Northern Ireland Running

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Paddy Hamilton and Cathy McCourt take top honours at Lough 5:

Nearly 500 runners turn out for final race of 2013:

On Tuesday 31st December 2013 (New Years Eve), nearly five hundred competitors completed the final race of the year, the Lough 5 mile road race, just outside Omagh (County Tyrone).

As soon as the starting gun sounded, a battle between Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders), Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) and Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) ensued, with Paddy and Keith going through the 2 mile marker in 9:35; Gareth followed in 9:40.  In the ladies race, Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), a prize-winner at the recent Greencastle 5 and Castlewellan Christmas Cracker, looked strong as she led Heather Foley (Unattached), Christine Quinn (City of Lisburn AC), Amy Sheppard (Cobra RC) and Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers) across the 2 mile timing mat in 11:17.  

As the race progressed, Paddy Hamilton began to stamp his authority on proceedings; the Annadale Strider’s star, a fifth place finisher at the Dublin Marathon, moved clear and eventually broke the tape in a speedy 25:06.  The ever impressive Keith Shiels followed in 26:05 (2nd place), before Gareth Hill completed the men's podium in 26:16 (3rd place).

Cathy McCourt and Heather Foley finished close to each other at both the Greencastle 5 and the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker (where they were part of two person teams in the 'mixed' category) and it was a similar situation here, with Cathy taking top honours in 30:15 (1st place) and Heather finishing less than thirty seconds later in 30:44 (2nd place).  In a brilliant race for the third place, Christine Quinn (33:39) pipped Amy Sheppard (4th place – 33:46) to the finish line.

Top 3 Men:  1st Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders) – 25:06, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 26:05, 3rd Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 26:16

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 30:15, 2nd Heather Foley (Unattached) – 30:44, 3rd Christine Quinn (City of Lisburn AC) – 33:39

Full Results:  Lough 5m Road Race 2013 Results

Chris Denton and Gillian Cordner win East Antrim 26.2m Series event:

Athletes enjoy inaugural East Antrim Marathon Series event:

On New Years Eve, Tuesday 31st December 2013, eighteen hardy marathon specialists took on the inaugural East Antrim Marathon Series 26.2 mile event, which started and finished at Loughshore Park, Jordanstown, County Antrim.

In very wet conditions, the athletes set off on the 'out and back' course, which saw them cover the coastal route between Jordanstown and Cultra Yacht Club, close to Holywood, County Down.  In the end, it was respected marathon pacer Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) who claimed victory.  Accompanied by the lead cyclist/marshall, Chris cruised along the final stretch towards the finish line, which he crossed in 3:16:53 (1st place).   

St Peter's AC athlete, Barry Shanks, followed closely, taking 2nd place in 3:18:25, before Ali Shaw (3:20:30) made sure that Springwell Running Club dominated the podium, after claiming 3rd place.  Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), showed little sign of tiredness, having completed a marathon last Saturday (28th December 2013) as she covered the distance in 3:47:08 (1st place); this secured seventh place overall and top spot in the ladies category, for the talented Carrickfergus lady.  

Top 3 Men:  1st Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) – 3:16:53, 2nd Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC) – 3:18:25, 3rd Ali Shaw (Springwell Running Club) – 3:20:30

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 3:47:08 *There were no other female finishers*

Full Results:  East Antrim Marathon Series (Race 1) 2013 Results

Record numbers enjoy Newcastle AC's Castlewellan Christmas Cracker:

Castlewellan Christmas Cracker 2013:

On Saturday 28th December 2013, Newcastle AC welcomed a record number of athletes to their increasingly popular and well organised Castlewellan Christmas Cracker in County Down, which interestingly, celebrated it's 30th anniversary this year. 

After the fast downhill start, Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) took up a position at the head of the large lead group, which also included David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Russell White (Dromore AC) – Andrew Christie (Corstorphine AC), Paul Carlin (Newcastle AC) – Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) – Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers), Dennis Scott (North Down AC) – James Budde (North Down AC) and Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – David Steele (Newcastle AC) amongst others.

In the end, it was Gary O'Hanlon and Brian McCluskey, runners up last year (2012), who claimed victory.  The strong running pair covered the 8.5m course in 50:47 (1st place) to win.  England based Dromore AC star Russell White and his partner Andrew Christie, claimed 2nd place in 51:07, before talented local men David O'Flaherty and David McNeilly secured 3rd place in 52:27.

Arguably the performance of the day came from the 'mixed' pairing of Gladys Ganiel O'Neill and Andrew Annett; after taking sixth place overall, the Ireland international duo sealed top spot in the their category after finishing in 53:32.  Jim Benson and Greencastle 5 runner up Cathy McCourt, took 2nd place in 57:14, while another pair who ran well in Greencastle, Desi and Heather Foley completed the course in 57:29 (3rd place).

Pre-race category favourites, Amanda Perry and Denise Logue ran out comfortable winners in the ladies category.  The impressive pair broke the tape in 1:04:17.  Patricia and Cora McKibbin took 2nd place in 1:08:49, just ahead of ultra-runner Joanne Curren and her partner Jenny Graydon-Black, who crossed the line in 1:09:06.

Top 3 Male Teams:  1st Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) – 50:47, 2nd Russell White (Dromore AC) and Andrew Christie (Costorphine AC) – 51:07, 3rd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 52:27

Top 3 Ladies Teams:  1st Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 1:04:17, 2nd Patricia McKibbin (Unattached) and Cora McKibbin (Unattached) – 1:08:49, 3rd Joanne Curran (BARF) and Jenny Graydon-Black (BARF) – 1:09:06

Top 3 Mixed Teams:  1st Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) and Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) – 53:32, 2nd Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers) and Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 57:14, 3rd Desi Foley (Unattached) and Heather Foley (Unattached) – 57:29

Full Results:  Castlewellan Christmas Cracker 2013 Results (Some photo's from the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker 2013, by Colm McMullan, are available HERE)

Special Preview:  Castlewellan Christmas Cracker 2013:

Castlewellan Christmas Cracker 2013:

After a busy Boxing Day of racing, attention now turns to one of the most popular events of the year, the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker, hosted by Newcastle AC in Castlewellan, County Down.  

The race, which takes place tomorrow (Saturday 28th December 2013), attracts hundreds of teams every year.  The unique event has an interesting stipulation, which requires athletes to 'pair up' with another runner and both members of the two person team must cross the finish line together.  Some teams may adopt the ‘run the whole race together’ tactic, while others have been known to use the less popular but still effective – ‘You run ahead and I’ll catch up towards the end’ tactic. 

East Down AC pair Brendan Teer and Liam Venney should return to attempt a hat-trick of wins at the event, having been victorious in 2011 and 2012. Brendan has been in unstoppable form throughout 2013, while Liam seems to race more sparingly; however, he (Liam)  is always in top form whenever he turns out. Other contenders for the overall prize will include, Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – David Steele (Newcastle AC), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Dennis Scott (North Down AC) – James Budde (North Down AC), James Brown (East Coast AC) – Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) and the North Belfast Harriers' 'mixed' pair of Martin Rea and Gladys Ganiel O'Neill, who finished in fifth place overall last year, and therefore claimed the top 'mixed' team prize.

Other notable 'mixed' pairs, who will be aiming for category prizes include, Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers), Desi Foley (Unattached) – Heather Foley (Unattached), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – Eamonn McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners) – Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Eric Montgomery (Lagan Valley AC) – Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC), James Trainor (DUB Runners) – Meave Lavery (DUB Runners) and Sammy Drummond (Larne AC) - Rhonda Brady (Larne AC).

In the men's category, the Ballymena Runners pairing of Alex Brennan - Emmet McAllister and Pawel Lapinski – Paul Wallace, will finish well up in the M70-79 category, while Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC) - Audey McVeigh (Newcastle AC) and Nat Glenn (East Coast AC) - Greg Lavery (East Coast AC) will battle it out with two strong Larne AC team's, Bryan Magee - Andy Gregg and Phelim McAllister – Bernard Brady in the M80-89 race.  Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) will team up in the M90-99 category and should be amongst the top finishers, as will Andy Guy (East Coast AC) – Davy Clarke (East Coast AC).

The ladies race looks to be a close contest, but Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) look to be the pre-race favourites, barring any on the day entries.  Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) - Taryn McCoy (BARF), Catherine Roberts (North Down AC) – Valerie McDonough (North Down AC) and Joanne Curran (BARF) – Jenny Graydon-Black (Unattached) will be hoping for top finishes in the W80-89 category. Meanwhile, in the W100-109 race, Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) – Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) will prove hard to beat.  Sisters, Bernadette and Trisha Campbell (both of East Coast AC) should also perform well in the Under 70 category; however, the strong North Down AC pairing of Jessica Craig and Melissa Eccles are regulars at this event, and will contest the prize should they enter on the day.

Other teams to look out for on the day include, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – Paul Carlin (Newcastle AC), Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) – Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners), Lee Maginnis (Newry AC) – Aine Fegan (Newry City Runners), Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – Andrew Atcheson (North Down AC), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) – Mark Shields (North Belfast Harriers), Sarah Benton (North Down AC) – Jill Aicken (North Down AC), Heather Stanex (Ballydrain Harriers) – Rosie Earney (Ballydrain Harriers), Andrew Muir (North Down AC) – Ben Caughers (North Down AC), Brendan Quail (Newcastle AC) – John Kelly (Newcastle AC) as well as numerous, fancy dress wearing Orangegrove AC teams.

After the race, participants will be treated to plentiful refreshments back at the Castlewellan GAC Club House; please remember, entry is also available on the day, with registration available at the aformentioned Club House from 11.30am.  Newcastle AC have also produced an interesting race preview, which is available HERE.

Joe McAlister and Ann-Marie McGlynn take top honours at FVAC 5k:

Northern Ireland based duo impress in County Donegal:

On Thursday 26th December 2013, nearly seven hundred athletes turned out for the Finn Valley AC 'St Stephen's Day' 5k in County Donegal, Ireland; an event that has been running for an impressive forty two years.

It was a day of outstanding performances by Northern Ireland based runners, with local athletes claiming top honours in both the male and female categories.  In the men's race, Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) looked strong as he secured victory in 15:09 (1st place), showing that he has put his summer injury niggles behind him.  James Speight (Finn Valley AC) just missed a podium spot, taking 5th place in 15:57, finishing just ahead of City of Derry AC's Gary Slevin, who crossed the line just two seconds later in 15:59 (6th place). Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC) followed in 16:03 (7th place), before another City of Derry AC man, Aaron Doherty (10th place – 16:26), secured a top ten finish.  Paul McCafferty (City of Derry AC) also ran well, recording 16:51 (18th place) for the distance.

Strabane based athlete, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) completed what has been an outstanding 2013, with another notable outing.  Having recently impressed at the AAI Inter-County XC Championships and represented Ireland at the European XC Championships in Serbia, Ann-Marie continued the same form to lead the ladies home in 17:17 (1st place).  City of Derry AC youngster, Zach McGowan crossed the line in 18:29 (37th place), while Northern Ireland XC international, Helen Stockdale ran a massive new personal best of 18:35, to secure 2nd place in the ladies category.  Hannah McGowan (City of Derry AC), also produced a top performance, claiming a top ten finish in the ladies race after running 21:17 (7th place lady).

Full Results:  Finn Valley AC 5k 2013 Results (Photograph taken from Finn Valley AC website)

Devine, Alexander, Wood and Fitzpatrick win at Burren AC event:

Nearly 100 runners turn out for annual Burren Townlands event:

On Thursday 26th December 2013, Burren AC hosted their annual Burren Townlands Run.  The event usually offers participants a choice of either a 6 mile route, or a 12 mile route.  However, due to icy conditions, the 12 mile route was revised and set at 10 miles.

Scotland based athlete, Christopher Devine (Garscube Harriers) was victorious in the 10 mile event, leading the field home in 1:00:41 (1st place).  NI & Ulster NIMAA 10k medallist, Nigel Grier (Dromore AC) claimed 2nd place in 1:01:35, before Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) continued what has been an excellent year, with another podium finish; Alan crossed the line in 1:02:39 (3rd place).

The ever impressive Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), who has won no less than twelve races this year, secured victory in the ladies race in 1:05:40 (1st place); this was a notable fifth place finish overall.  Club Pulse AC athlete Linda Meehan ran well and was rewarded with the runners up spot, after recording 1:14:41 (2nd place) for the distance.  Local lady, Deirdre Dunford (Burren AC) also looked good as she finished in 1:20:22, thus taking 3rd place.

In the 6 mile race, talented runner and triathlete, Phil Wood (Invictus Triathlon Club), broke the tape in 33:45 (1st place) to win comfortably.  Armagh AC's Malachy McAteer followed in 35:32 (2nd place), while Rory Mulvanney (Unattached) completed the men's podium in 36:46 (3rd place).  Up and coming Beechmount Harriers star, Lorna Fitzpatrick retained the 6 mile title she won so impressively last year; on this occasion, Lorna completed the course in 38:30, just two seconds outside the course record (38:28) she set in 2012.  Laura Devine (Garscube Harriers) claimed 2nd place in 39:56, before Lagan Valley AC's Emma Laverty clocked 41:05 for 3rd place.

Podium Places: 10 mile Race -

Top 3 Men:  1st Christopher Devine (Garscube Harriers) – 1:00:41, 2nd Nigel Grier (Dromore AC) – 1:01:35, 3rd Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) – 1:02:39

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:05:40, 2nd Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC) – 1:14:41, 3rd Deirdre Dunford (Burren AC) – 1:20:22

Podium Places: 6 mile Race

Top 3 Men:  1st Phil Wood (Invictous Triathlon Club) – 33:45, 2nd Malachy McAteer (Armagh AC) – 35:32, 3rd Rory Mulvanney (Unattached) – 36:46

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Lorna Fitzpatrick (Beechmount Harriers) – 38:30, 2nd Laura Devine (Garscube Harriers) – 39:56, 3rd Emma Laverty (Lagan Valley AC) – 41:05

Results:  Burren Townlands Run 2013 Results

Stephen Scullion and Maria McCambridge retain Greencastle 5 titles:

Athletes enjoy 28th annual Greencastle 5 road race:

On Thursday 26th December 2013, nearly eight hundred runners turned out for the 28th annual running of the prestigious and well-organised Greencastle 5 mile road race in County Tyrone.  The rural, scenic course was set in the foothills of the snow covered Sperrin Mountains and saw competitors complete one loop of a fairly fast course, aside from the the much talked about final climb/hill.

In excellent running conditions, Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), John Lenahan (City of Derry AC) and Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) lived up to their pre-race billing of possible front runners, with all five playing a major part in proceedings.  However, it was Ireland international and AAI National 10k Champion, Stephen Scullion who impressed most.  

The London based star, led from start to finish; he passed through the three mile marker in 14:41, with Keith Shiels and Conan McCaughey in pursuit.  Despite their efforts, neither Keith nor Conan could catch Stephen, who continued his relentless pace to break the tape in 25:09 (1st place), thus retaining his title from 2012.  Keith Shiels followed just over a minute later, in 26:10 (2nd place), while recently crowned NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion Conan McCaughey claimed 3rd place in 26:40.

In the ladies race, well-respected Irish Olympian Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC) showed her class.  The AAI National Marathon Champion looked comfortable as she led the ladies through three miles, before securing her sixth victory at this event in 28:25; just seven seconds outside her course record (28:18), which she set in 2012.  Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) and Heather Foley (Unattached) enjoyed an excellent dual, but it was Cathy who took control in the latter stage to secure 2nd place in 30:21; Heather Foley followed just seven seconds later in 30:28 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) – 25:09, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 26:10, 3rd Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) – 26:40

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC) – 28:25, 2nd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 30:21, 3rd Heather Foley (Unattached) – 30:28 

Full Results:  Greencastle 5m Road Race 2013 Results 

Please Note:  Please check out our race review and photo's from the Greencastle 5m Road Race 2013, these are available within the 'Race Review' and 'Photo Gallery' sections of our website.

Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) wins Cavan 5k:

Northern Ireland man impresses in Ireland:

On Thursday 26th December 2013, Northern Ireland man Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) produced an excellent performance to win the Cavan 5k in Ireland.  The annual event , held in Cavan Town (Ireland), attracted in excess of five hundred runners, but it was the Annadale Stiders man who stole the headlines, leading the field home in a massive new personal best of 14:52

Full Results:  Cavan 5k 2013 Results

Jonny Steede and Megan Wilson win BARF 'Turkey Trot' 2013:

BARF host traditional 'Turkey Trot':

On Thursday 26th December 2013, mountain running enthusiasts from across the province braved icy conditions to take part in the annual BARF 'Turkey Trot', a popular 5.7m race (which includes 435m of ascending), which takes place in the Mourne Mountains on Boxing Day each year.

In the men's race, Ballymena Runners star Jonny Steede made it two wins in less than a week; having won the Slemish Mountain Challenge last Saturday (21st December 2013), the accomplished mountain and ultra-runner, claimed an impressive victory, covering the the distance in 46:11.  The ever consistent Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) followed in 46:36 (2nd place), before North Belfast Harriers' Neil Carty claimed 3rd place in 47:12.

Young East Down AC lady, Megan Wilson, was the star of the show in the ladies category.  The Cambridge University student, who led her University to victory over fierce rivals Oxford University, in a 5,000m challenge last Summer (after she won in 18:56.58), cruised to victory in 58:06.  Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) bettered her third place finish last year, taking the runners up prize in 1:03:31 (2nd place).  Poppy De Courcy-Wheeler (Not the Sunday Run AC) completed the ladies top three in 1:04:05 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 46:11, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 46:36, 3rd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 47:12

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Megan Wilson (East Down AC) – 58:06, 2nd Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 1:03:31, 3rd Poppy De Courcy-Wheeler (Not the Sunday Run AC) – 1:04:05

Full Results:  BARF Turkey Trot 2013 Results

Special Christmas Preview:  Plenty of choice for NI runners on Boxing Day!

Greencastle 5 takes centre stage on Boxing Day:

As Christmas approaches, running enthusiasts across the province will be looking forward to the plethora of events on offer during the festive period; with at least four races, in Greencastle (County Tyrone), Burren (County Down), Newcastle (County Down) and Belfast (County Antrim), listed for Boxing Day (Thursday 26th December 2013), there is no shortage of choice!  

Our (NiRunning) featured race for Boxing Day is the prestigious Greencastle 5 mile road race in County Tyrone, an event that has attracted some of Northern Ireland's top athletes in the past.  This year will see the 28th annual running of the well-organised event, and organisers are hopeful that the extremely generous prize fund, coupled with the tradition of the race, will attract record numbers.

Last years winner, Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), should return to defend his title.  The AAI National 10k Champion, who recently represented Ireland at the European Cross Country Championships in Serbia, has produced some outstanding performances this year.  This includes wins at the Fingal 10k, Omagh Half Marathon, Laganside 10k, Belfast City Half Marathon and an excellent 5k personal best of 13:58.55 at a BMC track meet in Sports City, Manchester (England).

Stephen could well be joined on the start line by the likes of Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders), Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Stephen Kerr (Armagh AC), Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) and Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers).  Paddy Hamilton recorded a brilliant 2:23:37 to take fifth place at the Dublin Marathon in October 2013, this was his first ever attempt at the 26.2m distance.  The respected physiotherapist then showed no signs of fatigue as he claimed a silver medal at the Athletics NI 10k (Road) Championships (at the Seeley Cup) approximately one month later, after crossing the line in a speedy 30:39.   Keith Shiels has been one of the country's top performers in 2013, winning at least eighteen races!  However, arguably his best performance was a a third place finish and Half Marathon personal best (1:09:32) at the Athletics NI Half Marathon Championships at the Ards Half Marathon, where he also collected a bronze medal.   On top of this personal best, the Foyle Valley AC man has recorded four other personal bests this term, over 3,000m (8:47.82), 5k (15:11), 5m (25:21) and 10k (30:59).

USA based Northern Ireland star, Stephen Kerr (Armagh AC), has been in impressive form for his University (McNeese State); the Ireland international, also claimed a top ten spot and a 10k personal best of 31:29 at the Seeley Cup, taking over two minutes off his 10k time from the Craigavon Lakes (10k) in June 2013.  Stephen will go into this race high in confidence, as will recently crowned NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion Conan McCaughey.  Conan, a 'blogger' for NiRunning, has clocked 26:53 for 5 miles this year, over a tough course at the Altamuskin 5, and is therefore capable of a much quicker time on a faster course.  His most recent outing, at the Scottish (East District) XC Championships, where he finished in the top ten, shows that he is still running well.  Omagh Harriers' Paul Barbour is another man to watch; he has picked up the top prize at the Strabane 10k, Dromore 10k and Killyclogher 10k in recent months, as well as wacking five minutes off his Half Marathon personal best when crossing the line in 1:13:33 at the Omagh Half Marathon back in March 2013.  

AAI (Athletics Ireland) Vet55 10k record holder, Dermot Kerr (Armagh AC) will also be amongst the top finishers, as will John Lenahan (City of Derry AC), Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) and Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners).  Meanwhile, Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers) and Michael McKeown (East Down AC) should be in contention for category prizes.

In the ladies race, Irish Olympic hero and five time winner of the event, Maria McCambridge (DSD AC) should start.  Maria, who won in a new ladies course record of 28:18 last year (2012), will prove difficult to beat, especially considering her excellent performance at the Dublin Marathon in October 2013, where she claimed the AAI National Marathon title in 2:38:53.  Armagh AC's USA based star, Fionnuala Ross, a sub three hour marathoner, and winner of the Seeley Cup 10k last month, may also toe the line and will be one of the main contenders if she does.  One local lady who will not be daunted by the task of taking on an Olympian is Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC); the up and coming star, who won a bronze medal at the Athletics NI Cross Country Championships early in 2013, has produced notable runs at the McAndrew Relay's (Scotland), the Bobby Rea XC in Rostrevor, and the Adidas Armagh 10 mile road race in the last few months.  

Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) and Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) will also play a major part at the front if they race; both ladies won a number of medals at the NI & Ulster Track and Field Championships at the Mary Peters Track in the Summer.  Helen also won the County Donegal Novice XC title, adding to a win at the Donegal 5k road race and numerous age category wins throughout the year.  Over and above the aforementioned medals on the track, Julie Butler has enjoyed podium places at the Dromore 10k, Strabane 10k, Killyclogher 10k and Drumragh 10k.  Other ladies who will be aiming for high finishes will include the likes of Cheryl Cardwell (Sperrin Harriers), Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club) and talented Omagh Harriers sisters, Sara and Toni Moore.

Online entry is still available at; however, entries will also be available on the day at the Greencastle Community Centre (County Tyrone).  NiRunning will be covering this event and will be providing updates (phone signal permitting) and photographs.

Also on Thursday 26th December 2013, Burren Athletic Club will host their annual Burren Townlands Run, which will include a 6 mile race and a 12 mile race.  The event, which will take place close to Warrenpoint (County Down), should attract several well-known local athletes, this could well include Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC) and Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners).  The race starts at 10.30am and entries will be available on the day.

In Belfast (County Antrim), CIYMS will host a 5 mile road race on Thursday 26th December 2013. Proceedings will kick off at 12pm at the CIYMS Sports Club (Circular Road, Belfast – Just off the Hollywood Road, Belfast) and there will be refreshments and entertainment afterwards.  A minimum donation of £3 per person is required, with all proceeds going to Charity.

Mountain runners will also be catered for, with the annual BARF 'Turkey Trot' taking place on Thursday 26th December 2013.  The traditional event, which covers 5.7m (and 435m of ascending), starts at 12pm (at the bottom of the Trassey Track) and will feature some of Northern Ireland's most respected mountain runners, including Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners), Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), Emmet McAlister (Ballymena Runners), Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) and Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC).

NiRunning would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.  We would also like to express a massive thank you for all of your support and kind words throughout 2013, it has been a fantastic year, both for us, and also for running in Northern Ireland.  

We plan to operate as normal over the Christmas period (apart from Christmas Day) and plan to provide summaries for all of the Boxing Day races that we receive information for, we will also be uploading a 'Special Preview' in relation to the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker (which takes place on Saturday 28th December 2013).

Allan Bogle and Gladys O'Neill take top honours at North West XC:

City of Derry AC host final Athletics NI Cross Country event of 2013:

On Saturday 21st December 2013, City of Derry AC hosted the fifth race of the Athletics NI XC League 2013/14, the North West XC, at Gransha Grounds, Derry/Londonderry.

The men's race was an exciting affair, with Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), Alan O'Hara (North Belfast Harriers), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Chris McGuiness (Foyle Valley AC), Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) and John Lenahan (City of Derry AC) all looking in good form throughout.  However, it was Allan Bogle, a man who has enjoyed an excellent 2013, who eventually celebrated victory.  The orienteering expert and international mountain runner covered the 6k course in 19:27 (1st place), beating Scott Rankin (2nd place – 19:30) by a mere three seconds. In a very close finish, Alan O'Hara (3rd place - 19:35) just pipped Chris McGuiness (4th place – 19:36) to the final podium place.

The ladies race wasn't quite so close, but an excellent race none-the-less.  North Belfast Harriers' Commonwealth Games qualifier, Gladys Ganiel O'Neill, winner of the last XC event in the North West, the Springwell XC, showed her class to secure victory in 21:31 (1st place).  Lauren Quee (Unattached), a young lady with huge potential, who was recently crowned Scottish Universities XC Champion, followed in 22:19 (2nd place), before long-standing North Belfast Harriers athlete Mary Meade, returned to competition to take 3rd place in 22:54.  In the team standings, City of Derry AC continued their impressive start to the XC League, winning both the male and female team prizes.

Top 3 Men:  1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 19:27, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 19:30, 3rd Alan O'Hara (North Belfast Harriers) – 19:35

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) – 21:31, 2nd Lauren Quee (Unattached) – 22:19, 3rd Mary Meade (North Belfast Harriers) – 22:54

Full Results:  North West XC 2013 Results

The Athletics NI XC League 2013/14 will return on Saturday 4th January 2014, with the much anticipated IAAF Antrim XC.  Entries for this event will close on Monday 23rd December 2013 (9am). 

Stuart Paulin and Karen Alexander claim 'Run Forest Run' titles:

Over 300 runners turn out for Born 2 Run Tollymore 10k:

On Saturday 21st December 2013, well over three hundred runners took part in the Run Forest Run 10k, organised by events management company Born 2 Run, in Tollymore Forest, just outside Newcastle, County Down.

In cold, wintry conditions, it was Stuart Paulin (Unattached) who impressed most.  Stuart, a regular top ten finisher in local trail races, led the large field home in 37:33 (1st place).  East Down AC's Michael Cultra, who covered in excess of one hundred miles at the Energia 24 hour race in the Summer of 2013, claimed the runners up prize in 38:12 (2nd place); Unattached athlete, Steven Liggett secured 3rd place in 38:41.

Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) produced one of the day's top performances, finishing in ninth place overall, and sealing the ladies title in 40:05 (1st place). Previous 'Mill Hill Mile' winner, Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham AC) announced her return home with an excellent outing; Joanne crossed the line in 44:17 (2nd place), before Virgina Ervine (Mourne Runners) recorded 45:57 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Stuart Paulin (Unattached) – 37:33, 2nd Michael Cultra (East Down AC) – 38:12, 3rd Steven Liggett (Unattached) – 38:41

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 40:05, 2nd Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham AC) – 44:17, 3rd Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) – 45:57

Full Results:  Born 2 Run 'Run Forest Run' 10k (Tollymore Forest) 2013 Results (These are PROVISIONAL results)

Jonny Steede and Shileen O'Kane win Slemish Mountain Challenge:

Athletes enjoy worthwhile charity event:

On Saturday 21st December 2013, mountain running enthusiasts braved wintry conditions as they took on the 2nd annual running of the increasingly popular Slemish Mountain Race, a charity event hosted by Ballymena Runners.  

The 3 mile course (with approximately 1,500ft of climbing) requires runners to ascend and descend the well-known mountain in County Antrim and it was local man Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) who claimed the headlines.  Jonny covered the tough course in a speedy 29:31 (1st place), thus taking the top prize.  Fellow Ballymena Runners member, Jonathon McCloy, followed in 30:04 (2nd place), before Stephen Kennedy (East Coast AC) completed the men's podium in 31:43 (3rd place).

Lagan Valley AC ladies, Shileen O'Kane, Anne Sandford and Hazel McLaughlin made up the ladies top three last year and the popular trio were once again amongst the prizes, only in a different order.  Shileen held onto her title from 2012, winning in 34:19 (1st place), while Hazel McLaughlin (39:20) bettered her third place finish last year, taking 2nd place on this occasion; Anne sealed 3rd place in 41:50.  After the successful race, which raised in excess of £335 for Pancreatic Cancer UK, participants enjoyed plentiful refreshments.

Top 3 Men:  1st Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 29:31, 2nd Jonathon McCloy (Ballymena Runners) – 30:04, 3rd Stephen Kennedy (East Coast AC) – 31:43

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 34:19, 2nd Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 39:20, 3rd Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) – 41:50

Full Results:  Slemish Mountain Race 2013 Results

NI athletes claim medals at AAI Cross Country Championships:

Northern Ireland well represented at AAI Uneven & Novice XC Championships:

On Sunday 15th December 2013, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes travelled to Waterford (Ireland) for the Woodies DIY AAI Novice & Uneven Age Group Cross Country Championships, with many putting in notable performances.

In the Junior races, Beechmount Harriers star Christy Conlon followed up the AAI Under 16 title he claimed in Santry (Dublin) last month (November 2013), with another gold medal.  The talented youngster led the Under 15 field home in their 3,500m race, securing another AAI National title.  He was followed by St Malachy's AC athlete Eoin McCann, who took 2nd place and the associated silver medal.  In the same race, the Omagh Harriers team of Sean Corry, Eoin Bradley, Cathoir Donnelly, Michael Mullan and Jacob Curry claimed gold medals in the team competition.  Not to be outdone, the Omagh Harriers Under 15 girls team of Niamh Heaney, Enya Haigney, Caelainn McQuaid, Morgan Owens and Aoibh Haigney also picked up medals, after taking 3rd place in their 3,000m race.  The Under 15 girls race was won by West Muskerry AC's Caoimhe Harrington, with Inbhear Dee AC claiming victory in the team event.  

Omagh Harriers added further silverware to their already impressive haul in the Under 17 4,000m race, when Alish Flanagan, Edel Monaghan, Toni Moore and Roisin Flanagan all 'packed' well to achieve silver medals after finishing in 2nd place.  In the same race, which was won by Siobhra O'Flaherty (St Leo's AC), City of Lisburn AC's Zoe Carruthers narrowly missed a podium spot after taking 5th place.  DSD AC won the Under 17 girls team title.  Please Note – Their are no times available for any of the Junior races.  

In the Senior races, Northern Ireland was once again well represented, with Foyle Valley AC, Armagh AC and St Malachy's AC amongst those fielding athletes.  Ireland international XC runner, Stephen Kerr (Armagh AC) produced an excellent display, but just missed a medal after completing the tough, hilly 6,000m course in 19:49 (4th place).  Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) followed in 20:47 (26th place), before Foyle Valley AC's Scott Rankin (20:54) and St Malachys AC's Connor Gallager (20:55) finished just one second apart in 30th place and 31st place respectively.  Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) was the next familiar face to cross the line in 21:04 (38th place), with Mourne Runners' Andrew Annett just behind in 21:15 (50th place).  Foyle Valley AC pair Adrian McGowan and Steven Connor both ran well, with Adrian recording 21:23 (59th place) and Steven 21:53 (83rd place).  Armagh AC's Leroy Brady (147th place – 23:07) and Maxi Walmsley (159th place – 23:23) were next home, before three more purple vested Foyle Valley AC athletes, Dara McNulty (160th place – 23:28), Declan Doherty (170th place – 23:47) and Ciaran Graham (195th place – 24:28) completed the Northern Ireland contingent.  The men's race was won by Clonmel AC's Sean Tobin in 19:23.  In the team competition, which was won by Donore Harriers, Foyle Valley AC claimed 6th place.

In the ladies 4,000m event; Armagh AC's Danielle Fegan, winner of the Athletics NI XC League event in Kilbroney Park recently (October 2013), led the NI based athletes home in 15:38, securing a very credible 6th place.  Recent NI & Ulster Novice XC gold medallist, Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) followed in 16:49 (33rd place), while her club mate Martina McMullan finished just behind in 17:02 (43rd place).  Charlene McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) clocked 17:31 (62nd place), before fellow Foyle Valley AC athletes Denise McElhone (18:32) and Deirdre Quigg (18:34) nipped inside the top 100 finishers, taking 99th place and 100th place respectively.  Trish McClintock (Foyle Valley AC) also put in a strong performance, completing the distance in 19:41 (108th place).  The ladies race was won by Michelle McGee (Bothers Pearse AC) in 14:48.  At present, there are no team results available for the ladies race.

Full Results:  Woodies DIY AAI Novice & Uneven Age Group Cross Country Championships 2013 Results (Photograph used above taken from Athletics Ireland website)

Conor Bradley claims personal best and podium finish at Telford 10k!

City of Derry Spartan continues to impress on the roads:

On Sunday 15th December 2013, City of Derry AC athlete Conor Bradley produced a top class performance at the Telford 10k in England.  In what was only his second ever 10k road race, the Spartan, who impressed recently with a win at the Seeley Cup 10k in Belfast, hit new heights by breaking the illustrious 30 minute barrier for 10k. 

Conor was part of a large lead group who went through 5k in 14:58, before respected Liverpool Harriers athlete Jonny Mellor, a previous podium finisher at the Armagh International Road Race, made the break for the win, which he ultimately claimed in 29:37. Despite some slippery underfoot conditions and several sharp turns, Northern Ireland based man, Conor, held on brilliantly to record a new personal best of 29:52, this was enough to secure 2nd place.  It also meant a 14:54 second half split and some huge 'scalps' for good measure.  

Full Results:  Telford 10k 2013 Results (Information courtesy of City of Derry AC)

Mark McKinstry and Karen Alexander win Sperrin Harriers trail race:

Mark McKinstry takes top honours, while host club dominate podium places:

On Saturday 14th December 2013, Sperrin Harriers welcomed nearly one hundred athletes to the second race of their 2013/14 Winter Trail Series; on this occasion, the venue was Lough Fea, close to Cookstown, and the competitors covered a 5k course.

In the men's race, it was North Belfast Harriers' Mark McKinstry, one of the fastest improving athletes of the year, who claimed top honours.  The Dambusters 10k winner, who also impressed throughout the East Antrim Harriers Trail Series, broke the tape in 17:29 (1st place) to win.  Another man who has improved throughout 2013, Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers), followed closely in 17:43 (2nd place), before Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) completed the podium finishers in 18:07 (3rd place).

The host club, Sperrin Harriers, dominated the ladies category, taking all of the major places; Karen Alexander cruised to victory in 19:31 (1st place), with Nuala Kelly, a third place finisher in Race 1 (at Davagh Forest), securing 2nd place in 20:49.  Another Sperrin Harriers lady, Jacqueline Mulligan crossed the line in 21:35 (3rd place) to ensure a clean sweep for the local club. 

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 17:29, 2nd Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers) – 17:43, 3rd Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) – 18:07

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 19:31, 2nd Nuala Kelly (Sperrin Harriers) – 20:49, 3rd Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) – 21:35

Full Results:  Sperrin Harriers Winter Trail Series 2013/14 (Race 2) Results

Northern Ireland runners compete in Spain and Ireland:

Northern Ireland well represented in Spain and Ireland:

Last weekend (Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December 2013), a number of local athletes were in action outside Northern Ireland, at events in Malaga (Spain), Benidorm (Spain) and Clonakilty (Ireland).

In Malaga (Spain), North Belfast Harriers man Gerry Gribbon took on the Malaga Marathon; accompanied by in excess of two thousand fellow athletes, Gerry set off on the scenic 26.2m route, which started and finished at the Port of Malaga. Despite the warm conditions, the Harriers man clocked a superb eight minute personal best of 3:00:56.

Also in Spain; relations, Richard Hand (Dromore AC) and Mark McFeeters (Orangegrove AC) completed the Benidorm Half Marathon whilst enjoying a family break away.  Over one thousand five hundred runners participated in the well-organised event, which started and finished in the Town Square and took competitors on an excellent, fairly flat route, which incorporated a well supported section in the 'Old Town', before finishing with a pleasant three mile stretch along the promenade.  Mark claimed the bragging rights with a 1:37:04 finish, with Richard following in 1:50:43.

A little closer to home, at least eight Northern Ireland based athletes travelled to Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon in West Cork (Ireland), an event that is always well supported by Northern Ireland runners.  Experienced marathon runner, Michael McKeown (East Down AC), was the first familiar face into the finish, recording 3:25:32 (54th place) for the distance.  Respected event pacer, Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) led a group of runner home in 3:29:16 (66th place), before his North Belfast Harriers club mate Gerard McNamara crossed the line in 3:38:33 (99th place).  Eugene Winters (Unattached) just dipped under the four hour mark in 3:59:21 (197th place), while Seapark AC trio Bobby Irvine (210th place – 4:04:37), Gary Connolly (211th place – 4:04:38) and Gillian Cordner (22nd place lady – 4:04:38) all finished together.  North Belfast Harriers' Jim Clinton also ran well, covering the course in 4:15:40 (250th place).  The men's race was won by regular NI visitor Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) in 2:46:06, while Scotland based athlete Joasia Zakrzewski (Dumfries Harriers) took the ladies title in 2:48:41. 

Full Results:  Malaga Marathon 2013 Results – Benidorm Half Marathon 2013 Results  (Currently Unavailable) – Clonakilty Marathon 2013 Results

Andy Vernon set for IAAF Antrim XC event in January 2014:

Athletics NI announce several big additions to Antrim XC line-up:

Athletics Northern Ireland has confirmed that Great Britain's Andy Vernon, who captured the bronze medal earlier this week in the European Championships, will be competing in the IAAF Antrim International Cross Country at Greenmount on January 4th.This event is sponsored by Antrim Borough Council and Sport Northern Ireland.


27 year old Vernon, who has won 4 National titles, ran his best race ever last Sunday (8th December 2013) in Belgrade when he  moved from  a top six placing to snatch bronze on the line behind winner Alemayehu Bezabeh of Spain. The Aldershot man who is a twice previous European medalist at Junior and U23 level  said; "It felt good to win a medal. I was at my limit with 4 laps to go but I ploughed on and made a big effort on the last lap. The Belgian D'Hoedt came past me near the end but I sprinted hard and got him on the line".


This performance plus his earlier win in the British Trials at Liverpool now makes Vernon the top UK cross country athlete by some margin. The 2011 World University Games 5,000 metres champion is now getting back to his best form ever following the heartbreak of a stress fracture which ruled him out of the London Olympics in 2012. 


Vernon then had an achilles problem earlier this year before finding his latest winning form.  He set a personal best over 3,000 metres in Dublin last July and then ran his fastest 10 miles time of 49 mins 21 secs in October’s Portsmouth BUPA Race.  The flat, fast terrain at Greenmount will suit Andy, who has enjoyed considerable success here in the past. In 2010 he finished runner up to winner Mike Kegan of Kenya while in January this year he was a gutsy 3rd behind two Africans.   

Also racing at Greenmount will be Irish National champion Paul Pollock of Annadale Striders.  The doctor from Holywood will be keen to make amends for what was for him a below par performance in Belgrade where he finished 26th behind Irish competitors Michael Mulhare and David McCarthy.  The 27 year old does however have classy credentials having already achieved the Commonwealth Games qualification time for the marathon in Glasgow. His most noticeable achievement has been his 2nd European finisher place in last summer's World Championship Marathon  in Moscow, Russia.

Pollock will certainly be favourite to capture the NI & Ulster title, which is incorporated in the Greenmount race. He last won the title in 2011 in Stranorlar. Previous winners in the 36 year history of this international cross country event have included Steve Ovett, Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, John Treacy, Paula Radcliffe, Fionnuala Britton and Paul Tergat.

Online Entry is now available at (Article taken from Athletics NI website)

Mark Mullan and Rachel Gibson take top honours at NWTC 5k (Race 2):

Athletes brave wet conditions for NWTC Series (Race 2):

On Sunday 8th December 2013, nearly one hundred athletes braved wet and blustery conditions to take part in the North West Triathlon Club 5k, the second race in the club's annual 5k Series in Derry/Londonderry.

Local man, Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC), a podium finisher at the recent 'Run in the Dark' in Belfast, looked strong as he bettered his position from Race 1 in the Series (where he finished in 3rd place), leading the field home in 16:45, a new personal best.  Mark's club mate, Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC), followed in 16:54 (2nd place), before North Down AC star Rachel Gibson produced arguably the performance of the day.  Rachel finished in third place overall, thus claiming victory in the ladies race, in a speedy 17:24 (1st place).

Springwell Running Club's James Thorpe completed the men's top three in 17:29 (3rd place), while regular visitor to Northern Ireland, and parkrun guru, Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), secured 2nd place in 18:41; Lisa McKinney (Eglinton Runners) finished just six seconds later in 18:47, taking 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC) – 16:45, 2nd Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC) – 16:54, 3rd James Thorpe (Springwell Running Club) – 17:29

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) – 17:24, 2nd Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 18:41, 3rd Lisa McKinney (Eglinton Runners) – 18:47

Full Results:  NWTC 5k Series (Race 2) 2013 Results

Northern Ireland athletes compete in European XC Championships:

Pollock, Scullion, McDermott and McGlynn perform well for Ireland in Belgrade:

On Sunday 8th December 2013, Northern Ireland athletes, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders) and Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) where part of the strong Ireland squad who performed well at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

It was U-23 star Ryan McDermott who kicked off the proceedings for the Northern Ireland contingent.  Ryan followed up a victory in the U-23 race at the AAI Inter-Counties XC in Dublin last month, with a solid performance against Europe's top talent.  Ryan covered the relatively flat and firm 8k route in 25:55 to finish in 71st place overall.  Belgian Pieter-Jan Hannes showed some late pace to win the title in 24:02.  The Ireland U-23 male team finished in 4th place.

Next up was Ann-Marie McGlynn, representing Ireland under her maiden name of 'Larkin'.  Ann-Marie was competing in the Senior Women’s category along with team mate and 2012 European cross country champion Fionnuala Britton.  Ann-Marie ran a strong race and looked comfortable in her surroundings, finishing well in 49th position (28:45), against experienced opposition.  Ann-Marie was 5th lady home for the Irish women who finished 6th overall in team competition.  French woman Sophie Duarte ran a smart, tactical race to win in a time of 26:34.  Gemma Steel of Great Britain & Northern Ireland finished fast to pip Ana Dulce Felix of Portugal to second spot, giving GB & NI the gold medal in the team event.  Former Champion, Fionnuala Britton finished in 4th place.

The large crowd of spectators who braved the cold Serbian weather weren't disappointed by the finale.  The Senior Men's race, like the others, started fast. Paul Pollock made his intentions clear right away, pushing to the front of the main pack, with Stephen Scullion appearing to start a little more conservatively. Both men ran well throughout, Paul stayed in touch with the chasing pack and Stephen progressed through the talented field.  It was only in the latter stages of the race that Paul, current AAI Cross Country Champion, started to feel his early efforts, but pushed on to the finish line.  Paul completed the 10k course in 30:22 for 26th place, with team mate Stephen Scullion taking 63rd position in 31:40.  The Irish Senior male team, like their female counterparts, took 6th place in the team competition.  Amel Bezabeh of Spain won the European Cross Country title in an impressive 29:11, having ran clear from almost half way.  Spain also took the team title, with Great Britain & Northern Ireland taking 3rd place.  Like the Senior Women’s event, the GB & NI team did not have any Northern Ireland representation in the race.

Top 3 finishers in races involving Northern Ireland athletes:

Top 3 U-23 Men (8k):  1st Pieter-Jan Hannes (Belgium) – 24:02, 2nd Mitko Tsenov (Bulgaria) – 24:07, 3rd Nemanja Cerovac (Serbia) – 24:08

Top 3 Senior Women (8k): 1st Sophie Duarte (France) – 26:34, 2nd Gemma Steel (Great Britain & Northern Ireland) – 26:39, 3rd Ana Dulce Felix (Portugal) – 26:41

Top 3 Senior Men (10k):  1st Amel Bezabeh (Spain) – 29:11, 2nd Polat Arikan (Turkey) – 29:32, 3rd Andy Vernon (Great Britain & Northern Ireland) – 29:35

Full Results: European XC Championship 2013 (Photograph used above courtesy of Keith McClure)

Gareth Hill, Mark Wright and Eimear Mullan win at Malcolm Cup XC:

Athletics NI Cross Country League 2013/14 continues in Ballyclare:

On Saturday 7th December 2013, hundreds of athletes and spectators turned out for the fifth race in the current Athletics NI Cross Country League, the Malcolm Cup XC, which was held in Six Mile Water Park, Ballyclare.

The junior races brought some of Northern Ireland's most talented up and coming stars to the start line, with races from U-11 right up to U-17.  After these had been completed, it was then time for the Ladies and Veteran Men (from Vet35+) to step into the spotlight for their 3 mile race.  NI & Ulster Masters 800m and 1500m, and AAI National Masters 1500m Champion, Mark Wright (Annadale Striders) looked strong as he broke the tape in 16:05 (1st place), thus taking the victory.  Mark's club mate, and another well-respected athlete, Paul Corroll, followed in 16:09 (2nd place), before East Coast AC's Greg Lavery continued his recent good form, which earned him a Northern Ireland XC vest last month, to claim 3rd place in 16:52.

Eimear Mullan (Springwell Running Club) put in a top class performance to lead the ladies home; the Springwell Running Club athlete, who hasn't raced much over the last few years, showed her talent to win in 17:17.  Clones AC's international star Denise Toner sealed the runners up spot in 18:09 (2nd place), while Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), a winner at last months 'Run in the Dark' event, ran 18:10 to finish in 3rd place.  Springwell Running Club picked up the Horwill Cup after securing top honours in the team standings.

The final race of the day saw the remainder of the men take to the the muck for their 5 mile race; Ballymena & Antrim AC track star, Gareth Hill, who recorded a speedy new 10k personal best of 32:04 at last weeks Seeley Cup 10k, was a prominent figure at the head of the field throughout, before claiming a well-deserved victory in 21:01.  Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), another impressive performer in Ormeau Park (Belfast) last weekend, followed in 21:06. Ritchie Nicholls (Springwell Running Club), who had worked well with Gareth and Scott in the early stages, claimed the final podium place in 21:15 (3rd place). North Down AC picked up the prestigious Malcolm Cup after winning the team prize.

Top 3 Veteran Men (3m):  1st Mark Wright (Annadale Striders) – 16:05, 2nd Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) – 16:09, 3rd Greg Lavery (East Coast AC) – 16:52

Top 3 Ladies (3m):  1st Eimear Mullan (Springwell Running Club) – 17:17, 2nd Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 18:09, 3rd Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC) – 18:10

Top 3 Men (5m):  1st Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 21:01, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 21:06, 3rd Ritchie Nicholls (Springwell Running Club) – 21:15

Full Results:  Malcolm Cup XC 2013 Results - Photographs from the Malcolm Cup XC, courtesy of Gareth Heron, are available within our 'Photo Gallery'.

Keith Shiels and Pauline McGurren secure Eskra 10k titles:

Athletes turn out for annual Eskra 10k:

On Saturday 7th December 2013, athletes from across the province descended on the village of Eskra in County Tyrone, for the annual Eskra 10k road race (and associated 5 mile 'Fun Run').

Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), a British & Irish International medallist and top ten finisher at last weeks Seeley Cup 10k, recorded the fastest time of the day, as he cruised his way to victory in 32:22 (1st place).  Glenn Phair, a recent addition to the already impressive Annadale Striders set-up, showed his worth; the Leeds University student crossed the line in 33:03 to take 2nd place, while the always impressive Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club) secured 3rd place in 34:08.

In the ladies race, it was Sperrin Harriers star Pauline McGurren who impressed most.  Pauline, who has really come to the fore this year, following several notable performances, including podium places at the Sperrin Harriers 5m road race and the Drumragh 10k, clocked her second fastest 10k time ever, winning in 39:53.  Knockmany Runners' Grainne Kelly, a runner up here last year, replicated that performance, but took nearly one minute off last years time (which was 43:16) when she finished in 42:20 (2nd place).  Local lady, Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers) completed the top three ladies in 42:43 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 32:22, 2nd Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) – 33:03, 3rd Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club) – 34:08

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 39:53, 2nd Grainne Kelly (Knockmany Runners) – 42:20, 3rd Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers) – 42:43

Full Results:  Eskra 10k 2013 Results

Northern Ireland athletes ready for European XC Championships:

Pollock, Scullion, McDermott and McGlynn ready for Euro XC:

On Sunday 8th December 2013, Annadale Striders' Paul Pollock will spearhead the Irish Senior Men’s Team at the Spar European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, where Ireland's Fionnuala Britton will be aiming for an unprecedented hat trick of Euro XC victories.


Paul Pollock did not defend his NI 10K title at the Podium 4 Sport Seeley Cup 10K in Ormeau Park, Belfast last weekend because of his preparations for Belgrade. The 27 year old is in the form of his life following a resounding victory three weeks ago in the AAI National Championships in Dublin, Ireland. 


Paul has stated that he is confident in his abilities to perform well this weekend over a flat, fast course which should suit him. He will face tough competition from Europe’s top Cross Country athletes including Hassan Chandi (France) and Daniel Muci (Italy) who took silver and bronze respectively, in last year's European Championships. Paul, who is now based in England, will be joined on the Senior Men’s team by brothers Michael and Dan Mulhare of Portlaoise AC, Waterford AC's David McCarthy and Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock AC).  Fellow Northern Ireland man, Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) will also be racing following his impressive fourth place finish at the AAI XC in Dublin. The European Indoors competitor has shown from his fifth place at the Antrim IAAF Cross Country in January 2013 that he can compete with the best on his day.


Ireland will have a strong Men's U-23 team, which includes Ryan McDermott (Annadale Stiders), who was eleventh overall and first U-23 home at the AAI XC Championships. The team also includes Donore Harriers' John Travers and Irish U-23 1,500m record holder, Paul Robinson. US collegiate athletes Shane Quinn (Ferrybank AC), Jake Byrne (Mullingar Harriers AC) and Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrocks AC) all return from the States to form a strong men’s U-23 team. Shane Quinn in particular has impressed recently at the prestigious NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Strabane's Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) will be racing in the Women's 8k event following her impressive fourth place in the trials (which were part of the AAI XC Championships). Her team mates will include Ciara Durkin (Skerries AC), Sara Treacy (Moynalvey AC) and Maria McCambridge (DSD AC). They will be led by Kilcoole AC hero Fionnuala Britton.  Last year in Budapest, Fionnuala Britton had a narrow two second victory margin in freezing conditions over Portugal's Ana Dulce Felix.   Ana will be racing again this weekend as will Belgium's Almenesh Belete who was fourth last year and France's Sophie Duarte who was sixth.

European Cross Country Championships 2013 Timetable (GMT):

Women Junior 4km - 9:00am

Men Junior 6km - 9:45am

Women U23 6km - 10:30am

Men U23 8km - 11:19pm

Women Senior 8km - 12:12pm

Senior Men 10km - 1:09pm

Live Stream Option:

European athletics TV will be showing a live stream of all six races on Sunday, the stream will begin with the junior women’s race at 9am (GMT).

Local Running:

Local running enthusiasts will look forward to events in Ballyclare, Omagh and Derry/Londonderry, with the Malcolm Cup XC and the Eskra 10k taking place on Saturday 7th December 2013 and the NTWC 5k taking place on Sunday 8th December 2013.  We will provide summaries and results in relation to these events as soon as possible, but would again like to advise you that we are working with very limited resources until the 23rd December 2013.

Information taken from Athletics NI website.  Photograph used above taken from BBC website.

Brendan Grew and Victoria Simms win Action on Hearing Loss NI event:

Athletes turn out for good cause:

On Sunday 1st December 2013, Action on Hearing Loss NI welcomed running enthusiasts from all over the province to their inaugural 5 mile race, which was organised to raise funds for the local charity.

North Belfast Harriers' Brendan Grew, who narrowly missed a personal best at yesterday's Seeley Cup 10k (please see seperate report, in November 2013 news), broke the tape in 27:46 to win.  He was followed by club mate and winner of the last Action on Hearing Loss NI event, Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) in 28:37 (2nd place); Pure Running Half Marathon Series prize-winner, Mark Walker (Unattached) completed the fast course in 28:47 (3rd place).

Victoria Simms (Holme Pierrepont RC), an impressive performer at the last Chain Reaction Cycles 'Belfast Hills' race, took top spot in the ladies race, after recording 34:47 for the distance.  Consistent County Antrim Harriers lady, Louise Smart, crossed the line in 35:11 (2nd place), before Ruth Hannah (Unattached) took 3rd place in 37:43.

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) – 27:46, 2nd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 28:37, 3rd Mark Walker (Unattached) – 28:47

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Victoria Simms (Holme Pierrepont RC) – 34:47, 2nd Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) – 35:11, 3rd Ruth Hannah (Unattached) – 37:43

Full Results:  Action on Hearing Loss NI 5m 2013 Results

NiRunning announce details of new race for 2014:

NiRunning 5m Trail Race 2014:

On Sunday 1st December 2013, NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) officially announced the newest addition to their race repertoire, a 5 mile trail race, which will take place in Ballyboley Forest on Sunday 16th February 2013 (11am).

The undulating course will cover the fire roads and trails within the forest and will prove a testing but manageable event for athletes. Registration for the event will take place on the day (in the car park at the Upper Ballyboley Road entrance to the forest) and the entry fee will be £5 (£7 for unaffiliated athletes).  All proceeds from the event will go back into the website. 

Next year will also see NiRunning introduce a road race and quite possibly a mountain race, to go alongside the already established NiRunning Mile, as we strive to offer a race over every terrain for our valued followers.  Announcements regarding further events will follow in early 2014. 

Other important information for NiRunning followers:

Over the next three week's (from Friday 29th November 2013) you will notice that things on the website will slow down slightly, by this we mean that race summaries and results will not be available just as quickly and the popular Weekend Preview's will not be compiled again until the Tuesday 24th December 2013 (this will be a Greencastle 5m 'Special Preview').  Normal service will resume on Monday 23rd December 2013.  We apologise in advance for this, but during this time, the resources we have available will be minimal.

Note - November 2013 'News', including a summary and results from Saturday's Seeley Cup 10k, is available HERE or by following the navigational bar at the top of the page.

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