Northern Ireland Running

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Bank Holiday Weekend Preview: Causeway Crossing kicks off proceedings!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alongside the 100k race, there is also a 50k event taking place.  This race will start at Larrybane Head and follow Causeway Coast Way (and route markings) to the turnaround point at Dunluce Castle Car Park.  After turning at Dunluce Castle Car Park, runners will follow the Causeway Coast Way back to Larrybane Head Quarry and the finish.

Noel Brick (Unattached) sealed second place in the 100k here last year and will return, but in the shorter and probably faster, 50k event.  Given Noel's performance over the course in 2013, especially in the early stages, it would be hard to look past him for top spot this time.  However, the fast improving Mark Walker (Unattached), a previous NiRunning 'Runner Profile' and Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series prize winner, will make his ultra running debut as he gears up for a 100k race in Galway in June 2014.  Mark broke the 3hr barrier over marathon distance for the first time in 2013 (Virgin London Marathon) and has kicked off 2014 with high finishes at the Larne Half Marathon and Omagh Half Marathon; he should finish well up here, but he will have to prove himself against some quality endurance athletes if he wants to pick up a prize.  Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC) and Sebastian Carre (Unattached) will also be worth watching.

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

In the 25k event, competitors will start at Dunluce Castle Car Park and follow the Causeway Coast Way to the finish at Larrybane Head Quarry.  Brian Young (Unattached) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) look to be the main contenders here.  Brian Young races sparingly, but never fails to impress whenever he does turn out.  He (Brian) won the Kilclief 10k in February 2014, but it's quite obvious that his heart lies in the off-road events; last summer he picked up several podium places at events such as the East Antrim Harriers Forest Series and the Crawfordsburn 5k Trail Race.  Simon Reeve is another man who continually excels away from the tarmac; after a bad fall at the Race Over the Glens on New Years Day 2014, Simon has shown his class with good performances at the Roe Valley Trail Race, NiRunning Trail Race and the Hill & Dale openers in Castlewellan and Tollymore.  Chirs Collins (East Antrim Harriers) and Forge Harriers athletes Andy Leatham and Peter Grimes will also start.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sonia Knox claims top honours at Springwell RC's Purple Ladies 5k:

Purple Ladies 5k 2014:

On Wednesday 30th April 2014, Springwell Running Club hosted the 2nd annual running of their Purple Ladies 5k road race in Ballymoney (County Antrim).  The ladies only event attracted a record number of athletes, who enjoyed the atmosphere and also the shopping, with several running and health related stalls located within the start and finish area at the Joey Dunlop Centre.

In dull but pleasant conditions, the athletes set off on the 3.1m course, and despite a huge showing from Ballymena Runners, it was the host club's runners who dominated at the head of the pack.  

Springwell Running Club ladies Sonia Knox, Alexandra Kirk, Alison Rankin, Molly Brennan, Linda Gillen were all amongst the leading ladies, alongside Sperrin Harriers' Lorna Sibbett and Northern Ireland (joint) 100m record holder Anna Boyle (Ballymena & Antrim AC).  As the race progressed, Sonia Knox began to move clear of up and coming star Alexandra Kirk, who in turn, was looking a little stronger than fellow Springwell Running Club athlete Alison Rankin.  In the end, it was Sonia Knox who claimed victory; the Portrush parkrun regular broke the tape in a new course record and personal best of 18:41 (1st place). Alexandra Kirk and Alison Rankin followed in 19:20 (2nd place) and 19:33 (3rd place) respectively, before Lorna Sibbett, who took top honours at the recent Shanes Castle 10k, secured 4th place in 20:40.  Molly Brennan completed the top five finishers when she crossed the line in 21:00 (5th place).

Top 5 Ladies:  1st Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club) – 18:41, 2nd Alexandra Kirk (Springwell Running Club) – 19:20, 3rd Alison Rankin (Springwell Running Club) – 19:33, 4th Lorna Sibbett (Sperrin Harriers) – 20:40, 5th Molly Brennan (Springwell Running Club) – 21:00

Full Results:  Purple Ladies 5k Road Race 2014 Results (Photograph used above was taken from the Ballymena Runners facebook page)

Less than a week until NiRunning and BMC host 'Festival of Miles':

Tuesday 6th May 2014 - Festival of Miles:

Next Tuesday (6th April 2014), athletes from all over the UK will descend on Belfast as NiRunning and the British Milers Club (BMC) host their much anticipated 'Festival of Miles' at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the recently renovated Mary Peters Track.

The unique event will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first ever sub four minute mile, run by Roger Bannister on the 6th May 1954.  The exciting race programme will kick off at 7pm and will include mile events for runners of all abilities, after all, EVERYONE needs a mile time!

BMC's Northern Ireland Secretary, John Glover commented, "The British Milers Club is delighted to be working in association with NiRunning in promoting the 'Festival of Miles' to commemorate the 60th anniversary of perhaps the most momentous event in the history of our sport, the breaking of the four minute barrier for the one mile. 

Despite the fact that the athletics world has long since gone metric, the imperial mile still holds a certain magic among runners and although Sir Roger Bannister's magnificent achievement seems to come from another era, the ability to put together four laps taking less than a minute each is still a worthy target and has only been accomplished by thirteen Northern Irish men in the six decades since.  

Interestingly, this year is also the 60th anniversary of the first woman to run under five minutes. This was Britain's Diane Leather just twenty three days after that wonderful night in Oxford in 1954.  The 'Festival of Miles' however, is not about breaking four or five minutes, although we would be delighted if this were to be achieved, rather it is a rare opportunity for everyone to test themselves over the magic mile, 60 years, almost to the hour when history was made." 

NiRunning's Ryan Maxwell echoed John Glover's comments, adding “for us (NiRunning), the NiRunning Mile is something that we have grown from the website's first days.  To watch it grow and now to run it in conjunction with the BMC, whilst celebrating such an important event in the history of running, is an incredibly proud moment for me personally.  I would love to see runners of all abilities come along and make the night one to remember.”

There will be prizes for the three fastest male and female athletes of the night and a generous £100 prize for the first athlete to run a sub 4 minute mile. Refreshments will be available from Cafe Livanto.

Entry Information:

Entry will cost £3; pre-entry is encouraged, please email your Name, Club (if applicable), Date of Birth and Predicted Mile Time to John Glover at [email protected] and then pick up yourrace number on the night (on payment of registration fee); further details or enquires can be sent to the same address or [email protected] 

McCaughey takes University title as local athletes compete outside NI:

Northern Ireland runners compete in Scotland, Spain and America:

As the dust settles on another busy and successful weekend for runners from Northern Ireland, a number of performances, over and above those we have already summarised, have come to light.

Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) became the second Northern Ireland runner to claim University honours in Scotland when he secured the 5,000m title at the Scottish Universities Track & Field Championships on Saturday 26th April 2014; thus replicating the achievements of Lauren Quee (Glasgow University AC), who holds the Scottish Universities XC title.  Up against quality opposition, Conan ran a disciplined race, coming through the field to take a well-deserved victory in 15:16.18 (1st place).

Also on the track:  Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder Amy Foster (City of Derry AC) narrowly missed the Commonwealth Games consideration standard on Saturday 26th April 2014, when she recorded her fastest ever 100m time at the PURE Athletics Invitational Track & Field Meeting in Clermont, Florida (USA) on Saturday 26th April 2014.

The 25 year old athlete was timed at 11.38secs, claiming 2nd place in the final; this time would have been within the Glasgow 2014 qualification mark of 11.45secs, but unfortunately, the wind reading of 2.3m was marginally outside the permitted limit of 2 metres per second.  The race was won by Germany's 200m Indoors Champion, Rebecca Haase, in 11.27secs.  Amy ran her third fastest ever legal time in her heat of 11.50secs which is just 0.01 seconds outside her Northern Ireland 100m record of 11.49secs, which she jointly holds with Anna Boyle. 

Amy commented, "I am so frustrated that once again I have just missed the NI record and a Games place because of the wind reading. However, I know I am in the form of my life and I will be making another attempt in Florida in 2 weeks time. This is certainly the place for fast times provided the wind reading is right!"  Amy finished ahead of Team GB's World bronze relay medallist Hayley Jones who was third in 11.39secs.  The fastest time of the day went to Desiree Henry (USA) with a very windy 11.04secs clocking.

Multi Paralympic Champion Jason Smyth (City of Derry AC) was also racing in Clermont for the first time since setting a World record in the 200m at the World Paralympic Championships in Lyon last July (2013).  The 26 year old Spartan sprinter took 5th place in his final with a time of 10.40secs, where the wind reading of 1.9m was just inside the limit.  Earlier, Jason had recorded 10.49secs in his heat.  Jason's race was won by Germany's Martin Keller in 10.20secs.

The quickest 100m time of the day went to USA's Marvin Bracy who recorded a world class personal best, legal clocking of 10.08secs.  The 20 year old first came to prominence in March 2014, when taking silver behind Team GB's Richard Kilty in the World Indoors 60m in Poland.  

On the roads:  At least two runners from Northern Ireland completed the Great Endinburgh Run in in Scotland on Sunday 27th April 2014.  East Coast AC's John McManus completed the 10 mile course, which started and finished in the well-known Holyrood Park, in 1:00:38, narrowly missing his sub sixty minute target. Another Larne native, Ryan O'Toole (Unattached) kicked off his Dublin Marathon campaign with a 1:37:47 finish time.  Team GB athletes Chris Thompson and Gemma Steel won their respective races, with Chris recording 49:36 and Gemma 56:06.

In Spain, Paul Le Blanc (Newry AC) and Kathryn Walls (Dromore AC) was joined 5,500 fellow athletes on the start line of the Rock 'N' Roll Madrid Half Marathon.  Despite the warm conditions, both put in a strong performances, Paul ran 1:29:13, while Kathryn covered the distance in 1:45:15.  Spanish athletes dominated proceedings, with Jose Manuel winning the men's race in 1:07:59 and Vanessa Veiga-Camesana (1:18:16) taking top honours in the ladies race.

Full Results:  Scottish Universities T&F Championships 2014 ResultsPURE Athletics T&F Invitational Meet 2014 ResultsGreat Scottish (Edinburgh) Run 2014 ResultsRock 'N' Roll Madrid Half Marathon 2014 Results

Please Note – Information for PURE Athletics Invitational Track & Field Meeting and associated interview with Amy Foster was taken from the Athletics NI website.

Ger Copeland and Gillian Cordner win East Antrim Marathon Series event:

Marathon enthusiasts complete East Antrim Marathon Series event:

On Sunday 27th April 2014, twenty seven hardy athletes completed the latest instalment of the East Antrim Marathon Series' 26.2 mile events; on this occasion, the course covered the hilly area around the Knockagh Monument close to Carrickfergus, before finishing in Greenisland.

Respected Irish marathon runner Ger Copeland (Marathon Club Ireland), who is the co-director of a similar Series in the East of Ireland, led the field home in 3:04:33.  Fellow Ireland based athlete, Barry Casserly (Unattached), completed the tough course in 3:07:13 (2nd place), before Geoff Smith (Unattached) sealed 3rd place just under four minutes later in 3:11:07.

In the ladies race, Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) continued her dominance of the Series; the inform Seapark AC athlete was a clear winner, after breaking the tape in 3:30:11 (1st place); before the event, Gillian (pictured left) was presented with a medal by Eimear Hurley (100 Marathon Club) for completing her 50th marathon earlier this month in London. Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) took 2nd place in 3:46:16, while Eimear Hurley (100 Marathon Club) rounded off the ladies podium in 4:47:07 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Ger Copeland (Marathon Club Ireland) – 3:04:33, 2nd Barry Casserly (Unattached) – 3:07:13, 3rd Geoff Smith (Unattached) – 3:11:07

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 3:30:11, 2nd Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) – 3:46:16, 3rd Eimear Hurley (100 Marathon Club) – 4:47:07

Full Results:  East Antrim Marathon Series (Race 3) 2014 Results

Chris McGuinness and Claire McGuigan win WCM 10m road race:

Over 400 hundred athletes take on final WCM 'warm up' race:

On Sunday 27th April 2014, hundreds of athletes took to the streets of Derry/Londonderry for the final 'official' preparation race for the upcoming SSE Walled City Marathon (which takes place on Sunday 2nd June 2014), the Airtricity 10 mile road race, which started and finished in the recently re-developed Ebrington Square.

In humid conditions, it was the ever impressive Foyle Valley AC athlete Chris McGuinness who stole the headlines.  The Lifford 5k winner, who also placed well at the Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships, broke the tape in a new personal best of 55:56 (1st place) for victory.  Rosses AC man Ciaran McGonagle followed in 57:37 (2nd place), before another Foyle Valley AC man, Pius McIntyre continued his return to full fitness with a good 57:40 (3rd place) clocking.

Strabane based Lifford AC runner, Claire McGuigan, a podium finisher at the Omagh Half Marathon, brought that good form into this race.  Claire looked strong and composed as she saw of the challenge of City of Derry AC legend Anne Paul to win the ladies race in 1:05:14 (1st place); Anne took 2nd place in 1:06:18, while Inishowen AC's Nuala Devlin sealed 3rd place in 1:08:26.

Top 3 Men:  1st Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) – 55:56, 2nd Ciaran McGonagle (Rosses AC) – 57:37, 3rd Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) – 57:40

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 1:05:14, 2nd Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 1:06:18, 3rd Nuala Devlin (Inishowen AC) – 1:08:26

Full Results:  Airtricity 10m Road Race 2014 Results

Patrick Hamilton and Breege Connolly secure top honours in Armagh:

Hundreds turn out for annual Run Armagh 10k:

On Sunday 27th April 2014, nearly three hundred runners from across Northern Ireland descended on the city of Armagh for the 6th annual running of the popular Run Armagh 10k; the scenic course takes competitors from the Planetarium onto undulating orchard lined rural roads, before returning to the city centre and the finish line, which is located on the beautiful 'Mall'.

Respected athlete and Physiotherapist, Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders) returned to local competition for the first time since his heroic efforts at the Dublin Marathon (Ireland) in October 2013. 

After running 2:23:37 in the Irish capital, Paddy has been relatively quiet on the racing circuit, but showed his class once again to lead the field home in 31:05 (1st place). North Belfast Harriers' Eamon White, a top ten finisher at Jimmys 10k and the more recent Titanic 10k, followed in 33:07 (2nd place), before reigning Champion Don Travers (Newry City Runners) completed the top three in 34:30 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, there was a surprise late entry from Commonwealth Games (Marathon) qualifier Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers); the international athlete produced an excellent performance to take top honours in 36:39 (1st place). Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) showed the same natural ability that saw her win the Beragh 5m road race last week as she sealed 2nd place in 38:34. Cross Country star Denise Toner (Clones AC) claimed the final place on the ladies podium in 40:53 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men: 1st Patrick Hamilton (Annadale Striders) – 31:05, 2nd Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:07, 3rd Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 34:30

Top 3 Ladies: 1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:39, 2nd Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) – 38:34, 3rd Donna Evans (Clones AC) – 40:53

Full Results:  Run Armagh 10k 2014 Results

Justin Maxwell claims podium spot as NI athletes impress in Scotland:

HOKA Highland Fling 2014:

On Saturday 26th April 2014, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland took part in one of the UK's best known ultra-distance events, the HOKA Highland Fling in Scotland.  

The prestigious event, which incorporated the Scottish Ultra-Running Championships, saw over eight hundred athletes take on a 53 mile section of the stunning West Highland Way from Milngavie to Tyndrum.

East Coast AC's Justin Maxwell produced the performance of the day, working his way through the field as the race progressed, before claiming a well-deserved podium place. The Northern Ireland international, who won the Wicklow Way Ultra last month (March 2014), secured 2nd place after completing the 53 mile route (which incorporates 2,000m of ascent) in 7:46:35.  Titanic 101k winner, Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club) was the next local athlete to complete the gruelling course, recording 8:28:06 for 11th place.

Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Eoin Lennon (Unattached) finished a mere sixteen seconds apart, both looking reasonably fresh as they crossed the line; however, Eoin's chip-time gave him an 8:33:15 (20th place) finish, with Billy's reading in 8:40:02 (19th place).  Respected Newry City Runners athlete Dale Mathers claimed second place in his Vet50 category after running 8:52:09 (24th place), while a happy Phil Hodge (Murlough AC) ran 9:28:02 (45th place). Richard McLernon (Unattached) and Dominic McInerney (Murlough AC) also broke the infamous ten hour barrier, with Richard finishing in 9:43:14 (66th place) and Dominic 9:49:34 (80th place).

Experienced ultra-distance athlete Gerry Kingston (BARF) covered the distance in 10:10:42 (110th place) and was joined in the atmospheric finish area by Newcastle AC's Mark King (129th place – 10:24:52) a short time later.  Aaron Shimmons (BARF) smashed his twelve hour target, when he crossed the line in 10:44:20 (164th place); BARF club mate, Martin Mullan followed in 11:08:08 (211st place).  After a short break in familiar faces, Harry McAlinden (Unattached) clocked 11:32:16 (264th place).  LVO's Declan McGrellis (336th place – 12:14:36) and Springwell Running Club's Andy Deal (348th place – 12:24:18) finished just ahead of the leading Northern Ireland lady, Unattached athlete Patricia McKibbin (355th place - 12:26:48), who finished alongside two other unattached runners, Tim Kerr (353rd place - 12:26:48) and Conor McKibbin (354th place - 12:26:48).  Violet Linton (LVO) joined the trio just under two minutes later, after running 12:28:14 (356th place).  BARF duo Fred Hammond and Dawson Stelfox, and Larne AC's Amy Beggs continued an excellent day for the Northern Ireland contingent, crossing the line in 13:33:53 (476th place), 13:43:54 (490th place) and 13:54:58 (503rd place) respectively, before Paul Burchmore (North Fermanagh RC) completed the NI finishers in 14:30:34 (548th place).

Provisional Results:  HOKA Highland Fling 2014 Results - Note:  The above summary is based on PROVISIONAL results only and will be added to when/if required.

Northern Ireland runners compete at American track events:

NI men Jason Harvey, Andrew Monaghan and Patrick Monaghan race in USA:

This weekend, at least three athletes from Northern Ireland have been in action outside the province, at track events in America.

Crusaders AC man Jason Harvey kicked off his 2014 campaign with a solid outing at the UCSD Triton Invitational Track & Field Meeting in San Deigo, America.  Competing over 200m, Jason, who already holds a Commonwealth Games standard for the 400m hurdles, clocked 22.19secs to secure 4th place.  This was the ninth fastest 200m time recorded at the prestigious meeting, with the fastest time of the day coming from Gregory Veals (Cal St. Los Angeles), the man who won Jason's race.

Lagan Valley AC duo, Patrick Monaghan and Andrew Monaghan were also competing in America, at the much talked about Penn Relays, the largest and oldest Track & Field Meet in USA.  In the 5,000m, Andrew Monaghan secured a massive personal best after crossing the line in 14:35.12 (19th place).  The race was won by Jacob Thomson (Unattached) in 14:18.79.  

In the Men's Distance Medley, which see's a four person team complete legs of 1,200m – 400m – 800m – 1 mile, Patrick clocked 3:07.63 for the opening 1,200m.  His team, which included Dustin James (400m – 48.43secs), Steve Shoto (800m – 1:53.83) and Damian Roszko (1 mile – 4:12.98) finished in 15th place after running a combined time of 10:02.84.  The event was won by Bucknell University in 9:50.10.

Full Results:  UCSD Triton T & F Meeting 2014 Results and Penn Relays 2014 Results

Brendan Teer and Heather Foley excel at Ballynahinch 10k:

Ballynahinch Lions introduce athletes to new course:

On Saturday 26th April 2014, Ballynahinch Lions Club welcomed athletes from across the province to their annual Ballynahinch 10k in County Down. Participants enjoyed a new course, which still took in the scenic Montalto Estate, but avoided the infamous 'steps'. However, competitors still had to negotiate a long gradual uphill section on the new two lap course.

In warm and at times windy conditions, reigning Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) quickly stamped his authority on the race; in truth, the podium finishers in the men's race were evident early on, with the aforementioned Brendan, Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) and Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) opening up a lead on the chasing pack, which included Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders), Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) and John Craig (Orangegrove AC).

In the ladies competition, Heather Foley (Unattached) was looking as dominant as her male counterpart. The talented triathlete was well clear at the half way mark; however, Jennifer Black (Orangegrove AC), Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers), Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) and Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) were all still battling it out for the remaining prize winning places.

As the expectant crowds gathered at the finish line, located at the edge of Montalto Estate, it was Brendan Teer who came into view first, covering the final downhill section quickly to break the tape in 32:42 (1st place). The ever impressive Paul Rowan followed in 33:36 (2nd place), while Barrie Atkinson continued his excellent start to 2014 with another podium place, after recording 34:56 (3rd place).

Heather Foley was rewarded for her classy performance with another win, adding to her notable win at the DUNE Half Marathon last month (March 2014), when she completed the course in 38:09 (2nd place). Jennifer Black claimed the runners up prize in 40:33 (2nd place), before East Down AC's Catherine O'Connor, who finished in second place at Thursday's Hill & Dale race, sealed 3rd place 41:29.

Top 3 Men: 1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 32:42, 2nd Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) – 33:36, 3rd Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 34:56

Top 3 Ladies: 1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 38:09, 2nd Jennifer Black (Orangegrove AC) – 40:33, 3rd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 41:29

Full Results Ballynahinch Lions 10k 2014 Results

Jonny Steede and Diane Wilson win Commedagh Chase:

Mountain runners enjoy Commedagh Chase 2014:

On Saturday 26th April 2014 mountain running enthusiasts from across the province gathered at the Trassey Track in the Mourne Mountains for the second race of the 2014 Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship Series, the Commedagh Chase.  The 13k course took competitors from the Trassey Track towards Hare's Gap and onwards to the summit of Slieve Commedagh, via Slievenaglogh; from there, participants made their way to the finish line via Commedagh ridge, before descending from the style at Slievenaglogh, with route choice to Trassey Track an important factor. 

A front three of Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) looked like the main contenders from the off, moving clear of the field early on.  In what was a close contest, Jonny Steede eventually took charge, claiming an impressive victory in 59:39 (1st place).  Seamus Lynch followed just eighteen seconds later, taking 2nd place in 59:57, while Allan Bogle (3rd place – 1:00:26), who won the recent British Championship fixture in Newcastle (County Down) completed the men's top three just outside the hour mark.

In the ladies race, pre-race favourite Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) showed no fatigue from an excellent win at Thursday's Hill & Dale race in Tollymore as she cruised to victory in 1:15:12 (1st place).  Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), who also raced in Tollymore, bettered her placing there, after sealing the runners up spot in 1:18:19 (2nd place).  Shileen's club mate, Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) crossed the line in 1:27:55 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 59:39, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 59:57, 3rd Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 1:00:26

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 1:15:12, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:18:19, 3rd Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:27:55

Full Results:  Commedagh Chase 2014 Results.  An in-depth race report and photo's from the Commedagh Chase will be available on the NIMRA website soon.

Weekend Preview:  NI athletes set for road, mountain, track and trail...

A plethora of choice for runners in Northern Ireland as another busy weekend approaches:

After a busy Easter Weekend, running enthusiasts from Northern Ireland will continue their relentless pursuit of top performances and personal bests again this coming weekend, with local runners set to participate in events in Ballynahinch, Armagh, Belfast, Newcastle, Carrickfergus/Newtownabbey and Derry/Londonderry. Athletes from Northern Ireland will also race in Scotland and America.

The local action kicks off on Saturday 26th April 2014 in Ballynahinch, where the Ballynahinch Lions Club will host their annual 10k race; this year will see the introduction of a new two lap course, which many will be pleased to know, avoids the infamous 'steps'.

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) will go into the event as strong pre-race favourite.  The East Down AC star was a stand out performer last year, winning convincingly; judging by his recent form, which has saw him win the Leitrim 5 mile road race and the Ballygalget 10k, Brendan is in good shape going into this event.  

However, the former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion will have to see off the likes of Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) and Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) if he wants to take top honours again.  Barrie has enjoyed a fantastic start to 2014, winning the Masters race at the IAAF Antrim International XC and the Addiction NI 10k; the highlight of Barrie's season so far is a new Half Marathon personal best of 1:14:38 in Omagh.  Paul Carroll finished as runner up to Brendan Teer here in 2013, and on his day, Paul is good enough to mix it up at the front.  Despite being relatively quiet on the running scene recently, aside from a few cross country races, one of which was a podium finish at the Moira XC, the Annadale Striders man has been performing well in the duathlon/triathlon world.  Infact, he (Paul) picked up a bronze medal at the Irish Duathlon Championships earlier this month.  Kristopher Wilson (Lagan Valley AC) ran well at the Whitehead 5 mile road race on Easter Monday and should be in or around the top places here, the same could be said for Rotterdam marathoner Sam Crawford (East Antrim AC) and Leitrim 5 podium finisher Martin Wilcox (East Down AC).

Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) may also turn out on the day; having put in a notable display at the Whitehead 5 this week, Julie will be high in confidence and therefore prove hard to beat.  Reigning Champion, Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), should also return, as long as she has recovered from last nights Hill & Dale race.  The Dromore AC lady showed well over the winter, finishing well up the field at the NI & Ulster XC Championships, Race Over the Glens and Moira XC, so she will be eager to get back onto the firmer surfaces.  Nikki Heywood (North Down AC) and Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) will also be worth watching; Nikki's 10k personal best of 44:30 will put her in contention for a podium spot, while Susan impressed in 2013 with a third place finish.  Since then, she (Susan) has established herself as a consistent athlete.  Helen McCartan (East Down AC) and Christine Murray (County Antrim Harriers) will also finish well up the field.

Saturday 26th April 2014 will also bring the second round of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship Series at Slieve Commedagh in the Mourne Mountains. The 13k ‘Commedagh Chase’ will commence at the Trassey Track, where competitors will follow the rocky path to Hare's Gap and onward to the summit of Slieve Commedagh, via Slievenaglogh. Participants will then make their way to the finish line via the Commedagh ridge, before descending from the style at Slievenaglogh, with route choice to Trassey Track an important factor.

Like the Championship opener at Glenariff, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) are expected to be the main contenders here. Jonny took the top spot at Glenariff in March (2014), but will have to show the same kind of form to fend off the strong climbing of Seamus, who took the runners up place at Race 1 of this years Hill & Dale Series in Castlewellan last week.  

David Steele (Newcastle AC) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) claimed second and third place at last nights Hill & Dale Race in Tollymore and will be there or there abouts once again, as long as they have recovered sufficiently. Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) is another who is capable of making the top three, as are Emmet McAlister (Ballymena Runners), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) and William McKee (Mourne Runners), with all expected to be present.

In the ladies race, all the top finishers at Glenariff, apart from Tayrn McCoy (BARF) are expected to run. Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) will go into the race as favourite, but will again have to be on top of her game, with Lagan Valley AC ladies Shileen O'Kane and Hazel McLaughlin likely to be on her tail.  All of the aforementioned ladies have started the Hill & Dale Series well, with Diane winning the first two races, in Castlewellan and Tollymore.  Registration will open from 10am, at Trassey Car Park on Trassey Road, Newcastle (County Down).

Also on Saturday 26th April 2014, up and coming junior athletes from across Northern Ireland will descend on the home of Athletics in Northern Ireland for Round 1 of the Youth Development League, which will also include 100m, 800m and 3,000m Senior events.  Further details on the Youth Development League can be found on the Athletics NI website HERE.

Further afield on Saturday 26th April 2014, in excess of twenty runners from Northern Ireland will take part in the HOKA Highland Fling in Scotland. The event sets off from Milngavie railway station, just north of Glasgow at 6am. Runners will travel in a northerly direction, past Loch Lommond and along the famous West Highland Way to the scenic village of Tyndrum. This event is a 53 mile trail race and incorporates the Scottish Ultra Running Championships.

Amongst those taking part from Northern Ireland are recent Wicklow Way Ultra winner and 26 Extreme Causeway Coast Champion Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), winner of the inaugural Titanic 101k - Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club), Eion Lennon (Unattached) - a podium finisher at the Wicklow Way Ultra, and the experienced Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners). In addition to the aforementioned participants, there will be a large showing from BARF (Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners). Joanne Curran, Dave Evans, Gerry Kingston, Fred Hamond, Andrew McGibbon, John McBride, Martin Mullan, Donal O'Kane, Aaron Shimmons, Dawson Stelfox, Caroline Stout and Jacqui Toal should all represent the Belfast based club.

The ever consistent duo of Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Phil Hodge (Murlough AC) will also make the trip to Scotland; both have impressed in recent long distance events. Billy, who recently completed the Rotterdam Marathon will be keen to get back onto the trails. Violet Linton (LVO) and Amy Beggs (Larne AC) will continue their ultra-marathon journey, as will Dominic McInerney (Murlough AC). Andy Deal (Springwell RC) and Peter Ferris MBE (100 Marathon Club) have also entered this challenging event, as has the in-form Mark King (Newcastle AC); however, having suffered a bad injury from a fall in training we are unsure if he will make the start line.

Over the course of the weekend (Friday 26th – Sunday 28th April 2014), several athletes from Northern Ireland will be in action at the prestigious Penn Relays in America.  Lagan Valley AC's Andrew Monaghan and Patrick Monaghan are scheduled to race and could be joined by the likes of JP Williamson (City of Derry AC), Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) and Ben Branagh (St Malachy's AC).  Interestingly, Ben recently slashed his 5,000m personal best, when he ran 14:47 in San Francisco.  This was an incredible twenty nine seconds quicker than his previous 5,000m best of 15:16.

On Sunday 27th April 2014, athletes from across the province are expected to descend on the historic city of Armagh for the 6th annual running of the Run Armagh 10k road race. The event starts outside the well-known Armagh Planetarium, before taking competitors out of the city and onto orchard lined undulating rural; the runners will then return to the City Centre before finishing on the scenic Mall.

Reigning Champion, Don Travers (Newry City Runners) will return and should start as pre-race favourite. The course should suit the Northern Ireland international, who won in an impressive 33:18 last time.  Last month (March 2014), Don won the opening race in the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the DUNE Half Marathon in 1:17:05; this wasn't a personal best, but a good time considering he spent much of the race alone at the head of the pack.

Brian Young (Unattached), Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) and Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) could well make use of the late entry system and all should fare pretty well if they do.  Brian Young is a regular on the podium whenever he competes, as are Brian McCluskey and Adam Boyd, with Brian having won the Killeavy 10k, while Adam finished as runner up to Stephen Duncan at the Beragh 5 mile road race on Easter Saturday.  Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC), Paul Nesbitt (Unattached) and John McCambridge (St Peter's AC) should also claim top ten finishes.

Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) made a welcome return to action after approximately one year away from competition, at the Beragh 5 mile road race last weekend, and looked as strong as ever as she cruised to victory.  Should the talented athlete enter on the day, she will be in the thick of the action.  Another top lady who may attend is Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC); the Northern Ireland XC star and NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist clocked 1:01:17 over the tough Cara Bundoran 10 mile course last month (March 2014).  If Danielle runs anything close to her 10k best of 37:01, she will finish well up the field, never mind just the ladies race.  Finn Valley AC's Donna Evans, who led the field home in 38:56 in 2014, will also have high hopes, should she start.  The same could be said for Ruth Hill (Unattached) and Denise Toner (Clones AC), as both finished in the top four previously.  Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) and Lorna Murphy (Newry City Runners) will also run well.

Also on Sunday 27th April 2014, City of Derry AC will host the final race in the run up to the Airtricity Walled City Marathon; the Airtricity 10 mile road race will start and finish in the recently developed in Ebrington Square and will cover a mainly flat course, most of which will be along the banks of the River Foyle.

City of Derry AC duo Greg Roberts and Declan Reed will feature at the head of the pack; AAI National Masters XC Champion, Declan has been racing more than Greg in recent months and having put in top performances at the Letterkenny AC Easter Sunday 3k (8:48) and the Airtricity 10k (32:11), he will be hopefully of recording a time somewhere in the region of his current 10 mile personal best, which reads 55:50.  Distance specialist and 2:21:18 marathoner, Greg Roberts should not be ruled out though; he is currently training for the SSE Walled City Marathon and should be in good shape going into this event.

Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Noel Logan (City of Derry AC) and Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) should also play a prominent part in proceedings.  All three have been running well of late, with Chris having recently ran 15:46 at the Bay Road 5k.  Noel Logan was three seconds quicker at the same event, narrowly missing a medal after finishing fourth in 15:43.  Adrian McGowan won the Finn Valley AC 5k last month (March 2014) and ran a 10k personal best of 32:49 at the Airtricity 10k.  Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) has returned from injury well and should be amongst the top finishers, as will his club mate Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC) and Letterkenny AC legend Pauric McKinney.

Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) will be the stand-out favourite in the ladies competition.  The Irish international athlete has really shown her class in the last twelve months, and in the last month alone, she has produced excellent runs at the Titanic 10k (35:16), Airtricity 10k (also 35:16), Queen's 5k (16:15) and the Patsy Kelly 5k (16:38).  All of these were wins for the Strabane based lady, but arguably her best performance was a second place finish, after she ran 16:01 to finish behind Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) at the St Patrick's Day 5k in Dublin.  Ann-Marie's club mate Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) should also start and would be a good choice for a podium finish, which will more than likely be the runners up place, especially when considering that she (Natasha) has finished second Ann-Marie at the Queen's 5k, Titanic 10k and Airtricity 10k.  Another outing worth mentioning for Natasha is a 1:00:44 finish time at the tough Cara Bundoran 10 mile race; it will be interesting to see if the Lifford AC star can dip under the one hour mark here.

City of Derry AC trio Marina Campbell, Sarah Kivelehan and Anne Paul may well battle it out for the remaining podium place.  Marina, who is training for the SSE Walled City Marathon, showed that the big miles aren't having too much of an effect on her leg speed when she won the Letterkenny AC 'Easter Sunday' 3k in 10:55.  Sarah Kivelehan enjoyed several good performances in the North West Triathlon Club 5k Series, while the well-respected Anne Paul has picked up prizes at the Magherafelt Harriers 10k and the Ballymena Belles 5m road race; she (Anne) also ran 1:27:53 at the Omagh Half Marathon.  Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers) could also be a contender for a podium place.

On the same day (Sunday 27th April 2014), endurance enthusiasts will also be catered for by way of the East Antrim Marathon Series 26.2 mile event in Carrickfergus/Newtownabbey.  The tough course will see competitors negotiate the steep climb to Knockagh Monument before finishing at Greenisland Golf Club.  Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC), Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC), Barry Casserly (Club Unknown), Ger Copeland (Unattached), Ali Shaw (Springwell Running Club), Trevor Denton (Springwell Running Club), Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) and Gillian Cordner (Separk AC) are expected to be amongst the front runners.

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

Note – There may be a short delay in the uploading of race summaries and results this weekend.  Our team will have limited internet access (and probably limited phone signal) on Saturday in particular.  However, we will endeavour to keep things updated as much as possible.

David O'Flaherty and Diane Wilson win Hill & Dale Race 2:

Hill & Dale Series 2014 - Tollymore Forest (Race 2):

On Thursday 24th April 2014, close to two hundred and fifty athletes turned out for the second race of this years Hill & Dale Series, hosted by Newcastle AC.  On this occasion, Tollymore Forest Park, just outside Newcastle (County Down), was the venue of choice.

As the athletes set off on the 5 mile route, which incorporated 1,050ft of ascending, it was the winner of Race 1, David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) who set the pace, with David Steele (Newcastle AC), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) and a group containing Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Colm Murtagh (Newcastle AC), Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) all in pursuit. In the ladies race, the three podium finishers from Race 1, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) and Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) were once again looking like the main contenders.

David O'Flaherty stamped his authority on proceedings as the race progressed; the in-form local man, looked in full control as he negotiated the tough course, before breaking the tape in 30:45 (1st place).  David Steele, a third place finisher at the Hill & Dale opener last week in Castlewellan, took 2nd place in 31:04.  Neil Carty also moved up one place from seven days ago, after he crossed the line in 31:12 (3rd place).

The ladies race produced another exciting encounter, panning out just the same as last week.  Interestingly, the talented trio of Diane Wilson, Catherine O'Connor and Shileen O'Kane finished in the same order.  Diane (36:37) edged out Catherine for 1st place, with Catherine following in 36:42 (2nd place) and Shileen completing the top three just over a minute later in 37:46 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 30:45, 2nd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 31:04, 3rd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:12

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 36:37, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 36:42, 3rd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 37:46

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series (Race 2 – Tollymore) 2014 Results

Northern Ireland athletes claim titles in County Donegal:

Donegal Athletics Board Open Track & Field Meet inc Donegal Senior/Masters Championships 2014:

On Tuesday 22nd April 2014, athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to Stranorlar in County Donegal (Ireland) for the Donegal Athletics Board Open Graded Track & Field Meet, which incorporated the County Donegal Senior and Masters Track & Field Championships.

Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Conor McIlveen (Foyle Valley AC), Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) and Robert Bigger (Derry City Track Club) all celebrated gold medal winning performances at the event, which was hosted by Finn Valley AC.

Scott Rankin clocked the fastest 1500m time of the evening, winning Race 3 in a speedy 4:06.69.  This was enough to secure a gold medal for the Foyle Valley AC man, who already has an Athletics NI 5k (Road) silver medal to his name in 2014.  In the same event, Derry City Track Clubs Robert Bigger (4:43.21) also collected a gold medal, after he set the fastest Masters time of the night.  Foyle Valley AC's Conor McIlveen added to his earlier T-37 gold medals in the 200m (29.47secs) and 400m (70.43secs), with top honours in the T-37 1500m in a time of 5:37.09.

The ever impressive Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) continued her good form in County Donegal; having won the Donegal Novice XC title, Sarah (4:55:01) claimed silver in the Senior ladies 1500m, which was won by Teresa McGloin (Finn Valley AC) in 4:39.71.  City of Derry AC's Amy Jackson secured bronze in the Senior category, after taking 3rd place in 4:55.23.  There were also good performances over  1500m by Derry City Track Clubs Darragh Crossan (7th place - 4:32.30), Foyle Valley AC's Declan Doherty (9th place – 4:40.91), Derry City Track Clubs Amy McDaid (5th place lady – 5:09.45) and Foyle Valley AC's Conor Donaghey (14th place – 5:28.81).

Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) followed up his outstanding performance at the recent Irish Universities Track & Field Championships, adding another title to his growing list of achievements.  The Finn Valley AC star, who is set to race at the upcoming NiRunning 'Festival of Miles' event (in association with BMC) covered 400m in 51.84secs to win Race 4; as this was the quickest time of the night, Mark was awarded the prestigious gold medal.  Jack O'Brien (City of Derry AC) and Conor Donaghey (Foyle Valley AC) also ran well over 400m, with Jack's 57.08secs taking 4th place overall and Conor's 60.00secs sealing 5th place overall.  In the Senior ladies category, City of Derry AC's Jenny O'Brien broke the beam in 60.74secs, this was enough to see the up and coming star take 2nd  place and the associated silver medal.  The Senior ladies 400m was won by Joanna Duigan (Carrick on Shannon AC) in 58.96secs.

Full Results:  Donegal Athletics Board Open Track & Field Meet (inc Donegal Senior and Masters Track & Field Championships) 2014 Results

Junior athletes from Newry AC claim team prize at Mount Pleasant 5k:

Northern Ireland athletes enjoy tough Easter Monday 5k:

On Monday 21st April 2014 (Easter Monday), a team of junior athletes from Newry AC were amongst the Northern Ireland competitors who made the short cross border journey to Dundalk (Ireland) for the Mount Pleasant 5k road race, hosted by Mount Pleasant AC.

The challenging 5k course wound it's way out of the the town onto nearby rural roads, where athletes had to battle a headwind and a long uphill section, before reaching the much anticipated finish line.  North Belfast Harriers' Paul Blaney had an excellent run, leading the Northern Ireland contingent home in 16:58 (6th place).  

It was then the turn of the up and coming Newry AC stars to stamp their authority on the race; Oisin O'Callaghan (17:50) took 18th place, while senior athlete and 'pacer' Lee Magennis followed in 19:35 (35th place).  Eoghan O'Callaghan clocked 19:44 (37th place), before Louis Cowan (20:56) and Darragh O'Callaghan (21:29) completed an excellent outing for the Northern Ireland based club, when they sealed the junior team top prize after finishing in 20:56 (57th place) and 21:29 (69th place) respectively.  The race was won by Simon Ryan (Raheny Shamrocks AC) in 15:44.

Full Results:  Mount Pleasant 5k Road Race 2014 Results

Local athletes complete Boston Marathon 2014:

Northern Ireland runners take on Boston Marathon 2014:

On Monday 21st April 2014, at least seven runners from Northern Ireland joined approximately thirty five thousand fellow athletes on the start-line of the Boston Marathon in America.

After the tragic events of 2013, when a number of participants and spectators lost their lives after two explosions were detonated close to the finish line, this years race was emotional for many, but their was resounding defiance amongst participants and spectators, as they supported the event on an even bigger scale than before.

Strabane based athlete, Desmond McShane (Strabane AC) was the first local athlete to negotiate the infamous 'Heartbreak Hill' at 21 miles and cross the Boylston Street finish line in 3:03:34.  

Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC) followed in 3:11:10, while just over one minute separated the man behind the Falls parkrun, Stuart Kennedy (Unattached) and Ballymena Runners' Tom Mills, after they recorded 3:38:25 and 3:39:39 respectively.  Marathon debutant Peter White (Unattached) completed the 26.2 mile route in 4:28:49, before husband and wife Daniel Jack (Unattached) and Eileen Jack (Unattached) finished together in 4:43:28.  American athlete Meb Keflezighi clocked 2:08:37 to take top honours in the men's race, while Rita Jeptoo (Kenya) led the ladies home in 2:18:57.

Locally, runners across the province supported the global #bostonstrong campaign, initiated by the WRC (Women's Running Community); athletes wore printed Boston Marathon race numbers as the completed their runs on Easter Monday, before uploading images to the associated Boston Strong social media page. 

Full Results:  Boston Marathon 2014 Results

Stephen Prentice and Julie Murphy excel at Whitehead 5m road race:

Athletes from across the province enjoy the Whitehead 5m Road Race:

On Monday 21st April 2014 (Easter Monday), over one hundred and fifty athletes brought the seaside town of Whitehead (County Antrim) to a standstill as they took on the annual Whitehead 5 mile road race, organised by the local community association.

In warm conditions, athletes set off on the three lap undulating course; as they came through the Town Centre for the first time, it was East Coast AC's James Brown who led the way, with Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) and Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) in pursuit.  In the ladies race, Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) was looking strong at the head of the pack, with club mate Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) not too far behind.  Larne AC duo Kirsty Sharratt and Patricia Blair followed, with Janice Plumb (East Coast AC) also in contention.

As the crowds gathered to watch the athletes go into the final lap, it was Stephen Prentice who cruised through the Main Street first, James Brown was hot on his tail, with Mark McKinstry, who had caught and passed Eddie Cooke and Keith Purdy, looking composed in third place.  Not much had changed in the ladies race, with Julie Murphy, Ruth Magill, Kirsty Sharratt and Patricia Blair all looking like the main players.

In the final 1.6 mile circuit, James Brown made a last ditch effort to take charge, but Minnowburn 10k winner, Stephen Prentice had enough left to surge back into the lead.  He (Stephen) powered into the finishing straight, before breaking the tape in 26:23 (1st place).  James Brown finished a mere four seconds later in 26:27 (2nd place), while the always impressive Mark McKinstry was rewarded for a disciplined performance, with a 26:55 clocking for 3rd place.  

Gun to tape leader, Julie Murphy claimed a well-deserved victory in the ladies race, crossing the line in 31:44 (1st place); British Masters Athletic Federation XC Champion, Ruth Magill made it a Lagan Valley AC 1-2 in 33:05 (2nd place), while Kirsty Sharratt ran well to finish in 33:14 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders) – 26:23, 2nd James Brown (East Coast AC) – 26:27, 3rd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:55

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 31:44, 2nd Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) – 33:05, 3rd Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) – 33:14

Full Results:  Whitehead 5m Road Race 2014 Results.  There appears to be several discrepancies with the results, organisers have been informed.  Photograph's from the Whitehead 5m Road Race 2014 are available within our 'Photo Gallery'.

Marina Campbell wins as NI athletes claim prizes at Letterkenny 5k:

NI athletes dominate podium at Letterkenny AC's Easter Sunday 5k:

On Sunday 20th April 2014, a number of clubs from Northern Ireland where represented at the annual 'Easter Sunday' Letterkenny 5k road race, hosted by Letterkenny AC in County Donegal (Ireland).

After a close race at the front, the host clubs Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC), a respected Irish international and former Masters 3,000m World Champion, broke the tape in 8:40 (1st place) to win.  Athletics NI 5k (Road) medallists Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) were also amongst the front runners, with Scott eventually getting the edge over Declan to take 2nd place in 8:44; Declan completed the top three in 8:48 (3rd place).  There were also good runs from City of Derry AC men Noel Logan (4th place – 9:05), Conor Doherty (5th place – 9:14), Paul McCafferty (6th place – 9:32) and Kieron Hurley (7th place – 9:35), while Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC) and Daniel Qiugley (North West Triathlon Club) completed the top ten in 9:38 (8th place), 9:47 (9th place) and 9:48 (10th place) respectively.

In the ladies race, Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), who was a third place finisher at the recent Inishowen Half Marathon, secured an impressive victory. The City of Derry AC Spartan cover the course in 10:55 (1st place) to win.  Local lady, Sinead Peoples (Letterkenny AC) took 2nd place in 11:12, before another City of Derry AC athlete, Angeline McShane crossed the line in 11:32 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC) – 8:40, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 8:44, 3rd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 8:48

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC) – 10:55, 2nd Sinead Peoples (Letterkenny AC) – 11:12, 3rd Angeline McShane (City of Derry AC) – 11:32

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

Glenn Phair secures two podium places at Isle of Man Festival:

NI man on form at Festival of Running:

Over the Easter Weekend, Northern Ireland based athlete Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) was in competition at the traditional Isle of Man Running Festival, a three day celebration of sport on the island, which included a 10k road race, a 'Hill Race' and a 5k road race.

On Friday 18th April 2014, the recently crowned Athletics NI 5k (Road) Champion secured the runners up spot in what proved to be a very competitive 10k road race in Port Erin.  Glenn completed the coastal course in 31:17 (2nd place), finishing just three seconds behind race winner Alex Short (Cambridge University), who won in 31:14.

On Saturday 19th April 2014, the action moved inland to the village of Peel, where competitors took on the 'Peel Hill' race, a tough 4 mile route, incorporating two very steep climbs.  Despite not being known for his mountain running exploits, Glenn still performed to his usual high standard, taking 14th place in 21:52. Cambridge University star Alex Short completed an excellent double, winning the race in 20:41.

The final day of the Manx Runners hosted festival (Sunday 20th April 2014) saw athletes complete a 5k 'out and back' course in Douglas.  Glenn once again impressed; probably enjoying the fact that he was back onto a firmer, faster surface, the Annadale Striders man sealed his second podium place of the weekend, after crossing the line in 15:25 (3rd place).  The race was won by Matt Leach (Cambridge University) in 15:19.

Full Results:  Isle of Man Festival of Running 2014 – 10k Results'Peel Hill Race' Results5k Results (Photograph used above was taken from the Isle of Man Festival of Running website)

Brendan Teer and Kerry Speers win Ballygalget 10k:

East Down AC host Ballygalget 10k road race:

On Sunday 20th April 2014 (Easter Sunday), East Down AC welcomed nearly one hundred runners and fitness enthusiasts to the Ballygalget 10k road race, an event well known for it's enjoyable, yet tough course.

Pre-race favourite, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) put in the kind of performance that was expected; having won the Rollercoaster 5k, Albertville 5 and the Leitrim 5, the local athlete had a lot to live up to, but that did not faze him.  Brendan led from the off, gradually increasing his lead before claiming victory in 32:59 (1st place).  North Down AC's Dennis Scott secured 2nd place in 34:25, while triathlete Desi Foley (Unattached) completed the top three in 34:45 (3rd place).

Kerry Speers (North Down AC) produced an excellent performance to take top honours in the ladies race; the respected triathlete looked assured as she cruised to victory in 41:56 (1st place), winning by almost eight minutes.  Claire Scott (Peninsula Triathlon Club) took 2nd place in 49:53, with City of Derry AC's Naomi Morgan following in 50:35 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 32:59, 2nd Dennis Scott (North Down AC) – 34:25, 3rd Desi Foley (Unattached) – 34:45

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Kerry Speers (North Down AC) – 41:56, 2nd Claire Scott (Peninsula Triathlon Club) – 49:53, 3rd Naomi Morgan (City of Derry AC) – 50:35

Full Results:  Ballygalget 10k Road Race 2014 Results

Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) kicks off outdoor season in USA: 

Amy Foster kicks off 2014 outdoor campaign in America:

On Saturday 19th April 2014, Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) opened her 2014 outdoor track campaign in America, where she was in competition at the Tom Jones Invitational Track & Field Meeting at the University of Florida (USA).

After enjoying a successful indoor season, which saw Amy pick up the Woodies DIY AAI National 60m title, the former Commonwealth Games and European Championships athlete began her charge towards this Summers Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Scotland) with an excellent performance.  Racing in the 100m, Amy clocked 11.50secs, which saw her claim 8th place overall; this was 0.01secs away from the Northern Ireland record of 11.49secs and would suggest that the the Northern Ireland and Ireland international has an exciting year ahead. The race was won by Tori Bowie (Pure Athletics) in 11.10secs.

Full Results:  Tom Jones Invitational Track & Field Meeting 2014 Results

Helen Weir takes top spot as NI runners impress in Carlingford:

Cooley Legends Half Marathon (and associated 10k) 2014:

On Saturday 19th April 2014, several Northern Ireland based athletes travelled south to Carlingford in County Louth (Ireland) for the 5th annual running of the Cooley Legends Half Marathon and associated 10k road race, an event that is always popular with local athletes.

The stunning Half Marathon route covers both road and trail and sees competitors negotiate 700m of ascent during the early mountainous section of the course.  Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) was the first familiar face home, the off-road specialist completed the distance in 1:31:52 (4th place), narrowly missing a podium finish.  He (Simon) was followed by Martin Cox (North Belfast Harriers), who recorded 1:42:16 (16th place) to finish just ahead of the leading lady, another North Belfast Harriers athlete, Helen Weir.  Helen was rewarded for a notable performance, sealing top spot in 1:50:59 (1st place).

Cheryl Cardwell (Sperrin Harriers) was the next athlete into view, finishing a mere nine seconds later in 1:51:08 (2nd place lady). St Peter's AC duo Conor Skelton and Eileen Stevenson also ran well, with Conor crossing the line in 1:51:32 (36th place) and Eileen 1:56:03 (4th place lady).  The men's race was won by Shane Toner (North East Runners) in a new course record of 1:23:19; interestingly, the previous record (of 1:23:55) was held by NI man Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC).

Full Results:  Cooley Legends Half Marathon 2014 Results and Cooley Legends 10k 2014 Results

Heather Foley secures top honours at Killeavy 10k:

Killeavy 10k 2014:

On Saturday 19th April 2014, just over one hundred runners braved hot conditions as they took on the Killeavy 10k close to Newry (County Armagh), a well organised event that will be remembered for it's tough but scenic rural course.

North East Runners star, Brian McCluskey showed the same kind of form that saw him record 15:47 for 5k at last weekend's Patsy Kelly 5k in Dundalk; the former Castlewellan Christmas Cracker winner (alongside Gary O'Hanlon) claimed top honours in 35:29 (1st place).  Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), a regular at events in the South Armagh region, recorded 36:53 (2nd place), while Malachy McAteer (North East Runners) followed in 3rd place, having finished in 38:22.

Talented triathlete and runner, Heather Foley (Unattached), was a class above the rest in the ladies race.  The Northern Ireland XC international covered the course in 38:34, which not only secured the ladies title, but saw Heather finish in 5th place overall.  Anne Havern (Newry City Runners), a runner up at the Hilltown 10k two weeks ago, replicated that position here, taking 2nd place in 46:50; Unattached athlete, Lorraine McGinn completed the ladies podium in 48:37 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) – 35:29, 2nd Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) – 36:53, 3rd Malachy McAteer (North East Runners) – 38:22

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 38:34, 2nd Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) – 46:50, 3rd Lorraine McGinn (Unattached) – 48:37

Full Results:  Killeavy 10k Road Race 2014 Results

Northern Ireland athletes dominate podium at Ballyliffin Challenge:

Aaron Doherty (City of Derry AC) and Judi Graham (North Belfast Harriers) excel in County Donegal:

On Saturday 19th April 2014, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland made the short border crossing to County Donegal (Ireland) for the Ballyliffin International 10 mile Coastal Challenge. 

Upwards on eight hundred runners, a record for the race, set off from the centre of Ballyliffin to complete the scenic but challenging 10 mile coastal course, which finished with 1.5 mile run along the beach.  City of Derry AC athletes dominated the men’s race, with Aaron Doherty leading the field along the final beach finishing straight to win in 56:55. Fellow Spartan Allan Bogle, who won the prestigious British Championship Mountain Race in Newcastle (County Down) earlier this month, took 2nd place in 58:08, while James Brown crossed the line in 58:38 for 3rd place. 

Northern Ireland based athletes were also at the fore in the ladies event, with North Belfast Harriers' Judi Graham controlling things from start to finish.  Judi clocked 1:07:38 for the distance, claiming a well-deserved victory. Springwell Running Club had approximately forty athletes at the event and it was two of their ladies who battled it out for the runners up spot. In the end, Alison Rankin held off the challenge of team mate Gemma Turley to take 2nd place in 1:10:05. Gemma completed the podium finishers, taking 3rd place in 1:11:00.

Top 3 Men:  1st Aaron Doherty (City of Derry AC) – 56:55, 2nd Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 58:08, 3rd James Brown (City of Derry AC) – 58:38 

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Judi Graham (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:07:38, 2nd Alison Rankin (Springwell Running Club) – 1:10:05, 3rd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 1:11:00

Full Results:  Ballyliffin International Coastal Challenge 2014 Results - A special mention must go to Kenneth Bacon (Springwell Running Club) for his assistance in the compilation of the above summary.

Stephen Duncan and Patricia O'Hagan win Beragh 5m Road Race:

Patricia O'Hagan returns to competition in style:

On Saturday 19th April 2014, well over three hundred athletes turned out for the annual Beragh 5 mile road race (and associated 5k run), an event hosted by Beragh Red Knights in County Tyrone.

As expected, pre-race favourite, Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) was a dominant figure at the front from the off.  The current NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion looked composed as he cruised to victory in 26:02 (1st place).  North Belfast Harriers' Adam Boyd, winner of the recent Magherafelt Harriers 10k, claimed 2nd place in 27:20, before Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) completed the podium finishers in 28:07 (3rd place).

The ladies race saw the welcomed return to competition of St Peters AC's Patricia O'Hagan.  After almost a year away from racing, Patricia showed the talent that put her amongst the provinces top ladies in 2012/13, as she led the (ladies) field home in 31:36 (1st place).  Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) followed up her win at last weeks Gortin 10k with another prize winning performance; however, this time, Pauline had to settle for 2nd place, after crossing the line in 32:11.  Grainne Kelly (Knockmany Runners) completed the undulating course in 33:13, sealing 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 26:02, 2nd Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) – 27:20, 3rd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 28:07

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) – 31:36, 2nd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 32:11, 3rd Grainne Kelly (Knockmany Runners) – 33:13

Full Results:  Beragh 5m Road Race 2014 Results

Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) claims podium spot in USA:

Northern Ireland athletes impress in America:

On Friday 18th April 2014, athletes from Northern Ireland were in action at the Mt Sac Invitational Track & Field Meeting in Walnut, California (USA).

Newcastle AC's Kerry O'Flaherty produced the performance of the night.  Up against quality opposition in the Elite 3,000m Steeplechase, the multiple Northern Ireland record holder looked strong as she came through the field well, clocking 77 seconds for the final 400m.  This powerful finish was enough to secure 3rd place, and the associated bronze medal in 10:00.27.  Kerry's time was just over fourteen seconds quicker than her season opener two week's ago and bodes well for her upcoming races, the next of which will be in Stanford (USA) in two weeks.  Understandably, Kerry was “delighted” with a performance like this so early in the season and is now looking forward to the aforementioned Stanford race.

The 3,000m Steeplechase race was won by Canadian international Chantelle Groenewould (Speed River TC) in 9:55.94; Chantelle, a Rio 2016 hopeful, is well known for holding the second quickest Canadian 3,000m Steeplechase in history.

Lagan Valley AC men Patrick Monaghan and Andrew Monaghan, both of whom study in America, were also competing.  Both were racing over 1500m; in Race 5, which was won by American Evan Argyle (3:49.18), Andrew ran 3:58.29 (11th place).  In the following race (Race 6), Patrick recorded 3:52.82 to claim 7th place.  This race was won by Justin Kent (British Columbia) in 3:48.04.

Full Results:  Mt Sac Invitational Track & Field Meeting 2014 Results

Weekend Preview:  Local athletes ready for a busy Easter weekend...

Weekend Preview:  Beragh, Ballygalget, Whitehead...

As the Easter festivities descend upon us, athletes from across Northern Ireland will be looking forward to a long Bank Holiday weekend, one that will offer a plethora of choice with regard to running events.  Local races include the Beragh Knights 5 mile road race (and associated 5k), the Ballygalget 10k and the Whitehead 5 mile road race.

Outside the province, we expect local athletes to race at the Letterkenny AC 3k (Ireland), the Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge (Ireland), the Isle of Man Running Festival (Isle of Man), the Boston Marathon (USA) and the Mt Sac Invitational in Los Angeles (USA).

The weekend action kicks off tonight (Friday 18th April 2014), when local Commonwealth Games hopeful Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) will take on a top quality field at the Mt Sac Invitational in Los Angeles (America).  Kerry, who enjoyed a good season opener in Stanford (USA) two weeks ago, where she recorded 10:14.33 for the 3,000m Steeplechase, will be hoping to build on that performance here.

Also on Friday 18th April 2014, newly crowned Athletics NI 5k (Road) Champion Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) will take on the 10k road race at the Isle of Man Running Festival.  The Easter Weekend festival attracts athletes from across the UK (and beyond) and includes the previously mentioned 10k race, as well as a Hill Race (Saturday 20th April 2014) and 5k races (Sunday 21st April 2014).

On Saturday 19th April 2014, the action moves closer to home; to the village of Beragh (County Tyrone) to be exact, where local sports club Beragh Red Knights will host their annual 5 mile road race, and associated 5k run.  Last year (2013), the event attracted close to two hundred competitors, a figure that organisers will be hopeful of matching again this time.

Omagh Harriers’ Stephen Duncan could be the man to watch, the NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion has been at the top of his game since the turn of the year, winning the Altamuskin 5, Carmen 10k and the Enniskillen XC, as well as the aforementioned NI & Ulster Masters AC title.  Alongside this, Stephen clocked 1:09:43 to finish in sixth place at the Omagh Half Marathon, a time that would have won some Half Marathon’s.  However, the talented athlete will have to fend off the challenge of the likes of Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club), Conor Moore (Omagh Harriers) and Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club).  Minnowburn 10k winner, Stephen Prentice, has been in good form.  He (Stephen) clocked 15:36 at the Armagh International in February (2014) and also claimed a top ten finish at the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships.  Last week, Stephen ran 15:53 whilst representing his University (Queen's University) at the Irish Universities Athletic Association Championships in Waterford. 

Another Enniskillen Running Club athlete, Fergus McGirr, will hope to replicate the performance that saw him win the Omagh CBS 10k recently; the respected marathon pacer looks in good shape having come off a strong Winter XC campaign, during which, he picked up a podium place at the Enniskillen XC.  Conor Moore (Omagh Harriers) will also be there or there abouts, he finished as runner up to Stephen Duncan at the Altamuskin 5m road race last month, after recording 28:54 for the distance.  Other men to watch out for will include Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners), Derek Somerville (Omagh Harriers), Martin Cox (North Belfast Harriers), Paul McLaughlin (Sperrin Harriers) and Martin McLaughlin (Omagh Harriers).

In the ladies race, Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) should control things.  After working her way through the ranks in 2013, Pauline has established herself as a notable talent.  Just last week, she secured a well-deserved victory at the Gortin 10k road race.  This followed top quality outings at the Altamuskin 5 and the Carmen 10k.  Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers), Toni Moore (Omagh Harriers) and Mairead McCann (Carmen Runners) should also be amongst the front runners.  Ita Kelly had an excellent run at the Airtricity 10k in Derry/Londonderry last month (March 2014), where she claimed third place; since then, the Omagh Harriers lady has had a good run at the Cara Bundoran 10m road race and the Gortin 10k; last week in Gortin, she (Ita) finished in second place.  Up and coming star Toni Moore is following in the footsteps of her sister, Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers); this was clear to see after the NI junior international star put in a top performance at the Virgin Money Mini-Marathon last Sunday in London (England).   Toni, an Under 15 athlete, covered the 3 mile course in 20:18, thus taking a very credible sixty eighth place in a field which included many athletes much older.  Should she turn out here, Toni will finish well up the field.

Mairead McCann was runner up here in 2013 and despite having a quiet 2014, there is no doubt that Mairead has the quality to be in or around the prize winning places.  The same could be said for Mairead McAleer (Carmen Runners), a top ten finisher at the Carmen 10k in March 2014.  Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners), Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers), Jenny Algar (Carmen Runners), Enda Donnelly (Beragh AC) and Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) should also be in the thick of the action.

Also on Saturday 19th April 2014, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will make the short border crossing to County Donegal (Ireland) for the Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge.  The 10 mile race is popular with local athletes; winner of the recent British Championship Mountain Race in the Mournes, Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) will be joined by Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC) and at least thirty Springwell Running Club members as they all aim for high placings.  Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) may also compete at the event, which takes participants along a scenic but challenging coastal route.

On Sunday 20th April 2014, East Down AC will welcome athletes from all over the province to their annual Ballygalget 10k road race in County Down, an event which should see a good mixture of local exercise enthusiasts and quality club runners take to the start line.

One of the quality club athletes could well be local man, Brendan Teer (East Down AC); the former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion will prove hard to beat if he does start.  After enjoying wins at the Rollercoaster 5k, Albertville 5k, Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k and the Leitrim 5 mile road race, Brendan will be high in confidence and ready for action.  His club mate, Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) could be another man to watch.  Barrie has had a brilliant start to the year, with a win at the IAAF International XC and a new Half Marathon personal best of 1:14:56 at the Larne Half Marathon, which he reduced further (to 1:14:38) at the Omagh Half Marathon seven days later.  Last years winner, Eoin Lennon (Olympian Triathlon Club) could be another athlete with a podium spot in his sights; however, the respected ultra-runner may be up against strong oppostition, in the form of Martin Wilcox (East Down AC), Michael Cultra (East Down AC), Chris Speers (North Down AC) and Chris Davis (East Coast AC).

It is unlikely that reigning ladies Champion, former Commonwealth Games star Ciara Mageean (UCD AC), will return to defend her title.  This will leave the door wide open for a new name on the trophy; the candidates for this honour will more than likely be Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and triathlete Kerry Speers (North Down AC).  Catherine had a good run at last nights Hill & Dale opener in Castlewellan, where she secured a second place finish.  Ballydrain Harriers' Denise Logue finished in second place at Jimmy's 10k, crossing to line in 39:51.  Despite this not being a personal best, it shows that the Northern Ireland Masters XC international is in good shape.  Kerry Speers was runner up last year, but will hope to go one better this time around; if Kerry runs anywhere near her personal best of 40:29, she'll be well up the field overall.  Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC), Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) and Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) will also be considered as contenders.

As the Bank Holiday weekend extends into Monday 21st April 2014 (Easter Monday), that means only one thing, the return of the Whitehead 5 mile road race in County Antrim.  The traditional race, which has been on the fixture calendar for many years, always attracts a quality field.

Amongst those expected to enter on the day are North Belfast Harriers trio Conor Curran, Eddie Cooke and Brendan Grew. All three, on their day, possess the ability to take top honours, especially if you look at their recent performances. After enjoying a good Winter of training, Conor Curran has looked in good form at recent events; the Belfast based athlete ran a new 5k personal best of 16:02 at the Armagh International in February (2014), he then lowered that to 16:01 at the more recent Queen's 5k.  Over the longer distance, Conor claimed a top ten finish at the Larne Half Marathon, after covering the course in 1:15:03.  

Eddie Cooke also appears to be racing well; he has produced notable performances at the Albertville 5, Jimmy's 10k and the Titanic 10k, but the most impressive was arguably a 1:14:52 finish at the Omagh Half Marathon at the end of March (2014).  Waterworks parkrun regular Brendan Grew will also be in the mix; the North Belfast Harriers athlete has already tasted success this term, having won the Dungiven 10k.  He'll be eager to add to that victory here.  Other high finishers could include David Gaham (Unattached), James Brown (East Coast AC), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Stephen Walker (North Belfast Harriers) and Dave Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC).

The ladies competition could bring an exciting battle between three athletes who raced well here in 2013, namely Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers), Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) and Catriona Donaldson (Lagan Valley AC).  Claire has already run 29:53 for 5 miles this year, that was enough to see her finish on the podium alongside Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) and Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) at the Albertville 5 last month (March 2014).  Since then, Claire has wacked a massive seven seconds off her 5k best, having run 18:10 at the Queen's 5k.  Judith Lonnen collected a gold medal at the European Duathlon Championships in Holland last weekend, but the well-respected athlete may return to action here, especially having enjoyed an excellent performance and a podium place last time.  Should Judith enter on the day, she'll definitely be a front runner.  On the subject of 2013, the always impressive Catriona Donaldson (nee McCorkell), narrowly missed a place in the top three, but this is something that she will be keen to fix this time around, and despite racing sparingly this year, the 'Pure Running' lady should not be ruled out.  Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC), Janice Plumb (East Coast AC) and Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) will also run well.

In Ireland, on Sunday 20th April 2014, several Northern Ireland based clubs will be represented at the Letterkenny AC 'Easter Monday' 3k in County Donegal. Amongst those with podium places in their sights will be Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) and City of Derry AC men Gary Slevin, Colin Roberts and Paul McCafferty.  Strabane based Irish international, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC), may also race.

Further afield, on Monday 21st April 2014, at least five Northern Ireland runners will join tens of thousands of runners at the Boston Marathon in America. The race, which is one of the 'marathon majors' (alongside London, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago and New York) will always be remembered for the horrific events of 2013.  Many athletes who ran last year will return, which should create good camaraderie and a defiant atmosphere, if not tinged with sadness for those who lost their lives at the finish line twelve months ago.  Tom Mills (Ballymena Runners), Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC), Desmond McShane (Strabane AC), Stephen Toal (Armagh AC), Eileen Jack (Unattached) and Daniel Jack (Unattached) will all toe the line, and we (NiRunning) would like to wish them well.

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

David O'Flaherty and Diane Wilson excel at Hill & Dale opener:

Newcastle AC men dominate Hill & Dale opener:

On Thursday 17th April 2014, Newcastle AC welcomed athletes to the scenic Castlewellan Forest Park in County Down for the opening race of their popular Hill & Dale Series.

As the athletes set off on the 5 mile course (which incorporated 900ft of ascending), it was Newcastle AC's Seamus Lynch who headed the pack.  However, before long, Seamus was joined at the front by club mate David O'Flaherty. The duo battled it out for top spot as a group containing Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), David Steele (Newcastle AC) and Paul Carlin (Newcastle AC) gave chase.  As the race progressed, David O'Flaherty began to move clear of Seamus Lynch; not looking back, David, who was a podium finisher at the recent Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k, gradually increased the gap, before breaking the tape in 31:28 (1st place) to win.  Seamus took a well-deserved 2nd place in 32:08, before David Steele outpaced Neil Carty to take 3rd place in 32:30.

The ladies race was a close affair throughout, with Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and a lady more known for her performances on the road, Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC), all in contention.  The trio appeared to work off each other well, but in the end, it was the current NIMRA Champion, Diane Wilson who took victory in 39:12 (1st place).  Catherine O'Connor followed in 39:38 (2nd place), while the ever consistent Shileen O'Kane claimed the final podium place in 39:54 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) 31:28, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 32:08, 3rd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 32:30

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 39:12, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 39:38, 3rd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 39:54

Full Results: Hill & Dale Series (Race 1 - Castlewellan) 2014 Results (Photograph used above courtesy of Mal McCann)

North Down AC host successful Track & Field season opener:

North Down AC T&F Meet (Meet 1):

On Tuesday 15th April 2014, North Down AC hosted the first of the their 2014 'Open' Track & Field Meetings, a popular annual Series, held at Bangor Sportsplex in County Down.

The event offered athletes the opportunity to compete over 150m, 300m, 600m, 800m and 3,000m, and there were several notable performances.  The host clubs very own Holly Brannigan looked strong as she won Race 1 in the 150m competition in 20.98secs, nearly two seconds quicker than her nearest rival; however, the quickest lady over 150m was City of Lisburn AC star Megan Marrs, who ran 19.15secs to win Race 2.  Arguably the top performance in the Men's 150m races was that of Unattached athlete David Agnew (18:04secs), after the U-17 athlete clocked the second quickest time of the evening behind North Down AC's Andrew Mellon, who ran 17.30secs.

U-15 athlete Aaron Sexton (North Down AC), who had run 18.51secs in the 150m, covered the 300m in an excellent 38.54secs; the honour of being the quickest man over 300m on the night went to another athlete who had impressed over 150m, Andrew Mellon (North Down AC), who broke the beam in 36.83secs to win Race 3.  There were also good runs by North Belfast Harriers' Rhys Clelland (37.26secs), North Down AC's Tom Reynolds (37.64secs) and Ballymena & Antrim AC's Ryan McIlroy (37.88secs).

Sarah Ferris (City of Lisburn AC) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) won Race 1 and Race 2 of the ladies 600m event respectively, with Sarah running 1:47.16 and Rachel a new personal best of 1:39.13.  Willowfield Harriers youngsters Nathan McBride (1:57.53) and Dylan McBride (1:58.10) ran sub 2 minutes in Race 1 of the Men's 600m, while local man Andrew Mellon completed a superb night, showing his class once again as he claimed the fastest 600m time of the night in 1:23.71. In the Men's 800m, up and coming Ballydrain Harriers star Ryan Andrews stole the show with a dominant win; he covered the distance in 2:13.83, and was followed by a trio of his club mates, Under 15's Scot McKeag (2nd place - 2:20.81), Andrew Adams (3rd place – 2:26.34) and Aaron Harrison (4th place – 2:34.01).

North Down AC's Stephen Wylie led the field home in the 3,000m race; he (Stephen) crossed the line in 9:18.33 (1st place).  Brian Barron (North Down AC) followed in 9:21.03 (2nd place), while East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson showed that his recent outings over 13.1 miles hasn't caused any lose in speed, the versatile athlete took 3rd place in 9:22.78.

Full Results:  North Down AC T&F Meet (Meet 1) 2014 Results

Glenn Phair and Pauline McGurren claim victory at Gortin 10k:

Hundreds turn out for annual Gortin 10k:

Over the weekend (Saturday 12th April 2014), well over three hundred athletes turned out for the Gortin 10k road race (and associated 5k), which took place in the rural village of Gortin, close to Omagh, in County Tyrone.

Recently crowned Athletics NI 5k (Road) Champion Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) once again showed his class.  The Belfast based athlete covered the undulating course in 33:46 (1st place); this was almost one minute ahead of City of Derry AC's James Brown, who crossed the line in 34:41 for 2nd place.  Another City of Derry Spartan, Michael Murphy completed the men's top three in 36:43 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) followed up her impressive performance at the Altamuskin 5 last month (March 2014), where she won, with another victory.  The fast improving athlete led the ladies home in 39:56 (1st place); this also seen Pauline finish in the top ten overall.  Omagh Harriers' Ita Kelly recorded 44:27 (2nd place) before Marie McNulty (Club Unknown) finished in 45:58 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Glenn Phair (Annadalde Striders) – 33:46, 2nd James Brown (City of Derry AC) – 34:41, 3rd Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC) – 36:43

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 39:56, 2nd Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers) – 44:27, 3rd Marie McNulty (Club Unknown) – 45:58

Full Results:  Gortin 10k Road Race 2014 Results

Mark Hoy secures Irish Universities title in Waterford: 

Irish Universities Athletics Association Track & Field Championships 2014:

Over the weekend (Friday 11th April and Saturday 12th April 2014), several athletes from Northern Ireland swapped their club vests for those of their respective Universities to take part in the Irish Universities Athletics Association Track & Field Championships in Waterford (Ireland).

The performance of the weekend came from Mark Hoy (University of Ulster), after the Finn Valley AC star, who will race at the NiRunning/BMC 'Festival of Miles' next month (May 2014), secured a gold medal in the 1500m; he (Mark) ran 3:53.90 for the distance.  In the same race, Neil Johnston (Queen's University) claimed 5th place in 4:02:40.  There was also a podium place for Jonathan Browning (Queen's University) in the 100m, where he broke the beam in 11.41secs (3rd place).  The race was won by Carlow IT's Marcus Lawler in 11.21secs.  Jonathan (22.88secs) narrowly missed another medal in the 200m, after finishing in 4th place; Carlow IT's Marcus Lawler won this race in 22:00secs.

Enniskillen man, Stephen Prentice lined up in the 5,000m final, where he ran well to finish in 15:53.20 (8th place).  The race was won by well known Irish athlete John Travers (AIT) in 14:54.70.  In the ladies 3,000m, Rachel Gibson (Ulster University) ran a new personal best of 10:08.40, this was enough to take 4th place in the race won by Maria O'Sullivan (Trinity College Dublin) in 9:48.40.

Also this weekend...

A team from Derry City Track Club were in action at the Woodies DIY AAI National Road Relay Championships in Raheny, Ireland.  The team, which consisted of Adrian Boyle, Cathal McLaughlin and Tim Shiels, completed the three leg (1 mile, 2 mile, 1mile) relay in 20:17, this sealed a very credible 7th place finish in the fiercely contested event, which was won by Raheny Shamrocks AC in 19:46.

Full Results:  IUAA Track & Field Championships 2014 Results and Woodies DIY AAI National Road Relay Championships 2014 Results

Roberts, McGuinness and Campbell claim podium places in Inishowen:

Inishowen Half Marathon 2014:

On Sunday 13th April 2014, Northern Ireland was well represented on the podium at the Inishowen Half Marathon in County Donegal (Ireland). The race, which is popular with local athletes, is run over a tough undulating course and was made all the more difficult because of the windy conditions.

City of Derry AC's Greg Roberts looked strong as chased eventual winner Joe Sweeney (DSD AC) in the early stages; behind, two other Northern Ireland based stars, Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) and David Graham (Unattached) were battling it out for the final podium spot.  In the end, Greg achieved the 2nd place finish he deserved, crossing the line in 1:15:37.  Chris McGuinness got the better of triathlete David Graham, securing 3rd place in 1:16:18.  David, who won the Carlingford Half Marathon last month, followed in 1:16:45 (4th place).

Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC) finished in 1:19:34 (6th place), before former Irish Olympian and winner of the Titanic 10k in 2013, Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) won the ladies race in 1:20:13.  Foyle Valley AC's Andrew Wallace covered the 13.1 mile route in 1:26:39, and finished just over two minutes ahead of Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), who took 3rd place in the ladies race, after running 1:28:46.  

Springwell Running Club duo Thomas Moore (1:29:04) and Gerard Mullan (1:29:32) claimed 21st place and 23rd place respectively, with Aisling Allum (Olympian Triathlon Club) crossing the line in 1:30:53 (4th place lady).  Omagh Harriers' Richard Shannon recorded 1:33:05 (42nd place) and Foyle Valley AC's Richard Gallagher ran 1:34:01 (45th place), while Sperrin Harriers' Stephen Kerr (1:38:40), and Foyle Valley AC pair Sean Molloy (1:40:06) and David Wylie (1:40:33) also claimed top one hundred placings.

Full Results:  Inishowen Half Marathon 2014 Results

Northern Ireland runners enjoy ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon:

ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon 2014:

On Sunday 13th April 2014, at least eight athletes from Northern Ireland completed the ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon in Holland; the event is well known for it's excellent atmosphere, which is created by a touted 950,000 spectators.

Regular visitor and competitor in Northern Ireland, Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) had an excellent run.  The current Irish 50k Champion crossed the line in 2:22:52.  The Northern Ireland runners were led home by experienced marathon man Sam Crawford, who completed the fast and flat course in 2:48:56.  His club mate, Billy Reed, a respected endurance athlete, followed in 2:58:51, while Orangegrove AC's Joe Craney recorded a new personal best of 3:12:59.

Larne based East Antrim Harriers man, Phillip McNeill, finished in 3:15:00, ahead of Michael Allen (East Antrim Harriers), Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers) and Andy Liddle (East Antrim Harriers), who clocked 3:15:48, 3:23:21 and 3:27:23 respectively.  Another East Antrim Harriers member, Jennifer Ashby enjoyed an excellent outing, and ran a new personal best of 3:29:06.  Martin McMillan completed the East Antrim Harriers' marathon performances when he crossed the line in 3:55:48.  The race was won by Eluid Kipchoge (Kenya) in 2:05:00, with Ethiopian Abebech Afework secure victory in the ladies race in 2:27:50.  In the associated 10k race, East Antrim Harriers' Joe McBride narrowly missed a sub 40 minute finish time when he completed the 6.2 mile loop in 40:08.  Dutch athletes Seb Klooster (33:20) and Sonne Broeksma (38:17) claimed top honours in the 10k.

Full Results:  ABN AMBRO Rotterdam Marathon 2014 Results

Local athletes perform well at Virgin Money London Marathon 2014:

Virgin Money London Marathon 2014:

On Sunday 13th April 2014, hundreds of runners from Northern Ireland were part of a huge 35,000 strong crowd taking part in the 34th annual running of the Virgin Money London Marathon in England.  Much of the pre-race talk was based around the 26.2 mile debut of Team GB's double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, who ended up recording 2:08:21 (8th place).  The race was won by Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) in a new course record of 2:04:27, while Kenya's Edna Kiplagat (2:20:20) claimed the ladies title in what was a closely contested event.

On the local front, there were several notable performances and personal bests from the Northern Ireland contingent. Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC), Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers) and Paul Thompson (Springwell Running Club) were the early pace setters; in the end, it was Andrew Considine who led the local athletes across the famous 'Mall' finish line in 2:40:53.  Francis Marsh, who was representing Herne Hill Harriers,  followed just over a minute later in 2:41:56, before Newcastle AC's Mark Kendall battled well to finish under the 2:45:00 mark, recording 2:44:56 for the distance.  Jim Benson looked to be back to his best as he clocked 2:47:37 to finish just ahead of City of Lisburn AC's Peter Donnelly (2:49:11) and Newcastle AC's Alan Strachan (2:49:56).

After a short break in Northern Ireland finishers, David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), Damian Grant (Beechmount Harriers) all crossed the line in the space of eleven seconds, with David running 2:55:22, Richard 2:55:24 and Damian 2:55:33.  A tired but happy Paul Thompson (Springwell Running Club) completed the course in 2:57:31, while Sperrin Harriers' Paul McLaughlin (2:58:59), Magherafelt Harriers' Darren Church (2:59:00) and Ballymena Runners' Gary Davison (2:59:25) also dipped under the 3:00:00 mark.  Mark Carey (Beechmount Harriers) narrowly missed the aforementioned barrier, finishing in 3:00:49.  Norman Smyth (Newcastle AC) was the next familiar face home in 3:01:12, just before North Down AC's Nicklas Arkensparr (3:01:24) and Newry City Runners' leading man Michael Dillon (3:01:42).  Orangegrove AC's Thomas Leitch ran well to finish in 3:02:11, while St Peters AC's Connor Mulholland (3:03:08), Foyle Valley AC's Barry Smith (3:03:45) and Newcastle AC's Jerome McCrickard (3:04:04) all crossed the line in quick succession.

Larne AC man, David Noble, continued his excellent form with a 3:04:54 clocking, this was enough to finish just before endurance enthusiast Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers), who ran 3:05:39.  Newry City Runners' Sean Goodman (3:07:19), Springwell Running Clubs Ali Shaw (3:07:36) and Magherafelt Harriers Niall Higgins (3:07:44) finished within a minute of each other, while Paul Gaskell (Larne AC) covered the scenic course in 3:11:57.  The fast improving Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners) led a 'train' of familiar faces home; Ryan ran 3:12:37 and was joined in the finish area by North Belfast Harriers' Stephen Walker (3:12:10), Lagan Valley AC's Jonny Irvine (3:12:38), Springwell Running Clubs Eddie Clyde (3:13:29), St Peters AC's Barry Shanks (3:14:10) and North Belfast Harriers men Colin Simpson (3:14:05) and Gerry Gribbon (3:14:21).

Just one second split Frankie McKay (St Peter's AC) and Rodney Agnew (Ballymena Runners), who recorded 3:16:02 and 3:16:03 respectively.  Magherafelt Harriers' Francis Stewart (3:17:06) followed just over a minute later.  Enniskillen Running Clubs Tara Malone was rewarded for her efforts with a new personal best of 3:18:24, which saw her finish just ahead of fellow NI lady Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), who ran 3:18:33.  

Mark Shields was another North Belfast Harriers representative, and looked strong as he came down the Mall to finish in 3:21:42.  Foyle Valley AC duo Hugo Hegarty (3:22:01) and Teague Whoriskey (3:22:59) also ran well, as did Ballymena Runners' Jonny Graham (3:23:20), who finished just ahead of one of the days top performers, Orangegrove AC's Lyndsey Pronger, who ran an excellent 3:24:35; interestingly, this is a new Orangegrove AC club record. Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) crossed the line as the clock read 3:26:27; she (Athanasia) was followed closely by club mate Michael McCormick (3:26:49) and the ever consistent Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), who finished in 3:27:27.  Andrew Acheson (Orangegrove AC) and Fiona Johnston (Unattached) then claimed sub 3:30:00 finishes, running 3:29:12 and 3:29:47 respectively.

There were numerous other top performances from Northern Ireland based athletes, these included:  Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC) – 3:00:21, Linda Gillan (Springwell Running Club) – 3:35:08, Scott Galbraith (City of Derry AC) – 3:35:57, Ciaran Bradley (Foyle Valley AC) – 3:36:48, Peter Doherty (City of Derry AC) – 3:37:11, Tina Davies (Dromore AC) – 3:38:55, Sharon Harvey (Ballymena Runners) – 3:39:46, James Tomaselli (Unattached) – 3:41:11, Cathal McFeely (Springwell Running Club) – 3:41:37, Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners) – 3:44:14, Eddie Blaney (East Antrim Harriers) – 3:45:36, Aine Fegan (Newry City Runners) - 3:47:26, David Balmer (North Down AC) – 3:48:32, Roisin Rocks (Newry City Runners) – 3:51:46, Ian Brennan (Larne AC) – 3:52:14, Paul Connolly (City of Derry AC) – 3:52:35, Patrick McShane (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:53:07, John Kelly (Newcastle AC) – 3:56:24, Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) – 3:56:33, Barry McCluskey (Springwell Running Club) – 3:56:38, Joseph McVey (Magherafelt Harriers) – 3:56:54, Thomas Doherty (Magherafelt Harriers) – 3:58:02, Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) – 4:00:43, Michael O'Donoghue (Orangegrove AC) – 4:01:33, Noel McMonagle (City of Derry AC) – 4:04:06, Sarah Benton (North Down AC) - 4:06:06, Sinead O'Hanlon (Newry City Runners) – 4:10:36, Letitia Meenan (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:10:50, Gerard McNamara (North Belfast Harriers) – 4:12:56, Muir Clarke (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:17:29, Amanda Kenny (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:17:30, Louise Gault (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:23:04, Damian Keenan (Ballymena Runners) – 4:26:54, Paula Lorimer (Ballymena Runners) – 4:44:19, Lisa Fleming (Orangegrove AC) – 4:46:27, Eleanor Acheson (Orangegrove AC) – 4:50:18, Marie Devine (North Down AC) - 4:59:05.

Junior athletes from Northern Ireland were also in action at the world famous event, with a strong squad of up and coming stars taking on the Virgin Money London Mini-Marathon; during the 3 mile race, the local runners faced tough competition in the form of teams from England, Scotland and Wales.  The entire Northern Ireland team done themselves and the province proud.

In the U-13 category, Kian Bittles (Club Unknown) and Olivia Nelson (Club Unknown) led the NI runners home in 17:02 and 18:09 respectively; Omagh Harriers' Niamh Heaney also ran well, finishing in 19:05.  James Edgar (City of Lisburn AC) and Christy Conlon (Beechmount Harriers) produced top class performances in the U-15 race, with James running 15:10 for 4th place and Christy 15:13 for 5th place. Madison Bowyer (City of Lisburn AC) was the first (U-15) local lady to finish in 18:48.  In the U-17 race, Paddy Robb (St Malachy's AC) continued his good form with a 15:32 finish, while Catriona McGloin (Balmoral Harriers) recorded 18:38 for the distance.

Full Results:  Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 Results and Virgin Money London Mini-Marathon 2014 Results

Please Note – As part of our coverage of the Virgin Money London Marathon we have tried our best to include as many Northern Ireland based athletes as possible, but we are sure that you will appreciate that it is impossible to find and include everyone.  If we have missed a particular athlete and you would like them added to the above summary, please email us their name, club (if applicable) and exact finish time (HH:MM:SS) to [email protected] before 5pm on Monday 14th April 2014.

Ann-Marie McGlynn smashes course record to win Patsy Kelly 5k:

North East Runners host annual Patsy Kelly 5k:

On Saturday 12th April 2014, a number of runners from Northern Ireland travelled south to Dundalk (Ireland) for the Patsy Kelly 5k road race, an event hosted by North East Runners.

Strabane based Irish international athlete, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) showed the quality that has saw her pick up wins at the Queen's 5k and the Titanic 10k in the last few weeks.  The talented lady smashed the course record as she claimed victory in 16:38 (1st place); this was enough to secure an eighth place finish overall.  Newry AC's track star Oisin O'Callaghan followed in 16:42 (9th place), before Eoghan O'Callaghan (Newry AC) crossed the line in 19:01 (47th place).

Paul Lyons (Newry City Runners) completed the 3.1 mile route in 19:37, while Club Pulse AC's Mairead Hughes (20:46) and Newry City Runners' Lauren Hutchinson (21:20) claimed 106th place and 120th place overall, in a field of over eight hundred runners.  The race was won by Peter Brandon (Unattached) in 14:46.

Full Results:  Patsy Kelly 5k Road Race 2014 Results

Aaron Meharg and Lorna Sibbett win Shanes Castle 10k:

Athletes enjoy scenic Shanes Castle 10k:

On Saturday 12th April 2014, runners from across Northern Ireland turned out to support the Shanes Castle 10k, an event hosted by Randalstown based school St Benedict's College within the confines of the scenic Shanes Castle Estate in County Antrim.

It was last years winner Aaron Meharg (Unattached) who once again stole the headlines; having finished as runner up at the recent Magherafelt 10k, it was clear that Aaron was in top form, he once again showed this to lead the field home in 34:22 (1st place).  Shane Donnelly (Unattached) followed in a new personal best of 35:55 (2nd place), before the fast improving Bliadhan Glass (Unattached) completed the course in 36:36 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Lorna Sibbett (Sperrin Harriers), a top ten finisher a the Magherafelt Harriers 10k, looked strong as she broke the tape to win in 43:23 (1st place).  Laura McErlain (Sperrin Harriers) took the runners up spot in 43:39 (2nd place), while Linda Petticrew (Ballymen Runners) secured the final podium place in 45:03 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Aaron Meharg (Unattached) – 34:22, 2nd Shane Donnelly (Unattached) – 35:55, 3rd Bliadhan Glass (Unattached) – 36:36

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Lorna Sibbett (Sperrin Harriers) – 43:23, 2nd Laura McErlain (Sperrin Harriers) – 43:39, 3rd Linda Petticrew (Ballymena Runners) – 45:03

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

McKinstry, Murphy, Savage and McCourt win at Castleward Challenge:

Hundreds turn out for Born 2 Run's Castleward Challenge:

On Saturday 12th April 2014, hundreds of athletes descended on the stunning Castleward Estate in County Down, where the Born 2 Run Events roadshow rolled in for the 3rd annual running of their Castleward Challenge, an event that offers competitors two distances, a Half Marathon and a 10k.

North Belfast Harriers' Mark McKinstry produced an excellent performance in the Half Marathon. The consistently impressive athlete looked a class above the rest from the off; he gradually built on his lead as the race progressed, before claiming victory in 1:22:34 (1st place).  Ryan Moore (Unattached) followed just over four minutes later in 1:26:59 (2nd place), while Stuart Paulin (Unattached) continued his good run of podium places at Born 2 Run events, taking 3rd place in 1:27:10.

Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), lived up to her 'contender' billing prior to the event; the versatile athlete bettered her runners up placing in 2013 with an emphatic victory in the ladies race.  Julie crossed the line in 1:42:35 (1st place), winning by nearly ten minutes.  Dromore AC's Janice Reid secured 2nd place in 1:51:58, before Emma Moley (Unattached) covered the 13.1 mile distance in 1:52:07 (3rd place).

In the 10k race, James Savage (East Down AC), who narrowly missed a podium place at this event last year (2013), led the field home in 39:12 (1st place), thus sealing a well-deserved win.  Paul Burns (East Down AC) took 2nd place in 40:54, before North Belfast Harriers' Cathy McCourt completed one of the days most notable performances; having returned from injury to win the Ballymena Belles 5 mile road race earlier this week, Cathy (1st place - 43:38) crossed the line in third place overall, she was therefore crowned ladies Champion.

John McConnell (North Belfast Harriers) completed the men's podium two seconds later in 43:40 (3rd place), while local lady Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) showed that she is getting back to her best after clocking 44:10 (2nd place).  Orangegrove AC's Louise Lemon added another good run to her recent outings at the Titanic 10k and the Queen's 5k, with a solid 46:46 clocking for 3rd place.

Half Marathon:

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:22:34, 2nd Ryan Moore (Unattached) – 1:26:59, 3rd Stuart Paulin (Unattached) – 1:27:10

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:42:35, 2nd Janice Reid (Dromore AC) – 1:51:58, 3rd Emma Moley (Unattached) – 1:52:07

10k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st James Savage (East Down AC) – 39:12, 2nd Paul Burns (East Down AC) – 40:54, 3rd John McConnell (North Belfast Harriers) – 43:40

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 43:38, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 44:10, 3rd Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) – 46:46

Full Results:  Castleward Challenge 2014 Results (Photograph from Castleward Challenge courtesy of Mark Ramsey)

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014 update:

Pure Running HM Series 2014 update by ChampionChip Ireland:

The 2014 Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series is now in full flow, with three races complete, and interestingly, different winners in the male and female races at each event.  The DUNE Half Marathon kicked off proceedings on the Saturday 16th March 2014, with the route reversed from last year (2013) starting in Newry and finishing outside the Courthouse in Dundalk (Ireland).

Local man Don Travers (Newry City Runners) romped home in 1:17:05 and the first lady was Heather Foley (Unattached), showing her prowess in running as well as being an excellent duathlete.  Heather clocked 1:22:03 and was in the top ten overall. Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) was second female.

The AES Larne Half Marathon (Saturday 22nd March 2014) was next and with the usual big field, the runners battled the headwinds on the rugged Coast Road. Joe McAllister (St Malachy's AC) took top honours with a sub 1:10:00 clocking of 1:09:44 ahead of a torrid battle between North Belfast Harriers and North Down AC athletes.  Fiona Stack (1:19:44) from Raheny Shamrocks AC in Dublin was top lady and Heather Foley (Unattached) came home in second to maintain her promising start to the Series.

The Spar Omagh Half Marathon (Saturday 29th March 2014) was celebrating its 25th running and had a massive field in both the Half Marathon and the Fun Run.  Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) broke away from Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) to finish in the fastest time in the Series to date, this was 1:06:37. DSD AC's Maria McCambridge (1:16:41) was comfortably the top lady with Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), racing in her second race of the Series, finishing in fifth place.

The two intrepid runners Angus McCready (Up & Runners) and Michael McKeown (East Down AC), have kept up their incredible record and completed the 3 races to date and thus have now done all 40 races since the Series started in 2009.

Next for the runners will be the Newry Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday 25th May 2014, over a new faster flatter course towards Warrenpoint and back, with some personal bests expected.  The first section of the Series then concludes with the Lisburn Half Marathon on Wednesday 19th June 2014. Anyone taking part in the Series who wants their times to be registered for the special garment and the category prizes can visit the Athletics NI website fixtures page where there is a link to the registration form.  Full results from the races mentioned above can be found on the NiRunning 'Results' page.

Weekend Preview:  Castleward Challenge, Gortin 10k, VLM and more...

Weekend Preview:  NI athletes prepare for events at home and abroad....

This coming weekend not only offers several exciting local races, but it brings an end to months of hard and focused training for many, with a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelling to the Virgin London Marathon (England) and the ABN AMBRO Rotterdam Marathon (Holland).  Local athletes will also compete at the Woodies DIY AAI National Road Relay Championships in Raheny (Ireland), the North East Runners 5k in Dundalk (Ireland) and the Inishowen Half Marathon in County Donegal (Ireland), amongst other events.

On Saturday 12th April 2014, Born 2 Run events will host the third annual running of their Castleward Challenge; an event held within the confines of the stunning Castleward Estate in County Down.  Competitors are offered a choice of distances, namely a 10k and a Half Marathon.  Although online entries are now closed, organisers will accept entries on the day, at a slightly increased rate.  Please visit for full details.

Last years Half Marathon Champion, Don Travers (Newry City Runners), should return to defend his title.  The international endurance runner returned to competition at the Hilltown 10k last weekend, where he narrowly missed a podium spot, after securing fourth place.  This followed an excellent outing a month earlier, when the multiple WPFG medallist won the DUNE Half Marathon in 1:17:05.  At this race last year, Don cruised to victory, with a gap of almost six minutes between himself and the runner up, Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers).  However, the fast improving Ballydrain Harriers man, who should return this year, will not be shrugged aside just as easy this time around.  Despite having had a quiet start to 2014, he (Richard) showed that he is still one to watch with a 1:20:35 finish at the Omagh Half Marathon two weeks ago.  

The aforementioned duo may well be joined on the start line by local hero Brendan Teer (East Down AC).  Brendan is a regular at events run by Born 2 Run, and should go into this as pre-race favourite if he does turn out on the day.  Especially when taking into consideration his performances at the Albertville 5, Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k, Rollercoaster Races and the high profile Armagh International 5k, where he recorded a personal best of 15:20.  Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Stuart Paulin and Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) should be amongst the front runners as well.  Although pretty sharp on the tarmac, Simon Reeve is an off-road specialist; the North Belfast Harriers athlete had an excellent run at the Titanic 10k last week, but his best performance of this year came at the Roe Valley Trail Race where he finished in second place.  Stuart Paulin has climbed the podium at three of the last four Born 2 Run races, and won their Tollymore 10k.  He will be in the thick of the action once again, as will Mark McKinstry.  Ballymena based Mark, who represents North Belfast Harriers, has worked his way through the 'ranks' over the last twelve to eighteen months and is now a regular prize-winner.  In particular, Mark impressed at the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series, but his most recent outing was at the Queen's 5k, where he crossed the line in a new personal best of 16:10.  Richard Watt (Unattached), Colin McCluskey (Hi Elbow Tri Club) and NiRunning contributor and friend John Glover (Lagan Valley AC) will also race the Half Marathon.

In the ladies race, Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) should return to defend the Half Marathon title she won so impressively last year; the international athlete won all of the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series races, adding to victories at the Moira XC and the Enniskillen XC, so will prove hard to beat if she brings that form to the party.  However, Karen won't have it all her own way, with several other notable entries, including Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) and Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners).  Lagan Valley AC's Julie Murphy was a runner up in 2013 and will return, probably hoping to better her finishing position last time. The talented triathlete kicked off 2014 with a fantastic run at the NI & Ulster Masters XC in Lurgan, she then followed that up with a brilliant win at Born 2 Run's Minnowburn 10k in Belfast; She (Julie) should  therefore go into this race high in confidence.

Maeve Lavery is a very consistent performer and is a regular in the top three finishers at the Queen's parkrun; Maeve also clocked 6:02 at the last NiRunning Mile at Antrim Stadium (2013).  Karen Poag (Seapark AC), Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC), Wendy Fleming (Dromore AC), Cara Hamilton (Unattached) and Nuala Lemon (St Peter's AC) will all finish well up the field.

In-form Newcastle AC man, David O'Flaherty could be a late entrant in the 10k race.  If so, the Moria XC and Comber Cup XC winner will hope to produce the same level of performance that saw him seal a new personal best of 33:31 over 10k at Jimmys 10k last month (March 2014).  He (David) has also claimed prizes at the Castlewellan Spring Lakes and Downpatrick Rollercoaster Races.  Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), James Savage (Unattached) and Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) may also challenge for high places.  

The ladies 10k will see a potentially close dual between Orangegrove AC's Louise Lemon and East Down AC's Catherine O'Connor.  Both ladies have enjoyed good runs recently, with Louise running new personal bests for 5k (20:26) and 10k (43:04) last week, at the Queen's 5k and Titanic 10k respectively. Meanwhile, Catherine finished in second place at the Leitrim 5m road race last week, after running 33:49.  Ally Bennett (County Antrim Harriers) will be another lady who will have a podium place in her sights.

Also on Saturday 12th April 2014, athletes from the County Tyrone and Fermanagh areas will descend on the village of Gortin (County Tyrone), close to Omagh, for the annual Gortin 10k road race (and associated 5k).

Unfortunately, last years winner, Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) will not make the start line.  That should leave the path clear for Omagh Harriers star and current NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion, Stephen Duncan to reclaim the title he won in 2012.  Stephen has been in top form since returning from injury; in the last few months, he has won the Carmen 10k, Altamuskin 5 and the Enniskillen XC.  Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club) may also race, the Minnowburn 10k winner, who ran 15:36 at the Armagh International 5k, will go well, if he makes use of the on the day entry.  Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club), Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Damien Cox (Omagh Harriers) and Derek Somerville (Omagh Harriers) will also finish well up.

The ladies title will also go to a new home this year, as reigning Champion Sara Moore is currently at University in America.  If her club mate Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) starts, she will be considered a strong contender.  Despite being a regular in Cross Country events, Michelle never really features on the roads; however, when she does, the NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion never fails to impress.  Mairead McCann (Omagh Harriers), Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers) and Claire Maguire (Omagh Triathlon Club) will also be there or there abouts.

In Dundalk (Ireland) on Saturday 12th April 2014, North East Runners, an Irish based club who actively support a variety of events in Northern Ireland, will host their own race; the Patsy Kelly 5k road race.  Entries will be taken on race day, with the race starting at 6.30pm on Ecco Road, Dundalk (Ireland).

Athletes from Northern Ireland will also travel to Inishowen in County Donegal (Ireland) for the Inishowen Half Marathon on Saturday 12th April 2014.  Last year, Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) won the ladies race, with Springwell Running Club's Ciara Toner taking the runners up spot.  Although it is unclear as to whether either of the ladies will return, their club's should be well represented, as should Foyle Valley AC and Omagh Harriers.

On Sunday 13th April 2014, several Northern Ireland based clubs should be represented at the Woodies DIY AAI National Road Relay Championships in Raheny (Ireland).  City of Derry AC are expected to field a strong side, which should include the likes of Declan Reed, Greg Roberts, Gary Slevin, Conor Bradley, Emmett McGinty, Pajo Hamilton and Noel Logan, amongst others.  Annadale Striders, St Malachy's AC and North Down AC may also send teams to the prestigious event, which will see Ireland's top clubs battle it out for bragging rights.

Also on Sunday 13th April 2014, hundreds of runners from Northern Ireland will travel to England for the massively popular Virgin London Marathon. The event, which attracts over forty thousand athletes every year is seen as the world's best supported 26.2 mile race, and this year it has a particular prominence to many, with London 2012 Olympic hero Mo Farah making his Marathon debut.

On the local front, we are aware of a large number of athletes who will race, all hoping to achieve their own goals.  This includes, Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC), Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers), Gerry Gribbon (North Belfast Harriers), Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners) Sharon Harvey (Ballymena Runners) Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC), David Noble (Larne AC), Ian Brennan (Larne AC)....

Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Gary Connolly (Seapark AC), Eddie Blaney (East Antrim Harriers), Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC), Lisa Fleming (Orangegrove AC), Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC), John Kelly (Newcastle AC), Francis Stewart (Magherafelt Harriers), Darren Church (Magherafelt Harriers), Niall Higgins (Magherafelt Harriers), Jonny Graham (Ballymena Runners), Rodney Agnew (Ballymena Runners), Damien Kennan (Ballymena Runners), Michael O'Donoghue (Orangegrove AC), Andrew Acheson (Orangegrove AC), Eleanor Acheson (Orangegrove AC), Paula Lorimer (Ballymena Runners), Anathasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers), Mark Shields (North Belfast Harriers), Thomas Doherty (Magherafelt Harriers), Archie McElhinney (Magherafelt Harriers), Joseph McVeagh (Magherafelt Harriers), Raymond Monaghan (Magherafelt Harriers), Gary Davison (Ballymena Runners), Alan Strachan (Newcastle AC), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers), Norman Smyth (Newcastle AC), Colin Simpson (North Belfast Harriers), Sean McShane (North Belfast Harriers), Patrick McShane (North Belfast Harriers), Michael McCormick (North Belfast Harriers), Gerard McNamara (North Belfast Harriers) and Stephen Walker (North Belfast Harriers). Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) will once again be the official three hour pacer.  Up and coming stars Conall McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers), Paddy Robb (St Malachy's AC), Conor Christie (Springwell Running Club), Ronan O'Fril (St Malachy's AC), Emma Hutchinson (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Christy Conlon (Beechmount Harriers) Madison Bowyer (City of Lisburn AC), James Smyth (St Malachy's AC), Jonny Whan (City of Lisburn AC), Toni Moore (Omagh Harriers), Zoe Carruthers (City of Lisburn AC), Lois Hagen (Willowfield Harriers) will be amongst a strong Northern Ireland team competing at the Virgin London Mini-Marathon.

In Holland, a group of East Antrim Harriers will compete at the 34th annual running of the ABN AMBRO Rotterdam Marathon on Sunday 13th April 2014. Jennifer Ashby, Sam Crawford, Chris Collins, Michael Allen, Billy Reed, Phillip McNeill, Andy Liddle and Martin McMillan will join regular visitor to Northern Ireland, Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) on the start line of the 26.2 mile race.  Joe McBride (East Antrim Harriers) will take on the 10k event, which is run as part of an excellent day of racing.

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

Glenn Phair and Helen Stockdale secure Athletics NI 5k titles:

City of Derry AC host Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships:

On Wednesday 9th April 2014, City of Derry AC welcomed athletes from across the province to their popular Bay Road 5k Road Race.  The event, which is held on the banks of the River Foyle, once again incorporated the Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships; it was also the final scoring race of the Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Association (NIMAA) 2013/14 League.

The men's race was a close encounter, with reigning Champion Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Queen's 5k podium finishers Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) all at the front throughout; however, it was the Belfast based athlete Glenn Phair who rose to the occasion.  In a close finish with Scott Rankin, almost replicating their dual from seven days ago (at the Queen's 5k), Glenn just edged it, breaking the tape in 14:47 (1st place).  Scott secured the Silver medal in 14:52 (2nd place), before Declan Reed once again proved his ability with another notable podium place in 15:01 (3rd place).

Northern Ireland Masters XC international Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) continued the good form that has saw her claim the Donegal Masters XC title, the Finn Valley AC lady cruised to victory in 18:12 (1st place).  Another Cross Country star, Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) added to her NI & Ulster Novice XC title, with a Silver medal, after crossing the line in 18:52 (2nd place).  City of Derry AC's endurance specialist Hannah Shields, showed her 'speedy' side, taking 3rd place in 19:09.  In the team competition, City of Derry AC collect Gold medals in both the men's and ladies categories.

Top 3 Men:  1st Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) – 14:47, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 14:52, 3rd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 15:01

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) – 18:12, 2nd Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) – 18:52, 3rd Hannah Shields (City of Derry AC) – 19:09

Full Results:  Bay Road 5k 2014 Results (Photograph above courtesy of Malcolm McCausland - 'Inside Track' - Irish News)

Cathy McCourt secures victory at inaugural Ballymena Belles 5m Race:

Ballymena Belles 5m Road Race 2014:

On Tuesday 8th April 2014, popular County Antrim based club Ballymena Runners hosted the first ever running of their Ballymena Belles 5 mile road race; the well-organised 'ladies only' event was run in memory of the late Jean Gould, a runner from Ballymena, with the proceeds going to the Northern Ireland Kidney Disease charity.

The atmosphere surrounding the event was fun and friendly; however, that did not take anything away from the quality race at the head of the pack.  Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC), Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) and Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) were all late entries, and it was this quartet who battled it out for the podium places.

Cathy McCourt, who was racing for the first time since her impressive performance at the IAAF International XC back in January (2014), showed no lack of race sharpness as she led the field home in 31:17 (1st place).  Suzanne Higgins (31:33) looked strong as she secured 2nd place, just ahead of City of Derry Spartan Anne Paul, who crossed the line in 33:46 (3rd place).  Gemma Turley followed in 34:15 (4th place), before the fast improving Jacqueline McIlrath (35:53), from Ballymena Runners, finished to loud cheers from the gathered spectators.

Top 5 Ladies:  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:17, 2nd Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 31:33, 3rd Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 33:46, 4th Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 34:15, 5th Jacqueline McIlrath (Ballymena Runners) – 35:53

Full Results:  Ballymena Belles 5m Road Race 2014 Results

Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) claims impressive win in America:

Omagh Harriers star wins in USA:

Over the weekend (Saturday 5th April 2014), Northern Ireland junior international Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) produced a stunning performance in America, whilst represented her University, Oklahoma City University at the Empire State Indoor Relays.

The local star, who is in her first year of University, won the 1500m race in fine fashion.  She (Sara) broke the beam in 4:39.05 to win by nine seconds.  This time was also enough to secure a place at the prestigious NAIA Outdoor Championships in May (2014). Sara was also in competition over 800m, where she claimed 3rd place in 2:21.17.  The race was won by Graceland University's Sara Ruckman in 2:16.36.

Full Results:  Empire State Relays 2014 Results

Local athletes claim podium places and personal bests outside NI:

Local athletes impress outside Northern Ireland:

On Sunday 6th April 2014, a significant number of Northern Ireland athletes were in action outside the province, with major events taking place in Dublin (Ireland), Paris (France), Manchester (England), Connemara (Ireland), Prague (Czech Republic), Montauban (France) and New York (America).

In Manchester (England), at least six familiar faces joined thousands of participants at one of the UK's fastest marathons, the Asics sponsored Greater Manchester Marathon.  Northern Ireland man Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC) put in a top performance to claim 3rd place in 2:18:46; this was a mere forty six seconds outside the Commonwealth Games qualifying standards in what was Kevin's debut at the distance.  Regular competitors in Northern Ireland, Steve Darby (Barnsley AC) and Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) followed in 2:51:52 and 3:05:37 respectively.  

Ballymena Runners' Thomas McMillan followed in a new personal best of 3:12:44, before his club mate Susanna Allen broke the Ballymena Runners ladies club marathon record, with an excellent 3:33:27.  There was also a new personal best for Belfast Running Club new boy, Mark Ramsey, who recorded 4:16:38.  Andi Jones (Stockport AC) won the race in a new course record of 2:16:55, while Emily Wicks (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) claimed the ladies title in 2:38:21.

Prior to the Paris Marathon (France), there was huge hype surrounding the 26.2 mile debut of distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia).  He did not disappoint, after smashing the course record to win in 2:05:03.  The ladies race was won by Flamena Cheyech (Kenya) in 2:22:42.  On the local front, Unattached athlete Chris Downey ran well to finish in 3:37:12.  He (Chris) was joined in the atmospheric finish area by Stuart Mathieson (Unattached), who covered the course in 3:52:47; seven minutes later, Orangegrove AC's Selina Myles celebrated a new personal best of 3:59:18.  East Antrim Harriers man, Ken Beggs (100 Marathon Club) completed the Northern Ireland representation in 4:28:07.  A group of fifteen former Challenge 26.2 members (and friends) who completed the Belfast City Marathon last year (2013) also competed at the event as a 'reunion', they were:  Niall Mooney - 3:14:05, Amanda Ross-Vorke - 3:52:55, Sean O'Neill - 4:16:36, Debbie Mingout - 4:25:40, Damien Herity - 4:27:03, Jonny Lindsay - 4:29:43, Stephen Davey - 4:31:05, Stuart Campbell - 4:31:45, Catherine Mullan - 4:52:35, David Mullan - 4:52:37, Emma Greer - 4:55:13, Darren Lewis - 5:04:40, Adam McCalden - 6:03:14 and James McGuire - 6:05:32.

In Ireland, several Northern Ireland athletes were in competition at the Connemarathon, a well-known and respected Series of endurance events (Half Marathon, Marathon and 39.3 mile Ultra Marathon) held in Maam Cross, just outside Galway.  The performance of the day came from Forge Harriers' Janice White; Janice claimed victory in the marathon, breaking the tape in 3:20:35, an excellent time considering the tough course.  Endurance experts, Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) and Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) recorded 3:36:17 and 3:38:15 in that order, while Peter Grimes (Forge Harriers) covered the distance in 4:05:28.  Marathon Club Ireland's Darren Warnock was also in action, he ran 4:21:35.  The men's marathon was won by Philip Harty (Club Unknown) in 2:29:11.  In the gruelling 39.3 mile Ultra Marathon, Martin Lilley (Unattached) and Darren Houston (Orangegrove AC) both battled through the pain barrier to finish well, with Martin running 6:21:38 and Darren 7:08:22.  The Ultra Marathon was won by Kenyan athlete Lezan Kimutai in 4:08:15, while Irish 24 hour record holder Ruthann Sheahan (Athenry AC), won the ladies category in 5:05:39.

Also in Ireland, Lauren Quee (Glasgow University AC) and James Brown (City of Derry AC) were amongst the elite fields at the Spar Great Ireland Run, which also incorporated the Woodies DIY AAI National 10k (Road) Championships.  

Scotland based Northern Ireland international narrowly missed a top ten finish, taking 11th place in 38:17.  The ladies race was won by Iwona Lewondowka (Poland) in 33:39, while Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) secured the AAI National title in 33:54, after finishing in 4th place overall. In the later men's event, James crossed the line in 34:34 (52nd place).

Orangegrove AC's Zdzislaw Malkinski travelled to the City of Montauban in France for the Montauban Half Marathon, which is part of a three day running festival in the City.  Zdzislaw completed the 13.1 mile course in 1:43:38; the race was won by French triathlete Antony Costes in 1:12:38.

In America, Ballydrain Harriers sisters Rosie Earney and Heather Stanex toed the line with in excess of five thousand fellow runners for the Run in the Parks 4 mile road race in Central Park, New York.  Heather claimed the family bragging rights, with a 31:32 finish time; Rosie followed in 33:09.  The race was won by elite American athletes Jason Lakurtiz (20:33) and Harriot Kelly (23:04).

Meanwhile, the Rosie and Heather's husband's, Mark Earney and Raymond Stanex, also of Ballydrain Harriers, completed the the Prague Half Marathon in the Czech Republic (on Saturday 5th April 2014).  Raymond clocked 1:34:22, while Mark ran 1:39:30.  Kenyan athlete Peter Kirui in 59:22 won the event, and was one of three athletes to run under sixty minutes.

Results:  Greater Manchester Marathon 2014 ResultsParis Marathon 2014 ResultsConnemarathon Ultra Marathon 2014 ResultsConnemara Marathon 2014 ResultsSpar Great Ireland Run 2014 ResultsMontauban Half Marathon 2014 ResultsRun the Parks 4m Road Race 2014 ResultsPrague Half Marathon 2014 Results - Note:  Photograph above of Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC) was taken by Harry Marcus of HM Photography.

Gary O'Hanlon and Linda Meehan win Hilltown 10k:

Hilltown 10k 2014:

On Sunday 6th April 2014, almost two hundred athletes from across the province travelled to County Down for the Hilltown 10k.  The event is primarily organised to raise money for charitable causes but never fails to attract several quality athletes.

This year, it was the turn of Rotterdam Marathon bound Clonliffe Harriers star Gary O'Hanlon to steal the headlines.  Gary, who was recently crowned Irish 50k Champion, broke the tape in 32:47; this was enough to finish just ahead of local athlete and winner of the Leitrim 5m road race just 24 hours earlier, Brendan Teer (East Down AC).  Brendan recorded 32:57 for 2nd place, while David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) took 3rd place in 34:00.

Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC), a podium finisher at the prestigious WPFG last Summer (2013), put in a strong performance to lead the ladies home in 45:44 (1st place).  In what was a close encounter, Newry City Runners' Anne Havern (46:07) and Unattached athlete Irene McShane (46:53) followed in 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

Top 3 Men:  1st Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 32:47, 2nd Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 32:57, 3rd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 34:00

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC) – 45:44, 2nd Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) – 46:07, 3rd Irene McShane (Unattached) – 46:53

Full Results:  Hilltown 10k 2014 Results

Paul Pollock and Ann-Marie McGlynn secure Titanic 10k titles:

Titanic Quarter 10k attracts record numbers:

On Sunday 6th April 2014, a record number of athletes descended on Belfast Harbour Estate for the annual running of the Titanic Quarter 10k, an event organised by Athletics Northern Ireland.

After the enthusiastic junior athletes had completed their events, it was then the turn of the adults to take centre stage.  The much talked about windy conditions undoubtedly affected times, but did not take the shine off a number of excellent individual performances.  As the athletes set off on the flat 6.2 mile course, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) were the prominent figures at the front.  By 4k, the names at the front remained the same, but it was Paul Pollock who was looking like the eventual winner, as he had opened up a sizeable gap on the chasing trio of Joe McAlister, Scott Rankin and Conor Duffy, who were in a tight pack.  Behind, a group containing Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers), Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) and Jarlath Falls (Ballymena & Antrim AC) were also looking strong.

Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC), who won the Queen's 5k last week, was showing the same dominance as she did then in the ladies race; the Irish international led the ladies through 4k, with Natasha Adams (Lifford AC), Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers), Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC), Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) amongst the podium hopefuls.

As the spectators quickly made their way towards the finishing area, it wasn't long before the well-organised marshals signalled the impending arrival of the leading athlete; this, as expected, turned out to be the in-form and seemingly unbeatable Paul Pollock.  The pre-race favourite and winner of the Queen's 5k road race on Wednesday night (2nd April 2014), powered down the finishing straight, before breaking the tape in 30:39 (1st place).  The talk then turned to which of the chasing trio would take the runners up spot; fittingly, it was previous winner of the event, Joe McAlister who appeared next, sealing 2nd place in 31:58 (2nd place); the ever impressive Scott Rankin followed, completing the men's podium in 32:29 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Ann-Marie McGlynn was rewarded for an excellent performance with her second victory in five day's.  The Lifford AC athlete cruised into the finish, clocking 35:16 (1st place) for the distance.  Ann-Marie's club mate, Natasha Adams (2nd place – 36:22), who finished in second place at the Queen's 5k, replicated that placing, after crossing the line just over a minute later.  Another lady in good form at the moment, Beechmount Harriers' Gerrie Short, claimed 3rd place in 39:49.

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) – 30:39, 2nd Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 31:58, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 32:29

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 35:16, 2nd Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) – 36:22, 3rd Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) – 39:49

Provisional Results:  Titanic 10k 2014 Results -  Please note that results are PROVISIONAL only and are subject to change.  We will be uploading a selection of photo's from the Titanic Quarter 10k in the coming day's.  These will be added to our Photo Gallery.

Brendan Teer and Sinead Murtagh take top honours at Leitrim 5:

Brendan Teer wins Leitrim 5m Road Race for third time:

On Saturday 5th April 2014, nearly one hundred athletes turned out for the annual Leitrim 5 mile road race, an event co-hosted by popular County Down club Newcastle AC.

In decent conditions, reigning Champion Brendan Teer (Newcastle AC) looked a class above the rest as he retained his title; from the off, the Albertville 5 mile road race winner gradually increased the gap between himself and the remainder of the field, before breaking the tape in 26:21 (1st place).  Newry City Runners' Dermot Mathers followed just over two minutes later in 28:27 (2nd place), while Martin Wilcox (East Down AC), completed the top three in 29:19 (3rd place).

In a close ladies race, Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) continued her rise through the ranks.  The fast improving athlete, who was a podium finisher at last weeks Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k, won in 33:01 (1st place).  Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) looked strong as she claimed 2nd place in 33:19 (2nd place), before Dromore AC's international mountain runner Diane Wilson crossed the line in 33:48 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 26:21, 2nd Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 28:27, 3rd Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) – 29:19

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) – 33:01, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 33:19, 3rd Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 33:48

Full Results:  Leitrim 5m Road Race 2014 Results - Leitrim Fun Run 2014 Results

Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) competes at Stanford Invitational:

Northern Ireland athlete competes in USA:

On Friday 4th April 2014, Northern Ireland's Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) kicked off her track campaign in America.  The Commonwealth Games hopeful was in action at the prestigious Stanford Invitational Track & Field Meeting in California, where she raced the 3,000m Steeplechase.

Up against top quality opposition, Kerry put in a solid performance.  In what was the first of several planned events in the USA, the Northern Ireland 3,000m, 5,000m and 3,000m Steeplechase record holder clocked 10:14.33 to take 8th place.  The race was won by Lennie Waite (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) in 9:48.17.

Full Results:  Stanford Invitational T&F Meeting 2014 Results

Weekend Preview:  A 'Titanic' weekend of action ahead...

Weekend Preview:  Belfast, Leitrim, Dublin and beyond...

As another weekend approaches, running enthusiasts in Northern Ireland will be gearing themselves up for one of the provinces top running events, the Titanic Quarter 10k in Belfast.  However, this will not be the only race of the weekend, as Newcastle AC will co-host the annual Leitrim 5 mile road race in County Down; athletes from Northern Ireland will also take on events in Connemara (Ireland), Dublin (Ireland) and Paris (France) in the coming days.

The action will kick off on Saturday 5th April 2014 in County Down, where Newcastle AC will co-host the annual Leitrim 5 mile road race alongside Liatroim Fontenoys GAC.

This event could bring another excellent dual between Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC); the talented pair battled it out at last week’s Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k, with Brendan just getting the edge in the end.  This isn't the first time this year that the Northern Ireland XC international has topped the podium.  He (Brendan) won the Albertville 5 mile road race as well as the Rollercoaster Road Races.  Interestingly, David O’Flaherty took the runners up spot behind Brendan at the ‘Rollercoaster’ event; on a winning front, the Newcastle AC star, who turned 30 years old this week, broke the tape at both the Moira and Comber Cup XC races.  He (David) also recorded an excellent 33:31 at the recent Jimmy’s 10k.

Another man who should play a part at the front is the in-form Barrie Atkinson (East Down); the versatile athlete has really came to the fore this year.  In January 2014 he won the Masters race at the IAAF International XC in Antrim, from there, the East Down AC athlete has went on to continually impress.  He (Barrie) won the Addiction NI 10k in a new personal best of 33:50, before absolutely smashing his 13.1m personal best at the AES Larne Half Marathon, where he clocked 1:14:56.  Just last week, he bettered that with a 1:14:41 finish time at the Omagh Half Marathon.  Other athletes to look out for could include David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Martin Wilcox (East Down AC), Alan Ritchie (North Belfast Harriers), Brian Young (Unattached), Colm Murtagh (Newcastle AC) and Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC).

Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) and Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) could be the main contenders in the ladies race. Over the last six months, Catherine and Cheryl haven’t been racing just as much as they had been in the twelve months prior to that, but both possess the ability to claim a podium place.  The East Down AC pair have been in action within the last four weeks, with Catherine running 42:54 at the Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k and Cheryl 45:09 at Jimmy’s 10k.  Sinead Murtagh is a consistent athlete and always finds herself well up the field; the Castlewellan AC lady is no stranger to the podium, last weekend she finished behind Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) and Laura Devine (Garscube Harriers) at the Spring Lakes 10k, after covering the tough course in a fairly swift 41:49.  East Down AC’s up and coming star Laura Gardiner, Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC) will also be there or there abouts if they race.

For those interested in taking part in this event, entries will be available on the day, at Fontenoy Park, Leitrim, County Down.  The Fun Run will kick off at 11am, with the 5 mile road race starting an hour later at 12pm.

On Sunday 6th April 2014, Athletics Northern Ireland will welcome a record number of entrants to their annual Titanic Quarter 10k road race in Belfast.  The popular event, which is expected to attract close to two thousand competitors is renowned for it's flat and fast course, an important aspect for those chasing new personal bests.

Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Joe McAlister (St Malchy's AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) and Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) should all be amongst those chasing podium places.  Despite the quality of the aforementioned men, it is hard to look past current AAI National XC Champion Paul Pollock when choosing a pre-race favourite.  The newly instated Northern Ireland Half Marathon record holder has stepped up a level since his move to England in the Summer; this was emphasised last weekend when he clocked 1:02:09 at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Denmark.  Even more recently, Paul looked unstoppable as he broke the course record at the Queen's 5k, when he won in 14:21.

Joe McAlister looked a class act at the AES Larne Half Marathon; dominating from the off, the respected athlete covered the coastal course in 1:09:47; a brilliant time, especially considering the almost 'time-trial' like scenario.  Scott Rankin has come off a strong cross country campaign in good form, with a second place finish at the SSE Airtricity 10k, where he recorded 31:59.  This week, the Stormont XC winner took third place at the Queen's 5k race in Belfast, after running 14:53.  Andrew Annett showed well at the AES Larne Half Marathon two weeks ago; in what was his first attempt at the 13.1 mile distance, the versatile international mountain runner crossed the line in 1:11:31.  Based on this, there is a fair chance that Andrew will better his current 10k personal best, which sits at 32:38.  Ever-green duo Eamon White and Paul Rowan are still showing the youngsters how to record fast times, and the talented athletes will no doubt be in the thick of the action here; both looked pretty sharp at Jimmy's 10k, where they ran 33:07 and 33:00 respectively.

Other men to look out for will include the likes of Don Travers (Newry City Runners), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), David Graham (Unattached), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), Darryl Blair (North Belfast Harriers), James Brown (East Coast AC), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Simon Reeve (North Blefast Harriers), Brian Young (Unattached), Craig Hutchinson (Larne AC), Nat Glenn (East Coast AC), Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club), Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers) and Duncan Bell (Willowfield Harriers).

Little has been mentioned regarding the elite field for the ladies event, but we would expect to see 2013 winner Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) to turn out to defend her title.  Podium finishers last year, Julie Turley (Dromore AC) and Julie Balmer (North Down AC) will be abesentee's this time around, as will duathlete/triathlete's Heather Foley (Unattached) and Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC), who are both likely to compete at the Irish Duathlon Championships this weekend.  This therefore leaves the remaining podium places wide open; Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) could be possibilities.  Denise has really improved in the last eighteen months and just last month, the Northern Ireland international claimed second place at Jimmy's 10k, having completed the course in 39:51.  Meanwhile, Gillian showed her speed at Wednesday's Queen's 5k, finishing in 18:26, her second quickest 5k time on record.

In recent months, Dromore AC youngster Rebecca Murtagh has really began to show some of the obvious potential that she possess.  Rebecca's 19:16 clocking at the Queen's 5k is the eleventh quickest 5k time by an U-23 athlete in the UK in 2014 (according to Run Britain).  She (Rebecca) has also recorded 10:58 for 3k and 40:03 for 10k this year; the latter time secured a third place finish at Jimmy's 10k, proving that she is one to watch.  Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC), Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC), Nikki Heywood (North Down AC) and Patricia Blair (Larne AC) will also run well.

Also on Sunday 6th April 2014, at least two well-known Northern Ireland athletes will travel to Dublin (Ireland) for the Spar Great Ireland Run, which incorporates the Woodies DIY AAI National 10k (Road) Championships.  

Northern Ireland international cross country star Lauren Quee (Glasgow University), who claimed a podium place at the Queen's 5k on Wednesday night, will be looking for a new personal best, while City of Derry AC man Conor Bradley will be aiming for a sub four minute mile in the associated Great Ireland Mile event.  Annadale Striders men Andrew Agnew and Glenn Phair are listed amongst the elite entries, but neither are set to toe the line.

On the same day (Sunday 6th April 2014), several local athletes will compete at the infamous Connemarathon events in Maam Cross, close to Galway (Ireland).  The prestigious event offers participants several distance options, namely a Half Marathon, Marathon and 39.3m Ultra Marathon; Martin Lilley (Unattached), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Andy Dowey (Unattached) and Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) will all race.   

Northern Ireland will also be represented at the 38th annual Paris Marathon (France) on Sunday 6th April 2014.  Chris Downey (Unattached) is at least one local runner who will join approximately 50,000 fellow competitors as they make their way around the notoriously scenic route.

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

Paul Pollock and Ann-Marie McGlynn show their class at Queen's 5k:

Queen's 'Race Round the River' 5k 2014:

On Wednesday 2nd April 2014, well over six hundred athletes descended on the Queen's University Physical Education Centre (Belfast) for the annual Queen's 'Race Round the River' 5k.

The conditions may have been damp, but the enthusiasm of the runners was not. On the sound of the gun, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC), Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) moved to the head of the seemingly endless stream of competitors.  It was a similar story in the ladies race, with Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) and Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) taking up prominent positions.  Scottish University XC Champion Lauren Quee (Glasgow University AC), Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) also looked sharp.

As the men went through the 2k marker, Paul Pollock appeared to be stamping his authority on proceedings; the new Northern Ireland Half Marathon record holder had a slight lead on Conor Bradley, who in-turn had a gap on the chasing trio of Scott Rankin, Andrew Agnew and Glenn Phair.  Meanwhile, another Irish International, Ann-Marie McGlynn was gradually moving clear of her club-mate Natasha Adams.

The impressive duo, Paul Pollock and Ann-Marie McGlynn, showed their class as the race moved into the final stages, and it wasn't long before the lead motorcycle appeared onto the finishing straight, signalling the arrival of the leader.  As expected, this was indeed Paul Pollock; the unassuming AAI National XC Champion showed no signs of fatigue following his 1:02:09 Half Marathon, just four days ago, as he cruised across the finish line in a new course record of 14:21 (1st place).  Glenn Phair and Scott Rankin were next into sight, and the pair were inseparable as they approached and crossed the line.  In the end, Glenn was awarded 2nd place in 14:52, with Scott taking 3rd place in 14:53.

The relentless Ann-Marie McGlynn powered home in an excellent 16:15 (1st place), with fellow Lifford AC star, and AAI National Masters 1500m and 3,000m Champion, Natasha Adams claiming the runners up spot in 16:53 (2nd place).  Northern Ireland cross country international Lauren Quee secured the final place on the ladies podium in a new personal best of 17:53 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) – 14:21, 2nd Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) – 14:52, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 14:53

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 16:15, 2nd Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) – 16:53, 3rd Lauren Quee (Glasgow University AC) – 17:53

Full Results:  Queen's 5k 2014 Results.  We also hope to have a selection of photo's from the Queen's 5k available in the coming days, please keep an eye on our 'Photo Gallery' for these.

St Malachy's AC impress at ISF World Schools XC Championships:

St Malachy's College perform well in Israel:

On Tuesday 1st April 2014, a team from St Malachy's College (Belfast) were in action at the ISF World Schools Cross Country Championships in Israel, where they took on the world's top schools and colleges in what proved to be an extremely competitive event.

Despite having to contend with an unfortunate set of circumstances, which included the late arrival of a team member and very hot, dusty conditions, the up and coming stars done themselves and Northern Ireland proud.  Paddy Robb produced an excellent performance, working his way through the field to claim a brilliant 7th place, after completing the 5k course in 16:07.  James Smyth and Ronan O'Fril deployed similar tactics to their club mate, and finished in quick succession, with James crossing the line in 17:46 (21st place) and Ronan 17:49 (23rd place).  

Kieran O'Reilly, who through no fault of his own, only arrived at the team hotel at 4:50am on race day, battled well to finish in 18:38 (42nd place), before Darryl McNicholl recorded 19:26 (69th place).  Unfortunately, Chris Connolly was unable to finish, as the conditions aggravated a chest infection. 

The Northern Ireland based team took 7th place in the very close team competition, and were just eighteen points off a bronze medal position.  Turkish side Adnan Menderes Andol took top honours, while their front man, Oti Omer collected a gold medal after winning the race in 16:07 (1st place).

Full results are unavailable at this time, they will be added should they become available.

Note - March 2014 'News', including this weeks 'Weekend Preview', is available HERE or by following the navigational bar at the top of the page.

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