Northern Ireland Running

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Kerry O'Flaherty excels as NI athletes impress in Belgium and England:

New NI record and CWG standard for Kerry as NI athletes impress in Belgium and England:

On Saturday 31st May 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes impressed at the IFAM International Flanders Track & Field Meeting in Oordegam, Belgium.  Amongst several top quality performances was a Commonwealth Games qualifying standard for Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC).


Kerry lined up in the 3,000m Steeplechase, where she produced her best performance to date over the barriers, recording a new Northern Ireland 3,000m Steeplechase record and Commonwealth Games qualifying standard of 9:52.94 (5th place).  The race was won by Charlotta Foughberg (Sweden) in 9:34.61 (1st place).


There was also a seasons best for Northern Ireland man Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC), after he clocked 51.31secs (6th place) in the 400m hurdles race won by Niall Flannery (England) in 48.96secs (1st place).  In the same race, Jason's Ireland international team mate, Thomas Barr (Waterford AC) ran a new Irish 400m hurdles record of 49.61secs for 3rd place.


Paralympic hero Jason Smyth (City of Derry AC) was in action in the 100m; Dutch athlete Paulina Hensley won in 10.50secs (1st place), with Jason taking 5th place in 10.58secs.  Lagan Valley AC's Mandy Gault looked strong in the ladies 400m hurdles; against a competitive field, the NI & Ulster 400m hurdles Champion crossed the line in 59.47secs.  This was enough to claim 8th place in the race won by Christiane Klopsche (Germany) in 56.41secs (1st place).


Full Results:   IFAM International Flanders Track & Field Meeting


BMC - Sports City, Manchester (England):

On Saturday 31st May 2014, local athletes also impressed at the BMC (British Milers Club) event at Sports City in Manchester (England).  Ballymena & Antrim AC's Gareth Hill impressed after clocking a new Northern Ireland Vet35 1500m record of 3:52.03 (9th place); the race won by Swedish athlete Wille Levay in 3:45.46.  There were also 5,000m personal bests for Annadale Striders' Glenn Phair (10th place in 'B' Race - 14:33.91) and Lifford AC's Ann-Marie McGlynn (9th place - 16:07.68).   Alex O'Gorman (Stockport AC) and Helen Clitheroe (Preston AC) won in 14:23.75 and 15:06.73 respectively.


In the 5,000m 'A' race, Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) crossed the line in 15:22:06 (17th place); the race was won by Jonny Mellow (Liverpool Harriers) in 13:54.86 (1st place).  Daniel Mooney (Letterkenny AC) and Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) were racing in the 1500m 'A' race; Daniel claimed 6th place in 3:43.89, while Conor recorded 3:50.39 (14th place).  The race was won by Jake Wightman (Edinburgh AC) in 3:41:40.


Full Results:  BMC Sports City (Manchester) 2014 Results

Northern Ireland athletes secure titles at AAI 'All Ireland' Championships:

Athletes from Northern Ireland secure medals at prestigious Championships:

On Saturday 31st May 2014, a large contingent of junior athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to Tullamore Stadium (Ireland) for the Aviva 'All Ireland' School's Track & Field Championships.


There were a number of notable performances; amongst the most impressive was that of Ballymena & Antrim AC star Emma Hutchinson (Ballyclare HS).  The up and coming athlete won the Intermediate 1500m event in 4:57.93 (1st place).  There were also gold medals for the Glenlola Collegiate (Bangor) 4x100m Intermediate relay team, after the County Down school covered the distance in 49.76secs (1st place).  In the same race, Strathearn College took 3rd place in 50.54secs.  Grosvenor Grammar (Belfast) topped the podium in their Junior 4x100m race after winning in 47.23secs; Belfast High School secured 3rd place in the same race, after their final runner crossed the line in 47.47secs.


Bangor Academy's Aaron Sexton travelled home with two medals in the Junior category; the impressive athlete won his 200m event in 23.29secs (1st place) and finished in 2nd place in the 100m race won by David Murphy (CBS – Kilkenny) in 11.35secs (1st place); David ran 11.48secs.


Senior Categoy Round-Up:

Sacred Heart Newry and Newry AC athlete Aislinn Crossey picked up a silver medal in her 800m race; Aislinn clocked 2:09.81 (2nd place) in the race won by Alannah Lally in 2:08.28 (1st place).  Bangor lady Sarah Connolly (Glenlola Collegiate) also won silver, after crossing the line in 15.08secs (2nd place) in her 100m event.  This race was won by Shannon Dawkins (St Mary's – New Ross) in 14.71secs (1st place).  The Senior 1500m Steeplechase was won by Irish athlete Jessica Coyne (Crescent College – Limerick) in 5:02.62 (1st place), but it was Eilish Flanagan's performance that caught the attention of the local running community.  Sacred Heart (Omagh) student Eilish claimed 3rd place in 5:26.30; her sister, Roisin followed in 5:32.52 (4th place).  Olivia Nelson (Strathearn College – Belfast) secured 3rd place in U-16 mile, after running 5:20.92 to finish just behind winner Alanna Bate (Loretto – Mulligar) who recorded 5:20.20 (1st place).


Despite Castleknock Colleges' Harry Purcell stealing the headlines in the 400m (after winning in 47.83secs), Northern Ireland man Andrew Mellon (Bangor Academy) also stepped onto the podim.  The potential star claimed the silver medal in 47.93secs (2nd place).  In a close 1500m race, Willowfield Harriers' Andrew Wright (Grosvenor Grammar School) ran well to finish in 4:11.52 (2nd place); the race was won by Andrew Coscoran (St Mary's – Drogheda) in 4:10.59.  There were also Senior medals for Methodist Colleges' Ryan Sharkey and Sullivan Uppers' Harry Speers.  Ryan took 3rd place in the 5,000m after breaking the beam in 15:26.47 (3rd place); the race was won by Aaron Hanlon (St Mary's – Drogheda) in 15:03.11 (1st place).  Harry Speers was also awarded a bronze medal, after running 6:28.53 (3rd place) in the 3,000m Steeplechase.  This race was won by Kyle Larkin (Ardscoil Ris – Limerick) in 6:08.44 (1st place).


Intermediate Category Round-Up:

Megan Marrs (Strathearn College) continued her recent good form to secure a silver medal in the 100m.  Megan, who also represents City of Lisburn AC, covered the 100m in 12.18secs (2nd place) to finish just behind Gina Akpe Moses (St Vincents – Dundalk) in 12.01secs (1st place).  In the 1500m Steeplechase, junior international Toni Moore (Sacred Heart – Omagh) finished as runner up to Coolmine College student Allison Armstrong (1st place – 5:21.99); Toni ran 5:30.37 (2nd place).  Larne man Craig Newell (Larne Grammar) impressed with a 3rd place finish in the 200m; Craig completed the distance in 22.53secs to finish just behind race winner Sean Lawler (Kylemore College), who clocked 22.22secs (1st place).  Two Northern Ireland men collected medals in the very competitive 400m hurdles race won by Templelogue Golleges' Simon Essuman (1st place – 56.47secs); Ciaran Barnes and Joseph Lyons crossed the line in 56.86 (2nd place) and 56.86 (3rd place) respectively.  In the 4x100m relay, the Larne Grammar School team received bronze medals after covering the 400m in 45.29secs (3rd place); Bandon Grammar School won in 43.69secs (1st place).


Junior Category Round-Up:

Aside from the previously mentioned performances by Aaron Sexton (Bangor Academy), there was also a quality run by Belfast High Schools Jake Harbinson. Jake finished in 2nd place in his 800m race after running 2:01.36.  The race was won by Aaron McGlynn (Garm Scoil Chu Uladh) in 2:00.78 (1st place).


Full Results:  AAI 'All Ireland Schools' Track & Field Championships 2014 Results

Dennis Scott and Claire Connor are victorious in scenic Shanes Castle:

Record turnout enjoy Jengana 10k:

On Saturday 31st May 2014, a record number of athletes descended on the sun soaked Shanes Castle Estate in Antrim for the second annual running of the well-organised Jengana 10k race. 


In warm conditions, the one hundred and twenty strong field set off on the 6.2 mile course, which would take them on a scenic journey through the stunning Estate.  In the end, it was last years runner up, Dennis Scott (North Down AC), who claimed top honours.  Dennis followed on from a notable performance at last week's Athletics NI Open Track & Field Meet, winning in 34:12 (1st place).  Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) followed just over thirty seconds later in 34:44 (2nd place), before Kevin O'Boyle (Ballymena Runners), a podium finisher at the recent Maghera 10k, crossed the line in 35:58 (3rd place).


In a close ladies race, talented North Belfast Harriers athlete Claire Connor got the better of Lagan Valley AC star Suzanne Higgins.  Claire was first into the finishing straight, completing the distance in 39:55 (1st place); Suzanne followed closely in 40:10 (2nd place), while England based runner Hannah Oldroyd (Airdale Dodgers), who was competing in her second event of the day, after running the inaugural Comber parkrun, secured the final podium place in 40:38 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Dennis Scott (North Down AC) – 34:12, 2nd Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) – 34:43, 3rd Kevin O'Boyle (Ballymena Runners) – 35:57


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) – 39:55, 2nd Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:10, 3rd Hannah Oldroyd (Airdale Dodgers) – 40:38


Full Results:  Jengana 10k 2014 Results (Photo's from the Jengana 10k are now available within our Photo Gallery).

Athletes from Northern Ireland take Donegal Town 5k titles:

Finn Valley AC duo win in County Donegal (Ireland):

On Friday 30th May 2014, several Northern Ireland based athletes made the short border crossing to Donegal Town (Ireland) for the Tir Chonaill 5k road race.


Two of the local contingent claimed impressive victories, with Monea (County Fermanagh) based Finn Valley AC athlete Jim Renfrew leading the field home in 17:57 (1st place).  Northern Ireland cross country international Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) was the next familiar face into the finish, taking the ladies title in 18:21 (1st place); interestingly, this saw Helen finish in thrid place overall. 


Strabane AC's Robert Gallagher secured 4th place in 18:33, while there were also good performances from Enniskillen Running Club athletes Michelle Walsh and Linda Walsh, with Michelle crossing the line in 22:19 (5th place lady) and Linda 22:20 (6th place lady).


Full Results:  Donegal Town 5k 2014 Results

Brian Barron and Densie Logue impress at Ards Lions 5m Road Race:

Athletes enjoy annual Ards Lions 5m Road Race:

On Friday 30th May 2014, Ards Lions Club hosted the opening event of a busy weekend.  Their annual 5 mile road race, as in previous years, attracted an excellent mixture of seasoned athletes and running enthusiasts.


In pleasant conditions, it was young North Down AC man Brian Barron who impressed most.  Brian followed on from an excellent start to his track season, where he recently recorded a new 3,000m personal best (of 9:21.03), to win in 27:15 (1st place).  Versatile athlete, David McNeilly continued his return to full fitness after a bad fall and subsequent injury, with another solid outing; the international mountain runner covered the course in 28:14 (2nd place), before local man, Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) crossed the line in 28:34 (3rd place).


Pre-race favourite Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) looked strong in the ladies race, and despite a valiant effort from parkrun follower and a regular competitor in Northern Ireland, Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), Denise managed to claim top spot in 31:18 (1st place); Hannah Oldroyd took 2nd place in 31:46, before Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers), a podium finisher last year (2013), completed the top three in 32:32 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Brian Barron (North Down AC) – 27:15, 2nd David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 28:14, 3rd Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) – 28:34


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 31:18, 2nd Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 31:46, 3rd Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) – 32:32


Full results will be added as soon as they are available.

Skyrunner World Series Champion to race at Mourne Skyline MTR:

Stevie Kremer to compete at NiRunning's Mourne Skyline MTR:

Just 48 hours ago NiRunning launched our new Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race, which will be part of the Skyrunning UK Series.  


The event, which will take place on Saturday 18th October 2014, has received a phenomenal response.  Not just from our friends and followers in Northern Ireland but from the wider mountain and trail running community and especially the Skyrunning fraternity.  


It has also attracted the attention of some of the world's top athletes and on that note, we are extremley proud to announce that 2013 Skyrunner World Series Champion Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon) will race the Mourne Skyline MTR.


The official Skyrunning UK press release is below:


2013 Skyrunner® World Series Champion, Stevie Kremer to race Northern Ireland’s Mourne Skyline MTR:

Fresh from victory at the 2014 Zegama-Aizkorri Skyrunner® World Series, Skyrunning UK are pleased to announce that Salomon athelete, American Stevie Kremer will race the brand new Mourne Skyline MTR on October 18th 2014.  Stevie is arguably the best female SKY distance runner on the scene at the moment. Winning  Mont-Blanc Marathon, Pikes Peak and Limone Extreme in 2013, secured Stevie the Skyrunner® World Series title and elevated the pocket rocket from Colorado from hot, to super hot!


With her infectious smile and incredible ability on the mountain, Stevie will be an incredible asset not only to the Mourne Skyline MTR race but to all trail and mountain running in the UK. “Creating Skyrunning UK was all about bringing the ethos and feel of European events to our shores and in time, creating some of the buzz as witnessed in the Alps, Pyrenees or the Dolomites,’ said Skyrunning UK director, Ian Corless ‘Stevie is at the forefront of Skyrunning, she is an incredible talent, a bubbly personality and to have her arrive on our shores and race is a dream come true. It was always my aim… in reality, I had hoped this would happen in 2017 but to have Stevie join us in year one is just incredible and the boost we all need.’


Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Mourne Skyline MTR can’t believe his luck. ‘When we announced our race we had an incredible response with entries flooding in. To now find out that Stevie Kremer will join us for the inaugural event, really is the icing on the cake. Racing is about every runner; from first to last. However, elite runners provide inspiration for all of us and Stevie leads by example; she is a role model for Skyrunning and we will be honoured by her presence at our race.’

A long-term aim has always been to have a UK event included in the Skyrunner® World Series, should that happen, the best-of-the-best will travel to the UK to race. Stevie’s presence in year one provides a pathway to that objective.  The world’s top teams and athletes pitting themselves against UK athletes. 


Imagine it; imagine what that would do for the sport in the UK! We have some great races and although we have attracted International athletes in the past to Snowdon and Ben Nevis, it has almost gone un-noticed. The time is now right. We all need to pool together and help grow the sport.


Lauri van Houten, executive director for the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) had this to say, ‘The Skyrunner® National Series were created to grow Skyrunning on a national level globally - to give as many runners as possible the “feel” of a Skyrunning race and a chance to win a place in an international World Series event. The UK Skyrunning races hold enormous promise and look set to attract an international field. Stevie’s decision to take part in Northern Ireland is a great boost for the race and the new Skyrunner® UK National Series.’


Salomon athlete, Andy Symonds summed the thought process up perfectly, ‘The UK may lack the altitude of the Italian Alps, but that doesn’t mean that we don't have proper mountains! Steep, rough, beautiful mountains are a plenty in the UK - so let's organize some Skyrunning races up them!’


The sport is growing at all levels. In time a series of UK based Skyrunning teams similar to the model that inov-8 have created is a distinct possibility. The Skyrunner® National Series provides not only a great structure for the sport but it also provides a springboard for UK athletes to race in other countries but equally, we hope to attract foreign athletes to race on home soil.


Speaking from Colorado, Stevie said, ‘It looks amazing and it's during my fall break, so I am in! I love the idea of that much climbing.’  Stevie Kremer’s presence in 2014 at the Mourne Skyline MTR has started the ball rolling much sooner than we anticipated… Let’s keep it rolling!


Full details of the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race can be found on the official race website HERE.

Weekend Preview:  Walled City Marathon takes centre stage...

Athletes gear up for SSE Walled City Marathon 2014:

As the weekend approaches, competitors from across the world will descend on Northern Ireland for the Walled City Marathon in Derry/Londonderry.  


However, before the all important 'race day' arrives on Sunday 1st June 2014, the local running community will take on events in Newtownards (County Down) and Antrim (County Antrim). Northern Ireland based athletes will also compete in Ireland and England.


Like last weekend, the action kicks off early; tonight, Friday 30th May 2014, the Ards Lions Club will host their annual Ards Lions 5 mile road race in County Down.


Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) and Ryan Andrews (Ballydrain Harriers) may well be the men to watch.  East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson has been in blistering form this year, setting personal bests on the road and track.  His most recent outing brought a win over 3,000m in Bangor, where he clocked a new personal best of 9:11.28.  However, it's not just over the shorter distances where Barrie has impressed; this term, he has reduced his 13.1 mile best to 1:14:15.  Richard Coey hasn't raced as frequently as he did in 2013, but when he does, the previous Pure Running HM Series prize-winner always runs well; he (Richard) has run 2:55:24 for the Marathon this year and also claimed a podium place at the 3 Lakes 14k earlier this month.


After opening the year with good outings on the road and cross country, Ryan Andrews has been focusing on the track.  During this time he has produced personal best performances over 800m (2:10.00), 1500m (4:27.50) and the Mile (4:55.65).  The junior star finished in second place here last year (2013) and should be in contention again if he races.  Other men who should perform well could include Michael Cultra (East Down AC), Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers), Chris Davis (East Coast AC) and Mark Earney (Ballydrain Harriers).


Ballydrain Harriers' Denise Logue will go into the event as pre-race favourite.  The Northern Ireland cross country star looked sharp as she clocked 41:25 at the Les Jones Memorial 10k two weeks ago, this was enough to secure a fourth place finish in a quality field.  Orangegrove AC's Lyndsey Pronger has improved immensely in recent months, this was highlighted by a top ten finish at the Runher Coastal Challenge 10k seven days ago; should Lyndsey show that kind of form here, she could well find herself on the podium.  Dromore AC club mates Gillian Burns and Susan Smyth should finish well up the field, as will Nikki Heywood (North Down AC), Fiona Johnston (Unattached) and Sarah Benton (North Down AC).


On Saturday 31st May 2014, a mixture of running enthusiasts and recognised athletes are expected to turn out for the 2nd annual running of the Jengana 10k in Antrim.  The scenic and relatively flat course, which is set within the grounds of Shanes Castle (Antrim), caused a pleasant stir in 2013, which should lead to an increased number of entrants.


Last years Champion Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders) may return to defend his title; after an excellent battle with North Down AC man Dennis Scott in 2013, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top should the pair 'lock horns' again.  Stephen was in good form at the Whitehead 5 last month (April 2014), where he came through strong to take the title.  Meanwhile, Dennis Scott has recorded 4:45.58 for the Mile and 1:14:22 for the Half Marathon distance.  Local youngster, Vilius Pakilniskis (Unattached) turned heads with a well-deserved podium place twelve months ago, this started a great run of form for the up and coming star; he should fair well once again if he enters on the day.  The same could be said for Acorns AC athlete Aaron Meharg, after he (Aaron) sealed podium spots at the Wilkies 5m road race and the Maghera 10k within the last two weeks.  Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) and Kevin O'Boyle (Ballymena Runners) will also be worth watching should they race.


The ladies race could bring an excellent battle between Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) and Rhian Pegram (Acorns AC).  The trio all possess the ability to win on their day, and have done – Gemma topped the podium last year, while Pauline and Rhian have both shown fantastic form recently, winning the Maghera 10k and Wilkies 5m road races respectively. Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC), Janice White (Forge Harriers), Jenny Black (Orangegrove AC) and Jacqueline McIlwrath (Ballymena Runners) will also be contenders if they toe the line.

Also on Saturday 31st May 2014, a large number of junior athletes from Northern Ireland are expected to make the cross-border journey to Tullamore (Ireland) for the AAI Irish Schools Track & Field Championships.  Paddy Robb (St Malachy’s AC), Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) and Christy Conlon (Beechmount Harriers) are just three of a plethora of up and coming stars that should perform well at the prestigious event.  The AAI Schools Championships timetable will also include a number of Irish Milers Club (IMC) races; Annadale Striders duo Michael Quinn will race over 800m, while his club mate James O'Hare (Annadale Striders) will compete in the 1500m.


Further afield, on Saturday 31st May 2014, local athletes will travel to Manchester for the British Milers Club (BMC) Track & Field Meeting at Sports City in Manchester.  In 2013, this event proved successful for Northern Ireland based stars.  Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders), Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) and Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) will face top quality opposition at the popular and well supported event.


In Ireland, several mountain runners from Northern Ireland will compete at the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA) Championships in Kerry (County Kerry).  Amongst those making the journey, where they will be face with a gruelling 12k course (incorporating 1.137m of ascent), will be a strong team from Ballymena Runners.


On Sunday 1st June 2014, thousands of runners are expected to descend on Derry/Londonderry for the weekends main event, the SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon.  After a 28 year absence, the race made an extremely successful return in 2013; the reaction was so positive that the organisers decided to make the ‘one-off’ City of Culture event a permanent fixture.


Despite his notable absence from the local scene of late, reigning Champion and local hero Tommy Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) is due to defend his title. However, Tommy, who has won the last three Derry/Londonderry Marathon's (1984, 1985 and 2013), will face the almost impossible task of beating Kenyan star Freddy Sittuk to the atmospheric finish.  Freddy stole the headlines at the Belfast City Marathon at the start of this month, after leading the quality field home in 2:18:30; should he produce anything like this kind of time, he should win with ease.


That will not stop the aforementioned Tommy Hughes and the consistent duo of Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and Pauric McKinney (Letterkenny AC) from trying.  Gary won the Newry City Marathon last week and the Killarney Marathon seven days prior to that; in Newry the hard working athlete won in 2:36:14.  Pauric was a podium finisher here last time and went on to enjoy a successful cross country season.  He should reach the start line in good shape, as should the man who finished behind him twelve months ago, James Crampsey (City of Derry AC).  James will be hoping to improve on his 2:45:12 finish time.


Airtricity 10 mile road race winner Chris McGuinness will be aiming to finish well up the pecking order, while Ryan Snodgrass (Foyle Valley AC), Benny Mullan (City of Derry AC), Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) and Ger Copeland (Unattached) will take top ten places should they perform as well as expected.

Jacqui Boyle (Unattached) will travel home to Northern Ireland with the sole aim of holding on to the title she secured so impressively last year.  In truth, the England based lady was a bit of a surprise but deserved winner that day, having come through the field well to win clearly in 3:14:10.  


Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club), Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) and Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) will also be vying for a top three place, if not better!  Out of the four, Marina Campbell and Claire McGuigan look the most obvious challenges for the top prize.  On her day, Spartan athlete Marina Campbell has the ability to mix it up with the best, she (Marina) showed that throughout the Athletics NI XC League.  


Claire McGuigan caught the attention of the local running fraternity with a top class performance at the Airtricity 10 mile road race, where she won in 1:05:14, while Fran McFadden enjoyed a successful outing at the Born 2 Run Surf N'Turf Half Marathon two weeks ago; she (Fran) completed the tough course in 1:36:10. This added to an excellent performance at the Lost World's event at the start of May (2014).


Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) has been one of the star performers of the year so far.  The endurance specialist has been a regular podium finisher, with the most impressive performance of all coming at a distance she isn't really used to!  This was a third place finish, just last week, at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 5k.  Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) and Susanna Allen (Ballymena Runners) will both finish in the top ten as long as they remain disciplined over the 26.2 mile course.


Speaking in advance of the event, race director Noel McMonagle said, "We had a brilliant event last year and are back by public demand this weekend. Our runners come from all parts of our community and indeed beyond,  and our event goes through large swathes of the city and environs with huge involvement from entire communities.  We sincerely appreciate that participation and look forward to a brilliant event on Sunday"


He concluded, "the runners names are printed on their race numbers so lets hear a big shout out for each and every one of them as they go round the course! It all helps to get them across the line!" 


This week, the Northern Ireland running community will welcome the eighteenth parkrun to the province, with the inaugural Comber parkrun taking place in Parkway, Comber (Newtownards).  Further details on the event can be found HERE.  Northern Ireland’s other seventeen 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.

Ian Bailey and Diane Wilson win Loughshannagh Hill & Dale race:

Hill & Dale Series 2014:  Race 7 (Loughshannagh):

On Thursday 29th May 2014, over one hundred and fifty runners turned out for the seventh race of this years Hill & Dale Series, hosted by Newcastle AC.  Loughshannagh was the venue of choice, with competitors taking on a tough 5 mile course, which incorporated 1,700ft of ascending.  As with tradition, the route was reversed, which saw the athletes cover the course 'anti-clockwise'.  As well as being a Hill & Dale race, this event was also part of the NIMRA Championship, falling within the 'short' course criteria. 


The always impressive Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) produced another notable performance.  The Slieve Donard Classic winner looked strong as he negotiated the muddy course comfortably, before breaking the tape in 40:48 (1st place). Fellow Newcastle AC men, Seamus Lynch and David Steele battled it out for the runners up spot; in the end it was Seamus who reached the finish first, crossing the line in 42:59 (2nd place).  David Steele clocked 43:00 (3rd place) to ensure that the men's podium read exactly the same as the last Hill & Dale race.


After missing the previous race in the Series, Dromore AC's Diane Wilson stamped her authority on proceedings on her return.  The talented athlete, who has been a force to be reckoned with over the last twelve months, claimed victory in a new 'anti-clockwise' course record of 51:59 (1st place), therefore toppling Fiona Maxwell's long standing record of 52:56 (2006).  East Down AC's Catherine O'Connor (53:24) continued her rise through the ranks with a 2nd place finish, before Hill & Dale 'Rocky' winner, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) took the final podium place in 53:37 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 40:48, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 42:59, 3rd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 43:00


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 51:59, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 53:24, 3rd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 53:37


Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series 2014 (Race 7 – Loughshannagh) Results

Gary Murray and Theresa McGloin secure wins at City of Derry AC event:

Furey Insurances Buncrana 5k Road Race 2014:

On Wednesday 28th May 2014, City of Derry AC hosted their annual Buncrana 5k road race, just over the border in County Donegal (Ireland); the Furey Insurances sponsored event attracted in excess of two hundred competitors.


In a top quality field, it was Northern Ireland cross country star Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) who impressed most.  Gary, who clocked 30:54 for 10,000m at the recent Highgate Harriers 'Night of Personal Bests' led the field home in 14:35.26 (1st place); interestingly, this was a mere one second away from the current Irish course record of 14:35, held by Ciaran Doherty. Gary was followed into the finish by current AAI National Masters XC Champion and Dublin 10,000m Champion Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) in 14:47.94.  Finn Valley AC man Barry Harron completed the top three in 15:16.80 (3rd place).


Another Finn Valley AC athlete, and one of the pre-race favourites, Theresa McGloin and the in-form Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) both looked like contenders as the set of on the fast and flat course.  In the end, it was Theresa McGloin, winner of the Laganside 10k in 2013, who secured an excellent victory, after crossing the line in 16:17.70 (1st place).  Natasha Adams took the runners up spot in 16:35.02 (2nd place), before NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion Sarah Lindsay claimed a podium place in 18:54.79 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) – 14:35.26, 2nd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 14:47.94, 3rd Barry Harron (Finn Valley AC) – 15:16.80


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Theresa McGloin (Finn Valley AC) – 16:17.70, 2nd Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) – 16:35.02, 3rd Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) – 18:54.79


Full Results:  Furey Insurances Buncrana 5k Road Race 2014 Results

Mark McKinstry & Katrina Sinclar win East Antrim Harries Series (Race 2):

East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series 2014 - Race 2:

On Tuesday 27th May 2014, East Antrim Harriers welcomed well over one hundred runners to the second race of their annual Forest Series; on this occasion the venue of choice was Woodburn Forest just outside Carrickfergus, where competitors took on a short but tough 2.5 mile course.


At the head of the pack it was the two men who impressed in Race 1 who dominated; Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and James Brown (Unattached) were close as they went through the opening mile; Mak's club mate Paul Horan (North Belfast Harriers) followed, with Andy Gregg (Larne AC), Karl Dines (Willowfield Harriers) and East Coast AC men Greg Lavery, Andy Guy and Daniel Girvin all in pursuit.  In the ladies race, Series debutant Katrina Sinclar (Springwell Running Club) was looking strong at the front, while Jacueline McIlwrath (Ballymena Runners), Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC), Loiuse Lemon (Orangegrove AC) and Race 1 winner Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) also in contention for podium places.


As the race progressed, it was Mark McKinstry who stamped his authority, making use of the fast finish as he gradually increased the gap between himself and James Brown, before breaking the tape in 13:30 (1st place).  James Brown ensured that the positions from the Series opener were replicated when he took 2nd place in 13:50, while the fast improving Paul Horan completed a notable effort by completing the men's top three in 14:23 (3rd place).


The impressive Katrina Sinclar was rewarded for her excellent display of front running with a well-deserved victory, after crossing the line in 16:53 (1st place). Allyson O'Toole (17:06) came through well and despite closing on race winner Katrina in the latter stages, had to settle for 2nd place; Jacqueline McIlwrath, who narrowly missed a podium place in the very competitive Series opener in Ballyboley Forest last week, sealed 3rd place in 17:08.


Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) - 13:30, 2nd James Brown (Unattached) - 13:50, 3rd Paul Horan (North Belfast Harriers) - 14:23


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Katrina Sinclar (Springwell Running Club) - 16:53, 2nd Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC) - 17:06, 3rd Jacqueline McIlwrath (Ballymena Runners) - 17:08


Full Results:  East Antrim Harriers Forest Series (Race 2) 2014 Results

NiRunning launch Skyrunning UK event for NI - Mourne Skyline MTR!

NiRunning launch Skyrunning UK event:

Today, Wednesday 28th May 2014, NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) are proud to officially launch the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and the associated Granite Trail Race (GTR); the former, the Mourne Skyline MTR will be a Skyrunning UK event, meaning that it will join a select group of the prestigious UK mountain and trail running events on the Skyrrunning UK Series, governed by the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF).


The Skyrunning 'weekender' will take place on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th October 2014 in Newcastle, County Down.  The Granite Trail Race ('GTR'), a 2 mile UPHILL only event (incorporating 250m of ascent), will kick off proceedings on Friday 17th October 2014 at 7.30pm.  This enjoyable and challenging race will assist in building the atmosphere for the 'main event', the Mourne Skyline MTR, a tough 35k mountain-trail race incorporating in excess of 3,300m of ascent, which will take place the following morning, Saturday 18th October 2014 (8am).  Full details of both events can be found on the official event website at www.mourneskylinemtr.com


This announcement follows months of negotiations, during which, we have worked tirelessly to ensure that we have the support of all relevant bodies.  We are extremely excited to bring Skyrunning to Northern Ireland as we strongly believe that it will enhance the reputation of running in Northern Ireland; for this reason, we would like to express our genuine gratitude to those who have assisted us.  The official Skyrunning UK press release is below...

Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce the fourth race to join the Skyrunner® Series UK, the MOURNE SKYLINE MTR taking place on October 18th in Northern Ireland.


The Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race is arguably Northern Ireland's toughest and most scenic long distance race; the event is based in the Mourne Mountains, starting and finishing in the seaside town of Newcastle, County Down.  


Comprising mainly of forest paths, fire roads and single-track grass and granite trail, with approximately one mile on the road.  The course measures 35k and there is approximately 11,056ft of ascent and 11,024ft of descent.  The highest point will be 2,801ft and the lowest point is at sea level.


It has been no easy challenge putting together a race in this iconic part of Northern Ireland. ‘It's been a long process in relation to getting the event off the ground, because of the stunning nature of the course, and the fact that some of it is on protected land, we have been in discussions with various agencies. It has been worth it though, as we have got the course we have worked tirelessly to get,’ said race director, Ryan Maxwell.


The course is fitting to that of a Skyrunning event; although not at altitude, the amount of ascending, stunning scenery and technical sections are exactly what you would expect from an event of this nature anywhere in the world.  ‘Along the way participants will come up against Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard and some technical ascents, including Slieve Meelmore and descents such as Slieve Bearnagh.’


October may well throw up some challenging weather, we are all aware of that fact that there is as much chance of getting perfect weather conditions in October as there is in August, ‘we have gone into our race plan in-depth and brought a number of very experienced and well respected individuals on board to assist. The route will be very well marked and marshaled at key points.’


Some of the higher parts of the route follow the 'Mourne Wall' (a very obvious stone wall), so this will further assist participants in bad weather.  ‘We will have five feed/aid stations along the way; these will be manned by teams who have experience in the mountains. Sweepers (back runners) will also be on hand to guide athletes and assist if anything should go wrong.’


Skyrunning is booming. The growth of the Skyrunner® National Series and the Skyrunner® World Series has been instrumental in increasing the profile of the sport. Skyrunning UK has been at the forefront. ‘Several members of our race team have found the experience of Skyrunning very enjoyable and rewarding, and witnessed what a positive effect it can have on a town/village etc. We felt that from an NiRunning perspective, this was an innovative project and something that would enhance the profile of our local running scene as well as shining a positive light on our country as a whole.’

‘The Mourne Mountains will provide many of us an opportunity to experience beautiful trails, mountains and scenery for the first time. For example I have never been to this part of the world. It’s an exciting opportunity,’ said Ian Corless, Director of Skyrunning UK. 


‘Ryan and his team at NiRunning have worked tirelessly to get this race off the ground. It hasn’t been easy and the work ethic has paid dividends. To be able to announce this race is a testament to a committed team and I for one can’t wait to experience Skyrunning in the Mourne Mountains.’


What are you waiting for? This may very well prove to be a ‘bucket list’ event! ‘We have limited the main event to 150 participants given the course and the footprint a mass participation event would have on this area of outstanding natural beauty, we were keen to work alongside other agencies to minimize this and uphold the environmental ethos of Skyrunning.’


Entries open for the Mourne Skyline MTR on Wednesday May 28th on a first come, first served basis. As a ‘Sky’ distance event it offers a great opportunity to test oneself in the mountains and of course, you may well wish to enter the Peaks SkyRace (August 3rd) with a long-term objective to accumulate valuable Skyrunning points.  Check out www.skyrunninguk.com


The Nitty Gritty:  MOURNE SKYLINE MTR 

Course Details:  35k, incorporating 3,370m (11.075ft) of ascending.  

Website:  www.mourneskylinemtr.com

Twitter:  @MourneSkyMTR

Facebook:  Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race

Capped field:  150 participants

Entry:  £35.00 entry

Date:  Saturday 18th October 2014 - 8am (Race Briefing at 7.45am - All participants MUST attend)

Place:  Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland (Start - Newcastle Tourist Information Centre, Main Street, Newcastle)

Airport:  Belfast City Airport

Prizes:  The top first three male and female athletes will receive prizes. The generous prize-fund will be announced in the coming weeks.  In addition to this, there will also be prizes for the male and female winners of the following categories:  U-20, Vet35, Vet40, Vet45, Vet50, Vet55 and Vet60. The prize giving will take place in Donard Park (close to the finish area) at 2pm.  Please note that only one prize will be awarded to each athlete; i.e. a Vet35 overall winner will NOT receive the top prize plus a category prize.

City of Derry Spartans set to host 11th annual Buncrana 5k road race:

Sean Furey Insurances Buncrana 5k - Race Preview...

This Wednesday, the 29th of May 2014, is the date for the 11th annual Buncrana 5k road race, an event hosted by City of Derry AC.  As ever, the race is sponsored by Sean Furey Insurances of Buncrana and Carndonagh; the 2014 edition of the event promises to be as popular as ever with club runners and recreational athletes alike.  Over the last ten years, the race has become a highlight in the North West racing calendar due to the proven fast course and the excellent organisation. 


Last year (2013) was another record breaking year with Letterkenny AC’s Ciaran Doherty running a new Irish record of 14:34 to win from City of Derry AC Spartan Declan Reed (14:48).  It is worth noting that these men are 39 and 40 years old respectively!  While the speed of their runs was questioned in some quarters, both ran similar times on the track shortly after.  In the same race Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) ran 15:00 for 3rd place.  This year these three are likely to do battle once again.  Scott Rankin has just edged out Declan Reed a number of times this year so far and has a recent 8:31 personal for 3,000m on the track.  Declan Reed is also in great form having won the Irish Masters Cross Country title this year and last week winning the Dublin 10,000m Championships in 31:30.  Ciaran Doherty is also in excellent shape and recently went sub 15 mins in the Ballyshannon 5k.   


Local hopes rest with the evergreen Pauric McKinney (Letterkenny AC) who is a former three time winner of the event and was fifth last year.  Others to look out for include any of the Annadale Striders or St Malachy AC athletes, who, if they make the trip across the Sperrins, mean business.  The men’s team race was won very convincingly by City of Derry AC last year with six in the top ten and all sub 16 minutes. Both Foyle Valley AC and Letterkenny AC will surely have something to say about the team battle in 2014.


Last year the ladies were also in flying form.  Lifford AC's Ann Marie McGlynn ran an excellent 16:32 to finish eighteenth overall in what was the second fastest performance ever by a female on the course.  This year, Ann Marie has been in even better form and could challenge former Olympian Maria McCambridge’s 2010 record of 16:07.  Also in the reckoning could be three time winner and number three on the all-time list, Finn Valley AC's Theresa Mc Gloin who ran 16:35 in 2010.  Other contenders include Lifford AC's Natasha Adams, Finn Valley AC's Helen Stockdale and Springwell Running Clubs Gemma Turley.  In 2013, the Inishowen AC ladies were surprising but deserving winners of the team race.

Records:

In 2012 the Buncrana public were treated to a little demonstration of the African dominance when Kenyan Runner Freddy Keron Sittuk posted 14:18 to win.  The organisers have deemed Freddy's time to be an all-comers record for the course with Ciaran Doherty’s 14:34 being an Irish record.  They continue to offer €100 bonus to anyone who can break either record.  In addition they offer €200 to anyone who can break 14 mins! Kenyan Freddy Sittuk is back in the country at the moment and fresh from winning the Belfast City Marathon may be lured down to have another crack at it. The ladies course record is no less impressive.  Letterkenny AC's former Olympian Maria McCambridge broke the record in 2010 running an excellent 16:07.  The same bonus is on offer for the ladies.


Race for everyone:

Despite all this talk of records and the fleet of foot, the main aim of this race has always been to provide competition for all levels of runners and joggers.  It doesn't matter if you have just started jogging and have to take walk breaks every so often, you are more than welcome to Buncrana. The only thing that we ask is that you do attempt to run/jog the 5km. It doesn’t matter if you have to walk a bit in the middle but this is not a walking event.  Also worth noting that due to Athletic Association of Ireland (AAI) rules, no athlete under 16 years of age will be allowed to compete.


The race is also number eight of the Donegal Athletics Board's Summer Grand Prix series which this year comprises a staggering fifty five races.  In addition to this, there are literally hundreds of fundraising road events being staged across the North West. Due to the huge number of events happening this year, the organisers of the Furey Insurances Series have decided to cancel the whole Series and just retain the Buncrana event.


Event Details:

The race will take place on Wednesday 28th May 2013.  Registration from 5.30pm at Scoil Mhuire Secondary School, adjacent to Buncrana Leisure Centre. Entry fee €10/£9, chip timing in operation.  The race starts at 7.30pm sharp.  Refreshments provided after in Scoil Mhuire. Showers available in Buncrana Leisure Centre. 


Pre-race entries can be emailed to f[email protected] - Simply state your name, gender, age on race day and club! These must be received by 6pm on Tuesday 27th May 2014. Your race number can be picked up on the night when payment is made. Any of those who intend to register on the night please get there early as we will be closing registration at 7.10pm sharp.

Runners from Northern Ireland enjoy Rock N'Roll event in England:

Personal bests and podium places for local athletes in England:

On Sunday 25th May 2014, Northern Ireland was well represented at the Rock N' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon in Liverpool (England), with a huge contingent of athletes travelling to the unique event, which features live bands and an electric atmosphere throughout the course.


Murlough AC, County Antrim Harriers, North Belfast Harriers and Springwell Running Club were just a few of the familiar vests on show as the local contingent joined thousands of fellow compeitiors on the packed start line.  In the 26.2 mile event, there was a new personal best for North Belfast Harriers' Sean McShane, after he recorded 3:07:39.  Jim Breen (Springwell Running Club) picked up the Vet60 prize with a finish time of 3:17:52, while Patrick Mc Shane (North Belfast Harriers) crossed the line in 3:58:44.  The men's marathon was won by Ben Fish (Blackburn AC) in 2:25:19, with Lucy Collins (Unattached) taking top honours in the ladies race in 3:06:31.


In the Half Marathon, Dave Fulcher led the Murlough AC athletes home in 1:38:22; John Curry (Unattached) ran 1:42:49, finishing just ahead of Newcastle AC's Joe McCann, who ran 1:43:50. Murlough AC trio Shauna McKenny (1:51:01), Miceal Haughian (1:51:37) and Nicola Mathers (1:51:52) followed within a minute of each other, while their club mate Michelle McCann crossed the line in 1:53:17.  Anne McCormick (Murlough AC) clocked 1:54:22, while Shona Murray narrowly missed a sub 2-hour finish in 2:02:19.  


Lisa Brown (Murlough AC) completed the course in 2:06:17, which was enough to see her finish just ahead of fellow Murlough AC ladies Ann McAlarney (2:06:49), John McVeigh (2:08:54), Collete McBride (2:09:47), Ciara Murphy (2:13:29).  Belfast Running Club's Mark Ramsey and Janine Ramsey followed in 2:16:06 and 2:16:10 respectively, before Paula McKibbin (2:20:56),  Grainne Madden (2:41:34) and Patricia McGovern (2:41:34) completed the Murlough AC contingent.  The Half Marathon was won by Simon Newton (City of Sheffield AC) in 1:14:28; Emma Palmer (Unattached) secured the ladies title in 1:25:43.


Full Results:  Rock N'Roll Liverpool Marathon and Half Marathon 2014 Results – Please Note:  Due to the nature in which the results for the Rock N'Roll Marathon and Half Marathon have been published (no club information), it is impossible to obtain details of all local finishers.  However, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all participants on their achievements.  

Podium places for Gladys Ganiel O'Neill and Gillian Cordner in Edinburgh:

Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2014:

This weekend, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to Scotland for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival; a two day festival of running, which included events for everyone, with races ranging from 5k to the main event, the Edinburgh Marathon.


Amongst the numerous top quality runs, the performances of two local ladies shown through; Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) and Gillian Cordner (Separk AC) both secured podium places at the prestigious and increasingly popular event.


Commonwealth Games qualifier Gladys Ganiel O’Neill won the Half Marathon on Sunday 25th May 2014.  Despite having to contend with heavy rain showers, a stiff wind along the eight mile coastal stretch, and even some hail, the North Belfast Harriers athlete led the field home in an excellent 1:17:26 (1st place). 


She (Gladys) was followed into the finish area by two top Scottish athletes, Shona McIntosh (1:18:39) and Hayley Haining (1:19:51).  Interestingly, Hayley Haining has already been named to run the marathon for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games.  Gladys was “happy” with her performance, especially considering the conditions; with the announcement of the final North Ireland team for the Commonwealth Games only a matter of weeks away, she was keen to demonstrate form.


On Saturday 24th May 2014, Seapark AC endurance enthusiast and marathon specialist Gillian Cordner warmed up for Sunday's 26.2 mile event with an excellent outing in the EMF 5k.  Not usually known for competing over such a short distance, Gillian showed a speedy edge to claim 3rd place in 22:19.  The race was won by Robyn Maxtone (Falkirk AC) in 20:59 (1st place).


A large number of other Northern Ireland athletes toed the line for events at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.  Unfortunately, due to restrictions with the results, which prevents access to those not competing, we are unable to report on the performances of all Northern Ireland athletes.  However, we are aware of several notable performances; Springwell Running Club duo Glenn Millar and Scott Bell were rewarded for their efforts with new Marathon personal bests. Glenn crossed the line in 3:21:50, while Scott recorded 3:38:04.  City of Lisburn AC athlete Kevin McVeigh finished between the aforementioned Springwell Running Club athletes, after covering the distance in 3:24:18.  Banbridge AC friends Gillian McNiff and Wendy McClean crossed the line together in 3:41:15.  The race was won by Kenyan athlete David Toniok in 2:15:33, while the ladies event was won by Kateryna Stetsenko (Ukraine) in 2:36:07.


Although full results will not be made available, official times and places for the podium finishers can be found on the official Edinburgh Marathon Festival website HERE.

Northern Ireland stars make headlines in Ireland, Holland and USA:

Local track stars produce notable performances in Ireland:

On Sunday 25th May 2014, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelled South for the AAI Games, an event hosted by Athletics Ireland at the Morton Stadium in Santry, just outside Dublin (Ireland).  


As always, the local stars produced several notable performances.  In the 800m, Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) looked in good shape as she enjoyed a gun to tape victory, clocking 2:10.80 (1st place) for the distance.  There was also a win for Northern Ireland 110m hurdles record holder Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), after the exceptionally talented hurdler led the field home in 13.63 (1st place); this time was within the European Track & Field Championships qualifying standard but unfortunately, the wind count of +2.1 means that it won't count as a qualifying time.  In the same race, North Down AC's Tom Reynolds (15.23secs) and City of Derry AC's Mark McGarvey (15.71secs) took 2nd place and 4th place. 


City of Lisburn AC’s Megan Marrs completed what has been an excellent week with personal best performance in the 100m hurdles.  After winning the Belfast Telegraph/Mary Peters Trust Award during the week, Megan claimed 2nd place in 13.72secs.  The race was won by UCD AC's Sarah Lavin in 13.49secs.  In her 100m flat race, Megan recorded 12.18secs (8th place); this event was won by Phil Healy (Bandon AC) in 11.68secs.  


Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC) was also racing over 100m; he (Jonathan) crossed the line in 10.82secs (6th place) in the race won by David Hynes (Menapians AC) in 10.60secs.  Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) was the ‘most impressive’ athlete in her 1500m race, according to the pundits.   After an assured start, the speedy North Down AC athlete, who was the fastest lady at the NiRunning-BMC ‘Festival of Miles’ this month, finished strongly to record a massive new personal best of 4:31.49; this was enough to secure 2nd place behind race winner Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner (DSD AC) in 4:27.01.  Another North Down AC runner, Curtis Woods, also claimed a podium place.  Racing in the highly competitive 400m, Curtis took 3rd place in 49.43secs; the race was won by Harry Purcell (Club Unknown) in 48.26secs.


There were four familiar faces in the 3,000m event.  Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Noel Logan (City of Derry AC) all toed the line in the race won by Conor Dooney (Raheny Shamrock AC) in 8:19.19.  Scott Rankin was the first of the local contingent to finish, after he ran 8:34.30 for 6th place.  Declan Reed followed just two seconds later in 8:36.31 (7th place), before Brendan Teer (8:58.81) and Noel Logan (9:07.00) finished in 8th place and 9th place respectively.  Annadale Striders duo Michael Quinn and Johnny Foster were in action over 800m; in the 'A' race, Michael Quinn ran 1:54.78 for 4th place, while fast improving Johnny Foster recorded 2:02.37 (9th place) in the 'B' race.  Star of the Sea AC's Robert Tully (1:53.29) and Ennis Track Club's Darragh Lynch (1:55.65) won the 'A' and 'B' races respectively.


Full Results:  AAI Games 2014 Results (Photo used above taken from the Athletics Ireland website)


Also on the track this weekend:  

Northern Ireland based athlete, Jason Harvey, represented his club Crusaders AC, at the European Clubs Cup Championships in Amsterdam (Holland) on Saturday 24th May 2014.  In the 400m hurdles, Jason recorded a seasons best of 51.72secs (2nd place) to finish as runner up to Finnish athlete Petteri Monni (51.59secs).  


Commonwealth Games qualifier, Jason, also teamed up with club mates in the 4x100m and 4x400; in the 4x100m, Eoin Mulhall, Nick Ennis, Garrett Dunne and Jason claimed 4th place after covering the relay in 43.39secs.  The race was won by Sparta AC in 41.69secs.  In the 4x400m race, Jason lined up alongside Nick Ennis, Brian Murphy and Eoin Mulhall - the men produced an excellent performance to secure 2nd place in 3:14:09.  The race was won by Sparta AC in 3:14.09.  Predictably, Sparta AC won the overall club competition, while the Crusaders AC men took 10th place.


In America, Omagh Harriers' Sara Moore represented her University, Oklahoma City, at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.  The rising star, who has shown real potential since moving to America to study, recorded a new 1500m personal best of 4:35.85 (9th place).  The race was won my Hillary Holt (Idaho College) in 4:18:28.


Full Results:  European Clubs Cup Championships 2014 Results and NAIA Outdoor Track &Field Championships 2014 Results

O'Hanlon, McKeown, Sittuk and Connolly secure wins in Newry:

Hundreds of athletes enjoy new Newry Marathon and HM courses:

On Sunday 25th May 2014, Newry City Runners welcomed hundreds of athletes to the annual Newry City Marathon and associated Half Marathon.  This year, organisers introduced a new flat and fast course, which was predominantly based on the Newry to Warrenpoint Dual Carriageway.


In damp but pleasant conditions, the marathon runners set off first and it wasn’t long before the talented duo of Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and Don Travers (Newry City Runners) moved clear of the field.  In truth, by mile one, it was obvious that the winner would be one of this pair; however, it wasn’t until the latter stages when Gary O’Hanlon, who won the Killarney Marathon last week, made his move.  The current AAI 50k Champion broke the tape in 2:36:14 (1st place) to win; Don Travers followed in 2:41:35 (2nd place).  Well-known triathlete David Graham secured 3rd place in 2:49:31.


The ladies race wasn’t just as close as the men’s event; however, there were some noteworthy performances. None more so than that of gun to tape winner Liosa McKeown; Lisa, a popular athlete who is a regular on the podium in South Armagh, claimed an impressive victory in 3:13:18 (1st place).  North Belfast Harriers’ Athanasia Sevastaki sealed the runners up place in 3:21:03 (2nd place), while Natalie Hall (Unattached) crossed the line in 3:25:14 for 3rd place.


In the associated 10k, spectators were treated to an excellent battle between Belfast City Marathon winner Freddy Sittuk (Kenya) and Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers).  In the end, it was Freddy Sittuk who took top honours; the Kenyan athlete who is due to race at the Walled City Marathon next week, won in 1:10:14 (1st place).  Stephen Duncan clocked 1:10:28 (2nd place), while Clonliffe Harriers man Tudor Muldovan just edged out North Belfast Harriers’ Eamon White (4th place – 1:11:31) to take 3rd place, after running 1:11:30.


Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) looked in good form as she dominated the ladies 13.1m event.  The recent Run Armagh 10k winner covered the distance in 1:18:37 (1st place).  DUNE Half Marathon winner and consistent performer, Heather Foley (Unattached), ran well for 2nd place in 1:23:36. Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) enjoyed an excellent outing, claiming the final podium place in 1:30:02 (3rd place).


Marathon Race:

Top 3 Men:   1st Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 2:36:14, 2nd Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 2:41:35, 3rd David Graham (Unattached) – 2:49:31

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Liosa McKeown (Unattached) – 3:13:18, 2nd Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:21:03, 3rd Natalie Hall (Unattached) – 3:25:14


Half Marathon Race:

Top 3 Men:   1st Freddy Sittuk (Kenya) – 1:10:14, 2nd Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 1:10:28, 3rd Tudor Muldovan (Clonliffe Harriers) – 1:11:30

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:18:37, 2nd Heather Foley (Unattached) – 1:23:36, 3rd Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) - 1:30:02


Cox, McGurren, Barbour and Broderick celebrate in Killclogher:

Killyclogher 10k and 5k Road Race 2014:

On Saturday 24th May 2014, athletes from across Northern Ireland descended on the County Tyrone village of Killyclogher for the annual Killclogher 10k and associated 5k road race.


In the 10k event, Omagh Harriers men Martin Cox and Peter Neill battled it out at the front alongside Enniskillen Running Club's Fergus McGirr.  After an excellent encounter, it was Martin Cox, a man returning to competition, who eventually claimed victory in 34:29.  Peter Neill, a podium finisher in the Masters race at this years IAAF Antrim International XC, took 2nd place in 34:31, while Fergus McGirr secured 3rd place in 34:35.


The ladies race saw another top class performance by Sperrin Harriers' ever impressive Pauline McGurren.  After winning the Maghera 10k earlier this week, Pauline broke the tape in a new personal best of 39:21 (1st place) to win by over three minutes.  Anne Moore (Orangegrove AC) and Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) sealed 2nd place and 3rd place respectively, with Anne running 43:31 and Patricia 44:59.


In the associated 5k event, Omagh Harriers' Paul Barbour celebrated his return from injury with a notable performance.  Paul led the men's field home in a speedy 15:29 (1st place), while Sarah Broderick (Unattached) won the ladies race in 21:06 (1st place).


10k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Martin Cox (Omagh Harriers) – 34:29, 2nd Peter Neill (Omagh Harriers) – 34:31, 3rd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 34:35

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 39:09, 2nd Anne Moore (Orangegrove AC) – 43:31, 3rd Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) - 44:59


5k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 15:29, 2nd Sean McAnallen (Club Unknown) - 17:01 3rd Kevin Smyth (Club Unknown) – 18:01

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Sarah Broderick (Unattached) – 21:06, 2nd Dervla Heaney (Unattached) – 24:03, 3rd Jane McSorely (Unattached) – 24:36


Full Results will be added as soon as they are available.

Stephen Wylie and Jennifer Black impress at Belfast Hills event:

North Belfast Harriers host Chain Reaction Belfast Hills event:

On Sarurday 24th May 2014, popular athletics club North Belfast Harriers hosted the second annual running of their Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) recognised Belfast Hills 10k, which is sponsored by Chain Reaction Cycles.  Unfortunately, due to a recent landslide, the course had to be revised and measured approximately 8k.


As the competitors set off, it was a man better known for his speed on the road and track who took charge; Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), a podium finisher at the Les Jones Memorial 10k, immediately surged clear and was followed by the in-form Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) a short time later.  A group containing 2013 Champion Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Andy Gregg (Larne AC) followed.


In the ladies race, another athlete who impressed at last week's Les Jones Memorial 10k, Jennifer Black (Orangegrove AC), was leading.  However, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) and Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) were also looking strong as they negotiated the tough but scenic opening section.


As the men reached the highest point of the course, Stephen Wylie and Mark McKinstry had cemented their positions at the front, while Neil Carty had broken clear of Justin Maxwell and David McNeilly.  On the fast downhill finish, Stephen Wylie showed his pace, stretching his lead to win in 31:42 (1st place).  Mark McKinstry followed in 31:57 (2nd place), before Neil Carty crossed the line in 32:17 to claim 3rd place.


The ladies event wasn't just as close, but still and excellent race; Jennifer Black gradually increased the gap between herself and Shileen O'Kane and Julie Murphy, who in-turn had moved clear of Maeve Lavery and Helen Weir.  In the end, it was Jennifer Black who secured top stop, winning in 37:39 (1st place). Shileen O'Kane made it two podium finishes in three days; after a victory at the Hill & Dale 'Rocky' race, Shileen took 2nd place in 39:05, while her club mate, Julie Murphy completed the top three ladies in 40:52 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) – 31:42, 2nd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:57, 3rd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 32:17


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jennifer Black (Orangegrove AC) – 37:39, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 39:05, 3rd Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:52


Full Results:  Chain Reaction Belfast Hills 10k 2014 Results (Please Note:  Course was revised to 8k due to Landslide).  A selection of photo's from the Belfast Hills 10k have been added to our Photo Gallery.  Photo's taken by NiRunning photographer Gareth Heron.

Patricia O'Hagan takes top honours at Runher Coastal Challenge 2014:

Thousands enjoy annual Runher Coastal Challenge:

On Friday 23rd May 2014, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on the County Down coastline for the annual Runher Coastal Challenge 10k.  Despite the cold and blustery conditions, the atmosphere at the Seapark (Holywood) starting area was as impressive as always.  


After an energetic 'official' warm up, the ladies set off on the 6.2 mile route which would take them from the aforementioned Seapark along the coastal path to Crawfordsburn Country Park, close to Bangor.  In the early stages, a lead group containing Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC), Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC) immediately opened a gap on the remainder of the field; at this stage it was clear that the podium places would be filled by three out of this four.


That did indeed prove to be the case, as the white vest of Patricia O'Hagan was first into sight; Patricia, who won the Les Jones Memorial 10k seven days ago, negotiated the final hill with apparent ease, before descending into the finishing straight where she covered the final yards quickly to claim a well deserved victory in 37:15 (1st place).  


Cathy McCourt followed up her recent prize winning performance at the Blackwater 10k, securing the runners up spot in 38:28 (2nd place).  Decorated duathlete, Judith Lonnen, finished just four seconds later in 38:32 (3rd place), thus claiming the final podium place.  North Down AC's Jessica Craig ran well to take 4th place in 39:11, before North Belfast Harriers' Amanda Perry completed the top five finishers in 39:46 (5th place).


Top 5 Ladies: 1st Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) – 37:15, 2nd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:28, 3rd Judith Lonnen (City of Derry AC) – 38:32, 4th Jessica Craig (North Down AC) – 39:11, 5th Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) – 39:46


Times above are PROVISIONAL times only.  Due to a sponsorship deal with a local newspaper we are unable to confirm when official results will be available.  However, these will be added to this summary and our 'Results' page as soon as they are available.

Weekend Preview:  Road, Mountain, Track and Trail on offer this weekend...

Weekend Preview:  Plenty of variety for local athletes...

After a busy week of racing which saw several Northern Ireland athletes achieve Commonwealth Games qualification standards and the Summer midweek races kick-off, it’s time to look ahead to another exciting weekend of action.


Alongside the always popular and well-organised Runher Coastal Challenge 10k, the Pure Running Half Marathon Series will resume in Newry, where the 13.1 mile race will be accompanied by a Marathon; athletes in County Tyrone will also be looking forward to the Killclougher 10k. Northern Ireland runners will also compete in Ireland, England and Scotland.


The racing begins tonight (Friday 23rd May 2014), when thousands of athletes and spectators will descend on the County Down Coastal Path for the Runher Coastal Challenge, a 10k trail race from Seapark (Holywood) to Crawfordsburn Country Park, close to Bangor (County Down).


The scenic and atmospheric event never fails to attract a wide range of runners, from those aiming to complete their first 6.2 mile event to those racing for top honours. Concentrating on the front of the field, we would expect the exceptionally talented duo of Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) and Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) to battle it out for the prestigious honour of being the first lady home.  


Since returning to competition in April (2014), Patricia O'Hagan appears to be in top form; in the last month, the St Peter's AC athlete has won the Beragh Knights 5 mile road race and the Les Jones 10k, she (Patricia) also took the runners up spot at the Run Armagh 10k.  At the aforementioned Les Jones 10k, Patricia just got the edge over multi-sport specialist Judith Lonnen.  Although most of Judith's major achievements this year have been in Duathlon/Triathlon, the European Duathlon Championships gold medallist has also performed well on the road; her 39:21 clocking at the Les Jones 10k last Friday (17th May 2014) proved this.  It will be interesting to see which of the pair excel off-road, on a scenic but undulating course.  Other top performers and podium contenders could include the likes of Olivia Brown (Ballydrain Harriers), Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners), Nikki Heywood (North Down AC), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers), Joan Melonaphy (St Peter's AC) and Kerry Speers (North Down AC).


On Saturday 25th May 2013, North Belfast Harriers will host their Chain Reaction Cycles sponsored Belfast Hills 10k race, in and around Cavehill Country Park, Belfast.  The course boasts stunning views of Belfast and as far away as the Mourne Mountains, but that will be the last thing the willing participants will be interested in as they overcome the tough climb to the top.


Last years Champion, Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) will be the man to beat; as long as the local star has recovered sufficiently from his top ten finish at last night's Hill & Dale event at Rocky Mountain, he should be the pace setter.  Fellow North Belfast Harriers men Simon Reeve and Mark McKinstry should also feature well.  Simon has been racing sparingly of late, but will excel on this kind of course while Mark will hope to continue the good run of form which saw him win the opening race of the East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series at Ballyboley Forest earlier this week.  Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), Emmet McAllister (Ballymena Runners), Nat Glenn (Unattached), Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) and Andy Gregg (Larne AC) will also be hoping for high finishing positions if they race.


In the ladies race, Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) will not return to defend her title.  After winning in impressive fashion twelve months ago, Hazel will hand over her crown, but to who, nobody knows. Dromore AC's Diane Wilson, who has pretty much dominated the local mountain running scene recently, missed Thursday night's Hill & Dale race and may turn out here.  Should she do so, Diane will will play a prominent part in proceedings.   Off-road specialists Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) and Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) will also be in contention, while Violet Linton (LVO), Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) and Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) will all be aiming for top ten places.

Also on Saturday 24th May 2014, hundreds of athletes are expected to descended on the County Tyrone town of Killclogher for the annual running of the Killyclogher 10k road race.


Northern Ireland & Ulster Masters XC Champion Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) should toe the line, and if he does, the local hero and Northern Ireland international will win.  Given the fact that Stephen has won six out of the seven races he has entered in 2014, it's a certainty that he will be high in confidence.  


However, that will not stop the likes of Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) and Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) trying to stop him in his tracks; both men have been running well of late. 


Pius McIntyre won the Born 2 Run Surf N'Turf Half Marathon last week, while Chris McGuinness has achieved several podium finishes recently, the best of which was a win at the Airtricity 10 mile road race, where he recorded an excellent 55:56.  Chris also finished as runner up to Stephen Duncan at the Strabane to Lifford Half Marathon, with Stephen running 1:09:49 and Chris 1:16:26.  Pierce McCullough (Sperrin Harriers) and Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) will both finish well up the field.


The ladies race could see Lifford AC club mates Ann-Marie McGlynn and Claire McGuigan go head to head.  Irish International Ann-Marie will go into the event as strong pre-race favourite, especially after brilliant wins at the Queen's 5k and Titanic 10k last month; Claire appeared to be running really well when she won the Airtricity 10 mile road race last month.  Denise Toner (Clones AC) and Maghera 10k winner, Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers), may also enter on the day, while Omagh Harriers' Mairead McCann, Ita Kelly, Patricia Campbell and Julie Butler will all be keen to stamp their authority on there local race.


Outside the province on Saturday 24th May 2014, at least four local runners will take on the gruelling Isle of Jura Fell Race off the West Coast of Scotland. The infamous event, now in it's 40th year, requires competitors to complete a 28k course, covering seven mountain summits and 2,370m of ascending. Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Eamonn McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC) and Bryan Magee (Larne AC) will all compete.

On Sunday 25th May 2013, Newry City Runners will welcome thousands of competitors to their annual Newry City Marathon and Half Marathon events; the Half Marathon is also included in the Pure Running/ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series.  This year, the courses for the Marathon and Half Marathon will change, with both taking place on a fast and flat route, incorporating the Newry to Warrenpoint Carriageway.


Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) is expected to return to defend his 2013 Marathon title; already this season the Irish International has been crowned AAI National 50k Champion and ran a personal best of 2:22:15 at the Rotterdam Marathon.  On top of this, just last week, he won the Cooley Coastal 10k and the Killarney Marathon.  Local man, Don Travers (Newry City Runners) should also line up in the 26.2 mile event.  After finishing as runner up to Gary last year, Don will be keen to claim a victory in his 'hometown' Marathon.


Both the Marathon and Half Marathon should attract a plethora of talent, with Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), James Brown (Unattached), Brian McMahon (Clonliffe Harriers), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC), Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Mark Walker (Unattached), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) and Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) all likely participants.


Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) could well be the lady to beat in the ladies Marathon; the Seapark AC athlete has had an excellent year so far.  She (Gillian) achieved a new 26.2 mile personal best of 3:18:33 at the Virgin London Marathon and has been a regular winner at the East Antrim Marathon Series events. The endurance specialists most recent outing was at the Strabane to Lifford Half Marathon, where she finished in second place after running 1:35:24. Triathlete Heather Foley, who impressed over 13.1 miles at the Larne Half Marathon, may race in the Half Marathon.  Like the men's races, information on possible starters is limited (despite our efforts), but the Half Marathon should attract athletes such as Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers), Liosa McKeown (Unattached), Linda Meehan (Lagan Valley AC), Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC), Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC), Janice Plumb (East Coast AC) and Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC).


Also on Sunday 25th May 2014, a large contingent of Northern Ireland based athletes will travel to Dublin (Ireland) for the Woodies DIY AAI Games, which will take place at the Morton Stadium in Santry.  Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Tom Reynolds (North Down AC), Mark McGarvey (City of Derry AC), Conor McLaughlin (Strabane Track Club), Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC), Curtis Woods (North Down AC), Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC), Michael Quinn (Annadale Striders), Johnny Foster (Annadale Striders), Neil McCartan (East Down AC), Noel Logan (City of Derry AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) are amongst those scheduled to compete at the event, which will be streamed live via the Athletics Ireland website.


In Scotland, a strong Northern Ireland contingent are expected to participate in the annual Edinburgh Marathon Festival.  The exciting weekend of action offers events and distances for all abilities, but the main focus will of course be on the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday 25th May 2014.  Ballymena Runners are usually well represented at the event and their athletes will be joined by Orangegrove AC duo Michael O'Donoghue and Zdzislaw Malinski, and East Coast AC's Amanda Peoples.  Dromore AC's Jeanette Bailie and Russell Kennedy will also make the journey.


In Liverpool (England) on Sunday 25th May 2014, several Northern Ireland runners will take on the Rock N' Roll Liverpool Marathon and Half Marathon. Eileen Stewart (County Antrim Harriers) is just one athlete that we are aware of who is competing, however, many more are expected to make the journey to the former UK City of Culture.


Northern Ireland’s seventeen 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. 

Ian Bailey and Shileen O'Kane win Hill & Dale 'Rocky' event:

Hill & Dale Race 6 - Rocky Mountain:

On Thursday 22nd May 2014, Newcastle AC welcomed the local mountain running fraternity to the sixth race of their popular and well-organised Hill & Dale Series. On this occasion, Rocky Mountain was the venue of choice, with athletes completing 4.2 mile course, incorporating 1,600 ft of ascending.


In what was a close encounter, Newcastle AC's Ian Bailey followed on from his impressive win at the Slieve Donard Classic with another notable victory. He (Ian) showed the same strength on the climb as he did at the weekend, before sealing an excellent win in 30:45 (1st place). After representing Northern Ireland in England on Sunday (18th May 2014), Newcastle AC men Seamus Lynch (30:57) and David Steele (31:52) both ran well and completed a good night for the host club when they took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.


Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) returned to more familiar surroundings and looked in good shape as she led the ladies home; following a good outing at the Les Jones 10k road race last week, the Northern Ireland international broke the tape in 40:14 (1st place). Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) continued her impressive run of results in the Hill & Dale Series with another podium finish, after taking 2nd place in 42:08; Patricia McKibbin (Unattached) recorded 45:09 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 30:45, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 30:57, 3rd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 31:52


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:14, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 42:08, 3rd Patricia McKibbin (Unattached) – 45:09


Full Results: Hill & Dale Series 2014 (Race 6 - Rocky)

Scott Rankin and Rhian Pegram on top form at Wilkies 5m Road Race:

Wilkies 5m Road Race 2014:

On Thursday 22nd May 2014, Foyle Valley AC hosted their annual Wilkies 5 mile road race in Derry/Londonderry; in pleasant running conditions, well over one hundred runners toed the start line on the banks of the River Foyle.


The host clubs Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) looked a class above the field; having won the Letterkenny AC Inter-Firms 5k on Tuesday night (20th May 2014), the in-form athlete secured his second win in three days, crossing the line in 24:39 (1st place).  Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), a podium finisher at the aforementioned Inter-Firms 5k, took 2nd place in 26:45.  Another man who has picked up a prize this week, Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC), who claimed the runners up spot at the Maghera 10k, completed the podium places in a new personal best of 27:19 (3rd place).


Acorns AC lady, Rhian Pegram, produced the performance of her life to win the ladies race.  The up and coming young athlete led the ladies home in 33:20 (1st place), finishing just ahead of Angeline McShane (City of Derry AC).  Angeline clocked 33:33 (2nd place), while fellow City of Derry AC Spartan Miriam Bridge crossed the line in 34:44 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 24:39, 2nd Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) – 26:45, 3rd Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) – 27:19


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Rhian Pegram (Acorns AC) – 33:20, 2nd Angeline McShane (City of Derry AC)  - 33:33, 3rd Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) – 34:44


Full Results:  Wilkies 5m Road Race 2014 Results

Gavin Corey and Pauline McGurren excel at Maghera 10k:

Over 200 turn out for Maghera 10k 2014:

On Tuesday 20th May 2014, athletes from all over Northern Ireland took part in the Maghera 10k road race in County Derry/Londonderry.


The men’s race was a close affair, with Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) and Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) battling it out at the front.  However, as the race moved into the closing stages, it was Gavin Corey who took charge.  The fast improving Sperrin Harriers man surged clear before winning in 34:26 (1st place).  Aaron Meharg followed in 34:51, with Ballymena Runners’ Kevin O’Boyle securing a well-deserved 3rd place in 36:01.


Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) showed her class in the ladies race; the regular prize winner looked strong as she cruised to victory in 39:21 (1st place).  Talented Termoneeny AC lady Helena Quinn took 2nd place in 41:37, before Unattached athlete Cara Suiter, made an excellent return to competition to complete the ladies top three in 42:36 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) – 34:26, 2nd Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) – 34:51, 3rd Kevin O’Boyle (Ballymena Runners) – 36:01


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 39:21, 2nd Helena Quinn (Termoneeny AC) – 41:37, 3rd Cara Suiter (Unattached) – 42:36


Full Results:  Maghera 10k 2014 Results


Inter-Firms 5k (Ireland):

On the same evening (Tuesday 20th May 2014), athletes from Northern Ireland were amongst the prizes at the Inter-Firms 5k road race in Letterkenny, County Donegal (Ireland).  Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) claimed the men's title in 14:49 (1st place), while Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) won the ladies race in 16:39 (1st place).  There were also good runs by City of Derry AC's Gary Slevin (3rd place - 15:24) and Foyle Valley AC pair Adrian McGowan (4th place - 15:31) and Chris McGuinness (5th place - 15:36).


Full Results:  Letterkenny AC Inter-Firms 5k 2014 Results

Desi Foley and Marina Campbell win annual Bann 10k:

Over 400 athletes turn out for well organised Bann 10k:

On Wednesday 21st May 2014, over four hundred athletes descended on Havelock Park, Banbridge for the annual Bann 10k road race, a challenging but popular event which is always enjoyed by the local running fraternity.


At the head of the field, well respected triathlete Desi Foley (Unattached) controlled proceedings.  As the race progressed, Desi stamped his authority on proceedings, before claiming top honours in 35:22 (1st place).  Versatile athlete and Northern Ireland international cross country star Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) took 2nd place in 36:09, before Thomas Evans (Unattached) completed the top three in 37:23 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, City of Derry AC front runner Marina Campbell impressed most; the ever consistent athlete who performed well throughout the Athletics NI XC League, broke the tape in 40:31 (1st place) to win.  Unattached athlete Mach Hell crossed the line in 42:26 (2nd place), while another Unattached runner, Roslyn Dobson claimed 3rd place in 44:29.


Top 3 Men:  1st Desi Foley (Unattached) – 35:22, 2nd Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) – 36:09, 3rd Thomas Evans (Unattached) – 37:23


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC) – 40:31, 2nd Mach Hell (Unattached) – 42:36, 3rd Roslyn Dobson (Unattached) – 44:29


Full Results:  Bann 10k 2014 Results

North Belfast Harriers all set for Chain Reaction Belfast Hills 10k:

North Belfast Harriers to host Chain Reaction Belfast Hills 10k:

Belfast’s only hill race, the Belfast Hills 10k, will take place this Saturday, the 24th May 2014.  The race offers participants a unique opportunity to test themselves over the trails of Cave Hill Country Park, taking in the stunning views from Belfast Castle, Bellevue and McArt’s Fort. 


The race is organised by North Belfast Harriers and sponsored by Chain Reaction Cycles.  Last year the race attracted almost one hundred athletes, including a mix of experienced hill runners and those trying out the discipline for the very first time.  Neil Carty of North Belfast Harriers and Hazel McLaughlin of Lagan Valley AC were the first man and woman home. 


“The Belfast Hills are a real treasure for runners who love to get off-road and experience nature,” said race director Matt Shields. “North Belfast Harriers train regularly over the hills and we are excited to once again welcome runners from near and far to this race.”


Entry is just £10 for affiliated and £12 for unaffiliated runners.  There is also a 2k race for under-16’s, with a £3 entry fee.  All competitors will receive a free pair of running socks. There are prizes for top three men and women plus the first over forty and over fifty male and female athletes.  Entry pack collection, start point and gathering point will be at the Boys Model School on the North Circular Road (Belfast) on the day of event.  Changing, parking and showering facilities available at Boys Model School.  This is a timed run.  Participants are free to walk, jog, or run as they see fit.  Appropriate footwear and clothing should be worn and therefore, off-road shoes are recommended.  For more information please click HERE.

Mary Peters Track to host Belfast International Track & Field event:

Athletics NI announce details of Belfast International 2014:

Athletes from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland and further afield are in the running for the Belfast International Athletics Meet at the Mary Peters Track on Wednesday 2nd July 2014. 


Organised by Athletics Northern Ireland with support from Belfast City Council, the event follows on from the 2013 official opening event which followed a £3m refurbishment of the track as part of Belfast City Council's £150m Investment Programme. It is hoped that the event will become a regular fixture in the athletics calendar for many years to come.


Among the athletes confirmed for the event is 2014 British Athletics Indoor 800m bronze medallist, Katie Kirk of Queen’s University Belfast AC. Katie has enjoyed a strong season of late, running a PB of 2:02.97 last weekend to achieve the Glasgow 2014 consideration standard. Athletics fans in Northern Ireland and further afield will no doubt be keen to see Katie compete against some of the World’s top runners on home soil.


General Secretary of Athletics Northern Ireland, John Allen, said: “This is a fantastic event for everyone involved and provides an opportunity to showcase one of the Country’s top athletics arenas. Taking place just three weeks ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games the Belfast International Athletics Meet will offer fans an opportunity see world-class athletes compete at the home of Athletics in Northern Ireland ahead of the Games. 


“The Mary Peters Track is a world class standard venue that is open to the whole athletics community, catering to all levels of the sport from schoolchildren and club athletes to those training to compete at an international level.” he added.  Following the re-opening of the track in 2013, Dame Mary Peters said she was delighted that the track named in her honour would continue to serve Belfast and Northern Ireland. Ahead of the Belfast International Athletics Meet she acknowledged the importance of Belfast City Council’s continued support along with the work carried out by Athletics Northern Ireland stating “I am overjoyed that Belfast has a truly world-class facility that serves both current and future generations of athletes. The presence of a world class venue ensures a legacy of athletics development for the City for many years to come”.

Northern Ireland mountain men compete at Inter-County Championships:

Inter-County Mountain Running Championships 2014:

On Sunday 18th May 2014, a team of Northern Ireland mountain runners were in competition at the the Inter-Counties Mountain Running Championships in Witton Park, Blackburn (England).  


The Inter-County Championships brings teams from across the UK together as they battled it out for the prestige of being the top mountain running district.  As the 12.7k course  (with 514m of ascent) was relatively ‘fast’ and not very technical, the field was loaded with a mixture of mountain, trail, road and track specialists. 


The early pace was just as blistering as the sunshine and the one hundred strong field looked relieved as they entered the shade of the forested slopes.  Northern Ireland's Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) headed the group until the gradient steepened and the more experienced trail runners took charge. 


As the athletes negotiated the three and a half lap course, the Northern Ireland men battled well in an attempt to replicate last year’s team result of fourth place. Early leader Allan Bogle led the team home in 59:03 (26th place).  Scotland based Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) recorded 1:00:33 (30th place) before Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) continued the train of recognisable finishers twenty two seconds later in 1:00:55 (32nd place).  David Steele (Newcastle AC) completed a good day for the local men when he crossed the line in 1:03:18 (45th place).  The race was won by Shaun Dixon (Middlesex) in 53:24 (1st place).


Although the team finished strongly they did not do enough to be in the mix with the top teams. The team prize went to Middlesex (England); interestingly, a county whose highest point is only 153m.  The Northern Ireland managed to achieve a credible 9th place in the team competition, which saw them finish one place in front of Cumbria - the UK’s most famous mountain running county.


Full Results:  Inter-Counties Mountain Running Championships 2014 Results

Runners from NI impress in Blackwater, Limavady, Staplestown....

Weekend Round-Up: Runners from NI impress at events in Blackwater, Limavady, Staplestown and Ballina...

On Sunday 18th May 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes picked up prizes as over four hundred runners turned out for the 7th annual Blackwater 10k, hosted by Monaghan Phoenix AC in Rossmore Forest Park, Monaghan (Ireland).


Versatile NIMRA member Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) produced an excellent performance to lead the field home in 32:47 (1st place).  Clones AC's Paul Gleeson took 2nd place in 34:16, before Unattached athlete and NI man Aaron Bradley completed the men's top three in 36:01 (3rd place).  Dermot Kerr (Armagh AC) crossed the line  36:54, exactly the same time as Sperrin Harriers' Delfim Pimentel (36:54), with Dermot being awarded 6th place and Delfim 7th place.


Northern Ireland international Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) followed up a top class outing at last week's Highgate Harriers 'Night of 10,000m Personal Bests' with another quality showing, the Armagh AC athlete completed the tough course in 38:29 (1st place).  North Belfast Harriers' Cathy McCourt clocked 39:11 (2nd place), while Denise Toner (Clones AC) made it a Northern Ireland 1-2-3 in 39:25 (3rd place).


Elsewhere:  In Staplestown, County Kildare (Ireland), North Belfast Harriers' well respected ultra-runner Jim McCormick claimed an impressive victory at the East of Ireland Marathon Series organised Staplestown 50k, which was part of an ultra-running festival, which included an IAU sanctioned 50 mile race.  The ever consistent Jim looked strong throughout and secured top honours in 4:33:00 (1st place).


In Ballina, County Mayo (Ireland) on Saturday 17th May 2014, Belfast City Marathon podium finisher Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) retained the River Moy Half Marathon title she won in 2013.  The Northern Ireland international long distance star crossed the line in 1:25:23 (1st place), which not only sealed victory in the ladies race, but a notable fifteenth place overall.


Closer to home:  Results for the Born 2 Run Surf N'Turf 10k and Half Marathon are now available.  The event, which took place on Benone Beach close to Limavady (County Derry/Londonderry) on Saturday 17th May 2014.


Well-known triathlete Rhodri Jones (Springwell Running Club) claimed victory in the 10k race, after breaking the tape in 36:00 (1st place).  In the ladies race, Unattached athlete Jade Hegarty won in 43:52 (1st place).  Foyle Valley AC's Pius McIntyre cruised to victory in the 13.1 mile event, winning in 1:30:45 (1st place), while endurance specialist Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) took the ladies title in 1:36:10 (1st place).


Results:  Blackwater 10k 2014 ResultsBorn 2 Run 'Surf N'Turf' 10k & Half Marathon 2014 Results – Staplestown 50k and 50m 2014 Results – River Moy (Ballina) Half Marathon 2014 Results

Local athletes achieve Commonwealth Games qualifying standards:

Top performances by Northern Ireland athletes at events in England:

A busy weekend of track action saw three local athletes achieve the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games consideration standard.  The impressive trio were Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC), Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Ben Reynolds (North Down AC)


Queen’s University’s Katie Kirk produced an outstanding display at the highly anticipated British Milers Club Track & Field Meeting in Watford (England) on Saturday 17th May 2014.  The 20 year old student secured a brilliant new personal best over 800m, where she was just pipped on the line by Team GB's Alison Leonard, who was timed at 2:02.85. Katie recorded 2:02.97 (2nd place), which is 0.061 seconds faster than her previous best and well within the Glasgow Commonwealth Games consideration standard of 2:03.50.  

 

Katie finished ahead of several high profile opponents including Shelaya Oskan-Clarke (Team GB). The up and coming star, who was a torch-bearer at the London 2012 Olympics Open Ceremony, is now within striking distance of Amanda Crowe's Northern Ireland record of 2:01.83 set back in 1998.


Afterwards Katie said; “I was really pleased with that run as the plan was to get the Games qualification time. Conditions were good with little breeze and I might have won if I had moved to the outside in the home straight. The pressure to qualify has now been lifted and I will now concentrate on my Queen’s exams before racing again over 800 in mid June."


There were a series of personal bests for other Northern Ireland athletes in Watford. Letterkenny AC's Daniel Mooney recorded 3:42.11 (6th place) in an excellent 1500m 'A' race, taking over a second off his previous best.  In the 5,000m 'A' race, Annadale Striders' Andrew Agnew set new figures of 14:20.53 (9th place), an improvement of five seconds. There was also a personal best for team mate Glenn Phair (5th place - 14:39.88) over the same distance, but in the 'B' race.  Ballymena & Antrim AC's Garth Hill was in action over 1,500m and covered the distance in 3:50.88 (3rd place).  Newcastle AC's Kerry O'Flaherty won the 3,000m Steeplechase in 10:10.72 (1st place).


The action continued on Sunday 18th May 2014, where Northern Ireland based runners lined up in the prestigious Loughborough International Track & Field Meeting in England.  Ireland's top high hurdler Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) produced an outstanding run of 13.79secs time, which is his fourth fastest ever.  In his first race of the year the Holywood man who had already achieved the Northern Ireland Commonwealth standard finished in 2nd place behind Windsor, Slough & Eton AC's Lawrence Clarke who won in 13.56 secs.  An extatic Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) ran a personal best of 57.63secs (4th place) to meet the Commonwealth Games standard in the 400m hurdles. Loughborough University’s Meghan Beesley won the event in 56.48secs.


Full Results:  BMC Watford T&F Meeting 2014 Results and Loughborough International T&F Meeting 2014 Results.  Some information for the above article (including quote from Katie Kirk) was obtained from the Athletics NI website.

Northern Ireland runners impress at fiercely contested Terenure 5m: 

Local athletes claim prizes at Terenure 5m Road Race:

On Sunday 18th May 2014, several local athletes travelled South for the Terenure 5 mile road race in Dublin (Ireland).  Almost two thousand runners turned out for the popular event, hosted by Sportsworld AC.


Most of the pre-race talk surrounded the return of banned Irish athlete Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers), but quite rightly, the post-race discussion was about the fiercely contested race. 


Recent Belfast City Marathon winner and a man well known by the Northern Ireland running community, Freddy Sittuk (Unattached), battled it out at the front with the aforementioned Martin Fagan, but it was Martin who won in an emphatic sprint finish; he (Martin) broke the tape in 24:23 (1st place).  


Freddy Sittuk (24:23) took 2nd place in exactly the same time, while Northern Ireland man, Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC), was rewarded for his hard work at the front with a podium place.  The international cross country star secured 3rd place in 24:31.  Conor Curran then led a trio of North Belfast Harriers home; Conor continued what has been an excellent year so far with a top ten finish, after crossing the line in 26:56 (8th place).  Eddie Cooke followed in 27:27 (24th place), before the ageless Paul Elliot clocked 28:20 (37th place) to win the Vet60 category.


Elsewhere:  There was further success for North Belfast Harriers over the weekend.  On Friday 16th May 2014, Brendan Grew took top honours at the Cooley Coastal 10k in Carlingford, Ireland.  The ever consistent Belfast man crossed the line in 34:36 (1st place) to win by almost one minute.  On Sunday 18th May 2014, young Conor McQuillan completed the Greater Manchester 10k in England, in a new personal best of 37:16.  The race was won by Ethiopian distance runner Kenenisa Bekele in 28:23.


Full Results:  Terenure 5m Road Race 2014 Results - Cooley Coastal 10k 2014 Results - BUPA Greater Manchester 10k 2014 Results

Eddie McGinley and Paddy Hamilton perform well at Gothenburg HM:

Annadale Striders men take on Gothenburg Half Marathon:

On Saturday 17th May 2014, two Northern Ireland based athlete's joined nearly seventy thousand fellow participants at the “the world's largest half marathon”, the Gothenburg Half Marathon in Sweden.


Annadale Striders men Eddie McGinley and Paddy Hamilton, both of whom are part of the excellent Dublin Marathpn 'Marathon Mission' camp, toed the line with some of the world's most talented endurance runners.  In warm conditions, both men performed well; Eddie McGinley, winner of the Omagh Half Marathon in March (2014), crossed the line in 1:06:53 to claim 17th place.  Paddy followed in 1:11:13, which was enough to secure 29th place.  The race was won by Eritrean athlete Ghirmay Ghebreslassie in 1:00:36.


Full Results:  Gothenburg Half Marathon 2014 Results

Ian Bailey and Diane Wilson retain Slieve Donard titles:

Slieve Donard Classic 2014:

On Saturday 17th May 2014, mountain runners from all over Ireland descended on the coastal town of Newcastle (County Down) for the 70th annual running of the Slieve Donard Challenge, hosted by Newcastle AC.  The event was part of the ongoing Hill & Dale Series and also incorporated the first round of the Irish Mountain Running Championships.  


The race itself, which was accompanied by well-organised shorter family friendly junior events, starts on the Main Street and takes competitors to the summit of Slieve Donard (approximately 5.5 miles with 852m of ascending), where they turn and descend back to the Main Street and the well supported finish area, outside the Newcastle Centre.


Last years winner, Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC), was one of the leading pack who opted to make their way towards the summit of Northern Ireland's highest mountain via the ‘Black Stairs’.  This proved to be a wise choice, as Ian, a strong climber, reached the scenic summit first, with David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) in pursuit.  Ian descended with power and speed to take a well-deserved victory in 57:01 (1st place).  The in-form duo of David O'Flaherty and Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) followed, with David securing 2nd place in 59:15 and Sam 3rd place in 1:00:22.


In the absence of Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), pre-race favourite Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) controlled proceedings.  Like her male counterparts, Diane chose the 'Black Stairs' instead of the tourist trail.  In truth, the Dromore AC lady, who won here in 2013 never looked pushed as she cruised to victory in 1:09:28 (1st place).  Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) continued what has been an impressive opening to her mountain running season with another podium place, after she crossed the line in 1:14:34 (2nd place).  Unattached athlete Sinead Murtagh completed the ladies top three in 1:19:45 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 57:01, 2nd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 59:15, 3rd Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) – 1:00:22


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 1:09:28, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 1:14:34, 3rd Sinead Murtagh (Unattached) – 1:19:45


Full Results:  Slieve Donard Classic 2014 Results

Brendan Teer and Patricia O'Hagan secure wins at Les Jones 10k:

Over 200 runners turn out for annual Les Jones Memorial 10k:

On Friday 16th May 2014, well over two hundred athletes descended on the picturesque Mary Peters Track in Belfast for the annual Les Jones 10k, an event hosted by Athletics Northern Ireland.


In warm and sunny conditions, the athletes completed a lap of the mondo running surface before heading out onto the road; by this stage, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) had taken up a position at the front of the pack.  This would prove to be the case for the remainder of the race, with the 2013 Champion progressively building on his lead before returning to MPT and the well supported finish in 32:49 (1st place).  Willowfield Harriers' Paul Rowan took 2nd place in 33:26, while Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) continued his recent run of good form to complete the men's podium just four seconds later in 33:30 (3rd place).


In a close ladies race, Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC), Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) and Jennifer Black (Orangegrove AC) all looked like potential contenders, but it was Patricia O'Hagan who ultimately took charge.  


The St Peter's AC star, who has won the Beragh 5m road race and claimed the runners up spot at the Run Armagh 10k since returning to competition, looked to be back to her best as she led the ladies home in an impressive 38:45 (1st place).  Judith Lonnen, followed up her gold medal winning performance at the recent European Duathlon Championships, to take 2nd place in 39:21, before Jennifer Black sealed a well-deserved podium place in 39:50 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 32:49, 2nd Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) – 33:26, 3rd Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) – 33:30


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) – 38:45, 2nd Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) – 39:21, 3rd Jennifer Black (Orangegrove AC) – 39:50


Full Results:  Les Jones Memorial 10k 2014 Results (Photograph used above courtesy of Mark Ramsey)

Midweek Round-Up:  Athletes impress at home and abroad...

Midweek Round-Up:  Athletes impress at events at home and abroad...

On Friday 16th May 2014, Northern Ireland man Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) was in action at the Occidental College Track & Field Meeting in Pasdena, America.


The Northern Ireland Half Marathon record holder lined up in the 5,000m race, during which he recorded 14:07 (14th place) in warm and humid conditions.  The race was won by Australian athlete Collis Birmingham in 13:18.  A video of the race is available HERE.


In other news:

On the same day (Friday 16th May 2014), City of Derry AC James Brown and Finn Valley AC's Helen Stockdale stormed to victory in the Aghyaran 5k road race close to Castlederg in County Tyrone.


Over six hundred athletes turned out for the event, with James leading the field home in 16:36.  Fellow Northern Ireland cross country international Helen, who clocked 5:34.91 at the recent NiRunning/BMC 'Festival of Miles' in Belfast, won the ladies race in 18:20.  Full results for this race are unavailable at present.


On Thursday 15th May 2014, just short of one hundred participants took on the Newry 10k, a race seen by many as the the final build up event before the popular Newry City Marathon and Half Marathon, which will take place next week (Sunday 25th May 2014).


Inter-County Cross Country medal winner Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) added a win to his impressive start to 2014, when he broke the tape in 32:31 (1st place).  Don Travers (Newry City Runners) and Andrew McKee (Annadale Striders) finished in 33:55 (2nd place) and 36:51 (3rd place) respectively. In the ladies race, Unattached athlete Liosa McKeown, a regular prize winner at events in South Armagh, crossed the line in 42:30 (1st place) to take top honours in the ladies race.  In an excellent finish, Caitlin Malone (3 Ways AC) ran 44:04 (2nd place), beating Unattached runner Cathy Price (3rd place – 44:05) to the runners up spot by just one second.  Full results are available HERE.

Impressive performances at Track & Field events in Bangor and Tallaght:

Several notable performances by local athletes on the track:

On Tuesday 13th May 2014, North Down AC welcomed athletes from across Northern Ireland to their second Track and Field Meeting of the new outdoor season; the event took place at Bangor Sportsplex in County Down.


An excellent night of racing brought several notable performances, none more so than a personal best from East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson, after the in-form athlete clocked 9:11.28 (1st place) to win the 3,000m; Barrie edged out North Down AC's Dennis Scott (2nd place – 9:11.87) by the narrowest of margins, after he crossed the line less than one second ahead of Dennis.  Ballydrain Harriers' Debbie Matchett won the ladies 3,000m in 11:16.17 (1st place).


There was also an impressive personal best for the host clubs Rachel Gibson; Rachel, the fastest lady at last weeks NiRuuning/BMC 'Festival of Miles', broke the beam in 2:13.68 (1st place) for victory.  Another North Down AC athlete, Michael Dyer, won the men's 800m in 1:57.10 (1st place).  Strabane Track Clubs Conor McLaughlin continued his excellent start to the outdoor season with wins in the 200m (22.76secs) and 400m (50.83secs), while North Down AC duo Chloe Johnston (27.00secs) and Holly Brannigan (69.00secs) secured the fastest ladies times over 200m and 400m respectively.


Elsewhere:  City of Derry AC's Declan Reed was in action at a Dublin Athletics Board event in Tallaght (Ireland).  During the Track & Field Meeting, the AAI National Masters XC Champion dominated the 10,000m race, before winning in 31:33 (1st place).


Full Results:  NDAC Track & Field Meeting (Meet 2) 2014 Results and Dublin Athletics Board Track & Field Meeting 2014 Results (Currently unavailable)

Mark McKinstry and Rhonda Brady win EAH Forest Series 2014 opener:

Nearly 100 athletes turn out for opening race of East Antrim Harriers annual Series:

On Tuesday 13th May 2014, East Antrim Harriers welcomed almost one hundred athletes to the first race of their annual Forest Series; the venue was Ballyboley Forest, just outside Larne, and conditions were perfect for running.


The ever-impressive North Belfast Harriers athlete, Mark McKinstry, produced a notable performance to claim victory.  After performing well in last years Series, Mark dominated proceedings here, taking the lead from the off.  By the first mile, Mark had secured his position at the head of the pack and as the race progressed, his lead lengthened, before he eventually broke the tape in 22:55 (1st place).  James Brown (East Coast AC) continued his good run of form to take 2nd place in 23:41, before Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) followed up his podium place at the recent Lost World's event with a 3rd place finish; the respected Belfast athlete crossed the line in 24:44.


In the closely contested ladies race, 2013 Series winner Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) looked strong from the start and led the ladies into the sun basked forest, but it was Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) who impressed most.  Rhonda progressively worked her way through the field before taking the lead with just over a mile remaining; the Larne AC lady then surged clear to win in 30:00 (1st place).  Louise Lemon followed in 30:14 (2nd place), while East Coast AC's Janice Plumb took a well-deserved 3rd place in 30:46.


Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 22:55, 2nd James Brown (East Coast AC) – 23:41, 3rd Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) – 24:44


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) – 30:00, 2nd Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) – 30:14, 3rd Janice Plumb (East Coast AC) – 30:46


Full Results:  EAH Forest Series 2014 (Race 1) Results


The next race in the popular Series is on Tuesday 27th May 2014.  The venue will be Woodburn Forest, just outside Carrickfergus.  Please visit the East Antrim Harriers website (HERE) for full details of the Series.

Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC) selected for Ireland:

Local athlete selected for Ireland:

Athletics Ireland have named Northern Ireland based athlete Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC) in their fifteen strong squad for the European Youth Olympic Trials in Baku (Azerbaijan) later this month (Friday 30th May to the Sunday 1st June 2014). The trials will bring the best youth athletes (16-17 years of age) from across Europe together to compete in a variety of track and field events.


Roseanna, has been selected to compete in the 200m, the distance in which she won a bronze medal at during last summers European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF).  After clocking 24.75secs for the distance against a headwind at an IMC event in Greystones (Ireland) last weekend, the up and coming star looks to be in good form.  


Roseanna will be joined on the squad by her club mate, discuss thrower Andrew Barkley. The European Youth Olympic Trials will act as the qualifying event for the World Youth Olympic Games 2014, which will be held in Nanjing, China in August 2014.  Photograph taken from Athletics NI website.

Athletes from NI compete in England, Scotland and Czech Republic:

Denise Mathers completes gruelling 'Bob Graham Round' as local athletes impress outside NI:

Over the weekend (Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th May 2014), athletes from Northern Ireland have been in action at events outside the province, with events taking place in England, Czech Republic and Scotland.


In England, well-known and highly respected Northern Ireland mountain runner Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) embarked on “one of the most demanding challenges in England”, the 'Bob Graham Round'.  The gruelling challenge, see’s competitor’s attempt 42 peaks over the Lake District (England) fells, starting and finishing in Moot Hall, Keswick.  The course can be run clockwise or anti-clockwise and covers 66 miles, with a total ascent of approximately 27,000ft.


The aim of any participant who takes on the Bob Graham Round is to break the infamous 24 hour barrier for the challenge; despite what was described as “horrendous” weather conditions, Denise completed the course in 23:46:00. The Newry City Runners athlete is only the eighth person and first lady from Northern Ireland to complete the course.  Denise explained that she was “delighted to get through the event with so little time to spare”.  The endurance specialist added, “I had brilliant support throughout the attempt and especially from Dale (Mathers) and my friends who came over to help me, Hazel McLaughlin, Mary Mackin and William Marks.”  For an insight into the epic challenge, check out the Bob Graham Round website HERE.


Meanwhile, in Prague (Czech Republic), Orangegrove AC's Paul Tyro and Ballydrain Harriers' Raymond Stanex were in action at the Volkswagen Prague Marathon.  Paul was the first of the two to finish, after he ran the 26.2 mile course in 3:22:11; Raymond followed in 3:42:11.  The race was won by Kenyan athlete Patrick Kipyegan in 2:08:07, while Ethiopia's Dado Firehiwot took the ladies title in 2:23:34.


In Scotland, Northern Ireland international cross country runner, Lauren Quee (Glasgow University AC) lined up against some of Great Britain's top female athletes at the BUPA Great Women's 10k in Glasgow.  Lauren crossed the line in a new personal best of 37:01, securing 8th place.  The race was won by Susan Partridge (Victoria Park AAC) in 33:53.


Full Results:  Prague Marathon 2014 ResultsBUPA Great Women's 10k 2014 Results (Note – No results are available for the Bob Graham Round as it's an individual challenge).

Stephen Duncan and Natasha Adams show their class over 13.1m:

Athletes enjoy new cross-border Half Marathon:

On Sunday 11th May 2014, Strabane District Council and Lifford AC hosted the inaugural running of the Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon, an event that takes competitors on a cross border route from Northern Ireland to Ireland.  The concept of the event was obviously popular, with just shy of four hundred participants completing the course.


At the serious end of the field, current NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion Stephen Duncan looked a class above the rest as he cruised to victory in 1:09:49 (1st place); interestingly, this makes it six wins out of seven outings in 2014 for the Northern Ireland international.  Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) followed on from his win at the Airtricity 10 mile road race two weeks ago with another podium finish.  Although, this time it was 2nd place, after he covered the 13.1 miles in 1:16:26 (2nd place).  City of Derry AC's Michael Murphy (1:17:50) sealed 3rd place just over a minute later.


Arguably the performance of the day came from Natasha Adams (Lifford AC); the AAI and NI & Ulster Masters 3,000m Champion ran a new personal best of 1:18:37, which not only secured the ladies title, but ensured a fourth place finish overall.  Endurance enthusiast and winner of last week's Lost World's 100k, Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) took 2nd place in 1:35:24, while Knockmany Runners' Grainne Kelly completed the ladies top three in 1:36:20 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 1:09:49, 2nd Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) – 1:16:26, 3rd Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC) – 1:17:50


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) – 1:18:37, 2nd Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 1:35:24, 3rd Grainne Kelly (Knockmany Runners) – 1:36:20


Full Results:  Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon 2014 Results

Jarlath Falls and Heather Foley smash records to win Termoneeny 10k:

Nearly 200 athletes turn out for annual Termoneeny 10k:

On Sunday 11th May 2014, Termoneeny Running Club welcomed almost two hundred athletes to their annual Termoneeny 10k road race, which takes place close to Magherafelt in County Derry/Londonderry.


Ballymena & Antrim AC's Jarlath Falls has been racing sparingly over the last few months but the 'Race Over the Glens' 2014 winner showed no lack of race sharpness as he controlled proceedings front start to finish, before breaking the tape in a new course record of 33:26 (1st place).  Triathlete Desi Foley (Unattached) produced a notable performance to secure the runners up spot in 34:48 (2nd place), before local man, Matt Wray (Ballymena & Antrim AC) completed the men's podium in 35:50 (3rd place).


In a close ladies race, Heather Foley (Unattached) showed the same kind of ability that saw her claim victory at the recent Ballynahinch 10k; the decorated runner and triathlete powered to victory in a new course record of 38:30 (1st place), finishing just ahead of Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC), who took a well-deserved 2nd place in 39:04.  Last years winner, Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) ran well to finish in 39:28 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Jarlath Falls (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 33:26, 2nd Desi Foley (Unattached) – 34:48, 3rd Matt Wray (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 35:50


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 38:30, 2nd Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) – 39:04, 3rd Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 39:28


Full Results:  Termoneeny 10k Road Race 2014 Results

McGinley, Murray & Fegan impress at prestigious Highgate Harriers 10k's:

Northern Ireland athletes perform well at prestigious 10,000m event:

On Saturday 10th May 2014, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to England for the Highgate Harriers 'Night of 10,000m Personal Bests', a prestigious event which takes place at the Parliamnet Hill Track, just outside London. The event was also the British Athletics 10,000m Championships and therefore attracted a top quality field.


After producing the performance of his life to win the event last year (2013), much was expected of Annadale Striders man Eddie McGinley, and despite the damp and blustery conditions, he did not disappoint.  Although unable to defend his crown, the Belfast athlete once again impressed, recording 30:26.53 (16th place) for the distance.  St Malachys AC's Gary Murray also ran well, claiming a new personal best of 30:54.86 (22nd place).  The race was won by well-known Team GB star Andy Vernon in 28:26.59.


Young Armagh AC star Danielle Fegan was also competing at the event.  The Northern Ireland international cross country runner lined up in Race 1, a 'mixed' event.  Danielle ran an excellent new personal best of 36:22.77 (1st place) to lead the ladies home, this was approximately forty seconds quicker than her previous 10k best.  The fastest lady of the night was Team GB's Jo Pavey, after she won the elite women's race 32:11.00.


Full Results:  Highgate Harriers 'Night of 10,000m Personal Bests' 2014 Results

Athletes from Northern Ireland perform well at IMC Greystones event:

Local athletes impress at IMC Greystones Track & Field Meeting:

On Saturday 10th May 2014, at least twenty runners from Northern Ireland were in action at the Irish Milers Club (IMC) Track & Field Meeting in Greystones, Ireland; the event brought several notable performances for the local contingent, some of whom were opening their 2014 outdoor season.


Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) clocked an outdoor personal best of 2:05:05 to win the ladies 800m 'A' in fine fashion; there was further success for Northern Ireland athletes over 800m, with Michael Quinn (Unattached) winning the 800m 'C' race in 1:55.54 and Conor Christie (Springwell Running Club) taking victory in the 'D' race, after clocking 2:01.32.  In the aformentioned 800m 'D' race, Springwell Running Club's Luke Dinsmore (2:02.82) and Annadale Striders' Johnny Foster (2:04.32) took 3rd place and 5th place respectively, while in the 'C' race, Oisin O'Callaghan (1:59.38) once again showed his potential to claim 4th place.  Dromore AC's Rebekah Nixon was also in action over 800m, where she crossed the line in 2:29.03 to secure 7th place in the 'B' race won by Galway City Harriers' Meave Brannigan (2:11.76).


City of Lisburn AC's Roseanna McGuckian won here 200m event in 24.75secs (1st place), while North Down AC's Curtis Woods also sealed a win in what was touted as 'the race of the day'; Curtis just edged the fiercely contested 300m race to win in a personal best of 34.70secs.  There were six Northern Ireland athletes in the 3,000m race, during which, Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) excelled.  Andrew was first to break the beam in 8:27.03 (1st place), before the talented pairing of Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) clocked 8:37.06 (3rd place) and 8:38.18 (5th place) respectively. John Frazer, who was representing Crusaders AC, followed in 8:42.55 (6th place), before Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) crossed the line in 9:31.85 (1st place lady).


Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) narrowly missed a podium place in the men's 1500m 'A' race after taking 4th place in 3:54.01; in the same race, Willowfield Harriers' Andrew Wright ran a new personal best of 3:55.02 (8th place).  The race was won by BMC visitor Ben Coldray in 3:46.66.  In the ladies 1500m, Emma Laverty (Lagan Valley AC) crossed the line in 5:05.56 (9th place); the race was won by Orla Drum (Crusaders AC) in 4:27.23.  Up and coming star Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) returned to action after sickness to seal 2nd place in the ladies 400m race.  The AAI 800m Champion covered the distance in 56.65secs, finishing just behind winner Jemma Bromell (Emarald AC) who won in 56.22secs.


Strabane Track Club's Conor McLaughlin enjoyed two good outings at the event, taking 2nd place in the 100m 'B' race, where he finished in 11.44secs and 4th place in the 400m 'A' race, after running 51.00secs.  The races were won by DSD AC's Brian Masterson (50.18secs) and Castlecomber AC's Eoin Muldowney (11.41secs) respectively.  Lagan Valley AC's Laura Frey looked in good form as she secured 2nd place in the 100m hurdles in a time of 17.19secs; the race was won by Doneen AC's Lilly-Ann O'Hara in 16:04secs.  Jenny O'Brien (City of Derry AC) also performed well in the 400m hurdles, finishing in a time of 1:06.26 (4th place); the race was won by Tir Chonaill AC's Kelly McGrory in 1:02.83.  


Full results will be added as soon as they are available.

Jonny Steede and Diane Wilson continue to excel in NIMRA Championship:

Mountain runners enjoy NIMRA Championship race:

On Saturday 10th May 2014, mountain running enthusiasts gathered in the coastal village of Annalong (County Down) for the third race of this years Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championships.  The race in question was the Annalong Horseshoe, one of the Series' 'long distance' races, which saw the hardy competitors cover 13.1 miles and 1,550m of ascending.


Ballymena Runners' Jonny Steede, a dominent figure in the Championship Series so far, once again showed his class.  The long distance specialist looked strong as he covered the tough course at a relentless pace, before claiming a hat-trick of Championship wins (after victories at the Glenariff Mountain Race and Commedagh Chase) in 2:12:03 (1st place).  Mourne Runners' Sam Herron (2:14:44) was rewarded for his efforts with a 2nd place finish, before  Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) completed the distance in 2:18:06 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) followed in the foot steps of her male counterpart (Jonny Steede), after making it three Championship wins out of three races, when she led the ladies home in 2:40:26 (1st place).  Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) clocked 2:50:37 for 2nd place, while Violet Linton (BARF) took 3rd place in 3:23:02.


Top 3 Men:  1st Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 2:12:03, 2nd Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) – 2:14:44, 3rd Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 2:18:06


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 2:40:26, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 2:50:37, 3rd Violet Linton (BARF) – 3:23:02


Full Results:  Annalong Horseshoe Mountain Race 2014 Results

Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) sets new Northern Ireland 100m record:

Northern Ireland star produces top performance in America:

On Saturday 10th May 2014, Northern Ireland and City of Lisburn AC star Amy Foster enjoyed an excellent day whilst competing at the NTC Pure Athletics Track & Field Meeting in Clermont, Florida.


Amy recorded a new 100m personal best of 11.40secs to claim 3rd place in the race won by Germany's Tatjana Pinto in 11.32secs; not only was this a new personal best, but it was also a new Northern Ireland 100m record and a new (joint) Irish 100m record.  On top of this, it also meets the qualifying standards for both the Commonwealth Games and the European Athletics Championships.


Full Results:  NTC Pure Athletics Track & Field Meeting 2014 Results

Brendan Teer and Virginia Ervine claim wins at 3 Lakes 14k:

Downpatrick Lions Club and East Down AC host successful event:

On Saturday 10th May 2014, running enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland descended on Downpatrick (County Down), for the second annual running of the 3 Lakes 14k (and the associated 7k) road race, organised by the Downpatrick Lions Club in association with East Down AC.


Reigning Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) returned to defend his crown as expected; the local hero, who recorded the fifth fastest time at the NiRunning and BMC 'Festival of Miles' earlier this week, retained his title after breaking the tape in 48:30 (1st place).  Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) completed the rural course in 51:48, which was enough to secure 2nd place ahead of East Down AC's James Savage, who finished in 52:56 (3rd place).


The consistent Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners), an athlete who always finds herself around the podium places at local events, was rewarded for her efforts on this occasion.  The experienced and versatile runner led the ladies home in 1:03:52 (1st place).  Dromore AC's Jeanette Bailie followed in 1:07:44 (2nd place), before Lisa Milligan (East Down AC) completed the ladies podium places in 1:11:42 (3rd place).


The associated 7k race attracted a good mixture of young athletes and experienced runners, and it was a young man from the host club who impressed most. Daniel Atkinson (East Down AC) clocked 28:56 (1st place) to win, while Unattached runner Pamela Young was the first lady to finish, after running 35:49 (1st place). 


Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 48:30, 2nd Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) – 51:48, 3rd James Savage (East Down AC) – 52:56


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) – 1:03:52, 2nd Jeanette Bailie (Dromore AC) – 1:07:44, 3rd Lisa Milligan (East Down AC) – 1:11:42


Full Results:  3 Lakes 14k and 7k 2014 Results

Athletes from NI secure podium place at Ballyshannon 5k:

Northern Ireland runners impress in County Donegal:

On Friday 9th May 2014, several Northern Ireland runners joined in excess of one hundred competitors at the Ballyshannon 5k in Ireland, an event which is part of the Donegal 5k Grand Prix 2014.


James Speight (Finn Valley AC) led the local athletes home in a new personal best of 15:27, this was enough to secure 2nd place behind race winner Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC), who ran 14:56 (1st place).  City of Derry AC's Gary Slevin followed in 15:48 (3rd place), while his club mate James Brown (City of Derry AC) recorded 16:13 (5th place).  Enniskillen based athlete, Jimmy Renfrew (Finn Valley AC) crossed the line in 17:48 (12th place).


Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) continued her recent run of good form, claiming the runners up spot in the ladies race.  Helen narrowly missed the elusive sub eighteen minute clocking, when she finished in 18:02 (2nd place), behind Finn Valley AC club mate Teresa McGloin, who won in 16:50 (1st place).  Angela Speight (Finn Valley AC) ensured that Northern Ireland athletes dominated the podium when she secured 3rd place in 18:28.


Full Results:  Ballyshannon 5k 2014 Results

Weekend Preview:  The show goes on as the 'Giro' takes centre stage....

Weekend Preview:  Annalong, Downpatrick, Termoneeny, Strabane...

As the local sporting scene, and Northern Ireland in general, welcomes the much anticipated Giro d'Italia to the province, running enthusiasts will fit in their racing 'fix' whilst trying to catch some of the world's top cyclists as they kick-off the second biggest cycling event in the world, behind the Tour de' France, which interestingly, will also start in the UK this year.


Arguably the biggest race of the weekend, and our feature event, is the Annalong Horseshoe Mountain Race, which is the third race in the NIMRA Mountain Running Championships; there will also be road races in Downpatrick (County Down), Strabane (County Tyrone) and Termoneeny (County Derry/Londonderry).  Northern Ireland athletes will also compete in Ireland, England and Czech Republic.


On Saturday 10th May 2014, Northern Ireland's mountain running fraternity will reconvene for Round 3 of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running (NIMRA) Championships.  This time the location will be Head Road, just outside Annalong, where the eager participants will take on the challenging Annalong Horseshoe course.  The route is considered a long distance race, for the purposes of the Championship and will be of 21km in distance, with approximately 1,550 metres of ascent/descent.


The runners will leave Head Road at Dunnywater and make their way towards the wet open mountains, via Annalong Wood in the direction of Chimney Rock and onto Slieve Commedagh; from the summit of Northern Ireland's second tallest mountain, athletes will make a steep descent before climbing towards Cove and Slieve Lamagan.  The rough and rocky downhill off Lamagan will be followed by the ascent to the final summit, Slieve Binnian.  After conquering Slieve Binnian, participants will follow the Mourne Wall before turning towards Carrick Little car park and a one mile section of undulating road to the finish line.


Based on recent form and the nature of this route Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) and Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) are likely to be the front runners here.  None of these three men competed here last year, but Jonny Steede took top honours the last time the trio turned out (at Race 2 - Slieve Commedagh).  Allan won last night's Hill & Dale race at Slieve Binnian, so may still be filling the effect of the long ascent.  Others for consideration will be the age-less Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Mourne Runners pair Sam Herron and William McKee, as well as David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Emmett McAlister (Ballymena Runners) and his club-mate Alex Brennan. 


Neil (Carty) took third place here last year and has already shown the form that would suggest he could challenge for the podium again.  Meanwhile, another consistent athlete, Deon McNeilly claimed the runners up spot behind last years Champion Stevie Cunningham (Mourne Runners) and his experience on this course will be a major factor on the day, especially if conditions are challenging. The Mourne Runners and Ballymena Runners pairing of William McKee/Sam Herron and Emmett McAlister/Alex Brennan have all been running well in the early season; all can climb and descend well, so maybe the descent from Slieve Binnian and the fast finish will tell a tale.  This section will suit David McNeilly, if he (David) has the endurance and craft to stay in the pack.


In the ladies race, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), winner of Races 1 and 2 of the Championship, as well as this event in 2013 will go into this one as favourite. Lagan Valley AC lady and expierenced Northern Ireland international mountain runner Shileen O'Kane is likely to be the next home, and with the expected absence of Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Anne Sanford (Lagan Valley) the final podium position will be up for grabs.  Those likely to be in contention are Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Helen Cassidy (Unattached) and Orla McIlroy (Newry Tri Club).  Mary has been flirting with the podium places over the last few races and this could be her opportunity, but Helen and Orla, who finished in fifth and sixth place (respectively) at the Commedagh Chase will also be looking to improve on their positions, both here and in the overall Championship.  Another one to watch, if she decides to run is adventure racer Taryn McCoy of BARF. Tayrn started the Championship well with a third place at Glenariff Mountain race but hasn't competed in any further Championship events.  Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners) missed the Commedagh Chase but like Taryn, has shown good form in the early part of the season.


Interestingly the current course record of 1:56:58, was set by Robbie Bryson way back in 1996.  Registration will be at Head Road, Dunneywater between 9.30 -10-30 on race day where runners will receive their race numbers and hired ‘dibbers’.  With conditions expected to be poor, all runners will have their kit checked by race organisers prior to the (11am) start.

Also on Saturday 10th May 2014, East Down AC will co-host the 2nd annual running of the Downpatrick Lions 3 Lakes 7k and 14k road races in Downpatrick, County Down.


Last years winner, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) should return to defend his title; the local star, who clocked 4:34.18 at this weeks NiRunning – BMC 'Festival of Miles', has won no less than five races in 2014 so far.  This has included an impressive outing at the Albertville 5, where he cruised to victory in 25:47.  Newcastle AC's David O'Flaherty may also enter on the day and having finished as runner up to Brendan at the Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k and the Rollercoaster Road Races, the versatile athlete will be hopeful of turning the tables.  Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) and Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) will also play a prominent part in proceedings should they race, with all four capable of claiming a podium place.


Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) won the ladies race here in 2013, but it is unlikely that the Northern Ireland international endurance runner will feature this time, after her heroic performance at Monday's Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, where she was the first local lady, having finished in third place overall. That will leave East Down AC ladies Catherine O'Connor and Cheryl Denvir to battle it out for top honours.  Catherine has been showing top form in the recent Hill & Dale races, taking podium places in the first three races and fourth place in last night's 'Binnian to the Top' race.  She (Catherine) will therefore go into the race in high spirits and filled with confidence; club mate, Cheryl, has been quiet on the racing front recently, but will no doubt be a contender should she toe the line.  The same could be said for up and coming athletes Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) who have shown real potential of late. 


In England, several Northern Ireland based athletes will compete at the 'Night of 10,000m Pb's' on Saturday 10th May 2014.  The prestigious event, which is hosted by Highgate Harriers at the Parliament Hill Track in London.  Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), who won the event last year, will have to see off the challenge of some of the UK's top athletes if he wants to lift the title again.  Eddie will be joined by Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) and Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) at the event.


Meanwhile, in Ireland on the same day (Saturday 10th May 2014), several of the provinces top track stars will kick off their 2014 season at the Irish Milers Club (IMC) event in Greystones.  Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), Johnny Foster (Annadale Striders), Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC), Oisin O'Callaghaan (Newry AC), Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Running Club), Conor Christie (Springwell Running Club), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders), Emma Laverty (Lagan Valley AC), Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) and John Frazer (Crusaders AC) are all due to race.


On Sunday 11th May 2014, Termoneeny Running Club will welcome athletes from across the province to their annual Termoneeny 10k road race, close to Magherafelt in County Derry/Londonderry.


Matt Wray (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC), James Brown (East Coast AC) and Bernard Brady (Larne AC) could well be the front runners here.  Matt Wray looked to be back to his best after he put in an excellent opening leg for his team at the Belfast City Marathon on Monday (5th May 2014); his recent 5k outings would also back this up, after he recorded 16:33 at both the Queen's 5k and Bay Road 5k last month.  Aaron Meharg, has been drawing some positive attention to new club Acorns AC after a winning the Shanes Castle 10k last month (April 2014), this added to a podium place at the Magherafelt 10k four week's earlier.  Larne based men, James Brown and Bernard Brady will also play a part at the front; James has been running well this season and has put in impressive displays at the Albertville 5 mile road race and the more recent Whitehead 5 on Easter Monday, where he finished as runner up to Annadale Striders' Stephen Prentice.  Bernard will return to competition after a niggle, his last race was a 1:22:28 finish at the Omagh Half Marathon in March 2014.  Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) and Nat Glenn (East Coast AC) will also be worth watching if they race.


Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) should return to defend the ladies crown that she won so impressively last year.  The City of Derry Spartan clocked 1:06:18 at the Airtricity 10m road race two weeks ago, showing that she is in good form going into this race.  However, Anne may have to fend of the challenge of several notable athletes, which could include Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) and Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC).  Suzanne has grown in strength and confidence since returning to running last Summer and is now right back at the top of her game; her last race was the Ballymena Belles 5m road race, which she completed in 31:33, taking second place.  NI & Ulster Masters 800m medallist Geraldine Quigley looked sharp when she ran a new personal best of 19:45 at the Bay Road 5k last month (April 2014), this followed top ten finishes at the Albertville 5 and the Titanic 10k.  Other ladies who may challenge for a podium place are Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers), Lorna Sibbett (Sperrin Harriers), Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) and Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners).

Also on Sunday 11th May 2014, Strabane District Council and Lifford AC will co-host the inaugural running of the Strabane-Lifford cross-border Half Marathon, which will start in Strabane (Northern Ireland) and finish in Lifford (Ireland).


There could be a surprise entry from Belfast City Marathon winner Freddy Sittuk (Kenya), if the talented athlete has decided to remain in Northern Ireland to train with his City of Derry AC friends.   Should he enter, Freddy may be joined at the event by a large number of Spartan and Foyle Valley AC athletes, including Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), James Brown (City of Derry AC), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC) and winner of the recent Airtricity 10m road race Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC).  Dromore AC's Nigel Grier will also be hoping for a high finishing position.


The ladies race may bring an exciting battle between two very talented Lifford AC athlete, namely Natasha Adams and Claire McGuigan.  The duo have been 'on fire' recently, having won numerous events.  Natasha won last week's North West 10k; one week prior, Claire secured victory at the Airtricity 10m road race.  Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC), Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) and Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) will also achieve top ten places if they race.


Further afield, on Sunday 11th May 2014, Raymond Stanex (Ballydrain Harriers) and Paul Tyro (Orangegrove AC) will join thousands of fellow running enthusiasts at the Prague Marathon in Czech Republic.  This is Raymond's first attempt at the 26.2 mile distance and he's chosen a good event, as Prague is well known for it's flat and fast course; however, the sections of course with cobbled streets are difficult for the tiring participants.


Northern Ireland’s seventeen 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.  


Please Note – Over the next 7-10 days there may be a slight delay in the uploading of summaries, stories and race results, and there will be no 'Weekend Preview' next Friday (16th May 2014).  This is because most of our team will be out of the country; we apologise in advance for this, but normal service will resume on Tuesday 20th May 2014.  Should you require results etc, please visit the appropriate event websites and/or the Athletics NI website.

Allan Bogle and Diane Wilson claim victory at Slieve Binnian:

Hill & Dale Series 2014 (Race 4 - Slieve Binnian):

On Thursday 9th May 2014, nearly two hundred athletes took on the fourth race of this years Hill & Dale Series, hosted by Newcastle AC.  On this occasion, Slieve Binnian was the venue, with competitors face with a 2 mile uphill only race, which included 2,000ft of ascending.


After pursuing Race 3 winner, Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC), on the long ascent, Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) caught and passed the ever impressive Newcastle AC man in the latter stages; Allan finished strongly to win in 22:23 (1st place).  Ian Bailey followed thirty seconds later in 22:53 (2nd place), before Mourne Runners' William McKee secured his first podium finish of this years Series in 23:18 (3rd place).


The ladies race was also a close contested affair, with Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) and Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) both looking in good form.  In the end, despite Shileen's impressive ascending, Diane continued her 100% dominance of the Series to win in 27:42 (1st place).  Shileen took 2nd place in 28:16, while Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) marked her return to competition with a notable outing; the Northern Ireland international claimed 3rd place in 29:14.


Top 3 Men:  1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 22:23, 2nd Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 22:53, 3rd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 23:18


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 27:42, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 28:16, 3rd Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) – 29:14


Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series 2014 (Race 4 – Slieve Binnian)

Three NI men to represent Ireland at European Championships Marathon:

Paul Pollock to lead Ireland team at European Championships 2014 (courtesy of Athletics Ireland):

Athletics Ireland has announced that for the first time they will be sending a team to compete in the European Marathon Cup at the European Track and Field Championships in Zurich (Switzerland) in August 2014.  Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) will lead the men’s team and Nicola Duncan (Galway City Harriers AC) will lead the women’s team.


The Marathon Cup is a team marathon competition run in conjunction with the European championships Marathon with the results based on the national team’s three fastest finishers.  Paul Pollock will be joined by Sean Hehir Rathfarnham WSAF), Thomas Frazer (St Malachy’s AC) and Kevin Seward (St Malachy’s AC). The members of the Irish women’s team include Maria McCambridge (Dundrum South Dublin AC), Barbara Sanchez (Clonliffe Harriers AC) and Clare McCarthy (Leevale AC).


National Endurance Coach Chris Jones said “It is a big step forward for us to be sending teams to compete in the men’s and women’s marathon cup competition at the European Championships. We have worked closely with the marathon mission squad to ensure that our eight athletes will be competitive in Zurich.”


In preparation for Zurich, Paul Pollock has produced a number of encouraging performances lately including a Half Marathon personal best of 1:02:09 at the World Half Marathon Championships in March 2014.  He also ran an impressive time of 28:32.18 for 10,000m at the Payton Jordon Invitational Meeting in California (USA) last weekend, which was inside the standard for the 10k for the European Championships (28:35).  Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham WSAF) is the current National marathon champion and will be joined by road race specialists Thomas Frazer and Kevin Seward to make up a strong men’s team in Zurich.


There was heartbreak for Nicola Duncan at the World Half Marathon Championships when she was forced to pull out due to injury.  However, she bounced back in spectacular fashion when she ran a stunning new personal best of 2:33:28 in the Virgin London Marathon in April 2014.  She is joined on the Irish women’s team by Maria McCambridge (Dundrum South Dublin AC), Barbara Sanchez (Clonliffe Harriers AC) and Claire McCarthy (Leevale AC). Maria McCambridge is the 2014 Irish marathon champion and has represented Ireland to the very highest level on the roads, track and cross country over the last decade.  Claire McCarthy finished second in the Dublin Marathon last October (2013) and Barbara Sanchez is coming off a fifth place finish in the Seville Marathon in February (2014).


European Championships Marathon Team Selection:  

MenPaul Pollock (Annadale Striders AC), Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham AC),Thomas Frazer (St Malachy’s AC) and Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC)


WomenNicola Duncan (Galway City Harriers AC), Barbara Sanchez (Clonliffe Harriers AC), Maria Cambridge (Dundrum South Dublin AC) and Claire McCarthy (Leevale AC) 

Mark Hoy and Rachel Gibson set records at 'Festival of Miles'  2014:

NiRunning and BMC host a 'Festival of Miles' 2014:

On Tuesday 6th May 2014, NiRunning hosted the 3rd annual running of our increasingly popular 'Mile' event, which this year, was organised in conjunction with the British Milers Club (BMC) to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first ever sub four minute mile, run by Roger Bannister in 1954.


A record number of participants turned out at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters Track (Belfast), for the ChampionChip Ireland sponsored event, which kicked off in perfect running conditions.  Although the sub four minute barrier was not broken on this occasion, the gathered spectators were treated to an exciting night of racing, which saw Irish International Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) run the fastest time of the night.  


Mark, who was racing in the elite men's event, made his intentions clear from the off, starting fast and moving clear of the remainder of the field.  The Irish Universities 1500m Champion progressively increased the gap between himself and the chasing pair of Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and James Speight (Finn Valley AC), before securing victory in 4:19.03 (1st place); this was not only the fastest mile of the night but also a new event record.  He (Mark) was followed by the aforementioned Scott Rankin and James Speight, who clocked 4:23.93 (2nd place) and 4:28.99 (3rd place) respectively.


The quickest lady of the night was Rachel Gibson (North Down AC); the talented track star led from gun to tape to secure victory and the fastest ladies time of the night in 5:13.49 (1st  place); this was also a ladies NiRunning 'Mile' record.  Jessica Craig (North Down AC), who had pursued her club mate right up until the final 200m, in what was an excellent battle, followed closely in 5:16.83 (2nd place).  Wendy Davis (Lagan Valley AC) finished strongly to take 3rd place in 5:33.49 just ahead of Helen Stockdale (4th place - 5:34.91).

Despite the hype surrounding the sub four minute mile, the event wasn't all about the fastest times, with many athletes setting out to achieve their own goals, all with personal bests in mind.  North Belfast Harriers' Rory Kelly was the first winner of the night, after leading Race 1 home in 7:36.44.  Amanda Jackson (Ballydrain Harriers) claimed victory in Race 2, after breaking the beam in 6:30.64. The fast improving Belfast Running Club athlete, Mark Ramsey (6:19.65), slashed thirty one seconds off his last mile time to take top spot in Race 3. Kevin McVeigh (City of Lisburn AC) won Race 4 in 5:45.33, while Orangegrove AC new girl Lyndsey Pronger dominated Race 5, before crossing the line in a speedy 6:03.50.  


As the rain poured down, Michael Thompson (Orangegrove AC) put in a notable performance to win Race 6 in 5:08.27, ahead of young Willowfield Harriers man Desire Bamisile (5:18.48).  Race 7 was one of the closest of the night, with John Black (North Belfast Harriers), Martin Agnew (Larne AC) and Ryan Andrews (Ballydrain Harriers) all in contention throughout; however, it was Martin Agnew who eventually took charge, using his 800m speed to record 4:51.53.  Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) was a prominent figure at the front of Race 8, before winning in 4:43.77.


Overall Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) – 4:19.03, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 4:23.93, 3rd James Speight (Finn Valley AC) – 4:28.99


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) – 5:13.49, 2nd Jessica Craig (North Down AC) – 5:16.83, 3rd Wendy Davis (Lagan Valley AC) – 5:33.49


Full Results:  NiRunning and BMC present a 'Festival of Miles' 2014 Results – A video of the Elite Men's Mile (courtesy of East Down AC) is available HERE. Photo's from the event will be added to our Photo Gallery today (Wednesday 7th May 2014).


Note – We (NiRunning) would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported our event; we would also like to extend a special thank you to all the volunteers and officials who made the event possible.  Your continued support is very much appreciated.

Athletes from Northern Ireland excel in Ireland and England:

Local athletes impress at track events in Ireland and England:

On Monday 5th May 2014, whilst the majority of Northern Ireland's running fraternity were focussed on the excitement of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, some of the country's top talent were in action in Ireland and England.


In Lifford (Ireland), a number of recognisable faces were in action at the opening of Lifford AC's new Ben O'Donnell Athletics Stadium, an event that attracted some of Ireland's top track stars, including Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC).


Young Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC) was one of the most impressive performers of the day; the up and coming athlete set a new stadium record of 24.99secs to win the 200m race.  Denise Toner (Clones AC) looked strong as she led the ladies 800m field home in 2:15.37 (1st place).  In the 100m, there were wins for City of Derry AC's Ciara Armstrong (12.96secs) and Ballymena & Antrim AC's Jonathan Browning (11.00secs), while Mark McGarvey took 2nd place in Jonathan's 'A' race after crossing the line in 11.27secs.  Strabane AC's Conor McLaughlin clocked 11.48secs to win the 'B' race; this time was enough to ensure he took 3rd place overall.


Conor also sealed a podium place in the 400m 'A' race, when he finished in 51.48secs.  The race, which was won by DSD AC's Brian Masterson (49.91secs); in the same race, Derry City Track Club athlete crossed the line in 51.76secs for 3rd place.  In the 400m 'B' race, Foyle Valley AC duo Conor McIlveen (66.07secs) and Paul Coyle (67.26secs) claimed 2nd place and 3rd place respectively, behind winner Mark Rogers (St Peter's AC – Ireland), who recorded 53.94secs.


There were also prizes for Northern Ireland athletes in the 400m hurdles, with City of Derry AC's Jenny O'Brien (66.87secs) and Scott Graydon (62.09secs) in there respective events.  Jenny finished in 3rd place behind Tir Chonaill AC's Kate McGowan (63.54secs), with Scott taking 2nd place behind St Peters AC's Mark Rogers (59.48secs).  Another City of Derry pairing showed well in the 100m hurdles; Emma McCay ran 17.84secs to take 2nd place behind Niamh Fussey (St Peter's AC – Ireland), who broke the beam in 16.57secs.  In the men's event, Mark McGarvey sealed top honours in the Senior category after running 16.07secs.


There were also podium place for Northern Ireland athletes in the 3,000m.  Most notably, Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) won the men's race in 8:31.88 (1st place).  Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) joined him on the podium in 8:48.91 (3rd place).  The ever impressive Ann-Marie McGlynn recorded 9:21.96 (2nd place) to finish as runner up to Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) in the ladies 3,000m; the winning time was 9:15.02.  Noel Logan (City of Derry AC) was victorious in the mile race after he covered the traditional distance in 4:42.61 (1st place).  Eoghan Furey (City of Derry AC) and Robert Bigger (Derry City Track Club) followed in 4:51.67 (3rd place) and 5:09.20 (4th place) respectively.


Elsewhere:  On the same day (Monday 5th May 2014), several Northern Ireland based athletes took part in the BMC (British Milers Club) event in Street, Bristol (England).  All of the local athletes performed well, with two of the three winning their races.  Up and coming star Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC) continued his recent good form with another personal best, after he won the 800m 'C' race in 1:57.59.  In the ladies 800m, Kate O'Connor (Newry AC) won the 'B' race in a personal best of 2:17.91, while Dromore AC's Rebekah Nixon clocked 2:35.38 to take 6th place in the 'C' race won by Bath AC's Caitlin Woskia (2:23.21).


Full Results:  Ben O'Donnell Stadium Opening T&F Meeting 2014 Results and BMC 'Street' (Bristol) 2014 Results

Christine McMahon collects silver medal at BUCS Championships:

Ballymena & Antrim AC star picks up medal and personal best at University Championships:

On Monday 5th May 2014, Northern Ireland athlete Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) represented Queen's University at the British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) Outdoor Athletics Championships in Bedford, England.  After winning her 400m hurdles heat in a new personal best of 59.09secs, Christine lined up in the final.  The Commonwealth Games hopeful produced an excellent performance, narrowly missing the gold medal after be pipped as she approached the finish line.  


However, Christine's 59.23secs was enough to secure a well-deserved silver medal.  The performances at the BUCS Championships will give Christine confidence as she looks towards her next outing (Loughborough University on 18/5/2014) and an attempt at gaining the necessary standard for the Commonwealth Games, which currently sit at 57.90secs (for the 400m hurdles).


Full Results:  BUCS Championships 2014 Results

Freddy Sittuk and Bayush Shiferaw win Belfast City Marathon 2014:

Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon 2014:
On Monday 5th May 2014, over eighteen thousand runners took to the streets of Belfast for the 33rd annual running of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and the associated Relay event.


In dull and breezy conditions, the seemingly endless field made their way from City Hall to the finish line in Ormeau Park, via East, North, West and South Belfast, as well as a section in Newtownabbey. The lead pack of Freddy Sittuk (Kenya), Hillary Kipsang (Kenya), Joel Kipsang (Kenya), Bernard Rotich (Kenya) and Jauud El Jarouli (Morocco) went through 10k in approximately 34:52, well ahead of the rest of the field. 


St Malachy's AC duo Joe McAlister and John Frazer followed before Bayush Abebe Shiferaw (Ethiopia) led the ladies back into the City Centre, passing the 10k marker in 37:33. England based Shona Crombie-Hicks (Bourton AC) and local athletes Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) and Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) were obvious podium contenders.


As the men passed the 13.1 mile point on Antrim Road in 1:11:22, the Kenyan quartet of Freddy Sittuk, Hillary Kipsang, Joel Kipsang and Bernard Rotich was still intact, but Moroccon athlete Jauud El Jarouli was beginning to fall off the pace. 


Joe McAlister covered the tough first half in 1:14:33, alongside his club mate John Frazer, who stepped off the course at this point; this appeared to be a pre-planned move. The ladies contest wasn't just as close as they descended towards Newtownabbey and the notorious towpath, with Bayush Abebe Shiferaw having built up an uncatchable lead. Behind, an upbeat Shona Crombie-Hicks was cementing herself into the runners up position, while Karen Alexander was leading the Northern Ireland athletes, in third place overall.

By the time the head of the field had weathered the wind and rain on the toepath and reached the Dargan Industrial Estate, where the 20 mile point was located, cracks were beginning to show in the men's race.  However, this was not the case for Freddy Sittuk, who had surged clear of the group.  His fellow Kenyan countrymen continued to pursue, but in truth, this looked like a pivotal moment in the closely contested race.  Joe McAlister was running well and still leading the local athletes; meanwhile, John-Paul Gartland (Unattached), Colin James (East Antrim Harriers), Niall Farquharson (North Belfast Harriers) and Delfim Pemintel (Sperrin Harriers) were all emerging as podium placers in the local competition.  


Bayush Abebe Shiferaw cruised through the blustery Duncrue Industrial Estate, well ahead of her nearest rivals, Shona Crombie-Hicks and Karen Alexander, both of whom, like the leader, were almost certain of a podium spot as long as they could complete the distance.


Despite the rain and wind, a sizeable crowd had turned out to cheer the athletes across the Ormeau Park finish line, and the first runner to experience the atmospheric run in was Freddy Sittuk.  Freddy, a third place finisher last year, broke the tape in 2:18:29 (1st place) to win, slashing over six minutes off his time from 2013.  Reigning Champion Joel Kipsang was forced to settle for 2nd place in 2:21:40, while his name-sake, Hillary Kipsang claimed the final podium place in 2:22:08 (3rd place).  


Joe McAlister was the leading Northern Ireland athlete home, after completing the course in 2:33:08 (6th place).  John-Paul Gartland followed in 2:46:06 (9th place), before Colin James proved that he is getting back to his best with a 2:47:01 clocking, thus securing 10th place and the honour of being the third local athlete to finish.


The dominant and relatively fresh looking Bayush Abebe Shiferaw sealed top honours in the ladies race, after crossing the line in 2:40:29 (1st place).  Belfast Marathon regular Shona Crombie-Hicks took 2nd place in 2:53:54, before Northern Ireland international Karen Alexander impressed the waiting crowds with a well-deserved 3rd place finish.  Karen recorded 2:58:20, meaning that she was the first Northern Ireland runner to finish.  Gerrie Short was the second local athlete to reach Ormeau Park, after running 3:07:57 (4th place), while Scotland based NI native Victoria Hunter showed the same kind of performance that saw her claim a prize last year, when she completed the top three local finishers in 3:10:00 (5th place).


In the overall relay competition, North Down AC beat Ballymena Runners by a mere two seconds in an exciting finish.  North Down AC crossed the line in 2:26:39, with Ballymena Runners finishing in 2:26:41.  North Belfast Harriers' followed in 2:29:46.


Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st Freddy Sittuk (Kenya) – 2:18:29, 2nd Joel Kipsang (Kenya) – 2:21:40, 3rd Hillary Kipsang (Kenya) – 2:22:08


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Bayush Abebe Shiferaw (Ethiopia) – 2:40:29, 2nd Shona Crombie-Hicks (Bourton AC) – 2:53:54, 3rd Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 2:58:20


Top Northern Ireland finishers:

Top 3 Northern Ireland Men:  6th Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 2:33:08, 9th John-Paul Gartland (Unattached) – 2:46:06, 10th Colin James (East Antrim Harriers) – 2:47:01


Top 3 Northern Ireland Ladies:  3rd Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 2:58:21, 4th Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) – 3:07:57, 5th Victoria Hunter (Fetcheveryone AC) – 3:10:00


Top Relay Teams (Overall):

Top 3 Relay Teams (Overall):  1st North Down AC – 2:26:39, 2nd Ballymena Runners – 2:26:41, 3rd North Belfast Harriers – 2:29:46


Full Results:  Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon (Individual) 2014 Results and Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon (Reslay) 2014 Results - A selection of photo's from the Belfast City Marathon have been uploaded to our Photo Gallery.  Further photo's will be added in the coming day's.

Paul Pollock achieves Commonwealth Games standard in Stanford (USA):

Northern Ireland athletes Paul Pollock and Kerry O'Flaherty compete in USA:

In the early hours of Monday 5th May 2014 (GMT), two of Northern Ireland's main Commonwealth Games hopefuls, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) were in action at the prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational Track & Field Meeting in America; both had high hopes of achieving qualification standards for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this Summer.


Paul Pollock didn't pull any punches when he stated that he was going into his 10,000m event looking for a Commonwealth Games qualifying standard and a new Northern Ireland record, and the exceptionally talented athlete secured one of those goals and was agonisingly close to achieving both.  Up against top class opposition, Paul performed to his usually high standard, crossing the line in a new personal best of 28:32.18 (18th place); this was enough to secure the Commonwealth Games standard (as well as the European Championships 10,000m standard) and a mere 0.03secs away from Dermot Donnelly's Northern Ireland 10,000m record of 28:32.15.


Kerry O'Flaherty was also competing; in a close 3,000m Steeplechase race, contested in breezy conditions, the Newcastle AC star ran well but was unable to dip below the  ten minute barrier and ultimately the 9:55 qualification standard, when she clocked 10:10.28 to finish in 8th place.  The race was won by Addie Bracy (Brooks) in 9:53.60.  Although slightly disappointed with the outcome, the Northern Ireland record holder will now look toward the upcoming BMC Meet in Watford (England).


Full Results:  Payton Jordan Invitational Track & Field Meeting 2014 Results

Foley and Matchett take podium places as NI runners excel in Ireland:

Podium places and personal bests for Northern Ireland runners in Ireland:

On Sunday 4th ,May 2014, runners from Northern Ireland enjoyed successful outings at two major events in Ireland, the Boyne 10k in Drogheda and the the Great Limerick Marathon in Limerick; this added to the already mentioned performances at the North West 10k in Letterkenny (summary available below this article).


In Drogheda, at least three athletes from Northern Ireland were part of a huge field of 1,600 athletes at the Boyne 10k, an event well known for it's scenic but tough course, which starts in the historic town of Drogheda and covers picturesque rural roads.


North Belfast Harriers' Laurence Johnston led the Northern Ireland contingent home in 36:50 (13th place), while Heather Foley (Unattached) showed the same class that has brought her wins at the Ballynahinch 10k, Omagh CBS 10k and the DUNE Half Marathon as she secured a well-deserved 2nd place; the versatile athlete clocked 38:04 for distance.  Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) also claimed a podium spot, taking 3rd place in 40:48. Simon Ryan (Raheny Shamrock AC) won the men's race in 32:01, while his club mate Fiona Roche (Raheny Shamrock AC) took top honours in the ladies race, after crossing the line in 35:23. 


In Limerick, Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club) impressed at the Great Limerick Marathon.  The endurance enthusiast, who will take on 6 marathon's in 6 day's next month (June 2014), finished in a new personal best of 3:13:33 (6th place).  The race was won by Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) in 2:44:28.  We (NiRunning) will be doing a 'Monthly Feature' on the 6 marathon's in 6 day's challenge, this will be available before the end of this month.


Full Results:  Boyne 10k 2014 Results and Great Limerick Marathon 2014 Results

Northern Ireland lady Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) wins North West 10k:

Northern Ireland athletes compete at North West 10k (Ireland) and the 'Big 25' road race (Germany):

On Sunday 4th May 2014, Northern Ireland based running clubs were well represented at the annual North West 10k road race, hosted by Letterkenny AC in Letterkenny, County Donegal (Ireland).


Local athlete, Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC) led the 1,200 strong field home in 32:12 (1st place) but there were also several impressive performances by Northern Ireland athletes.  City of Derry AC trio Gary Slevin (34:20), James Brown (34:30) and Paul McCafferty (34:49) finished within thirty seconds of each other in 4th place, 5th place and 6th place respectively; Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) followed just four seconds later in 34:53 (8th place).


Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) continued her recent good form, which has saw the Strabane lady collect prizes at the Titanic 10k and Queen's 5k, dominating the ladies race before winning in 35:32 (1st place).  Young North Belfast Harriers man Conal McCambridge took 16th place in 36:39, before Robert Gallagher (Strabane AC) crossed the line in 39:13 (46th place).  Foyle Valley AC's Darren Wallace dipped under the forty minute barrier in 39:34 (57th place), while Patrick McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) recorded 44:17 (169th place).  Hugh Deignan (Springwell Running Club) finished in 46:08 (235th place), just ahead of Ita McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers), who clocked 47:18 (31st place lady).


Elsewhere:  North Belfast Harriers' Matt Shields was in action at the 'Big 25' race in Berlin, Germany.  The event is a 25k road race, which attracts athletes from all over the world.  Matt, who was joined by a group of local runners, covered the distance in 1:37:00 (33rd place), which was enough to win his Vet55 category. The following North Belfast Harriers also ran well:  John Burns – 2:02:27, Siobhan Drain – 2:05:58, Lynn McCollough – 2:16:00, Steven Thompson – 2:17:57, Sandy Carr – 2:29:34, Jansje Le Mahieu-Lamb – 3:00:48 and Kerrie Ann Thompson – 3:01:41.


Full Results:  North West 10k 2014 Results and 'Big 25' 2014 Results

Athletes from NI impress at events in Ireland, USA and England:

Top performances by Northern Ireland athletes outside the province:

On Saturday 3rd May 2014, athletes from Northern Ireland were in action at road and track events in Ireland, America and England, with all producing notable performances in their respective races.


In Dublin (Ireland), North Belfast Harriers star Conor Curran continued what has been an impressive year so far, with another personal best.  Racing at the BHAA hosted RTE 5 mile road race, Conor clocked 26:34 to claim 4th place.  The race was won by Conor Donney (Raheny Shamrocks AC) in 24:35.  


In California (America), Jason Harvey (Crusaders) was in competition at the UCI Invitational Track & Field Meeting. After a strong season opener last weekend, Jason showed that his preparation for this Summer's Commonwealth Games is going well with a 21.87secs (5th place) finish in the 200m ('A' Race).  The race was won by Unattached athlete Remontay McClain in 20.89secs.


In the 4x400m, Jason was joined by Irish international team mates Brian Gregan and Brian Murphy as well as an unknown American athlete.  They men showed their class in what was a strong field, winning in 3:11.25, nearly two seconds clear of their closest rivals.


In England, Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) was representing Queen's University at the British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) Outdoor Athletics Championships in Bedford.  Christine recorded a new personal best of 59.10secs to win her heat and reach the final of the 400m; the final will take place on Monday 5th May 2014.


Full Results:  RTE 5m Road Race 2014 Results UCI Invitational T & F Meeting 2014 Results – BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships 2014 Results (Currently Unavailable).

Northern Ireland prepares for Belfast City Marathon 2014:

Belfast City Marathon 2014:

Bank Holiday Monday (5th May 2014) brings one of Northern Ireland's biggest sporting events, the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.  As always, there will be thousands of local athletes taking part in the annual event.  They will also be joined by several high profile international athletes. 


Kenyan marathon specialist and reigning Belfast City Marathon Champion, Joel Kipsang should return to defend the title he won so impressively a year ago.  He will be joined by fellow Kenyan athletes Freddy Sittuk and Bernard Rotich,  Freddy Sittuk is no stranger to the Northern Ireland running circuit, having spent some time in the province last year, during which he collected a number of top prizes.  Bernard Rotich, who boasts a personal best of 2:10:38, will go into the race as marginal favourite. 


Another leading contender is Morocco’s Jaouad El Jazouli, who ran a personal best time of 2:18:02 when finishing ninth in Casablanca last October (2013).  In January 2014 he was fifteenth in Marrakech in 2:19:44.  Also competing will be top local athlete Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC).  Having missed out on the Rotterdam Marathon last month, the well respected Northern Ireland international, who holds a 26.2m personal best of 2:21:05 will be eager to impress on home turf, where he should receive excellent support.  Clonliffe Harriers' Stephen Scullion is also a rumoured starter; however, it is unclear as to whether the London based NI man will be racing or pacing.  If racing, it will actually be his debut competing over the distance, with his only recorded 26.2m outing being last year (2013) at this event, when he paced the leading ladies, before cruising home in 2:34:33.  Nigel Grier (Dromore AC), Mark Walker (Unattached), Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) and Phelim McAllister (Larne AC) are all likely to finish well up the field.


In the ladies race, 2013 winner and course record holder Nataliya Lehonkova (Ukraine) could start.  The experienced athlete, who has excelled several at European marathons in the last few years will be looking to further reduce the aforementioned record, which now sits at 2:36:49.  Belfast Marathon regular Yelena Kozhevnikova (Russia) may return after being forced to withdraw from last years race, just days before.  If she starts, Yelena will be seeking to improve on the second place she has secured in 2012 (2:42:10) and 2011 (2:48:05).  Scotland based Northern Ireland lady, Victoria Hunter (Unattached) will be looking to lead the local contingent home.

These elite athletes will head another very large field of some 2,900 entrants for the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon event, which will start at Belfast City Hall at 9am.


The five person Relay Team event in the Marathon continues to break all records with entries closed at around 2,200 teams, which translates to no less than 11,000 participants. It is likely that strong teams from Queen's University, North Down AC and Lagan Valley AC will compete.  Full details of race day activities, the route and anticipated timings can be found at www.belfastcitymarathon.com.


Note – On race day, we (NiRunning) will endevour to provide live updates to those supporting the event.  Belfast City Marathon organisers have declined our offer to provide (free) live updates from the Race HQ and as such, we will not have access to the level of information or technology that we would need to provide the comprehensive service that we would like to.  However, we will have people on the ground and will provide as much information as possible.

Ian Bailey and Diane Wilson win Hill & Dale event at Slieve Martin:

Hill & Dale Series (Race 3 - Slieve Martin) 2014:

On Thursday 1st May 2014, Newcastle AC hosted the third race of their ever popular and well organised Hill & Dale Series.  The venue on this occasion was Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor, where the two hundred strong field took on the tough Slieve Martin course, which covered 4.25m and 1,074ft of ascent.


Just like 2013, it was the host club’s men who dominated at the front, with Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC), David Steele (Newcastle AC) and Seamus Lynch (Newcastle) AC all looking strong on the long steady climb; North Belfast Harriers’ Neil Carty was also in contention for a podium place.


However, in the end it was last year’s Slieve Martin winner, Ian Bailey who once again showed his ability on both the ascent and long descent to take a well-deserved victory, albeit slightly closer than last time.  Ian broke the tape in 33:41 (1st place) to win, with Seamus Lynch, who finished second in Race 1 (Castlewellan), securing 2nd place in 33:54.  David Steele continued his good run of podium places, taking 3rd place in 34:58.


The ladies race panned out in the same fashion as the previous Hill & Dale events in Castlewellan and Tollymore, with the seemingly unbeatable Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) making it a hat-trick of Series wins, after crossing the line in 41:33 (1st place).  Catherine O’Connor has been impressive this term, but this will undoubtedly be her best outing of the year; better known as road runner, Catherine (42:33) negotiated the long steep climb and subsequent descent to finish in 2nd place.  Shileen O’Kane took 3rd place in 43:25.


Top 3 Men:  1st Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 33:41, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 33:54, 3rd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 34:58


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 41:33, 2nd Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) – 42:33, 3rd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 43:25


Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series Race 3 (Slieve Martin) 2014 Results

Bank Holiday Weekend Preview: Causeway Crossing kicks off proceedings!

Bank Holiday Weekend Preview:  Northern Ireland, Ireland, Germany and USA!

This coming Bank Holiday weekend looks to be quite quiet from a running perspective; however, there is good reasoning behind the seemingly empty fixture calendar.  That is of course due to the annual Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, which is set to take place on Monday 5th May 2014. 


We will provide a full preview in relation to the Belfast Marathon if full information is made available between today (Friday 2nd May 2014) and Sunday (4th May 2014).  In the meantime, we will look at some other events taking place this weekend, both inside and outside Northern Ireland.


The main local action on Saturday 3rd May 2014 will be the Lost World’s – 26extreme Causeway Crossing, a unique event which offers competitors three distances; 100k, 50k and 25k, all of which will be contested over some of Northern Ireland’s most scenic terrain. 


The fully way-marked routes will follow the paths, trails, beaches and coastline of the Moyle Way and Causeway Coast, arguably one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world.  All three races will pass through the spectacular and world famous Giants Causeway.


The 100k race will start in Waterfoot (Glenariff) and follow the Moyle Way (and route markings) to Ballintoy, where participants will join the Causeway Coast Way to the turnaround point at Dunluce Castle Car Park.  After turning at Dunluce Castle Car Park, athletes will follow the Causeway Coast Way back to Larrybane Head Quarry to the much anticipated finish line.


Springwell Running Club athlete Nicki McPeake is the stand out competitor in the 100k; as long as the inaugural Titanic 101k winner has recovered from his 53 mile jaunt along the West Highland Way in Scotland last weekend, where he claimed eleventh place, he (Nicki) should go into this event as pre-race favourite. However, Nicki will have to be up to the job, as he will be chased by a podium finisher from 2013, Ronald Peacock (Unattached).  Ronald covered the course in 11:58:10 last year, taking third place, but in the absence of the two men in front of him, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Noel Brick (Unattached), he (Ronald) will be hopeful of claiming victory this time.  Experienced marathoners Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) and Peter Ferris (Unattached) will also toe the line.


In the ladies race, there will be an interesting battle between Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club), Aoife O'Donnell (Unattached) and Gillian Cordner (Separk AC).  Fran McFadden, a 3:23:17 marathoner, burst onto the ultra-running scene last year when she won the Titanic 50k.  Aoife O'Donnell and Gillian Cordner both secured podium places at the same event, with Aoife taking third place in the 101k and Gillian the runners up spot behind Fran in the 50k.  Since then, Gillian Cordner has gained a lot more experience over longer distances, with several back to back marathons and podium places to her name.  This may give the Seapark AC lady a slight advantage, as long as she has recovered sufficiently from a win at the tough East Antrim Marathon Series event last weekend.  International ladies Edie Reidel (Unattached), Bobbi Parker (Unattached) and Nicola Piggot (Unattached) will all be looking for top ten finishes.

Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) and Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) will head the local challenge in the ladies 50k. There is a vast array of international entries, but based on the aforementioned duo's backround and recent performances, they should feature well at the front.  Helena would be the more experienced long distance runner of the pair, with notable outings at ultra-distance races such as the Causeway Coast Ultra on her CV.  On the flip-side of that, Louise has been running well over shorter distances, and recently recorded a new 5k personal best of 21:18 at the Queen's 5k in Belfast.  If the County Antrim Harriers athlete has put in the miles, she could be the one to watch.  Caroline Stout (BARF), Emma Louise Kirk (Unattached) and Cara Hamilton (Belfast Running Club) should also be in or around the top ten.


In the 25k event, competitors will start at Dunluce Castle Car Park and follow the Causeway Coast Way to the finish at Larrybane Head Quarry.  Brian Young (Unattached) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) look to be the main contenders here.  Brian Young races sparingly, but never fails to impress whenever he does turn out.  He (Brian) won the Kilclief 10k in February 2014, but it's quite obvious that his heart lies in the off-road events; last summer he picked up several podium places at events such as the East Antrim Harriers Forest Series and the Crawfordsburn 5k Trail Race.  


Simon Reeve is another man who continually excels away from the tarmac; after a bad fall at the Race Over the Glens on New Years Day 2014, Simon has shown his class with good performances at the Roe Valley Trail Race, NiRunning Trail Race and the Hill & Dale openers in Castlewellan and Tollymore.  Chirs Collins (East Antrim Harriers) and Forge Harriers athletes Andy Leatham and Peter Grimes will also start.


Meave Gormley (Unattached) should be amongst the leading ladies in the 25k.  After winning the 25k event at the Titanic Quarter 101k, the unattached athlete will have high hopes of repeating that success.  The top prize won't come easy though, especially if Caroline Taylor (Springwell Running Club), Debbie Tutty (Springwell Running Club) and Selina Myles (Orangegrove AC) show their potential.

On Sunday 4th May 2014, a large number of Northern Ireland based athletes are expected to take on the North West 10k road race in Letterkenny, Ireland.  The popular event should attract approximately two thousand participants, with Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) and Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) all being possible starters.


Further afield on Sunday 4th May 2014, at least two Northern Ireland athletes will be in competition in America.  Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) will be in action at the prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational Track & Field Meeting in Stanford, California.


The talented pairing will have high hopes of reaching Commonwealth Games Qualifying standards; Paul will line up in the 10,000m, where he will hope to run under 28:45.  Kerry will compete in the 3,000m Steeplechase and will be aiming to better the 9:55 qualification standard, which would but her in contention for a place at the Games, which will take place in Glasgow (Scotland) this summer.


Northern Ireland man, Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) will also be in action in California (USA).  Jason will compete over 200m at the UCI Invitational Track & Field Meeting in Irvine and will hope to build on a solid season opener last weekend, after he clocked 22.19secs at the USCD Invitational.  He will also line up in a 4x400m relay team, which includes Irish international team mates Brian Murphy and Brian Gregan.  Their final team member will be confirmed before the event, which will take place over Friday 2nd May and Saturday 3rd May 2014.


Also on Sunday 4th April 2014, respected North Belfast Harriers athlete and parkrun co-ordinator for Northern Ireland, Matt Shields, will take on the Berlin Half Marathon in Germany.  It is unclear as the whether Matt will be joined by any other runners from Northern Ireland.


Northern Ireland’s seventeen 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.  

Note - April 2014 'News' is available HERE or by following the navigational bar at the top of the page.