Northern Ireland Running

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Seamus Lynch and Shalene McMurray continue good form at H&D Series:

Hill & Dale Series – Slieve Martin (Race 3):

On Thursday 30th April 2015, hundreds of athletes turned out for the third race of the ever popular Hill & Dales Series hosted by Newcastle AC.  On this occasion, Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, was the venue of choice for the Slieve Martin course, which covered 4.25 miles in distance with 1,740ft of ascent.

Despite numerous top quality performances at the front of the field, it was Race 2 winner and a man in red hot form who claimed victory.  After leading out from the front, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) looked strong as as he gradually moved clear of the field so secure a comfortable win in 32:28 (1st place).  The battle for the remaining podium places was a closer contest, with William McKee (Mourne Runners), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), David Hicks (Not the Sunday Run), Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners) and Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) amongst those who looked like potential prize-winners. However, in the end it was William McKee who took the runners up spot, crossing the line in 34:19 (2nd place); Neil Carty followed in 35:12 for 3rd place.

In the ladies race, there was an excellent dual for top honours for the second race in a row.  Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) and Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) looked a class above the rest as they powered clear from the off.  After a close encounter, it was Race 2 winner Shalene who edged it, breaking the tape in 40:57 (1st place).  Shileen followed in 41:34 (2nd place), while Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) reaped the rewards of a superb effort as she sealed 3rd place in 45:02.

Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 32:28, 2nd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 34:19, 3rd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 35:12

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) – 40:57, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 41:34, 3rd Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) – 45:02

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series – Slieve Martin (Race 3) 2015 Results

Gemma Turley excels as record turn-out support Purple Ladies 5k:

Purple Ladies 5k 2015:

On Wednesday 29th April 2015, Springwell Running Club hosted the 3rd annual running of their Purple Ladies 5k road race in Ballymoney (County Antrim).  The ladies only event attracted a record number of well over two hundred athletes, all of whom enjoyed the excellent atmosphere on what was a dull evening weather-wise.

In saying that, a number of impressive performances went a long way in brightening up the night; this included several of the host club's athletes, who in truth, dominated the head of the pack.  Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) followed up a strong performance and win at the Derek Harkin 5k last week with another outstanding display.  Gemma saw off the challenge of club mates Ciara Toner and Glenda Whiteside to secure victory in 19:13 (1st place).  Ciara continued her return to competition with a classy 19:31 finish, taking 2nd place ahead of Glenda who recorded 19:51 (3rd place).  

In a close finish between Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers), Claire McAvoy (Unattached) and Catherine Woods (Springwell Running Club), it was the fast improving Sarah-Jane and Claire who completed the top five in 20:07 (4th  place) and 20:09 (5th place) respectively.

Top 5 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 19:13, 2nd Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) – 19:31, 3rd Glenda Whiteside (Springwell Running Club) – 19:51, 4th Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) – 20:07, 5th Claire McAvoy (Unattached) – 20:09

Full Results:  Purple Ladies 5k Road Race 2015 Results

A night of top class athletes set for Mary Peters Track, Belfast:

Beechmount Harriers/Irish Milers Club T&F Meet:

Beechmount Harriers and the Irish Milers Club (IMC) are presenting an evening of top class athletics in Belfast, with the support of event sponsors

The event will take place on Saturday 23rd May 2015 at the Mary Peters Track, kicking off at 5.30pm.  A timetable will be published in the week prior to the Meet on this website and on the Irish Milers website at

The timetable will include various middle distance races (some with British Milers Club athletes attending) and all will have a generous prize fund, provided by the following sponsors.

  • Men and Women’s 800m A races sponsored by Mr Aidan Walker
  • Men and Women’s 1500 m A races sponsored by ChampionChip Ireland
  • Men and Women’s 1500m B races Sponsored by Oakley @ The Watch Shop
  • Men and Women’s 800m B races Sponsored by Springfield Learning

  • Men and Women’s 800m C races Sponsored by Little Big Shot
  • Men's 1500m C race Sponsored By Beechmount Harriers
  • Women’s 1500m C race sponsored by Cedarmount Dental Surgery
  • Men’s and Women’s 3k races sponsored by Beechmount Harriers AC
  • U-17 Boys and Girls fastest 800m races will receive prizes from Oakley Apparel sponsored by Cedarmount Dental Surgery
  • Male and Female Athlete of the Meet Sponsored by Oakley @ The Watch Shop

Armagh Sports & Trophies, owned by highly respected runner Dermot Kerr (pictured above with Race Director Eamonn Christie and Beechmount Harriers' Stuart Kennedy, will also provide major sponsorship for the event.  As if that was not enough the first 10 entries for the men and women’s 3k will receive a free gym bag and drinks bottle a finally, all athletes will get free energy shots available from Little Big Shot!  Entry for spectators is FREE and tea, coffee and sandwiches will be available – these will be kindly provided by Springfield Learning Training.

Michael McGovern from the Irish Milers Club explained their backing of the event, “based on the British Milers Club (BMC), our aim is to boost middle distance standards. To that end we put on high quality meets that athletes love and thrive in.  We adhere strictly to a set timetable and employ pace makers to ensure that each race is at the requisite fast time.  We are thrilled to be invited by Beechmount Harriers to associate with this meet.  We deeply appreciate the hard work done by Eamonn Christie, the Race Director and the assistance afforded to us by Athletics Northern Ireland.  IMC meets, since our establishment, regularly attract and feature Northern athletes who travel long distances to attend. We are so pleased therefore to be able to come nearer to them!”

Athletics NI's John Allen added, “we are delighted that the Irish Milers Club is bringing this important meeting to the Mary Peters Track and we are looking forward to an exciting evening of middle distance running.”

Race Director Eamonn Christie concluded, “on behalf of Beechmount Harriers, we are delighted to come together with the Irish Milers Club and Athletics Northern Ireland to put on what will be a great evening of middle distance racing and which, we hope, will become an annual event.”

How do I enter?

Online entries will open from Sunday 3rd May on the IMC website.  A link to the online entry system, operated by Primo Solutions will also be added to the IMC facebook page.

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2015 - Initial rankings released:

Pure Running Half Marathon Series - Current Rankings:

The Pure Running Half Marathon Series has proved as popular as ever, with a total of 3,134 finishers across the first three races, the DUNE, Larne and Omagh Half Marathons.

After these three races, the Series organisers, ChampionChip Ireland have provided us with the initial Series rankings. They are available HERE.  The next race in the Series will be the Newry City Half Marathon and Marathon (half way times will count for those completing the marathon if desired).

Anyone who would like to be in the frame for the category prizes must have completed at least two of the first five races so its still open for anyone to take part.  Registration is free through the form on the Athletics NI website or contact Glenn with your times to date on [email protected]

Four athletes from NI selected to represent Ireland in France:

Local runners set to represent Ireland on world stage:

This week, Athletics Ireland's ultra-running selectors have announced teams for major upcoming events in France, with no less than four Northern Ireland based athletes named across two strong line-ups.

IAU World Ultra-Trail Championships (Annecy, France):

Current NIMRA Champion Jonny Steede (Unattached) who recently smashed the course record en-route to winning the Wicklow Way Ultra and East Coast AC athlete Justin Maxwell, a regular competitor on the world stage, who finished well up the field at the Skyrunning World Championships (80k) and UTMB 'CCC' (101k), will join established Ireland runners Paul Tierney (Ambleside AC), Dan Doherty (Centurion Running) and Barry Hartnett (Tipperary Wheelers) in the five man team for the IAU World Ultra-Trail Championships in Annecy, France on Saturday 30th May 2015. The race will cover a tough 85k route with 5,200 metres of accumulative ascent.

Trail De Guerladean (Brittany, France):

Scotland based Northern Ireland man Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC), a podium finisher at the Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 and just last weekend, a fourth place finisher at the HOKA Highland Fling will line up alongside ever consistent and impressive East Antrim Harriers athlete Billy Reed on the Ireland team for the Trail De Guerladean in Brittany, France on Saturday 23rd May 2015.  The race will cover 56k in distance with 1,389 metres of accumulative ascent. Eoin and Billy will be joined in the team by John MacEnri (Unattached), Richard Nunan (Boards AC) and Suzanne Kenny (Clonliffe Harriers).

Breege Connolly secures Olympic standard at London Marathon 2015:

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015:

On Sunday 26th April 2015, hundreds of athletes from Northern Ireland lined up alongside in excess of forty thousand fellow runners at arguably the world's most famous race, the Virgin Money London Marathon in England.

The national headlines have obviously surrounded excellent wins for Eluid Kipchoge (Kenya) and Tigist Tufa (Ethiopia), who secured the men's and ladies titles in 2:04:42 and 2:23:21 respectively, and of course Paula Radcliffe's final competitive 26.2 mile race, which she finished in 2:36:55.  

However, it was the performance of North Belfast Harriers' Breege Connolly that should make the local headlines.  Breege, who recently smashed the Larne Half Marathon ladies course record when she won in 1:16:20, achieved a Rio Olympics marathon qualifying standard when she clocked a new personal best of 2:37:29; this was well within the 2:42:00 standard.

There were numerous other top quality performances by local athletes, including a 2:24:05 finish for City of Derry AC's Greg Roberts and impressive marathon debuts for North Down AC's Dennis Scott (2:36:08) and East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson (2:36:15).  North Belfast Harriers' Eddie Cooke ran 2:40:43, before Araon Meharg (Acorns AC) continued his excellent recent form to record 2:43:38.  Newcastle AC's Alan Strachan clocked a new personal best of 2:47:08, while Willowfield Harriers athlete impressed with a personal best of 2:47:28; Andy Guy (East Coast AC) also celebrated a new personal best when crossing the line in 2:49:09.  Less than a minute split NI men Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) and Conor McMullan (Annadale Striders), with Simon running a personal best of 2:50:05 and Conor an excellent 2:50:44; Unattached athlete Mark Walker added to the personal best haul when he finished in 2:51:08.

Matthew Morrow (Ballymena Runners) ran 2:51:59, while Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) reached the infamous 'Mall' finish area to finish in 2:53:24; Annadale Striders' John Devlin crossed the line in 2:56:57.  Magherafelt Harriers' marathon enthusiast Darren Church recorded 2:57:00, therefore finishing just two seconds ahead of Ballymena Runners' Gary Davison (2:57:02).  Three more local runners followed in quick succession, with Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) and John Kelly (Newcastle AC) recording 2:57:12, 2:57:39 and 2:57:49 respectively. 

Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC), Ali Shaw (Springwell Running Club), Jim Moore (Ballymena Runners), John McConnell (North Belfast Harriers), Ali Shaw (Springwell Running Club) and Martan Keane (Larne AC) all dipped under the infamous three hour barrier, with Barry running 2:59:18, Ali 2:59:29, Jim 2:59:34, John 2:59:43 and 26.2 mile debutant Martan finishing in 2:59:48; North Belfast Harriers' Martin Rea, an official three hour pacer finished perfectly in 2:59:28.  Michael Allen (East Antrim Harriers) narrowly missed the aforementioned three hour barrier when he crossed the line in 3:04:13, just over a minute in front of Lagan Valley AC man Jonathan Irvine who ran 3:05:25.

Other finishers from Northern Ireland included: John Hasson (Ballymena Runners) – 3:06:43, Rory Kane (North Belfast Harriers) - 3:08:12, Gerry Gribbon (North Belfast Harriers) - 3:09:12, Thomas Carson (Willowfield Harriers) - 3:09:21, Gerard Donnelly (City of Lisburn AC) – 3:11:33, Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) – 3:12:11, Joe McCann (Newcastle AC) – 3:12:33, Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC) – 3:13:06, Colin Simpson (North Belfast Harriers) - 3:13:31 and Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) – 3:13:40.

Further finishers included:  Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 3:13:58, Paul Carlisle (Lagan Valley AC) – 3:15:00, Andrew McIntyre (Orangegrove AC) – 3:16:38, Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers) - 3:17:27, Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) – 3:18:59, David Noble (Larne AC) – 3:21:06, Gareth King (Unattached) – 3:20:31, Fiona Prue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 3:20:57, Francis Stewart (Magherafelt Harriers) – 3:22:02, Kevin McVeigh (City of Lisburn AC) – 3:24:10, Peter Fleming (Ballymena Runners) – 3:25:08, Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) – 3:25:08, Paul McCullagh (City of Lisburn AC) – 3:25:08, Penny Lindsay (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:25:32, Patrick McGuckin (Mallusk Harriers) - 3:27:04, Elle Forrest (Ballymena Runners) - 3:27:10, Andy Ferguson (Ballymena Runners) - 3:27:36, Nichola Thompson (Dromore AC) – 3:34:13, Sharon Williamson (Kernan Running Club) – 3:35:33, Chris Woods (Orangegrove AC) – 3:35:41, Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) – 3:38:24, Andrew Harding (North Belfast Harriers) - 3:40:34, Tina Davies (Dromore AC) – 3:39:36, Colin Atkinson (Dromore AC) – 3:41:39, Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) – 3:43:02, Jack Carberry (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:43:33, Ian Grant (Orangegrove AC) – 3:43:50, Greame Neill (City of Lisburn AC) – 3:45:16, John McGerty (Ballymena Runners) – 3:46:11, Susanna Allen (Ballymena Runners) – 3:47:39, Darren Houston (Orangegrove AC) – 3:52:31, Hugh Hampsey (Acorns AC) – 3:54:56, Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) – 3:55:15, Julie Young (County Antrim Harriers) – 3:57:26, Jason Reid (North Belfast Harriers) - 4:00:23, Duncan Millar (Ballymena Runners) – 4:02:00, Andy Watson (City of Lisburn AC) – 4:02:15, Mary Magill (Orangegrove AC) – 4:03:46, Malachy Mullan (Magherafelt Harriers) – 4:03:55, Wendy McAuley (Ballymena Runners) – 4:04:01, Kathyrn Grant (Ballymena Runners) – 4:07:10, Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC) - 4:09:51, Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) – 4:11:34, Joanne Busch (Belfast Running Club) - 4:14:36, Lynne Mounstephen (Belfast Running Club) - 4:14:37, Muir Clark (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:18:50, Ricky Mann (Larne AC) – 4:19:27, Wendy Walker (Acorns AC) – 4:20:02, Sam Hogg (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:24:39, Paul Skillen (Mallusk Harriers) - 4:33:46, Iryna Kennedy (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:36:35, Jayne Higgins (Magherafelt Harriers) – 4:36:55, Cathy Hopkins (County Antrim Harriers) – 4:38:03, Stephanie Anderson (Belfast Running Club) - 4:53:42, Kerry McShane (North Belfast Harriers) – 4:55:17, Frankey McGivern (North Belfast Harriers) - 5:01:00, Sean McShane (North Belfast Harriers) – 5:01:31.

Full Results:  Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 Results

Stephen Duncan and Claire McGuigan win Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon:

Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon 2015:

On Sunday 26th April 2015, nearly eight hundred athletes descended on the border town of Strabane for the annual Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon, an event hosted by Lifford AC and Strabane District Council, which takes athletes from Northern Ireland into Lifford (Ireland).

Pre-race favourite Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) returned to defend the title he won so impressively in 2014; however, on this occasion, the Northern Ireland international faced tough opposition.  At the front, Stephen was joined by Liam Feely (North Leitrim AC) and fellow Omagh Harriers star Paul Barbour.  Despite Liam and Paul's best efforts, it was Stephen's experience and talent that shown through.  He (Stephen) broke the tape in 1:08:58 (1st place), with Liam and Paul following in 1:09:55 (2nd place) and 1:09:59 (3rd place) respectively.

In the ladies race, Lifford AC's Claire McGuigan proved to be a popular winner.  The ever consistent athlete, who has enjoyed an excellent start to 2015, secured a well-deserved win in 1:25:11 (1st place), just over seven minutes clear of runner up Denise Ward (Foyle Valley AC), who recorded 1:32:12 for 2nd place. Letterkenny AC's Margaret Kelly completed the top three in 1:32:55 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 1:08:58, 2nd Liam Feely (North Leitrim AC) – 1:09:55, 3rd Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 1:09:59

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 1:25:11, 2nd Denise Ward (Foyle Valley AC) – 1:32:12, 3rd Margaret Kelly (Letterkenny AC) – 1:32:55

Full Results:  Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon 2015 Results

Local athletes perform well at HOKA Highland Fling and '3 Peaks' races:

HOKA Highland Fling and 3 Peaks Mountain Race 2015:

On Saturday 25th April 2015, at least sixteen runners from Northern Ireland were in action at one of the UK's most prestigious ultra-running events, the HOKA Highland Fling, a 53 mile trail running event set in along part of the stunning West Highland Way in Scotland.

In the past, local athletes have made an excellent impression at the event and this year was no different, with Scotland based Northern Ireland man Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC), a podium finisher at the Mourne Skyline MTR in 2014, producing a classy performance to secure 4th place in 7:29:29.  Mourne Runners' Dale Mathers followed in 8:36:15, before Jonathan Gibson (Unattached), Dominic McInerney (Newcastle AC) and Steve Cairns (Tynebridge Harriers) crossing the line in 9:15:12, 9:33:50 and 9:42:51 respectively.   

Joanne Curran (BARF) took third place and the associated prize in the Vet40 category when she crossed the line in 10:03:24.  Newcastle AC's Mark King ran well to finish in 10:07:07 – Taryn McCoy (BARF) recorded 10:42:33 to finish just ahead of friend Jacqui Toal (BARF) who completed the tough course in 10:47:11.  BARF club mates Martin Mullan (11:16:59) and Dave Evans (11:17:00) crossed the line together, while LVO's Declan McGrellis dipped under the twelve hour barrier in 11:57:46. 

Orla McElroy (City of Lisburn AC) joined the NI contingent in the finish area in 12:14:04, before John McBride (BARF) ran 12:57:51 and Amy Beggs (Larne AC) knock twenty four minutes off her 2014 time when she returned in 13:30:41.  Andrew McGibbon crossed the line fourteen minutes later in 13:44:24, while Ian Taylor (BARF) completed the NI contingent in 15:24:12.  The race was won by American athlete Matthew Laye (San Francisco Running Company) in 7:04:06 (1st place), while Rachael Campbell (Get Active Running) took the ladies title in 8:42:56 (1st place).

Full Results:  HOKA Highland Fling 2015 Results

3 Peaks Mountain Race 2015:

Elsewhere on Saturday 25th April 2015, East Coast AC athlete Justin Maxwell continued his build up to several forthcoming long distance events when he joined a plethora of the UK's top mountain-trail runners on the start line of the infamous 3 Peaks Mountain Race close to Settle in Yorkshire, England.  Justin completed the 23.3 mile route, which included 5,279ft of ascent in 3:33:46 (60th place).  The race was won by Salomon International Ricky Lightfoot in 2:51:42 (1st place).

Full Results:  3 Peaks Mountain Race 2015 Results

Donal Gallagher and Karen Alexander win Peatlands Park Multi-Terrain Race:

Peatlands Park Multi-Terrain Race 2015:

On Saturday 25th April 2015, just over one hundred runners turned out for the Peatlands Park 5.5 mile Multi-Terrain Race, in Dungannon (County Tyrone), an event organised to raise funds for Guide Dogs NI.

Despite the charitable aspect to the race, their was also a competitive edge at the front, with several high profile athletes in competition.  In the end, it was established runner Donal Gallagher (Unattached) who stole the headlines.  

Donal, a 2:38:49 marathoner and regular 'first finisher' at the MUSA parkrun, looked a class above the rest as he cruised to victory in 35:31 (1st place).  The ever improving Gavin Campbell (Unattached) followed in 36:08 (2nd place), before Newry City Runners' Jonny Gregg crossed the line in 37:04 for 3rd place.

Pre-race favourite Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) was as impressive as her (winning) male counterpart, racing clear of any challengers in the ladies race to break the tape in an excellent 38:11 (1st place); not only taking the ladies title put finishing in 5th place overall.  Up and coming star Natasha Henderson (County Antrim Harriers) claimed the runners up spot in 42:21 (2nd place), while Sinead Kinsella (East Down AC) secured the final podium place in 47:49 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Donal Gallagher (Unattached) – 35:31, 2nd Gavin Campbell (Unattached) – 36:08, 3rd Jonny Gregg (Newry City Runners) – 37:04

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 38:11, 2nd Natasha Henderson (County Antrim Harriers) – 42:21, 3rd Sinead Kinsella (East Down AC) – 47:49

Full Results:  Peatlands Park Multi-Terrain Race 2015 Results (Photo by Mark Ramsey)

Weekend Preview:  Local runners look forward to events outside NI...

Weekend Preview:  VMLM, 'The Fling', Madrid Marathon...

Another weekend is upon us and as always, the thriving running community within Northern Ireland will be gearing up for upcoming races.  

Strangely though, the focus of this weekend’s attention will more than likely be directed towards the performances of local athletes outside Northern Ireland, with large numbers set to take on events in England and Scotland; most notably, there is the well-publicised Virgin Money London Marathon, while our ultra-running enthusiasts, will be looking forward to the prestigious HOKA Highland Fling.

Of course, there are also several good events taking place within Northern Ireland, including the Peatlands Park Multi-Terrain Race and the Strabane to Lifford Half Marathon, and we'll kick off our weekend preview with the Peatlands Park Multi-Terrain Race.

Peatlands Park 5.5 mile Multi-Terrain Race:

On Saturday 25th April 2015, runners from all over Northern Ireland will descend on Peatlands Park in Dungannon for the Peatlands Park 5.5 mile Multi-Terrain Race, which has been organised to raise funds for Guide Dogs NI.

Despite the charitable aspect to the event, their will also be a competitive edge at the front, with several high profile athletes set to compete.  After winning the Resolution Run 5k, Gavin Campbell (Unattached) has been in good form, placing well at several events, both on the road and off-road, which will stand him in good stead for this event.  In saying that, Gavin will need to be on top of his game to see off the likes of Bobbie Irvine (Seapark AC), Ralph Lavery (Unattached) and Jonny Gregg (Newry City Runners).  Mark O'Connor (East Down AC), Aaron Hill (Belfast Running Club), Neil Robinson (Unattached) and East Down AC legend Joe Quinn will also finish well up the field.

Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) will hope to follow on from her impressive victory at the Castle Ward Half Marathon last weekend and the Northern Ireland international will go into this event as strong pre-race favourite; infact, Karen could well win overall (and not just the ladies race).  Up and coming star Natasha Henderson (County Antrim Harriers) should also challenge for honours, while Sinead Kinsella (East Down AC), Carol Annesley (East Antrim Harriers) will also be aiming for top ten finishes.

Youth Development League Track & Field Meeting:

On the same day (Saturday 25th April 2015), some of Northern Ireland's most talented up and coming athletes will take to the track (and field) at Antrim Forum in Antrim for Round 1 of the Northern Ireland Youth Development League 2015.  The junior competitors, aged between 13 years old and 17 years old will race over distances ranging from 70 metres to 3,000m, which should make for an excellent day of action.

Hoka Highland Fling (Scotland):

Early on Saturday 25th April 2015, in excess of twenty runners from Northern Ireland will travel to Scotland to take part in the sold out HOKA Highland Fling. The event sets off from Milngavie railway station, just north of Glasgow at 6am. Runners will head north, past Loch Lomond and along the famous West Highland Way to Tyndrum.  This event is a 53 mile trail race and incorporates the Scottish Ultra Running Championships. 

Amongst those taking part from Northern Ireland will be Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC), a podium finisher at the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race last October (2014).  Eoin who had an impressive 2014, including a strong run at this event and continued to progress towards 2015 with a third place finish at Boxing Day’s BARF ‘Turkey Trot’.  The Carnethy man has raced sparingly since, with his focus directed towards this race and other long distance challenges in the near future; he is expected to run well over a course he has become familiar with.  

In addition to Eoin, another athlete to look out for is Northern Ireland international cross country runner, Steve Cairns (Tynebridge Harriers), will also compete in ‘the fling’ for the first time.  Steve, who now lives in Scotland, is an accomplished marathon runner, with a personal best of 2:29:00 – he has decided to step up in distance and will no doubt be well suited to this type of event.  East Coast AC's Justin Maxwell, who finished as runner up here twelve months ago, will not start despite his inclusion on the entry list – Instead, Justin will compete at the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Race in England (preview further down the page...).

As usual, there will be a large showing from BARF (Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners) with Joanne Curran, Dave Evans, Andrew McGibbon, John McBride, Taryn McCoy, Martin Mullan, Ian Taylor and Jacqui Toal all entered for the Belfast club.  The experienced and always impressive husband and wife pairing, Dale and Denise Mathers (both Mourne Runners) will again take on the challenge, having competed both on this section of the course as well as the full West Highland Way race in recent years.

The ever consistent duo of Mark King (Newcastle AC) and Dominic McInerney (Newcastle AC) will also make the trip to Scotland again, having impressed in recent long distance events.  Their friend and club mate Stephen Wallace is entered, but is not expected to start, due to injury.  Like Stephen (Wallace), Mark (King) and Dominic (McInerney) have been in good form throughout 2014 and will be looking to start an exciting year in the mountains here.  Declan McElroy (Newcastle AC), Orla McElroy (City of Lisburn AC) and Amy Beggs (Larne AC) will continue their ultra-running journey’s, as will Declan McGrellis (LVO).   Greg McCann, who completed the Mourne 500s in 2014 and former Northern Ireland International mountain runner Tish McCann have also entered this challenging event.  Tri-athlete Patrick McLaughlin (North West Triathlon Club) will be another flying the flag for our local athletes, looking to make his mark in the ultra-running.

Yorkshire 3 Peaks Race (England):

Also on Saturday 25th April 2015, East Coast AC pair Justin Maxwell and Dan Spencer will travel to Yorkshire to participant in the iconic ‘3 Peaks’ race.  The event starts in Horton, takes in the summits of Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough before returning to the finish line in the countryside town (Horton).  With in-excess of 23 miles and approximately 1,600 metres of ascent and descent, this race will be a good test for the duo as they focus on longer distance events in the coming months.

Strabane – Lifford Half Marathon:

On Sunday 26th April 2015, hundreds of athletes are expected to take on the annual Strabane to Lifford Half Marathon, organised by Strabane District Council and Lifford AC.  The race will start in Northern Ireland and take competitors over the border to Lifford in Ireland.

In 2014, Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) cruised to victory, winning by approximately four minutes. Stephen recorded an excellent 1:10:11 at the Omagh Half Marathon; this was enough to see the exceptionally talented Northern Ireland international take sixth place, but could well see him secure a much higher position here.  Stephen's club mate Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), winner of the Airtricity 10k and 10 mile races, could also take to the start line, which would make for an excellent race at the front. Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Gerry Duddy (City of Derry AC) and Gerard Heaney (St Peter's AC) will also play a part, while North Belfast Harriers athlete Matt Shields will be in the running for a category prize.  Michael McKeown (East Down AC), Jamie Tomaselli (St Peter's AC) and Nigel Grier (Dromore AC) will all start and should perform well.

Letterkenny AC ladies Ann-Marie McGlynn and Natasha Adams have been producing some top quality performances of late, with Ann-Marie winning the Titanic 10k and Queen's 5k road race, and Natasha claiming third place at Queen's and second place at the Titanic 10k - should the classy duo compete, they will no doubt contest the top prizes.  Lifford AC athlete Claire McGuigan will be aiming to claim a prize, while Andrea Heslip (Dromore AC), Ita McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers), Martina McCauley (North Fermanagh AC) and Stephanie Henry (Sperrin Harriers) will all be hoping to impress.

Virgin Money London Marathon (England):

Also on Sunday 26th April 2015, a large contingent from Northern Ireland will line up amongst forty thousand fellow runners on the start line of the world's most famous 26.2 mile race, the Virgin Money London Marathon.

This years race has attracted one of the most talented fields ever assembled; however, it is the presence of one athlete which has attracted all of the media attention.  Ladies marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe will return to the event where she recorded the 2:15:25 in 2003, a record which still stands to this day, twelve years later.  After the race, Paula, who has a big connection with Northern Ireland through her husband and coach Gary Lough, will retire from competitive action.

There are hundreds of Northern Ireland based athletes set to race at the event, amongst them are Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders), John Devlin (Annadale Striders), Conor McMullan (Annadale Striders), Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC), Andy Guy (East Coast AC), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners), Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC), Peter Fleming (Ballymena Runners), Thomas McCorry (Annadale Striders), Fiona Prue (Ballydrain Harriers), Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club), Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Tina Davies (Dromore AC), Andy Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Colin Atkinson (Dromore AC), Paul McCullagh (City of Lisburn AC), Gerard Donnelly (City of Lisburn AC), Graeme Neill (City of Lisburn AC), Kevin McVeigh (City of Lisburn AC), Nichola Thompson (Dromore AC), Paul Carlisle (Lagan Valley AC), Jonathan Irvine (Lagan Valley AC), Marie-Theresa Fitzpatrick (Lagan Valley AC), Sam Hogg (Lagan Valley AC), Muir Clarke (Lagan Valley AC) and Iryna Kennedy (Lagan Valley AC). North Belfast Harriers' Martin Rea will once agin perform the roll of three hour pacer at the race, while young Dromore AC athlete Daniel Dawson will be one of several junior athletes from Northern Ireland competing in the VLM Mini-Marathon.

Madrid Marathon (Spain):

Further afield on Sunday 26th April 2015, another athlete from Northern Ireland will be competing over the 26.2 mile distance.  Unattached athlete Stephen Purdie will race the Rock N' Roll Madrid Marathon in Spain.


As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty parkrun events will 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.

Seamus Lynch and Shalene McMurray win Hill & Dale - Tollymore event:

Hill & Dale Series – Tollymore Forest (Race 2):

On Thursday 23rd April 2015, just under three hundred athletes turned out for the second race of Newcastle AC's Hill & Dale Series 2015.  The event took place in Tollymore Forest, just outside Newcastle (County Down) and measured 5 miles in distance with 800ft of ascent.

The host club's Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), winner of the opening two races of the ongoing NIMRA Championship Series, excelled at the front of the field.  Despite strong challenges from fellow Newcastle AC man Ian Bailey and in particular, North Belfast Harriers' Andrew Annett, it was Seamus who broke the tape, recording 29:19 for 1st place.  Andrew Annett recorded 29:44 (2nd place) to finish just ahead of Ian Bailey, who completed the top three in 29:59 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, current 'Queen of the Glens' (Race Over the Glens) Shalene McMurray, a recent addition to the Newcastle AC line up, put in a top quality performance to secure top spot.  Shalene clocked 36:31 (1st place) to finish just thirteen seconds ahead of Race 1 winner Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), who crossed the line in 36:44 for 2nd place.  Castlewellan AC's Sinead Murtagh looked strong as she secured a podium place in 39:40 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 29:19, 2nd Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) – 29:44, 3rd Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 29:59

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) – 36:31, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 36:44, 3rd Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) – 39:40

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series – Tollymore (Race 2) 2015 Results 

Keith Shiels and Gemma Turley impress at Derek Harkin Memorial 5k:

Hundreds turn out for Derek Harkin Memorial 5k:

On Thursday 23rd April 2015, nearly  four hundred athletes descended on Gransha Grounds in Derry/Londonderry for the Derek Harkin Memorial 5k road race, an event hosted by Foyle Valley AC.

At the head of the pack, an interesting battle ensued straight from the off, with Keith Shiels (St Columb's AC), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), James Brown (City of Derry AC) and Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC) all going through the 1k marker together.  In the ladies race, Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) led from the off, with Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC) and Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC) settling quickly into second and third place.

As the race progressed, Keith Shiels edged clear of the the pack and put some distance between himself and the in-form Gary Slevin.  Despite Gary's best efforts, he couldn't close the gap and in the end, Keith secured a well-deserved victory in 15:27 (1st place).  Gary followed in 15:39 (2nd place), before Adrian McGowan showed that he is getting back to his best after crossing the line in 16:09 (3rd place).

Gemma Turley proved to be a dominant force in the ladies race; the Springwell Running Club athlete covered the route at a relentless pace and did not look back as she sealed an impressive victory in 18:43 (1st place).  The host club's Martina McMullan and Gemma McGinty, two ladies who have become podium regulars of late, took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively; Martina ran 18:56, with Gemma clocking 19:03.

Top 3 Men:  1st Keith Shiels (St Columb's AC) – 15:27, 2nd Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) – 15:39, 3rd Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) – 16:09

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 18:43, 2nd Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC) – 18:56, 3rd Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC) – 19:03

Full Results:  Derek Harkin Memorial 5k 2015 Results

Paddy Hamilton cruises to victory at Dundalk 10k road race:

Slieve Gullion Runners out in force at Dundalk 10k:

On Wednesday 22nd April 2015, a number of runners from Northern Ireland made the short cross border journey to Dundalk (Ireland) for the annual Dundalk 10k road race, an event which attracted close to five hundred competitors.

Slieve Gullion Runners’ Paddy Hamilton showed his class once again; having won the recent Mountpleasant 5k road race, the former Annadale Striders star and 2:23:37 marathoner cruised to victory in 31:31 (1st place).  Paddy wasn’t the only athlete from Newry based club who performed well, with no less than six other ‘SGR’ members finishing in under fifty minutes.  The first of these was Bernard Hamill, who secured 19th place in 38:21.  Armagh AC man Shane McSherry followed eight seconds later in 38:29 (22nd place), before Slieve Gullion Runners’ Lillian O’Hanlon claimed 13th place in the ladies race in 43:46.  Lawrence Malone (Slieve Gullion Runners) and Eamon Murphy (Slieve Gullion Runners) crossed the line in 44:39 (93rd place) and 45:32 (108th place) respectively, while their club mate Conor Martin (Slieve Gullion Runners) clocked 46:19 (115th place).  

Oonagh Monaghan followed in 48:16, taking 20th place in the ladies competition, before Fiona Murphy (Newry City Runners) dipped under the fifty minute barrier with a finish time of 48:19 (21st place).  The ladies race was won by Anna-Marie Costello (Unattached) in 39:14 (1st place).

Full Results:  Dundalk 10k Road Race 2015 Results

North Down AC Track & Field Meeting (Meet 1):

Elsewhere, North Down AC welcomed hundreds of athlete to the first of their popular NDAC Open Track & Field Meetings on Tuesday 21st April 2015.  The event, which was held at the Bangor Sportsplex, attracted a plethora of talent and proved to be a perfect opportunity for athletes to test themselves ahead of a busy outdoor season.  Provisional results for the event are available HERE.

Two previous winners amongst 15,000 strong field for Belfast City Marathon:

Two previous winners set for Belfast City Marathon 2015 (by Athletics NI):

In just twelve days time, some 15,000 runners are expected to take part in the 34th edition of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, with approximately 3,000 competitors taking on the 26.2 mile event.  Amongst these are two previous winners.

Kenyan athletes Freddy Sittuk and Joel Kipsang will once again renew their fierce rivalry which resulted twelve months ago in Freddy breaking away from his opponent at the half way mark to record an unexpected three minute victory in wet and windy conditions. Freddy, 34 years old, has stated he is determined to successfully defend his title, however at 28 years old, the younger Joel Kipsang is equally confident that he will emerge victorious and repeat his victory from 2013.

Joel has emerged as clear favourite this time round, particularly after yet another impressive run in Israel three months ago where his fourth place time of 2:12:37 is simply his latest achievement in that event, where he has run four marathons in under 2:13:00.

Two years ago in Belfast, Joel attempted to break the course record of 2:13:41 but was thwarted by the usual strong wind on the M2 foreshore and Duncrue Industrial Estate.  He still recorded a comfortable win in 2:19:28 ahead of an isolated Freddy (Sittuk) who was third.  The tables were completely turned last year (2014) when Freddy took a calculated gamble by breaking away from the opposition on the Whitewell Road at 14 miles after which he simply lengthened his lead with a splendid solo run to the finish in a time of 2:18:30.  Prolific racer Freddy then went on to  win the Walled City Marathon in Derry/Londonderry three weeks later.  Then in September (2014) he returned to Belfast to just get the better of local Annadale Striders star Eddie M'Ginley to take victory by three seconds in the Belfast City Half Marathon. 

However, his best marathon time of 2hrs 15mins may not be good enough to get the better of Joel Kipsang this time round.  Joel may once again have his eye not only on the  winner's prize of £3,000, but also a further roll over figure of £3,000 for breaking the course record of 2:13:41, set by two time winner of the event Urga Negewo (Ethiopia) 3 years go.  In the Ladies event last year's runner up Shona Crombie-Hicks will be racing again. The Bourton AC athlete is a prolific road racer and has a best marathon time of 2:38:42 from Berlin a few years ago.

The organisers have no planned changes to this year's Marathon course which takes in most areas of the City.  The official charity is Marie Curie Care which will be marking the 50th year of  the Belfast Hospice.  There are currently a total of 15,000 participants in all events including some 1,900 five person relay teams

Local company 'Active Financial' to support NiRunning Mile 2015:

Active Financial NiRunning Mile 2015:

In less than two weeks (Friday 1st May 2015), NiRunning will host their 4th annual NiRunning Mile, which will once again be in association with the British Milers Club (BMC); the event will be held at the Mary Peters Track (Belfast).

We (NiRunning) are extremely proud to announce that Active Financial, a new Northern Ireland based company who promote Vitality wellness benefits to those who lead a healthy and active lifestyle, will be the new NiRunning Mile title sponsor for 2015.

NiRunning Mile Race Director Ryan Maxwell speaks enthusiastically about the new partnership, “At NiRunning, our ethos is to promote the sport of running within Northern Ireland, as well as the performances of local runners outside the province.  In Active Financial, I see similar qualities, they are a company promoting not only running, but a healthy lifestyle as a whole... and rewarding those who are active".  

"At the risk of sounding like a sales representative for them (Active Financial) – we all need life insurance, so why not pick a policy that rewards you for being active, with half price running shoes, money off Garmin watches etc.  I am proud for NiRunning to be associated with a new ambitious local company who are rewarding people for getting out there and being involved in sport".

Active Financial will be at the NiRunning Mile should anyone wish to discuss the Vitality benefits scheme.  They will also be running a FREE competition, offering a Garmin sports watch and a £50 Sweatshop voucher as prizes.   

Patricia McAuley, a partner at Active Financial added, “Active Financial are delighted to be working with NiRunning, a well-respected, local, organisation.  We look forward to promoting the Vitality wellness benefits, to runners and their families, at the upcoming Active Financial NiRunning Mile event".  If you would like to find out more about Active Financial, check out their facebook page HERE.

On the night, there will be races to suit all abilities, a timetable and entry information is available below...

Active Financial NiRunning Mile - Timetable:

Start Time 7pm: 10 minute plus Mile,  7.15pm: 9-10 minute Mile, 7.30pm: 8-9 minute Mile, 7.45pm: 7-8 minute Mile, 8pm: 6-7 minute Mile, 8.15pm: 5-6 minute Mile, 8.30pm: Sub 5 minute Mile, 8.45pm:  Elite Women’s Mile, 9pm:  Elite Men’s Mile

Entry Information:

Entry will be available on the night, with registration closing STRICTLY 15 minutes before each Mile.  The cost of entry is £3.  Further details or enquires can be sent to the same address or [email protected] 

Hazel and Susan Smyth impress at Boston Marathon 2015:

Boston Marathon 2015:

On Monday 20th April 2015, Northern Ireland ladies and sisters, Hazel and Susan Smyth joined tens of thousands of competitors on the start line of the Boston Marathon in America.

Hazel, a 3:07:21 marathoner who is now based in Scotland and running for Dumfries Harriers, crossed the line first, recording 3:22:11. Susan (Dromore AC), who recently claimed a podium place at the DUNE Half Marathon, followed in a new personal best of 3:26:19.  

Fittingly, the race was won by Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa who famously gave his winner's medal to the city following the tragic 2013 finish line bombing.  As he broke the tape in 2:09:17 (1st place), Lelisa shouted “Strong Boston”  in a version of the 'Boston Strong' motto that has become the city's rallying cry after the attack that killed three people and injured hundreds more.  The ladies race was won by Caroline Rotich (Kenya) in 2:24:55 (1st place).

Full Results:  Boston Marathon 2015 Results

Ann-Marie McGlynn and Natasha Adams guide Letterkenny AC to silver:

GloHealth AAI National Road Relays:

On Sunday 19th April 2015, in-form Northern Ireland athletes Ann-Marie McGlynn and Natasha Adams helped their County Donegal club Letterkenny AC to a podium place at the prestigious GloHealth AAI National Road Relay Championships in Raheny, Ireland.

The ladies race, which saw the three person teams cover individual legs measuring 1 mile, 2 miles and 1 mile, brought an epic battle between defending Champions Leevale AC and the aforementioned Letterkenny AC.  The formidable Leevale AC team of Carol Finn, Lizzie Lee and Michelle Finn claimed victory in a time of 20:39 (1st place), with Ann-Marie and Natasha's Letterkenny AC team (which also included Sinead Peoples) taking an excellent 2nd place in a time of 21:08.

The two mile leg of the race was the most competitive, with Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC) recording a time of 10:35 and Ann-Marie only a second slower with a time of 10:36. However, Leevale AC athlete Michelle Finn was untouchable on the last leg as she sealed the title for the Cork club.

Full Results:  GloHealth AAI National Road Relay Championships 2015 Results (Photo above by Teresa McDaid)

James Loftus and Louise Smith claim victory at Armagh 10k:

Armagh 10k road race 2015:

On Sunday 19th April 2015, a record number of athletes turned out for the 7th annual Armagh 10k road race; 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'. 

At the front, local Armagh AC athlete Gary Henderson battled it out with England based James Loftus (Liverpool. Pembroke & Sefton AC).  The pair cruised through half way together, with Gerard Heaney (St Peter's AC), Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) and Danny Fegan (Armagh AC) in pursuit.  Meanwhile, in the ladies race, Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) had a two minute lead going through the 5k marker and was dominating proceedings, leaving Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC), Kathleen Diver (Unattached) and Suzie Johnston (Unattached) to contest the final podium places.

In truth, nothing changed in the second half of the race, and it wasn't until the men were making their way back towards the historic Mall area and the impending finish line that the winner was revealed – James Loftus edged out Gary Henderson to claim victory, recording 33:48 (1st place), with Gary following in 33:53 (2nd place).  Gerard Heaney crossed the line in 35:26 for 3rd place.

Louise Smith was relentless as she powered her way to victory in the ladies race, breaking the tape in 37:18 (1st place), just under four minutes ahead of runner up Donna Evans, who ran 41:12 (2nd place).  Kathleen Diver completed a good run to secure the final podium place in 43:00 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st James Loftus (Liverpool, Pembroke & Sefton AC) – 33:48, 2nd Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) – 33:53, 3rd Kathleen Diver (Unattached) – 35:26

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 37:18, 2nd Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC) – 41:12, 3rd Gerard Heaney (St Peter's AC) – 43:00

Full Results:  Run Armagh 10k 2015 Results

Local runners achieve personal bests at Greater Manchester Marathon:

Greater Manchester Marathon 2015:

On Sunday 19th April 2015, a number of runners from Northern Ireland were in action at the Greater Manchester Marathon in Manchester, England.  The event, which organisers claim is the 'flattest, fastest and friendliest' marathon in the UK, is growing in stature year on year and becoming more attractive to runners from our very own Emerald Isle.

Simon Murray (Annadale Striders) led the local contingent to the finish line outside Old Trafford Football Stadium after recording a new personal best of 2:45:10; he was followed across the line by East Antrim Harriers men Sam Crawford and Iain Bailey – running together in what was Sam's 60th marathon, the friends both finished in 2:52:29.  Fellow East Antrim Harriers athletes Chris Collins (3:07:30) and Billy Reed (3:08:19) followed, before Paul Tyro (Orangegrove AC) and Conor Shiels (North Belfast Harriers) recorded personal bests of 3:13:38 and 3:17:46 respectively.

Jim Finlay added to the finishing East Antrim Harriers competitors when he clocked 3:18:56 - Rick Hill (Ballymena Runners) followed in 3:22:27.  Andy Liddle (East Antrim Harriers) covered the route in 3:25:51, just ahead of club mate Eddie Blaney (East Antrim Harriers) who ran 3:29:04.  

Anne Moore (Orangegrove AC) crossed the line in an impressive 3:37:29, while just over ninety seconds split Mark Ramsey (Unattached) and Christine Murray (County Antrim Harriers), with Mark running 3:51:01 and Christine 3:52:37.  Steven Beggs (East Antrim Harriers) completed the 26.2 miles in 3:53:50 and was joined in the finish area by County Antrim Harriers athletes Irene Downey (3:59:29), Christine Neeson (4:19:00) and Paula McMaster (4:05:32).

The race was won by Paul Martelletti (Run Fast) in 2:17:47 (1st place), while student Georgie Bruinvels recorded 2:37:23 (1st place) on her marathon debut to win the ladies race.  Irish athlete Eoin Callaghan (Star of the Sea AC) produced the performance of his life to take 2nd place in the men's race, after running 2:18:45.

Full Results:  Greater Manchester Marathon 2015 Results (Photo by Jeanette Burton)

Paul Barbour and Collette McCourt win Airtricity 10 mile Road Race:

Airtricity 10 mile road race 2015:

On Sunday 19th April 2015, hundreds of athletes took to the streets of Derry/Londonderry for the final 'official' preparation race for the upcoming Airtricity Walled City Marathon (which takes place on Sunday 31st May 2015), the Airtricity 10 mile road race, which started and finished in the recently re-developed Ebrington Square. 

In warm conditions, it was the top two from the Airtricity 10k who set the pace; Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) and Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) were side by side as they covered the majority of the flat and fast course along the banks of the River Foyle.  It wasn't until the latter stages that Paul made a break for home and with approximately 1.5 miles remaining, the Airtricity 10k Champion had 150 metres on Spartan athlete Gary.  

As Paul quickly made his way back towards Ebrington Square, he further extended his lead, breaking the tape in an impressive 52:51 (1st place) for top spot.  Gary followed in 53:33 for a well-deserved 2nd place, before fellow City of Derry AC athlete Paul McCafferty completed the top three in 56:27 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Dub Runners athlete Collette McCourt continued her rise through the ranks, adding another title to her growing portfolio, when she broke the tape in 1:08:19 (1st place).  Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) showed that she is getting back to her best when she claimed the runners up spot in 1:09:47 (2nd place), while Trina MhicDhonaill secured 3rd place in 1:15:32.

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 52:51, 2nd Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) – 53:33, 3rd Paul McCafferty (City of Derry AC) – 56:27

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Collette McCourt (Dub Runners) – 1:08:19, 2nd Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) – 1:09:47, 3rd Trina MhicDhonaill (Inishowen AC) – 1:15:32

Full Results:  Airtricity 10 mile Road Race 2015 Results (Photo above by Chris McGuinness)

Athletes from NI impress at Y Moelwyn Mountain Race in Wales:

Y Moelwyn Mountain Race 2015:

On Saturday 18th April 2015, at least three Northern Ireland men tested themselves against some of  the UK's top mountain runners at the Y Moelwyn Mountain Race in North Wales.  The event also doubled up as the opening race of the British Fell Running Championships, covering a tough 10.5 mile course, with 853 metres of ascent.

England based Northern Ireland international Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC) led the familiar faces home, running well to claim a very credible 10th place in 1:17:45.  Current Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Champion Jonny Steede (Unattached) followed in 1:23:14 (29th place), before Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC), who won the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker 'mixed' category with girlfriend Megan Crawford (Fife AC), crossed the line in 1:26:42 (51st place).  The race was won by Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC) in 1:13:09 (1st place), while Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) secured the ladies title in 1:26:54 (1st place).

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

Northern Ireland based athletes dominate podium at Patsy Kelly 5k:

Patsy Kelly 5k Road Race 2015:

On Saturday 18th April 2015, a number of runners from Northern Ireland were amongst the eight hundred strong field taking part in the annual Patsy Kelly 5k road race in Dundalk, Ireland.  The event has proved successful for Northern Ireland based athletes over the last few years and this year was no different.

Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) followed on from his recent win at the Mountpleasant 5k, this time securing 2nd place in 15:13; the race was won by Project Africa athlete Gideon Kimosop in 14:34 (1st place).  Martin Cox (Project Africa) ensured that NI based runners dominated the podium when he claimed 3rd place in 15:28.

Slieve Gullion Runners' Joe McKevitt crossed the line in 16:27 (10th place), before Project Africa lady Selinah Kangogo (2nd place – 17:37) finished as runner up to DSD AC's Sarah Mulligan (1st place – 16:49) in the ladies race.  Mike Keeley (City of Derry AC) recorded 18:34 (43rd place), while Bernard Hamill (Slieve Gullion Runners) and Luke Finley (St Peter's AC) finished in 18:44 (49th place) and 18:53 (51st place) respectively.

Local runners also managed to dominate the Vet60 category - Terry Eakin (North Down AC), fresh from his Irish Vet65 5k record at the Bay Road 5k on Wednesday night (15th April 2015), took 64th place in 19:23.  Brian Todd (Orangegrove AC) secured 81st place overall in 19:48, closely followed by Pat Rocks (Newry City Runners) in 19:56 (88th place). 

Full Results:  Patsy Kelly 5k Road Race 2015 Results

Brendan Teer and Fiona Prue impress at Ballynahinch 10k:

Ballynahinch Lions 10k 2015:

On Saturday 18th April 2015, Ballynahinch Lions Club welcomed almost one hundred athletes from across the province to their annual Ballynahinch 10k in County Down. Participants once again enjoyed the revised 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 sunny conditions it was reigning Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) who impressed most.  The 2013 and 2014 winner quickly stamped his authority on the race and moved away from chasers David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Daniel McLaughlin (St Malachy's AC), Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders), Gerath Lyons (Ballydrain Harriers) and Paul Horan (North Belfast Harriers).

By the end of the first lap, Brendan had put just over a minute between himself and Daniel, who was just ahead of David, with Paul Carroll, Paul Horan and Gareth Lyons all side by side going into the final 5k.  In the ladies race, Fiona Prue (Ballydrain Harriers) was enjoying a superb run, with Amanda Jackson (Ballydrain Harriers), Niamh Kellet (Unattached) and Karen Martin (Ballydrain Harriers) all contesting second and third place.

There was no stopping pre-race favourite Brendan Teer at the head of the pack and the East Down AC man cruised into the finish to complete a hat-trick of Ballynahinch 10k wins in 33:04 (1st place).  Daniel McLaughlin slightly increased his lead over the always impressive David O'Flaherty in the final stages to secure 2nd place in 35:07, with David claiming 3rd place in 35:26.

Fiona Prue gradually extended her lead in the final 5k and powered to victory in an excellent 44:04 (1st place).  Fellow Ballydrain Harriers athlete Amanda Jackson followed in 2nd place, recording 45:17, before Niamh Kellet completed the ladies podium just under a minute later in 46:12 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 33:04, 2nd Daniel McLaughlin (St Malachy's AC) – 35:07, 3rd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 35:26

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Fiona Prue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 44:04, 2nd Amanda Jackson (Ballydrain Harriers) – 45:17, 3rd Niamh Kellet (Unattached) – 46:12

Full Results:  Ballynahinch Lions 10k 2015 Results

Travers, Alexander, McHenry & O'Connell win at Castle Ward Challenge:

Castle Ward Challenge 10k and Half Marathon 2015:

On Saturday 18th April 2015, nearly four hundred athletes turned out for the Castle Ward Challenge 10k and Half Marathon, an event hosted by events management company Born 2 Run within the picturesque grounds of Castle Ward Estate in County Down.

In perfect running conditions, the field set off on the stunning route and as predicted, it was Newry City Runners star Don Travers who led the way.  The Northern Ireland international runner (and cyclist) looked in full control as he dominated proceedings, before leading the half marathoners home in 1:19:11 (1st place).  Another quality athlete, Stuart Paulin (Unattached), followed in 1:23:18 (2nd place), before Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) marked his return to competitive action with a podium place; securing 3rd place in 1:24:26.

There was also a notable and classy winner in the ladies race – Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) led from start to finish, crossing the line in an impressive 1:30:49 (1st place).  Rachel Burgess took the runners up spot in 1:40:11 (2nd place), with Janice White (Unattached) securing 3rd place in 1:41:06.

In the associated 10k event, Ryan McHenry (Unattached) and Matthew Collins (Unattached) looked like potential winners early on, but as the race progressed, it was Ryan who took the race by the 'scruff', breaking the tape in 40:05 (1st place).  Matthew clocked 40:22 for 2nd place, while Gavin Campbell (Unattached) completed the top three in 41:09 (3rd place).

Pre-race favourite Niamh O'Connell (Murlough AC) once again showed her class in a closely contested finish; Niamh lived up to her status as she edged out Sharon Duffy (Unattached) by the narrowest of margins to secure victory.  Niamh crossed the line in 45:43 (1st place), with Sharon following a mere one second later in 45:44 for 2nd place.  Dromore AC's Janette Bailie ran 50:35 for 3rd place.

Half Marathon – Podium Finishers:

Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:19:11, 2nd Stuart Paulin (Unattached) – 1:23:18, 3rd Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) – 1:24:26

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 1:30:49, 2nd  Rachel Burgess (Unattached) – 1:40:11, 3rd Janice White (Unattached) - 1:41:06

10k – Podium Finishers:

Top 3 Men:  1st Ryan McHenry (Unattached) – 40:05, 2nd Matthew Collins (Unattached) – 40:22, 3rd Gavin Campbell (Unattached) – 41:09

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Niamh O'Connell (Murlough AC) – 45:43, 2nd Sharon Duffy (Unattached) – 45:44, 3rd Janette Bailie (Dromore AC) – 50:36

Full Results:  Castle Ward Challenge 10k and Half Marathon 2015 Results (Photo above by Born 2 Run Events)

Weekend Preview:  Local athletes look forward to another busy weekend...

Weekend Preview:  Local athletes look forward to another busy weekend of action...

As the weeks pass by almost seamlessly, it’s once again time to look ahead to the weekend and the interesting fixtures that come with it.  The brighter nights have added a little spice to the midweek competition, but that hasn’t and probably won’t take anything away from the weekend action… which on this occasion is focused around the Ballynahinch 10k, Castleward 10k and Half Marathon, Run Armagh 10k and the Airtricity 10 mile road race.  

The Gortin 10k will also take place in County Tyrone and Northern Ireland based athletes will be in action at events in Ireland, England, Wales and Amercia.

Castleward 10k and Half Marathon Challenge:

The weekend action will kick off on Saturday 18th April 2015, when Born 2 Run Events will host their latest event, the Castleward 10k and Half Marathon.  Given it’s stunning location within Castleward Estate in County Down and its previous popularity, the event is expected to attract sizeable numbers, which will include both newcomers to the running scene and seasoned athletes.

Don Travers (Newry City Runners) will go into the Half Marathon event as pre-race favourite and the well-respected athletes will hope to follow on from his podium place at the Hilltown 10k road race last week.  On that day, the race was won by Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) and although Brian has turned out at several of Born 2 Run’s recent events, he is unlikely to feature here.  Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) should also play a part at the front, as will Stuart Paulin (Unattached).  Stuart always impresses off road and the regular podium finisher should be there or there abouts here.  Geoff Smyth (Unattached), Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) and Gerard McNamara (North Belfast Harriers) should also run well, while Marathon Des Sables finisher Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) and County Down stalwart Michael McKeown (East Down AC) will also toe the line.  Gavin Campbell (Unattached), a podium finisher at the Stoke NI ‘Resolution Run’ should place well in the 10k race.

The ladies races will be closely contested affairs, with Anne Havern (Newry City Runners), Janice White (Ballymena Runners) and Marathon Des Sables finisher Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) all potential candidates for top spot.  Anne is an ever improving athlete and when on top form, she is more than capable of producing a race winning performance – in particular, the Newry City Runners stars seems to excel over the off-road terrain. 

Janice White, if she ‘races’ is also worth watching – having performed well throughout 2014, Janice produced an excellent run to win the Rathlin Run 10 mile race – she (Janice) is always in or around the podium places.  Gillian Cordner returns to action just over a week after completing the gruelling Marathon Des Sables, a 5 stage/6 day race in Morocco, so she’ll probably not be on top form, but should still place well up the field.  Debbie McVeigh (Unattached) and Karen Poag (Separk AC) will also claim top ten places, while Niamh O’Connell (Murlough AC) is likely to head the ladies pack in the 10k event.  Janette Bailie (Dromore AC) and Verity Cornford (Orangegrove AC) are also due to compete.

Ballynahinch 10k:

Also on Saturday 18th April 2015, the Ballynahinch Lions Club will welcome athletes from across the province to the annual Ballynahinch 10k.  The long standing event has always attracted athletes preparing for Spring marathons and with only three weeks until the Belfast City Marathon, it provides the perfect opportunity for a final ‘tune up’ race; the revised, flatter course (without the steps) impressed the masses in 2014.

Exceptionally talented County Down athlete and former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) may be a starter here.  The Northern Ireland international cruised to victory twelve months ago but has been affected by injury niggles since; he (Brendan) has raced three times in 2015 so far, which included a win at the Downpatrick Rollercoaster Races and a podium place at the Albertville 5 mile road race.  However, his best performance was a 32:17 (4th place) finish at Jimmy’s 10k last month (April 2015).  Brendan could be joined on the start line by AAI National 10k category medallist Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) and NI & Ulster Senior 10,000m Champion Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC).  Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) should also make the podium, while young Curtis McCaw (Ballydrain Harriers) will be worth watching.  Paul Horan (North Belfast Harriers) and Ballydrain Harriers men Norman Mawhinney, Gareth Lyons and Pete Barbour will all finish well up the field.

Meanwhile, in the ladies competition, reigning Champion Catherine O’Connor will hope to make it another East Down AC double, replicating last year’s results.  Over the last two years Catherine has been one of the provinces most improved athletes, not only has she kicked off her mountain running career and achieved international selection on that stage, but the East Down AC lady has slashed her road times as well.  Most notably, Catherine slashed approximately forty seconds off her previous 10k best at Jimmy’s 10k, where she clocked 38:28 for the distance.  Ballydrain Harriers’ Fiona Prue, a prize-winner at the recent Cordners Spar 5k in Belfast, will also start and should be there or there abouts if she does. Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers), Paula McKibbin (Murlough AC) and Niamh Kellet (Unattached) should also claim top ten finishes.

Gortin 10k:

On the same day (Saturday 18th April 2015), the Gortin 10k road race (and associated 5k) will take place in County Tyrone.  In 2014, the event attracted in approximately three hundred competitors and this year should be no different.  The race boasts an impressive array of previous winners and should attract some high profile athletes once again.

Fermanagh man Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) secured an excellent victory in 2014, but may not return to defend his title having been absent from the racing scene over the last number of months.  In saying that, there will be an abundance of talent waiting to step in and claim the crown – this could include the likes of Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) and Bay Road 5k runner up Martin Cox (Project Africa).  Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC) and Ciaran Collins (Project Africa) will also run well, while Sperrin Harriers Pauline McGurren, who claimed the runners up prize at the Beragh 5 mile road race, could well lead the ladies challenge for top honours.  Lifford AC’s Ita Kelly and Carmen Runners’ Ciara Coyle could well be amongst the podium places.

Y Moelwyn Mountain Race (Wales):

In Wales on Saturday 18th April 2015, Northern Ireland man Jonny Steede (Unattached) will join the UK's top mountain runners as he takes on the opening race of the British Fell Running Championships, the Y Moelwyn Mountain Race in North Wales.  The tough course, which measures 10.5 miles with 853 metres of ascent, covers three of Snowdonia's highest peaks and will therefore prove a challenging and interesting test for the athletes. The Northern Ireland leg of the British Championships will take place on Saturday 15th August 2015 at the prestigious Seven Sevens Mountain Race.

Cooley Legends Half Marathon (Ireland):

In Ireland on Saturday 18th April 2015, several runners from Northern Ireland will make the short border crossing to Carlingford (Ireland) for the Cooley Legends Half Marathon (and associated 10k).  

The event, which covers a tough but scenic course, consisting of  trail and road sections, has always proved successful for Northern Ireland based athletes, with NI athletes Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) and Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) having held the course records.  This year, Karen could well return, while previous prize-winner Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) and club mate Sandy Carr (North Belfast Harriers) should both start.

Run Armagh 10k:

On Sunday 19th April 2015, athletes from Northern Ireland and quite possibly the border regions of Ireland, are expected to descend on the historic city of Armagh for the 7th 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 an orchard lined undulating rural route; the runners will then return to the City Centre before finishing on the scenic Mall.

Reigning Champion Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) should return and will prove very hard to knock off top spot should he do so.  Paddy has been in good form so far this year, with quality outings at the Albertville 5 mile road race and the more recently, the Mountpleasant 5k, where he recorded 15:14 for victory.  Paddy could well be joined on the start line by AAI National 10k medallist Alan O'Hara (North Belfast Harriers) as well as the likes of Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Aaron Parks (Armagh AC), Gary Henderson (Armagh AC), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC) and Brian Young (Unattached).

Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) may also take to the start line and after such a good performance at the event twelve months ago, the Larne Half Marathon record holder will be keen to retain her title.  In truth, it is hard to look past the highly respected athlete for top spot.  That leaves two podium places to contest (should Breege race) and that may encourage a battle between the likes of Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers), Ruth Hill (Unattached) and Ballymena Belles 5 mile road race winner Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers).

Airtricity 10 mile road race:

Also on Sunday 19th April 2015, City of Derry AC will host the final race in the run up to the ever popular Airtricity Walled City Marathon; the Airtricity 10 mile road race will start and finish in the maiden city’s Ebrington Square and will cover a mainly flat course, most of which will be along the banks of the River Foyle.

Omagh Harriers' Paul Barbour put in a classy performance to edge out Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC) in the Airtricity 10k road race and the two men are likely to go head to head once again.  On this occasion, they may line up alongside the likes of Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Titanic 10k runner up Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) in what could be an excellent battle at the front; Spartan athlete Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC) could also add to the depth of talent aiming for top honours.  Keith Shiels (St Columb's AC), Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) and Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC) could also start.

In the ladies race, the in-form Letterkenny AC pair Ann-Marie McGlynn and Natasha Adams will dominate proceedings if they race.  The duo have excelled at both the Queen's 5k and more recently the Titanic 10k; Ann-Marie won both, with Natasha taking third place at Queen's 5k and second place at the Titanic 10k.  Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) will also be there or there abouts, as will Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC).  Marina Murphy (City of Derry AC), Katherine Woods (Springwell Running Club) and Annalisa Mullan (BOLT Running Club) should also claim places in the top ten.

Greater Manchester Marathon (England):

Further afield on Sunday 19th April 2015, a number of Northern Ireland based runners will take on the 39th annual running of the Greater Manchester Marathon in Manchester, England.  The notoriously flat and fast course will take athletes around the city before finishing in front of Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United Football Club.

Amongst the local athletes travelling to the event is a group from East Antrim Harriers who will run alongside their highly respected friend and club mate Sam Crawford as he completes his 60th marathon; Billy Reed is one of the other East Antrim Harriers athletes competing.  Simon Murray (Annadale Striders), Conor Shiels (North Belfast Harriers) and Mark Ramsey (Unattached) will also take to the start line.

Boston Marathon (America):

On the same day (Sunday 19th April 2015), several runners from Northern Ireland will join tens of thousands of athletes at the Boston Marathon in America.  Sisters Susan and Hazel Smyth will be two of the local runners competing - Susan (Dromore AC) has been in good form of late, warming up for the 26.2 mile event with a new personal best and podium place at the DUNE Half Marathon.  Meanwhile, Scotland based Hazel (Dumfries AC), a podium finisher at the World Police & Fire Games Half Marathon in 2013 will hope to improve on her marathon personal best of 3:07:00, set last year at the Cannes Marathon Des Alpes.  Tara Malone will also complete the 26.2 mile route alongside club mates from Enniskillen Running Club.


As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty parkrun events will 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.

William McKee and Shileen O'Kane win Hill & Dale opener in Castlewellan:

Hill & Dale Series – Castlewellan (Race 1) 2015:

On Thursday 16th April 2015, nearly three hundred athletes descended on the scenic Castlewellan Country Park in County Down for the first race of this year's Hill & Dale Series, an eleven race Series hosted by Newcastle AC.

The Series opener measured 5.5 miles in distance with 1,080ft of ascent and from the off, it was the host club's David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) who led the way.  North Belfast Harriers' Simon Reeve also played a part at the front early on before Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) and Paul Pruzina (Ballydrain Harriers) joined David as the leaders negotiated the first climb.  At this stage, Shileen O'Kane was leading the ladies, with Densie Mathers (Mourne Runners), Taryn McCoy (BARF) and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) all in pursuit.

As the men descended quickly off the first climb, Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) moved alongside David, Justin and Paul.  The battle continued until William McKee (Mourne Runners), who had been sitting just off the ever changing pace setters, took control on the second ascent; from here, there was no looking back.  The ever improving Mourne Runners man upped the pace and increased his lead – likewise, Neill Weir gradually increased the gap on the chasing trio of Paul Pruzina, David McNeilly and Justin Maxwell.

There was no stopping William McKee as he secured a well-deserved victory in 34:16 (1st place).  Neill Weir followed in 34:54 (2nd place), while Paul Pruzina finished well to see off the challenge of David and Justin to take 3rd place in 35:23.

In the ladies race, Shileen O'Kane once again proved her worth – following on from an impressive win at the Donard-Commedagh Mountain Race last weekend, the Lagan Valley AC athlete broke the tape in 40:04 for 1st place.  BARF's Taryn McCoy took 2nd place in 43:51, before Denise Mathers completed the top three in 45:06 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 34:16, 2nd Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 34:54, 3rd Paul Pruzina (Ballydrain Harriers) – 35:23

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:04, 2nd Taryn McCoy (BARF) – 43:51, 3rd Denise Mathers (Mourne Runners) – 45:06

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series – Castlewellan (Race 1) 2015 Results

Keith Shiels and Gillian Wasson claim Bay Road 5k titles:

Bay Road 5k 2015:

On Wednesday 15th April 2015, well over one hundred runners turned out for the annual Bay Road 5k road race, an event hosted by City fo Derry AC in Derry/Londonderry.

St Columbs AC new boy Keith Shiels and Project Africa star Martin Cox enjoyed their second battle in the space of five days – after taking second and third place at the Dental Solutions 5k road race last week, the podium regulars were embroiled in an exciting dual for top spot alongside City of Derry AC's Conor Doherty.  The ladies race played out almost identically, with Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Marina Murphy (City of Derry AC) and Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) all in contention.

In the end it was Keith Shiels who sealed the win; this was despite a brave effort by Spartan athlete Conor Doherty.  Conor led for just over half of the race before Keith and Martin moved to the front.  Keith showed that he is getting over his injury problems when he broke the tape in 15:23 (1st place).  Martin followed in 15:28 (2nd place), with Conor holding on for a well-deserved 3rd place in 15:30.

Northern Ireland international mountain runner Gillian Wasson showed her speedy edge when she led the ladies home in 18:27 (1st place).  Local athlete Marina Murphy (nee Campbell) was a popular finisher, taking 2nd place in 18:35, while the always impressive Claire McGuigan recorded 18:45 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Keith Shiels (St Columb's AC) – 15:23, 2nd Martin Cox (Project Africa) – 15:28, 3rd Conor Doherty (City of Derry AC) – 15:30

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) – 18:27, 2nd Marina Murphy (City of Derry AC) – 18:35, 3rd Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 18:45

Full Results:  Bay Road 5k 2015 Results

NIMRA announce Northern Ireland team for Inter Counties Championships:

NIMRA announce Inter Counties team:

On Tuesday 14th April 2015, Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) announced the Northern Ireland team for the upcoming Inter Counties Fell Running Championships, which will take place on Saturday 16th May 2015.

The event, which will take place in Betws-y-Coed, North Wales, will attract a top quality field. The Northern Ireland team looks strong, with the ever impressive Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) leading the men's team and also acting as team captain. Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), winner of the Glenariff Mountain Race and the Donard-Commedagh Mountain Race will spearhead the ladies challenge.

The full team is as follows:

Men:  Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC), Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC), Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) and Chris Stirling (Ambleside AC).

Ladies:  Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC).

Cathy McCourt produces classy performance at Ballymena Belles event:

Ballymena Belles 5 mile Road Race 2015:

On Tuesday 14th April 2015, over two hundred athletes from across the province turned out for the 2nd annual Ballymena Belles 5 mile road race in Ballymena, a ladies only event organised to raise money for charity.

At the head of the pack, it was in-from North Belfast Harriers athlete Cathy McCourt who dominated proceedings. As the athletes set off, Cathy moved to the front and from then on it was only a matter of time before she claimed victory. In an excellent solo performance, the Omagh Half Marathon podium finisher recorded 30:56 (1st place) for the win.

Behind, there was a real battle for the remaining podium place; Sharon Leetch (Ballymena Runners) led the chase group, with Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners), Gillian Logan (Larne AC), Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) and Karen O'Kane (Acorns AC) all in pursuit. As the race progressed, Natasha Henderson (County Antrim Harriers), Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) and Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) also worked their way into contention.

However, none of the aforementioned ladies came close to Cathy McCourt, who eventually ran out a clear winner in 30:56 (1st place). Sharon Leetch followed in 34:01 (2nd place), before club mate Kerry Bamber just edged out another Ballymena Runners athlete, Lorna Sibbett (4th place 34:20) to 3rd place, after crossing the line in 34:16. Fran McFadden completed the top five ladies in 34:40 (5th place).

Top 5 Ladies: 1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 30:56, 2nd Sharon Leetch (Ballymena Runners) – 34:01, 3rd Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) – 34:16, 4th Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners) – 34:20, 5th Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) – 34:40

Full Results:  Ballymena Belles 5 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Thomas Frazer excels as athletes from NI compete in Holland, England...

Athletes from NI impress in Holland, England, France...

This weekend (Friday 10th – Sunday 12th April 2015) proved to be a busy and successful one, with plenty of events in Northern Ireland as well as those further afield.  Outside Northern Ireland, local athletes produced notable performances at races in Ireland, England, Holland, France and America.

Amsterdam Marathon (Holland):

In a sunny Amsterdam (Holland), Indianapolis based Northern Ireland man Thomas Frazer (St Malachy's AC) produced the performance of the weekend. Competing at the 35th annual Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday 12th April 2015, Thomas made full use of the recently revised flat and fast course as he recorded a massive new personal best of 2:17:45 (19th place); this was a personal best by approximately two minutes and also see's the recently crowned Pistol 50k Champion reach the 2016 Olympic standard.

Adam Richardson (Club Unknown) finished just after the infamous three hour barrier, crossing the line in 3:13:09.  BARF's Aaron Shimmons ran well despite a recent injury, completing the course in 3:47:48. Fellow BARF athlete Stuart Turkington clocked 4:13:09 on what was his debut at the 26.2 mile distance, while Liam Gallagher (Club Unknown) ran 4:34:01.  The race was won by Ethiopian athlete Abera Kuma in 2:06:47 (1st place). 

Brighton 10k (England):

Also on Sunday 12th April 2015, Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC) followed on from excellent outings at the Trafford 10k (30:11) and Reading Half Marathon (1:05:07) with another impressive performance.  Up against a top quality field, Kevin crossed the line in 30:14 for 10th place.  The race was won by Jonny Taylor (Club Unknown) in 29:13 (1st place).

Kentucky Track & Field Meeting (USA):

On Saturday 11th April 2015, City of Derry AC runner John-Paul Williamson continued what has been an outstanding academic year.  JP, a student at Lindsay Wilson College in America, was in competition at the Western Kentucky Track & Field Meeting where he led the field home over 1500m, clocking a superb 3:53.40 (1st place).

Paris Marathon (France):

On Sunday 12th April 2015, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland joined thousands of competitors at the annual Paris Marathon in France.  The event, which takes in many of the city's top sites attracts a large number of tourists, and amongst these were athletes from various clubs in Northern Ireland.  

Armagh AC's Fionnuala Ross, a previous winner of the Seeley Cup 10k road race in Belfast, claimed 36th place in the ladies race after crossing the line in 3:02:26.  Brigid Quinn was just one of the Ballymena Runners athletes in competition at the event and the regular category prize winner covered the 26.2 mile route in 4:37:36. The race was won by Kenyan athlete Mark Korir in 2:05:48 (1st place), while Mesert Mengistu (Ethiopia) sealed the ladies title in 2:23:26 (1st place).

Connemarathon (Ireland):

Closer to home on Sunday 12th April 2015, local athletes were in action at the notoriously difficult Connemarathon events in Mamm-Cross, just outside Galway (Ireland).  Magherafelt Harriers' Mark McGinn completed the gruelling 39.3 mile ultra-marathon in 5:13:58, while his club mate Kevin Murphy (Magherafelt Harriers) ran 6:27:00 to finish a mere three seconds ahead of Marathon Club Ireland men Ken Beggs and Trevor Denton, who finished together in 6:27:03.  Orangegrove AC's Michael O'Donoghue recorded 6:41:26.  The race was won by Ireland's Sean Brosnan in 4:22:43 (1st place).

County Tyrone based Kenyan athletes Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich, both representing Project Africa, dominated the half marathon. Gideon led the field home in 1:10:45 (1st place), with Vincent following in 1:05:49 (2nd place).  Orangegrove AC man Thomas Leitch was pacing at the event and covered the hilly course in 1:29:09.

Full Results:  Amsterdam Marathon 2015 ResultsBrighton 10k 2015 Results – Kentucky T&F Meeting 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable) – Paris Marathon 2015 ResultsConnemarathon 2015 Results

Local runners claim silverware at Irish Universities T&F Championships:

IUAA Track & Field Championships 2015:

Over the weekend (Friday 10th and Saturday 11th April 2015), approximately seven hundred students from universities and colleges in Northern Ireland and Ireland took part in the Irish Universities Athletic Association Track & Field Championships at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast.

Amongst the athletes, were a large number from Queen’s University and the Ulster University. All performed well in their respective events, with no less nine local runners collecting medals.  The University of Ulster men’s 4x100m relay team produced an excellent performance to claim the IUAA title and associated gold medal; Jason Harvey, Adam McCombe, Adam McMullan and Dean Adams powered their way to victory in 41.98secs (1st place).

In the men’s 400m, there was a clean sweep for Northern Ireland based students, with Adam McCombe (University of Ulster) and Jason Harvey enjoying further success.  Adam not only secured victory, but he also set a new University of Ulster 400m record of 49.01secs (1st place) on doing so.  Jason (University of Ulster) followed in 49.03secs (2nd place), while the returning Ben Maze (Queen’s University) clocked 49.13secs for 3rd place.

Emma McClay (University of Ulster) picked up medals in the 100m hurdles and the ladies 4x100m relay.  In the 100m hurdles, Emma recorded 16.32secs to take 3rd place in the race won by IT Sligo's Feudatori Alessandra in 15.10secs.  Meanwhile, in the 4x100m, Emma and team mates Aisling Fegan, Emma Willis and Fiona Hill finished in 52.16secs, which was enough to see them take 3rd place; the race was won by DCU AC in 46.97secs.

There was a new Queen's University 400m hurdles record for Louise Van Eske after she clcoked 1:04.99 (2nd place) for the distance.  This was enough to ensure that Louise collected a silver behind winner Jessica Neville (Cork IT), who won in 1:03.78 (1st place).  Johnathan Browning (Queen's University) also picked up a silver medal racing in the 100m, the Ballymena & Antrim AC man broke the beam in 10.80secs (2nd place), a mere 0.10secs behind well-known Irish sprinter Marcus Lawler (IT Carlow), who sealed gold in 10.70secs (1st place).  There was further success for local athletes in the 1500m, with Rachel Gibson (University of Ulster) and Stephen Prentice (Queen's University).  Rachel ran 4:36.56 (3rd place) in the race won by Mary Anne O'Sullivan (DCU AC) in 4:35.27 (1st place), while Stephen crossed the line in 4:01.03 (3rd place) – his race was won by Cormac Kelly (DCU AC) in 4:00.97 (1st place).

Full Results:  IUAA Track & Field Championships 2015 Results (Photo above by Kevin Clancy)

Conor Duffy and Ann-Marie McGlynn secure Titanic 10k titles:

Thousands turn out for Athletics NI's Titanic 10k road race:

On Sunday 12th April 2015, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on the picturesque Titanic Quarter of Belfast for the annual Titanic 10k road race, hosted by Athletics NI.

The excellent programme of events kicked off with several junior races, culminating in the Junior Mile, which was won by Lagan Valley AC's Cormac O'Rourke and Molly Dougan in 5:11 and 5:49 respectively.  These races proved to be a perfect 'atmosphere builder' for the main event which was to follow.  

In bright but blustery conditions, well over one thousand runners set off on the flat and fast 6.2 mile route.  After a speedy start, it was Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) who moved to the front and by the 4k marker, Scott had the narrowest of leads on Conor, but the pair had opened up a notable gap on the chase group, which included Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) and Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC). 

Pre-race favourite Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) led the ladies through the 4k marker; the recently crowned NI & Ulster 5k Champion looked strong and confident as she cruised towards the half way point. Club mate Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC) and Finn Valley AC's Teresa Doherty were in pursuit, with Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers), Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Geraldine Branagh (Dromore AC) and Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) all running well and ready to step in if any of the leading trio were to faulter.

In the second half of the race, NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion Conor Duffy moved alongside and passed the ever impressive Scott Rankin – but there was little separating the talented duo. That was until the final kilometre, when Conor surged and put a few seconds between himself and Scott, which proved to be a race winning move.  Conor turned into the home straight and dug deep to ensure victory in 31:36 (1st place). Scott never gave in and powered home in 31:44 (2nd place), before Paul Barbour, who had saw off fellow chasers Chris Madden and Brian Campbell in the second half, claimed 3rd place in 32:08.

In the ladies race, there was no surprise in the final 5k – the in-form European XC team medallist (and Ireland captain) Ann-Marie McGlynn sealed yet another top prize when she broke the tape in 34:39 (1st place). In a role reversal of the recent Queen's 5k standings, Natasha Adams beat NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion Teresa Doherty to the runners up spot, clocking 35:07 (2nd place); Teresa completed the top three just under a minute later, crossing the line in 36:04 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) – 31:36, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 31:44, 3rd Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 32:08

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) – 34:39, 2nd Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC) – 35:07, 3rd Teresa Doherty (Finn Valley AC) – 36:04

Full Results:  Titanic 10k and Junior Mile 2015 Results - Photos from the Titanic 10k will be added to our 'Photo Gallery' in the coming days.

Athletes from Northern Ireland impress at Great Ireland Run:

Spar Great Ireland Run (inc AAI National 10k Championships):
On Saturday 11th April 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland were in action at the Spar Great Ireland Run, which also incorporated the AAI National 10k Championships.

The event took place over a challenging course within the confines of  the stunning Phoenix Park in Dublin and despite the blustery conditions, the local athletes put in some quality performances.

Versatile athlete Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) used his mountain strength and road speed as he negotiated the at times hilly course in an excellent 32:57 (22nd place); a performance that would lead North Belfast Harriers to bronze medals in the AAI National Championships team standings.  

He (Andrew) was followed across the line eleven seconds later by North Belfast Harriers club mate Alan O'Hara, who recorded 33:08 for 27th place overall and 1st place in the Vet35 category.  Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) finished hot on Alan's heels, running 33:10 (30th place) which saw him take silver in the Vet45 category, while the fast improving John Black, also of North Belfast Harriers, completed the distance in 34:02 (44th place).

Exactly thirty seconds split Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) and Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners), with Eddie running 34:17 (47th place) and Ben 34:47 (60th place).  Newcastle AC's Commonwealth Games star Kerry O'Flaherty then clocked 35:27 for the course, which not only saw her finish in 9th place overall, but secured 4th place in the AAI National Championship standings.

Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners) ran 37:14 (121st place), while Albertville Harriers men Robert Morrison and David Allen both dipped under the forty minute mark by the narrowest of margins.  Robert crossed the line in 39:55 (233rd place), with David following two seconds later in 39:57 (238th place). North Belfast Harriers ladies Anathasia Sevastaki and Paula Wallace also ran well, recording 43:43 (700th place) and 47:26 (877th place) respectively.  The race was won by Kenyan athlete Japheth Korir in 28:15 (1st place), while Team GB's Gemma Steel claimed the ladies title in 33:03 (1st place).

Paul Barbour and Cheryl Cardwell excel at Sperrin Harriers' Magherafelt 5:

Sperrin Harriers host Magherafelt 5 mile Road Race 2015:

On Saturday 11th April 2015, nearly one hundred athletes toed the line of the Magherafelt Harriers 5 mile road race in Magherafelt, County Derry/Londonderry.  The popular event returned to the calendar this year after a break in 2014.

Omagh Harriers athlete Paul Barbour, winner of the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series 2014/15, once agin proved his worth with an impressive outing.  Despite an early challenge from the talented Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Paul assumed control and secured victory in 26:05 (1st place).  Mark replicated his finishing position at the NiRunning 5 mile trail race seven days earlier when he claimed the runners up prize in 26:20 (2nd place), while Ballymena & Antrim AC athlete Jarlath Falls completed the top three in 26:34 (3rd place).

There was a popular winner in the ladies race – local multi-sport athlete Cheryl Cardwell, from the host club Sperrin Harriers, cruised to victory in 33:16 (1st place).  Another lady well known for her efforts in duathlon and triathlon, Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), recorded 34:46 for 2nd place, while Enniskillen Running Club's Irene Clements crossed the line in 35:32 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 26:05, 2nd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:20, 3rd Jarlath Falls (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 26:34

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Cheryl Cardwell (Sperrin Harriers) – 33:16, 2nd Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 34:46, 3rd Irene Clements (Enniskillen Running Club) – 35:32

Full Results:  Magherafelt Harriers 5 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Seamus Lynch and Shileen O'Kane impress at Donard-Commedagh Race:

Donard-Commedagh Mountain Race (inc Round 2 – NIMRA Championship Series):

On Saturday 11th April 2015, seventy mountain runners from across Northern Ireland turned out for the Donard-Commedagh Mountain Race in Newcastle, County Down.  

The event, which started and finished in Donard Park measured 10.9k in distance with 1,050m of ascent and was the second race in the ongoing Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship Series.

In bright and sunny conditions, the field set off from Donard Park and uphill towards the snow capped mountains, where they would head towards the summit of Northern Ireland's tallest mountain, Slieve Donard, before descending to 'the Col' and onwards, back uphill towards Slieve Commedagh – from there, the field negotiated their final descent back to Donard Park.

The in-form Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), winner of the first race in this years Series at Glenariff, reached the summit of Slieve Donard in 27:47. Sam Heron (Mourne Runners), David Steele (Newcastle AC), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) were all amongst the chasers.  In the ladies race, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) led the way with Jacqui Toal (BARF), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Mourne Runners' Denise Mathers all in pursuit.

Seamus Lynch continued to dominate proceedings and climbed Slieve Commedagh impressively – his descent was just as notable and before long, the Newcastle AC athlete appeared through the tree line and into Donard Park.  He covered the final downhill section with ease and broke the tape in 1:05:06 (1st place).  Sam Heron was rewarded for his excellent performance with a 2nd place finish in 1:07:50, before Deon McNeilly narrowly beat club mate David Steele (4th place – 1:10:27) to 3rd place in 1:10:29.

Shileen O'Kane notched her second successive NIMRA Championship Series victory, when she clocked 1:22:25 (1st place) for top spot.  Jacqui Toal showed the same kind of form that saw her claim a podium place in Wicklow recently to take the runners up prize in 1:30:13 (2nd place). Behind, the closest finish of the day was just about to unfold – friends Hazel McLaughlin and Denise Mathers raced through Donard Park side by side, but in the final metres, Hazel just edged it to cross the line in 1:33:26 (3rd place), with Denise recording 1:33:27 (4th place).

Over and above the overall prizes for podium and category places, there were also special prizes (sponsored by Hanna Brothers Kitchens) for the athletes who descended from the Commedagh to the finish at Donard Park in the quickest time.  These prizes were secured by Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC).

Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 1:05:06, 2nd Sam Heron (Mourne Runners) – 1:07:50, 3rd Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 1:10:27

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:22:25, 2nd Jacqui Toal (BARF) – 1:30:13, 3rd Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:33:26

Full Results:  Donard-Commedagh Mountain Race 2015 Results - Photos from the Donard-Commedagh Mountain Race are now available within our 'Photo Gallery'.

Athletes from Northern Ireland complete Marathon Des Sables:

Local athletes complete “toughest foot race on earth”:

Over the last six days, three runners from Northern Ireland have been in action in what is described as “the toughest foot race on earth” by many, the infamous Marathon Des Sables (ie 'Marathon of the Sands' or 'Sahara Marathon') in Morocco.

The six-day, five stage event covers 251k (156 miles), with the longest single stage measuring approximately 91m (57 miles) long.  Seapark AC trio Bobbie Irvine, Gillian Cordner and Gary Connolly braved the extreme heat and the gruelling course, and all completed the event.

Bobbie negotiated the race in 50:38:34, which saw him finish in 646th place out of 1,200 competitors.  Gillian and Gary, who were running together, were split by just one second, with Gillian recording 53:34:31 (754th place) and Gary 53:34:32 (755th place).  

The race was won by Rachid El Morabity (Morocco) in 21:06:28 (1st place), while Swedish athlete Elisabet Barnes claimed the ladies title in 29:08:19 (1st place).

Provisional Results:  Marathon Des Sables 2015 Results

Vincent Kiprotich and Selinah Kangogo secure Dental Solutions 5k titles:

Derry City Track Club host successful Dental Solutions 5k:

On Friday 10th April 2015, hundreds of athletes and spectators descended on the County Derry/Londonderry village of Eglinton for the inaugural running of Derry City Track Club's Dental Solutions 5k road race.

The well-organised event offered participants a fast and flat course, and with perfect weather conditions, the scene was set for personal bests and quality performances.  The athletes duly obliged and it was Kenyan star Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) who stole the headlines, securing victory in 14:46 (1st place).  Local athlete Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) continued his return from injury with a 15:18 clocking for 2nd place, before another of the Project Africa contingent, Martin Cox, completed the top three in 15:40 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, pre-race favourite Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa) put in a classy performance at the front.  

After a fast start, the Omagh Half Marathon and Beragh 5 mile road race winner settled at the front and gradually built a lead on the chasing Nikita Burke (Letterkenny AC), Edel Monaghan (Omagh Harriers) and Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club).  Despite the e Selinah ran out as clear winner, crossing the line confidently in 17:32 (1st place).  Nikita Burke followed in 19:45 (2nd place), before up and coming athlete Edel Monaghan just pipped Fran McFadden (4th place – 20:17) to 3rd place in 20:10.

Top 3 Men:  1st Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) – 14:46, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:15, 3rd Martin Cox (Project Africa) – 15:40

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa) – 17:32, 2nd Nikita Burke (Letterkenny AC) – 19:45, 3rd Edel Monaghan (Omagh Harriers) – 20:10

Full Results:  Dental Solutions 5k Road Race 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  Titanic 10k, NIMRA Championship Series and more...

Weekend Preview:  Titanic 10k, NIMRA Championship Series and more…

After the busy Easter, it would be very easy to use this coming weekend for a few days of rest and relaxation/recovery.  However, there will be no such opportunity, as the local racing calendar throws up some excellent events and another three days of racing.  

The most notable attractions are the Donard-Commedagh Mountain Race, Titanic 10k, IUAA Track & Field Championships, Dental Solutions 5k and the Magherafelt 5 mile road race.  Athletes from Northern Ireland will also travel south to Great Ireland Run (10k) and the associated Elite Mile, as well as events in Connemara (Ireland), Turin (Italy) and Vienna (Austria).

Dental Solutions 5k Classic Road Race:

The action will kick off later tonight, Friday 10th April 2015, when Derry City Track Club host the inaugural running of their Dental Solutions sponsored 5k road race in Eglinton, Derry/Londonderry. 

This will be the first ever top class road race held in the normally sleepy village and Kenyan athletes Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa) and Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) will bring an international flavour to the Dental Solutions 5k Classic as they head the men’s and women’s fields respectively.

Selinah Kangogo won the recent Omagh Half Marathon and last weekend was victorious in the Beragh 5 Miles.  Vincent Kiprotich has also been in sparkling form, winning the Larne Half Marathon in record time and taking third place at the Omagh Half Marathon behind compatriot Gideon Kimosop and Irish international Paul Pollock.

Both Africans are in Ireland as part of the Project Africa Athletics scheme run by Omagh man Ciaran Collins who visited the Rift Valley after the Commonwealth Games.  He was so struck by the appalling facilities available to athletes in the region that he decided to bring three of them to Ireland so that they could advance their careers.  He also wanted to raise awareness of their plight by putting them in the public eye to collect funds to alleviate conditions in their homeland.  Already containers of trainers and running gear have been sent to support up and coming athletes in both Kenya and Uganda.  Chris Millar and Matt Doherty will carry the hopes of hosts Derry City Track Club in the men’s race.  A lot of interest will also focus on the destination of the team trophy for the club or running group that has the most finishers.  Eglinton Road Runners look in pole position to lift their first award with a strong contingent already registered.

The main event starts at 7:30pm and is preceded thirty minutes earlier by shorter races for children and juveniles.  Entries will be taken for both events at the Dental Solutions Clinic on Cherry Drive, Eglinton from 5:30pm.  Please Note:  The Dental Solutions 5k preview was compiled with the assistance of Malcolm McCausland (Inside Track – Irish News).

Irish Universities Athletic Association Track & Field Championships:

Over the course of Friday 10th and Saturday 11th April 2015, nearly six hundred students from Universities and Colleges all over Ireland will take part in the first outdoor track & field event of the year, the Irish Universities Athletic Association Track & Field Championships.

The two day competition will take place at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast, with local athletes from Queen’s University and the University of Ulster likely to feature.  Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club), Neil McCartan (East Down AC) and North Down AC ladies Rachel Gibson and Jessica Craig should all race, while Aisleen Crossey and Ciara Mageean may line up for their Dublin based University, UCD AC.

Donard – Commedagh Mountain Race:

On Saturday 11th April 2015, the local mountain running fraternity will gather in Newcastle’s Donard Park for the popular Donard - Commedagh mountain race.  

The second event of the Podium 4 Sport Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship Series will see competitors race to the summit of Northern Ireland’s highest peak, Slieve Donard, descend to the Col before a second climb to the Summit cairn of our second highest mountain top, Slieve Commedagh.

After reaching the cairn on Slieve Commedagh, participants will descend towards Donard Forest, before making their way back to Donard Park via the fast forest trails.  Interestingly, the descent from Commedagh to the finish will be timed and additional prizes will be given those who cover this part of the course quickest.

In the men’s race, with 1,050 metres of ascent and descent, Glenariff winner and early Championship leader Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) is expected to lead this race out.  In the absence of current NIMRA Champion Jonny Steede (Unattached) it will be up to Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) and Newcastle AC pair David Steele and Ian Bailey to challenge the in-form athlete.  Like Seamus, Allan Bogle can climb well and can cover the flatter ground quickly, but it may be on the descent that the Newcastle AC man’s overall talents prevail.   Newcastle AC duo David (Steele) and Ian (Bailey) are in a similar position in the fact that they can descend through rough ground quickly, and will no doubt push their club mate over this 11k course.  Sam Herron is another man on form and possesses the ability to climb and descend well; with this type of ascent/descent and fewer miles to cover on the flat this time around, the Mourne Runners athlete will be another one to watch.  North Belfast Harriers’ Neil Carty finished well up the field in Glenariff (seventh place) and along with Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Mourne Runners’ Clive Bailey and Dale Mathers will pursue the lead pack and feature in the category prizes.

In the ladies event, 2014 Champion Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) should return to action having missed the Championship opener in Glenariff.  The international lady knows this course and will be hard to beat.  Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) impressed at Glenariff and having won the NiRunning 5 mile trail race at Ballyboley Forest last weekend has shown that she has both the ability to climb and the speed necessary to put up a strong challenge, particularly with the fast finish to this race. 

Sarah Morton (SealSkinz/Breo), a Northern Ireland lady currently residing in Scotland, is another who will be looking for a win.  Sarah, a trail runner with a good mountain background is likely to travel to Newcastle for this race (with international selection in mind) and will compete well.  Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) ran well in Race 1 and having taken an impressive podium place at the 25k Wicklow Way trail race in March (2015) will be another potential challenger.  Mary Macken (Dromore AC), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Denise Mathers (Mourne Runners) will all be looking for a podium position.  Paulette Thompson (Newcastle AC) and Laura Hamill (BARF) will be in contention for category prizes.

This race starts at 11am and all competitors are reminded to bring the mandatory safety equipment outlined by NIMRA and the race organisers.  For final ‘competitor instructions’ please click HERE.

Sperrin Harriers - Magherafelt 5 mile Road Race:

Also on Saturday 11th April 2015, athletes from across the province are expected to descend on the County Derry/Londonderry town of Magherafelt for the return of Sperrin Harriers' Magherafelt 5 mile classic road race.

Following on from the success of the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series, this event should attract significant numbers as the local running community gear up for a busy spring and summer on the roads.

Martin Cox (Project Africa), Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) and Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) may all play a part, and with the trio all having shown good form recently, it makes for an exciting affair should they all toe the line.  Of the three, Martin will start as favourite having recorded 15:18 for 5k and 33:06 for 10k in recent months.  Interestingly, Aaron’s 10k personal best of 33:48 was run on the streets of Magherafelt, when he claimed a podium place at the Magherafelt Harriers 10k last month (March 2015).  Since then, the London Marathon bound athlete has also clocked a new Half Marathon personal best of 1:14:40, meaning that he will go into the event high in confidence. 

Speaking of men in good form, the host club’s Gavin Corey proved that he is more than just a respected duathlete/triathlete when he ran 33:53 at Jimmy’s 10k last month; that performance saw him claim a top ten finish in what was a quality field.  Other athletes to look out for include Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC), Darrell McKee (Acorns AC), Glenn Donnelly (Acorns AC), Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners), Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC), Delfim Pimentel (Unattached), Aidan O’Hagan (Acorns AC), James Turtle (Ballymena Runners) and Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners).  

After her second place finish at the Beragh 5 mile road race last week, Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) will prove hard to beat in the ladies race. That day, Pauline finished approximately one minute behind Kenyan athlete Selinah Kangogo after crossing the line in an excellent 31:23; this was nearly a full one minute quicker than her time for the same course in 2014! Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) and Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) could also enter on the day.  Gemma won the Magherafelt Harriers 10k on these roads last month in 39:43, with Natalie taking second place in 40:28.  Gemma will be hoping for another sub forty clocking, while the fast improving Natalie will be aiming to reduce the gap between the pair and get in or around the forty minute mark, a time she is more than capable of achieving.  Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners), Ruth Aicken (Ballymena Runners), Jacqueline Mulligan (Acorns AC), Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners) and Paula McArthur (Ballymena Runners) could also make use of the on the day entry and should all finish in the top ten if they do.  The event is ideal for a broad range of runners, from the novice to the experienced and the undulating course will provide the opportunity for a fast finish time.  Entries are priced at £6 affiliated and £8 unaffiliated.  More details are available at

Great Ireland Run (10k) and Elite Mile:

In Dublin (Ireland) on Saturday 11th April 2015, a large number of Northern Ireland based runners will be amongst the thousands of athletes taking on the Great Ireland (10k) Run, which will also double up as the AAI National 10k Championships.  The event will be held in one of Europe’s largest city parks, the Phoenix Park; the same venue where most of the Dublin Marathon Race Series is based.

Organisers have brought together a strong field for the prestigious event and several familiar faces will be vying for a top ten places in their respective fields, this includes Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC) and Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC).  Team Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games track star Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) will also race in the Elite Men’s Mile.

IAU 24 hour World Championships:

Between Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th April 2015, two runners from Northern Ireland will represent Ireland at the IAU 24 hour World Championships, which will also incorporate the European 24 hour Championships, in Turin, Italy.  England based Susan McCartney (Unattached) will make her debut for Ireland.  The AAI National 24 hour medallist has covered 197k over 24 hours previously and may target 200+ kilometres on this occasion.   Fellow NI native and experienced 24 hour athlete Eddie Gallen, who is now based in Madrid (Spain), will also compete.  The star studded line up includes several athletes familiar to Northern Ireland runners, including Irish duo John O'Regan and Eoin Keith, as well as Team GB's Robbie Britton, a second place finisher at the Mourne Skyline GTR.

Titanic 10k Road Race:

On Sunday 12th April 2015, the governing body for athletics in Northern Ireland, Athletics NI, will welcome runners from all over Ireland (and beyond) to their annual Titanic 10k road race.  

The flat and fast course is within the confines of the ever expanding Titanic Quarter of Belfast and offers huge personal best potential whilst on the other hand, provides an excellent course for those moving up to 10k for the first time.  As always, the field will be littered with top class athletes, none more so than recently recently crowned NI & Ulster 5k (Road) Champion and European Championships marathoner Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders).  

Paul is the reigning Champion and won in 30:39 last year in blustery conditions; he went on to record 28:32 for 10,000m at the Payton Jordon Invitational in America, before running 29:11 at the Commonwealth Games.  His most recent outing was a second place finish at the Omagh Half Marathon, where he crossed the line in 1:06:24.  The highly respected Northern Ireland athlete may be joined on the start line by international and club team mate Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders).  Eddie has returned to competition in impressive fashion, with a solo 31:40 win at the Craic 10k and a 1:07:01 finish at the Larne Half Marathon, which saw him take the runners up spot behind Vincent Kiprotich.  Should both Paul and Eddie race, we could well see a sub thirty minute finish.

Foyle Valley AC's Scott Rankin claimed third place here last year behind the aforementioned Paul Pollock and St Malachy's AC star Joe McAlister and will be hoping to be in the lead pack once again.  Twelve months ago, Scott ran 32:29 at the Titanic 10k and he has since improved his personal best over the distance significantly, with his last recorded 10k time being a 31:13 for second place at the Seeley Cup 2014; the talented runner also ran 14:29 for 5k at the Armagh International in February (2015).  Another man who will play a prominent part at the front is newly crowned NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers).  Conor is a quality athlete but will have to be on top form if he wants to improve on his fourth place finish at this event in 2014.  Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) and Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) are four men capable of winning local events and they will all contest places in the top ten here, as will the likes of Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Lindsay Gordon (Meadowhill Project) and Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers).

The top two finishers in the ladies race last year, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) and Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC) are both due to start and will hope to secure similar positions this time around.  Just last month, the classy athletes picked up medals after taking first and third places respectively at the Queen's 5k; Ann-Marie ran 16:28, while Natasha recorded 16:51.  NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion Teresa Doherty (Finn Valley AC) split the pair that night after clocking 16:44 for second place and she (Teresa) will be aiming to go one better this time.

AAI National Intermediate XC Champion and NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) will also mix it up at the front.  The exceptionally talented and unassuming athlete never fails to impress when she toes the line.  Last year, Danielle ran 36:22 for 10,000m at the Highgate Harriers 'Night of 10,000m personal bests' in England and if she produces a time like that here, the Armagh AC lady will achieve a podium place.  It should therefore be an epic battle between the ladies; however, none of the four can take a prize-winning place for granted with the likes of Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC) and Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) chasing.  Both have been running well of late and will be ready to pounce should Ann-Marie, Teresa, Natasha or Danielle have a bad day.  Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers), Patricia Blair (Larne AC) and Collette McCourt (DUB Runners) will also finish well up the field.

Connemara Ultra Marathon, Marathon and Half Marathon:

Also on Sunday 12th April 2015, a strong contingent of runners from Northern Ireland will line up at the infamous Connemarathon events in County Galway, Ireland.  The Connemarathon offers competitors the choice of an Ultra Marathon (39.3 miles), Marathon and Half Marathon, all of which are set in the stunning Connemara hills.  Orangegrove AC’s Michael O’Donoghue and Thomas Leitch will be two of many local runners taking part in the events, with Michael racing in the Ultra and Thomas pacing the 1:30:00 group in the Half Marathon.

Vienna Half Marathon:

Further afield on Sunday 12th April 2015, several Northern Ireland athletes will be amongst competitors from 129 Nations competing at the Vienna Marathon and Half Marathon in Austria.  Orangegrove AC’s Jill Holland, Sharon Dickenson and Darren Moffett will take on the 13.1 mile event.


As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty parkrun events will 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.

NiRunning launch the NiRunning Mile 2015 in association with BMC:

NiRunning announce details of NiRunning/BMC Mile 2015:

Since the NiRunning (Northern Ireland) website was set up in August 2012, our NiRunning Mile has been a prominent event in our annual schedule, it is something that we are extremely proud of.  Last year’s ‘Mile’, which coincided with the 60th anniversary of the first ever sub four minute mile, proved to be a major success.  

Since, we have received regular correspondence in relation to the 2015 event.  It is therefore with great pleasure that we announce that this years 'Mile' will take place on Friday 1st May 2015.

Like 2015, the ‘Mile’ will be run in conjunction with the world renowned British Milers Club (BMC) and will take place at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters Track in Belfast.  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 once again to be associated with NIRunning in promoting a series of mile races at the Mary Peters Track. Last years event commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the first sub four minute mile was a huge success and given the revitalised interest in the 1 Mile distance across the UK I envisage that this year will see an even stronger event."

NiRunning's Ryan Maxwell added, “for us (NiRunning), the NiRunning Mile is something that we have grown from the website's first days.  To watch it grow in popularity and prestige, whilst attracting the continued support of the BMC makes me extremely proud.  I would love to see runners of all abilities come along and make the night one to remember.”

Races to suit all abilities - Timetable:

Start Time 7pm: 10 minute plus Mile,  7.15pm: 9-10 minute Mile, 7.30pm: 8-9 minute Mile, 7.45pm: 7-8 minute Mile, 8pm: 6-7 minute Mile, 8.15pm: 5-6 minute Mile, 8.30pm: Sub 5 minute Mile, 8.45pm:  Elite Women’s Mile, 9pm:  Elite Men’s Mile

Entry Information:

Entry will be available on the night, with registration closing STRICTLY 15 minutes before each Mile.  This event is open to athletes aged 8 years old and above but please note, junior athletes will be racing with senior/veteran athletes (please visit for further criteria relating to minimum age).  The cost of entry is £3.  Enquires can be sent to the same address or [email protected] 

Athletes from NI produce impressive performances at events in Ireland:

Northern Ireland based runners pick up prizes in Ireland:

Over the Easter Weekend (Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th and Monday 7th April 2015), a number of local athletes were in action at events outside Northern Ireland.  Amongst a large amount of impressive outings, there were several prize-winning performances.

On Sunday 5th April 2015, there were no less than four Northern Ireland based athletes on the podium at the Letterkenny AC 3k road race in County Donegal, Ireland.  At the front, Commonwealth Games star Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) just pipped fellow Northern Ireland man Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) to victory, with Danny running 8:50 (1st place) and Keith 8:52 (2nd place).  Omagh Harriers' Paul Barbour narrowly missed a podium place when he recorded 8:57, which saw him finish in 4th place.  In the ladies race, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) sealed top spot in 9:33 (1st place), while Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC) crossed the line in 11:14 for 2nd place.

On Monday 6th April 2015, Slieve Gullion Runners athlete Paddy Hamilton lined up at the Mountpleasant 5k road race in Dundalk, Ireland.  Paddy looked strong as he continued his return to competition, seeing off the in-form Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) to secure top honours in 15:14 (1st place).

On the same day (Monday 6th April 2015), North Belfast Harriers' Conor Curran put in an impressive performance at the Clontarf 10 mile road race in Ireland.  Up against top quality opposition, Conor recorded 56:05 for 4th place; this was a mere three seconds off a podium place.  The race was won by Raheny Shamrocks AC star Ian Conroy in 55:13 (1st place).

Early in the weekend (Saturday 4th April 2015), Northern Ireland was well represented on the podium at the Ballyliffin 10 mile Coastal Challenge in County Donegal, Ireland.  Despite the tough course, which finished with a two mile beach section, the local athletes produced some quality times. Finn Valley AC duo Gerard Gallagher and Teresa Doherty won the male and female titles in 57:49 (1st place) and 1:00:38 (1st place) respectively.

Northern Ireland based men Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) and Rhodri Jones (Springwell Running Club) secured top ten places.  Martin ran 1:01:58 for 6th place, with Rhodri following just under a minute later in 1:02:47 (9th place).  Springwell Running Club duo Sonia Knox and Ciara Toner added to the Northern Ireland prize haul when they crossed the line in 1:08:58 and 1:10:52, which saw them secure 2nd place and 3rd place respectively. 

Full Results:  Ballyliffin 10 mile Coastal Challenge 2015 ResultsLetterkenny AC 3k Road Race 2015 Results – Mountpleasant 5k Road Race 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable) – Clontarf 10 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Paul Rowan and Cathy McCourt win Whitehead 5 mile Road Race:

Whitehead 5 mile Road Race 2015:

On Monday 6th April 2015 (Easter Monday), nearly two hundred athletes and even more spectators descended on the County Antrim town of Whitehead, just outside Carrickfergus, for the annual Whitehead 5 mile road race.  The popular long standing Easter Monday fixture has become a ‘must do’ event and just like 2014, the weather was perfect as the athletes took on the challenging three lap course.

After a fast start, the field settled into position and it was North Belfast Harriers’ Brendan Grew who led the way as they completed the first lap.  Behind, the evergreen Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) followed, with Tommy Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) and Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) a little further back.  In the ladies race, Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) was in control, but Dromore AC’s Gillian Burns, Lagan Valley AC’s Ruth Perioli (nee Magill), Larne AC's Patricia Blair (Larne AC) and North Belfast Harriers' Janice Plumb were also in the mix.

Going into the final lap, Paul Rowan had taken over from Brendan Grew at the front; Brendan remained in second place, while Tommy Simmons was moving clear of club mate Kent Swann as they contested the final podium place.  It was a different story in the ladies event as there was no change in leader, with Cathy further cementing her place at the head of the pack.  The focus was now on second and third place and who would take those, with Gillian Burns, Ruth Magill, Patricia Blair and Janice Plumb all looking strong.

In the end, the experience and power of Paul Rowan was too much for the chasing men and the Willowfield Harriers stalwart secured top spot in 26:20 (1st place).  A tired but happy Brendan Grew claimed 2nd place in 26:43, before his club mate and recent Rome Marathon finisher Tommy Simmons recorded 28:22 for 3rd place.

Cathy McCourt proved untouchable in the final lap and cruised to victory in 29:18 (1st place), adding to her recent podium spot and personal best (1:20:12) at the Omagh Half Marathon.  Gillian Burns followed in 31:10 (2nd place), while well-known British Masters Champion Ruth Perioli crossed the line in 32:38 to secure 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) – 26:20, 2nd Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:43, 3rd Tommy Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) – 28:22

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 29:18, 2nd Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) – 31:10, 3rd Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC) – 32:38

Full Results:  Whitehead 5m Road Race 2015 Results (Provisional Results)... Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4.  Photo above by John Glover.

Barrie Atkinson and Lyndsey Pronger win Ballygalget 10k:

Ballygalget 10k Road Race 2015:

On Sunday 5th April 2015, just under one hundred athletes toed the line for the annual Ballygalget 10k road race in County Down.  The event offered competitors a scenic route, which proved tough but rewarding.

At the front of the field, it was East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson who impressed most.  Despite being at the peak of his marathon training, Barrie showed no signs of fatigue as he led from early on to claim victory in 33:54 (1st place). Junior athlete Alex Boyd (Club Unknown) took the runners up spot in 36:54 (2nd place), before Paul Tyro (Orangegrove AC) secured 3rd place in 38:20.

In the ladies race, Orangegrove AC star Lyndsey Pronger continued to show her progression with yet another impressive outing.  The 3:24:35 marathoner smashed her 10k personal best as she claimed the ladies title in 40:19 (1st place). Northern Ireland junior mountain running international Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC) followed in 45:54 (2nd place), while Shannon Clegg (Club Unknown) completed the top three ladies in 46:11 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 33:54, 2nd Alex Boyd (Club Unknown) – 36:54, 3rd Paul Tyro (Orangegrove AC) – 38:20

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 40:19, 2nd Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC) – 45:54, 3rd Shannon Clegg (Club Unknown) – 46:11

Full Results:  Ballygalget 10k 2015 Results 

Project Africa athletes dominate as course record is smashed at Beragh 5!

Beragh 5 mile Road Race 2015:

On Saturday 4th April 2015, hundreds of athletes and spectators descended on the County Tyrone village of Beragh for the annual Beragh 5 mile road race.  The popular and well organised event never fails to attract a plethora of talent and this year was no different.

Almost from the off, Kenyan athlete and pre-race favourite Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) set his stall out.  The Omagh Half Marathon podium finisher and winner of the Larne Half Marathon raced into the first corner ahead of the field, with 2014 winner Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) and Project Africa athlete Martin Cox chasing. Despite the efforts of the field, the trio continued to separate themselves and in the end it was Vincent Kiprotich who sealed victory.  The always impressive athlete crossed the line in a new course record of 24:51 (1st place), with Stephen Duncan following just under a minute later in 25:47 (2nd place).  Martin Cox completed the podium places in 27:40 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, it was again a Project Africa athlete who stole the show.  Young Selinah Kangogo led from start to finish and cruised to victory in 30:24 (1st place).  Sperrin Harriers' Pauline McGurren replicated her runners up position from last year, clocking 31:23 for 2nd place; interestingly, this was nearly a minute quicker than Pauline's time from 2014 (32:11).  In a close battle for the final podium place, Lifford AC's Ita Kelly (3rd place - 35:59) just beat Carmen Runners' Ciara Coyle (4th place – 36:05).

Top 3 Men:  1st Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) – 24:51, 2nd Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 25:47, 3rd Martin Cox (Project Africa) – 27:40

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa) – 30:24, 2nd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 31:23, 3rd Ita Kelly (Lifford AC) – 35:59

Full Results:  Beragh 5 mile Road Race 2015 Results

David Simpson and Shileen O'Kane win NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race:

NiRunning 5 mile 'Killylane Klassic' Trail Race 2015:

On Saturday 4th April 2015, nearly one hundred athletes turned out for the 2nd annual NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race, which was held within the confines of Ballyboley Forest, starting and finishing on at the scenic Killylane Reservoir, just outside Larne.

After having to use an alternative route in 2014 (due to snow and ice), this was the first time athletes were able to take on the undulating course, which was made up of forest roads and good running trails.  

Local man Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and well-known trail runner David Simpson (Unattached) led the way as the athletes negotiated the gradual incline towards the one mile marker.  David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), Jason Wilson (Ballymena Runners), Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Richard Bell (Mourne Runners) and Bernard Brady (Larne AC) were all prominent at the front.

Meanwhile, mountain runner Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) was showing her climbing strength at the head of the ladies pack; Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners), Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners), Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers), Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Christine Murray (County Antrim Harriers) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) all in pursuit.

By the 3.5 mile marker, there was nothing between the leading pair of David Simpson and Mark McKinstry.  Behind, it was a similar situation between Alex Brennan and David Turtle as they battled it out for third place – Jason Wilson was just behind the pair.  In the ladies competition, Shileen O'Kane had cemented her position at the front, while Geraldine Quigley and Kerry Bamber were looking like the athletes who would complete the podium.

On the final downhill section towards Killylane Reservoir, David Simpson assumed control, moving ahead of Mark McKinstry – he (David) gradually opened a gap on the chasing North Belfast Harriers man and was first into the finishing straight.  David completed the final incline with ease to break the tape in 26:53 (1st place).  Mark McKinstry followed in 27:31 (2nd place), before David Turtle edged out Alex Brennan (4th place – 29:26) for 3rd place in 29:12.

Pre-race favourite Shileen O'Kane lived up to her billing, leading the ladies home in 32:23, which not only secured the ladies title, but also a very respectable 13th place overall.  Geraldine Quigley finished well to cross the line in 33:47 (2nd place), while a smiling Kerry Bamber claimed 3rd place in 34:28.

Top 3 Men:  1st David Simpson (Unattached) – 26:53, 2nd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 27:31, 3rd David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers) – 29:12

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 32:23, 2nd Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners) – 33:47, 3rd Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) – 34:38

Full Results:  NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race 2015 Results (Photo above by Colleen Taylor - Further photos from the NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race are now available within our Photo Gallery).

NiRunning would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported today's event, and to those who made it possible.  A special mention must go to our fantastic race team, as well as ChampionChip Ireland, Ambutran, Forestry Service, Northern Ireland Water and the Coffee Hut.

Weekend Preview:  Races roll on as athletes look ahead to Easter Weekend...

Weekend Preview:  Easter Weekend 2015…

It’s that time of year when most dedicated runners forgo their healthy eating habits to indulge in some well-deserved chocolate… then being creatures of habit, we look to counteract this with a run, or given that it’s the weekend, a race!  There is plenty of choice this Easter Weekend, with three days of racing ahead.

The weekend kicks off with our very own NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race; there is also the Beragh 5 mile Road Race, the Ballgalget 10k and the Whitehead 5 mile Road Race to look forward to. Local athletes are also expected to take on the tough Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge in County Donegal (Ireland).

NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race:

On Saturday 4th April 2015, we (NiRunning) will welcome athletes from across the province to the second annual running of our NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race.  In 2014, heavy snow and ice forced a complete change of course on the morning of the event, but with better weather forecast for this weekend, the Race HQ will move to its original spot at Killylane Reservoir (a map is available HERE).

At least two of the top three athletes from the men’s race in 2014 should return for 2015, with Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) a definite starter and Wicklow Way Ultra record breaker Jonny Steede (Unattached) another potential participant.  Both men have been in outstanding form recently, with Mark recording a 15:59 finish at the Queen’s 5k last week and a 1:13:19 half marathon personal best at the Omagh Half Marathon on Saturday (28th March 2015).  Jonny races sparingly, but his aforementioned outing at the Wicklow Way Ultra shows that he is in good shape.  Jason Wilson (Ballymena Runners), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) should also contest a place on the podium, while Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners) and Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners) will also finish well up the field.

In the ladies race, Northern Ireland international Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) will hope to bring the same kind of form that saw her win the first NIMRA Championship race (Glenariff Mountain Race) of 2015.  Shileen also had a fantastic run at the Queen’s 5k, showing her road speed to record 19:13 finish.  Rabbit Run 5k winner Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC) will also toe the line, as will established trail runner Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) and up and coming athlete Natasha Henderson (County Antrim Harriers).  Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Cara Hamilton (North Down AC), Paula Wallace (North Belfast Harriers), Verity Cornford (Orangegrove AC) and Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC) should also be amongst the top ten finishers.

Please Note:  Although online entries for the race have now closed, entry on the day is available (£8).  Registration and pack collection will close at 10.45am sharp.  Please be aware that the lower end of the Shanes Hill Road (close to Larne) is closed due to ongoing road works.  A map showing alternative directions is available HERE.

Beragh 5 mile Road Race:

On the same day (Saturday 4th April 2015), running enthusiasts in the County Tyrone area will take on the popular Beragh 5 mile road race, an event which always attracts a sizeable crowd, including some of the country’s top athletes.

This year will be no different, with Project Africa athletes Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich set to compete in the men’s event.  The duo have been running well since their arrival in the province; most recently, Gideon pipped Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) to the title at Omagh Half Marathon last week, clocking 1:05:15 in windy conditions. Interestingly, the Kenyan athlete passed through the 5 mile marker on that day in 24:52, just ahead of fellow countryman Vincent who passed the same marker in 25:00 – Vincent went on to secure third place in 1:07:56.

Reigning Champion Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) may also turn out, and after an impressive return to competition last week in Omagh, where he completed the 13.1 mile route in 1:10:11, the talented international athlete should find himself on the podium.  However, he will have to see off in-form club mate Paul Barbour and Project Africa athlete Martin Cox.  Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) and Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) should claim places in the top ten.

It’s hard to look past Project Africa’s Selinah Kangogo as pre-race favourite; the up and coming Kenyan star pipped local athlete Cathy McCourt to top honours at the Omagh Half Marathon – she crossed the line 1:19:44 that day and cruised through the 5 mile barrier in 29:16, which was actually faster than the time she ran to win the Altamuskin 5 (29:33) a few weeks ago.  Selinah could potentially face the lady who claimed second place at Altamuskin, Pauline McGurren, who has placed well here before.  Other athletes to look out for could include Jacqueline Mulligan (Acorns AC), Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers), Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) and Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners).

Ballyliffin 10 mile Challenge:

Further afield on Saturday 4th April 2015, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes are expected to take on the challenging Ballyliffin 10 mile Challenge in County Doengal, Ireland.  The event, now in it's 7th year, attracts competitors from all over the world and is well known for it's tough but scenic course.

The route skirts the Inishowen coast and takes in a tough road route, before finishing on Pollan Beach, where athletes must negotiate a two mile section on the sand with Malin Head providing a perfect backdrop of the photography enthusiasts.  City of Derry AC's Aaron Doherty claimed top spot last year and may return to defend his title – club mate Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) could be another starter, while last years ladies Champion, Judi Graham (North Belfast Harriers) would be considered pre-race favourite should she take to the start line again.

Ballygalget 10k Road Race:

On Sunday 5th April 2015, East Down AC stalwart Joe Quinn and his dedicated race team will co-host the Ballygalget Community 10k road race on the shores of Strangford Lough.  The County Down event offers participants a tough but enjoyable course.

East Down AC's Brendan Teer will hope the retain the title he won so impressively twelve months ago and based on his recent form, which includes a win at the Rollercoaster Road Race, a third place finish at the Albertville 5 and a 32:17 outing at Jimmy's 10k, it hard to see who will knock the local hero off top spot.  North Down AC duo Dennis Scott and Stephen Wylie may also race, and if they do, both will be hopeful of claiming podium place; Dennis ran 1:13:34 at the Larne Half Marathon, while Stephen crossed the line in 1:14:27 – seven days later, Stephen ran a new 13.1 mile personal best of 1:13:49 in Omagh.  London Marathon bound Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) and club mate Michael McKeown (East Down AC) will also run well.

Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) enjoyed an excellent run to lead the ladies home at the Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k last weekend (Sunday 29th March 2015) and she'll be hoping for something similar this week.  The Northern Ireland international mountain runner significantly improved her 10k best when running 38:28 at Jimmy's 10k last month (March 2014) and will prove hard to beat if she runs anywhere close to that.  North Down AC's Kerry Speers and Lagan Valley AC's will provide good opposition, as will the likes of Laura Gardiner (East Down AC), Sinead McKibbin (Castlewellan AC) and Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC). 

Whitehead 5 mile Road Race:

On Monday 6th April 2015, a large number of athletes are expected to descend on the County Antrim town of Whitehead for the long standing Whitehead 5 mile Road Race, an almost compulsory Easter Monday event for many runners.

North Belfast Harriers athlete Mark McKinstry could well turn out here, despite an appearance at the NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race 48 hours prior.  Should he do so, despite the fact that the course will suit Mark, as he proved last year with a podium spot, he'll have to fend off the challenge of club mate Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers).  Last week, Brendan knocked over two minutes off his half marathon personal best in Omagh, completing the undulating course in 1:13:53, on what was a windy day.  Fellow North Belfast Harriers men Conor Curran, Eddie Cooke, Greg Lavery and Neil Carty may also compete, as could last years winner Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders); Willowfield Harriers' Chris Moren will also perform well should he lace up his racers.

It's likely that North Belfast Harriers will also dominate the ladies competition, with Claire Connor, Cathy McCourt and Louise Smith likely to be amongst the podium contenders.  Claire, a prize-winner here on at least two occasions, completed the recent Queen's Sport 5k in an excellent 18:16, showing that she is in good form.  Meanwhile, her NBH club mates Cathy and Louise took second and third place respectively at the Omagh Half Marathon, with Cathy running 1:19:44 and Louise 1:21:51.  Ballymena Runners pair Lorna Sibbett and Geraldine Quigley may also enter on the day, while Larne AC's Kirsty Sharratt and Patricia Blair should go well if they race.


As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty parkrun events will 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.

Remember - If you would like to catch up on our 'News' from March 2015, you can use the navigation banner at the top of the screen (and scroll to March 2015) or click HERE.

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