Northern Ireland Running

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Former Olympic and World Champion will race Belfast City Marathon:

Olympic Champion takes up Belfast Challenge:
As Northern Ireland running enthusiasts count down to next Monday's Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, organisers have announced that for the first time in the event’s history, a former Olympic Champion is to take part in the race.  Hunde Gezahegne Abere (Ethiopia) won the gold medal in Sydney in 2000 and went on to become World Champion the following year.   Most recently, the Ethiopian runner won the Barcelona Marathon (March 2013) in 2:10:17. 

Abere will be joined on the start line by a plethora of talent from across the world.  NiRunning intend to preview the top contenders, including a full run down of our own Northern Ireland participants later in the week.

More than 17,500 people are expected to take part in the 2013 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, which starts at the front of City Hall at 9am on Monday (6th May 2013).  This year’s event will be preceded by a short silence, in memory of those killed and injured in the bomb attack on the Boston Marathon earlier this month.

All events: the Marathon, the Team Relay, the nine-mile walk and the Fun Run finish at Ormeau Park, Belfast.  Motorists are warned to expect delays along the 26.2 mile route, details of which can be found on the official website: - The event EXPO (and pack collection) will be at Belfast City Hall from Friday 3rd May 2013.  Opening Times are:  Friday - 9am to 4pm, Saturday - 11am to 4pm and Sunday - 12pm to 5pm

The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon takes place on Monday 6th May 2013 and is sponsored by Athletics Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Daily Mirror, Podium 4 Sport, Saucony, Sport Northern Ireland, Tayto, Translink and U105.  This year’s official charity is Cancer Focus Northern Ireland (the new name for the Ulster Cancer Foundation).

East Down AC celebrate a fantastic double in Castlewellan:

Brendan Teer and Catherine O'Connor impress in County Down:
On Sunday 28th April 2013, Castlewellan GAC hosted their re-scheduled Spring Lake 10k race in Castlewellan, County Down.  Organisers were forced to postpone the original event because of snow; thankfully, on this occasion there was nothing more than a swirling wind to hamper proceedings.

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) capped off a winning weekend, making it two wins in as many days.  After having won the Ballynahinch Lions 10k on Saturday, Brendan showed little signs of fatigue as he cruised across the line in 34:19 to secure an impressive victory.  Paul Carlin (Club Unknown) took 2nd place in 36:16, while David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) claimed 3rd place in 36:46.

East Down AC celebrated an excellent double when the ever improving Catherine O’Connor, recent winner of the Castle Ward 10k, broke the tape in 43:01 to win the ladies race.  Patricia McKibbin (Unattached) was the next lady to finish, clocking 43:17 to claim 2nd place; ahead of North Belfast Harriers’ Amanda Perry (3rd place - 45:41).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 34:19, 2nd Paul Carlin (Club Unknown) – 36:16, 3rd David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 36:46

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) – 43:01, 2nd Patricia McKibbin (Unattached) – 43:17, 3rd Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) – 45:41

Full Results:  Spring Lake 10k 2013 Results.  Picture used above was taken from the Born 2 Run events website.

Northern Ireland runners take on Greater Manchester Marathon:

Northern Ireland running club's well represented in England:
On Sunday 28th April 2013, several Northern Ireland based athletes travelled to Manchester for the Greater Manchester Marathon.  The 26.2 mile race is renowned for its fast, flat course and boasts a ‘race village’ within the grounds of Old Trafford, the home of English Premiership team Manchester United Football Club.

David Norman (Altrincham & District AC) won the race in 2:20:19, while Izzy Menzies (Edinburgh Running Club) took the ladies title in 2:42:24.  Ballymena Runners’ Jonny Graham achieved his sub three hour target, leading the NI runners home in 2:58:08.  Jonny’s club mate, and ultra-running enthusiast Jim Moore (3:17:34) was the next familiar face to finish, before Sperrin Harriers' Adrian McCreesh recorded 3:22:29 and Springwell Running Club duo Cathal McFeely and Richard Crown clocked 3:29:18 and 3:33:33 respectively.  Ballymena Runners’ Drew McDonald (3:50:47) and John Donnelly (4:11:36) followed, finishing just ahead of Springwell Running Club’s Heather O’Neill, who crossed the line in 4:14:03.

Full Results:  Greater Manchester Marathon 2013 Results.  Picture used above was taken from Ballymena Runners facebook page.

Don Travers and Donna Evans impress at Run Armagh 10k:

Nearly 250 runners brave windy conditions in Armagh:
On Sunday 28th April 2013, nearly two hundred and fifty athletes turned out for the popular Run Armagh 10k road race.  The event starts on College Hill, close to the Armagh City Planetarium and takes competitors on a 6.2 mile journey over undulating rural roads, before finishing in the City Centre.

Don Travers (Newry City Runners) made his intentions clear from the off, moving to the front of the pack as they departed the City Centre streets.  He was pursued by Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Brian Young (Unattached), Barry Meegan (North East Runners) and Mark McKenna (North East Runners).

In the ladies race Donna Evans (Monaghan Phoenix AC) was creating a similar story to her male counterpart, Donna looked determined from the off and led the ladies through half-way, with Denise Toner (Clones AC), Ruth Hill (Unattached), Ciara Coffey (Club Pulse) and Catriona McCorkell (Lagan Valley AC) following.

In the latter stages of the race, Don Travers further increased his lead and made his way back towards the City Centre with the win looking certain.  Despite Conor Curran’s strong second half, Don ran out eventual winner, crossing the line in 33:18 to claim the title.  Conor took a well-deserved 2nd place in 34:13, showing that he is getting back to his best.  Brian Young (Unattached), a regular podium finisher in off-road events, secured 3rd place in 35:12.

Donna Evans won the ladies race in 38:56, but the most impressive performance of the day came from Virgin London Marathon finisher Catriona McCorkell, who produced an excellent final 5k to claim 2nd place in 39:10, overtaking Ruth Hill, Ciara Coffey and Denise Toner en-route.  Ruth (39:21) held on to take 3rd place ahead of Ciara.

Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 33:18, 2nd Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) – 34:13, 3rd Brian Young (Unattached) – 35:22

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Donna Evans (Monaghan Phoenix AC) – 38:56, 2nd Catriona McCorkell (Lagan Valley AC) – 39:10, 3rd Ruth Hill (Unattached) – 39:21

Results:  Run Armagh 10k 2013 Results

Reed and Curran lead NI runners home at the HOKA Highland Fling:

Northern Ireland runners compete well in 53 mile Ultra event:
On Saturday 27th April 2013, a number of Northern Ireland based runners travelled to Scotland for the 8th running of the infamous Hoka Highland Fling, a tough 53 mile Ultra which covers the southern section of the notorious West Highland Way, from Milngavie (near Glasgow) to Tyndrum.

Pre-race favourite Ricky Lightfoot (Salomon Running) led early on, but tired during the second half; eventually being caught by Lee Kemp (Craft UK) who won in 7:02:50.  The ladies race was won by Unattached athlete Tracy Dean in 9:12:21.

Experienced ultra-runner, Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) was the first of the Northern Ireland contingent to finish, crossing the line in 9:10:11 to take an extremely credible 26th place.  Team Purple’s Kevin Murdock (9:16:28) was next in 34th place, before Gerry Kingston (62nd place – 9:48:29) led the well represented BARF team home.  Triathlete and endurance enthusiast, Eoin Lennon (Olympia Triathlon Club) recorded 10:43:44 (124th place) to finish just ahead of Murlough AC’s Dominic McInerney (10:45:36) and Newcastle AC’s Mark King (10:46:02) who took 128th place and 130th place respectively.

Murlough AC’s Stephen Wallace finished in 10:49:07 (138th place) before Joanne Curran (BARF) had the honour of being the first NI lady home in 11:23:56, this was enough to secure 26th place in the ladies category.  Well-known BARF member, Fred Hammond crossed the line in 12:57:06 (302nd place), while his club mates David Owens (321nd place) and Colm Kelly (322nd place) finished together in 13:11:23.  John McBride (BARF) battled well, running 13:46:47 (356th place) and Andrew McGibbon, also of BARF clocked 15:11:13 (416th place) for the distance.

Full Results:  HOKA Highland Fling (Scotland) 2013 Results

Brendan Teer and Mary Mackin win Ballynahinch 10k:

Brendan excels as Mary wins exciting ladies race:
On Saturday 27th April 2013, hundreds of athletes and fun runners brought the market town of Ballynahinch in County Down to a standstill, as Ballynahinch Lions hosted their annual 10k race and associated fun run.

In decent conditions, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) showed his class, leading the race from start to finish. The current NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion had a two minute lead as the field conquered the tough ‘steps’ section of the course.  Brendan opened this gap further to finish in 32:29, claiming a well-deserved victory, a fantastic time considering the difficult course.  Last year’s winner, Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) also ran well, taking 2nd place in 35:36.  The final podium place went to popular East Antrim Harriers’ man Sam Crawford, after he crossed the line in 36:15.

The ladies race was a closely fought affair, with Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) eventually seeing off the challenge of Donna McCusker (Murlough AC).  Mary clocked 44:13 to win, with Donna taking 2nd place in 44:53.  Dromore AC’s Susan Smyth (45:54) produced an excellent second half, gaining two places in the latter stages to finish in 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 32:39, 2nd Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) – 35:36, 3rd Sam Crawford (East Antrim Harriers) – 36:15

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) – 44:13, 2nd Donna McCusker (Murlough AC) – 44:54, 3rd Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) – 45:54

Full Results:  Ballynahinch 10k Results 2013 – We intend to add a full Race/Event Review and Race Photographs of the Ballynahinch 10k.  These will be added on Monday 29th April 2013.

Weekend Preview:  5k to 53miles for Northern Ireland runners!

Northern Ireland runners set to cover a variety of distances this weekend:
As the Deep River Rock Belfast Marathon approaches, running enthusiasts from around the province will more than likely be feeling the effects of the dreaded ‘taper’. However, should you not be participating in the local 26.2 mile event; there are several very good events to tempt you to lace up those racers in the coming days!

On Saturday 27th April 2013, Ballynahinch Lions will host the 24th annual running of their ‘Ballynahinch 10k’ race.  The event, which runs through, and finishes in the beautiful Montalto Estate, is organised solely to raise money for charity and has attracted some of the country’s top talent in years gone by.

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) could make use of the locality of the event.  The course will suit the talented County Down man and he will prove hard to beat if he decides to race.  Last year’s winner, Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) has been in excellent form, regularly placing well in Duathlon events and should return to defend the title he won so convincingly.  East Antrim Harriers’ front runner Sam Crawford will also play a prominent part in proceedings; the experienced distance runner has been racing sparingly of late but is always sure to be amongst the top contenders.  

David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), James Brown (Larne AC) and Neil McCartan (East Down AC) could also toe the line, having missed Thursday nights Hill & Dale Race, David could opt for this race instead.  James won the Sperrin Harriers 5 mile road race a few weeks ago and clocked a new personal best of 34:20 at last weekend’s Titanic 10k.  Neil also had a good run at the TQ10k and also recorded the fastest time at the NiRunning Mile two weeks before that. Andy Hewitt (Unattached), who finished in fifth place last year, will also be there or there abouts, as will Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) should he decide to compete.  

Karen Alexander finished third overall in this event last year, winning the ladies title by six minutes.  Having performed brilliantly at the Cooley Legends Half Marathon in Carlingford last weekend, it’s hard to look past Karen should she return this year.  Local clubs Newcastle AC, East Down AC and Murlough AC will be well represented, with Dearbhla Magee, Catherine O’Connor and Paula McKibbin likely to be the top female finishers for their respective clubs.  

A number of Northern Ireland based runners will travel to Scotland for the 8th running of the ‘Hoka Highland Fling Ultra Marathon’ on Saturday 27th April 2013.  The prestigious event covers 53 miles of trails along the southern section of the famous West Highland Way Path, starting in Milngavie (close to Glasgow) and finishing in the scenic village of Tyndrum.  The ‘Highland Fling’ has always attracted Northern Ireland runners in the past, and NI lady Sharon Trimble (North Belfast Harriers) is a past winner of the challenging race.

Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) should lead the NI contingent home and will go into the event high in confidence after good runs at the Wicklow Way Ultra and the more recent Silent Valley Mountain Race.  Billy will be joined by BARF members, Fred Hammond, Joanne Curran, Clarke Campbell, David Evans, Colm Kelly, Gerry Kingston, Andrew McGibbon, John McBride and NIMRA representative Ian Taylor.  Susan McCartney (Club Unknown), a former Energia 24 hour race competitor will also take part, as will Stephen Wallace (Murlough AC), Mark King (Newcastle AC), Eoin Lennon (Olympian Triathlon Club). Salomon’s Ricky Lightfoot will be the pre-race favourite, despite being relatively new to the ultra- running scene.   Irish man Paul Tierney (Ambleside AC), a friend of many Northern Ireland based ultra-runners will also run well.

Also on Saturday 27th April 2013, North Belfast Harriers and Jog Belfast will bring their fantastic ‘Couch to 5k’ (otherwise known as C25K) project to an end, with a brilliant ‘graduation’, or finale’ at the Waterworks parkrun in Belfast.  Over two hundred new runners have taken on the challenge and this will be the culmination of their hard work.  Matt Shields, coach at North Belfast Harriers is asking running enthusiasts to turn out in support of the ‘graduation’ and he would also like to ask anyone who is free on Saturday morning to volunteer to help with marshalling/admin duties/refreshments at the event.  If you can assist, please contact Matt or North Belfast Harriers.

On Sunday 28th April 2013, athletes from across the country will descend on the historic and scenic City of Armagh for the annual ‘Run Armagh 10k’ road race, organised by local man Matthew Nicholson.  

Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) has finished on the podium in every running of the Run Armagh 10k, celebrating victory on two occasions.  After his impressive outing at the Titanic 10k, where he recorded 32:48, Eamon looks to be in good shape to complete an impressive hat-trick of wins.  His club mate, Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) and another former winner of the event, Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) will also be at the fore; considering just two seconds split these two last weekend, this in itself will be an interesting dual.  Andrew Hicks (Dromore AC), Mark McKenna (Glaslough Harriers), Donal Gallagher (Sperrin Harriers) and Richard Turkington (Armagh AC) could also place well.

In the ladies race, Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Ciara Coffey (Club Pulse) and Julie Turley (Dromore AC) will be considered as likely podium finishers.  Local lady Danielle Fegan is one of Armagh AC’s future stars.  After proving herself against some of the best ladies in country at the Seeley Cup (incorporating the Athletics NI 10k Championships) before the turn of the year, Danielle definitely has the potential to finish amongst the leading ladies, and even win if she produces anything close to her best. 

Ciara Coffey, a recent addition to the Club Pulse team, is a very consistent performer.  Recently Ciara finished third at the Queen’s Sport 5k in Belfast, behind Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) and Alex Kirk (Springwell Running Club).  She narrowly missed podium finishes in the Albertville 5 mile road race as well as Jimmy’s 10k, finishing in fourth place at both.  The undulating terrain here will also suit Ciara’s strong running style.  Julie Turley (Dromore AC) will make difficult for the aforementioned ladies, should she enter on the day.  Prior to a recent injury, Julie was arguably one of the country’s top talents and seems to be getting back to her best; especially after her second place finish last week at the Titanic 10k.  However, after racing two weeks in a row, Julie may feel that this could be one too many considering she is still getting back to full fitness.  Denise Toner (Clones AC), Donna Evans (Monaghan Phoenix AC), Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) and Helen Stockdale (Clones AC) also possess the credentials to win, should they race.  

On Sunday 28th April 2013, Castlewellan GAC will host their 'Spring Lake Challenge' in Castlewellan Country Park, County Down.  The event offers participants the option of a 5k or 10k route, which will take the runners through the beautiful forest and associated trails.

Local Newcastle AC men David McNeilly and Seamus Lynch will more than likely head the field, if they have recovered sufficiently from Thursday nights Hill & Dale Race.  David enjoyed an excellent second place finish on Thursday, while Seamus also battled well to claim sixth place.  Should they both enter, it will be an interesting battle to see who comes out on top this time.  Their club mates, PJ McCrickard and Brendan Donnelly are also likely competitors, and both will challenge for a top three place should they participate.  Colm Murtagh (Castlewellan AC), Gareth Toner (Newcastle AC), Philip Vent (East Down AC), Phil Hodge (Murlough AC) could also place well.  The ladies race should see Anne Sanford (Lagan Valley AC), Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners), Paulette Thompson (Murlough AC) and Anne Turley (Unattached) contest the top places.

Northern Ireland’s nine parkrun events will also take place as normal, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page. 

North Belfast Harriers 'Couch to 5k Graduation' this weekend:

Can you help out at the C25K ‘graduation’?
North Belfast Harriers are asking for people to come to the Waterworks parkrun tomorrow morning, Saturday 27th April 2103 at 9.30am to help support the 'graduates' of their recent 'Jog Belfast Couch to 5km' programme. The North Belfast club have been delivering a twice weekly training session for people to get fit over the last 10 weeks. 

Aimed at people who are, or were "non-active", this popular twice weekly running programme has taken place on Monday and Wednesday nights at Girls and Boys Model Athletics Track in Belfast, under the helpful eye of Matt Shields alongside coaches and volunteers from the North Belfast Harriers club.

The programme has been a massive success with over 200 runners taking part in the structured introduction to running.  Some of the comments posted by participants on the Waterworks parkrun Facebook page are testament to the programme's success so far, with one recent convert commenting:

"It has been brilliant, even though I missed a few weeks due to illness.  The coaches have been so encouraging.  They gave up their spare time to come along and keep us motivated, massive thanks.  I am still a while from running a full 5k but am now a convert.  This is from someone who has never been even slightly sporty.  I am trying to get my husband and kids up to the next C25K group"

Another C25K convert added:  "I'm so excited for Saturday. The C25K programme has been fantastic and has been a massive help to me.  I'm now telling all my non-running friends about it and encouraging them to get involved.  Huge thanks to all the coaches for all their time, help, advice and motivation.  We couldn't have done it without you."

The culmination of all the hard work is tomorrow morning's Waterworks parkrun (Saturday 27th April 2013) and Matt Shields has politely asked that running enthusiasts turn out to support the C25k group, through marshalling, assisting with other race duties and spectating. 

Bailey and O'Kane claim impressive wins at Hill & Dale event:

Newcastle AC dominate Slieve Martin event:
On Thursday 25th April 2013, Newcastle AC welcomed another large crowd to their increasingly popular Hill & Dale Series.  Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor was the venue of choice for the third race in the series, where competitors took on the tough Slieve Martin course, measuring 4.25 miles and including a steep 1,740ft climb.

In perfect conditions and a stunning setting, Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) proved a dominant figure, leading the field onto the long continuous climb out of Kilbroney Park.  Ian’s relentless climbing saw him fend off any challengers and he reached the top alone.  He descended just as forcefully, pushing the pace the whole way to the finish, crossing the line in 34:08 to win clearly.  David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) was the next participant into view, looking strong; David completed the course in 36:03 to take 2nd place.  David Steele (36:42) made it an impressive 1-2-3 for Newcastle AC, claiming the final podium place.

The ladies race was as close as expected, with another exciting dual between Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), following on from their good battles at Slieve Gullion and Silent Valley. On this occasion, Shileen came out best, completing a hat-trick of Hill & Dale 2013 race victories in 41:41.  Diane took 2nd place in 42:04, while Springwell Running Club’s Gillian Wasson (42:44) ran well to secure 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 34:08, 2nd David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 36:03, 3rd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 36:42

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 41:41, 2nd Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 42:04, 3rd Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) – 42:44

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series (Race 3) Results 2013

NI clubs enjoy successful outing at Finn Valley AC event:

Northern Ireland athletes take part in Finn Valley Track & Field meet:
On Wednesday 24th April 2013, a number of athletes attached to clubs in Northern Ireland made the short cross-border trip to Stranorlar, County Donegal (Ireland) for the Finn Valley AC Open Track & Field meet.

It proved to be a successful journey for many, early on; Omagh Harriers’ Luke Murray clocked 9.40secs to win the 2005 60m Boys race.  In the 2003 600m boys event, another Omagh Harriers prospect, Dan Haigney (2:04.57) finished in 2nd place, only beaten by the impressive Seamus Harley (Inishowen AC) who cruised to victory in 1:51.74.

Luke Murray (Omagh Harriers) made it a fantastic double, adding the 2005 300m boys title to his earlier 60m victory.  Luke crossed the line in 56.96secs, just ahead of his club mate Thomas Agnew (58.25secs) who claimed 2nd place.  In the U-13 girls 600m race, Lucia Warnock (Enniskillen Running Club) won in 1:50.75, with Omagh Harriers’ Enya Haigney (1:52.68) in 2nd place.

Omagh Harriers’ successful evening continued when Adam Cooper breezed to victory in the U-15 100m boys race, recording 12.29secs.  In the U-18 boys 400m hurdles, Andrew Bolster (City of Derry AC) ran well, winning in 61.52secs.  Adam Cooper picked up his second medal of the evening after claiming 2nd place in the 400m men’s race, Adam ran 56.80secs in the race won by Unattached athlete Brian Boyce (54.58secs).  In the women’s 400m race, City of Derry AC dominated the podium, Anna Barr won in 61.04secs, while Rebecca McLaughlin (66.18secs) and Hannah McGowan (66.57secs) took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

Jade Ballentine (Enniskillen Running Club) finished in 2nd place in the U-15 girls 800m event, running 2:42.69 for the distance.  The race was won by Laura Lee Penrose (Finn Valley AC) in 2:41.63.  Robert Bigger (City of Derry AC) took 2nd place in the men’s 1500m race, crossing the line in 4:19.47, less than a second behind race winner Dean Toland (Finn Valley AC) who finished in 4:18.81.  

In the 3,000m men’s race, Foyle Valley AC’s Pius McIntyre claimed the runner-up spot, finishing in 9:57.26; just ahead of Conor Doherty (City of Derry AC) who ran 9:58.77 to take 3rd place.  The race was won by Tir Chonaill’s Daniel Gallagher in 9:17.63.  Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) produced an excellent performance in the women’s 3,000m race, running a new personal best of 10:29.47 to finish in 3rd place.  The race was won by talented young Annalee AC star Clodagh O’Reilly in 10:10.27.

Full Results:  Finn Valley AC ‘Floodlit’ T&F Meeting 2013 Results

Athletics NI kick off their 'Open Graded' Track & Field League:

Athletics NI Open Graded T&F League (Round 1):
On Tuesday 23rd April 2013, athletes from across the province took part in the Athletics NI organised Open Graded Track & Field meet at the newly refurbished Mary Peters Track, Belfast.  The meet was the first round of the Athletics NI Open Graded League, which will include further competitions throughout the summer.

On this occasion, the distances on offer for the running events, were: 60m, 150m, 600m and 2000m.  In the 60m ‘A’ race, Andrew Mullan (North Down AC) just pipped Christian Robinson (City of Lisburn AC) to the finish, with Andrew running 7.32secs and Christian 7.37secs. Springwell Running Club’s Holly Clark (8.39secs) was the leading lady.  In the ‘B’ race, Patrick Colhoun (City of Lisburn AC) ran 7.14secs to win.

Annadale Striders duo James O’Hare and Owen Carleton ran well in the 2,000m race, with James winning in 5:35.61 and Owen taking 2nd place in 5:40.18.  Springwell Running Club’s Conor Christie (5:46.49) took the final podium place, while Banbridge AC’s Emma Mitchell (6:55.24) and St Peters AC’s Joan Melonophy (8:10.07) topped the ladies rankings.  Like the 60m event, the 150m races had to be split into two sections.  Liam O’Brien (Togher AC) brought his ‘A game’ to the ‘A’ race, winning in 18.06secs.  Matthew Toal (Lagan Valley AC) was the first NI competitor, taking 2nd place in 18.30secs.  Holly Clark (Springwell Running Club) celebrated her second victory of the evening, claiming 1st place in the ladies category after crossing the line in 20.43secs.  In the ‘B’ race, City of Lisburn AC’s Patrick Colhoun (16.58secs) also completed a double, adding to his 60m success with an impressive win over 150m.

In the men’s 600m race, North Down AC’s Adam McCombe took top spot in 1:22.04, with Willowfield Harriers’ Andrew Wright (1:23.14) just edging North Down AC’s Michael Dyer (3rd place – 1:23.19) to 2nd place.  Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) won the ladies equivalent in 1:31.29, while Unattached athlete Caitriona McCourt (1:40.52) and Armagh AC’s Aisling Fegan (1:47.34) followed in 2nd place and 3rd place respectively. 

The next event in the series will take place on Wednesday 23rd May 2013 at Bangor Sportsplex; before that, athletes can compete at the MPT on Thursday 2nd May 2013, when Lagan Valley AC host the second of their Power NI sponsored 'Super 5' T&F series.  Please visit the Athletics NI website for further details.

Results:  Athletics NI Open Graded Meet (Round 1) 2013 Results

NI clubs well represented at inaugral Inishowen Half Marathon:

City of Derry AC lady takes Inishowen HM title:
On Sunday 21st April 2013, a large number of Northern Ireland athletes took part in the inaugural running of the Inishowen AC organised Inishowen Half Marathon in County Donegal (Ireland).  The undulating 13.1 mile course took competitors on a scenic journey through rural Buncrana, before finishing in the town’s Market Square.  The cross-border journey proved worthwhile, with many NI runners performing well, but the highlight of the day was when City of Derry AC's Miriam Bridge collected the top ladies prize.

Sergui Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) led the field home in 1:08:05, while his club mate and regular competitor in Northern Ireland, Gary O’Hanlon took 2nd place in 1:08:44.  City of Derry AC athlete Benny Mullan was the first Northern Ireland club member home in 1:19:48 (6th place), followed by Omagh Harriers’ Conor McCarroll in 1:21:25 (7th place). 

Foyle Valley AC’s Paul Morton (10th place - 1:22:08) achieved a top ten placing, before Springwell Running Club’s David Jackson (11th place – 1:23:34) sparked an avalanche of NI club finishers, with Foyle Valley AC trio Jackie Doherty (12th place – 1:23:48), Paul White (14th place – 1:24:23), Ciaran Graham (15th place – 1:24:57) and City of Derry AC’s Gerry Duddy (16th place – 1:25:12) all crossing the line within two minutes of each other.

Another Foyle Valley AC man, Paul McCandless ran 1:26:10 (19th place) to finish just four seconds ahead of his club mate Declan McCay (20th place – 1:26:14).  The pair were followed closely by City of Derry AC duo Eddie Quigley and Martin Sheehan, who recorded 1:26:46 (23rd place) and 1:27:09 (24th place) respectively.  Seamus McCallion (Foyle Valley AC) completed the course in 1:27:17 (26th place), ahead of purple vested club mates John Tyre (32nd place – 1:27:51) and Jack Coyle (36th place – 1:29:04).  Ballymena Runners’ Ryan Armstrong claimed a well-deserved sub ninety minute clocking, crossing the line in 1:29:10 (39th place); while Richard Shannon (Omagh Harriers) completed the distance in 1:30:38.  Foyle Valley, probably the best turned out club on the day, celebrated as two more of their comrades, Mark McClintock (58th place – 1:32:52) and Billy Orr (59th place – 1:32:53) crossed the line a mere one second apart.

City of Derry AC then had their opportunity to celebrate, as Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) broke the tape in 1:33:00 to win the ladies race.  This was an excellent achievement for the talented lady, and probably one of her finest performances to date.  International Veteran, Christy McMonagle (City of Derry AC) was the next runner home in 1:33:11 (62nd place), followed by the 2nd place lady, another Northern Ireland runner; Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club), who recorded 1:33:19.  Foyle Valley AC’s Darren Wallace (73rd place – 1:34:46) and Tony Grant (80th place – 1:35:50) returned, before Martin McGirr (Sperrin Harriers) passed the finish line as the clock read 1:36:12 (82nd place).  City of Derry AC man John Edgar (86th place – 1:36:32) led Foyle Valley AC trio Paul Strain (93rd place – 1:37:13), David Wylie (97th place – 1:37:50) and Brendan Carlin (100th place – 1:38:18) to top 100 placing’s before Sperrin Harriers’ member Gary McGuckin (107th place – 1:39:14) finished ahead of another string of Foyle Valley AC participants, they included:  Paul Coyle (108th place – 1:39:19), Noel Jennings (109th place – 1:39:42), Gary Marshall (115th place – 1:40:37), John Cartin (117th place – 1:40:57), Brian McFadden (118th place – 1:41:01), Conor McIlveen (123rd place – 1:41:21) and Paddy Gallagher (143rd place – 1:43:11).

Trisha McClintock (Foyle Valley AC) claimed a top 10 finish in the ladies category, in a time of 1:43:40 (10th place).  Packy Deehan (Foyle Valley AC) crossed the line at exactly the same time (1:43:40), taking 147th place.  Orangegrove AC’s Michael O’Donoghue recorded 1:45:49 (162nd place) ahead of Ballymena Runners’ Peter Coulter who ran 1:47:24 (174th place).  Anne-Marie Bradley (Foyle Valley AC) finished in 1:51:09 (21st place lady), six seconds ahead of Springwell Running Club’s Catherine Bell-Allen who finished in 1:51:15 (23rd place lady).  Foyle Valley AC pair Ronan O’Flaherty (1:54:37) and Sean Molloy (1:54:38) completed the 13.1 mile distance side by side, taking in 222nd place and 223rd place respectively.  Rachel Sheen then steered a trio of Foyle Valley AC ladies home; Rachel ran 1:56:03 (30th place lady), while Verona Campbell (1:56:40) and Maura Henry (1:56:42) crossed the line consecutively as 32nd place and 33rd place ladies.  Seamus Cradden (Foyle Valley AC) was the final NI club member to dip below the impending two hour barrier, recording 1:57:27 (243rd place).

Full Results:  Inishowen Half Marathon 2013 Results

Northern Ireland runners compete in Virgin London Marathon:

Hundreds of Northern Ireland runners travel to London:
On Sunday 21st April 2013, over 36,000 runners and 700,000 spectators from all over the world took to the streets of London for the world’s most popular marathon, the Virgin London Marathon. Despite the warm conditions, Northern Ireland athletes produced excellent performances, with many achieving new personal bests for the 26.2 mile distance.

The men’s race was won by Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) in 2:06:04, with Northern Ireland runner Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) finishing  in an outstanding 14th place.  Paul, who is the current AAI Half Marathon and Marathon Champion, crossed the line in 2:17:10 in only his second ever attempt at the distance.  This is a Commonwealth Games qualifying standard, and to add to this, Paul was also the first ‘club championship’ runner to finish.

Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo won the ladies race in 2:20:15, while North Belfast Harriers’ Breege Connolly recorded 2:39:23 for the distance.  This was within the Commonwealth Games (Glasgow 2014) qualifying standard and enough to see Breege finish as the third placed ‘club championship’ lady. Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) was also racing, and like Breege, she was aiming for the Commonwealth Games and/or European Championships qualifying standard, which are sub 2:40 and sub 2:38 respectively.  Unfortunately, Gladys tired towards the end, and although finishing in an excellent 2:42:35, she (Gladys) was disappointed at not quite achieving the aforementioned qualifying standards.

There were plenty of other Northern Ireland runners in action, with Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) producing one of the day’s top performances.  Ben ran strongly, crossing the line in a brilliant 2:39:26. North Down AC’s Dennis Scott clocked a new personal best of 2:46:13, while Larne AC’s Nat Glenn finished in 2:49:22.  David Turtle (Seapark AC) was the next local across the line, in a new personal best of 2:51:28.  Aidan O'Hagan (Sperrin Harriers), Mark Walker (Unattached) and Niall Higgins (Magherafelt Harriers) also ran well, with Aidan recording 2:53:48, Mark 2:56:41 and Niall 2:56:42.  Well respected North Belfast Harriers man, Gareth Grew finished in 2:57:19, and the ever-improving Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC) completed the course in 2:58:35.

Willowfield Harriers’ consistent performer, David Proctor ran 2:58:51.  Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), an official Virgin London Marathon three hour pacer, proved as reliable as ever; leading the group home in 2:58:55.  Darren Church (Magherafelt Harriers) and Paul Gaskell (Larne AC) followed closed behind, running 2:59:03 and 2:59:09 respectively.  Kevin Rea (Unattached) just missed a sub three hour finish, crossing the line in 3:02:47, while Larne AC’s Wayne Morrow overcame recent niggles to achieve a 3:06:55 finish time.  Wayne’s club mate, John McManus (Larne AC), celebrated a new personal best of 3:07:22.  Sammy Drummond, another Larne AC man, clocked 3:10:04.

Gerry Gribbon (North Belfast Harriers) followed in 3:14:16, before BARF’s Patrick Mallon (3:18:05) and Enniskillen Running Club’s Tara Malone (3:19:56) completed the distance.  William O’Kane (Springwell Running Club) ran the 26.2 mile course in 3:23:00, while Catriona McCorkell (Lagan Valley AC), a familiar face at ‘Pure Running’ completed her first ever attempt at the marathon in 3:24:28.  Sperrin Harriers’ Paul McLaughlin then crossed the line in 3:27:04. Another Sperrin Harriers athlete, Raymond Thom celebrated his 3:32:59, as North Belfast Harriers man Stephen Walker finished in 3:33:09.  Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), a recent podium finisher at the Connemarathon crossed the line with her club mate and friend Gary Connolly in 3:33:54. Linda Gillen (Springwell Running Club) ran 3:36:04 to finish just in front of Sperrin Harriers’ Gary Coleman (3:36:59).

East Down AC’s Gavin Oakes clocked 3:40:28 and was closely followed by Springwell Running Club’s Kenny Coulter (3:40:58), who led a train of NI based runners home; Unattached athlete Gary Davison (3:42:09), Ballymena Runners’ Susanna Allen (3:42:10), Lagan Valley AC’s Letita Meenan (3:42:18) and East Antrim Harriers Penny Duncan-Lindsay (3:43:45), Ballymena Runners’ William Richmond (3:44:11), Sperrin Harriers’ Martin Donaghy (3:44:54) and Orangegrove AC’s Louise Lemon (3:45:32) were amongst this group.

Hugh Deighan (Springwell Running Club) was the next familiar face to finish, after running 3:46:54.  Sperrin Harriers’ Paul Martin (3:47:17), Dromore AC’s Tina Davies (3:47:45) and Lagan Valley AC’s Wendy Davis (3:47:48) crossed the line within a minute of each other, while official Belfast Marathon pacer Peter Fleming recorded 3:48:18.  Janeen McGregor (Springwell Running Club) ran 3:52:49, just getting the better of her club mate Alan McKeeman (3:55:30) and Sperrin Harriers’ Darren Warnock (3:55:34).

Rodney Agnew (Ballymena Runners) and Sam Hogg (Lagan Valley AC) both finished in exactly 3:57:27, while Run Armagh 10k organiser Matt Nicholson just dipped under the four hour mark, running 3:58:07.  However, North Down AC’s Nick Irvine (4:01:43) and Larne AC’s Ian Brennan (4:04:09) just missed out on the same target.  Orangegrove AC ladies Jackie Maxwell and Sharon Dickenson ran 4:03:00 and 4:08:01 respectively.  After a short break in Northern Ireland finishers, Martin McCready (Club Unknown) crossed the line in 4:15:02.  Elizabeth Watt-Leitch (Orangegrove AC) braved several cuts and bruises, sustained during a fall, to cross the line in 4:18:29.

Chrisitine Shields (East Antrim Harriers) completed the course in 4:20:17, while Springwell Running Club’s Claire Trainor ran 4:25:20 to finish nearly eleven minutes ahead of her club mate Robert Crown (4:34:00), with Lisburn Triathlon Club's Jeff Curry (4:27:51) finishing between the pair.  Seapark AC’s Gillian Grant (4:43:52) was just behind.  New NiRunning running ‘blogger’, Rachel Farrell was another Orangegrove AC finisher, achieving a time of 4:44:43.  Nuala Muldoon (North Belfast Harriers) and Linda Craig (Orangegrove AC) completed the local participants, with Nuala running 4:51:29 and Linda 5:06:39.

NiRunning would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the Northern Ireland runners who took part in the Virgin London Marathon.  Whether you achieved your target or not, completing 26.2 miles is an amazing achievement.  Very well done!

Results:  Virgin London Marathon 2013 Results - Race photograph used above is courtesy of Newcastle AC.

Scullion and Curley win Athletics NI's Titanic 10k:

Scullion impresses as Curley retains her title:

On Sunday 21st April 2013, thousands of athletes and spectators gathered at the Titanic Quarter, Belfast for the Athletics NI organised Titanic 10k. 

In blustery conditions, which were made worse by the arrival of rain showers, it was the man of the moment, Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) who once again stole the headlines.  However, the National 10k Champion was made to work for his win, with Annadale Striders’ star Eddie McGinley matching him stride for stride as they went through the 4km mark.

Behind, Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) were in a tussle for third place, with a group headed by Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC) a little further back

In the ladies race, Irish Olympian Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) looked strong as she led Julie Turley (Dromore AC), Judith Lowry (City of Lisburn AC), Julie Balmer (North Down AC) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC) through half-way.  As the showers began, Eddie McGinley's challenge at the front of the men's race dwindled. Stephen battled the wind in the final few kilometres to claim another impressive victory, breaking the tape in 30:41.  Eddie followed in 31:15 (2nd place), with Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) taking 3rd place in 32:27.

Pauline Curley held her lead in the ladies race, winning the title in fine fashion.  The Tullamore Harriers lady crossed the line in 36:27.  Hard working Julie Turley was the second lady home in 36:37, an excellent run considering her recent return from injury.  Julie Balmer ran well in second half to catch and pass Judith Lowry, to claim the final podium place in 38:29.

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) – 30:41, 2nd Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 31:15, 3rd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 32:27

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) – 36:27, 2nd Julie Turley (Dromore AC) – 36:37, 3rd Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 38:29

Results:  Titanic 10k 2013 Results.  Results are PROVISIONAL only.  Race photographs have been added to our ‘Photo Gallery’.

Keith Shiels and Sara Moore win Gortin 10k:

Runners bring County Tyrone village to a standstill:
On Saturday 20th April 2013, over three hundred athletes descended on the County Tyrone village of Gortin, for the annual Gortin 10k road race.  The event attracts local runners, fun runners and walkers, as well as some of the country’s top athletes.

In good running conditions, an exciting battle between reigning champion Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) and talented Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) ensued.  In the end, it was the Foyle Valley AC runner who pleasantly surprised the awaiting finish line spectators; taking victory in 33:24, just five seconds ahead of Stephen (33:29) who had to settle for 2nd place on this occasion.  Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), a man who has enjoyed several podium places recently, which included the Glenariff Mountain Race and the first race of this year’s Hill & Dale Series (Castlewellan), continued his brilliant run of form, crossing the line in 34:29 to take 3rd place.

In the ladies race, it was a 1-2-3 for Omagh Harriers, with one of the pre-race favourites, Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) producing an excellent performance.  The young Omagh Harriers lady broke the tape in 40:51 to win, and was subsequently followed by her club mates; Mairead McCann (41:51) and Ita Kelly (44:51) in 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

Top 3 Men:  1st Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 33:24, 2nd Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 33:29, 3rd Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 34:29

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) – 40:51, 2nd Mairead McCann (Omagh Harriers) – 41:51, 3rd Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers) – 44:51

Full Results:  Gortin 10k 2013 Results

NI runners take top honours at Cooley Legends Half Marathon:

Maxwell and Alexander win Cooley Legends Half Marathon:
On Saturday 20th April 2013, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to Carlingford, County Louth (Ireland) for the Cooley Legends Half Marathon.  The fourth annual running of the Setanta Triathlon Club organised event attracted participants from as far away as the USA, Germany, Algeria and Hungary.

In breezy but pleasant conditions, the Northern Ireland runners performed well.  Larne AC’s Justin Maxwell showed great composure during the early mountainous stage of the tough 13.1 mile trail course (with approximately 700m of ascending), running shoulder to shoulder with early leader, New Zealand based Irish international triathlete Cathal Reilly (Club Unknown) as the men moved onto an undulating road section at approximately five miles.

At the same point in the ladies race, it was a similar story, with NI international Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) featuring prominently at the front.  As the lead runners approached half-way, Justin’s significant increase of pace had gained him almost 600m on Cathal, who was beginning to look strained.  Karen was looking comfortable and in a favourable position to regain the title she won in 2011. 

As the crowds gathered in Carlingford, creating an atmospheric finish for the runners, it was Justin Maxwell who appeared first.  The Larne AC man crossed the line in 1:23:55 to claim victory, smashing Urgis Korasevs' (Latvia) previous course record of 1:24:40.  Cathal Reilly held on to 2nd place, finishing in 1:27:07 with Shane Lynch (Glenmore AC) taking 3rd place in 1:29:38.

Karen Alexander was the next Northern Ireland based runner home, winning the ladies race in impressive fashion.  The Sperrin Harriers athlete clocked 1:34:01 to take seventh place overall.  Lisa McCabe (Setanta Triathlon Club) finished well, crossing the line in 1:35:23 (2nd place).  In an exciting battle for the final podium place in the female category, previous Cooley Legends Half Marathon winner Jolene Mellon (Setanta Triathlon Club), just edged out Unattached athlete Patricia Sloan (4th place) for 3rd place; with the ladies running 1:45:04 and 1:45:32 respectively.

Newry City Runners duo Neil Garvey and Shane O’Callaghan also had good runs, with Neil recording 1:48:23 (27th place) and Shane 1:55:16 (52nd place). Newcastle AC’s popular mountain running enthusiast Declan McElroy crossed the line in 1:56:13 (54th place), while Colm Murphy (Club Unknown) just missed a sub two hour finish after recording 2:02:56.

Top 3 Men:  1st Justin Maxwell (Larne AC) – 1:23:55, 2nd Cathal Reilly (Club Unknown) – 1:27:07, 3rd Shane Lynch (Glenmore AC) – 1:29:38

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:34:01, 2nd Lisa McCabe (Setanta Triathlon Club) – 1:35:23, 3rd Jolene Mellon (Setanta Triathlon Club) – 1:45:04

Full Results:  Cooley Legends Half Marathon 2013 Results

Weekend Preview:  NI runners look forward to Titanic 10k and VLM:

Northern Ireland runners gear up for Titanic battle:
This weekend, local runners will turn their attention to one of Northern Ireland’s premier road races, the Athletics Northern Ireland organised Titanic 10k in Belfast.  Alongside this, local athletes will compete in Gortin, County Tyrone; Carlingford, County Louth (Ireland) and Inishowen, County Donegal (Ireland) as well as the world renowned Virgin London Marathon.

Action begins on Saturday 20th April 2103, with the Gortin 10k road race in County Tyrone, an event that will attract a mixture of local fun runners and experienced club runners.  Amongst the club runners will be one of Northern Ireland’s top athletes, and previous winner of the event, Stephen Duncan.

Last month, Stephen was forced to pull out of the Omagh Half Marathon after approximately six miles, as he was suffering from illness.  Therefore, should Stephen return to defend his title, he will be determined to do so.  Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) finished as runner up to Stephen at the recent Altamuskin 5, and will be hoping for a similar outcome here.  Having run personal bests over almost every distance this year, Keith is definitely a worthy contender.  Paul Barbour (Unattached) will also play a prominent part in proceeds, as will Omagh Harriers’ Conor Moore and Enniskillen Running Club’s Fergus McGirr. Damien Cox (Omagh Triathlon Club), Pat McCrory (Omagh Harriers), Stephen Cassidy (Unattached) and Chris McGuigan (Omagh Triathlon Club) should all place well.

In the ladies race, Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) will have to fend off a strong challenge from young club mate Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) if she wants to take top spot.  Michelle had a fantastic run at the Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships last week, where she collected a bronze medal to add to her recent Championship medal haul, which includes a silver medal at the NI & Ulster XC Championships earlier this year.  However, up and coming talent Sara also enjoyed success, with a good win in Beragh, where she pipped another of her Omagh Harriers’ club mates, Miread McCann to the post.  Miread will also be one of the top finishers, should she decide to participate.  Ciara Coffey (Unattached) could be surprise entrant, should she enter on the day it will make for an excellent ladies race.  Other top ten finishers will include Rosaleen McCartan (Omagh Triathlon Club) and Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC).

Also on Saturday 20th April 2013, several Northern Ireland runners will travel south to Carlingford, County Louth (Ireland) for the fourth annual running of the Cooley Legends Half Marathon and 10k.  The challenging trail race boasts stunning views over Carlingford Lough and attracts competitors from all over the world.  This year, it is expected that Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Don Travers (Newry City Runners), Justin Maxwell (Larne AC), Shane Lynch (Unattached), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) will be the leading NI based athletes in the field.  Karen, a winner of the event in 2011 will have a good claim on the ladies title, while the Northern Ireland men will be up against two time winner and course record holder Urgis Korasevs (Latvia).

On Sunday 21st April 2013, the main event of the weekend takes place in the fast developing Titantic Quarter, Belfast.  The flat and fast Titanic 10k course, set within the back-drop of the infamous H&W cranes and the new Titanic visitors centre always attracts a top quality field.  Aside from the absence of Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), who is taking on the Virgin London Marathon, this year should be no different.

Newly crowned AAI National 10k Champion, Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) heads the exceptional field.  The London based star has been in excellent form and will therefore prove difficult to beat; however, Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC), Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) and Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) will lead the challenge.  Last years race winner, Joe McAlister was due to take part in last week’s Rotterdam Marathon but was forced to withdraw through injury, but hopefully he will have recovered sufficiently to toe the line on Sunday. Eddie McGinley and Andrew Agnew pushed Stephen Scullion well during the first half of the Queen’s 5k road race a few weeks ago, but dropped off the pace during the latter stages.  Having finished as runner up in this race last year and claiming 3rd place (and the associated bronze medal) at last Sunday’s AAI National Championships, Eddie McGinley will be confident, and should claim another podium finish here.

Scott Rankin and Declan Reed have been enjoying some exciting battles of late, with Scott coming out on top at the Armagh International 5k road race, while Declan had the upper hand more recently at the Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships in Derry/Londonderry last week, where he secured a well-deserved victory ahead of the Foyle Valley AC man.  NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) will finish well up, while Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers), Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC) and the Decathlon 10k title holder, Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers) should also contest the high placings.  Winner of last week’s Sperrin Harriers 5 mile ‘classic’, James Brown (Larne AC) will be in the line-up alongside the likes of Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders), Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers) and Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), who will make a welcome return to competition after several decent parkrun outings.  There will be an interesting dual for the Male Junior title, with Ryan Holt (Willowfield Harriers) set to go up against St Malachys AC’s brilliant Ben Branagh.

The ladies field also boasts a plethora of talent, albeit missing the likes of Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) and Breege Connolly (Northern Belfast Harriers).  Julie Turley (Dromore AC) will return to defend her title, having recently recovered from injury.  The Ireland XC International has been testing her fitness at several low key events and won the Hilltown 10k.

Julie will be joined by Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Judith Lowry (City of Lisburn AC), Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) and Julie Balmer (North Down AC). Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) may make use of the late entry system, and should put in a strong performance should she do so.  Jessica Craig has been training well and seems to be in good form, especially taking into consideration her performance over 1500m at two recent track events, in Bangor and Cork.  Judith Lowry will be one to watch, the International triathlete is a consistently impressive performer when she gets the racing shoes on.  Over shorter distances, the City of Lisburn AC lady will match almost anyone and is capable of smashing her current 10k personal best.

Danielle Fegan is another up and coming star, the young athlete ran well at the Armagh International 3k road race in February and also placed well at the Seeley Cup (Athletics NI 10k Championships) late last year.  A good performance on the day could see Danielle take a podium place.  Julie Balmer has enjoyed success recently, with a notable win at the Decathlon Half Marathon.  The North Down AC lady will be hoping for a good run out and should finish well up the field.  Gillian Burns (Dromore AC), Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC), Ciara Coyle (Sperrin Harriers), Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) and Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) will all finish in or around the top ten.

Also on Sunday, hundreds of Northern Ireland runners will take on the Virgin London Marathon.  The prestigious event, regularly referred to as the biggest, most popular marathon in the world attracts in excess of 35,000 participants each year.

Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) will lead the Northern Ireland competitors, the National Half Marathon and Marathon Champion will be out to improve on his already impressive 2:16:30 personal best, set in Dublin last year.  North Belfast Harriers’ duo Gladys Ganiel O’Neill and Breege Connolly will spearhead the female challenge, with both likely to be aiming for sub 2:38, which will see them reach the Athletics Ireland European Championships standard.

Unfortunately, Ballymena Runners’ Iain Taggart has had to withdraw through injury.  Nat Glenn (Larne AC), Gareth Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Dennis Scott (North Down AC), Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers) and official VLM 3hr pacer Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) will be joined by a host of other Northern Ireland runners, which will include: Peter Fleming (Ballymena Runners), Wayne Morrow (Larne AC), Aidan O’Hagan (Sperrin Harriers), Elizabeth Watt-Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Catriona McCorkell (Lagan Valley AC), Wendy Davis (Lagan Valley AC), Penny Duncan-Lindsay (East Antrim Harriers), Stephen Walker (North Belfast Harriers), Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC), Rodney Agnew (Ballymena Runners), Rachel Farrell (Orangegrove AC), Jacqui Maxwell (Orangegrove AC), Tina Davies (Dromore AC), Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC), Gerry Gribbon (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC),  Linda Craig (Orangegrove AC), John McManus (Larne AC), Susanna Allen (Ballymena Runners), Wille Richmond (Ballymena Runners), Dermot McElhinney (Sperrin Harriers), Darren Warnock (Sperrin Harriers), Raymond Thom (Sperrin Harriers), Gary Ward (Sperrin Harriers), Gary Coleman (Sperrin Harriers), Martin Donaghy (Sperrin Harriers) and Springwell Running Club's Hugh Deighan, Kenny Coulter, Alan McKeeman, Linda Gillen, Robert Crown and Janeen McGregor amongst others.   

NiRunning will of course be tracking the Northern Ireland participants and we will provide as many updates as possible, please follow us on Twitter or Facebook to see these updates on Sunday (Twitter - @NiRunning and Facebook – Northern Ireland Running).

Also on Sunday 21st March 2013, several Northern Ireland based athletes will travel to County Donegal for the Inishowen AC organised Inishowen Half Marathon in Buncrana (Ireland).  Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), a regular competitor in Northern Ireland will be the man to beat in the 13.1 mile event. Gary will be joined on the start line by NI based athletes Richard Shannon (Omagh Harriers), Patrick Hargan (City of Derry AC), Peter Coulter (Ballymena Runners), Michael O’Donaghue (Unattached) and Damien McLaughlin (City of Derry AC).

Northern Ireland’s nine parkrun events will also take place as normal, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.

Hundreds turn out for first 'Super 5' Track & Field event:

Power to the people:
On Thursday 18th April 2013, Lagan Valley AC hosted the first of their Power NI sponsored ‘Super 5’ meetings, which will all be held at the newly refurbished Mary Peters Track in Belfast.  NiRunning’s Track & Field guru John T Glover was the Race Director on the evening, but he also found time to cover the event for us.  His review of the successful evening is below.

If last Saturday was the dress rehearsal then Thursday night saw the real christening of the new Mary Peters Track and not just in terms of the amount of water poured over it from above.  By the time the party was over 300 plus athletes had run, thrown and jumped in the full glow of the dazzlingly bright floodlights.  The use of the lights for this opener was appropriate as the host club Lagan Valley had acquired a last minute sponsor for the five meeting series in the form of Power NI.

Such was the demand to compete that the programme ran well behind schedule despite the efforts or the hard working and extremely wet officials.  First to show their paces were the Mini’s (those who won’t reach 11 years old by September this year) and it took ten races of the night’s total of 42 before the medals could be sorted out.

Cole Johnston provided a very rare sprint victory for Willowfield Harriers while North Down’s Megan Drummond was the best of the girls.  Megan also won the long jump while there was an even rarer horizontal jump victory for the Temperance Harriers (aka Willowfield Harriers), this time from Christian Pollock.  Despite being only 12 years old City of Lisburn’s Grace Hillman is a veteran of these meetings and she put her experience to good use by impressively winning the 100 metres.   Her runner up Anna McCauley went on to win the High Jump and club mate Olivia Savage took the Shot Putt.  Lagan Valley introduced a new name in Fintan Farnan who won the sprint by a clear tenth of a second.   Robbie Armstrong kept the Lisburn AC pattern in winning the High Jump while Ben Gibson followed the footsteps of his dad Paul in winning the Shot. 

By the time the Under 15’s got their chance the sprints had been in progress for over an hour.  Alanna Wilson gave Dromore a chance to celebrate and there was confusion when Michael McGreavy was announced as the winner of the boys sprint.  No it wasn’t the veteran Dromore coach but the younger North Down athlete of the same name.  His club mate Olivia Cumming won the girls Long Jump with City of Lisburn’s Sam Wallace going over 5 metres in the boys.

With the appearance of the Under 17 athletes more well-known and experienced athletes took to the track.  Ballymena’s Lydia Mills continues to show that sister Joanna is not the only family member with talent with a strong win in the 100 metres but she had to give way to the host club’s Zoe Dickson who produced a great personal best of 5.16secs to take gold.  Ikenna Nzewi, last years Ulster Schools bronze medallist, was probably the most impressive sprinter on the night clocking a personal best of 11.69secs in terrible conditions.  Sadly as usual few Senior athletes took advantage of the opportunity to compete.  Lagan Valley took full advantage filling the first three places in the Under 20 girls sprint with Nicole Muirhead taking the honours.  The male juniors provided the judges with the hardest job of the night and although Ryan Neil just got the nod not even the camera could split the Hill brothers, Jonathan and Adam in equal second.  The long jump was the best of the senior events with Richard Tsang, Sean McMahon and Heather Carson all producing very good early season form.

It was well past supper time before the middle distance events got underway at 9.30pm and an hour later before Rachel Gibson crossed the line to win the final event of the night.  In between, big fields were the order of the day (or night) with victory going to Fionn Nagle, Rachel Scott, Ryan Carmichael, Rachel Brown, Patrick McNiff, Laura Gardiner and Emma Laverty in their respective races.  The most exciting victory went to Oisin O’Callaghan who refused to accept that Conal McCambridge’s large lead as they entered the home straight was unassailable.  The proverbial fat lady was just about to break forth in song when the Newry lad bridged the gap with inches to spare.

The second meeting in the series takes place on Thursday2nd May 2013 and it is hoped that by then at least Spring might have made an appearance – summer is too much to hope for.

Report by John T Glover.  Full Results:  Power NI ‘Super 5’ Meet 1 (18/4/13) Results.  Race photograph used above was taken by Bob Given and used with the permission of Lagan Valley AC.

Ian Bailey and Shileen O'Kane win Hill & Dale race in Tollymore:

Excellent turn out for Hill & Dale race:
On Thursday 18th April 2013, well over two hundred athletes took part in the second race of this year’s Newcastle AC organised Hill & Dale Series in Tollymore Forest, just outside Newcastle, County Down.

The course was 5.5 miles in distance, with approximately 900ft of ascending.  In blustery conditions, Mourne Runners' Stephen Cunningham was awarded victory after the first four men accidently went the wrong way.  Stephen was originally fifth but after an enquiry, his time of 39:51 was enough to secure victory.  David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) followed close behind, crossing the line in 40:10 to claim 2nd place, before another Newcastle AC man, Seamus Lynch took the final podium spot in 40:56.

The ladies category followed the same protocol as the opening race of the series, with Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Taryn McCoy (BARF) occupying the top three places.  Shileen, a regular on the podium, sealed a comfortable win in 47:22.  Anne was next home in 49:54 (2nd place), thirteen seconds ahead of Taryn who recorded 50:47 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) – 39:51, 2nd David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 40:10, 3rd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 40:56

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 47:22, 2nd Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) – 49:54, 3rd Taryn McCoy (BARF) – 50:47

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series (Tollymore Forest) 2013 Results

Northern Ireland man achieves podium finish in USA:

NI student runs well at college Track & Field event:

Last weekend (Saturday 13th April 2013), City of Derry AC athlete JP Williamson, a student at Lindsay Wilson College in America, took part in the Cumberland College Invitational Track & Field meeting in Williamsburg, Kentucky, USA.

Competing over 5,000m; JP crossed the line in 15:08.65 to take 3rd place, the race was won by Austin Houchens (Berea) in 15:06.47.  JP will return home to Northern Ireland next month, and is looking participating in several high profile track races over the summer, including the NI & Ulster Championships.

Full Results:  Cumberland Invitational T&F Meet 2013 Results

Update on Northern Ireland runners in Boston:

Update in relation to NI runners who travelled to Boston:
Sometimes events take place that as a ‘source of information’ you feel obliged to report on, even though you are not sure whether or not you are totally comfortable about it.  Tonight (Monday 15th April 2013) the world was forced to witness horrific scenes from the finish line at the Boston Marathon in America, where a number of explosions were detonated.

The finish line clock read 4:09:43 when the first of two blasts shook the finishing area of the 117th Boston Marathon.  Since, it has been announced that at least three people have died and over one hundred and seventy have been injured.  The reason we have decided to publish this report is because several Northern Ireland runners travelled to Boston to take part in the event.  We have also been inundated with requests regarding the safety and well-being of the Northern Ireland competitors/spectators.

As of 10pm on Monday night (15th April 2013) we can confirm that Sean Smith, from Newry; Michael Roberts, from Belfast; and Stephen Purdie, from Bangor are all safe.  Ballymena Runners’ Tom Mills and Eamonn Loughran and their families have also notified friends that they are ok.  At present we have not heard anything about any other NI participants.  However, on Tuesday morning (16th April 2013) RTE News reported that all Irish runners had been accounted for, while the BBC reported that there has been no confirmation of any British casualities. 

We will add any further news that we feel is appropriate.  Our thoughts are with anyone affected by these terrible events.  For more detailed information please visit the BBC and UTV websites as well as local Northern Ireland newspapers

Stephen Scullion is crowned Athletics Ireland National 10k Champion:

NI runners pick up medals at AAI National 10km Championships:
On Sunday 14th April 2013, Northern Ireland runners joined thousands of athletes from all over the world in Phoenix Park, Dublin (Ireland) for the Great Ireland Run 2013, which incorporated the Athletics Ireland National 10k Championships.  

In windy conditions, Northern Ireland man Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) was the impressive winner of the Athletics Ireland National 10k title.  The London based, ex-North Belfast Harriers member, completed the tough course in 30:15.  As Stephen was the first competitor from Ireland/Northern Ireland to finish, he was subsequently crowned National Champion.  A well-deserved award and recognition for his impressive performances of late, which have included an excellent showing at the European Indoor Championships in Sweden and wins at the recent Queen’s 5k and Omagh Half Marathon, where he also set new course records.

This is significant achievement for Northern Ireland running and adds to the other Athletics Ireland National titles which are held by athletes from Northern Ireland, these include Paul Pollock’s (Annadale Striders) AAI National Half Marathon and Marathon titles.  Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) also produced an outstanding performance, the Belfast man claimed another AAI National Championship medal to add to his gold from last year’s XC Championships; he collected the bronze medal on this occasion, after crossing the line in 31:00.

City of Derry AC's James Brown was the next of the local contingent to finish, recording 33:52 (41st place) for the distance.  This was enough to secure a 2nd place finish in the Vet40 category, thus James was awarded the associated silver medal.  Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) clocked 34:35 (52nd place), while Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers) crossed the line in 35:54 (86th place).  East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson completed the course in 36:40 (110th place).

Irish Olympic Marathon runner Linda Byrne (DSD AC) won the women’s AAI National Championship, after crossing the line in 34:24 to finish in 6th place overall.  Recent ladies winner of the Omagh Half Marathon, Anne Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) started the race very well.  The Lifford AC lady was in the lead group in the opening stages, before she dropped off when the leading ladies picked up the pace.  Anne Marie ended up finishing in 5th place in the National Championship standings and 13th place overall, with a time of 37:00.

Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) was the overall winner of the Great Ireland Run, retaining his title in 28:51.  The exciting ladies race was won by Lauren Howarth (Leigh AC) in 33:36, after a tense battle with last year’s champion Gemma Steel (Charnwood AC).

Full Results:  Great Ireland Run, incorporating AAI National 10k Championships 2013 Results

Rising Stars shine at newly refurbished Mary Peters Track:

Young athletes take centre stage at Mary Peters Track:

On Saturday 13th April 2013, Athletics NI welcomed future stars to the newly refurbished Mary Peters Track, Belfast for the ‘Rising Stars’ Track & Field meet.  NiRunning Track & Field contributor John Glover was on hand to take in an exciting day of competition.  His review of the action is below:

After a winter of training under the guidance of some of Athletics NI’s leading coaches the Rising Stars were looking forward to showing off their talent in their ‘summer competition’.   Sadly although the Rising Stars and their coaches turned up, summer declined the invitation.

Despite the conditions, the first competition on the new Mary Peters’ Track proved to be a great success and some impressive early season performances were posted.   With individual medals for each event on offer and trophies for the overall Best Boy and Best Girl the competition was intense.  In the sprints Emma Jane Smyth surprised the former Ulster Schools Minor Champion Mollie Newell by the narrowest of margins winning in 14.02secs in very unfavourable windy conditions.  For the boys Charlie Wright used all his rugby strength to good effect with a clear in 13.14secs.  Not surprisingly, Charlie also came out top in the Long Jump and the Shot Putt just missing 5 metres in the former and producing the only throw over 10 metres.

Honours in the girls events was more widespread with four different winners.  Natasha Morton was nearly a metre clear in the Shot Putt and Indoor overall champion Kate Farrelly took the Long Jump with a 4.26 metre jump.  Of the four events the 800 metres provided the greatest challenge for many of the youngsters who lacked any real middle distance background.   However there were quite significant improvements on the times posted during the time trials early in the winter training sessions.  The average improvement was a remarkable 12.5 seconds with Jack Lewis taking over 30 seconds from his best.  Laura Gardiner and Emma Hutchinson battled it out for individual honours with Laura clocking a very respectable 2:33.57 ahead of Emma’s 2:35.45.  Charlie Wright looked to be on course for a clean sweep as he led in the final stages but Jonny Brattle times his finish to perfection to win in 2:24.77.

It was clear that Charlie was going to take the overall Boy’s title to add to that he achieved indoors at Antrim but he was pushed closely by runner up Jack Lewis with Josh McFarland in third.  The girls title also went to the Antrim winner but Kate Farrelly’s margin of victory was only three points from Emma Hutchinson with Aoife Magee taking bronze.  The meeting also saw the Primary Schools Cross Country Squad take to the track for 1000 metres races with Iveagh Primary schoolgirl Elizabeth Little, a member of Banbridge AC winning the girls event and David Faulkner from Pond Park Primary in Lisburn taking the boys.

There was a very poor turn-out for the Open Senior events on offer with Richard Johnston, Adam Hill, Anna McIlmoyle and Jonny Colhoun all winning what amounted to individual trials.

Full Results:  Rising Stars Track & Field Competition (13/4/13) 2013 Results - Photograph used above was taken from Athletics Northern Ireland website.

Martin Rea achieves podium finish in SDW50 (England):

Northern Ireland ultra-running star competes in England:

On Saturday 13th April 2103, North Belfast Harriers’ long distance specialist, Martin Rea travelled to England for the South Downs Way Ultra.  The 50 mile race, takes competitors along the South Downs National Trail from Worthing to Eastbourne and boasts excellent cross channel views in places.

Up against quality competition and horrendous weather conditions Martin put in an excellent performance, completing the course in a brilliant 7:39:50, enough to secure joint 3rd place after officials were unable to separate him and Reece Ingram (Dorset Doddlers AC).  The race was won by Brighton based ultra-runner Mark Perkins (Club Unknown) in 6:55:49.

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

NI runners represent their Universities at IUAA T&F Championships 2013:

Irish Universities Athletic Association Track & Field Championships 2013:
This weekend, from Friday 12th April to Saturday 13th April 2013, young athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to the Mardyke Arena in Cork, Ireland to represent their Universities at the Irish Universities (and College) Athletic Association Track & Field Championships.

In the 100m, Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Jonathan Browning picked up a bronze medal.  The Queens University of Belfast student clocked 10.55secs (3rd place) for the distance, he was followed by another QUB man, Ben Maze (11.21secs) who finished in 5th place.  The race was won by David Hynes (WIT) in 10.66secs.

Jonathan Browning collected his second bronze medal of the day, after finishing in 3rd place in the 200m final.  The talented NI man crossed the line in 22:24secs in a race won by Dublin City University’s Steven Colvert (21.58secs).  University of Ulster’s John Houston (49.65secs), usually of Ballymena & Antrim AC, just missed out on a podium place, finishing in 4th place in the 400m.  The race was won by UCD’s Mark English in 47.56secs.

Northern Ireland runners placed well in the 1500m final, University of Ulster’s Mark Hoy (3:56.95) and QUB’s Evan Whetsell (3:58.66) finished in 2nd and 3rd place respectively, while QUB captain, James O’Hare (also of Annadale Striders) recorded 4:01.83 to finish in 5th place, in a race won by Dublin City University student Darren McBrearty in 3:55.91.  Paralympic hero Michael McKillop (St Malachy’s AC) was a guest runner in the 5,000m event.  The gold medallist missed out on a medal on this occasion, finishing in 5th place after crossing the line in 15:23.01.  The race was won by talented Irish International John Coughlan (DCU) in 14:29.61.  In the 10,000m final, QUB pair Stephen Prentice (34:01.81) and Michael Fryar (35:14.82) achieved top ten finishes, taking 8th place and 10th place respectively.  Well known John Travers (AIT) won the event in 30:36.46.

Chloe Boomer (University of Ulster) finished in 5th place in the 100m final, after crossing the line in 12.44secs.  Irish lady Stephanie Creamer (DCU) won the race in 11.92secs.  In the 400m, Armagh AC’s Aisling Fegan (University of Ulster) covered the distance in 67.70secs, finishing in 6th place behind race winner Sinead Denny (DIT) who recorded 56.40secs.  In the packed 1500m final, which had no less than fifteen starters, North Down AC lady Jessica Craig (University of Ulster) claimed 5th place in 4:55.73.  Becky Woods (TCD) won the event in 4:43.07.  QUB student and North Down AC member, Rachel Gibson (10:23.67) narrowly missed out on a bronze medal after finishing in 4th place in the 3,000m final.  Aubree Peipmeier (QUB) finished just a third of a second behind Rachel in 5th place, running 10:24.00.  Trinity College Dublin athlete Maria O’Sullivan (10:11.65) was the race winner.

Full Results:  IUAA Track & Field Championships 2013 Results

Gavin Bland and Helen Fines win Silent Valley Mountain Race:

NI runners take on top UK mountain stars in Silent Valley race:
On Saturday 13th April 2013, arguably the biggest event of the weekend took place in Silent Valley, close to Kilkeel in County Down, where the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) welcomed some of the UK’s best mountain runners for the Silent Valley Mountain Race, which is part of the NIMRA Championship as well as the British Championship.

In cold, misty conditions, athletes set off on the 16km journey (including 1,550m of ascent) which would take them through lying snow, across boggy terrain and down rocky and slippy descents.  Despite the tough conditions, which later deteriorated to heavy sleet/rain, Borrowdale AC’s Gavin Bland seemed to make light work of the terrain.  The former Junior and Senior British fell running champion, who is the nephew of mountain running legend Billy Bland covered the course in 1:43:00 to seal a brilliant victory.  

Talented Scottish runner Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC) finished a mere eight seconds behind, crossing the line in 1:43:08 (2nd place), while Rob Jebb (Bingley AC) had to settle for 3rd place.  The former Sky Running champion recorded 1:43:51.  

Mourne Runners’ Stephen Cunninghan (1:48:25) was the first Northern Ireland runner home, which was enough to secure an excellent top ten finish.  Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), winner of the recent Wicklow Way Ultra, was the next local man to finish in 1:51:32 (12th place).  Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) just nipped under the two hour mark, clocking 1:59:15 (35th place) to finish as 3rd place NI runner.

In the ladies race, in-form Helen Fines (Calder Valley Fell Runners) added another win to her increasing list of recent victories, crossing the line as the clock read 2:01:14 to compliment her top spots in Howarth, Ovenden, Black Combe and Mickledon.  Jasmin Paris (Carnethy) followed close behind, claiming the runner up spot in 2:01:49 (2nd place), while her Carnethy club mate Charlotte Morgan took the final podium place in 2:04:36 (3rd place).

Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) was the first Northern Ireland lady to finish in 2:24:18 (21st place), followed by Lagan Valley AC’s Shileen O’Kane (2:27:41) in 22nd place.  Violet Linton (LVO) completed the top three Northern Ireland runners when she finished in 2:35:54 (26th place)

Silent Valley Podium Finishers:
Top 3 Men:  1st Gavin Bland (Borrowdale AC) – 1:43:00, 2nd Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC) – 1:43:08, 3rd Robb Jebb (Bingley AC) – 1:43:51
Top 3 Ladies:  1st Helen Fines (Calder Valley Fell Runners) – 2:01:14, 2nd Jasmin Paris (Carnethy) – 2:01:49, 3rd Charlotte Morgan (Carnethy) – 2:04:36

Top Northern Ireland Finishers:
Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) – 1:48:25, 2nd Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 1:51:32, 3rd Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 1:59:15
Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 2:24:18, 2nd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 2:27:41, 3rd Violet Linton (LVO) – 2:35:54

Full Results:  Silent Valley Mountain Race 2013 Results

Photograph used above was taken from the NIMRA website.  Please visit their website for a full report on the Silent Valley Mountain Race, as well as Race Photographs and Videos.

Shiels and Moore impress in County Tyrone road race:

Beragh Red Knights welcome talented athletes for annual 5m Road Race:
On Saturday 13th April 2013, runners from across the province descended on the County Tyrone village of Beragh for the Beragh Red Knights GAC annual 5 mile road race.

In windy conditions, it was Foyle Valley AC’s Keith Shiels who dealt with the undulating course best.  The talented athlete won comfortably, breaking the tape in 26:13.  Enniskillen Running Club’s Fergus McGirr was the next finisher, crossing the line in 28:10 (2nd place), ahead of last year’s winner Conor Moore (Omagh Harriers) who recorded 29:03 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Omagh Harriers’ exciting prospect Sara Moore, already a Northern Ireland Junior International, retained her title; finishing in 33:36.  Sara’s club mate Miread McCann took 2nd place in 34:11, while Rosaleen McCartan (Omagh Triathlon Club) claimed 3rd place in 37:21.

Top 3 Men:  1st Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 26:13, 2nd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 28:10, 3rd Conor Moore (Omagh Harriers) – 29:03

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) – 33:36, 2nd Miread McCann (Omagh Harriers) – 34:11, 3rd Rosaleen McCartan (Omagh Triathlon Club) – 37:21

Full Results:  Beragh Red Knights 5m Road Race 2013 Results

Travers and Mathers make it a double for Newry City Runners:

Nearly 300 runners take on Castle Ward Challenge:

On Saturday 13th April 2013, athletes from all over Ireland gathered at the scenic National Trust operated Castle Ward Estate, County Down for the second annual running of the Born 2 Run Events organised Castle Ward 10k and Half Marathon Challenge.

Newry City Runners’ Dermot Mathers enjoyed a comfortable victory in the 10k event, crossing the line in 32:27, over two minutes ahead of Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) who recorded 34:45 (2nd place).  Willowfield Harriers’ Matthew Wilson completed the men’s top three after he covered the distance in 35:19 to take 3rd place.

Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC), a lady who has been running well recently, won the ladies race in 41:01.  Mary Meehan (Glaslough Harriers) took 2nd place in 50:36, finishing nineteen seconds ahead of Unattached athlete Helen Murray (50:55) who claimed 3rd place.

In the Half Marathon, Don Travers made it a double for Newry City Runners in the men’s categories.  The Northern Ireland international runner broke the tape in 1:21:01 to win, bettering his runner up position from last year.  Richard Coey (Unattached) followed in 1:26:29 (2nd place), while versatile athlete Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) took 3rd place in 1:27:34.

Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) ran out clear winner in the ladies Half Marathon, the experienced trail runner completed the course in 1:29:57 to take the win, this was enough to secure an excellent fifth place overall.  Lagan Valley AC’s consistent performer, Julie Murphy was the next lady home in 1:38:12 (2nd place), with Seapark AC’s Gillian Cordner (1:41:01) in 3rd place.

10k Podium Finishers:

Top 3 Men:  1st Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 32:27, 2nd Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) – 34:45, 3rd Matthew Wilson (Willowfield Harriers) – 35:19

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) – 41:01, 2nd Mary Meehan (Glaslough Harriers) – 50:36, 3rd Helen Murray (Unattached) – 50:55

Half Marathon Podium Finishers:

Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:21:01, 2nd Richard Coey (Unattached) – 1:26:29, 3rd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:27:34

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:29:57, 2nd Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:38:12, 3rd Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 1:41:01

Full Results:  Castle Ward Challenge 10k Results 2013Castle Ward Half Marathon Results 2013             

*Note* It has been brought to our attention that some of competitors in the 10k race may have accidentally taken a wrong turn, which took approximately 500m off their distance.  This means that some of the final times may not relate to 10k (6.21m).  Organisers rectified the issue immediately and have also managed to identify the affected people, they are now making them aware of the situation.

James Brown and Gemma Turley impress in Sperrin Harriers 'classic':

Sperrin Harriers host annual 5 mile Road Race:

On Saturday 13th April 2013, over one hundred and fifty competitors took part in the well organised Sperrin Harriers 5 mile classic road race in Magherfelt, County Londonderry.

In dry, but windy conditions spectators were indeed treated to a classic, with the men’s race resembling a game of musical chairs.  Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) took control from the start, opening a fifteen second gap on the chasing bunch, which included Paul O’Callaghan (Sperrin Harriers), Delfim Pemintel (Unattached), James Brown (Larne AC) and Matthew McCooke (Ballymena Runners).

As the leaders went through half-way, Paul O’Callaghan and James Brown had moved clear of Delfim Pemintel and Matthew McCooke and looked to be catching the tiring Eddie Cooke.  It was Paul O’Callaghan who made the first move to catch Eddie, and he did so, before taking the lead.  James Brown followed and moved side by side with Paul.

As the athletes turned onto the home stretch, in view of the finish area, James Brown made a strong surge to take the lead.  Unable to match this, Paul O’Callaghan appeared to be settling for second place.  However, a revived Eddie Cooke showed great determination to catch Paul and regained second spot.

James looked powerful and comfortable as he increased his lead, before crossing the line to seal an impressive victory in 27:14.  As Eddie Cooke and Paul O’Callaghan entered the athletics track, Paul produced an excellent finish to once again move into the runner up spot, he held this position and recorded 27:29 (2nd place).  Eddie claimed the final podium place in 27:36 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, pre-race favourite Gemma Turley continued her excellent form, achieving her second race win in six days, and her third podium spot in succession, after a win in last week’s Decathlon 10k and a second place finish in Wednesday’s Bay Road 5k.  The talented Springwell Running Club lady clocked 30:43 to win, finishing just ahead of Denise Toner (Clones AC) who crossed the line in 30:49 to take 2nd place.  North Belfast Harriers’ Cathy McCourt continued her comeback with a solid performance, showing good strength to take 3rd place in 31:19.

Top 3 Men:  1st James Brown (Larne AC) – 27:14, 2nd Paul O’Callaghan (Sperrin Harriers) – 27:29, 3rd Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) – 27:36

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 30:43, 2nd Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 30:49, 3rd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:19.

Full Results:  Sperrin Harriers 5m Classic 2013 Results

McCartan and McGloin clock fastest miles at NiRunning event:

Athletes turn out for an enjoyable night of racing:
On Friday 12th April 2013 we (NiRunning) held a night of mile races at Antrim Stadium, Antrim Forum.  Competitors travelled from all over the province and from the south of Ireland for the opportunity to test themselves over the classic mile distance.

Athletes were placed into groupings that would allow them to compete against runners of a similar ability.  The evening began with a strong performance by Larne AC’s James Robinson, after holding his own in the group, James surged clear in the latter stages to secure a 5:33.20 finish. Young Caitriona McGloin (Balmoral Harriers) clocked 5:42.18 in the same mile.

Phelim McAllister (Larne AC) was a prominent figure in the next mile, along with Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and PJ O’Neill (Unattached), with the trio constantly testing each other before Phelim upped the pace in the final 200m to cross the line in 5:15.10, with Mark finishing in 5:15.46 and PJ in 5:18.05.  Amy McDaid (City of Derry AC) also ran well, recording 5:42.41.

The photo-finish system was put to good use in the battle between Peter Drennan (Ballymena Runners), Stephen McCartan (East Down AC), Peter Fleming (Ballymena Runners) and Wayne Morrow (Larne AC), with all four finishing within two seconds of each other.  Peter Drennan (5:49.39) just nipped across the line ahead of Stephen McCartan (5:49.92), with Peter Fleming (5:50.73) and Wayne Morrow (5:51.40) just behind.  In the final mile of the night, East Down AC’s Neil McCartan made his intentions clear from the off, moving to the front and swiftly making his way through the first 800m.  Brian McHugh (Unattached) made a gallant effort to catch the East Down man but Neil held on to record 4:45.75, with Brian crossing the line in 4:48.80.  

On the compilation of combined results, Neil McCartan’s (East Down AC) time of 4:45.75 proved to be the fastest of the night and he was awarded the top men’s award.  Brian McHugh (Unattached) claimed 2nd place with his 4:48.80 and Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) took the final podium place in 4:58.14.

The ladies category was extremely close, with Caitriona McGloin (Balmoral Harriers) finishing twenty three hundredths of a second ahead of City of Derry AC’s Amy McDaid.  Caitriona recorded 5:42.18, while Amy finished in 5:42.41.  Finn Valley AC’s Shannon McLoughlin (5:58.83) took the bronze medal in 5:58.83

Top 3 Men:  1st Neil McCartan (East Down AC) – 4:45.75, 2nd Brian McHugh (Unattached) – 4:48.80, 3rd Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) – 4:58.14

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Caitriona McGloin (Balmoral Harriers) – 5:42.18, 2nd Amy McDaid (City of Derry AC) – 5:42.41, 3rd Shannon McLaughlin (Finn Valley AC) – 5:58.83

26extreme voucher recipients:  Neil McCartan, Caitriona McGloin, Paul Woodman, Jon Hilditch and Paul Brannigan.

Full Results:  NiRunning Mile (April) 2013 Results - Race photographs (courtesy of Gareth Heron, Mark Ramsey and Desy McGregor) have been added to our 'Photo Gallery'.

*Note* NiRunning would like to thank everyone for their support and for turning out to compete in our event.  We would also like to extend a special word of thanks to all the officials and volunteers who gave up their Friday night to make the event possible.  We would also like to thank 26extreme for providing vouchers for fastest male and female as well as the prize-draw winners.

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

Road, Mountain, Track and Trail…. This weekend brings an excellent choice:
After a busy week of evening races, Northern Ireland running enthusiasts will enjoy a weekend full of tempting treats, with races on all terrains; track, road, mountain and trail to look forward too.

The action begins on Friday 12th April 2013, with the NiRunning Mile taking place at Antrim Stadium (Antrim Forum).  This event, organised by Northern Ireland Running website offers competitors the opportunity to test themselves over the classic mile distance.  Pre-entries include a fantastic mixture of beginners, talented track runners, right through to accomplished ultra-marathon runners and with every ‘mile’ containing athletes of similar ability, each race promises to be an exciting affair.

A quick glance at the start list throws up names such as Irish Masters 1500m Champion Cathal McLaughlin (Foyle Valley AC), Johnny Whann (City of Lisburn AC), Neil McCartan (Newcastle AC), Darragh Crossan (Lifford AC) and North Belfast Harriers’ Alan Ritchie and Travis Todd.  The ladies category will also be a close contest, Amy McDaid (City of Derry AC) should take top spot, leaving speedsters Caitriona McGloin (Balmoral Harriers), Hannah McGowan (City of Derry AC), Bridie Magee (Balmoral Harriers), Shannon McLauglin (Finn Valley AC) and Ciara McKillop (Unattached) to battle it out for the remaining podium places.  Entries will be available on the night from 7pm and there will be prizes for the top three fastest male and female competitors of the night.  There will also be 26extreme race entries/vouchers to give away on the night.

On Saturday 13th April 2013, NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association) will welcome fell runners from all over the UK to Silent Valley Mountain Park, Kilkeel for the Silent Valley Mountain Race.  This is a NIMRA Championship race as well as a British Championship event, meaning that spectators will have the opportunity to watch most of the United Kingdom’s top mountain runners.

Cyclo-Cross enthusiast and top English International Mountain Runner Robb Jebb (Bingley AC) will be one of the pre-race favourites.  The former Sky Running and English Fell Running Champion has won the British Championships twice (2003 and 2006) and with one of his main rivals, Joe Symonds targeting an early season road marathon, Robb will be hoping to better his previous visit to Northern Ireland, which saw him finish in third place at Mourne Peaks in 2011.  Another of the main contenders will be Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC), a talented Scottish runner who beat Robb Jebb at the well-known Carnethy 5 Mountain Race earlier this year.  Finlay has previously won races well known to our Northern Ireland athletes, such as Ben Nevis and Carnethy.  Morgan Donnelly (Borrowdale AC) is another man who is accustomed to podium finishes, the former British Champion (2011) will be hoping to regain his title, starting with a win here.

Tim Ellis (Calder Valley Fell Runners), from Yorkshire in England is in good form, having won the Ashurst Beacon, White Holme Circular and Mickleden Stradle races so far this year, not to mention other notable podium finishes such as a third place finish at the Black Combe race last month, behind speedy International Salomon athlete Ricky Lightfoot and the earlier mentioned Rob Jebb, whom Tim will hope to get the better of on this occasion.  Welsh International mountain runner Matt Roberts (Eryri) will return to fell running this season after spending most of 2012 competing in road and trail races, this included 2hr 30mins marathon in Barcelona (March 2013).  Matt’s climbing ability, coupled with his speed and determination will put him amongst the front runners.

Ben Mounsey (Calder Valley Fell Runners), Tom Addison (Helm Hill AC) and Gavin Bland (Borrowdale AC) will all be there or there abouts, while Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Stevie Cunningham (Mourne Runners) will head the NIMRA contingent.  England based Northern Ireland International Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley Fell Runners) will also finish well up, as will Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) and Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC).

In the ladies race, last year’s British Fell Running Champion Lauren Jeska (Todmordan Harriers) will hope to impress, and going by her recent form she should do just that.  The England International has been competing on the road as well as in the mountains this year, recently she won the Llanelli Waterside Half Marathon, then just six days later she produced an outstanding performance to win the Carding Mill Canter Fell Race, finishing in eighth place overall!  Scottish runner and another former British Fell Running Champion, Jill Mykura (Carnethy) has been racing sparingly over the last few years but there is no way she would have travelled unless she was in good shape.  Helen Fines (Calder Valley Fell Runners) will go into the race high in confidence after starting the season well with wins Howarth, Ovenden, Black Combe and Mickledon.  Helen also enjoyed a decent performance last time she was in Northern Ireland, when she claimed a second place finish at the Mourne Peaks in 2011.

Sarah Ridgway (Mercia) and Scotland based Northern Ireland lady Sharon Trimble (North Belfast Harriers) will also finish high up the field.  Sarah will thrive on the tough conditions, while Sharon has gone from strength to strength in recent years and achieved outstanding success last year when she was crowned the Scottish Ultra Trail Running Champion after winning the prestigious Highland Fling (53 miles) in April 2012.  Jo Waites (Calder Valley Fell Runners), Jasmin Paris (Carnethy) and Helen Berry (Holmfirth) will all run well, as should Northern Ireland ladies Diane Wilson (Unattached), Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC).

Sperrin Harriers will host their ‘5 mile Classic’ road race in Magherafelt on Saturday 13th April 2013, the event, sponsored by Sportique is set on a fast course and will attract some of the provinces fastest athletes.  

Foyle Valley AC will be well represented at the head of the field, with Scott Rankin, Keith Shiels and Pius McIntyre all likely participants.  Scott, a second place finisher in Wednesday’s Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships will prove hard to beat.  However, his talented club mates will push him all the way.  Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), another impressive performer on Wednesday, should also be at the front, alongside ex Sperrin Harriers member Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) who finished as runner up here last year.  Glenn Donnelly (Sperrin Harriers), Delfim Pimentel (Unattached), Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) and Matt Wray (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will all hope for a top ten finish.

In the ladies race, last year’s winner Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) will have a tough task on her hands if she is aiming to retain her crown.  In-form Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) will have her eyes on the title, and with good runs at both the Decathlon 5k and Bay Road 5k, the Springwell RC lady certainly has the credentials to win.  Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) could be another contender, should she enter on the day; her club mate Caroline Miller will also finish well up.  

The race could also provide another opportunity for Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) to ease her way back into competition, the North Belfast Harriers’ star has recently returned after almost a year on the side-lines and may use this as a good tempo session.  Cathy won the Vet35 category at the Bay Road 5k on Wednesday night but her thoughts will be focused on a good workout as opposed to a podium place on this occasion.  Cheryl Cardwell (Sperrin Harriers) and Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) should also place well.

Also on Saturday 13th April 2013, Born 2 Run events will host their second annual Castleward 10k and Half Marathon event, which takes place within the stunning grounds that surround Castleward Mansion.

Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Don Travers (Newry City AC) and Newcastle AC trio Seamus Lynch, David McNeily and David O’Flaherty could be possible front runners.  Brendan was a comfortable winner in the Half Marathon last time around and should return to defend his title, while Don will hope to better his runner up position from last year.  Seamus Lynch has been running well recently, both on the roads and in the mountains; this course will suit him perfectly. David O’Flaherty and David McNeilly were in competition at Thursday night’s Hill & Dale Series opener in Castlewellan Forest, with O’Flaherty just beating his club mate and friend McNeilly to third place.  Should the pair toe the line, David McNeilly will be looking to re-claim the bragging rights.  Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners), Colin Pascoe (Newcastle AC), Michael Cultra (East Down AC) and Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC) will all compete well.

Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) didn’t participate here last year but appears to be a regular at Born 2 Run events elsewhere.  Should she take part, it is more than likely the Northern Ireland International will run out as comfortable winner.  However, she will be willingly chased by the ever improving Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC).  Gillian won the Half Marathon last year and has proved herself as a quality distance runner since, with podium finishes at the Clonakilty Back 2 Back Marathons as well as last weekend’s Connemarathon, where she picked up the silver medal.  Anne Sanford (Lagan Valley AC), Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners), Donna McCusker (Murlough AC), and Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC) will also hope to finish well up the field.

Further afield, students from Northern Ireland will travel to Cork, Ireland for the Irish Universities Athletic Association Track & Field Championships, being held on Friday 12th April and Saturday 13th April 2013 at University College (Cork).  Jessica Craig (University of Ulster/North Down AC) will be one of a number of familiar names on the start list; Jessica will line up in the 1500m.

On Sunday 14th April 2013, Northern Ireland runners are expected to travel to Dublin for the Great Ireland Run, which incorporates the Athletics Ireland National 10k Championships.  The hopes of a Northern Ireland winner will surely rest on the shoulders of recent Omagh Half Marathon and Queen’s 5k record breaker Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), who will travel home for the event.  

Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) has the Virgin London Marathon on the horizon, so it is extremely unlikely that he will feature.  A definite non-starter will be St Malachys AC’s Joe McAlister, as he will be in Holland for the Rotterdam Marathon as part of the Dublin Marathon ‘Marathon Mission’ group, which also includes Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC), a regular competitor in Northern Ireland.

The line-up for the for the Great Ireland Run includes double Olympic Gold Medallist Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopa) who won the event last year in a course record time of 27:49.  Great Britain athlete Gemma Steel (Charnwood AC) will head the ladies line up after the withdrawal of Ireland’s leading lady Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC).  The race will be broadcast live on RTE 2 at 12.55pm.

This weekend, parkrun enthusiasts in County Fermanagh will welcome the addition of Northern Ireland’s ninth parkrun event.  The new FREE 5km time trial will take place at the Fermanagh Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen every Saturday morning at 9.30am, from Saturday 13th April 2013. Aside from this, the provinces other eight parkrun events will also take place as normal, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.

Turtle and Tomlins win as Ballymena Runners dominate local event:

Runners brave wet and windy conditions for charity event:
On Thursday 11th April 2013, runners turned out to support a local charity event organised by Ballymena Academy and Glenn Grant (ChampionChip Ireland), held in memory of two former teachers who sadly passed away.

The 5k race, which took place within the school grounds was dominated by Ballymena Runners.  James Turtle (Ballymena Runners) put in a strong performance to claim a well-deserved victory, crossing the line in 17:46.  Young Jack Neeson (Ballymena Runners) clocked 18:15 to narrowly beat club mate Ben Morrow (3rd place – 18:17) to 2nd place.

Shelley Tumlins (Ballymena Runners) was a comfortable winner in the ladies race, after recording 23:13 to finish over a minute ahead of her Ballymena Runners club mate Lynne McFetridge (24:42) who claimed 2nd place.  Janice White (Fitness First, Ballymena) took 3rd place in 26:16.

Top 3 Men:  1st James Turtle (Ballymena Runners) – 17:46, 2nd Jack Neeson (Ballymena Runners) – 18:15, 3rd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 18:17

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shelley Tomlins (Ballymena Runners) – 23:13, 2nd Lynne McFetridge (Ballymena Runners) – 24:42, 3rd Janice White (Fitness First, Ballymena) – 26:16

Full Results:  Ballymena Academy 5k Race 2013 Results

Allan Bogle and Shileen O'Kane win opening Hill & Dale event:

Hundreds brave wet and windy conditions for Hill & Dale Series opener:
On Thursday 11th April 2013, over two hundred athletes braved the wet and windy conditions to take on the first race in this year’s Newcastle AC organised Hill & Dale Series at Castlewellan Forest, County Down.  The course was 5.5 miles long, with approximately 1,080ft of ascending.

City of Derry AC’s Allan Bogle, recent winner of the Glenariff Mountain Race, once again impressed.  At the head of the field from the off, Allan ran out eventual winner, breaking the tape in 34:51.  Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), a consistently impressive performer over all terrains took 2nd place in 35:02, just ahead of Newcastle AC’s David O’Flaherty (35:07) who claimed the final podium place.

In the ladies race, Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) continued her excellent start to the season with another victory. The experienced international runner claimed top spot in 43:55, well over a minute ahead of her club mate Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC), who secured 2nd place in 45:11.  BARF’s Taryn McCoy, a strong competitor on the trails, crossed the line in 45:31 to complete the top three female finishers.

Top 3 Men:  1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 34:51, 2nd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 35:02, 3rd David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 35:07

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 43:55, 2nd Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) – 45:11, 3rd Taryn McCoy (BARF) – 45:31.

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series (Castlewellan Forest) 2013 Results

Declan Reed and Catherine Whoriskey claim Athletics NI titles:

Athletics NI and NIMAA titles decided at exciting Bay Road 5k:
On Wednesday 10th April 2013, over one hundred and fifty athletes turned out for the first race of the Furey Insurance 5k Series, the fast and flat 'Bay Road 5k' in Derry/Londonderry.

In breezy conditions, a battle between Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) ensued, with the talented pairing matching each other almost stride for stride throughout.  In the end, it was the host club’s Declan Reed who claimed an impressive victory, crossing the line in 15:12 to retain his Athletics NI 5k (Road) and Bay Road 5k title.  Scott Rankin took 2nd place in 15:13, knocking four seconds off his time from last year, while Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC), who had worked hard to catch the leading duo, claimed a well-deserved 3rd place in 15:18.

As expected, the ladies race was an extremely close affair.  Catherine Whorsikey (City of Derry AC) started reservedly but soon upped the pace, after gradually stamping her authority on the race, Catherine broke clear to win in a new personal best time of 18:18, ensuring that both of the top male and female prizes went to the host club.  Gemma Turley continued her excellent form, taking 2nd place in 18:22, with Omagh Harriers’ Michelle Sturm claiming the final podium place in 18:35.

In the men's team standings, City of Derry AC lifted yet another prestigious trophy, matching that of the one they picked up at the NI & Ulster XC Championships earlier in the year.  Declan Reed, Richard Johnston and Gary Slevin were the scoring team members.  In the ladies team prizes, one of the pre-race favourites, Omagh Harriers collected the top prize, with Michelle Sturm, Julie Butler and Sara Moore claiming the important points.  

In the Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Association League, Jonny Graham cemented his top spot in the Vet 35 category.  Despite finishing in 3rd place in the category on the night, Jonny’s 18:03 (31st place) was enough to secure the title.  North Belfast Harriers’ Laurence Johnston (26th place – 17:44) also claimed the Vet 50 prize, while Ray Curran (Ballymena Runners) ensured that the silver medal in the Vet60 category went his way, the popular Ballymena man crossed the line in 19:31 (66th place).  John Glover (Lagan Valley AC) won the Vet65 category in 22:07, which should be enough to see him finish in 2nd place when the final standings are released.

North Belfast Harriers’ Cathy McCourt made a very welcomed return to competition to win the Vet35 category in 19:20 (5th place lady), although not enough to count in the NIMAA standings, this is a significant comeback from one of the Belfast club’s leading ladies.  The ladies Vet40 category came to an interesting conclusion, Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) edged it on the night, finishing in 18:40 (4th place lady), while City of Derry AC’s Jackie McGinley claimed 2nd place in the category after clocking 19:33 (6th place lady) but in the absence of category leader Stephanie Hambling (North Down AC), Jackie will now move into top spot in the final standings as Julie has only completed four races.  In the Vet 50 category, local lady Una Gavin (City of Derry AC) claimed 1st place on the night in 22:47, this should see her overtake Lagan Valley AC’s Ruth Magill at the top of the final table.

Individual Podium Places:
Top 3 Men:  1st Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 15:12, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:13, 3rd Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC) – 15:18
Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) – 18:18, 2nd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 18:22, 3rd Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) – 18:35

Team Podium Places:
Top 3 Men:  1st City of Derry AC ‘A’, 2nd City of Derry AC ‘B’, 3rd Foyle Valley AC
Top 3 Ladies:  1st Omagh Harriers, 2nd City of Derry AC, 3rd Inishowen AC

Full Results:  Bay Road 5k inc Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships 2013 Results

The next race of the Furey Insurance 5k Series will take place on Wednesday 29th May 2013 in Buncrana, County Donegal (Ireland).  Information regarding the final standings of the Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Association (NIMAA) 2012/13 League will be published as soon as the results are confirmed.

Special Preview:  Athletics NI 5k Championships / NI Masters finale:

Furey Insurance Bay Road 5k, incorporating Athletics NI Cahmpionships and NI Masters League finale:
On Wednesday 10th April 2013, athletes from across the province are expected to make their way to the 2013 City of Culture, Derry/Londonderry for the first race in the ‘Furey 5k Series’, the fast and flat Bay Road 5k, which incorporates both the Athletics Northern Ireland 5k (Road) Championships and the final race of the Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Association’s 2012/13 League.

There is a potentially epic battle in store, should Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) all turn out.  Amazingly, all three of the men’s 5k personal bests are within ten seconds of each other and considering only four seconds split Scott and Declan at the Armagh International 5k Road Race in February, it should make for quite a race.  

Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) will hope to get close to the fifteen minute mark, as will City of Derry AC trio Emmett McGinty, Noel Logan and Richard Johnston.  City of Derry AC will be considered as favourites to take the team title considering the strength in depth they will have at the head of the field.  The aforementioned City of Derry AC men will be backed up by Spartan club mates Gary Slevin, Pajo Hamilton, Nick Cassidy and Chris McPeake, all of whom are potential race winners on their given day.  Foyle Valley AC will look to Pius McIntyre, recent winner of the Ballyliffin International Challenge as well as Chris McGuiness and Declan Doherty to bolster their line-up.  Young Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) will also be amongst the front runners.

Despite the spotlight being on the fastest men, the focus will not only be at the front of the pack, but all the way through the field, as this race is the final event in the Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Association League, which means there are important points up for grabs.  Ballymena Runners’ Jonny Graham is the current leader of the Vet35 category and should retain his top spot should he participate.  

Local City of Derry AC athlete Philip Donaghy will have one eye on retaining his second place in the Vet40 category, but the other on catching Beechmount Harriers’ Michael Magee who is only four points ahead.  The Vet60 title is still wide, with only three points separating Christy McMonagle (City of Derry AC), Norman Lellyett (North Down AC) and John Glover (Lagan Valley AC).

The ladies race will also be an exciting contest, with Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC), Alex Kirk (Springwell Running Club), Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers), Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) and Stephanie Hambling (North Down AC) all likely to be in the mix.  Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) may also decide to throw her name into the hat, and based on her performances at the Queen’s 5k road race and the Whitehead 5, the County Antrim based lady will prove difficult to beat should she take part.

Catherine Whoriskey had a fantastic cross country season and also won several of the North West Triathlon Club organised 5k races over the winter, while young Alex Kirk has stepped up to senior level more than adequately, with podium finishes at the NI Civil Service XC as well as the more recent Queen’s 5k where she clocked 18:45 to take second place.  Talented Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers), another lady who enjoyed a successful winter campaign, which included a silver medal at the NI & Ulster XC Championships, will also play a prominent part in proceedings.

Gemma Turley, who enjoyed an excellent performance at last weekend’s Decathlon 10k, which she won in 38:36 will contest a podium place.  Stephanie Hambling (North Down AC) will also be there or there abouts and will also be looking to cement her place as top Vet40 in the NIMAA League.  Other possible contenders will include Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers), Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) and Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers).

The ladies team prize is just as hard to call as the individual race winner, Springwell Running Club and Omagh Harriers should have plenty of high placing athletes, but the always consistent City of Derry AC will no doubt pack well.  Miriam Bridge, Jackie McGinley and Paula McGilloway could all prove pivotal as the host club attempt to claim yet another trophy.

Just like their male counterparts, several ladies will also have hopes of securing their places in the NIMAA League.  Several of the previously mentioned ladies, Stephanie Hambling (North Down AC), Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) and Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) will by vying for the Vet40 title, Stephanie has one hand on it presently, leading Jackie by four points and Julie by nine, but it could all change on the night, depending on who toes the line and who places better.  Local lady, Una Gavin (City of Derry AC) lies just two points behind consistent performer AC Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) in the Vet50 category, making for an interesting finale.

Although pre-entries have now closed, on the day entry is still available (£6/€7).  Registration, late entries and pack collection will be available from 6pm, at race HQ in the University of Ulster Magee Sports Centre, Rock Road, Derry/Londonderry.  The excellent Magee facility is a short jog from the race start on the Riverside Path adjacent to the Sainsburys Car Park on Strand Road.

Important Notice:  NIMRA annouce revised Silent Valley course:

Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association alter Silent Valley course:
Due to snow covering parts of the course, there are some changes to the normal Silent Valley route.  Although there is a gradual thaw, some sections still have significant amounts of drifted snow.  Therefore, the course has been revised to provide better running and safer conditions underfoot.  Please study the course details and note essential information for competitors to help ensure your safety.

After the first checkpoint at the top of Moolieve, the route will cross the Mourne Wall via the gate to the North East at GR 314 220 then go to a checkpoint at Binnian quarry at GR 324 225. The main climb up Binnian is next, to the stile east of the summit at GR 322 233, then on to the checkpoint on the Summit Tor, from here the course is unchanged through to Doan.  However, be aware that there is likely to be deep snow still banked up on the descent to Ben Crom Dam after the checkpoint at the Binnian/Lamagan col.

After Doan, Carn Mountain and Slieve Muck are omitted, so the route descends to a checkpoint at the Hut/Shelter on the north east side of Loughshannagh at GR 297 263, from here the route then follows the Banns Road (a rough track) to a checkpoint where it crosses the Mourne Wall at GR 292 237.  It is likely that the route over Slievenaglogh and back to Silent Valley will be unchanged, but this will be confirmed after a course inspection on Thursday.

1.  The race is taking place under winter conditions, so be prepared with adequate clothing and equipment. With the recent weather, wind chill on the summits has been severe, so dress accordingly.

2.  In addition to the standard clothing/equipment, a hat and gloves are required.  Therefore, all competitors must carry/wear:- waterproof jacket with hood, waterproof over-trousers, hat, gloves, map, compass, whistle and emergency food.

3.  There will be a pre-race briefing at 11.30am beside registration, which all competitors must attend.  Following this, there will be time for runners to warm up before the start at 12 noon.

4.  There will be a kit check for all competitors, adjacent to the start at 11.50 am.

5.  The start will be on the road adjacent to the registration buildings.  The route heads south down the road for approximately 400m, then turns east opposite the exit of the car park and heads up a small path at GR 306 211.  After about 200m, cross the wall at an opening, then heads diagonally north east up across the rough hillside to a stile on the wall up Moolieve at GR 310 215.  This section will be marked, but runners are recommended to take a look at it when warming up. After crossing the stile, climb Moolive on the north side of the wall.

6.  The route from the final checkpoint, at the stile approaching the reservoir, across the dam wall to the finish will be marked, as in 2010.  However, the finish will be close to the registration buildings near the start. Note that this is approximately 150m further on from where the race finished in 2010

Please visit the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association website for full check-point information and any further updates.

North Down AC host outdoor T&F season opener:

NiRunning T&F guru John T Glover reports on North Down AC's 'Open' Meet:

On Tuesday 9th April 2013, North Down AC hosted the first outdoor Track & Field event of the season, at Bangor Sportsplex, Bangor.  Well over one hundred athletes turned out for the event and NiRunning T&F contributor John T Glover was there to see the action unfold.  His review of proceedings is below:

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'

Perhaps TS Eliot did not have a trip to Bangor’s Ballykillaire track in mind when he wrote these words but they are none the less appropriate.  It was absolutely Baltic with a wind from that very region whipping in up Belfast Lough so conditions were far from conducive for good performances.  However that did not deter what must have been a record turn-out for this season’s opener.

The host club let their Fundamentals group get the season underway and Rebecca Webb and Jonny Moore showed good promise for the future.   The locals also provided action from those of a somewhat older vintage with stalwarts like Michael McConkey, Commonweatlh Decathlete Brendan McConville, Kenny Elliott and Peter Glass being joined by a real blast from the past, former sprint ace Roger Sexton.

Elleana Hamilford-Hull was the fastest female on the track clocking 20.98secs in the 150 metres.  Of the 20 other female short sprinters Lagan Valley’s Olivia Bowes and North Down’s Olivia Cumming impressed.  When the distance was doubled Willowfield’s Lois Hagan was a class apart winning in 42.81secs, a time bettered by only four girls last season.  The 600m also saw Willowfield take the honours through Claire Francis while in the distance event of the night Banbridge’s Emma Mitchell just failed to break 11 minutes.

The field eventers probably suffered most from the freezing conditions with the best performance coming from Alex Catherwood who won the High Jump with a 1.55m clearance.

A total of 26 males contested the 150 metres with one of last season’s young 400 metres stars producing the fastest time of the night in 17.22secs. Later in the evening he continued his winning ways with a 37.21secs clocking in the 300 metres. Lagan Valley’s Jack Hanna also produced a sprint double in the Under 17 age group.  Decathlete Peter Glass set up the pace in the 600 metres and club mate Adam McComb took full advantage to win in 1:25.21.  Thirteen runners started the 3000m metres but Annadale’s Owen Carleton was not in any mood for company and was soon striding well clear of the field to win by almost the length of the straight.

The high point of the men’s field events was undoubtedly the 1.90 metres High Jump victory by City of Lisburn’s Adam Hill showing that the 2 metre barrier is shortly to be broken.  North Down’s ‘wunderkind’ Ollie Wakefield just got the better of Adam’s younger brother Jonathan in the long jump.

A busy opening week of the season continues on Friday night with the Festival of Miles at Antrim Forum while on Saturday the new Mary Peters’ Track get a christening with the Rising Stars annual outdoor competition with accompanying Senior open events.

Full Results:  North Down AC 'Open' T&F Meet 2013 Results

Shiels and Stockdale pick up medals at Inter-Area Indoor event:

Northern Ireland runners compete in England and France:
On Sunday 7th April 2013, six Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Association members represented Northern Ireland at the inaugural Inter Area Indoor Track & Field Challenge at the Lee Valley Stadium in Enfield, England.

There were a number of good performances, arguably topped off by Keith Shiels’ (Foyle Valley AC) comfortable win in the Vet35 3,000m event.  Keith clocked 8:59.2 to claim 1st place, well ahead of any challenger.

Helen Stockdale (Clones AC) competed in three events; the Vet35 3,000m, 1500m and 800m races.  Helen crossed the line in 5:25.3 to take 3rd place in the 1500m, a race won by London Heathside AC’s Anna Critchlow (5:03.5).  A time of 11:48.3 saw Helen taken 4th place in the 3,000m which was won by Jo Locker (Walton AC) in 10:19.8.  The Clones AC athlete matched this placing in the 800m event, recording 2:48.7 (4th place).  The 800m race was won by Diana Norman (South Counties Veterans) in 2:24.9.

North Belfast Harriers’ Derek Donaghy took on the 1500m and 3,000m.  The Vet50 athlete performed well in both, running 5:13.8 (5th place) in the 1500m, which was won by South Counties Veterans’ Andy Cunningham (4:32.0).  In the 3,000m race, Derek finished in 11:16.0 (5th place).  Tony Tuohy (Dulwich AC) won the Vet 50 3,000m in 9:43.6.  Another man who took on two track events was Strabane AC’s Seamus McAteer, finishing in 5th place in both the Vet35 60m (8.53secs) and 400m (60.4secs).  These races were won by Marrow AC’s Joshua Wood (7.19secs) and Midland Masters’ Michael Gardiner (51.4secs) respectively.

Manchester based Northern Ireland man, David Priestly (Manchester Harriers) ran 2:28.2 (6th place) in the Vet50 race won by Barnet AC’s Dave Wilcock (2:18.7), while Michael Gilmore (Club Unknown/NIMAA) clocked 11.02secs to finish in 5th place in the Vet70 60m race.  This race was won by Allan Long (Hern Hill AC) in 8.88secs.

Further afield, Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) and Jeremy Dobson (Sperrin Harriers) took on the Paris Marathon on Sunday 7th April 2013.  Adam battled through severe cramps to finish in an excellent 2:49:47, while Jeremy also performed well, crossing the line in 4:00:06.  Congratulations must also be extended to the Murlough AC members who completed the 26.2 mile course.

Full Results:  Inter Area Indoor Track & Field Challenge 2013 Results Paris Marathon 2013 Results

NiRunning Mile:  26extreme add to the prize list!

26extreme add their support to the upcoming NiRunning Mile:
As Friday 12th April 2013 and our latest ‘NiRunning Mile’ approaches, we can announce some good news.  Our friends at 26extreme, the people behind popular Northern Ireland events such as the Mourne Way Marathon and the Causeway Coast Marathon have kindly offered us additional prizes for our event.

As advertised, we (NiRunning) will have awards for the fastest male and female competitors of the night.  Now, we will also be giving away five 26extreme vouchers, which will allow the holder FREE entry into any 26extreme event (up to the value of £30).

There are only a few days until our event, which will be held at Antrim Stadium (Antrim Forum) and although there will be on the night entry available, we would encourage anyone who intends to participate to pre-register by emailing your name, club (if applicable) and estimated mile time to [email protected] as soon as possible.  Race number collection will be from 7pm with the first mile taking place at 7.15pm sharp.

Travers and Turley win Hilltown 10k Road Race:

Well known NI runners take on Hilltown 10k:
On Sunday 7th April 2013, just over one hundred runners took part in the annual Hilltown 10k road race in County Down, organised by local runners in aid of various charities.

In good running conditions, Don Travers (Newry City Runners) performed to his usual high standard; up against a good field the Newry man sealed an excellent victory, crossing the line in 33:43.  Dromore AC star Andrew Hicks took 2nd place in 34:29, with local man Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners) claiming 3rd place in 34:32.

Julie Turley (Dromore AC) made a welcome return to competition with a confident performance, leading the ladies home in 37:36.  Unattached athlete Ciara Coffey, a regular podium finisher of late, continued her brilliant form, taking 2nd place in 40:27.  Dromore AC celebrated another prize-winning performance, as Mary Mackin (44:18) took 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 33:43, 2nd Andrew Hicks (Dromore AC) – 34:29, 3rd Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 34:32

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Julie Turley (Dromore AC) – 37:36, 2nd Ciara Coffey (Unattached) – 40:27, 3rd Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) – 44:18

Full Results:  Hilltown 10k Road Race 2013 Results

Northern Ireland runners achieve podium places in Connemara:

Shields and Cordner pick up prizes as NI runners perform well in Connemara:

At the weekend, a number of Northern Ireland runners made the long journey towards Galway, Ireland for the Connemarathon, which included Half Marathon, Marathon and 39.3 mile Ultra Marathon races on Sunday 7th April 2013. 

The event is based in the Maam Cross area of Connemara and sells out almost every year, with competitors travelling from all over the world to take on the challenging but incredibly scenic course.  The event is renowned for it’s difficult final thirteen miles, twelve of which are uphill, with the closing mile being almost all downhill, which at this stage is just as tough on tired, weary legs.  A constant, swirling wind made conditions all the more difficult.

In the Ultra Marathon (39.3m), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC) led the Northern Ireland contingent home in 5:16:54.  He was followed by North Belfast Harriers’ Robert Irvine (5:29:54) and Marathon Club Ireland’s Barry Shanks (5:43:44) who finished in 25th place and 39th place respectively.  City of Derry AC’s Hannah Shields, a recent podium finisher at the Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon clocked 5:46:05 to take 3rd place in the ladies race.  Ivan Sadlier (Enniskillen Running Club) just missed a sub six hour finish, crossing the line in 6:00:37 (54th place), while Newry Triathlon Club’s Gerard Donnelly recorded 7:07:00 (135th place). 

John Findlay (East Down AC) was the next NI finisher in 7:10:42, before Sperrin Harriers’ Eamon Sheehan (172nd place – 7:37:27) and Orangegrove AC’s Darren Houston (178th place – 7:56:20) completed the course.  The race was won by Keith Whyte (Ennis Track Club) in 4:25:52, while Amy Masner (Parnell AC) took the ladies top prize in 5:32:19.

Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), a regular participant in Northern Ireland events won the Marathon in 2:35:15, while Catherine Hogan (Serpentine AC) won the ladies category in 3:27:26.  The top Northern Ireland based runner was Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC) who finished in 3:36:10 (67th place), just one second ahead of team mate and friend Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), who picked up a brilliant 2nd place in the ladies race after covering the distance in 3:36:11. Springwell Running Club's Nicola Frizelle ran well to finish in 3:43:20 (110th place), before another Seapark AC member, Gary Connolly crossed the line in 3:48:41 (144th place).  John McManus (Larne AC), who is training for the notorious Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa, completed the course in 3:53:51 (171st place), while Carole Bell (Orangegrove AC) finished the Marathon Walk in 7:25:14 (588th place).

In the Half Marathon, Ine McAllister (Glens Runners) nipped under her two hour target, crossing the line in 1:58:04.  The race was won by Matthew Biddell (Galway Harriers) in 1:19:29, with Deirdre Byrne (Unattached) collecting the ladies equivalent in 1:30:11

Full Results:  Connemarathon 2013 Results

Impressive performances in Decathlon HM and 10k races:

Spring sunshine makes for perfect day of racing:
On Sunday 7th April 2013, hundreds of runners gathered at the Decathlon Superstore, Hollywood Exchange, Belfast for the annual Decathlon Half Marathon and 10k road races.

In almost perfect running conditions, it was North Belfast Harriers’ Alan O’Hara who produced the performance of the day.  Straight from the off, the Belfast man who was taking on the Half Marathon, took control of proceedings and led the field, including the 10k participants as they made their way along the long open straights that make up the perimeter of the George Best Belfast City Airport.

At the 10k finish, and half way point in the Half Marathon, the efficient race organisers were preparing for the challenging task of making sure the half marathoners continued and the 10k runners were guided into the finish.  Alan O’Hara was the first runner to appear, as he began his second lap of the two lap 13.1 mile course.  Alan’s North Belfast Harriers club mate Andrew Considine, taking part in the 10k race, came into the finish area a few seconds later, crossing the line in 33:50 to seal a comfortable victory in the 10k race.  David Graham (Unattached) took 2nd place in 34:17, while Larne AC’s Nat Glenn claimed the final podium place in 34:20.

In the ladies 10k, Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) continued her fine run of form, which included a podium finish at the recent Altamuskin 5, recorded 38:36 to win.  Nichola Henderson (Unattached) crossed the line in 40:25 (2nd place), with Amy Sheppard (Cobra Running Club) claiming 3rd place in 44:37.

Just as the final 10k runners were finishing, Alan O’Hara once again entered the large Decathlon parking area and made his way towards the finish.  Alan looked comfortable as he crossed the line in 1:11:38 to win the Half Marathon.  Orangegrove AC’s ever improving Jonny Park sealed an impressive second place finish in 1:17:08, just ahead of Damian Kelly (Club Unknown) who clocked 1:17:34 (3rd place).

Julie Balmer (North Down AC) completed a tough week of training in style, winning the ladies Half Marathon in 1:24:54.  Unattached athlete, Lauren Quee (1:25:58) ran well to take 2nd place, while Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) completed the ladies top three in 1:27:21.

10k Race:
Top 3 Men:  1st Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:50, 2nd David Graham (Unattached) – 34:17, 3rd Nat Glenn (Larne AC) – 34:20
Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 38:36, 2nd Nichola Henderson (Unattached) – 40:25, 3rd Amy Sheppard (Cobra Running Club) – 44:37

Half Marathon Race:
Top 3 Men:  1st Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:11:38, 2nd Johnny Park (Orangegrove AC) – 1:17:08, 3rd Damian Kelly (Club Unknown) – 1:17:34
Top 3 Ladies:  1st Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 1:24:54, 2nd Lauren Quee (Unattached) – 1:25:58, 3rd Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:27:21

Full Results:  Decathlon 10K and Half Marathon 2013 Results (Half Marathon Results are below the 10k Results)

City of Derry AC ladies win AAI National Indoor title:

City of Derry Spartans AC continue to impress:
On Saturday 6th April 2013, a team of four talented U-19 ladies added more silverware to the already bulging City of Derry AC trophy cabinet.

Racing at the Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Relay Championships at the AIT Arena, Athlone (Ireland); Megan Devine, Jenny O’Brien, Ciara Armstrong and Tamara Boyle not only secured the prestigious 4 x 200m national title, but they also re-wrote the record books with a new record breaking time of 1:45.18, which was eighteen seconds quicker than Leevale AC’s record of 1:45.36, set in 2004.

City of Derry AC have proved difficult to beat in the team standings recently, having won the men's NI & Ulster Junior XC title and the Athletics NI Cross Country title, amongst others.  A team from the 2013 City of Culture were due to participate in the Woodies DIY AAI National Road Relay Championships in Raheny Village, Dublin on Sunday 7th April 2013, but they have been withdraw as several of the men are suffering from slight injuries.

Full Results:  Woodies DIY National AAI Indoor Relay Championships 2013 Results

Weekend Preview:  Runners to compete in NI, Ireland and France:

NI runners look forward to events, both at home and abroad:
After a busy holiday weekend, runners from Northern Ireland will once again lace up their racing shoes and make their way to a variety of events this weekend.  These include races in Belfast, Camlough, Hilltown, Dublin, Galway and Paris.

The weekend’s racing begins on Saturday 6th April 2013 with the Camlough 10k road race, organised by Camlough Rovers Football Club, in aid of the Southern Area Hospice Services.  The event also features a 5k fun run and should attract some quality athletes from the surrounding areas.

Don Travers (Newry City Runners) will hope to continue his winning streak, which included a comfortable victory in the Miles 4 Muscles 10k trail race at Kilbroney Forest Park last week.  However, the talented International runner will have to battle it out with Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), who has been just as impressive of late, both on the roads and in the mountains.  Barry Tinnelly (Unattached), Colin Pascoe (Unattached), Damian Mulholland (Newry City Runners), PJ O’Neill (Newry Triathlon Club) and Brendan Savage (Newry City Runners) will also place highly.

Julie Turley (Dromore AC), who has been out through injury recently, may see this local event as the perfect opportunity to test herself prior to stepping back into full training.  Should she participate, Julie will more than likely lead the field.  Ciara Coffey, a talented unattached athlete, will also be a front runner and after an excellent third place finish at the Queen’s 5k road race a few weeks ago, she will be full of confidence.  Local lady Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners) will be another top finisher, while Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC), Mairead Hughes (Club Pulse), Patricia Brown (Newry City Runners) and Patricia Rocks (Newry City Runners) will all hope to challenge for a podium place.

On Sunday 7th April 2013, arguably the highlight of the weekend’s events takes place at Hollywood Exchange, just outside Belfast.  Hundreds of competitors are expected to turn out for the annual Decathlon 10k and Half Marathon races.

In the Half Marathon, Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) will be one of the front runners.  The speedy North Belfast Harriers member has been in exceptional form recently and with a good strong cross country season behind him, which finished with an impressive victory at the NI Civil Service XC event, he looks to be in Pb form.  Alan will be joined on the start line by several late entrants, which could include Stephen McGrory (Annadale Striders) and Stephen Wylie (North Down AC).  

Long serving East Antrim Harriers’ athlete Sam Crawford, a podium finisher at the event last year, could also make an appearance and should be amongst the chasing pack, while Eddie McEntee (Sportsworld AC), Nigel Grier (Dromore Harriers), David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) and Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers) should all challenge for a top ten place.

Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) will return to defend the title she won last year, but she will find it extremely difficult to hold off the challenge of Julie Balmer (North Down AC).  Julie will go into the race as clear favourite and boasts a personal best much quicker than last years winning time.  The chasing ladies may well include winner of the DUNE Half Marathon, Catriona McCorkell (Lagan Valley AC) as well as Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers), Sharon Harvey (Ballymena Harriers), Letita Meenan (Lagan Valley AC) and Janice White (Unattached).

In the 10k race, North Belfast Harriers’ Andrew Considine will play a major part at the front and after finishing in fourth place last year, he’ll be eager to step up into the prizes this time around.  Andrew’s North Belfast Harriers club mate, Brendan Grew, is another definite starter.  Brendan enjoyed an excellent race last weekend in Whitehead, where he clocked 26:57 for five miles; a sign that the Belfast man is fast becoming one to watch. 

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) may enter on the day and if this proves to be the case, the East Down AC man will be a top contender.  Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners), Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) and Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) could also compete, while Phil Wood (Unatatched), Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders), Eoin Mullan (Annadale Striders) and Dennis Scott (North Down AC) will all finish well up the field.

In the ladies category, Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) could line up against Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Stephanie Hambling (North Down AC).  Although all five are strong runners, Claire’s recent form would suggest that she will have the edge.

Also on Sunday 7th April 2013, runners will bring Hilltown Village, County Down to a standstill as they take part in the annual running of the Clonduff GAC organised 10k road race.  The event is used as a major fundraising effort for the Salvation Army and attracts local running enthusiasts and experienced club runners alike.

Andrew Hicks (Dromore AC) will be one top name to toe the line and he could be up against the likes of Andrew McKee (Anandale Stiders), David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Tony Keenan (Unattached) and Sean Bradley (Newry City Runners).  Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC), Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan GAC) and Dromore AC’s Gillian Burns and Diane Wilson should contest the ladies prize, in what will be a close encounter.

City of Derry AC will send a strong team to the Woodies DIY National Road Relay Championships in Raheny, Dublin (Ireland) on Sunday 7th April 2013.  The Championships will attract Ireland’s top clubs, including Raheny Shamrock, Rathfarnham WSAF and Clonliffe Harriers but the Derry/Londonderry men, who have won several team titles in recent months, will compete well.  It is likely that their team will include Declan Reed, Greg Roberts, Emmett McGinty, Conor Bradley, Richard Johnston, Gary Slevin, Paul McCafferty and Nick Cassidy.

Further afield, a number of runners from Northern Ireland will take part in the Connemara Half Marathon, Marathon and 39.3 mile Ultra Marathon on Sunday 7th April 2013.  Competitors from all over the world have entered the popular event, which is based around the incredibly scenic but hilly Maam Cross area of Galway, Ireland.

Alan Ritchie (North Belfast Harriers), Paul McErlain (Sperrin Harriers), Ivan Sadlier (Enniskillen Running Club) and Orangegrove AC trio Thomas Leitch, Darren Moan and Darren Houston will take on the ultra-marathon, while John McManus (Larne AC), who is currently training for the ‘Comrades Ultra’ in South Africa will join Carole Bell (Orangegrove AC), Jim McCann (Unattached) and Seapark AC trio Gillian Cordner, Bobby Irvine and Gary Connolly in the marathon.  

Northern Ireland based runners will also travel to France this weekend, for the Paris Marathon on Sunday 7th April 2013.  North Belfast Harriers’ Adam Boyd will be joined by an incredible, twenty two Murlough AC members as he attempts to produce a 26.2 mile personal best.

Northern Ireland’s eight ‘parkrun’ events will also take place as usual, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.

Re-scheduled AES Larne Half Marathon date announced:

New date set for postponed event:
This evening, Thursday 4th April 2013, Larne Athletic Club have confirmed that the revised date for the AES Larne Half Marathon will be Saturday 8th June 2013.

The event was due to take place on Saturday 23rd March 2013 but was postponed on the basis of PSNI advice, regarding the heavy snow and associated dangerous driving conditions across the province.  The new date was decided after lengthy discussions with the relevant authorities.

Further information will be available on the official Larne Half Marathon website, from tomorrow (Friday 5th April 2013) onwards.

Just over one week until our NiRunning 'Mile' event:

Whats your mile time?  How fast can you run a mile? …… Have you been asked these questions?
On Friday 12th April 2013, we (NiRunning - Northern Ireland Running) will host a night of ‘mile’ races at Antrim Stadium, Antrim Forum.  

As an organisation, we are trying to promote running in Northern Ireland and the achievements and success of runners from Northern Ireland.  As part of our aim we also strive to offer interesting events at reasonable prices.  The 'classic mile' race used to be a popular event at athletics meets worldwide but has been replaced in the most part by the 1500m distance.

After our first ‘mile’ venture, organised in association with world famous website/podcast Marathon Talk in September 2012, we have been inundated with requests about the next event.  

We had hoped that we would be able to provide another FREE event, like the Marathon Talk Magic Mile; but unfortunately this has proved difficult without bringing in a sponsor, so we have to request the small entry fee to cover costs.  Any extra money will go towards further NiRunning events, or will be donated back into running in Northern Ireland through our sponsorship of other local races.

Race number collection will be at 7pm, with the first ‘mile’ commencing at 7.15pm.  The event is open to runners of all abilities.  There will be a £2 entry fee and pre-registration via email would be appreciated (see below for details).  This will allow us to group runners of similar ability into the same races, thus helping everyone achieve their personal goal.  Prizes will be awarded to the fastest male and female of the night and our team of fully qualified time-keepers will be present to make sure every runner’s mile time is recorded

To pre-register, please email your name, club (if applicable) and predicted mile time to [email protected] before Wednesday 10th April 2013.  Payment will be taken on the night when you collect your race number.  An Athletics Northern Ireland (UKA) permit has been obtained for this event.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support.

Brendan Teer successfully defends Leitrim 5 title:

Brendan Teer and Gillian Burns celebrate in County Down:
On Monday 1st April 2013, competitors braved the cold, breezy conditions to take part in the annual Leitrim 5 mile road race, hosted by Newcastle AC.

Last years winner, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) returned to defend his title as expected and ran an excellent race, he crossed the line in 26:45 to secure a well-deserved victory and retain his title.  David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) bettered his third place finish last year, taking 2nd place in 28:13 while Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) wacked over three minutes off his time on the same course last year, this was enough to claim the final podium place in 29:07.

In the ladies race, Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) ran out as comfortable winner, taking top spot in 32:49.  Local lady, Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan GAC) took 2nd place in 34:11, with ever improving East Down AC’s Cheryl Denvir (35:06) in 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 26:45, 2nd David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 28:13, 3rd Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 29:07

Top 3 Ladies:  Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) – 32:49, 2nd Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan GAC) – 34:11, 3rd Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) – 35:06

Full Results:  Leitrim 5m Road Race 2103 Results - Leitrim Fun Run 2013 Results

Travers and Wilson enjoy comfortable wins in Rostrevor:

Northern Ireland runners take part in annual charity event:
On Monday 1st April 2013, athletes from all over Northern Ireland descended on Kilbroney Forest Park, just outside Warrenpoint for the fourth running of the Miles 4 Muscles 10k Challenge.

International long distance runner Don Travers (Newry City Runners) was a comfortable winner in the men’s race, completing the tough, hilly course in 43:43.  Colin Pascoe (Unattached) claimed 2nd place in 45:05, while another unattached athlete, Brian Keenan claimed 3rd place in 45:58.

Dromore AC’s Diane Wilson was the clear winner of the ladies race, crossing the line in 50:02 to finish nearly eight minutes ahead of her closest rival, Anna Welsh (Unattached), who recorded 58:01 (2nd place).  Liz Graham (Unattached) secured 3rd place after crossing the line in 1:00:29.

Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 43:43, 2nd Colin Pascoe (Unattached) – 45:05, 3rd Brian Keenan (Unattached) – 45:58

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 50:02, 2nd Anna Welsh (Unattached) – 58:01, 3rd Liz Graham (Unattached) – 1:00:29

Full Results:  Miles 4 Muscles 10k Trail Race 2013 Results

Shiels and O'Neill celebrate excellent wins in Whitehead:

Athletes turn out for Easter Monday event:
On Monday 1st April 2013, Whitehead Community Association welcomed athletes from across the province to the County Antrim village for their annual Whitehead 5 mile road race.

In cold, windy conditions it was Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) who sealed a notable victory.  The talented Foyle Valley AC man recorded yet another new personal best, winning the race in 25:09.  Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) completed the undulating course in 26:55 to take 2nd place, just ahead of his North Belfast Harriers’ club mate Brendan Grew who clocked 26:57 (3rd place).

Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) continued her build up to the Virgin London Marathon with an excellent performance in the tough conditions. Gladys controlled the ladies race from start to finish, before crossing the line in 27:40 to win.  There was an exciting dual for second place, with in-form Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) just getting the better of the always impressive Judith Lowry (City of Lisburn AC).  Claire ran 29:37 to finish in 2nd place, while Judith took the final podium place in 29:40.

Top 3 Men:  1st Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) - 25:09, 2nd Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) - 26:55, 3rd Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) - 26:57

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) - 27:40, 2nd Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) - 29:37, 3rd Judith Lowry (City of Lisburn AC) - 29:40

Full Results - Whitehead 5m Road Race 2013 Results.  Race photograghs (courtesy of Gareth Heron and Brian O'Neill) have been added to our 'Photo Gallery'.

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