Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2016:
Local race timing specialists ChampionChip Ireland have revealed the final standings for the Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2016.
The ever popular and well-supported ten race Series kicked off back in February, on Valentines Day, with the DUNE Half Marathon, a cross border event – on the day, Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) retained his title and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) ran out clear winner in the ladies race – from the two, only Laura went on to complete the Series. The AAI National Half Marathon Champion won eight of the ten races in the Series, with her best time being in Omagh, where she recorded 1:18:07 for victory.
The two most popular races in Series followed, the Larne Half Marathon and the Omagh Half Marathon. Larne increased their numbers from 2015 (1,504), attracting 1,607 participants whilst Omagh tempted an excellent 1,357 athletes. Over the course of the ten races, a total of 6,533 athletes crossed the finish line, with Gideon Kimosop (Project Africa) clocking the fastest men's time of 1:05:53 in Omagh. As previously mentioned, Laura Graham recorded the fastest ladies time of the Series with 1:18:07.
Despite being a midweek event, the Lisburn Half Marathon brought 1,143 athletes to the start line. On that warm and sunny evening, Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) led their respective field’s home.
The Ards Half Marathon, which was won by Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners), kicked off the second half of the Series. Events followed in Dervock, Cookstown and Groomsport before the Series came to a scenic end in the heart of the Mourne Mountains, with Born 2 Run's Dambusters Half Marathon. Danny McLaughlin (St Malachy’s AC) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) stole the headlines that day, taking 1st place and 2nd place overall.
A total of 10 athletes (9 men and 1 lady) completed all ten races in the Series and will receive a special commemorative garment at the prize-giving later in the year; the Male Open category had the highest number of athletes (11) who made the final standing having completed the required races. However, Vet45 athlete Angus McCready (Unattached) can again boast that he is the only man to complete all 67 races in the Series' eight year history.
A total number of eleven Male Open competitors completed the required 5 races, with North Belfast Harriers man Marc Jennings taking the top prize. The outstanding Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) won the Ladies Open category. The Vet35 category was won by ever consistent athlete David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) and talented international athlete Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC).
Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), a regular in the Series since its inception in 2009, retained the ladies Vet40 category title, while Eric Fairfield (Unattached) won the men’s prize. In the Vet45 category, Patricia Magill (Orangegrove AC) and Eamonn O’Reilly (North Down AC) picked up top honours.
North Belfast Harriers Ita McCambridge, a regular category winner, added the Vet50 ladies Series prize to her growing list of achievements. Her club mate, Martin Cox (North Belfast Harriers), secured the Vet50 men’s prize. City of Lisburn AC athlete Paul McCullagh topped the Vet55 men’s final standings, while Brian Todd (Orangegrove AC) impressed in his Vet60 category, sealing a comfortable Series victory.
Final standings for the Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2016 can be found HERE.
World Masters Mountain Running Championships (Italy):
On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August 2016, a number of mountain runners from Northern Ireland were in action at the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Susa (Italy).
Up against 700 athletes who have enrolled in the masters races and the associated open race, the local athletes faced tough opposition; to be specific, 27 countries including host’s Italy were represented.
This inspired several of the local athletes to medal winning performances. Newcastle AC man and a member of Eugene McCann picked up a Vet55 team bronze medal for Ireland when he completed the 6.5k route, which incorporated 772m of ascent, in 58:05; this was enough to secure 31st place in his category.
In the ladies race, which covered the same course, Lagan Valley AC duo Shileen O’Kane and Anne Sandford also secured team medals. Shileen, racing in the Vet45 category, claimed 6th place individually after clocking 53:07 – Shileen was also part of the Ireland team who collected silver medals. Meanwhile, club mate Anne helped the Great Britain & NI Vet50 team to a bronze medal when taking 18th place in a time of 1:05:29. Full results are available HERE.
Ciara Mageean continues to impress on big stage:
Over the weekend (Saturday 27th August 2016), Northern Ireland's Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) made an excellent impression on the world stage when she made her Diamond League debut in Paris, France.
In a talent laden 1500m field the European medallist once again proved her worth, securing a new personal best of 4:01.46 to claim 9th place. Not only was this a massive new personal best for Ciara, but it was also a new NI & Ulster 1500m record and the second quickest ever ladies 1500m time recorded by an Irish athlete. The race was won by Scottish athlete Laura Muirs in a new British 1500m record of 3:55.22 (1st place).
Armagh City Marathon:
On Sunday 28th August 2016, over one hundred athletes took on the inaugural Armagh City Marathon. The 26.2 mile event started and finished in the historic Mall area of the City and required athletes to complete four laps of the undulating Run Armagh 10k course.
It was a day when experienced marathoners showed their strength over the famous distances, with Springwell Running Club’s Chris Denton and Ballydrain Harriers’ Fiona Prue winning their respective races. Chris crossed the finish line in 3:03:27 to secure a well-deserved victory, with Thomas Smith (Club Unknown), who had ran with Chris for the first lap, taking 2nd place in 3:09:26. Michael Dillon (Club Unknown) took 3rd place in 3:14:24.
Fiona Prue saw of the challenge of Oragnegrove AC athlete Sile Brennan to win by just over a minute. Fiona broke the tape in 3:25:15 to take 1st place in the ladies race and 4th place overall, while Sile followed in 3:26:11, which saw her take 2nd place in the ladies race and 5th place overall. Kernan Running Club’s Sharon Williamson completed the top three in 3:40:07 (3rd place).
Full Results: Armagh City Marathon (and Marathon Relay) 2016 Results
Moneymore 10k 2016:
On Sunday 28th August 2016, nearly two hundred runners turned out for the 4th annual running of the Moneymore 10k and associated 5k race, an event which took place in the beautiful setting of Springwell House in the County Derry/Londonderry town, close to Cookstown and Magherafelt.
The scenic but tough course was undulating to begin with, then became more hilly in the latter part, before the competitors plunged downhill to the finish at the local sports field. Sperrin Harriers’ Brian Taggart stole the headline when he sealed top spot in 36:10 (1st place). Stephen Nicholson (PACE Running Club) clocked 36:37 for 2nd place, while Acorns AC man Eoin Hughes completed the route in 38:32 for 3rd place.
Acorns AC’s Sandra McKeown continued to build her reputation on the local scene with an excellent win. Sandra ran 43:15 (1st place) for top spot, finishing ahead of Tanya Quinn (Sperrin Harriers) and Dorian Palmoski (Unattached) who took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively. Tanya recorded 44:06 while Dorian ran 45:36.
In the associated 5k race, there was further success for Acorns AC, with Kevin Bigmore winning in 18:20 (1st place). The ladies race was won by Danielle McCrystal (Challenge Fitness) in 21:38 (1st place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Brian Taggart (Sperrin Harriers) – 36:10, 2nd Stephen Nicholson (PACE Running Club) – 36:37, 3rd Eoin Hughes (Acorns AC) – 38:32
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Sandra McKeown (Acorns AC) – 43:15, 2nd Tanya Quinn (Sperrin Harriers) - 44:06, 3rd Dorian Palmoski (Unattached) – 45:36,
Full Results: Moneymore 10k & 5k 2016 Results
Storming the Castle 10k:
On Sunday 28th August 2016, well over five hundred athletes turned out for the 2nd annual running of the Storming the Castle 10k road race in Carrickfergus. The event saw competitors cover a relatively flat and fast course, starting at the Carrickfergus Ampitheatre and finishing at Carrickfergus Castle.
It was Joe Malone (Unattached) who led the record breaking field home – with the picturesque Carrickfergus Castle backdrop, Joe broke the tape in 35:27 (1st place). Philip Clarke (Unattached) followed just over thirty seconds later in 36:04 (2nd place), before young North Down AC star Jamie McMeechan crossed the line in 36:32 for 3rd place.
In the ladies race, Amy Bulman (Unattached) followed on from her win at the Strangford 10k with another victory. Amy recorded a new personal best of 38:40 for 1st place. Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) ran 40:26 for 2nd place, while Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) continued her recent run of good form with another podium finish – Susan ran 40:59 for 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Joe Malone (Unattached) – 35:27, 2nd Philip Clarke (Unattached) – 36:04, 3rd Jamie McMeechan (North Down AC) – 36:22
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Amy Bulman (Unattached) – 38:40, 2nd Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) – 40:26, 3rd Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) – 40:59
Full Results: Storming the Castle 10k 2016 Results
Rathlin Run 2016:
On Saturday 27th August 2016, hundreds of athletes and spectators descended on Rathlin Island, approximately 6 miles off the coast of Ballycastle, for the annual Rathlin Run. The event offers participants the choice of a 10 mile race, or a 5k race. The event was co-hosted by NiRunning alongside respected Belfast based charity Belfast Activity Centre (BAC).
In good running conditions the runners set off on the tough undulating 10 mile route, which would see them reach the island's west light house and RSPB Centre, before making their way back to the atmospheric start/finish area at Church Bay.
At the head of the pack, pre-race favourites Philip Goss (North Belfast Harriers) and Patrick Higgins (Newcastle AC) led the way early on, before Philip moved clear as the pair headed onto the out and back section of the course. There was no stopping the returning Philip as he made short of the relentless undulations – in the end he sealed an impressive victory in 1:00:40 (1st place). Patrick improved on his third place finish from 2015 when he crossed the line in 1:02:55 for 2nd place, nearly three minutes ahead of Andrew McIntyre (Orangegrove AC), who completed the top three in 1:05:50 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, last year’s runner up Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) played a major part in proceedings as expected. The versatile and always impressive athlete put in a strong display of front running to claim the title in 1:14:39 (1st place). North Belfast Harriers’ Helen Weir continued her recent run of good form with a 1:17:54 clocking for 2nd place, while Beverley Mitchell (Albertville Harriers) crossed the line in 1:20:06 for 3rd place.
In the associated 5k event, athletes started in Church Bay and made their way towards the south side of the island, before turning at a designated point and making their way back towards the start/finish area along the incredibly scenic coastline.
Jude Holohan (Unattached) enjoyed a comfortable victory, leading the field home in 21:15 (1st place). James McFall (Unattached) recorded 21:44 for 2nd place and was followed nine seconds later by Ben Goode (Unattached), who clocked 21:53 for 3rd place.
Young St Peter’s AC athlete Meadow McCauley produced an excellent performance to win the ladies race. Meadow broke the tape in 23:15 which not only saw her take 1st place in the ladies race, but an excellent 4th place over. Lynda Jeffers (Unattached) took 2nd place in 23:51, before Hannah Keery (Unattached) completed the course in 27:12 (3rd place).
Podium Finishers – 10 mile Race:
Top 3 Men: 1st Philip Goss (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:00:40, 2nd Patrick Higgins (Newcastle AC) – 1:02:55, 3rd Andrew McIntyre (Orangegrove AC) – 1:05:50
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) – 1:14:39, 2nd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:17:54, 3rd Beverley Mitchell (Albertville Harriers) – 1:20:06
Podium Finishers – 5k Race:
Top 3 Men: 1st Jude Holohan (Unattached) – 21:15, 2nd James McFall (Unattached) – 21:44, 3rd Ben Goode (Unattached) – 21:53
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Meadow McCauley (St Peter’s AC) – 23:15, 2nd Lynda Jeffers (Unattached) – 21:44, 3rd Hannah Keery (Unattached) – 27:12
NiRunning would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to everyone who supported the Rathlin Run 2016, be that by running, volunteering, helping out before, during, or after race day. We would also like to say thank you to Belfast Activity Centre (BAC) and the Rathlin Island Community.
Portrush 5 mile Road Race:
On Friday 26th August 2016, nearly three hundred runners took on the Portrush 5 mile road race on Northern Ireland’s stunning North Coast. Participants were treated to good weather and excellent running conditions.
Local club Springwell Running Club dominated the podium place at the event – in the men’s race, Jonathan McKee led the way, securing an excellent win in 27:19 (1st place). In an epic battle for the runners up spot, Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Running Club) edged out Eoin Hughes (Acorns AC); both men clocked 28:29, but it was Luke who was awarded 2nd place and Eoin 3rd place.
Gemma McDonald came out on top in the ladies race after excellent competition from her Springwell Running Club team mates Karen McLaughlin and Ciara Toner. Gemma broke the tape in 32:19 (1st place), with Karen (32:47) and Ciara Toner (33:13) taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.
Top 3 Men: 1st Jonathan McKee (Springwell Running Club) – 27:19, 2nd Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Running Club) – 28:29, 3rd Eoin Hughes (Acorns AC) – 28:29
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Gemma McDonald (Springwell Running Club) – 32:19, 2nd Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) – 32:47, 3rd Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) – 33:13
Full Results: Portrush 5 mile Road Race 2016 Results
Strangford Festival 10k:
Elsewhere on Friday 26th August 2016, just under one hundred athletes took on the annual Strangford 10k road race, which is part of the popular and well-supported Strangford Festival.
Young Newcastle AC athlete Zak Hanna again showed good form as he claimed a comfortable victory in 34:05 (1st place). Willowfield Harriers’ Garry Morrow added to his recent podium finishes with another prize, after taking 2nd place in 35:06 – Ballydrain Harriers’ Nigel Kelly completed the top three in 35:53 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, Amy Bulman (Unattached) clocked 39:06 for 1st place. City of Lisburn AC’s ever consistent Diane Watson crossed the line in 41:50 for 2nd place, while Lisa Laird (East Down AC) crossed the line in 44:47 for 3rd place.
Weekend Preview: Rathlin Run 2016 and more…
It seems like no time since we last hosted the Rathlin Run alongside our friends from Belfast Activity Centre (BAC) – but it is of course one year since we welcomed a capacity field to arguably Northern Ireland’s most unique running event.
There’s something strangely nice about stepping onto the shaky Rathlin Island ferry knowing that within hours hundreds of runners will follow onto the island for a weekend of running.
Of course, there are numerous other races taking place over this August Bank Holiday weekend - this particular weekend has always been considered busy in terms of events, but this year seems to be exceptionally busy. Given our team’s commitments over the coming days, this weekend’s preview will focus on the Rathlin Run and some events which information has been provided for… however, we will list all of the races taking place over the weekend, just incase we can tempt you into lacing up those racers!
Rathlin Run 2016:
On Saturday 27th August 2016, hundreds of athletes and spectators will descend on Rathlin Island for the annual Rathlin Run, an event organised by NiRunning alongside Belfast based charity Belfast Activity Centre and sponsored by local company Active Financial. The unique race offers competitors the option of a tough, undulating and incredibly scenic 10 mile course as well as a scenic and less hilly 5k.
In the 10 mile race, North Belfast Harriers man Philip Goss will continue his return to the competitive scene – after a full year away from racing, the talented athlete returned in January 2016 with a top ten placing at the NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Championships. He then went on to impress with wins at the Les Jones 10k, where he ran 33:57, and more recently the Feile 10k; there he recorded 35:36 for victory. Philip is well capable of a finishing time around the one hour mark, which should be enough for top spot.
In saying this, Philip will face the men who secured second and third place here twelve months ago – Larne AC’s David Noble who claimed second place in 2015 has continued to improve and just last week, secured second place in the men’s race and third overall at the Dambusters Half Marathon. David ran 1:06:43 last time and should improve on that.
Meanwhile, the man who finished behind David last August, Patrick Higgins (Newcastle AC), will also take to the start line. Patrick recently ran 1:01:16 for a top ten finish at the Portaferry 10 mile road race, which means he should be considered here.
Another man to look out for is sub 2:40 marathoner Aaron Woodman (PACE Running Club). Aaron is a very consistent performer and a regular around the podium places. At the aforementioned Portaferry 10 mile road race, he secured third place in 57:22 – add two minutes on for the tough course and Aaron will most definitely be in the mix. If you throw the likes of Billy Orr (Foyle Valley AC), Richard Shannon (Omagh Harriers), Matthew Morrow (Ballymena Runners), Peter McCloskey (Wimbledon Windmilers AC), Drew Girvin (East Coast AC) and respected journalist and coach Malcolm McCausland (Derry City Track Club), it’s clear to see that this will be a closely contested race.
The ladies 10 mile race will see 2015 runner up Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) take to the start line, and this may well be the mountain-trail runner’s year – since August 2015, Mari has continued to improve, picking up an international cap and impressing over various terrain; in truth, it’s hard to see anyone beating Mari.
However, the always impressive Newcastle AC athlete will have to fend off the likes of Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) if she wants to pick up the top prize. Like Mari, Helen is pretty good over all terrain - she narrowly missed a podium place at the gruelling Trail Alpin du Grand Bec 25k Trail Race (inc 1,500m of ascent) in Champagny-en-Vanoise (France) two weeks ago; Helen took fourth place and a category win on that occasion.
Una Gavin (City of Derry AC) has impressed here before and will return, while Holly Hunniford (Ballydrain Harriers), a useful runner over the half marathon distance, will also start. Holly’s club mate, the speedy Nicky McKeag will feature prominently at the head of the pack. Versatile athletes Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) and Joanne McCauley (St Peter’s AC) will place well, as should the likes of Deirdre Bradley (Acorns AC), Helen Byers (North Down AC) and Fiona Herald (Unattached).
In the 5k race, female athletes Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club) and Roberta Dornan (North Down AC) will not only chase top honours in their ladies race, but should place well overall. Both are exceptionally talented! Emma McGinty (Ballycastle AC) and Cassie Brennan (Tir Chonaill AC) will both run well. Meanwhile, in the men’s event – Nigel Kane (Unattached), looks to be the most recognisable face and should therefore claim a podium place.
Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend:
Friday 26th August 2016:
• Strangford Festival 10k – Inverbrena Community Centre – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)
• Portrush 5 mile Road Race – Dunluce Road, Portrush – 7.30pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)
Saturday 27th August 2016:
• Killyleagh Half Marathon - Bridge Centre, Killyleagh – 10.30am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)
• Athletics NI Track & Field ‘Team Trophy – Mary Peters Track, Belfast – 10am (Contact Athletics NI for entry information)
Sunday 28th August 2016:
• Armagh City Marathon – The Mall, Armagh – 8am (Entries are NOT available on the day)
• Storming the Castle 10k – Carrickfergus Amphitheatre, Carrickfergus – 2pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)
• Moneymore 10k – Moneymore GAC, Moneymore – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)
Outside Northern Ireland this weekend:
Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc Events (France):
Further afield, today (Friday 26th August 2016) and into tomorrow (Saturday 27th August 2016), a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will be in action at the infamous Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France. The world famous event, which includes four individual races (the OCC, TDS, CCC and UTMB) as well as a team event (PTL) will attract the best long distance runners from across the globe and when you couple this with the incredibly scenic courses, it makes for an epic few days of competition.
The TDS race has already taken place, with experienced endurance athletes Aaron Shimmons (BARF) and Brian Linton (BARF) having completed the 119k route (incorporating 7,250 metres of positive altitude change) in 25:31:25 (256th place) and 29:32:56 (596th place) respectively. The Northern Ireland men were amongst nearly 2,000 competitors to leave Courmayeur (Italy) and make their way to the finish line in Chamonix (France).
In the OCC, which covers 55k and 3,500m of ascent, Mourne Runners athlete Denise Mathers was progressing well as this weekend preview went to press – a summary of Denise’s performance will be included in our event summary; please also check our facebook page for any updates.
The CCC an UTMB races will start today (Friday 26th August 2016). Created in 2006, the CCC (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix) has become as popular as its big sister (45 nationalities represented in 2010), the UTMB. The CCC® is considered by many runners to be "the little one" nevertheless it too, constitutes one of the most difficult challenges in ultra-running.
The CCC® should not be taken lightly; more than one runner has 'burnt' their thighs there. A semi-tour of Mont-Blanc, starting from Courmayeur with 101k and 6,100 metres of positive height gain and in semi-autonomy. Starting in the centre of Courmayeur at 9am will be: Joanne Curran, Mark Malone, Greg McCann, Dawson Stelfox and Donal O’Kane.
Later in the day (Friday 26th August 2016), the UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc; the original Queen of the races!) will take place. The UTMB is a complete tour of the Mont Blanc and passes through three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy, making it a race that every Ultra Trail enthusiast should finish at least once in their life. Le tour of Mont-Blanc, starts from Chamonix and covers 170k with 10,000 metres of positive height gain. Starting in the centre of Chamonix at 5.30pm will be: Dale Mathers, Justin Maxwell, Cathal McGreevy, Ron Peacock, Nicki McPeak, Declan Faulkner, Stephen Wallace, Mark King and Dominic McInerney.
World Masters Mountain Running Championships (Italy):
On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August 2016, a number of mountain runners from Northern Ireland will be in action at the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Susa (Italy).
Up against 700 athletes who have enrolled in the masters races and the associated open race, the local athletes will face tough opposition; to be specific, 27 countries including host’s Italy will be represented.
In the ladies race, which will take place on Saturday and cover 6.5k and include 772m of ascent, the familiar faces include Lagan Valley AC trio Anne Sandford, Shileen O’Kane and Hazel McLaughlin.
The men’s event will follow on Sunday and cover11.03k with 1,442m of ascent and the local athletes hoping for honours will include Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners), Eugene McCann (Newcastle AC) and Peter Bell (Pegasus AC) amongst others.
As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty two 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.
Please be aware that there may be significant delays in the uploading of race results and/or summaries this weekend, this is because our entire team will be dealing with the Rathlin Run 2016 between Thursday 25th August 2016 and Monday 29th August 2016. We would expect to have all summaries, or at least results online by Monday 29th August 2016.
East Antrim Inter-Club Race 2016:
On Tuesday 23rd August 2016, over two hundred athletes turned out for the East Antrim Inter-Club Race, which was held in Cairncastle, just outside Larne.
The annual event brings clubs located within the East Antrim area together and this year saw hosts Larne AC battle it out with Ballymena Runners, East Coast AC, East Antrim Harriers, County Antrim Harriers and Seapark AC for the prestigious team prizes and associated bragging rights.
The race requires men to complete a 5 mile ‘out and back’ course, with six athletes to count in the team standings; meanwhile, the ladies cover a 4 mile ‘out and back’ route, and each team needs four runners to count. Although the main focus of the race is based around the team competition as well as the charitable aspect of the event, there are of course, prizes for the individual winners. Athletes enjoyed much better conditions to the storming conditions they faced twelve months ago, which assisted in creating an excellent atmosphere on the course.
In the men’s race, reigning Champions Ballymena Runners were well represented at the head of the pack during the opening downhill exchange, and with a strong team, they held firm, taking two of the top three spaces. Michael Bennett led the field home in 28:30 (1st place), with club mate Richard Agnew following in 28:45 (2nd place). East Antrim Harriers athlete David Turtle completed the top three in 28:51 (3rd place). In the team standings, Ballymena Runners (1st place) retained their title, with East Antrim Harriers taking 2nd place and East Coast AC in 3rd place.
There was further success for Ballymena Runners in the ladies race, with Paula McAllister putting in a dominant performance to seal victory in 25:51 (1st place). Seapark AC’s ever improving Elisoa Crawford clocked 26:16 for 2nd place, while East Coast AC’s Allyson O’Toole marked her return to competition with a podium place in 27:04 (3rd place).
Individual Podium Places:
Top 3 Men (5 miles): 1st Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) – 28:30, 2nd Richard Agnew (Ballymena Runners) – 28:45, 3rd David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers) – 28:51
Top 3 Ladies (4 miles): 1st Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) – 25:51, 2nd Elisoa Crawford (Seapark AC) – 26:16, 3rd Allyson O’Toole (East Coast AC) – 27:04
Team Competition Podium Places:
Top 3 Men's Teams: 1st Ballymena Runners, 2nd East Antrim Harriers, 3rd East Coast AC
Top 3 Ladies Teams: 1st East Coast AC, 2nd Ballymena Runners, 3rd Larne AC
Dessie's Run 10k 2016:
On Tuesday 23rd August 2016, well over two hundred athletes descended on Gransha Grounds in the Maiden City of Derry/Londonderry for the annual Dessie's Run 10k road race, hosted by City of Derry AC.
The flat and fast course has attracted a plethora of talent over the years, and this year was no different – infact, it was arguably one of the strongest fields ever… enough to see both the male and female course records smashed.
The ever impressive Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), a third place finisher here in 2015, took almost one minute off his time from last year as clocked a new course record of 30:39 for 1st place. Springwell Running Club’s Neil Johnston followed in a new personal best of 32:52 (2nd place), before the host club’s Kyle Doherty (City of Derry AC) crossed the line in 33:11 for 3rd place.
In the ladies race, AAI National Half Marathon medallist Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) once again showed her class as she retained her title in a new course record of 36:32 (1st place). Judi MacAuley also impressed with a 38:59 finish for 2nd place, while Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) completed the top three in 41:08 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 30:39, 2nd Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) – 32:52, 3rd Kyle Doherty (City of Derry AC) – 33:11
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) – 36:32, 2nd Judi MacAuley (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:59, 3rd Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) – 41:08
Full Results: Dessie's Run 10k 2016 Results
GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships 2016 (Ireland):
On Sunday 21st August 2016, a significant number of familiar faces were in action at the GloHealth AAI National Masters Track and Field Championships in Tullamore, Ireland. The prestigious ‘All-Ireland’ event rounded off the summer season for many.
In favourable weather conditions, Northern Ireland based athletes brought home an impressive amount of gold. Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners), Philip Tweedie (Springwell Running Club), Bob Douglas (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Anne Maguire (St Anne’s AC) picked up two gold medals each. Paddy won the hotly contested Vet35 1500m in 4:09.15, and enjoyed a slightly more comfortable win in the 5,000m in 15:08.53. Philip clocked 2:09.25 to win the Vet50 800m and 4:27.57 to win the 1500m.
There were fantastic 100m / 200m double for Anne and Bob – in the Vet65 100m Anne ran 18.04secs for victory, while in the Vet60 100m Bob recorded 13.44secs for top spot. Anne then ran 38.52secs to win over 200m, with Bob covering the distance in 27.98secs.
World and European 800m Masters Champion Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) was again in top form on the National stage – the veteran record holder sealed Vet35 gold in 2:22.54. City of Derry AC’s Declan Reed again showed his class, taking victory in the Vet40 5,000m in 15:27.49. Decorated masters athlete Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City Track Club) added another title to his ever expanding list of honours when he broke the beam first in the Vet45 1500m in 4:27.20. European Masters medallist Denise Toner (Clones AC) topped the Vet35 1500m podium after covering the distance in 4:50.93.
Derry City Track Club duo Robert Bigger and Deirdre Haigney impressed in their respective Vet55 800m and Vet40 400m events, with Robert running 2:29.19 for the win and Deirdre adding to the club’s medal haul in 1:06.22. In the 3,000m event, Cathy McCourt (Unattached) ran well to win in 10:52.28. Springwell Running Club's Gerry O'Doherty added to the local gold medal haul with a win in the Vet60 800m; Gerry recorded 2:31.48 for top spot.
Rio Olympics 2016:
On Sunday 21st August 2016, Northern Ireland men Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC) made their Olympic debuts in Rio, Brazil. Representing Team Ireland alongside Raheny Shamrock AC's Mick Clohisey, the men performed well.
In wet but humid conditions, little separated the training partners, both coached by Andrew Hobdell, as they passed through 10k. Paul clocked 32:21 (124th place) with Kevin following in 32:41 (130th place). However, as the race progressed, Paul began to open a gap, moving through the field at a head-turning rate. At half way, the Hollywood man was in 96th place... then by 30k he was in 74th place - Kevin was also moving well, having working his way up to 98th place at 30k.
In the final stages, Paul continued to pick off the tiring field, before crossing the finish line in 2:16:24 for an excellent 32nd place - this was less than a minute outside Paul's personal best. It was also eighteen seconds quicker than his performance at the IAAF World Championships in 2013, a performance Paul wanted to build on; he certainly achieved this.
Kevin also finished in impressive fashion, despite struggling with illness, he recorded 2:20:06 for 64th place. After the race, the school teacher took to social media, saying "First Olympics done. Bit of illness meant not the performance I wanted, but made it to the finish line in one piece."
Paul and Kevin's team mate, Mick Clohisey battled well to cross the line in 2:26:34 (103rd place). The race was won by Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge in 2:08:44 (1st place). Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia took 2nd place, while Mo Farah's training partner Galen Rupp (USA) claimed 3rd place and the associated bronze medal.
Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon and 10k:
On Saturday 20th August 2016, close to five hundred athletes descended on the stunning Silent Valley and Ben Crom Dam area of the Mourne Mountains for the annual Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon and 10k events. The 13.1 mile race was the final race of the popular Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2016.
It was very much a day of pre-race favourites showing their strength, with Danny McLaughlin (St Malachy’s AC) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) easing to victory in their respective races. In wet and windy conditions, Danny, a winner at Born 2 Run’s Sea 2 Sky 10k, secured victory in 1:19:24 (1st place). Laura followed, slashing seven minutes off her time over the same course in 2015, when she not only won the ladies race, but claimed 2nd place overall in 1:23:30 (1st place).
Larne AC’s David Noble clocked 1:26:16 for 2nd place in the men’s race, with John Robinson (Unattached) completing the tough course in 1:28:58 for 3rd place. North Belfast Harriers’ Martsje Hell took 2nd place in the ladies race in 1:34:59, just twenty one seconds ahead of Catherine Roberts (North Down AC), who ran 1:35:20 for 3rd place.
In the associated 10k event, Dromore AC’s ever improving Stephen O’Gorman followed up several recent podium places with another excellent outing – Stephen claimed 1st place in 35:51. Emerging Mourne Runners athlete Joanne Graham broke the tape first in the ladies race, covering the route in 44:16 (1st place).
Full Results: Dambusters Half Marathon & 10k 2016 Results
Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Race (incorporating NIMRA Youth Team Trial):
On Saturday 20th August 2016, the provinces top mountain runners descended upon the Mourne Mountains for the eighth race of this year’s Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship in Newcastle, County Down.
The Slieve Bearnagh mountain race, which covered approximately 3.8 miles in distance, incorporating 2,680ft of ascent, saw athletes complete a circuit of Slieve Meelmore, Slieve Bearnagh and Slieve Meelbeg, in that order, before finishing at Trassey Road (where they started).
On a day when the weather conditions threatened to dampen spirits, several impressive performances brightened up proceeding. Richard Bell provided the following report on the NIMRA website. Photos by Jayne Bell.
This Saturday saw the annual running of the Bearnagh race. This short course classic starts in Happy Valley taking in the peaks of Meelbeg, Bearnagh and Meelmore before finishing across the stream from where it started; well normally it’s a stream but today it was more of a white water experience. After heavy overnight, and early morning, rain the weather had cleared up a bit for the start. The race took off heading for the peaks shrouded in mist.
As expected Willy McKee and Zak Hanna led the charge with Colly Murtagh sitting somewhere between them and a large group containing Sam Herron, Alex Brennan, Colm Campbell, Deon McNeilly, Thomas Leith, Pete Grant and Richard Bell. Deon led his group over the top of Meelbeg and into the first of the three descents. The run down to the foot of Bearnagh is technical, or in other words rocky, at the best of times, but the overnight rain had made it reasonably treacherous. Some runners were throwing caution to the wind more than others.
Once again Zak, Willy and Colly led the way up Bearnagh. Next onto the mountain was Colm Campbell, followed by Sam and Alex. A short stretch behind Thomas, Pete and myself were doing our best to embrace the steep and, let’s face it, unpleasant climb. Zak was first over the hill followed closely by McKee then Murtagh. In the chasers Sam ‘I love the steep stuff’ pulled away from Alex and Colm.
Everyone else was still slogging there way up. At this point Zak headed for some mythical track which he claims leads you straight to the foot of Meelmore. If I ever see it I will let you all know. It’s safe to say Zak hasn’t seen it either and he went awol in the mist at this point gifting the lead to McKee. In the chasers Grant was running down Bearnagh like he was on the mythical track and was now in touching distance of Campbell and Brennan.
Willy McKee led the race over Meelmore. Judging by times he was nearly at the bottom of it by the time Colly and Sam, 2nd and 3rd respectively, got to the top. Brennan, Campbell and Grant were tussling for the next places. After a superman dive by Campbell on the descent Alex was able to run in for 4th closely followed by Colm then Grant.
In the ladies race Megan Wilson led from start to finish. Shileen reports that at the top of Meelmore Megan had a 20 metre gap. Shileen was chasing hard but unfortunately for Mrs O’Kane, Megan disappeared into the mist. Even after climbing and racing for umpteen years Shileen could not engage her inner sat nav and actually climbed back up the hill to wait for someone who could guide her down. Mari Troeng followed in third place.
Oh... and the much talked about food!
The weather may have been downbeat but once again the Mourne Runner’s put on a good spread in the hillside marquee. All of the team baked and bought the goods, but a special mention should be made for Beverley Herron. Leading up to the event I had talked of making history by demolishing more of Bev’s fine buns than any challenger, but Shileen redeemed herself by coming out the clear winner; of course a man never talks about what a lady eats.
NIMRA Youth Trial (report by Phil Hodge):
Eight hardy young athletes competed in the N.Ireland Youth Mountain Running Trial on Slieve Meelbeg today. They were competing for a place on the team heading to the Junior Home International to be held on the 17th September in Keswick, England.
Starting approximately 10mins after the Senior race from the same location, their course took them up a zig zagged track and out onto the ridge heading for the summit of Meelbeg, a distance of 2.1km with approximately 400m of climbing.
The course was muddy from the previous day’s rain, and covered in a heavy mist, that got progressively thicker as they approached the summit.
Oisin Brennan lead the way, with Scott McKeag close behind. Oisin managed to pull clear as they approached the summit, finishing in a time of 17:44. I am told this would have placed him in the top 5 of the senior race at that point. Scott appeared out of the mist only 33 seconds later, showing he has lost none of the pace from his excellent placing in the World Cup, back in June. Third home was Jack O’Farrell with Ethan Dunn just behind in times of 19:51 and 19:53 respectively. Aaron Harrison completed the top 5 in a time of 20:53.
Under 20 Results:
1. Oisin Brennan - 17:44
2. Scott McKeag - 18:17
3. Ethan Dunn - 19:53
4. Aaron Harrison - 20:53
5. Eoghan Knight - 23:33
Under 17 Results: