Northern Ireland Running

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Weekend:  NI mountain and road running seasons 'officially' return...

Plenty of action inside and outside the province this weekend:

Another weekend brings another busy 48 hours for the Northern Ireland running community; in truth, on the face of it, this weekend actually looks quite quiet, with only the Albertville 5 mile road race, Sperrin Harriers 10m trail race and the Slieve Gullion mountain race listed on the official Athletics NI and NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association) calendars.  However, digging a little deeper, you will find that NI athletes will also head to various events outside the province, including races in Dundalk (Ireland), Carlingford (Ireland), Bundoran (Ireland), Kenmare/Killarney (Ireland), Bath (England) and Paris (France).

On Saturday 1st March 2014, the Northern Ireland mountain running season kicks off, with the Slieve Gullion mountain race taking centre stage.  Although not part of the new revised NIMRA Championship Series, Slieve Gullion, a 3.9 mile race with 340m of ascending, is expected to attract a large crowd, all of whom will be eager to get back onto the local mountains after spending the 'off season' racing all over the UK and beyond.  Due to tree disease in Slieve Gullion Forest Park, organisers (Armagh AC) have been forced to move the start and finish location of the event, please check this important information HERE.

Amongst those capable of challenging for top honours is last years winners Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) and Violet Linton (LVO), who are both expected to return to defend their titles.  Stephen Cunningham's main competition is likely to come from Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), and Newcastle AC's top cross country pairing of Seamus Lynch and David O'Flaherty.  

Last year, a speedy Jonny Steede led the race to the top of the main climb but missed a turn in misty conditions, ending up at the wrong summit, this resulted in disqualification from the race.  Jonny will be aiming to put that mistake right this time around, following a successful start to 2014, which saw him win the recent NiRunning 5 mile trail race at Ballyboley Forest.  Newcastle AC's Seamus Lynch and David O'Flaherty will go well, both men have been in great form during the cross country season.  David won the Moira XC and the Comber Cup XC; he also ran well at last week's XC season closer at Stormont Estate.  Seamus, who was runner up at this event last year will again be a front runner, based on recent performances; this included a win at the Ticknock Winter Mountain race and high finishes at NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships, Comber Cup and Stormont XC.  Other names in the picture will be local man Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC), as well as Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), Andy Gregg (Larne AC), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners), Cathal McGreevey (Team Purple) and Richard Bell (Mourne Runners).

In the ladies race, provided she does return, Violet Linton (BARF) is expected to be challenged by Lagan Valley AC's Shileen O'Kane.  Interestingly, Shileen (alongside Anne Sandford and Hazel McLaughlin) secured a podium place for the Lagan Valley AC ladies team in the very competitive team event at Carnethy. Shileen also won the Vet40 title at the prestigious mountain race and has been competing well in the local cross country scene.  Another lady who will play a prominent part in proceedings is 2013 NIMRA Championship winner Diane Wilson (Dromore AC); should the talented athlete turn out on the day, she will provide strong opposition for all of the aforementioned ladies.  Diane dominated the latter part of the mountain running season last term, during which she enjoyed several exciting battles with friend and fellow international athlete Shileen, it will be interesting to see if the formidable duo resume their dual this time around.  Others ladies who are expected to show well at the front of the field and in their respective categories are Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) and Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC).

Also on Saturday 1st March 2014, Sperrin Harriers will host the final race of their popular Winter League Trail Series; the Series has included two 10k races, one 5k and one 5 mile race, with the final course measuring 10 miles in distance.  On this occasion, Lough Fea, just outside Cookstown, will be the destination of choice.

Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) has been ever present throughout the Series and has led the field home three times.  The fast improving athlete will have his eyes on completing the Series in style, with a fourth victory.  However, he will have to fend off the challenge of Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) and Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers), all of whom have enjoyed podium finishes in the Series.  Pierce and Pius claimed the runners up spot in Race 1 and Race 4 respectively, while Michael has been one of Mark McKinstry's main rivals throughout the enjoyable campaign, he (Michael) has finished on the North Belfast Harriers runners shoulder in three of the four races, two of which was enough to secure a second place finish. Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers), a third place finisher in Race 2, and Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners), a third place finisher in Race 3, should both toe the line and will be in contention if they do, as will the likes of Delfim Pimental (Sperrin Harriers), Paul O'Callaghan (Sperrin Harriers) and Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners).

Local lady, Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) will be considered as firm favourite in the ladies race; the well-known distance runner has a 100% record in the Series so far, winning the ladies category at each of the four races.  On top of this, Karen has also been in fine form away from the trails, claiming wins at the Moira XC, Dungiven 10k and the Enniskillen XC – Last week at Stormont Estate, Karen didn't really look herself, but lets hope she is back on form here.  City of Derry AC's Anne Paul looked strong as she took the runners up position in Race 3; should the popular Spartan race here, she will be after a similar outcome, however, the host clubs Rhian Pegram, Nuala Kelly, Jacqueline Mulligan and Cheryl Cardwell will also be front runners, and will also have ambitions of podium places.  They aren't the only ladies who will play a part, Omagh Harriers' Patricia Campbell, Caroline Miller and Ita Kelly may race, so to may Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) and Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners).

On the same day (Saturday 1st March 2014), the Albertville 5 mile road race will 'officially' open the road racing season.  The fast and flat event, held within the confines of Duncrue Industrial Estate, Belfast, is expected to attract a high profile field.

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) should return to defend the title he won so impressively last year.  The East Down AC mans winning time of 25:29 in 2013 is his current personal best for the distance, but having produced a new 5k best of 15:20 at the Armagh International Road Race last week, he will be aiming to improve on last years winning time.  Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) was another athlete who celebrated a personal best at the Armagh International event; Conor ran 16:00 for 5k and after a good winter of training, he will be looking forward to get out racing on the roads.  

Alongside Brendan and Conor,  Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) and Conor McMullan (Annadale Striders) may also start.  Andrew has had a good winter on the cross country circuit and should perform to his usual high standard; in 2013, Andrew covered this route in 26:25, he then went on to have an excellent year, which included wins at the Decathlon 10k and the Newry Half Marathon, so the Belfast man will be keen to kick-start this season in the same way.  

Annadale Striders duo Paul Carroll and Conor McMullan are conistent runners, both of whom possess the ability to win a race on their given day.  Paul's last outing was at the NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships, where he narrowly missed a podium spot after taking fourth place, however, this was enough to secure third place in his Vet40 category.  Prior to that, Paul ran well at the Moira XC, finishing in third place.  Conor McMullan has started the year in fine fashion, with good runs at the Rollercoaster Road Races and Stormont XC, this followed an impressive Athletics NI XC League campaign, where he was almost ever-present.  Dennis Scott (North Down AC), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), Craig Hutchinson (Larne AC), Andy Guy (East Coast AC) and Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) should also finish in or around the top ten.

North Down AC's Jessica Craig and Julie Balmer may kick off their 2014 road racing season here; Julie finished as runner up to Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) last year and will be hoping to improve on that position as she returns to her favoured terrain.  Jessica Craig won the NiRunning 5 mile trail race two weeks ago and ran well at the Stormont XC last week, which seems to suggest that she is back to her best; it will be an excellent battle between the club mates if both turn out.  Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) could also add depth to the front of the ladies field;  she (Gemma) ran her personal best for 5 miles (30:42) on this course twelve months ago, and having watched her progress since then, there is no reason why the talented lady can't improve upon that this time around.  

Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC), who appears to be back to top form, following a win at the Comber Cup XC, should also make the prizes, if she decides to race.  Other ladies to look out for could include, Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Catriona Donaldson (Lagan Valley AC), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers), Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) and Ali Robinson (North Down AC).

Further afield, but also on Saturday 1st March 2014, Northern Ireland based events management company, 26extreme will host the annual Carlingford 10k and Half Marathon, just across the border in Carlingford (Ireland).  The scenic course, which starts and finishes in the village (of Carlingford), takes in the beautiful surroundings of the Mourne Mountains, the Cooley Peninsula and Carlingford Lough.

It is expected that a large number of Northern Ireland runners will make the short border crossing to participate in the event, amongst those due to start are, Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC), Mark Walker (Unattached), Michael McKeown (East Down AC), Tina Davies (Dromore AC) and Andrea Hislop (Dromore AC).  The ladies in particular will have a tough task ahead should they be aiming for top spot, with established ultra-runner Jolene Mellon (Setanta Triathlon Club) set to race.

Also in Ireland on Saturday 1st March 2014, runners based in the North West of the province will travel to County Donegal for the annual Cara Bundoran 10k/10 mile road race.  Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC), Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) and Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers) could all be tempted by the increasingly popular event, which will also include a 10k (Saturday 1st March 2014) and a 5k (Friday 28th February 2014).

On Saturday 1st March 2014, the man behind 'Pure Running' in Belfast and Newry, Michael Jenkins (North Down AC) and friends (including Sean McKeown and  international mountain runner John Lenihan) will host the 'Wild West Run' in County Kerry (Ireland).  The race, which is well-known for it's scenic course, covers 15 miles of the Kerry Way from Kenmare to Killarney.  The multi-terrain event should attract a sell out crowd.

On Sunday 2nd March 2014, Athletics Ireland will welcome teams from all over Ireland to Dundalk (Ireland) for the Woodies DIY AAI National Inter-Club XC Championships.  London based NI man, Stephen Scullion will be part of a top quality Clonliffe Harriers team, who will hope to challenge for top honours.  It is unclear as to whether any Northern Ireland clubs will be represented, however, Annadale Striders may send a squad. Should they do so, it is likely that recently crowned NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion Ryan McDermott will play a part.

Born 2 Run Events will also hold the final race in their well attended 'Run Forest Run' Series in Rossmore Forest, Monaghan (Ireland) on Sunday 2nd March 2014.  Despite the event being across the border, there will be huge representation from Northern Ireland.  Respected athlete Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) will return to competition and will line up alongside Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Richard Hand (Dromore AC), Gary Connolly (Seapark AC), Carol Annesley (East Antrim Harriers), Jeanette Bailie (Dromore AC), John Glover (Lagan Valley AC), Marian Hayes (East Antrim Harriers), Karen Waring (Seapark AC), Kerri Thrower (Unattached) and County Antrim Harriers contingent Lisa Barrett, Kim Gleave, Louise Smart, Glenn Smart, Marion Morrow and Eileen Stewart, amongst others.

Also on Sunday 2nd March 2014, athletes from Northern Ireland will take on Half Marathon events in Bath (England) and Paris (France).  In Bath, Annadale Striders' Paul Pollock will join thousands of competitors at one of the UK's most popular and best supported 13.1 mile races, the Bath Half Marathon.  The current AAI National XC Champion and IAAF World Championship marathoner will be aiming for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships qualifying standard of 1:04:00.  Meanwhile, in Paris (France), Larne AC's Ian Brennan and North Down AC's Janet Toal will be amongst 40,000 runners with hopes and expectations of completing the Paris Half Marathon in a new personal best.

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

Katie Kirk powers to personal best at AIT International Grand Prix 2014:

AIT International Arena (Indoor) Grand Prix 2014:

On Wednesday 26th February 2014, Lagan Valley AC athlete Katie Kirk took another step towards a return to the Commonwealth stage after a powerful performance at the AIT International Arena (Indoor) Grand Prix in Athlone, Ireland.

Katie, who represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games 2010 in Dehli, was racing over 800m at a packed AIT Arena, where she stormed to victory in a massive new personal best of 2:03.58 (1st place); this was a mere 0.08secs outside the required qualifying standard of 2:03.50, and 0.58secs away from the IAAF World Indoor Championships qualifying standard (of 2:03.00).

This performances adds to what has been an excellent start to the season for the Belfast based star, after she (Katie) picked up a bronze medal at the recent British Athletics Indoor Championships in Sheffield earlier this month (February 2014).  Katie will no doubt be keen to have another attempt at the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard whilst she is in such good form.

Photograph above was taken from the Athletics NI website, a full report on the AIT International Arena (Indoor) Grand Prix is also available HERE.

Full Results:  AIT International Arena (Indoor) Grand Prix 2014 Results

Rathlin Run 2014:  NiRunning join forces with Belfast Activity Centre...

Rathlin Run 2014 - Initial details announced...

NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) are very proud to announce that from this year (2014), we will be working in association with highly respected charity, Belfast Activity Centre (aka BAC) on the Rathlin Run.

The Rathlin Run is Northern Ireland's most unique, and arguably, most challenging road race.  This will be the 13th annual running of the event, which was originally introduced by Raleigh International, before Belfast Activity Centre took the reigns several years ago.

In recent years, the event has offered participants the choice between a 10k (6.1m) and a Half Marathon (13.1m), but this year, the decision has been made to revert back to the VERY popular '10 mile challenge', the original distance that caught the imagination of the local running community and cemented the event as an annual favourite.  The associated 5k run will also return, and offer an alternative for those wanting to test themselves over a flatter, shorter course.

The event will take place on SATURDAY 23RD AUGUST 2014, with the 10 mile Challenge kicking off at 1pm and the 5k Run following at 1.15pm.  

Entries will be limited, so we would encourage everyone to make use of the early-bird options, which are priced at £15 for the 10 mile race and £10 for the 5k.

Further details on the event will be added to this page as soon as they are finalised; more details and 'telephone entry' will also be available from Belfast Activity Centre on 028 90600132 and  You will be able to book your ferry at as soon as the summer bookings become available (April 2014).

For now.... Let your friends know that the challenge is back and save the date!

Please follow us on facebook (NiRunning) and twitter (@NiRunning) if you would like to be kept up to date with the Rathlin Run 2014.  You can also follow Belfast Activity Centre on facebook (Belfast Activity Centre) and twitter (@BACCharity).

Northern Ireland athletes impress at England Athletics Indoors:

Impressive performances by NI Masters in England:

On Sunday 23rd February 2014, a number of Northern Ireland athletes travelled to London for the England Athletics Indoors Inter-Area Challenge, which was held at Lee Valley Stadium.

Several of the local runners were rewarded for their top performances with podium places; none more so than Clones AC star and Northern Ireland Masters XC international Denise Toner, who won her 1500m and 3,000m races in 4:42.58 and 10:22.48 respectively. 

Anne Maguire (NIMAA) recorded a personal best of 11.08secs for 60m, this was enough to secure 2nd place in her Vet65 category, the race was won by Moira West (Winchester AC) in 9.38secs.  Derry City Track Club's Robert Bigger claimed two podium places in the Vet55 category, in the 200m (29.85secs) and in the 800m (2:14.73); these races were won by Nene Valley AC's Ricky Huskinson (200m - 24.90secs) and Ware Joggers' Larry Mangleshot (800m – 2:11.92).

Scotland based Northern Ireland international, David Priestly (Manchester Harriers) also made the podium; in his 400m race, David recorded a personal best of 74.43secs to take 2nd place in the Vet55 category.  The race was won by Robert Grew (Exeter AC) in 56.99secs.  In the 1500m, David (5:14.59) again took a place on the podium, after he sealed 2nd place; this race was won by Larry Mangleshot (Ware Joggers) in 4:33.41.

There were also good outings for Seamus McAteer (NIMAA) and Kieran McKeown (East Coast AC), Seamus ran 8.65secs (7th place) for 60m and 28.03secs (6th place) for 200m; Joshua Wood (Harrow AC) and Dave Brown (England) won these events in 7.22secs and 23.92secs respectively.  Meanwhile, WPFG medallist Kieran McKeown covered the 400m in 60.30secs (7th place) and the 800m in 2:23.90 (6th place); Adam Bellis (Scotland) won the 400m in 52.09secs, while Steve Bladock (Scotland) claimed top spot in the 800m in 2:02.31.

Full Results:  England Athletics Masters Indoors Inter-Area Challenge 2014 Results

Declan Reed claims Masters title as NI runners impress at AAI XC:

Woodies DIY AAI National Intermediate and Master XC Championships 2014:

On Sunday 23rd February 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes travelled to Dunboyne, County Meath (Ireland), for the Woodies DIY AAI National Intermediate and Masters Cross Country Championships, which also incorporated the Inter-Club and County Championships.

It turned out to be a successful trip for the Northern Ireland contingent, with City of Derry AC man Declan Reed claiming the prestigious AAI National Masters XC title, there were also medals for North Belfast Harriers duo Paul Elliot and Eamon White, and City of Derry AC athlete Roisin Lynch.

Declan Reed looked a class act in the Masters Men's 7,000m race; the current Athletics NI 5k (Road) Champion, who ran well in this event in 2013, played a prominent part throughout, before cruising to victory in 24:10 (1st place).  North Belfast Harriers athlete, Eamon White followed in 25:51 (14th place), which sealed a silver medal in the Vet40 category; Colin Roberts (City of Derry AC) crossed the line in exactly the same time (25:21), but with Eamon being given the 'nod', Colin was awarded 15th place.

Alan O'Hara (North Belfast Harriers) ran well to finish in 35:44 (24th place), while a mere one second split Paul McCafferty (City of Derry AC) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), with Paul running 26:24 (39th place) and Neil 26:25 (40th place).  Paul Blaney (North Belfast Harriers) followed thirteen seconds later in 26:38 (49th place), before East Coast AC's Nat Glenn recorded 27:06 (62nd place).  Interestingly, name-sakes James Brown (East Coast AC) and James Brown (City of Derry AC) both crossed the line in 27:24, but it was the Larne based East Coast AC athlete who claimed 74th place, with the City of Derry Spartan taking 75th place.

City of Derry AC pair Michael Murphy (28:10) and Mark Mullan (28:18) both put in strong performances, with Michael securing 100th place and NWTC 5k Series race winner Mark taking 104th place.  Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers) then completed the course in 28:41; this sealed a well-deserved gold medal for the Irish Masters (Vet60) 10k record holder.  In the team competition, North Belfast Harriers were rewarded for their efforts with a podium place, the 'stags' collected bronze, while Raheny Shamrock AC claimed gold medals.  

Young North Down AC star Rachel Gibson produced an excellent performance in her Intermediate Women's 5,000m event.  Showing little or no signs of tiredness from her outing at the Brooks Armagh International Road Races just 72 hours earlier, Rachel took an excellent 6th place in 21:08.  The Intermediate title was won by Michelle McGee (Brothers Pearse AC) in 19:08, with Andrew Connick (Ferrybank AC) taking the Intermediate Men's 8,000m title in 27:40.

Roisin Lynch was also in top form in her Masters Ladies (and Vet65+ Men) 4,000m race.    The City of Derry AC lady recorded 20:36 (78th place) for the distance, which was enough to secure a gold medal in the Vet60 category.  The race was won by Vet35 athlete Maria McCarthy (Maine Valley AC) in 15:54.

Provisional Results:  Woodies DIY Intermediate and Masters XC Championships 2014 (inc Inter-Club and Inter-County Championships 2014 Results)

Northern Ireland athletes compete outside the province:

Round-Up... Local athletes compete outside the province:

Over the weekend (Friday 21st February 2014 – Sunday 23rd February 2014) local runners have been in action outside the province, competing in events in Ireland, England and USA and over a variety of distances, ranging from 60 metres to 26.2 miles.

On Friday 21st February 2014, Queens University student Adam Hill (City of Lisburn AC) represented his university at the annual British University and College Sport (BUCS) Indoor Championships at the EIT Arena in Sheffield, England.  Adam, who is also an established ‘field’ competitor, recorded 9.15secs (5th place) in Heat 2 of the 60m hurdles, which was won by Jake Porter (Wolverhampton University) in 8.04secs.

On Saturday 22nd February 2014, Lagan Valley AC’s Patrick Monaghan, a student at the Mississeppi State University in America was part of his University 4x1000m relay team at the Alex Wilson Invitational Meet at the Loftus Sports Complex at the University of Notre Dame, USA.  Patrick’s team covered the distance in 9:33.61 (10th place), but more significantly, also smashed their University record at the event, by eleven seconds; the race was won by Indiana State University in 9:27.72.

This weekend also saw endurance specialists from Northern Ireland compete at the East of Ireland Marathon Series Back 2 Back Marathon’s in Clontarf, Ireland.  At least eight local athletes completed one of the 26.2 mile races, with three covering both back to back marathon’s.

Day 1 (Saturday 22nd February 2014) saw Barry Shanks (St Peter’s AC) lead the NI contingent home in 3:12:00 (3rd place), with Ali Shaw (Springwell Running Club) and Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) following in close proximity of each other; Ali clocked 3:41:00 (11th place), while Gillian crossed the line in 3:42:00, which was enough to secure victory in the ladies race.  Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) and Eugene Winters (Club Unknown) completed the course in 4:00:00 (31st place) and 4:03:00 respectively, before Lagan Valley AC’s Iryna Kennedy finished in 5:47:00 (14th place lady).  The men’s race was won by Ger Copeland (Unattached) in 3:10:00.

On Day 2 (Sunday 23rd February 2014), Ali Shaw covered the 26.2 mile course in 3:34:00 (6th place), while Seapark AC athlete Gillian Cordner took 3rd place in the ladies race after running 3:58:00; Marathon Club Ireland duo Eamonn Sheehan (4:03:00) and Darren Warnock (4:18:00) finished in 18th place and 24th place respectively, with Eugene Winters (Club Unknown) completing Northern Ireland’s representation in the event in 4:21:00 (25th place).  Don Hannon (Unattached) won the men’s event on Day 2 after recording 3:17:00, while 2013 Energia 24 hour race winner and Irish international, Ruthanne Sheehan (Athenry AC) took the ladies title in 3:21.

In the overall standings, which were based on accumulative times over the two day’s of competition, Northern Ireland lady Gillian Cordner sealed victory in 7:40:00, while Don Hannon (Unattached) topped the men’s two day standings with 6:19:00.  Note – Unfortunately, more specific/exact times are not available for this event as organisers only record HH:MM finish times as opposed to HH:MM:SS.

Results:  BUCS Indoor Track & Field Championships 2014 ResultsAlex Wilson Invitational Meet (USA) 2014 ResultsEast of Ireland Marathon Series 2014 Results

We are still awaiting official results for the Woodies DIY National Intermediate/Masters XC Championships and the England Athletics Masters Indoor Inter-Area Challenge, summaries in relation to these events will be added as soon as possible.

Brian Young and Dearbhla Magee excel at annual Ben Dearg 10k race:

Ben Dearg – Kilclief 10k 2014:

On Sunday 23rd February 2014, nearly one hundred runners turned out for the annual Den Dearg – Kilclief 10k road race in Kilclief, County Down, an event hosted by East Down AC and in particular, Joe Quinn, who was celebrating his birthday on race day!

Well-known trail running specialist Brian Young (Unattached) produced an excellent performance in what was his first local outing of 2014; the unattached athlete, who claimed notable wins in the East Antrim Harriers and Crawfordsburn Country Park trail races at the back end of last year (2013), showed he is just as good on the firmer surfaces, as he cruised to victory in 37:03 (1st place).  Local runners, Paul Burns and Michael Cultra took the remaining podium places, with Paul crossing the line in 38:00 (2nd place) and Michael, who clocked over one hundred miles at the Energia 24 hour race last summer, taking 3rd place just two seconds later in 38:02.

Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC) retained the ladies title which she won so impressively in 2013; the junior mountain running international broke the tape in 45:38 (1st place).  Laura Simpson, who was part of a large Larne AC contingent at the event, took 2nd place in 50:14, while her club mate, Alison Magill (Larne AC), finished in 51:06 to secure 3rd place.

In the associated 5k event, Coalon Atkinson (East Down AC), son of established East Down AC athlete, Barrie Atkinson, and Fionnaula Magee (Unattached) claimed victory, after running 17:43 and 28:19 respectively.  There was also a 3k race as part of the excellent day of running, which saw junior athletes Jamie Connor (12:43) and Tara Shields (20:23) take their first steps on the athletics ladder with wins.

Top 3 Men:  1st Brian Young (Unattached) – 37:03, 2nd Paul Burns (East Down AC) – 38:00, 3rd Michael Cultra (East Down AC) – 38:02

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC) – 45:38, 2nd Laura Simpson (Larne AC) – 50:14, 3rd Alison Magill (Larne AC) – 51:06

Full Results:  Ben Dearg (Kilclief) 10k 2014 Results

Gregory Murphy and Helen Stockdale win Maguiresbridge 10k:

Athletes enjoy re-scheduled Maguiresbridge 10k:

On Saturday 22nd February 2014, running enthusiasts from across the province travelled to County Fermanagh for the re-scheduled Maguiresbridge 10k road race; the event was due to take place earlier this month (Saturday 1st February 2014), but was postponed because of bad weather conditions.

Clones AC athlete Gregory Murphy looked good throughout, despite an equally impressive performance from Derek Somerville (Omagh Harriers), it was Gregory (1st place – 37:11) who broke the tape first.  Derek Somerville took a well deserved 2nd place in 37:18, while local man Richard Mason (Enniskillen Running Club) secured 3rd place in 38:36.

In the ladies race, Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) led from gun to tape; the versatile international cross country athlete, who is the current Donegal Novice XC Champion, crossed the line in a personal best of 38:00 (1st place).  Enniskillen Running Club's Karen Dolan (43:11) and Unattached athlete Irene Clements (43:09) finished in 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

Top 3 Men:  1st Gregory Murphy (Clones AC) – 37:11, 2nd Derek Somerville (Omagh Harriers) – 37:18, 3rd Richard Mason (Enniskillen Running Club) – 38:36

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) – 38:00, 2nd Karen Dolan (Enniskillen Running Club) – 43:11, 3rd Irene Clements (Unattached) – 43:09

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

Scott Rankin and Julie Butler impress at final ANI XC League fixture:

NICS AC host final Athletics NI XC League 2013/14 fixture:

On Saturday 22nd February 2014, Northern Ireland Civil Service AC hosted the final 'Cross Country' race of the season; the well-organised event, which was the final fixture in the Athletics NI 2013/14 Cross Country League, attracted large fields.  Recent bad weather meant that organisers had to resort to using the roads and trails within the scenic Stormont Estate, Belfast

The main race of the day, the Open/Veteran Men (4.6m) and the Open/Veteran Ladies (3.3m) saw several hundred men and women racing towards the main gate into Parliament Buildings, which an hour earlier, had witnessed a cavalcade of Mini cars commemorating the Monte Carlo Rally victory by Northern Ireland man Paddy Hopkirk, who was driving the lead car.

The in-fom David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) took up position at the head of the field and led the field into the trees and out of sight.   However, as the race progressed, the Comber Cup winner was joined at the front by City of Derry AC men Emmett McGinty and Noel Logan, as well as Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC).  

Meanwhile, NiRunning Trail Race winner, Jessica Craig (North Down AC) had started the fastest of the ladies, followed by Omagh Harriers' Julie Butler and Michelle Sturm, with Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) close behind.  Unfortunately, Comber Cup ladies Champion, Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) was forced to withdraw shortly after the start with breathing problems, and another pre-race favourite, Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) didn't really seem herself. 

However, one athlete who did look strong was Julie Butler; as the ladies race reached the final stages, the Northern Ireland international cross country runner surged clear of the field, before taking a well-deserved victory in 19:30 (1st place).  Gemma Turley finished well to take 2nd place in 19:52, before NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion Michelle Sturm secured a podium place in 19:59 (3rd place).

As the ladies finished, the men continued into their final lap; it was at this point when Scott Rankin eased clear of the lead pack.  The Foyle Valley AC team captain, who has finished as runner up on at least three occasions in the Athletics NI XC League, gradually increased his lead as he made his way along the lengthy  finishing straight towards Parliament Buildings, before winning in 23:37 (1st place).  City of Derry AC pair Emmett McGinty and Noel Logan were rewarded for their strong performances with podium places, with Emmett (23:52) taking 2nd place and Noel  (23:57) 3rd place.

Top 3 Men (4.6m):  1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 23:37, 2nd Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) – 23:52, 3rd Noel Logan (City of Derry AC) – 23:57

Top 3 Ladies (3.3m):  1st Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) – 19:30, 2nd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 19:52, 3rd Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) – 19:59

Full Results:  NICS AC 'Stormont XC' 2014 Results

Fergus McGirr and Heather Foley win Omagh CBS 10k:

Nearly 300 runners turn out to support Omagh CBS event:

On Saturday 22nd February 2014, nearly three hundred athletes turned out to support the Omagh CBS 10k and 5k road races in County Tyrone; the event, which is primarily geared towards fundraising for local and international charities, attracted quite a few well-known runners.

Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) followed up his podium finish at the recent Enniskillen XC with another impressive performance.  The experienced marathon pacer looked comfortable as he led the field home in 34:51 (1st place).  Another Enniskillen Running Club athlete, Stephen Cassidy, took 2nd place in 36:02, before Andrew Bates (Unattached) completed the top three men in 37:22 (3rd place).

Northern Ireland international cross country star Heather Foley (Unattached) produced a dominant display in the ladies race; Heather, who was racing for the first time since representing NI at the IAAF Antrim International XC last month (January 2014), broke the tape in 37:55 (1st place).  Sperrin Harriers' Pauline McGurren (39:54) looked in good form as she secured 2nd place, while Grainne Kelly (Knockmany Runners) also ran well, taking 3rd place in 42:04.

In the associated 5k event, David Gormley (Omagh Harriers) crossed the line in 18:17 (1st place) to win, with his club mate Sean Corry (18:23) and Omagh CBS' Eoin Bradley (18:57) taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.  Ella Quinn completed an excellent double for Omagh Harriers, taking the ladies 5k title in 21:18 (1st place).  She (Ella) was followed across the line by fellow Omagh Harriers members Elizabeth Gormley (2nd place – 24:02) and Maria Corless (3rd – 26:06).

10k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 34:51, 2nd Stephen Cassidey (Enniskillen Running Club) – 36:02, 3rd Andrew Bates (Unattached) – 37:22

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 37:55, 2nd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 39:54, 3rd Grainne Kelly (Knockmany Runners) – 42:04

5k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st David Gormley (Omagh Harriers) – 18:17, 2nd Sean Corry (Omagh Harriers) – 18:23, 3rd Eoin Bradley (Omagh CBS) – 18:57

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ella Quinn (Omagh Harriers) – 21:18, 2nd Elizabeth Gormley (Omagh Harriers) – 24:02, 3rd Maria Corless (Omagh Harriers) - 26:06

Full Results:  Omagh CBS 10k Race and 5k Race 2014 Results

Weekend Preview:  Athletics NI Cross Country League and more...

Weekend Preview:  Belfast, Omagh, Kilclief, Dunboyne, Sheffield...

After an exciting week, which saw our team host the inaugural NiRunning 5m Trail Race and attend the Brooks Armagh International Road Races, it’s time to look forward to another busy weekend of action; during which, we will see running enthusiasts from Northern Ireland compete in the final Athletics NI XC League fixture at Stormont Estate (Belfast), as well as road races in Omagh (County Tyrone) and Kilclief (County Down).  

Northern Ireland will also be represented at the East of Ireland Marathon Series (Ireland), the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) Indoor Championships in Sheffield (England), and the Woodies DIY AAI National Intermediate and Masters XC Championships in County Meath (Ireland).  This event will also include an Inter-County and Inter-Club competition.

On Saturday 22nd February 2014, the Northern Ireland Civil Service AC will host the final fixture of the extremely popular Athletics NI Cross Country League 2013/14 within the grounds of Parliament Buildings in Stormont Estate, Belfast; like last year, organisers have had to alter the course because of the rain.  The revised route will cover forest trails and a small section of grass, a map of the course is available HERE (Men – 4.6m and Ladies – 3.3m).

Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) and David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) are likely contenders. Foyle Valley AC captain, Scott Rankin has led by example throughout the Athletics NI XC League, the talented athlete has claimed runners up spots at the Enniskillen, Coleraine, North West and Malcolm Cup XC events, this could well be the race were he goes one better, providing he has recovered adequately from his 14:53 clocking at the Armagh International 5k last night. North Belfast Harriers new boy, Andrew Annett ran well here last year, achieving a place on the podium. Judging by the International mountain runners' performance at the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships last month (January 2014) he is in the shape to replicate that showing this time around. Another man who finished well up the field at the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships, David O'Flaherty, is in excellent form, the Newcastle AC man cruised to victory at the Comber Cup  XC last week, he (David) also won the Moira XC in January (2014).

Other men who may play a part at the front could include David McNeilly, who was a member of Newcastle AC's victorious NI & Ulster Junior XC team, and Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series leader Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), as well as Conor Christie (Springwell Running Club), Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Francis Marsh (North Down AC) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers). James Budde (North Down AC), Bernard Brady (Larne AC), Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers) and Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) should also run well if they decide to race.

The ladies race may bring a return of the Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) and Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) dual; the exceptional pairing have battled it out at the front several times throughout the XC League, with the in-from Karen getting the better in the most recent encounter (Enniskillen XC); however, current NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion, Michelle, possess the ability to challenge the best on her day  and should they both toe the line, it should be another excellent battle. Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC), both fresh from wins at the Comber Cup XC and NiRunning Trail Race respectively, will also be chasing podium places should they attend. 

Springwell Running Club ladies Gemma Turley, Ciara Toner, Gillian Wasson and Karen McLaughlin will hope to finish well up the field, but will all have one eye on the team competition, as their club currently top the ladies standing of the Athletics NI XC League. City of Derry AC sit in second place, but Marina Campbell should lead their charge, as they attempt to match their men's team and take the overall win in the League.  Catriona Donaldson (Lagan Valley AC), Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Melissa Eccles (North Down AC), Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC), Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC), Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC), Nuala Kelly (Sperrin Harriers), Rhian Pegram (Sperrin Harriers), Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC) and Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) will all be aiming for high placings.

Also on Saturday 22nd February 2014, established athletes and recreational runners will take on the annual Omagh CBS 10k road race (and 5k Fun Run) in Omagh, County Tyrone.  The event, which is mainly used as a fundraising venture for charitable causes, attracted several high profile athletes in 2013, and this year is expected to be similar.

Last years winner and newly crowned NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion, Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) will hope to continue his excellent return to competition after nearly a year out, with another victory. Stephen looked a class act at the aforementioned NI & Ulster XC Championships and also at the Enniskillen XC, where he also cruised to victory. The Omagh Harriers athlete could be joined on the start line his club mates Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) and Damien Cox (Omagh Harriers). Paul hasn't raced since his fifth place finish at the Greencastle 5 on Boxing Day 2013, where he crossed the line in 27:46. 

It's been even longer since Damien has been in competition, his last outing was a 2:56:02 marathon in Dublin (October 2013); however, both men will no doubt be in good shape should they make an appearance. Enniskillen Running Clubs Fergus McGirr, a third place finisher at the Enniskillen Cross Country two weeks ago, will also play a major part in proceedings should he enter on the day. Eoin Mullan (Annadale Striders), Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) and Francis Stewart (Magherafelt Harriers) will also go well if they enter.

The ladies category could also be dominated by Omagh Harriers athletes, with Patricia Campbell, Mairead McCann and Sara Moore all likely to compete. Patricia has been in good form on the XC circuit this year, finishing well up the field at the NI & Ulster XC Championships; the Northern Ireland international has also taken top ten spots at the two Sperrin Harriers Winter Trail Series events in 2014. Defending Champion, Mairead McCann will be eager to impress once again, although, having not raced in a few months, it is hard to say what kind of form the usually consistent athlete will be in. Junior international Sara Moore cruised to victory in the 5k here last year, but may step up to the 10k; if she (Sara) does, we have know doubt that she will feature at the front, and will more than likely claim one of the podium places. Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers) and Rosaleen McCartan (Omagh Tri Club) will also be there or there abouts.

On Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd February 2014, City of Lisburn AC athlete Adam Hill will represent Queen's University at the prestigious BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Indoor Championships in Sheffield, England. It is expected that several other Northern Ireland based athletes may also compete, any further information will be added to this section of the preview, should it become available.

Also on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd February 2014), Seapark AC athletes Gillian Cordner and Gary Connolly will follow on from their good performances at last weekends Clonakilty Back 2 Back Marathon's with another weekend of double 26.2 mile races; the endurance specialists will join Springwell Running Clubs Ali Shaw at the East of Ireland Marathon Series Back 2 Back Marathon events in Clontarf, just north of Dublin (Ireland).

On Sunday 23rd February 2014, athletes from across the province will descend on the County Down village of Kilclief for the annual running of the Den Dearg Coast (Kilclief) 10k road race, an event hosted by East Down AC.

Local man, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) will dictate the pace should he race; having recorded an impressive new 5k personal best of 15:19 at the Armagh International Road Races last night, Brendan will be in good spirits going into this race. On home turf, the former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion will prove hard to beat. That will not put Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) and Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) off; this pair have been in good form in recent cross country races, with Paul taking third place at the Moira XC and Barrie winning the Masters race at the IAAF Antrim International XC in January 2014. There will also be a large Larne AC presence, with Sammy Drummond, Phelim McAllister, Billy Thompson and David Noble all likely to feature well. Other men to look out for may include Michael McKeown (East Down AC), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers) and Michael Cultra (East Down AC).

Considering the fact that East Down AC's Catherine O'Connor hasn't made many appearances of late, it is likely that the race will be between Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) and Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC). Northern Ireland international cross country runner Geraldine Quigley has started 2014 well, taking a podium place at the Moira XC and placing well at the NI & Ulster Masters XC, so could be a good bet for the title if she travels with the Larne AC squad. Junior mountain running international, Dearbhla Magee won quite convincingly in 2013 and will be considered as one of the favourites again this time, should she lace up her racers.  Cheryl Denvir raced for the first time in approximately three months at the Comber XC last weekend and looked strong; the East Down AC athlete is no stranger to the podium and on form, she has the potential to claim the top prize.  Laura Gardner (East Down AC), Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) and Helen Vint (East Down AC) should all finish in the top ten.

Also on Sunday 23rd February 2014, a large contingent of Northern Ireland based runners are expected to make the cross-border journey to Dunboyne, County Meath (Ireland), for the Woodies DIY AAI National Intermediate and Masters XC Championships, which will incorporate the AAI National Inter-Club and Inter-County Championships.

North Belfast Harriers, East Coast AC and City of Derry AC are amongst the Northern Ireland club's likely to be represented. Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), James Brown (City of Derry AC), Paul McCafferty (City of Derry AC), Paul Blaney (North Belfast Harriers), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), James Brown (East Coast AC), Mark Wright (Annadale Striders), Greg Lavery (East Coast AC), Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers), Nat Glenn (East Coast AC) and Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) will all place well in their respective categories.

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

Nick McCormick & Laura Whittle win Brooks Armagh International races:

Brooks Armagh International Road Races 2014:

On Thursday 20th February 2014, Armagh AC welcomed athletes from all over the world to the 24th annual running of their well organised Armagh International Road Races, sponsored by Brooks.  An exciting night of racing brought wins for Laura Whittle (Loughborough University), Nick McCormick (Morpeth AC) and Alistair Campbell (Cambuslang Harriers).

The atmospheric event was held in the scenic 'Mall' area of Armagh City Centre, providing an excellent backdrop for photographers.  The extensive race programme began with a number of well supported junior races, before the international ladies took to the start line for their 3k event.

Strabane based athlete, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC/Ireland), set the early pace, but it wasn't long before pre-race favourite, Laura Whittle (Loughborough University) took charge.  

The former European U-23 5,000m Champion was pursued by the aformentioned Ann-Marie McGlynn, as well as Laura Dunn (Edinburgh AC), Elle Vernon (Stockport AC), Rachel Bamford (Leeds AC) and Ellie Stevens (Birchfield Harriers) as they progressed into the final lap.  However, Laura Whittle was rewarded for her determined efforts, as she powered into the finishing straight to claim victory in 9:25.73 (1st place).  Elle Vernon finished well to claim 2nd place in 9:28.59, before Rachel Bamford completed the ladies top three in 9:30.48 (3rd place).

Ann-Marie McGlynn (9:40.48) was the first Northern Ireland athlete to finish in 4th place, with Northern Ireland 10,000m record holder Fionnaula Ross (Armagh AC) and NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist, Danielle Fegan, also of Armagh AC, following in 9:59.32 (10th place) and 10:24.15 (16th place) respectively.

The international men were next to toe the line for their 5k race, which turned out to be an extremely close affair.  The opening lap's saw Jacuba Nowak (Poland), Ryan McLeod (Tipton Harriers), Kevin Schwab (USA) and Drewi Griffiths (Swansea Harriers) all play a part, but as the huge lead group began to split, Nick McCormick (Morpeth AC), Leuan Thomas (Wales), Richard Weir (Derby AC), Lewis Moses (Loughborough University), Krzystof Zebrowski (Poland) and the previously mentioned Drewi Griffiths came to the fore, and were part of a twelve man bunch who entered the final lap at the head of the pack.

As the front runners entered the final few hundred meters, it was 2009 Champion Nick McCormick who had the edge; the decorated Team GB athlete held off a strong challenge from both Richard Weir and Leuan Thomas to break the tape in 14:11.90 (1st place).  Richard Weir matched his runners up position from 2013 in 14:12.37 (2nd place), while Leaun Thomas secured the final podium place in 14:13.92 (3rd place).  Conor Bradley recorded a ten second personal best to lead the NI contingent home in 14:29.55 (16th place); Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) also ran well, crossing the line in 14:37.43 (23rd place), with Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) completing the local top three in 14:40.60 (26th place).

In the final race of the night, the open men's 3k, Scottish athlete Alistair Campbell (Cambuslang Harriers) set out at a blistering pace, with East Down AC's Neil McCartan in pursuit.  The Cambuslang Harriers man held his lead quite comfortably until an impressive late surge by Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), who was taking part in his second race of the evening, forced him (Alistair) to up the pace; in the end, it was Alistair Campbell who held on to win in 8:55.81 (1st place).  Joe McAlister followed in 8:57.80 (2nd place), before up and coming star Paddy Robb (St Malachy's AC) sealed a podium spot in 8:59.16 (3rd place).

International Ladies 3k - Podium Places (and top NI finishers):

Top 3 International Ladies:  1st Laura Whittle (Loughborough University) – 9:25.73, 2nd Elle Vernon (Stockport AC) – 9:28.59, 3rd Rachel Bamford (Leeds AC) – 9:30.48

Top 3 Northern Ireland finishers:  4th Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) – 9:40.48, 10th Fionnaula Ross (Armagh AC) – 9:59.32, 16th Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) – 10:24.15

Top 3 International Ladies Teams:  1st England, 2nd Wales, 3rd Northern Ireland

International Men's 5k - Podium Places (and top NI finishers):

Top 3 International Men:  1st Nick McCormick (Morpeth AC) - 14:11.90, 2nd Richard Weir (Derby AC) - 14:12.37, 3rd Leuan Thomas (Wales) - 14:13.92

Top 3 Northern Ireland  finishers:  16th Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) – 14:29.55, 23rd Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) – 14:37.43, 26th Joe 

McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 14:40.60

Top 3 International Men's Teams:  1st England, 2nd Wales, 3rd Poland

Open Men's 3k - Podium Places (and top NI finishers):

Top 3 Open Men:  1st Alistair Campbell (Cambuslang Harriers) – 8:55.81, 2nd Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 8:57.80, 3rd Paddy Robb (St Malachy's AC) – 8:59.16

Top 3 Northern Ireland finishers:  2nd Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 8:57.80, 3rd Paddy Robb (St Malachy's AC) – 8:59.16, Christy Conlon (Beechmount Harriers) – 9:07.30

Provisional Results:  Brooks Armagh International Road Race 2014 … International Ladies 3k - International Men's 5kMen's Open 3k

Special Preview:  Brooks Armagh International Road Races 2014...

Brooks Armagh International Road Races 2014:

On Thursday 20th February 2014, Armagh AC will host one of Northern Ireland's premier running events, the Armagh International Road Races; now in it's 24th year, the prestigious event, which attracts athletes from all over the world, will be sponsored by sportswear brand Brooks.

The extensive race programme, which takes place in the scenic and atmospheric 'Mall' area, in the heart of Armagh City Centre, will kick off at 6.30pm.  Nine junior races will take place before the International Ladies take to the line at 8.05pm for their 3k event, the International Men's 5k will follow at 8:20pm; then, the Open Men's 3k will round off proceedings at 8:45pm.

Despite the fact that course record holder and reigning Champion, Mary Cullen (North Sligo AC) will not attempt to retain her title, due to a very recent niggle, the ladies line-up is one of the best in the history of the event (according to race organisers).  Well-known Scottish athlete and former European U-23 5,000m Champion, Laura Whittle (Royal Sutton AC) will go into the event as pre-race favourite; the ex-competitive swimmer, has a 3,000m personal best of 8:50.37, but her most recent timing for the distance was 8:57.63 (August 2013).  Laura has also achieved 15:26 for 5,000m and 32:46 for 10k and will more than likely challenge the course record.  London 2012 3,000m Steeplechase semi-finalist, Matylda Szlezak (Poland) will also start, and will join the likes of Stevie Stockton (Wales), Ava Hutchinson (DSD AC), Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Shauna McNiff (USA) and event regular, Ellie Stevens (Birchfield Harriers) as they battle it out for honours.

Whilst in training for the London 2012 Olympics, Polish athlete Matylda Szlezak recorded 9:28 for 3,000m on the flat; however, her personal best for the distance is 9:07.33 (2011), which shows that the 25 year old also has the potential to beat Mary Cullen's course record of 9:07.88, set last year (2013).  GB & NI international, Stevie Stockton is another lady to watch out for, since running 9:00.67 for 3,000m three years ago, the former 1500m specialist hasn't really matched that form, in saying this, a 9:12.59 clocking at the Loughborough International last summer still puts her amongst the favourites.  Ava Hutchinson was a member of the heroic Irish European XC Championships gold medal winning team in 2012; the established distance runner also represented Ireland in the Olympic Marathon at London 2012 (2:37:17).  Ava, who has run 9:14 for 3,000m (indoors), was runner up here last year (in 9:19.96) after featuring well at the front in the early stages and will no doubt play a major part again this year.  

Local lady, Kerry O'Flaherty was also a podium finisher last year (2013), and will be hoping to replicate or better that position this time around.  The Newcastle AC star ran 9:27.09 twelve months ago, and with a 3,000m personal best of 9:09.50, will definitely be in the thick of the action.  American athlete, Shauna McNiff, hails from the 'Hanson' camp in the USA; the decorated athlete enjoyed an extremely successful juvenile/junior career, winning numerous titles, and is now establishing herself on the senior circuit; she (Shauna) has run 9:20 for 3,000m.  Former Larne AC member, Ellie Stevens, who has claimed a podium place at the event in the past, will be another front runner; she (Ellie) was a top ten finisher at the British Athletics European Indoor Trials (and UK Championships) last year.

Irish international, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC), Northern Ireland 10,000m record holder, Fionnuala Ross (Armagh AC) and NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist, Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) will also toe the line, and the trio should be joined by Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) and Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC); although, having missed the Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Championships last weekend, British Athletics Indoor Championship 800m medallist Katie Kirk may sit this one out.  Madison Bowyer (City of Lisburn AC), Melissa Eccles (North Down AC), Katie Moore (North Down AC), Catriona McGloin (Balmoral Harriers), Emer Magee (Lagan Valley AC), Emma Laverty (Lagan Valley AC), Christine Quinn (City of Lisburn AC) and Katie McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) should also run well.

The Brooks Armagh International Men's 5k will bring an incredible array of talent to the start-line; this will include a number of internationally recognised runners, with Nick McCormick (Morpeth AC), Ryan McLeod (Tipton Harriers), Tom Lancashire (Bolton AC), Kevin Schwab (USA), Mark Keneally (Ireland) and Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) all due to compete.

On paper, 2009 winner Nick McCormick would be considered as favourite to take the prestigious title.  His personal best of 13:18.81 is the fastest of the field; however, the Morpeth AC man only returned from a spell on the sidelines in the Summer of 2013, ironically, this was in Northern Ireland, when he raced at the Mary Peters Track re-opening.  After running 3:43.99 (6th place) for 1500m, he (Nick) stated that it would take a while for him to get back to his best – after that, he ran 7:54.61 for 3,000m (July 2013) and 30:21 for 10k (December 2013); it will be interesting to see what kind of shape the 32 year old is in.  Ryan McLeod and Tom Lancashire are also worth watching; Ryan was in excellent form over longer distances last year, probably his most notable performance was a 1:05:19 Half Marathon personal best in awful conditions at the Bupa Great North Run.  Over 5,000m, the GB & NI international ran 14:13.07 in 2013, quite a bit slower than his personal best of 13:41.35, but it will be the latter time that puts him amongst the favourites.

Tom Lancashire brings Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, European Championships and World Championships experience to the party, and also a 5,000m personal best of 13:44.44.  The experienced Englishman, who will be flying in straight from altitude training in Kenya, has also run 3:53 for the mile; just one thing is uncertain, having raced sparingly throughout 2013, what kind of shape is Tom in?  

American, Kevin Schwab has come through the collegiate programme with a number of notable achievements, but probably the most appropriate is the fact that he holds the fastest ever Oklahoma University 5,000m time of 13:36.57; Kevin also picked up a USA National Junior 10,000m Championships bronze medal, before lowering his personal best for the distance to 28:53.70.  On form, Kevin could well be amongst the podium finishers.  Irish internationals Mark Keneally (Ireland) and Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) will also be hoping to impress, especially Northern Ireland man Stephen.  The AAI National 10k Champion and NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist, has one of the most recently recorded 5,000m pb's of the field, this was a 13:58.55 clocking, which saw him secure third place at the BMC Sport City event in Manchester (June 2013).  If anything, the local star has improved since then, with an excellent run and a tenth place finish at the Great Edinburgh XC in January 2014 being his most impressive outing this year so far.  

London 2012 Olympian, Mark Keneally could well be a contender, the 2:13:55 marathon runner has a 10k best of 28:33 and a 5,000m time of 13:36.71, which proves his ability as a distance runner.  On his day, Mark has the potential to push the pace.  Leuan Thomas (Wales), Matt Bond (Runners Life) and 2011 winner Matt Bowser (Lincoln Wellington AC), may well feature at the head of the pack alongside the aforementioned men.  

Although, the media focus will be on the front of the pack, there will also be a huge emphasis on the quality field of local talent who are set to race;  the impressive line-up should include Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), Patrick Hamilton (Annadale Striders), Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC), Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Owen Carleton (Annadale Striders), Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Pajo Hamilton (City of Derry AC), Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) and Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders).

The final race of the night will be the Men's Open 3k; Andrew Hicks (Armagh AC), Neil McCartan (East Down AC), Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) and North Down AC trio Francis Marsh, Dennis Scott and James Budde will all have high hopes of securing a top three finish.  Letterkenny AC's Ruairi Finnegan will undoubtedly have similar expectations, while up and coming athletes Conall McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers), Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC), Conor McQuillan (North Belfast Harriers) and Maxi Walmsley-Pledl (Armagh AC) will be chasing personal bests.

It’s sure to be a night of top class racing, with plenty of talent on show.  The well organised, family orientated event makes for an excellent evening out and spectators are encouraged to attend and support the athletes and a top class international event. 

Note - Pictures above of Laura Whittle and Tom Lancashire sourced from Scottish Athletics and Sky Sports respectively.

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014 details announced:

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014

In association with ChampionChip Ireland, Athletics NI and Ward Sports Management, Northern Ireland's premier race series enters it's sixth year and continues to get bigger and better with more races applying to join and Pure Running continuing their association as the chief sponsor.

When the Series began in 2009, there were six races and they attracted just over 5,600 entrants, the following year had seven races and just over 7,000 entrants.  In 2011, there were six races again but the entrants continued to flock in and there were over 1,000 entrants on average for each race.  Then in 2012 the Series expanded to eight races and the 8,000 mark was exceeded comfortably.  Last year (2013) saw ten races in the Series and just short of 9,000 took part with eighteen runners completing all ten events.

This year (2014) sees a new route for the Cookstown race, back in its usual date of July and the final race is the Dambusters Half Marathon, held the vicinity of Silent Valley in the Mourne Mountains and organised by Born to Run events.  Pure Running's Michael Jenkins has been a supporter of the Half Marathon Series since its inception in 2009 and continues to do so in 2014 with his Pure Running brand  Pure Running are the chief sponsor along with ChampionChip Ireland, Ward Sports Management and Athletics NI.  Two runners have taken part in all thirty seven races to date.  Angus McCready (Up & Runners) from Antrim and Michael McKeown, who runs for East Down AC and is a regular prize winner also in his category.

The Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014 will be comprised of the following races:

Sunday 16th March 2014 – DUNE Cross Border Half Marathon (from Newry to Dundalk)

Saturday 22nd March 2014 – AES Larne Half Marathon

Saturday 29th March 2014 – SPAR Omagh Half Marathon 

Sunday 25th May 2014 – Newry City Half Marathon (and Marathon)

Wednesday 18th June 2014 – Lisburn Half Marathon 

This completes the first half, runners must record a finishing time in at least three of the aforementioned races.   Runners must then complete at least three races from the second half of the series, which are outlined below:

Friday 27th June 2014 – Ards Half Marathon 

Saturday 19th July 2014 – Dervock Half Marathon 

Sunday 27th July 2014 – Cookstown Half Marathon

Friday 15th August 2014 – Groomsport Half Marathon 

Saturday 30th August 2014 – Born 2 Run 'Dambusters' Half Marathon


The organisers reserve the right to alter the structure of the Series to ensure an equal number of races in each half where possible.  The conditions and prize fund will remain the same as in previous years, thus runners must complete all the races in the Series to be awarded a special garment at the end.  The cumulative times of each competitor will be taken to calculate the rank in each category.  If a competitor finishes in more than six races then their best six times will be used, provided they still have completed three races from the first half of races and three from the second set of races.  A competitor will stay in the age group they ran in at their first race, which must be one of the races held in March 2014.  Where two or more competitors have the same cumulative time at the end then their fastest time will be used as a tie break.  An athletes half way (13.1m) time in the Newry City Marathon will be admissible if so desired.

Athletics NI will provide a page on their web site with regular updates on the leaders in each category and news of the Series.  Competitors are required to register their time through an online form on the Athletics NI website so that their progress can be logged and rankings accurately recorded.  A runner who fails to register their times through the Athletics NI website could be overlooked when the final prizes are awarded as it’s difficult to accurately log all the times from 10,000 entrants across the Series.

The prize structure is shown HERE.  Prizes will be in the form of vouchers from Pure Running.

Local athletes pick up prizes at 5k events in the North West:

North West Triathlon Club (NWTC) Winter 5k Series 2013/14:

On Sunday 16th February 2014, North West Triathlon Club (NWTC) welcomed athletes to the fourth and final race of their Winter 5k Series, which took place in bright but cool conditions on the banks of the River Foyle in Derry/Londonderry.

Gavin Crawford (24/7 Triathlon Club) continued his good form in the Series; the talented triathlete, who won Race 1 and claimed a podium place in Race 3, cruised to victory in 16:20 (1st place), the second quickest winning time of the Series, behind Greg Roberts' 16:13 (Race 3).  Another man who has impressed in the four race Series, Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC), crossed the line in 17:08 (2nd place), before his Spartan club mate Patrick Mahon (City of Derry AC) took 3rd place in 17:29.

In the ladies race, Martina Hegarty (Finn Valley AC) just edged out City of Derry AC's Sarah Kivelehan, who won Race 3, to win in 20:21 (1st place); Sarah (20:38) was forced to settle for 2nd place on this occasion.  Catherine Hribar (City of Derry AC) followed up her second place finish in Race 3 with another podium spot, this time, taking 3rd place in 22:08.

Top 3 Men:  1st Gavin Crawford (24/7 Triathlon Club) – 16:20, 2nd Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC) – 17:08, 3rd Patrick Mahon (City of Derry AC) – 17:29

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Martina Hegarty (Finn Valley AC) – 20:21, 2nd Sarah Kivelehan (City of Derry AC) – 20:21, 3rd Catherine Hribar (City of Derry AC) – 22:08

Full Results:  NWTC Winter 5k Series (Race 4) 2013/14 Results

Podium places for NI athletes at Lifford AC 5k:

Also in the North West, but just across the border, several Northern Ireland based athletes claimed podium places at the Lifford AC 5k in Lifford, County Donegal (Ireland) on Sunday 16th February 2014.  Foyle Valley AC man Chris McGuinness produced the performance of the day as he led the field home in 15:59 (1st place).  City of Derry AC's Benny Mullan secured 3rd place in 16:52, while in the ladies race, Derry City Track Clubs Hannah McGowan was the first NI finisher in 5th place.  Hannah recorded 21:13, the ladies category was won by the host clubs Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) in 18:42.

Full Results:  Lifford AC 5k Road Race 2014 Results

Northern Ireland runners complete endurance events in Ireland and Spain:

NI athletes complete endurance events outside the province:

This weekend (Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th February 2014), seven Northern Ireland based athletes completed endurance events outside the province, adding to the performances of local runners at the AAI National 50k Championships in Ireland on Saturday 15th February 2014 (a summary for this is available further down this page).

Seapark AC endurance enthusiasts Bobby Irvine, Gillian Cordner and Gary Connolly travelled to Clonakilty in West Cork (Ireland) for the annual Clonakilty Back 2 Back Marathons; while, North Down AC trio Lynne Kerr, Catherine Roberts and Jill Aicken, and Omagh Harriers' Kevin Smyth completed the Barcelona Half Marathon in Spain.

The Clonakilty Back to Back Marathons (on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th February 2014) attract competitors from all over the world, proves particularly popular with experienced marathoners; it offers a multi-day running event and covers a scenic coastal course, which starts and finishes in the 'award winning' tourist town of Clonakilty.

On Day 1 (Saturday 15th February 2014), Bobby Irvine led the trio home in 3:36:50 (15th place), with Gillian following closely behind in 3:38:04 (4th place lady). Gary covered the 26.2 mile coastal course in 4:11:50 (48th place).  Unattached Irish athletes Thomas Shanahan (2:53:50) and Mary Sweeney (3:27:44) claimed the respective male and female titles on Day 1.  On Day 2 (Sunday 16th February 2014), Gillian Cordner showed great strength to cross the line in 3:45:51, this secured a 3rd place finish in the ladies race, which was won by Caroline Kelly (Unattached) in 3:37:17.  Bobby (3:55:20) and Gary (4:11:50) claimed 26th place and 49th place respectively; the men's race was won by Andrzej Fiedireck in 3:07:02.  In the combined standings, Gillian Cordner (7:23:43) finished in 2nd place in the ladies category, behind winner unattached athlete Caroline Kelly (7:08:43), while Bobby Irvine (7:31:59) and Gary Connolly (8:01:19) sealed 19th place and 38th place respectively; the men's overall/combined competition was won by Andrzej Fiedoreck (Unattached) in 6:14:46.

On Sunday 16th February 2014, Omagh Harriers' Kevin Smyth and North Down AC trio Lynne Kerr, Catherine Roberts and Jill Aicken joined in excess of thirteen thousand competitors on the start line of the Barcelona Half Marathon.  Catherine Roberts was the first of the local athletes to reach the finish line, after completing the 13.1 mile course in 1:32:11.  Kevin Smyth followed in 1:40:14, before Lynne Kerr finished just twenty seconds later in 1:40:34.  Jill Aicken also ran well, recording 1:48:51.  The men's race was won by Eluid Kipchoge (Kenya) in 1:00:52, while Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) secure victory in the ladies race, running 1:05:12.

Full Results:  Clonakilty Back 2 Back Marathons 2014 Results:  Day 1 - Day 2 and Barcelona Half Marathon 2014 Results

Barry Monaghan and Liosa McKeown win Bessbrook 10k:

Athletes turn out for annual Bessbrook 10k:

On Sunday 16th February 2014, well over one hundred athletes took to the roads of Bessbrook (County Armagh) for the annual running of the Bessbrook 10k; despite the horrendous weather conditions throughout the week, race day conditions were almost perfect.

Club Pulse AC athlete, Barry Monaghan produced the most impressive performance of the day.  The well-respected triathlete dominated proceedings, before crossing the line in 35:55 (1st place) to win.  Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) and Andrew McKee (Annadale Striders) battled it out for the runners up spot, but it was Alan who eventually claimed the silver medal in 37:01 (2nd place), just six seconds ahead of Andrew, who recorded 37:07 for 3rd place.

In the ladies race, Liosa McKeown (Club Unknown) looked comfortable as she cruised to victory in 42:56 (1st place).  Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC), a podium finisher at the event last year, once again found herself in the prizes, after she secured 2nd place in 43:38; Newry City Runners' Anne Havern completed the ladies top three in 47:19 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Barry Monaghan (Club Pulse AC) – 35:55, 2nd Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) – 37:01, 3rd Andrew McKee (Annadale Striders) – 37:07

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Liosa McKeown (Club Unknown) – 42:56, 2nd Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC) – 43:38, 3rd Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) – 47:19

Full Results:  Bessbrook 10k Road Race 2014 Results

Amy Foster excels as NI athletes claim medals at AAI Championships:

Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Championships (Day 2):

On Sunday 16th February 2014, at least nine Northern Ireland runners took part in Day 2 of the Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Championships at the AIT Arena in Athlone (Ireland); and just like Day 1 (Saturday 15th February 2014), there were a number of top performances.

The star of the show was undoubtedly City of Lisburn AC athlete Amy Foster, who having cruised through her 60m semi-final in 7.43secs, blasted her way to the prestigious National title in a new personal best and World Indoor Championships qualifying time of 7.32secs (1st place).  After the race, Amy explained that she was “really happy with the personal best and World Indoor Championships standard”.  The Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder will now look forward to the aforementioned Championships, which take place in Poland next month (March 2014) and the upcoming outdoor track season, where she will be gunning for the Commonwealth Games.

There were also podium places and associated medals for Joanna Mills (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Tom Reynolds (North Down AC); Joanna recorded 25.31secs for 3rd place in the 200m final, which was won my multi-talented Kerry Proper (Ferrybank AC) in a new stadium record of 23.56secs.  Tom Reynolds picked up a bronze medal in the 60m hurdles, after covering the jumps in 8.32secs.  Unfortunately, Mid Ulster AC athlete Paul Tohill was a DNF in the final, having come through his heat in 8.54secs.  Ian McDonald (Crusaders AC) won the 60m hurdles in 8.22secs.

Also in the 60m hurdles, Lagan Valley AC's Laura Frey crossed the line in 9.90secs, thus claiming 7th place in the final won by Sarah Lavin (UCD AC) in 8.33secs.  Jonathon Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC) took 7th place in the 60m flat final, after running 7.08secs; the 60m final was won by Menapians AC runner David Hynes (6.85secs).  North Down AC's Curtis Woods (49.50secs) just missed a medal, after taking 4th place in the 400m final, which was won by Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) in 47.05secs.  In the 1500m, Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) clocked 3:58.49 (5th place) for the distance; David McCarthy (West Waterford AC) won in 3:49.50.  Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) finished in 6th place in his 200m final after breaking the beam in 22.28secs, the race was won by Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O'Toole AC) in 21.19secs.

Full Results:  Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Championships (Day 2) Results

Also on the track this weekend:

On Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th February 2014, a large number of Northern Ireland based junior athletes took part in the Scottish Athletics National Age Group Indoor Championships at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow (Scotland).  Results for the event can be found on the following links:

Full Results:  Scottish Athletics National Age Group Indoor Championships Under 14 – Under 16 (Day 1) and Under 18 – Under 20 (Day 2) 2014 Results

Jonny Steede and Jessica Craig win NiRunning 5m Trail Race:

NiRunning 5m Trail Race 2014:

On Sunday 16th February 2014, well over one hundred runners turned out for the inaugural NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race in Ballyboley Forest, County Antrim. Due to extremely icy conditions, the course was revised, but still proved to be a tough, scenic challenge for competitors.

As the runners set off on the downhill start, pre-race favourite, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) made his intentions clear, as he moved to the head of the pack. As things settled, Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), James Brown (East Coast AC), Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) and Nat Glenn (East Coast AC) looked to be the main contenders for the remaining podium places. In the ladies race, Jessica Craig looked to be in good form as she led the ladies into the heart of the snow covered forest, with East Coast AC trio Allyson O'Toole, Penny Lindsay and Janice Plumb in pursuit. Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) and Shelley Tomlins (Ballymena Runners) were also running well.

As the athletes entered the latter stages of the event, Jonny Steede began to increase his gap on the chasing pack, which in-turn, had split, with Mark McKinstry and James Brown edging clear of their earlier accomplices. In the end, it was indeed Jonny Steede who appeared over the brow of the final hill first; the talented Ballymena man covered the remaining yards quickly to win in 25:59 (1st place). Mark McKinstry, who won the Sperrin Harriers 5m Trail Race just 24hrs earlier, took 2nd place in 26:34, before James Brown (27:09) completed an impressive performance, with a 3rd place finish.

It was a similar story in the ladies race as they approached the final section of the route, with early leader, Jessica Craig, gradually opening the distance between herself and Allyson O'Toole and Penny Lindsay, who had been within throwing distance of each other throughout. Jessica powered into sight and cruised to victory in 32:09, with the East Coast AC pairing Allyson (33:47) and Penny (33:57) taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

In the team competition, the Ballymena Runners team of Jonny Steede, Alex Brennan, Matthew Morrow, Nigel McClintock and Emmet McAlister picked up the men's prize, while the close 'packing' East Coast AC ladies (Allyson O'Toole, Penny Lindsay and Janice Plumb) claimed the ladies title.

Top 3 Men:  1st Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 25:59, 2nd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:34, 3rd James Brown (East Coast AC) – 27:09

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jessica Craig (North Down AC) – 32:09, 2nd Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC) – 33:47, 3rd Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC) – 33:57

Top Men's Team:  1st Ballymena Runners (Jonny Steede, Alex Brennan, Matthew Morrow, Nigel McClintock and Emmet McAlister)

Top Ladies Team:  1st East Coast AC (Allyson O'Toole, Penny Lindsay and Janice Plumb)

Full Results:   NiRunning 5m Trail Race 2014 Results - Race photographs are available within our 'Photo Gallery'.

NiRunning would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who turned out to support the race, and also those who support the website on a daily basis. We would also like to reserve a special thank you to the incredible team who made today possible; having spent the last few weeks making sure that the course was well marked and everything was in place, we had to change all of these plans at 8.30am this morning because the entrance to Killylane Reservoir was extremely icy/dangerous. We appreciate your patience with the change of venue (at short notice) and in particular the limited parking at the revised Race HQ.

Lagan Valley AC ladies take podium place at Carnethy 5:

Northern Ireland athletes complete gruelling Carnethy 5:

On Saturday 15th February 2014, at least five Northern Ireland runners took on the gruelling Carnethy 5 Mountain Race in Penicuik, just outside Edinburgh (Scotland); the 6 mile race, which includes 2,500ft of ascending, attracts competitors from Northern Ireland on a yearly basis.

Dundee University student, Ryan Stewart (Larne AC) was the first of the local athletes to complete the tough course, crossing the line in 58:25; this was enough to secure 22nd place in what was a quality field.  Decorated mountain runner, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) followed in 1:09:32, thus taking 12th place in the ladies race.  Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) then recorded 1:15:19 (23rd place lady) and 1:19:32 (34th place lady) respectively, before Anne Sanford (Lagan Valley AC) completed a successful day for the NI contingent in 1:26:26 (43rd place lady).  Shileen, Hazel and Anne had further cause to celebrate after it was announced that Lagan Valley AC had claimed 3rd place in the fiercely contested ladies team competition.

The men's race was won by Orlando Edwards (Hunters Bog Trotters) in 51:29, while Ireland international Sarah McCormack (Moorfoot Runners) took the ladies title in 1:00:43.  Hunters Bog Trotters made a clean sweep of the team prizes, taking both the men's and ladies titles.

Full Results:  Carnethy 5 Mountain Race 2014 Results

Local track stars take a step closer to AAI National Indoor titles:

Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Championships 2014 – Day 1 update:

On Saturday 15th February 2014, some of Northern Ireland's top track runners made the journey south for the Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Championships, which are being held at the AIT Arena in Athlone, Ireland.

The two day's of competition kicked off today (Saturday 15th February 2014) and will continue into tomorrow (Sunday 16th February 2014), with tomorrow's action being televised live on RTE (Sky Channel 161) from 3pm.

In the 60m heats, Ballymena & Antrim AC's Jonathan Browning sealed his place in Sunday's final with a 2nd place finish in Heat 2, having clocked 7.07secs for the distance.  Heat 2 was won by Steven Colvert (Crusaders AC) in 6.92secs.  Fellow NI men, Curtis Woods (North Down AC) and Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) followed suit; Curtis won Heat 4 of his 400m competition in 49.81secs, while Mark (4:05.39) took 3rd place in his 1500m heat (Heat 1), which was won by West Waterford AC's David McCarthy (4:04.84).  Neil McCartan (East Down AC) ran well in the same race, taking 6th place in 4:11.34.  

Joanna Mills (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) joined their fellow countrymen on the Day 2 start-list, after both secured 2nd place in their respective 200m heats; Joanna ran 25.19secs in Heat 1 of the ladies competition, this was won by Kelly Proper (Ferrybank AC) in 23.75secs, while in Heat 5 of the men's 200m, Jason recorded 22.08secs.  In the same heat, North Down AC's Kenny Elliot (23.16secs) finished in 5th place.  Heat 5 was won by David Quilligan (Leevale AC) in 21.90secs.  Strabane Track Clubs Conor McLaughlin was also in action in the 200m heats (Heat 6), where he broke the beam in 22.85secs (3rd place).  Jamie Davis (Raheny Shamrock AC) won Heat 6 in 22.22secs.

In Heat 3 of the 400m, David Graham (Lagan Valley AC) crossed the line in 57.49secs (5th place); the heat was won by Richard Morrissey (Crusaders AC) in 48.84secs.  Up and coming star Rhys Clelland (North Belfast Harriers) narrowly missed a sub two minute time for 800m; running in Heat 2, which was won by UCD AC's Karl Griffin (1:59.14), Rhys ran 2:00.89 for 4th place.  Also in the 800m, but in Heat 3, Newry AC's 16 year old Oisin O'Callaghan took 5th place in a new personal best of 1:59.52.  Heat 3 was won by Harry Purcell (Trim AC) in 1:54.77.  Young Dromore AC athlete Rebekah Nixon gained valuable experience whilst claiming her quickest 800m time this year.  The talented Under 17 runner crossed the line in 2:25.60 to finish in 6th place in Heat 1, which was won by well-known Irish runner Ciara Everard (UCD AC) in 2:20.73.  

Qualifiers, Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Curtis Woods (North Down AC), Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) and Joanna Mills (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will be joined on Day 2 by fellow NI runners Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), Laura Frey (Lagan Valley AC), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Tom Reynolds (North Down AC) and Paul Tohill (Mid Ulster AC), amongst others, as they aim to claim AAI National titles.  Of course, we (NiRunning) will have a summary in relation to their performances as soon as possible after the event.

Full Results:  Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Championships 2014 (Day 1) Results

Mark McKinstry and Karen Alexander continue to impress in Sperrin Series:

Athletes turn out for popular Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series 2014:

On Saturday 15th February 2014, runners from all over the province descended on a sunny but cold An Creggan Estate, just outside Omagh, for the fourth race in the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series.  On this occasion, athletes were tasked to complete a undulating 5 mile course.

Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), winner of Race 2 and Race 3 in the Series, played a prominent part at the front throughout, before gradually breaking clear of the field to win in 27:32 (1st place); this completed an excellent hat-trick of race wins for the North Belfast Harriers man.  Foyle Valley AC's Pius McIntyre followed in 28:09 (2nd place), while current runner up in the overall Series rankings, Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers), secured 3rd place in 28:32.

In the ladies race, Karen Alexander continued her strong-hold over the Series.  The Northern Ireland international has won all three races (ladies category) in the Series so far, and looked a class above her rivals as she cruised to victory in 30:57 (1st place).  Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) crossed the line next, after recording 33:53 (2nd place), before local lady Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) clocked 34:50 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 27:32, 2nd Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) – 28:09, 3rd Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers) – 28:32

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 30:57, 2nd Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 33:53, 3rd Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) – 34:50

Full Results:  Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series 2014 (Race 4) Results 

Local runners perform well at AAI National 50k Championships:

Donadea 50k (inc AAI National 50k Championships):

On Saturday 15th February 2014, several Northern Ireland based endurance specialists travelled to Donadea in County Kildare (Ireland), for the Donadea 50k ultra-marathon, which also incorporated the AAI National 50k Championships.

In what was a top quality field, the local athletes perfromed well; regular competitor in Northern Ireland, Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) won in 2:59:19 (1st place), while Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) led the NI runners home in 3:17:24 (5th place).  Springwell Running Clubs Chris Denton (8th place - 3:32:42) also impressed, with a top ten finish, before Paul Nesbitt (Unattached) and Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC)  recorded 4:26:26 (56th place) and 4:35:19 (72nd place) respectively.

Experienced marathoner Steve Gibson (PACE Running Club) crossed the line in 4:40:50 (77th place), while Trevor Denton (100 Marathon Club), who ran well at the recent East Antrim Marathon Series event, finished in 4:52:38 (87th place).  Orna Dilworth (Sportsworld AC) won the ladies race in 3:43:16.

Full Results:  Donadea 50k (inc AAI National 50k Championships) 2014 Results

David O'Flaherty, Suzanne Higgins and Terry Eakin impress in Comber:

Hundreds enjoy rejuvenated Comber Cup XC races:

On Saturday 15th February 2014, hundreds of athletes welcomed the Ballydrain Harriers hosted Comber Cup Cross Country races back to the official Athletics NI fixture calendar, after an absence of several years.  

In the men's 8k race, David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) lived up to his pre-race favourite status, with an excellent performance.  After leading the Newcastle AC team to glory at the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships last month (January 2014), the all-terrain expert powered to victory in 27:23.  Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) also continued his good run of form; having won the Ticknock Mountain Race two weeks ago, Seamus (28:03) looked strong as he took 2nd place. AAI Masters National and NI & Ulster Masters 1500m Champion, Mark Wright (Annadale Striders) completed the top three finishers in 28:21 (3rd place). Newcastle AC added another trophy to their 'team cabinet', after their men topped the team standings.

In the ladies and Vet60+ men's 6k race, Lagan Valley AC's Suzanne Higgins put in her best showing since returning to competition last summer, as she led the ladies field home.  The former NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist (2009), who was racing in the Vet35 category for the first time, broke the tape in 23:44 to claim a well-deserved win.  Recent Northern Ireland Masters XC internationals (British & Irish XC 2013), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) also ran well, with Amanda finishing in 24:46 (2nd place) and Denise 25:40 (3rd place).  North Down AC legend Terry Eakin was the first Vet60+ to finish, after recording 24:19 for the distance.

Top 3 Men (8k):  1st David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 27:23, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 28:03, 3rd Mark Wright (Annadale Striders) – 28:21

Top 3 Ladies (6k):  1st Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 23:44, 2nd Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) – 24:46, 3rd Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 25:40

Top 3 Vet60+ Men (6k):  1st Terry Eakin (North Down AC) – 24:19, 2nd Ronnie Rutherford (Ballydrain Harriers) – 28:34, 3rd Fred Hamond (Lagan Valley AC) – 29:29

Full Results:  Comber Cup XC 2014 Results (Photograph used above courtesy of Keith McClure) - Photograph's from the Comber Cup XC (by Gareth Heron) are now available within our 'Photo Gallery'.

Weekend Preview:  A lovely weekend of running ahead...

Weekend Preview:  Show your love for running this Valentines weekend...

As another busy and exciting weekend of running approaches, the NiRunning team are putting the final touches to preparations for our own event, the inaugural NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race in Ballyboley Forest, County Antrim.  However, our race isn't the only one worth talking about in the coming days; the Comber XC returns, while Sperrin Harriers and North West Triathlon Club (NWTC) will host their re-scheduled events.  Northern Ireland will also be well represented outside the province, with NI athletes due to compete at the Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Championships (Ireland), the AAI 50k Championships in Donadea (Ireland), the Clonakilty Back 2 Back Marathon's, and the Carnethy 5 Mountain Race (Scotland).

The action kicks off on Saturday 15th February 2013 with the much anticipated return of the Comber Cup Cross Country in County Down; the Ballydrain Harriers hosted event is back on the official Athletics NI fixtures calendar after a few years absence.

Newcastle AC will be well represented at the event, with David O'Flaherty, David McNeilly and Seamus Lynch likely to be amongst the front runners. Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) will also play a major part in proceedings.  Outgoing NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion, Brendan Teer has been in fine form throughout this XC season, with a win at the Coleraine XC, a podium finish at the Bobby Rea XC and another notable performance at the IAAF Antrim International XC.  On the roads, Brendan ran 25:44 for 5 miles in bad conditions at the Raheny 5 two weeks ago.

David O'Flaherty has enjoyed an excellent start to 2014, with a win at the Moira XC and a runners up spot at the East Down AC 'Rollercoaster Road Races'. The Newcastle AC man also led his team to the prestigious NI & Ulster Junior XC team prize in January 2014; fellow County Down men, Seamus Lynch and David McNeilly were also part of the prize-winning Newcastle AC squad.  Individually, both men are more than capable of challenging here; Seamus has improved significantly over the past two years, and two weeks ago, his win at the Ticknock Mountain Race (Ireland) showed he is now a man to watch, especially considering the opposition he was up against that day.  More locally, Seamus claimed a top ten finish at the aforementioned NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships.  

A podium place at the East Down AC 'Rollercoaster Road Races' was David McNeilly's last outing, prior to that, he ran well at both the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships and the Moira XC.  As with his club mate's (David O'Flaherty and Seamus Lynch), David's strength from the mountains and trails will assist him in the muck.  Paul Carroll took fourth place at the NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships in Lurgan, this was enough to secure third in his Vet40 category, thus replicating his podium finish at the Moira XC in January 2014.  On his day, the Annadale Striders man has the ability to play a part at the front, his 33:20 clocking at the Seeley Cup 10k in November 2013 proved this.  Other men to look out for on the day may include Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Paul Carlin (Newcastle AC), Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC), Ryan Andrews (Ballydrain Harriers) and Craig Hutchinson (Larne AC).

In the ladies race, local athlete and Northern Ireland international, Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) could head the pack.  Denise had an excellent 2013, securing top ten places at Jimmys 10k, Titanic 10k, Seeley 10k, Lisburn 10k and a podium place at the Les Jones Memorial 10k.  This form, and an excellent run at the Masters XC trials in Belfast, led to Denise being selected to represent NI at the British & Irish Masters XC in Cardiff (Wales), where she ran well, taking sixteenth place in her category.  Unattached athlete, Heather Foley is another runner who impressed throughout 2013, especially in the latter part of the year, when she claimed high finishes at the Loughshore 10k, Adidas Armagh 10, Felix 10k and Seeley Cup 10k.  Considering Heather's performance at the IAAF Antrim XC, where she finished as seventh place local, she will be in or around the prizes here, should she race.

Lagan Valley AC pair Catriona Donaldson and Suzanne Higgins may also enter on the day; should they do so, both will challenge for a top three place. Suzanne, who interestingly, is now racing in the Vet35 category, has looked strong in what is her first XC season for a number of years (after she – Suzanne - returned to running earlier this year).  Suzanne has featured well in the Malcolm Cup, McConnell Shield, Coleraine XC and IAAF Antrim International Cross Country events, taking top ten places in the first three of those.  Meanwhile, Catriona also ran well at the IAAF event, following on from a win on the roads at the 'Run in the Dark' race at Stormont Estate in Belfast.  Mary Meade (North Belfast Harriers), Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers), Olivia Brown (Ballydrain Harriers), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) could also start.

Also on Saturday 12th February 2014, Sperrin Harriers will host the fourth race of their well-organised Winter League Trail Series at An Creggan, close to Omagh (County Tyrone).  The event, which was due to take place earlier this month (but was postponed because of snow) will cover a 5 mile course.  

Current league leaders, Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers) will resume battle.  The fast improving pair have enjoyed several exciting dual's throughout the Series so far; in Race 1, Mark took fourth place, with Michael claiming fifth place, but since then, Mark has won the previous two races, with Michael taking the runners up spot in both.  Away from the Series, Mark has produced top performances at the IAAF Antrim International XC, the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships and the Enniskillen XC; he (Mark) has placed well in all.  Michael also looked strong at last weeks Enniskillen XC, as well as the IAAF XC.  These good runs followed a massive personal best at the Greencastle 5 mile road race in late 2013, where the Sperrin Harriers man knocked nearly two minutes off his best when crossing the line in 28:36.  

Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) have both featured in the Series, but it is unlikely that either will race at this event, so the remaining podium place could go to Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners), or one of three Sperrin Harriers men, namely Delfim Pimentel, Paul O'Callaghan and Aaron Meharg.  All four have ran well in the Series so far, with both Michael Kerr and Aaron Meharg finishing in the top three on one occasion.  Delfim Pimentel claimed fourth place in Race 2, while Paul O'Callaghan, another of the Sperrin Harriers squad who has been improving quickly, took fifth place in his only appearance in the Series, in Race 3. Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Darren Church (Magherafelt Harriers), Bliadhan Glass (Sperrin Harriers) and Sean O'Gara (Sperrin Harriers) may also toe the line.

The dominant Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) should continue her strong-hold on the ladies category; having won the previous three races in the Series, it is hard to look past Karen for a pre-race favourite.  Just last Saturday (8th February 2014), the international athlete secured an impressive victory at the Enniskillen XC, following on from wins at the Dungiven 10k and the Moira XC earlier this month.  Karen's new club mate, and rising Sperrin Harriers star, Rhian Pegram, will also play a part at the front.  The junior athlete has been making the headlines on a frequent basis recently, with quality performances at the Raheny 5 and Race 3 of this Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series.  She (Rhian) picked up prizes at both, but the most notable being her second place finish in the junior category at the fiercely contested Raheny 5 three weeks ago.  Other top contenders will include Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) and Sperrin Harriers ladies, Nuala Kelly, Jacqueline Mulligan and Cheryl Cardwell.

Further afield (on Saturday 15th February 2014), a number of NI based endurance athletes will travel to County Kildare (Ireland) for the Dondea 50k ultra-trail race, which will incorporate the AAI National 50k Championships.  

This year the AAI National Championships will attract an array of top ultra running talent, including the 2013 winner and 2:17:00 marathon man Barry Minnock (Rathfarnham WSAF), Irish 100k record holder Keith Whyte (Ennis Track Club), Ireland International ultra-runner and previous winner of the Energia 24 hour event, John O'Regan (Le Chéíle AC), top ultra trail and fell runner Paul Tierney (Eagle AC & Ambleside AC) and the famous author Gerry Duffy (Unattached).  Local athletes should include, Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC), Paul Nesbitt (Unattached), Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Trevor Denton (100 Marathon Club), Robert Reynolds (Unattached) and Jim McCormick (North Belfast Harriers).

The ladies field is likely to be just as competitive and will include at least three athletes who have raced well in Northern Ireland in the last few years; AAI National 50k Champion Olywn Dunne (Cusaders AC), Irish indoor 24hr record holder Valerie Galvin (Club Unknown), Ireland international ultra-runner and previous winner of the Energia 24hr Race, Dierdre Finn (Club Unknown) and Energia 24hr Race competitor Caroline McLoughlin (100 Marathon Club), who also won the gruelling Art O'Neill Challenge in 2013 and 2014.  Accompanying these established athletes will be the speedy Orna Dilworth (Sportsworld AC) and Energia 24hr podium finisher Donna McLoughlin (100 Marathon Club), who is the sister of the aforementioned Caroline McLoughlin.

Also in Ireland, three Seapark AC athletes will take on the Clonakilty Back 2 Back Marathon's on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th February 2014.  Gillian Cordner, Gary Connolly and Bobby Irvine will take on the two 26.2 mile races, which are prodominently based on the scenic coastline close to the town of Clonakilty, West Cork (Ireland).

In Scotland, at least six well-known Northern Ireland runners will toe the line at the tough Carnethy 5 Mountain Race, close to Edinbrugh.  Ryan Stewart (Larne AC), John McManus (East Coast AC), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) and Lagan Valley AC ladies Hazel McLaughlin, Shileen O'Kane and Anne Sandford should all compete well at the event, which takes competitors over five major peaks, covering 6 miles in distance and 2,500ft in ascending.

The NI contingent will have to battle it out with some of the UK's top mountain runners.  Last years winner, Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC), five times Champion Rob Jebb (Bingley Harriers), Salomon athlete and Skyrunning UK athlete commission member, Tom Owens (Shettleston Harriers) who won in 2011 and 2012, British fell running champion Joe Symonds (Hunters Bog Trotters) and his club mate, former Carnethy 5 winner (2012) Orlando Edwards, will all race.  In the ladies event, fourteen times winner Angela Mudge (Carnethy HRC) will be joined on the start line by the NI ladies, as well as the likes of Team GB ultra-runner Debbie Martin-Consani (Garscube Harriers), Ireland international mountain and cross country star Sarah McCormack (Moorfoot Runners), and former winners, Jill Mykura (2005) of Carnethy HRC and Claire Gordon (2010) of Hunters Bog Trotters.

On Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th February 2014, a host of Northern Ireland track stars will travel to Athlone (Ireland) for the Woodies DIY AAI National Indoor Championships, which will be held at the excellent AIT Arena.

Amongst those travelling will be British Athletics Indoor Championships medallist Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC), NI 100m and 200m record holder Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), reigning AAI National 400m (indoor) Champion Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC), Athletics NI 10k (Road) Champion Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), AAI National Juvenile, Junior and Senior 800m Champion Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) and former Commonwealth Games (Dehli 2010) athlete Joanna Mills (Ballymena & Antrim AC).  Other top local athletes to watch out for will include Curtis Woods (Lagan Valley AC), Mark Patterson (North Down AC) and Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC).

On Sunday 16th February 2014, NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) will welcome athletes from across the province to the inaugural running of their NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race, which will take place within the confines of Ballyboley Forest, County Antrim (Race HQ – Killylane Reservoir – BT42 3EP).

The race has attracted significant interest from local athletes; in the men's race, there could be an excellent dual between Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and David Simpson (Unattached).  Both men are exceptionally talented athletes, who seem to excel over rougher terrain; Jonny impressed the pundit's last year when he burst onto the ultra-running scene, winning the Lost World's 100k race.  Since then, the unassuming Ballymena man has gone on to establish himself as one of the provinces top runners, he has won the Mourne Seven Sevens and finished well up the field at the prestigious Ben Nevis Mountain Race (Scotland).  He (Jonny) has also looked strong in this year's Athletics NI XC League, where he has narrowly missed podium places at both the Malcolm Cup and Coleraine XC races.

Over the last twelve months, David Simpson has produced some outstanding performances.  The most notable of these was an excellent win at the 26extreme Mourne Way Marathon and also a comprehensive win at the Tollymore Trail Race; where, interestingly, he turned up for the race after having cycled to Newcastle (County Down) and run up Slieve Donard, prior to starting (he then cycled home)!  International runners, Emmet McAlister (Ballymena Runners) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), will also feature at the front, as will North Belfast Harriers duo Mark McKinstry and Simon Reeve.  Emmet and Alex enjoyed an excellent NIMRA campaign, while Simon Reeve seems to produce the goods over all terrains.  The North Belfast Harriers man returned to action at the Ormeau parkrun two week's ago after a nasty fall forced him to withdraw in the early stages of the Race Over the Glens on New Years Day (2014).  Mark McKinstry is likely to compete in Omagh on Saturday (15th February 2014), but the fast improving athlete, who trains in Ballyboley Forest on a regular basis, will be keen to impress on 'home turf'.  Emmett Woods (Unattached), Philip McNeill (East Antrim Harriers), Michael McKeown (East Down AC), Nigel McClintock (Ballymena Runners), Peter Fleming (Ballymena Runners), Alex Robertson (East Coast AC) and Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners) will also race.

North Belfast Harriers pair Gladys Ganiel O'Neill and Sharon Trimble will head the ladies field; Commonwealth Games qualifier, AAI Half Marathon and Athletics NI 10k (Road) medallist, Gladys will be looking for a good workout as she prepares for this summers Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Scotland). Gladys' 5 mile personal best of 28:02, as well as her experience off-road and in the mountains, will more than likely mean she will start as pre-race favourite. However, her Scotland based North Belfast Harriers club mate, Sharon Trimble, a former winner of the Race Over the Glens and many prestigious Scottish mountain races, will prove hard to beat should she start.  Sharon was part of the Ireland mountain running side who claimed a bronze medal at the World Mountain Running Championships in Poland last September (2013) and is a very strong competitor off-road.

Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) will also play a prominent part at the front, she (Gemma) secured a place on the podium no less than seventeen times last year (2013), with eleven of those being wins.  The Springwell Running Club athlete has kicked off 2014 in the same manner, with a recent third place finish at the Dungiven 10k; as long as she has shaken off the illness/bug that hampered her that day, Gemma will go well here.  Laura Bateson (Unattached), Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers), Cara Hamilton (Unattached) and Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC) will all compete for a top ten finish, while North Down AC's Jessica Craig could be a late addition to the line-up.

Entries for the NiRunning 5m Trail Race will be available on the day (from 9.30am) at Killylane Reservoir (BT42 3EP).  As we expect the Race HQ to be busy on race day, early arrival is strongly recommended.  Registration will close at 10.45am sharp.  For more details on the race, please visit our 'NiRunning Events' page.

Also on Sunday 16th February 2014, North West Triathlon Club (NWTC) will welcome athletes to the fourth and final race of their popular Winter 5k Series. Previous race winners Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC), Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC) and there Spartan club mates, Michael Murphy and Benny Mullan, who have both notched up podium places in the Series so far, should all start.  The City of Derry AC men may be joined on the start line by James Thorpe (Foyle Valley AC), Sarah Kivelehan (City of Derry AC), Gavin Crawford (24/7 Triathlon Club), Kevin Murphy (Magherafelt Harriers) and Paula McGilloway (City of Derry AC). 

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

Record numbers turn out for NI & Ulster Indoor Age Group Championships:

NI & Ulster Indoor Age Group Championships 2014:

On Saturday 8th February and Sunday 9th February 2014, up and coming athletes from across the province were in competition at the NI & Ulster Indoor Age Group Championships, hosted by Athletics NI at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt.

A record amount of entries confirmed the popularity of the event and brought a host of exciting heats on Day 1 of the prestigious Championships.  As the finals commenced in the second half of the day, Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Lydia Mills was one of the first gold medal recipients, as she claimed the Under 17 60m title in 8.16secs.  In the boy’s equivalent, Ben Fisher (City of Lisburn AC) topped the podium after winning in 7.47secs.  

It wasn’t long before City of Lisburn AC were celebrating further wins, with Ikenna Nzewi (7.24secs) and Megan Marrs (7.77secs) winning their respective Under 18 60m finals.  Another City of Lisburn AC athlete was victorious in the Under 19 60m; Karl McClean powered to victory in 7.16secs.  Tir Chonaill AC’s Kelly McGrory (8.04secs) won the girls Under 19 60m, with Christine Logue (Olympian YAC) leading the NI runners home in 8.36secs (2nd place).  As the youngerr athletes then took centre stage, Caleb Moore (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Amy McMenamin (Finn Valley AC) enjoyed gold medal winning performances in the Under 12 60m, with Caleb clocking 8.69secs and Amy 9.19secs.  The Under 13 60 finals brought further victory’s for Ballymena & Antrim AC and Finn Valley AC, as Jonathan Cochrane (8.59secs) and Lauren Callaghan (8.61secs) won their age groups.  

Amy McCauley added to City of Lisburn AC’s medal haul, winning her Under 14 60m final in 8.29secs, before Lifford AC’s Niall Quinn (8.22secs) led the boy’s home; Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Reece McMurray was the first NI finisher in 8.30secs (2nd place).  In the Under 15 60m finals, Hannah Vogan (Banbridge AC) ran well, breaking the beam in 8.37secs for the win; Lifford AC’s Thomas Mullen then claimed a photo-finish win over Bradley Mulholland (City of Lisburn AC), after both boys recorded 7.85secs in an excellent race.  In the final 60m event, Mid Ulster AC’s talented Martin Mellon won the Under 16 category in 7.56secs.  In the earlier girls Under 16 60m final, Finn Valley AC’s Janine Boyle (8.02secs) pipped North Belfast Harriers’ Caitlin Maguire (8.22secs) to the gold medal.

Eva McMullin (Tir Chonaill) sealed victory in the Under 18 girls 300m final, after running 43.84secs for the distance; Omagh Harriers’ cross country star Eilish Flanagan (44.55secs) was the first Northern Ireland athlete home in 2nd place.  In the 400m, Ben Daly (Banbridge AC), Anna Lawther (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Martin McGeady (City of Derry AC) all secured gold medals.  Ben won the Under 18 category in 56.94secs, with Anna (65.60secs) and Martin (51.76secs) winning the Under 19’s.  Young Finn Valley AC athlete Amy McMenamin (2:00.53) collected her second gold medal of the day when she clocked the fastest 600m time of the Under 12 category, Shercock AC’s Michael McCullagh (1:53.96) won the boy’s section, with 3 Ways AC’s Odhran Hamilton leading the NI runners home in 1:55.29 (2nd place).  Daniella Jansen (Finn Valley AC) and Aidan McCluskey (Mid Ulster AC) topped the podium in the Under 13 600m, running 1:54.01 and 1:49.74 respectively.

The 800m specialists were next onto the start line, with Aine Corcoran (Shercock AC) and Niall Quinn (Lifford AC) taking gold in the Under 14 category, after crossing then line in 2:27.64 and 2:26.51; City of Lisburn AC’s Amie Bradley (2nd place -2:35.50) and Omagh Harriers’ Jack Moore (2nd place – 2:28.22) were the first local runners to finish.  There was then an excellent Under 15 800m double for Omagh Harriers, with Enya Haigney (2:27.37) and Sean Corry (2:21.63) recording the fastest times.  

The Under 16 800m events were won by Niamh Malone (Monaghan Phoenix AC) and Alan McGinley (Lifford AC), with Naimh running 2:20.04 and Alan 2:13.41.  The first Northern Ireland based athletes to cover the distance in the aforementioned Under 16 race were Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Lauren Strange (4th place – 2:35.91) and City of Derry AC’s Fintan Stewart (2nd place – 2:15.63).  There were commanding wins for Oisin O’Callaghan (Newry AC) and Amy Hamill (Glaslough Harriers) in the Under 17 800m; Oisin continued his recent good form to lead the field home in 2:04.81, nearly four seconds clear of his closest rival, while Amy clocked 2:20.12; Willowfield Harriers’ Lois Hagen ran well to take 2nd place in 2:24.65.

The Under 18 and Under 19 800m were mixed events, which saw Karen Gallagher (Lifford AC) and Anna Lawther (Ballymena & Antrim AC) win the girls race in 2:25.13 and 2:44.05 respectively, while in the boy’s mixed age group race, Roland Surlis (Annalee AC) – 2:02.13 and Shane McGowan (City of Derry AC) – 2:02.54 picked up gold medals.

Day 2 (Sunday 9th February 2014) brought an emphatic win for City of Lisburn AC star Rebekah Douglas in the Under 16 1500m race, the future star won in 5:08.20, a massive twenty four seconds clear of the next finisher.  The Under 16 boys race was much different, with only 0.06secs separating Shercock AC’s Darragh Drury (1st place - 4:36.64) and City of Derry AC’s Fintan Stewart (2nd place - 4:36.70).  Glaslough Harriers’ Amy Hamill (4:54.42), Annalee AC’s Clodagh O’Reilly (4:47.89) and Springwell Running Clubs Emma Lusby (5:35.62) won their respective Under 17, 18 and 19 races, before Oisin O’Callaghan completed an impressive 800m/1500m double, when winning the Under 17 1500m in 4:26.64.  Shane McGowan (City of Derry AC) also completed the same double, after winning the Under 18 1500m race in 4:19.69.  In the Under 19 category, Letterkenny AC’s Peter Gibbons cruised to victory in 4:19.71.

The hurdlers then got their chance to show off their immense potential, with Finn Valley AC’s Cate Smyth (10.80secs) and Jamie Dugdale (10.68secs) producing excellent performances in the Under 13 races.  There were also wins for Ireland based Shercock AC Under 14 runners Jayne Drury (9.73secs) and Mark Hughes (10.24secs); Northern Ireland juniors Grace Hillman (City of Lisburn AC) and Conall O’Neill (City of Derry AC) both claimed silver medals in the same category, with Grace running 10.03secs and Conall 10.86secs.  City of Lisburn AC’s Bradley Mulholland (10.46secs) went one better than his second place finish on Day 1, when he secured victory in the Under 15 60m hurdles, with Abbey Sexton (Annalee AC) winning the girls equivalent in 10.16secs. Dromore AC’s Kerry McDowell (10.44secs) was the first NI finisher in 2nd place.

Josh Armstrong (9.67secs) and Alix Galbraith (9.38secs), both of City of Lisburn AC, collected silver medals in their Under 16 60m hurdles races, which were won by Niamh Malone (Monaghan Phoenix AC) and Brandon Connolly (Lifford AC) in 9.33secs and 9.46secs respectively.  The brilliant Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) followed up her gold medal in the 60m flat by securing the Under 18 60m hurdles title in 8.86secs; Annalee AC’s Aine Brady (9.41secs) and City of Derry AC’s Naomi Morgan (9.74secs) won the girls Under 17 and Under 19 60m hurdles, while Paul Sexton (Annalee AC) – 8.66secs and Ben Fisher (City of Lisburn AC) – 10.60secs won the Under 18 and Under 17 boys 60m hurdles.

Martin Mellon (Mid Ulster AC) and Martin McGeady (City of Derry AC) made it two titles in two days, with Martin Mellon (24.58secs) taking the Under 16 200m gold and Martin McGeady (23.10secs) claiming the Under 19 200m gold.  Jessica O’Hare (City of Derry AC) won the Under 16 200m in 26.53secs, while in the Under 17 category, Aine Brady (Annalee AC) – 27.01secs and Stephen McGahey – 24.16secs also celebrated wins.  In the final 200m races of the day, the Under 18’s races, Kate Walsh (Tir Chonaill AC) and Gareth Thompson (City of Lisburn AC) secured impressive victory’s, with Kate running 27.07secs and Gareth 23.37secs.  Eimear Walsh (Unattached) was the first NI athlete home in the aforementioned Under 18 girls 200m final, after recording 27.41secs.

In the relay events, there were podium places for Northern Ireland based club’s City of Lisburn AC (1st place in Under 14 girls – 4x200m in 1:53.11), Ballymena & Antrim AC (2nd place in Under 14 boys – 4x200m in 2:02.64), Omagh Harriers (1st place in Under 16/Under 18 girls 4x200m in 1:59.21), Mid Ulster AC (2nd place in Under 16 boys – 4x200m in 1:49.00) and City of Derry AC (3rd place in Under 16 boys – 4x200m in 1:50.83).

Full Results:  NI & Ulster Indoor Age Group Championships 2014 Results – Day 1 and Day 2

Note:  Photographs above were taken by Bob Given of Bob Given Photography.  For a more in-depth report on the NI & Ulster Indoor Age Group Championships, please visit our 'Blogs' section and read NiRunning contributor John Glover's view on proceedings (including field events).

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

East Antrim Marathon Series (Event 2):

On Saturday 8th February 2014, twenty eight hardy endurance enthusiasts took on the second event of the East Antrim Marathon Series, which on this occasion, took places in the area of Greenisland, Monkstown and Jordanstown.

Experienced ultra-runner Ger Copeland (Club Unknown) was the first athlete to complete the four lap 26.2 mile course, crossing the line in 3:08:13 (1st place).  Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC), a podium finisher in the inaugural East Antrim Marathon Series event in December 2013, took 2nd place in 3:14:40, before Barry Casserly (Unattached) completed the first three male finishers in 3:17:03 (3rd place).

Respected Seapark AC athlete, Gillian Cordner, who is taking on the infamous Clonakilty Back to Back marathon's this coming weekend, led the ladies home in 3:37:06 (1st place).  Another experienced marathoner, Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners), winner of the 26extreme Titanic 101k in 2013, claimed 2nd place in 3:42:55, just over thirty minutes ahead of Loran Murphy, who completed the distance in 4:14:36 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Ger Copeland (Club Unknown) - 3:08:13, 2nd Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC) - 3:14:40, 3rd Barry Casserly (Unattached) - 3:17:03

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) - 3:37:06, 2nd Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) - 3:42:55, 3rd Loran Murphy (Unattached) - 4:14:36

Full Results:  East Antrim Marathon Series (Event 2 - 8/2/14) 2014 Results

Katie Kirk secures bronze at British Athletics Indoor Championships:

Sainsburys British Athletics Indoor Championships (Day 2) 2014:

On Sunday 9th February 2014, Northern Ireland athlete Katie Kirk (Lagn Valley AC) produced an exceptional performance to claim a bronze medal over 800m at the Sainsburys British Athletics Indoor Championships (Day 2), at the EIS Arena in Sheffield, England.

The 20 year old Lagan Valley AC lady impressed on Day 1 (Saturday 8th February 2014), whilst securing her place in the final. She (Katie) took 3rd place in Heat 3, running 2:06.38, a mere 0.06secs off her 800m personal best.  In the final, Katie looked strong as she finished well, just pipping well-known Team GB athlete Jenny Meadows to 3rd place, after clocking 2:06.76 for the distance.  The gold medal was won by established Scottish athlete Laura Muir (VP Glasgow AC) in 2:06.04.

In the 200m, Northern Ireland man Leon Reid (Bristol & West AC) recorded 21.48secs in his 200m heat (Heat 2), which was won by Ryan Oswald (Sale AC) in 21.36secs.  The overall 200m competition was won by Chris Clarke (Newham & Essex Beagles) in 20.68secs.  This completed a good weekend for Northern Ireland athletes at the prestigious Championships, a full summary from Day 1 is available further down this page.

Full Results:  Sainsburys British Athletics Indoor Championships (Day 2) 2014 Results (Photograph used above was taken from Athletics NI website)

Stephen Duncan and Karen Alexander win at inaugural Enniskillen XC:

Athletics NI XC League:  Enniskillen XC 2014

On Saturday 8th February 2014, athletes from across the province descended on Necarne Estate, Irvinestown (County Fermanagh) for the penultimate race of the well supported Athletics NI Cross Country League 2013/14, the Enniskillen XC, hosted by Enniskillen Running Club.

After the competitive junior races had sufficiently warmed up spectators, the senior (and veteran) ladies took to the line for their 4.5k race.  This brought the much awaited dual between experienced international Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) and recently crowned NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers); in the end, it was Karen Alexander who claimed victory, after crossing the line in 19:59, thus replicating the outcome at the McConnell Shield XC back in November 2013.  Michelle finished in 20:08 (2nd place), while her Omagh Harriers club mate, Julie Butler, ran well to complete the podium places in 20:32 (3rd place).  

In the ladies team competition, City of Derry AC claimed top honours (1st place), with Omagh Harriers and Springwell Running Club taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively; Springwell Running Clubs points may prove vital as it cements there place at the top of the ladies standings with only one league fixture remaining.

In the men's 7.5k event, Omagh Harriers' Stephen Duncan continued his impressive return to competition with another exceptional performance.  After winning the NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships earlier this month, Stephen made it two wins from two outings (in 2014), breaking the tape in 28:59 (1st place). Foyle Valley AC captain Scott Rankin (2nd place – 29:33) added to his good runs throughout the XC league with another podium place, after a good start, the Athletics NI 5k (Road) and NI & Ulster 5,000m silver medallist, took 2nd place in 29:33.  Local athlete and respected marathon pacer, Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) secured 3rd place in 30:01.  

The always impressive City of Derry AC team secured 1st place in the team standings, which puts the in an uncatchable position at the top of the overall Athletics NI XC League; North Down AC took 2nd place, with Clones AC sealing 3rd place on the day.

Individual Podium Places:

Top 3 Ladies (4.5k):  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 19:59, 2nd Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) – 20:08, 3rd Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) – 20:32

Top 3 Men (7.5k):  1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 28:59, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 29:33, 3rd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 30:01

Team Podium Places:

Top 3 Ladies (4.5k):  1st City of Derry AC, 2nd Omagh Harriers, 3rd Springwell Running Club

Top 3 Men (7.5k):  1st City of Derry AC, 2nd North Down AC, 3rd Clones AC

Full Results:  Enniskillen XC 2014 Results

NI athletes impress at Sainsburys British Athletics Indoor Championships:

Sainsburys British Athletics Indoor Championships (Day 1) 2014:

On Saturday 8th February 2014, a number of Northern Ireland athletes were in action on Day 1 of the Sainsburys British Athletics Indoor Championships, at the EIS Arena in Sheffield (England).  

Up against top quality opposition, the local stars put in some excellent performances, doing both themselves and Northern Ireland proud.  Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), kicked off proceedings for the local contingent, clocking a seasons best of 7.36secs to qualify from Heat 5 of the 60m in 2nd place; the heat was won by Annabelle Lewis (Kingston Upon Hull AC) in 7.35secs.  Amy then progressed through Semi-Final 3, which was won by Blackheath AC's Montell Douglas (7.29secs), the City of Lisburn AC stars finish time of 7.35secs sealed 3rd place as well as a place in the final.  The best was yet to come for Amy, as she powered to an excellent 4th place finish in the final, equalling her 60m personal best of 7.33secs.  This was a mere one hundredth of a second away from the IAAF World Indoor Championships qualifying standard of 7.32secs.  Newham & Essex Beagles athlete Asha Philip was crowned British Champion after winning in a new stadium record of 7.09secs.

Also in the 60m, NI man Oliver Back (Liverpool Harriers) recorded a new personal best of 6.82secs to finish in 5th place in Semi-Final 2, which was won by Dwain Chambers (Belgrave Harriers) in  6.59secs.  This was after Oliver had ran 6.87secs to finish in 3rd place in Heat 5; this race was won by Sean Safo Antwi (Enfield Harriers) in 6.68secs.  The overall men's 60m competition was won by Croydon AC's James Dasaolu (6.50secs).

Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) produced one of the performances of the day in her 800m race (Heat 3).  After starting well, the former Commonwealth Games competitor crossed the line in 2:06.38 (3rd place), just 0.06secs off her personal best.  This was enough to claim a place in tomorrows (Sunday 9th February 2014) final; Heat 3 was won by decorated Team GB athlete Jenny Meadows in 2:05.68.  Also in the 800m (Heat 3), Mark Patterson (North Down AC) recorded 1:56.02 (6th place) – Heat 3 was won by Gary Learmonth (Lasswade AC) in 1:51.08.

In the 1500m, Ballymena & Antrim AC's Gareth Hill covered the distance in 4:02.95 to take 6th place; the race was won by Championship contender Charlie Grice (Brighton Phoenix AC) in 3:52.38.  Current AAI Cross Country Champion, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Athletics NI 10k (Road) Champion, Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), were the final familiar faces to toe the line on Day 1.  In their 3,000m race, both men ran well; Paul Pollock led the field through 2,000m, but was unable to sustain the pace as Andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) moved clear in the latter stages.  However, the Annadale Striders man held on for a massive new personal best of 8:09.54 (6th place).  Conor Bradley celebrated a seasons best time of 8:16.49, taking 12th place.  Andy Vernon won the race in 7:56.84.

Day 2 (Sunday 9th February 2014) will see Northern Ireland athletes Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) and Leon Reid (Bristol & West AC) take to the track. Katie will line up in the 800m final, while Leon will begin his 200m campaign.  A summary in relation to their performances will be added on Sunday evening (9th February 2014). 

Full Results:  Sainsburys British Athletics Indoor Championships (Day 1) 2014 Results

Stephen Prentice and Julie Murphy win Born 2 Run 'Minnowburn 10k':

Born 2 Run host Minnowburn 10k:

On Saturday 8th February 2014, hundreds of runners of runners turned out for the latest instalment of Born 2 Run's 'Run Forest Run' Series, the Minnowburn 10k, which took place in the vicinity of the Mary Peters Track in Belfast.

Pre-race favourites, Stephen Prentice (QUB AC), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) and Stuart Paulin (Unattached) played a major part at the front as predicted, although it was Stephen Prentice who impressed most.  The Queens University student, who also represents Enniskillen Running Club, continued the form that brought him a top ten finish at the recent NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships, to win in 35:12.  Conor Curran (36:05) continued his build-up to the summer racing season with a 2nd place finish, before Stuart Paulin claimed his second podium finish in three days; after finishing second at the 26extreme Winter Trail Race on Thursday night (6th February 2014), Stuart secured 3rd place in 37:26.

Lagan Valley AC's Julie Murphy, an age category medallist at the NI & Ulster XC Championships in Lurgan earlier this month, looked strong as she dominated the ladies race before breaking the tape in 42:25 (1st place).  Parkrun regular, Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) followed in 43:37 (2nd place), before the ever consistent Carla Prentice (Unattached) completed the tough course in 45:35 (3rd place)

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Prentice (QUB AC) – 35:12, 2nd Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:05, 3rd Stuart Paulin (Unattached) – 37:26

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 42:25, 2nd Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) – 43:37, 3rd Carla Prentice (Unattached) – 45:35

Full Results:  Born 2 Run 'Minnowburn 10k' 2014 Results

Chris Madden and Jenny McCready secure wins at 26extreme event:

26extreme host Winter Trail Race in Stormont Estate:

On Thursday 6th February 2014, well over one hundred and fifty runners descended on the grounds of Parliament Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast for the 26extreme Winter Trail Race.

In torchlight, the athletes covered a two lap course, measuring approximately 10k in distance, and it was the in-form City of Lisburn AC athlete Chris Madden who led from start to finish; having enjoyed an impressive victory at the Born 2 Run 'Gosford 10k' last month (January 2014), Chris looked confident as he cruised to victory in 33:08 (1st place). Interestingly, it was Stuart Paulin (Unattached), the man who had finished third to Chris in Gosford, who took the runners up spot. Stuart crossed the line in 34:36 (2nd place), before North Belfast Harriers' Alan Ritchie claimed 3rd place exactly one minute later in 35:56. 

Jenny McCready (Unattached) ran out comfortable winner in the ladies race, breaking the tape in 43:09 (1st place), well over a minute clear of Deirdre Johnston (Unattached), who recorded 44:36 (2nd place) for the course.  Victoria Simms (Holme Pierrepont RC), a podium finisher at the Action on Hearing Loss road race in December 2013, completed the top three ladies in 45:27 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) – 33:08, 2nd Stuart Paulin (Unattached) – 34:36, 3rd Alan Ritchie (North Belfast Harriers) – 35:36

Top 3 Ladies:   1st Jenny McCready (Unattached) - 43:09, 2nd Deirdre Johnston (Unattached) - 44:36, 3rd Victoria Simms (Holme Pierrepont RC) - 45:27 

Full Results:  26extreme Winter Trail Race (Stormont Estate) 2014 Results

Weekend Preview:  A busy weekend ahead for NI athletes...

Weekend Preview: Road, trail, track and cross country...

As the midweek wind and rain begins to subside (hopefully!), running enthusiasts can look forward to a storming weekend of action in Northern Ireland; road, track, trail and cross country is covered on what looks to be an excellent, and busy weekend of competition.  On the track, there is the NI & Ulster Indoor Age Group Championships, while on 'the country', Enniskillen Running Club will host the Enniskillen XC.  

There is also the Born 2 Run 'Minnowburn' trail race in Belfast, the North West Triathlon Club road race and an East Antrim Marathon Series event to look forward to. Northern Ireland will also be well represented at the prestigious British Athletics Indoor Championships in Sheffield, England.

On Saturday 8th February 2014, the action kicks off in Northern Ireland's capital city, Belfast (County Antrim), where the Born 2 Run roadshow will descend on the home of Northern Ireland athletics, the Mary Peters Track.  However, the redeveloped track and stadium will not be the focus of the attention, as the latest instalment in the 'Run Forest Run' Series, the Minnowburn 10k will take place on the trails surrounding the impressive stadium.

Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Stuart Paulin (Unattached) and Stephen Prentice (QUB AC) will be the men to watch at the head of the pack. Although a talented and experienced athlete, Conor Curran is somewhat of a 'new boy' to the trails.  However, his experience over cross country and particularly his impressive showing at the recent NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships, where he claimed a top ten finish, proves that he can mix it with the best away from the road/track; Conor's road speed will also be a major factor here.  Unattached athlete, Stuart Paulin, is a regular podium finisher off-road; the 26extreme and Born 2 Run event regular looked strong as he took second place at the 26extreme Winter Trail Race in Stormont Estate last night (Thursday 6th February 2014) and third place at the Born 2 Run event in Gosford Forest three weeks ago (January 2014).  He (Stuart) should finish in a similar position on this occasion, despite only having 48 hours rest between races.  

Stephen Prentice is another man who knows the podium well; last year, he found himself there at least four times, with the most notable performances being wins at the Jengana 10k and the Fivemiletown 10k.  Stephen's only race in 2014 saw him finish in an excellent eighth place at the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships in Lurgan, so he'll be going into this event high in confidence.  Other men to look out for include Richard Watt (Unattached), Declan Teague (East Down AC), Gerard McNamara (North Belfast Harriers), Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC), Eric Montgomery (Lagan Valley AC), Lawerence Fox (Raheny Shamrock AC) and David Noble (Larne AC).

In the ladies race, Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) and Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) look to be the most obvious contenders for the top three prizes.  Julie Murphy has started 2014 in fine fashion, with two brilliant runs, at the IAAF Antrim International XC and then the NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships, where she secured a second place finish in her Vet35 category.  On top of this, the Lagan Valley AC lady has led the ladies field home at the Portrush and Queens parkrun events this month.   Orangegrove AC's Louise Lemon is a consistent performer, who is always in or around the top places.  At the last Born 2 Run event in Gosford Forest, Louise took fourth place; this followed a solid performance in the muck at the IAAF Antrim XC.  Maeve Lavery is a parkrun regular, and continually impresses at the Queens event, where she has recorded a 5k personal best of 20:02.  She (Maeve) also recorded 6:02.67 at the last NiRunning Mile event at Antrim Stadium in 2013.  

Louise Smart has welcomed 2014 with several solid performances at the Race Over the Glens, Born 2 Run 'Gosford 10k', NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships and the IAAF Antrim International XC.  This could be the race where the County Antrim Harriers star moves closer to a top three finish; however, she (Louise) will have to stave off tough competition from Laura Bateson (Unattached), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers), Catherine Fearon (Up & Runners) and Andrea Hislop (Dromore AC).

Also on Saturday 8th February 2014, Enniskillen Running Club will host the penultimate fixture of the Athletics NI Cross Country League, the Enniskillen XC, in Necarne Estate, Irvinestown (County Fermanagh); with team prizes at stake, as well as individual reputations, the competition will be as exciting as always.

Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) will all play a major part in proceedings.  Current NI & Ulster 5k (Road) Champion, Declan Reed will be keen to build on his noteable outing at the Raheny 5 two weeks ago, where he covered the 5 mile course in 25:43, an excellent time considering the conditions.  Should Stephen Duncan toe the line, it will ensure an excellent battle between the pair; when putting Declan's recent form up against Stephen's exceptional performance at the recent NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships, which saw him cruise to a gold medal, it sets things up for an excellent race.

Another top quality athlete scheduled to race is Scott Rankin; Scott has been one of the stand out performers in the Athletics NI XC League so far, after securing runners-up places at the Coleraine XC, the North West XC and the Malcolm Cup XC.  The NI & Ulster 5,000m (Track) and 5k (Road) silver medallist also finished just outside the prizes at the McConnell Shield XC (fifth place), but will be hopeful of making another podium appearance here.  

If you throw current NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion, Conan McCaughey into the mix, it builds the hype even more.  Since Conan's win at the aforementioned NI & Ulster Novice XC Championships, he has continued to show great strength, with top ten placings at the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships and the Scottish Universities (East District) XC Championships, and a podium place at the Greencastle 5 mile road race, where he ran a new personal best of 26:40.  

As previously mentioned, with the all important team trophy is still up for grabs, it is expected that the depth of the field will be strong, City of Derry AC will want to hold onto top spot, meaning the likes of Greg Roberts, James Brown, Emmett McGinty and Gary Slevin could start alongside Declan Reed.  Behind, chasers North Down AC, Foyle Valley AC and Springwell Running Club, who are all still in the mix, are likely to be represented by Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Dennis Scott (North Down AC), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) and Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club), amongst others.  Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Paul O'Callaghan (Sperrin Harriers), Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers), Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers) and Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) will also finish well up the field.

Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers), Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC), Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC), Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC) and Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) should head the ladies field.  Newly crowned NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion, Michelle Sturm will be out to stamp her authority, on what is relatively local soil.  The exceptionally talented athlete appears to race sparingly throughout the year, away from cross country, but always shows well when she does turn out.  Based on her strong performance in Lurgan two weeks ago, Michelle will prove hard to beat should she enter on the day.  However, that will not put Karen Alexander off, the Northern Ireland international actually beat the Omagh Harriers lady at the McConnell Shield XC in November 2013, so will be keen to emulate that result here.  Since then, Karen has won the Born 2 Run 'Gosford 10k', Dungiven 10k, Moira XC and all of the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series races, so will be starting in top form.  

Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC) has been running well since recovering from a shoulder injury at the back end of 2013, she (Donna) claimed a podium place at the Greencastle 5 after running 33:23 for 5 miles; more recently, Donna has won her category at the IAAF Antrim International XC and the NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships.  City of Derry AC star, Marina Campbell has been involved at the front end of every race in the cross country league (that she has entered) so far, with her most impressive display coming at the McConnell Shield XC, where she finished well to beat Gemma Turley to third place.  Marina has also impressed on the roads, she won the 'Run in the Dark' 5k in 20:02, a decent time when taking the hilly course into account.  The final of our featured athletes and possible contenders is Julie Butler; Julie is a versatile runner and a regular category winner, she (Julie) represented Northern Ireland at the British & Irish Masters XC Championships in Cardiff (Wales) in late 2013, which shows her quality over this terrain.  Julie will play a part at the front, and will be amongst the honours, be it category or podium prizes.

Springwell Running Club ladies Gemma Turley, Gillian Wasson and Karen McLaughlin will be out to cement their teams position at the top of the league. However, Omagh Harriers, Foyle Valley AC and Sperrin Harriers will also field strong teams, which could include several of the ladies above, as well as Trish McClintock (Foyle Valley AC), Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC), Denise McElhone (Foyle Valley AC), Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers), Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers), Mairead McCann (Omagh Harriers), Rhian Pegram (Sperrin Harriers), Nuala Kelly (Sperrin Harriers) and Chery Cardwell (Sperrin Harriers).

Endurance enthusiasts will also be catered for this weekend, when the East Antrim Marathon Series organisers hold their second 26.2 mile in Greenisland (County Antrim) on Saturday 8th February 2014.  The course will follow four laps around the area of Greenisland, Monkstown and Jordanstown.  Well-known distance runners Barry Shanks (St Peters AC), Ger Copeland (Unattached), Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Gary Connolly (Seapark AC), Ken Beggs (East Antrim Harriers), Ryan Armastrong (Ballymena Runners), Craig Mills (Unattached), Steven Gibson (Unattached), Ali Shaw (Springwell Running Club), Trevor Denton (Springwell Running Club), Iryna Kennedy (Lagan Valley AC) and Steve Gibson (Unattached) are part of the thirty strong invited field.

Further afield, Northern Ireland will be well represented at the British Athletics Indoor Championships in Sheffield, England on Saturday 8th February and Sunday 9th February 2014.  Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) will race over 60 metres.  After winning last weekend in Athlone (Ireland) last week. the 25 year old said it was good to get a fastest ever season’s opening time of 7.40 seconds.  Looking ahead, Amy's key targets this year will no doubt be the Commonwealth Games in Scotland and the European Championships in Zurich.

Fellow sprinter and European Junior silver medallist Leon Reid (Bristol & West AC) will also be competing in Sheffield. The 19 year old will be making his first major appearance since receiving confirmation that he is eligible to compete for Northern Ireland.  Last summer, Leon, who is a former English Schools' 100 metres champion, took silver over 200 metres in the European Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy in 20.92 seconds, with a heat time of 20.62 seconds.  He (Leon) will be racing over 200 metres in Sheffield and is currently in good form as shown by his indoor 60 metres personal best of 6.87 seconds last weekend in Finland. 


Irish Cross Country champion Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) will be making an unusual appearance over 3,000 metres, where he will be aiming to qualify for the World Indoor Championships in Poland next month (March 2014). The England based star will need to set a new personal best to reach the required standard.  City of Derry AC's Conor Bradley will also be running in the 3,000 metres and has shown excellent form of late, recording a 1500m best of 3:43.37 last weekend in Athlone.  Letterkenny AC's Danny Mooney and Ballymena & Antrim AC's Gareth Hill, who won at the Athletics Ireland Open Games last weekend, will be running in the 1500m.   Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) will race over 800 metres, following on from her AAI Indoor Open Games time of 2:06.32, which took a second off her previous best.  Also racing over the 800m distance will be City of Lisburn AC's Erin McIlveen and North Down AC's Mark Patterson. Information for the British Athletics Indoor Championships preview was taken from Athletics NI website.

In Magherafelt (County Tyrone), some of the provinces top junior athletes will descend on the Meadowbank Sports Arena for this years NI & Ulster Indoor Age Group Championships, which will run on Saturday 8th February and Sunday 9th February 2014.  Up and coming stars, Zach McGowan (Derry City Track Club), Rachel Brown (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Shane McGowan (City of Derry AC), Rebecca Nixon (Dromore AC), Anna Lawther (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Amando Bamisile (Willowfield Harriers), Jack McCloskey (City of Derry AC) and Jake Harbinson (Ballymena & Antrim AC) while be amongst the host of local medal contenders in what will be two days of fierce competition.

On Sunday 9th February 2014, North West Triathlon Club (NWTC) will welcome athletes to the fourth and final race of their popular Winter 5k Series. Previous race winner Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC) and his Spartan club mates, Michael Murphy and Benny Mullan, who have both notched up podium places in the Series so far, should all start.  The trio may be joined on the start line by James Thorpe (Foyle Valley AC), Sarah Kivelehan (City of Derry AC), Gavin Crawford (24/7 Triathlon Club), Kevin Murphy (Magherafelt Harriers) and Paula McGilloway (City of Derry AC).

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

Brooks Armagh International Road Races launched:

Brooks Armagh International Road Races launched:

The Brooks sponsored Armagh 5k and the programme of Armagh International Road Races looks set to present the most exciting night’s athletics in the now 24 year history of the event.

Brooks have come on board for the second year with a sponsorship deal that has included a huge PR campaign for the race; they along with the Armagh AC team and Armagh City & District Council have really increased the stature of the event. In addition, many Armagh based businesses have put their weight behind the race.  

With a host of athletes combining National, European, World and Olympic experience between them there’s every possibility that both the men’s and women’s records could be broken.

The women’s challenge is led by the current record holder Mary Cullen (North Sligo AC) and her main challenge is likely to come from the leading Polish International Matylda Szlezak, a semi-finalist from the London Olympics whose best 3,000m time equals the course record set last year by Ireland’s Mary Cullen at 9:07.  However, the current fastest woman in the field is Stevie Stockton (Loughborough University); the Welsh International who has recently recorded 9:00.67 and she’ll be another one to watch out for.  Also in the line-up is Ireland’s Ava Hutchinson (DSD AC), who was a member of the famous Irish European Cross Country Championship gold medal winning team two years ago.  Eva has a 3,000m best of 9:04 which will put her well in contention.

One of the most interesting entries is from Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC), who leads the Northern Ireland team.  Kerry has twice before won this race and despite an absence of a couple of years has extensive knowledge of the problems posed by this course with its tight bends and the gradient on Mall West. The USA has one runner in the field, Shauna McNiff, who comes with huge experience and a previous best of 9:20, which will put her in serious contention.  Other runners with Armagh experience include Ellie Stevens (Birchfield Harriers), who will be running here for the fifth time; Ellie has always one of the top finishers. Rachel Bamford (Club Unknown), who was fourth last year, hopes to go a couple of places better this year.  The host club, Armagh AC has two runners on the Northern Ireland team Fionnuala Ross who is NI 10,000m record holder and Danielle Fegan who was third in this year’s NI & Ulster Cross Country Championships. 

Record potential also stretches to the men's field:

On paper, the men's line-up for the Brooks Armagh 5k is the strongest in the 24 year history of the race, with unparalleled depth in the one hundred pre-entries, with approximately ten sub 14 minute runners and dozens of sub 15 minutes runners.  The Armagh 5k is an elite race with a qualifying time of 17 minutes or better and in recent years has been a tightly contested event, with never more than two and a half minutes separating first and last and up to forty runners inside 15 minutes.  The race has captured the imagination of runners everywhere looking for a good race to enhance their personal bests.

This year is no exception with some great athletes from Ireland, Poland, USA, England, Scotland and Wales. Tom Lancashire of Bolton AC looks the most serious contender and he’ll be arriving after a period of altitude training in Kenya.  He (Tom) won the British 1500m Olympic trials and has a best 1500m time of 3:33.96 as well as a 7:56.01 3,000m and a 13:34.44 5000m best.  Tom will be joined by fellow countrymen Ryan McLeod (Tipton Harriers) and Nick McCormick (Morpeth AC); Nick won the race in 2010.  Ryan McLeod is the son of the famous Mick McLeod and has a 5,000m best of 13:41.35, while Nick McCormick has run 13:18 for the distance.  Polish International Kryzysztof Zebrowski heads up a quartet with a PB of 3.35.07 for 1500m.  Another of the Polish contingent is National U-23 Cross Country champion Marek Skorupa, who finished in the top 20 at the European XC Championships recently.

Mark Kenneally (Ireland) is the best on paper of a strong Irish contingent with a personal best 5,000m time of 13:36.71 and a marathon best of 2:13.55.  Joining him are athletes of the calibre of Michael Mulhare (North Laois AC), Mick Clohessey (Raheny Shamrock AC), John Coghlan (MSB AC), Joe Warren (Club Unknown) and Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC).  The USA has just two athletes this year but Kevin Schwab is another runner likely to chase the top positions with a 3,000m best of 7:57 and 5,000m at 13:36.  Matt Bond (Liverpool Harriers) is another English runner with the form to challenge everyone, he has a 5,000m best of 13:50 to his credit.

David Nightingale’s record of 13.54 for a few years ago could face it’s best challenge in recent years.  Leuan Thomas leads a strong Welsh National team, and has a personal best time of 13:59.   Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) leads the local charge, with a best of 13:58.55, he has the ability to come up with the goods.  Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) and Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) are also in the Northern Ireland team.  However, a host of other local stars, including Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers), Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), Conor Curran (North Harriers), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Garry Murray (St Malachy's AC) are also expected to race.

The twelve event programme kicks off at 6.30pm with nine junior races warming things up for the Women’s International 3k (8.05pm). Then at 8.20pm the International Armagh Brooks 5k, followed at 8.45pm by the Open Men’s 3k. 

Seamus Lynch wins as NI mountain runners impress in Ireland:

Northern Ireland based athletes run well at IMRA event:

On Sunday 2nd February 2014, several mountain running enthusiasts from NI travelled to the Ticknock Winter Mountain Race, just outside Dublin (Ireland); the event, which covered a 8.2k course (including approximately 330m of ascending), attracted nearly three hundred participants, including decorated Irish athlete and current course record holder Eoin Keith (Boards AC) and well-known Letterkenny AC man Gary Crossan.

However, it was a Northern Ireland man who stole the show.  Seamus Lynch, a member of Newcastle AC's NI & Ulster XC Championship winning team, and an athlete who has proved himself over nearly every terrain, led the quality field home in 38:08 (1st place).  Fellow NI men, David Hughes (Mourne Runners) and Pete Grant (Newry City Runners) also performed well, with David crossing the line in 42:55 (18th place) and Pete 42:59 (19th place).

In the ladies race, Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) continued her progression through the mountain running ranks with another solid performance; after an impressive outing at the Howth Mountain Race (Dublin) last month, the Orangegrove AC lady completed the tough course in 1:07:09 (29th place).  The ladies race was won by Niamh O'Boyle (CNOC AC) in 47:05.

Full Results:  Ticknock Winter Mountain Race 2014 Results

Foster, Woods, Hill, McLaughlin and Crossey win at AAI Indoor Games:

NI athletes claim podium places and personal bests in Athlone:

On Sunday 2nd February 2014, a host of Northern Ireland's top track stars were in competition at the Woodies DIY AAI Indoor Open Games, hosted by Athletics Ireland at the AIT Arena in Athlone; there were numerous notable performances by local athletes, including several wins, podium places and personal bests.

Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) got the day off to an excellent start for the NI contingent, the Northern Ireland 100m (joint) and 200m record holder won her 60m event in 7.40secs, the fastest she has ever run for a season opener.  Kenny Elliot (North Down AC), Conor McLaughlin (Strabane Track Club), Curtis Woods (North Down AC) and Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC) all lined up in the proceeding men's 60m races, which saw Shercock AC's Craig Lynch (6.88secs) cover the distance quickest.  Conor McLaughlin claimed 2nd place in Race 5, after crossing the line in 7.17secs.  Kenny Elliot clocked 7.28secs (3rd place) in Race 3, while Curtis Woods (Race 6) and Dean Adams (Race 7) recorded 7.19secs (4th place) and 7.08secs (7th place) respectively.

Three of the aforementioned men, Conor McLaughlin, Kenny Elliot and Dean Adams, returned to the “fast track” for the 200m events, Conor McLaughlin finished in 1st place in Race 8, after running 22.97secs, while Kenny Elliot ran 23.42secs (2nd place) in Race 9; unfortunately Dean Adams was forced to withdraw from Race 4 early on, with a hamstring injury.  Conor, Kenny and Dean were joined on the 200m start list by fellow NI man Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC), who covered the distance in 22.23secs, thus taking 2nd place in Race 2.  The fastest man over 200m on the day was German athlete Maximillian Kessler (21.25secs).  

Curtis Woods (North Down AC) followed up his 60m outing with an impressive run in the 400m, where he led the field home in 49.22secs, this proved to be the fastest domestic 400m time of the day; interestingly, his training partner, Jason Harvey, commentated on the race as part of the Athletics Ireland live stream (in partnership with Jump the Gun podcast).  In the International ladies 800m race, Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) looked strong as she produced a new personal best of 2:06.32 to secure 4th place; the race was won by Anna Rostowska (Poland) in 2:04.01 and was paced by Newry AC's Aislinn Crossey.  Aislinn returned to the track for her 200m race, showing little or no signs of fatigue as she came out of the blocks well and powered her way to victory in 25.87secs. Johnny Foster (Unattached) battled well in the men's 800m (Race 1), taking 8th place in 2:06.41.  The race was won by Tom Hennessy (Neagh Olympic AC) in 1:56.40.

Current Athletics NI 10k (Road) Champion, Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) ran a new personal best of 3:43.37 in the International men's 1500m race, but narrowly missed a podium spot after finishing in 4th place.  The race was won by Jakub Haoulusa (Czech Republic) in 3:38.79.  Ballymena & Antrim AC athlete, Gareth Hill looked in fine form as he won the domestic men's 1500m (Race 1) in 3:56.26; Pajo Hamilton (City of Derry AC) followed in 4:03.90 (7th place).  In the domestic 1500m Race 2, Newry AC's Oisin O'Callaghan added to his 2nd place finish in the 800m race (2:00.12), with a 4:26.22 (7th place) clocking.  The 1500m (Race 2) race was won by Pierre Murchann in (Celtic DCH AC) in 4:06.53.  Also in the 1500m, City of Lisburn AC lady Alison Armstrong crossed the line in 5:03.99, taking 3rd place in the race won by Niamh Donnelly (Dublin City Harriers) in 4:54.35.

Foyle Valley AC's Keith Shiels put in one of the performances of the day, after playing a major part at the head of his 3,000m race, the Athletics NI Half Marathon Championship bronze medallist recorded a massive six second personal best to secure 2nd place in 8:40.90.  The race was won by talented Irish athlete Rory Chesser (Ennis Track Club) in 8:32.38.

Full Results:  Woodies DIY AAI Indoor Open Games 2014 Results

Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC) wins Race 2 of Lifford AC 5k Series:

NI athletes run well in County Donegal (Ireland):

On Sunday 2nd February 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes made the short border crossing to County Donegal (Ireland), for the second race in the Lifford AC 5k Series, which took place in the town of Raphoe.

Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC) strolled to victory, beating Race 1 winner Pauric Breslin (Letterkenny AC) after crossing the line in 16:11 (1st place); in a close finish, Pauric recorded 17:08 for 2nd place, before City of Derry AC man, Michael Murphy, sealed 3rd place in 17:09.  Benny Mullan (City of Derry AC), a podium finisher in the first race at St Johnston/Carrigans, finished just one second later in 17:10 (4th place).  Young Derry City Track Club star Zach McGowan recorded 19:07 (16th place), before Hannah McGowan (Derry City Track Club) secured 3rd place in the ladies race after running 21:32; the ladies race was won by Lifford AC's Claire McGuigan in 18:52.

Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers) finished in 22:14 (5th place lady), while Packy Deehan (Foyle Valley AC) and Sam Cole (City of Derry AC) followed up their good performances in the opening race of the Series with further good runs; Packy clocked 22:31 (83rd place), with Sam finishing less than a minute later in 23:14 (106th place).

Full Results:  Lifford AC 5k Series (Race 2) 2014 Results

NI athletes represent their Universities at prestigious BUCS XC:

Northern Ireland athletes perform well in Scotland and USA:

On Saturday 1st February 2014, at least six Northern Ireland runners represented their respective universities at the prestigious British University and College Sport (BUCS) Cross Country Championships, hosted this year by Stirling University in Scotland.

Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers/St Mary’s University) claimed 5th place in the men's race, which covered 11.1k; the NI & Ulster Senior XC silver medallist crossed the line in 34:32.  Newcastle AC's Eoghan Totten (Imperial College London), a podium finisher at last weekend's NI & Ulster Junior XC, crossed the line in 37:05 (48th place), just eight seconds ahead of Dromore AC man and respected triathlete, Russell White (Stirling University), who completed the course in 37:13 (50th place); Larne AC's Ryan Stewart (Dundee University) recorded 40:10 (127th place) for the distance.  The men's race was won by Richard Goodman (St Mary's University) in 33:51.

In the ladies 6.4k race, Northern Ireland 10,000m record holder and current Athletics NI 10k (Road) Champion, Fionnaula Ross (Armagh AC/Glasgow University) ran well to secure 17th place in 23:45.  Recently crowned Scottish Universities XC Champion, Lauren Quee (Glasgow University) followed in 24:41 (40th place).  The race was won by Georgia Taylor-Brown (Leeds Metropolitan University) in 21:27.

Full Results:  BUCS Cross Country Championships 2014 Results

Also this weekend:

Armagh AC's Stephen Kerr, who is currently based in Louisianna (USA), whilst studying at McNeese State University, was also in action this weekend.  On Friday 31st January 2014, Stephen won the mile race at an indoor meet at McNeese State University, covering the 1,609m in 4:21.  

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

Brendan Teer and Gerrie Short are first past the post in Downpatrick:

Athletes brave cold and windy conditions at Downpatrick Race Course:

On Saturday 1st February 2014, athletes braved cold and windy conditions as they took on the annual East Down AC hosted 'Rollercoaster Road Races' at Downpatrick Race Course in County Down.

As predicted, the local trio of Brendan Teer (East Down AC), David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) battled it out at the front.  In the end, it was Brendan Teer who impressed most; having topped the podium on at least seventeen occasions last year, the East Down AC man claimed his first victory of 2014 in 16:38 (1st place).  David O'Flaherty improved on his third place finish here last year, taking 2nd place in 17:00, while his friend and club mate, David McNeilly, recorded 17:53 for 3rd place.

In the ladies race, Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers), a top ten finisher in last weeks NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships, broke the tape first.  The 3:11:56 marathoner (Dublin 2013) showed that she is also speedy over the shorter distances, clocking 20:17 (1st place) for the tough course.  The host clubs Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) followed in 21:22 (2nd place), a mere three seconds ahead of Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC), who completed the ladies top three in 21:25 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 16:38, 2nd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 17:00, 3rd David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 17:53

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) – 20:17, 2nd Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) – 21:22, 3rd Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) – 21:25

Full Results:  Rollercoaster Road Races 2014 Results

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

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