half Marathon (and associated three person relay event), where in excess of 1,500 competitors are expected to take on one of the provinces most scenic courses. The route spans 13.1 miles of road, taking athletes around the Town Centre, before moving onto the Coast Road, where they will make their way towards Ballygally and a short inland section. After which, the runners will make their way back in the Coast Road, finishing along the atmospheric Promenade behind Larne Leisure Centre.
A glance at the pre-entry list throws up a plethora of recognisable names, such as Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) and Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), who are all likely to play a prominent part at the head of the field. Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) and Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) are also expected to make use of the late entry system.
Brendan Teer is unlikely to feature, having been selected for the Northern Ireland team to compete at the Home Countries XC International in Nottingham (England) on the same day. Current course record holder and three time winner of the event, Joe McAlister, will start as favourite and will prove hard to beat if he toes the line. Joe, who put in two impressive performances at the Armagh International Road Races last month (February 2014), over 3k and 5k, looked strong as he secured an excellent win at Jimmy's 10k last Sunday (16th March 2014). Amongst those chasing the St Malachy's AC man will be another previous winner of the event, Paul Rowan. Paul won the Larne Half Marathon in 2005 and 2006, and has completed the old course in 1:07:54 (2004). He (Paul) has started this season well with a 26:07 finish at the Albertville 5 and a 33:00 time for Jimmy's 10k. Francis Marsh (North Down AC) is another man to watch out for; interestingly, Francis ran his 13.1m personal best (1:12:58) at this event, whilst sealing a podium finish in 2010. Three week’s ago, the respected athlete and coach recorded an excellent 1:13:47 at the Bath Half Marathon in England, which shows that he is in good shape.
North Belfast Harriers duo Conor Curran and Andrew Annett will be there or there abouts. Conor has run two personal bests in the last two months, over 5k (16:01) and 5 miles (26:40), so should go into the event with confidence. The AAI National Masters 5,000m medallist ran 1:14:28 at the Dublin Half Marathon in 2012 and may be hoping for something similar here. Meanwhile, mountain running international Andrew Annett will take on his first Half Marathon (according to available records); the 15:48 5k man could be the surprise package here, when taking his strength from years of tough mountain running into consideration. Earlier this month he (Andrew) claimed the runners up spot at the Kinvara 10k (Ireland), after crossing the line in 33:11. Adding to the list of previous Larne Half Marathon winners is local man, Brian Campbell. Brian, who is originally from Larne, won the race in 2007 and 2008; in recent years, the decorated runner and triathlete has suffered with injuries, but seems to be on the road to recovery, especially after a 56:32 finish at the Armagh 10m road race at the back end of 2013. The local favourite would be a popular winner with spectators.
Other athletes who will be vying for high placings will include Dennis Scott (North Down AC), James Brown (East Coast AC), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Graham Barr (Invictus Triathlon Club), Sam Crawford (East Antrim Harriers), Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC), Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Guinness World Record holder, for the 'Fastest Marathon in the World by a Zombie', Sean McShane (North Belfast Harriers).
Commonwealth Games qualifier, Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) could be a late addition to the ladies field. At the start of this month, Breege took second place at the Cara Bundoran 10m road race in Ireland, this followed a 29:06 finish at the Raheny 5 in January 2014; this event could prove an excellent training opportunity for the highly rated athlete, the same could also be said for her club mate, Gladys Ganiel O'Neill, who won Jimmy's 10k last week in 36:44. In the absence of last years top three ladies, Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) and Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers), the podium places are well and truely up for grabs. An athlete almost certain of achieving one of those places is Heather Foley (Unattached); since Heather's fourth place finish here last year, when she ran 1:28:40, the talented runner and duathlete has improved immensely; in the last three week's, she (Heather) has won the Sportsman Duathlon and also the DUNE Half Marathon, where she broke the tape in a massive new personal best of 1:22:03.
Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) could also be contenders. Marina Campbell showed her class throughout the Athletics NI XC Series, with the highlight being an excellent third place finish at the McConnell Shield XC. Since then, the Spartan athlete has picked up a prize at the 'Run in the Dark' in Belfast and also slashed her 10k personal best to 38:23 at the Seeley Cup 2013. In recent months, Amanda Perry has shown signs of good form, with a third place finish at the Comber Cup XC last month (February 2014); her most recent outing was a forth place finish at Jimmy's 10k, where she ran 40:45 for the distance. The ever consistent Karen McLaughlin won the Roe Valley Trail Race two week's ago, this was after narrowly missing a podium spot at both the Enniskillen XC and Magherafelt 10k races; on her day, Karen could be amongst the prizes, and will most certainly be a top ten finisher.
Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC), Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Catherine Roberts (North Down AC), Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers), Catriona Kerr (Glens Runners), Catherine Pinkerton (Springwell Running Club), Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC), Patricia Blair (Larne AC) and Janice Plumb (East Coast AC) will also be aiming for personal bests and a top ten finish, but will have to fend off the challenges of Nikki Heywood (North Down AC), Claire Forth (Unattached), Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached), Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC), Mairead McAleer (Carmen Runners), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) and Paula McKibbin (Murlough AC) if they wish to seal the latter (ie a podium place).
Also on Saturday 22nd March 2014, a large number of Northern Ireland runners will travel south to County Wicklow (Ireland) for the Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon; an event which takes competitors on and 'out and back' route from Glencullen to Ballinastoe. The course measures 51k, with 1,940m of accumulative ascent.
Last years winner, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) will not return to defend his title, but Northern Ireland will be well represented in the form of Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Paul Burchmore (North Fermanagh Fitness Club), Mark King (Newcastle AC), Violet Linton (LVO), Suzanne Carson (LVO), Declan McGrellis (LVO), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Noel Carr (Newry City Runners), James McNally (Newry City Runners), Roman Kimberly (Newry City Runners), Mickey Shields (Newry City Runners), Frankie Rea (Newry City Runners), Orla McElroy (Newry Triathlon Club), Mark McGinn (Magherafelt Harriers), Nicki McPeak (Springwell Running Club), Kevin Murdock (Team Purple), Cathal McGreevy (Team Purple), Jeremy Sutton (Unattached), Amy Beggs (Larne AC), Gerry Kingston (BARF) and Brian Linton (BARF/Crusaders AC).
The above mentioned runners will be joined on the start-line by fellow NI endurance specialists Jackie Toal (BARF), Fred Hammond (BARF), Gareth McKeown (BARF), Martin Mullan (BARF), Aaron Shimmons (BARF), Dave Evans (BARF), Desi O'Hagan (BARF), John McBride (BARF), Taryn McCoy (BARF), Ivan Sadlier (Unattached), Declan Faulkner (Omagh Harriers), Robert Irvine (North Belfast Harriers), Orla Smyth (City of Lisburn AC), Stepen Wallace (Murlough AC), Dominic McInerney (Murlough AC), Wiola Gorman (NIMRA), Elaine Warnock (NIMRA), Michael Galloway (NIMRA), William Edgar (NIMRA). The local contingent will face stiff opposition from a talented field, this includes Irish international ultra-runners Eion Keith (Boards AC) and Paul Teirney (Eagle AC), as well as regular competitors in Northern Ireland, Torban Dahl (Crusaders AC) and Donna McLoughlin (100 Marathon Club).
Further afield on Saturday 22nd March 2014, a team from Northern Ireland will be in action at the Home Countries Cross Country International in Nottingham, England. The strong line-up will include the following athletes: Under 20 Women (6k) - Amy Jackson (City of Derry AC), Elish Flanagan (Omagh Harriers), Roisin Flanagan (Omagh Harriers) and Yasmin Wilson (Ballymena & Antrim AC). Under 20 Men (8k) - Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers). Senior Women (8k) - Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC). Senior Men (10k) - Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) and Declan Reed (City of Derry AC).
Also in England on Saturday 22nd March 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based junior athletes will represent Ireland at the SIAB School's International XC in Bolton. Caelainn Rose (Sacred Heart, Omagh), Peter Fegan (St Coleman's, Newry), Ciaran Brolly (Omagh CBS), Aife McSheffrey (Limavady GS), Stanley Edgar (Friends School, Lisburn), Christy Conlon (Rathmore School, Belfast) are all part of a talented Ireland squad due to participate.
On Sunday 23rd March 2014, Finn Valley AC will host their annual 10k road race in Stranolar, County Donegal (Ireland). Considering the amount of Northern Ireland based runners who have travelled to the club's 5k Series, we would expect several to make the short border crossing for this event. This may include, Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC), Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC), Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) and Denise Toner (Clones AC).
Northern Ireland’s sixteen parkrun events will also take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.
Athletics NI AGM:
The Annual General Meeting of Athletics Northern Ireland was held last night (Wednesday 19th March 2014). Before the meeting commenced, trophies were presented to the winning teams in the 2013-14 Cross Country League by outgoing President of Athletics NI, Gerry Lynch.
The following office bearers were re/elected to their positions: President – Gary Keenan, Vice Presidents – T. Alderdice, P. Brown, J. Glover, M. Moffitt, P. Moffitt, B. Smith, Chairman – David Seaton, Secretary – John Allen, Treasurer - Roy Corry.
Sub Committees were elected for the coming year as follows:-
Track and Field Competition Committee:- J. Alexander, P. Brown, L. Glover, B. Scarth, U. Fay, W. Davis, R. Mack, B. Brodie, B. Scott, K. Scott
Cross Country and Road Running Committee:- J. Quinn, L. Cochrane, T. Wall, P. Magee, J.McLaughlin, R. Black, A. Han, D. Marshall
The following motions were passed at the meeting:
- Application for club membership will be accepted provisionally in the first instance. Membership will be withdrawn if, within 9 months of affiliation, the club is unable to satisfy the Board that it is working towards the minimum published criteria for the operation of an athletic club as approved from time to time by the Board. For information - The criteria will be published following ratification at the next meeting of the Athletics NI Board.
- All club athletes must be registered and have paid the appropriate annual fee before participating in open competition. However, no fee will be payable for athletes who have not yet reached their 13th birthday.
- The Club Affiliation fee will remain at £100 per club and athlete registrations will be £9 for adults (16 +) and £4 for ages 13 to 15. These are payable from 1st April for the coming year (to March 2015). Athlete registrations should not be paid before 1st April, as on this date all current registrations are re-set to unregistered.
Article taken from Athletics NI website.
Altamuskin 5m Road Race 2014:
On Monday 17th March 2014, the Altamuskin Community Association hosted their annual St Patrick's Day 'Altamuskin 5'; the well supported 5 mile road race, which takes place just outside Omagh (County Tyrone), attracted nearly two hundred competitors.
At the head of the field, it was reigning Champion Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), who set the pace. The international athlete has won the race every year since 2011 and showed great confidence as he led from start to finish, breaking the tape in 26:36 (1st place); this ensured that Stephen retained his 100% winning start to 2014, having been victorious at the Carmen 10k, Enniskillen XC and NI & Ulster Master XC races. Conor Moore slashed nearly two minutes off his finish time at this event last year, when crossing the line in 28:54 (2nd place); Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) completed the men's top three in 29:13 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) continued the form that has put her amongst the provinces most highly rated runners; the Carmen 10k winner cruised to victory in 32:21 (1st place). Junior international and Northern Ireland Age-Group 1500m medallist, Toni Moore (Omagh Harriers) followed in 36:30, before another Omagh Harriers lady, Deirdre Haigney recorded 37:40 for 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) - 26:36, 2nd Conor Moore (Omagh Harriers) - 28:54, 3rd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 29:13
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) - 32:21, 2nd Toni Moore (Omagh Harriers) - 36:30, 3rd Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers) – 37:40
Full Results: Altamuskin 5m Road Race 2014 Results
Northern Ireland athlete takes top spot in Letterkenny (Ireland):
On Monday 17th March 2014, at least two athletes from Northern Ireland took on the Letterkenny AC 'St Patrick's Day 5k' in Letterkenny, County Donegal (Northern Ireland).
Northern Ireland lady Natahsa Adams (Lifford AC) stole the headlines, the current Woodies DIY AAI National Masters 1500m and 3,000m, and NI & Ulster Masters 3,000m Champion, led the ladies home in 17:24 (1st place); this was enough to secure an impressive fifth place overall, and followed an excellent podium spot at the recent Airtricity WCM 10k, where she took second place.
Foyle Valley AC's Darren Wallace was also in action; Darren completed the course in 19:18 (26th place). The men's race was won by Letterkenny AC's Ivan Toner, who broke the tape in 19:18.
Full Results: Letterkenny AC St Patrick's Day 5k 2014 Results
Impressive medal haul for NI athletes at BMAF Championships 2014 and more...
This weekend (Saturday 15th March 2014), at least five Northern Ireland athletes travelled to Glasgow (Scotland) for the British Masters Athletics Federation (BMAF) Cross Country Championships.
A day of top quality performances were rewarded with an impressive medal haul; in the Ladies and Veteran 65+ Men's 6k race, Ballydrain Harriers' Debbie Matchett ran well; Debbie completed the course in 24:37 (17th place - 4th place Vet45), before Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) kicked off the medal winning performances. Ruth finished in 24:47 (23rd place), this was enough to secure top spot in the Vet55 category, thus sealing the gold medal in her category. The overall winner of the race was Lesley Chisholm (Garscube Harriers), who recorded 22:20. North Down AC's Fred Murdoch was also competing in the same race, and crossed the line in 28:23 (6th place - 7th place Vet70). The Vet70 category was won by Gordon Orme (Carmarthan Harriers) in 25:57.
In the Men's 8k race, Laurence Johnston led a trio of North Belfast Harriers athletes home; Laurence finished in 29:42 (47th place - 8th place Vet55), just ahead of club mate Paul Elliot (53rd place – 29:55), who claimed yet another medal, adding the BMAF bronze medal to his AAI National Masters XC gold, after taking 3rd place in his Vet60 category. Jim Newberry followed in 32:44 (91st place - 9th place Vet60), ensuring that the North Belfast Harriers men collected a team silver medal, after finishing as runners up to Scottish club Cambuslang Harriers.
In other news: England based NI man Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) represented Kent AC at the Southern '12 Stage' Road Relay's in Milton Keynes (England) on Sunday 16th March 2014. Up against top quality opposition, Paul clocked the second fastest 7.7k leg of the day, crossing the line in 23:06. This was enough to help the Kent AC team finish in 2nd place and follows an excellent new personal best and IAAF World Half Marathon Championships qualifying standard of 1:03:52 at the Bath Half Marathon two week's ago. The fastest leg of the day came from Team GB and Commonwealth Games star Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC), who ran 22:35.
In Dublin (Ireland), Lifford AC's Ann-Marie McGlynn produced an excellent performance at the St Patrick's Day 5k. The Strabane lady took 2nd place in an impressive 16:01, finishing as runner up to Kilcoole AC's Fionnuala Britton, who won in 15:33.
DUNE Half Marathon 2014:
On Sunday 16th March 2014, endurance enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland took on the first race of the 2014 Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the DUNE Half Marathon. An event that saw competitors race from Newry (Northern Ireland) to Dundalk (Ireland).
Don Travers (Newry City Runners), a fourth place finisher last year, produced an excellent performance over the undulating course; despite having Barry Monaghan (Club Pulse AC) for company at the front, the international ultra-runner managed to forge a gap, before breaking the tape in 1:17:05 (1st place). Barry Monaghan claimed 2nd place in 1:17:41, before Murlough AC's Alan Johnston recorded 1:19:40 (3rd place) for the distance.
In the ladies race, established runner and duathlete Heather Foley (Unattached), followed up her win at the Sportsman Duathlon two week's ago with an excellent performance and another impressive victory, after crossing the line in 1:22:03 (1st place). Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), who broke the Ecos parkrun (Ballymena) record and won the Magherafelt 10k yesterday (Saturday 15th March 2014), showed little signs of tiredness as she sealed the runners up spot in 1:26:12 (2nd place). Liosa McKeown (Unattached) completed the ladies podium in 1:28:51 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:17:05, 2nd Barry Monaghan (Club Pulse AC) – 1:17:41, 3rd Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) – 1:19:40
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 1:22:03, 2nd Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 1:26:12, 3rd Liosa McKeown (Unattached) – 1:28:51
Full Results: DUNE Half Marathon 2014 Results
Top 3 Men: 1st Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC) – 31:17, 2nd Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 31:23, 3rd James O’Hare (Annadale Striders) – 32:26
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:44, 2nd Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 39:51, Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC) – 40:03
Full Results: Jimmy's 10k 2014 Results
Athletes enjoy annual St Patrick's Day 5k:
On Saturday 15th March 2014, approximately one hundred runners took to the start-line of the highly anticipated annual St Patrick's Day 5k, which was held in Gransha Grounds, Derry/Londonderry.
At the front, it was almost a replay of last weekend's SSE Airtricty 10k, minus Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC); Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) all played a prominent part at the front. After a close race, it was Scott Rankin who claimed the headlines, after breaking the tape in 15:21 (1st place). Just like six days ago (at the Airtricity 10k), the Foyle Valley AC man was followed across the line by City of Derry AC duo Declan Reed and Emmett McGinty, with the talented pairing clocking 15:29 (2nd place) and 15:34 (3rd place) respectively.
Winner of the recent Lifford 5k, Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC), secured victory in the ladies race, after covering the distance in 18:58 (1st place). Current NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion, Sarah Lindsey (Foyle Valley AC) ran well to take a well-deserved 2nd place in 19:20 (2nd place), just ahead of City of Derry AC's Jackie McGinley (19:52), who just pipped Spartan club mate Amy Jackson (4th place – 19:59) to 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:21, 2nd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 15:29, 3rd Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) – 15:34
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 18:58, 2nd Sarah Lindsey (Foyle Valley AC) – 19:20, 3rd Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) – 19:59
Full Results: St Patrick's Day 5k 2014 Results
Athletes turn out for Magherafelt 'Classic' 10k:
On Saturday 15th March 2014, nearly one hundred and fifty runners turned out for the Magherafelt 'Classic' 10k road race in County Derry/Londonderry, a well organised event hosted by newly established club Magherafelt Harriers.
North Belfast Harriers man Adam Boyd, who recently clocked a thirty second 5k personal best of 15:23 at the Armagh International, looked strong as he powered around the 6.1 mile course, before breaking the tape in 33:58. Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) continued his good run of form, crossing the line in 34:56 (2nd place), before Paul Blaney (North Belfast Harriers), a recent team medallist at the AAI National Masters XC, took 3rd place in 35:09.
Pre-race favourite, Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) was made to work for top honours; the parkrun follower, who was racing after having set a new course record (of 18:37) at the Ecos parkrun in Ballymena, was joined at the front by Anne Paul (City of Derry AC), but managed to stave off the Spartan's challenge to win in 39:57 (1st place). Anne followed in 40:11 (2nd place), while Springwell Running Club's Gemma Turley finished just over a minute later in 41:24, securing 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:58, 2nd Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) – 34:56, 3rd Paul Blaney (North Belfast Harriers) – 35:09
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 39:57, 2nd Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 40:11, 3rd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 41:24
Full Results: Magherafelt 'Classic' 10k 2014 Results
Glenariff Mountain Race 2014:
On Saturday 15th March 2014, mountain running enthusiasts from across the province turned out for the opening race of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship, the Glenariff Mountain Race in Waterfoot (County Antrim).
After the participants had collected the customary bag of potatoes, it was time for business. As the athletes made their way along the flat and fast opening section towards the Glen, it was race director and 2011 event winner, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Slieve Gullion winner, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), who led the way to the mountain. On the 1,200ft ascent, the pair were working well together, with Jonny beginning to break away just before the summit. However, it was on the downhill section that Jonny Steede began to really open the gap, his fast descent helped him secure 1st place in an impressive 42:48. Seamus Lynch was next to cross the finish line in 44:07, taking 2nd place. The final podium place was awarded to the ever consistent, Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) in 45:35 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, it was the 2013 NIMRA Championship winner, Diane Wilson of Dromore AC who led the field. Diane, who was the convincing winner of the opening race of the 2014 campaign in Slieve Gullion, has been sharpening up for the mountain running season with several outings at the Wallace Park parkrun; this hard work has paid off as she was the first lady to finish in 53:52 (1st place). Last year's winner, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley) worked hard throughout the race, and after a fast downhill section towards fast and flat finish, the outstanding athlete crossed the line in 55:06, claiming 2nd place.
The final podium spot was hotly contested between the experienced trio of Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Taryn McCoy (BARF) and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC). All three ladies worked off each other on the tough ascent and fast descent of Glenariff mountain. As the three made their way towards the finishing area, Taryn McCoy and Denise Mathers began to move clear of last years runner up, Hazel McLaughlin. In what was an exciting finish, experienced ultra-runner Taryn, sprinted towards the finish line just ahead of Denise, claiming the final podium spot in 58:54 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 42:47; 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 44:07; 3rd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 45:35
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 53:52; 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 55:06; 3rd Taryn McCoy (BARF) – 58:54
Full Results: Glenariff Mountain Race 2014 Results
Athletics NI announce squad for upcoming International XC event:
Athletics Northern Ireland have today announced the athletes that will represent Northern Ireland at the Home Countries Cross Country International in Nottingham (England) on Saturday 22nd March 2014. The squad will be spearheaded by current AAI National Masters XC Champion Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), former NI & Ulster XC Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC).
Northern Ireland Team:
U20 Women - Amy Jackson (City of Derry Spartans AC), Ellish Flanagan (Omagh Harriers), Roisin Flanagan (Omagh Harriers) and Yasmin Wilson (Ballymena & Antrim AC)
U20 Men - Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers)
Senior Women - Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC)
Senior Men - Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) and Declan Reed (City of Derry Spartans AC)
Information for article taken from Athletics NI website.
Weekend Preview: Glenariff Mountain Race, Dune HM, Jimmys 10k...
As a busy weekend of action approaches, endurance enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland will be looking forward to the opening race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series in Newry/Dundalk, while the mountain running fraternity will be hoping for a good start to the newly structured Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship in Glenariff. The ever popular Jimmys 10k will also attract massive numbers; there are also events in Magherafelt, Derry/L'Derry and Castlederg.
The action kicks off on Saturday 15th March 2014, when mountain runners from across the province will descend on St Patrick's School in the coastal village of Waterfoot (County Antrim) for the annual Glenariff Mountain Race, hosted by Ballymena Runners.
The race starts with a short road section, before the competitors make their way onto a grassy river bank, which in-turn leads to the steep ascent of the Glen. After negotiating the steep and at times rocky climb, the athletes then return via the same route, with many places being decided on the final two mile flat section back to the finish.
Race Director and well respected ultra and mountain runner Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) will hand over the organisational reigns to his club mates as he attempts to win the race for a second time; having won it back in 2011, 'the Steede' will be keen to regain top spot, which has been won for the last two years by City of Derry AC's Allan Bogle. Allan will not return to defend his title, and the associated honour of a 'hat-trick' of wins, but Jonny could face stiff opposition from training partner and 2013 NIMRA Champion Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners). Interestingly, going by all available records, and despite all of the honours Stephen has claimed over the years, this is one event he has never won! It could therefore be presumed that he will be out to rectify that with a victory, and with it, the customary bag of potatoes.
Armagh AC's Paul McAnespie has finished in or around the top three at this race on a number of occasions, and going by his performance at the Slieve Gullion race two weeks ago, where he finished in third place, that will be the case here once again. The men who beat Paul that day, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) should also race. Seamus will be in the thick of the action; his road and trail speed should see him reach the mountain in the same lead group as Jonny Steede, Stephen Cunningham, Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers); it is here were Seamus will excel. The Ticknock Winter Mountain race winner has the ability to climb, meaning he should hold his place on the steep ascent and descent, then on the long run in to the finish, his strength and speed will come in very useful. Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners), Emmet McAlister (Ballymena Runners), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) and Jonathan McCloy (Ballymena Runners) will all finish in the top ten.
Slieve Gullion winner and 2013 NIMRA Championship winner Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) will be seeking her first win at this event, and judging by Diane's performances since last season, even two time winner Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) will find it hard to prevent her from doing so. Diane looked incredibly strong at the Slieve Gullion race, winning by over two minutes. However, having won this race for the last two years, Shileen O'Kane knows the course well and will be determined to claim victory for a third consecutive year. In recent times, Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) has secured two second place and two fourth place finishes in Glenariff, so she will be keen to continue that kind of form, as will her Lagan Valley AC club mate Anne Sandford, who is also no stranger to the podium. Anne finished in third place at this event in 2012 and 2013 and will be hoping to improve on that this time around. Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) and Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) should all run well.
Also on Saturday 15th March 2014, newly established club, Magherafelt Harriers will host the Magherafelt 10k classic road race in County Derry/Londonderry, starting and finishing at the impressive Meadowbank Sports Arena.
Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Steve Darby (Barnsley AC) and Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) should be the main contenders. North Belfast Harriers man Mark McKinstry has been in fine form so far this year, with the highlights being podium places at the NiRunning Trail Race and Sperrin Harriers races in Drum Manor, An Creggan and Lough Fea; Mark won the races in An Creggan (5 miles – 27:32) and Drum Manor (10k – 35:49). Despite being based in England, Steve Darby has become a regular on the Northern Ireland running scene; the parkrun follower has toed the line no less than twenty two times in 2014, with twelve of these being races and the remaining ten being parkrun events. Arguably his best run has been at the Central Lancashire Half Marathon, where he recorded 1:20:56 for eleventh place. Steve's most recent 10k time was 37:37 at the Drewsbury 10k in England five weeks ago.
Aaron Meharg looks to be getting back into the condition that saw him enjoy a fantastic 2012. After showing huge potential, which included a 2:50:29 marathon outing, Aaron had a bit of a start-stop 2013, but recent races have shown that this year could be the Sperrin Harriers athletes finest to date; he narrowly missed podium places at the Sperrin Harriers races in Drum Manor and Lough Fea, and clocked 28:57 at the Sperrin Harriers 5 mile race in An Creggan. Other men to look out for could include Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers), Paul O'Callaghan (Sperrin Harriers), Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) and Aidan O'Hagan (Sperrin Harriers).
The ladies race could see an excellent battle between three talented athletes; Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) is a definate starter, and could be joined on the start line by local athletes Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) and Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers). Like the previously mentioned Steve Darby (Barnsley AC), Hannah Oldroyd is a regular visitor to Northern Ireland, and the multiple parkrun course record holder is also a consistent prize-winner. She (Hannah) ran 5:05 for the mile last year (2013), with this years most impressive performance being at the Raheny Shamrock 5m road race, where the previous 'Original Cookstown Half Marathon' winner crossed the line in 31:07.
Karen Alexander's CV makes for good reading, the Northern Ireland international runner went through the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series unbeaten, winning all five of the races in a convincing manner; meanwhile, her club mate, Pauline McGurren, looked to be in good shape as she cruised to victory at the Carmen 10k last weekend. Pauline won in 39:18, a time that will surely put her amongst the podium finishers here. Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club), Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Nuala Kelly (Sperrin Harriers), Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) and Jenny Algar (Carmen Runners) will all be hoping for top ten places.
In Derry/Londonderry on Saturday 15th March 2014, City of Derry AC will host a St Patrick's 5k road race within the confines of Gransha Grounds. The annual event is aimed at both recreational and competitive athletes, and should therefore attract a sizeable number of participants. This may well include top quality athletes such as Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC), Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) and Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) amongst others.
On Sunday 16th March 2014, the 2014 Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series will begin in Newry, with the second annual running of the DUNE cross-border Half Marathon, which will see competitors race from Newry in Northern Ireland to Dundalk in Ireland, the opposite direction to last year.
It is likely that Clonliffe Harriers pair Gary O'Hanlon and Tudor Moldovan will battle it out at the front, in what could be an exciting race. Newly crowned AAI National 50k Champion, Gary O'Hanlon, won here last year (1:15:27) and will start as pre-race favourite. Tudor Muldovan has a 13.1 mile personal best of 1:08:00, but he hasn't really shown that form since. Late last year (2013), Tudor raced at the Enniskillen 10k, where he finished as runner up to City of Derry AC man Declan Reed, having crossed the line in 32:55.
Local hero and WPFG medallist Don Travers (Newry City Runners) will also play a prominent part in proceedings; having finished just outside the podium places at last years event, he will be eager to improve on that. The Newry City Runners man will also be keen to replicate his performance throughout the 2013 Half Marathon Series, win he was crowned winner of the Vet35 category. Maurice McMahon (North East Runners), Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) and John McCambridge (St Peter's AC) should all go well, while Michael McKeown (East Down AC) and Angus McCready (Up & Runners) are likely to continue there 100% attendance in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series, having completed all thirty seven races since the Series began back in 2009.
Lagan Valley AC lady Catriona Donaldson could return to defend the title she won so impressively twelve months ago. In the inaugural running of the event, Catriona led the ladies home comfortably, with a massive nine minute gap between her and the second place finisher. Ciara Coffey (Club Pulse AC) has kept a low profile in recent months, but could return for this; Ciara claimed a podium spot at the Newry City Half Marathon last year, after completing the distance in 1:28:17. Despite the fact that this is an entirely different event, it shows that Ciara has the ability to mix it up at the front. Newry City Runners ladies Anne Havern and Caroline Wade could also feature, while Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC), Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) and Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC) will all be hoping for good placings.