Commonwealth Games Round-Up: Athletics/Running Day 5...
On Thursday 31st July 2014, two of Northern Ireland's brightest prospects were in action on Day 5 of the athletics programme at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Katie Kirk (Queens University AC) and Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) lined up in their respective 800m and 200m semi-finals on a wet Hampden Park track. Much was expected of 20 year old Katie after a quality outing in the heats, and the Holywood lady duly delivered. In a top class 800m Semi-Final 1, Katie put in a performance to be proud of; after going through 400m in just under 60secs the Team NI athlete was just off the main pack, but she showed true grit to fight back, and on the final straight, Katie dug deep to produce an excellent finish, crossing the line in a new personal best of 2:02.63 (6th place). The race was won by Eunice Jepkoech Sum (Kenya) in 2:01.38 (1st place).
Like his fellow Team NI athlete (Katie Kirk), Leon received an excellent reception from the Hampden Park crowd as he lined up in Semi-Final 3 of the 200m. After a good start out of the blocks, Leon came off the bend well and looked strong as he went onto the finishing straight. However, despite a valiant effort in the final stages the European junior medallist was unable to hold his position and finished in 21.03secs (8th place). The race was won by eventual gold medallist Rasheed Dwyer (Jamaica) in 20.42secs (1st place).
Full Results: Commonwealth Games 2014 Results
Coming Up: Tomorrow (Friday 1st August 2014) will see Team NI men Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) make their first appearances at the Glasgow Games, with Paul taking on the 10,000m and Danny 1500m. Photograph used above was taken by Keith McClure for Athletics NI.
Downpatrick RGU 10k 2014:
On Wednesday 30th July 2014, East Down AC hosted the annual running of the Downpatrick RGU 10k road race in County Down, an event that attracted almost one hundred competitors.
The host clubs Martin Wilcox (East Down AC), a man who has showed his quality with several podium places this year, looked the pick of the bunch as he claimed top honours in 36:02 (1st place). Well-respected ultra-runner Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) showed that he is getting back to form after taking the runners up spot in 36:14 (2nd place), just ahead of the in-form Dave Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC), who recorded 36:30 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, international mountain runner and one of the most impressive performers of this year, Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) cruised to victory. The fast improving athlete crossed the line in 39:36 (1st place); Gateshead Harriers' Catherine O'Hare followed in 40:41 (2nd place), before junior athlete Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) continued her rise through the ranks with another impressive performance. Laura took 3rd place in 42:18 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) – 36:02, 2nd Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:14, 3rd Dave Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) – 36:30
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Catherine O'Conner (East Down AC) – 39:36, 2nd Catherine O'Hare (Gateshead Harriers) – 40:41, 3rd Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) – 42:18
Full Results: Downpatrick RGU 10k 2014 Results
Commonwealth Games Round-Up: Athletics/Running Day 3...
On Tuesday 29th July 2014, Team NI stars Peter Glass (North Down AC), Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) and Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) all took to the Hampden Park track on Day 3 of the athletics programme at the Commonwealth Games in Glasow (Scotland).
After a good day yesterday, Peter Glass returned to the track during the morning session. In his 110m hurdles, which was part of the Decathlon, the 26 year old Newtownards man produced an excellent performance to claim 2nd place in 14.94secs. The race was won by Australian Stephen Cain in a seasons best of 14.85secs (1st place). After competing in his discuss and pole vault (Decathlon) events, Peter returned to the start line during the evening session for his 1500m, which again was also part of his Decathlon competition. Understandably tired from a tough two days, Peter battled well to finish in 5:10.41 (13th place). The race was won by Fredriech Pretorious (South Africa) in 4:28.33 (1st place).
Northern Ireland 110m hurdles record holder Ben Reynolds lined up in a classy Heat 1 of the 110m hurdles just under an hour after his North Down AC club mate had finished. Despite hurdling well, Ben was unable to qualify for the final after claiming 6th place in 13.96secs; the Heat was won by Jamica's Andrew Riley in 13.47secs (1st place).
Newly crowned AAI National 400m hurdles Champion Christine McMahon was also in action on the specially constructed track. Racing in Heat 2 of the 400m hurdles, Christine got up to speed well and appeared to negotiate the barriers impressively; she came off the final bend strongly but tired slightly in the run in to cross the line in 58.67secs (4th place). Unfortunately, this was not enough to see Christine qualify for the semi-final. The Heat was won by Jamaican athlete Jenieve Russell in 56.18secs (1st place).
Results: Commonwealth Games 2014 Results
Coming Up: Tomorrow (Wednesday 30th July 2014) will see Katie Kirk (Queen's University AC) line up in an competitive 800m heats. Leon Reid (Brichfield Harriers) will take on the 200m, while Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) will go be hoping make it through his 400m hurdles semi-final. Newcastle AC lady Kerry O'Flaherty will also contest the 3,000m Steeplechase in what should be another day of intense action for Team NI athletes.
Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014 reaches an exciting climax:
After the Kennedy Kane McArthur (Dervock) and Cookstown Half Marathon's brought the number of races completed in this years Pure Running Half Marathon Series to eight, the eventual prize winners in most categories are beginning to become apparent; however, the sport of running can always produce surprises which means an exciting finish to this years Series is almost guaranteed.
Should the leading lady at Sundays Cookstown Half Marathon, Heather Foley (Unattached) complete either the Groomsport or Dambusters Half Marathon's she will take the Ladies Open title ahead of current leader and Series regular Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached), who is assured a finishing position after completing three races in both the first and second half of the ten race competition. However, if Liosa McKeown (Gym-Tech) completes the remaining two events, she will move into the runners up spot behind Heather. North Belfast Harriers' fast improving Marc Jennings looks a certainty for the Men's Open category; going into the second half of the Series, Marc had a thirty minute lead of Gerard Heaney (Unattached), which he has increased.
There is quite a contrast between the Men's and Ladies Vet35 categories, with Barrie Atkinson leading the men by an almost uncatchable amount, while Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) and Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) are still battling it out for the ladies top prize. Gillian will hope to have recovered from her impressive performance at the Energia 24hr race as she looks ahead to finishing the Series at the Groomsport and Dambusters 13.1 mile events.
Michael Fitzpatrick (North Belfast Harriers) looked to be edging the Men's Vet40 contest but things took an interesting twist at the Cookstown Half Marathon when Murlough AC man Alan Johnston pipped Michael to the post, with Alan clocking 1:18:06 and Michael 1:18:23. However, given that both men have completed three races in the second half and Michael has beaten Alan by approximately two minutes in all previous races, Alan would have to run two 1:15:00's to have a chance of worrying the respected Belfast athlete. North Down AC's Catherine Roberts seems to be holding off Janice White (Forge Harriers) in the ladies Vet40 category.
Penny Duncan Lindsay (Unattached) and North Belfast Harriers new boy Nat Glenn dominate their respective Vet45 categories, while Nigel Grier (Dromore AC) and Ita McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) look just as strong in the Vet50 race. Considering all four of the aforementioned athletes aim to compelte the Series, it is hard to see them getting overthrown with two races remaining. Experienced runners Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers) and Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers) are having an exciting dual in the Men's Vet55 category, but it's Norman who looks like he will eventual run out as winner. At the half way stage, he led by nine minutes and this has increased since then. The Vet55 Ladies isn't just as close, with Dromore AC's Mary Mackin well clear; consistent performer Anne McAlarnen (Unattached) is assured of the runners up spot.
Event stalwarts Michael McKeown (East Down AC) and Angus McCready (Up and Runners AC) continue to impress having completed every race since the Series' inception. Michael and Angus, alongside sixteen other competitors have indicated that they will complete all of the races in this years Series, an impressive achievement. At present and with two races remaining, the finishers of the eight races in the popular Series currently total 6,324. The penultimate race in the Series will be the Groomsport Half Marathon on Friday 15th August 2014, then the Born 2 Run 'Dambusters' Half Marathon will bring this years proceedings to a close on Saturday 30th August 2014.
The current overall Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014 standings are available HERE.
Commonwealth Games Round-Up: Athletics/Running Day 2...
On Monday 28th July 2014, two Northern Ireland based athletes toed the line for running events on Day 2 of the exciting Track & Field programme at the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow (Scotland).
During the morning session, North Down AC man Peter Glass, one of twelve runners featured on our NiRunning 'Monthly Feature' (based around the Commonwealth Games), opened his Decathlon competition with an 100m (Heat 2) race. The current Scottish Decathlon Champion powered out of the blocks and ran a strong race to finish in 11.20secs (4th place), just outside his 11.18secs personal best; Heat 2 was won by Welsh athlete David Guest in 10.95secs. The Team NI 4x100m athlete went on to compete in several field events before returning to the track for his 400m (Heat 1) race, during which he led going through 200m; although tiring on the home straight, Peter managed to claim a very credible 3rd place in 52.52secs. The race was won by Australian Jake Stein in 50.13secs (1st place).
Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) was also in action. In her 100m semi-final (Heat 3), Amy started well, but despite a good run of 11.54secs (5th place), the joint AAI National 100m Champion failed to qualify for the final. The race was won comfortably by eventual gold medallist Blessing Okagbare (Nigera) in 10.93secs (1st place).
Full Results: Commonwealth Games 2014 Results
Coming Up: Tomorrow (Tuesday 29th July 2014) will see a number of Team NI stars take to the track, Ballymena & Antrim AC's Christine McMahon (400m hurdles), Crusaders AC's Jason Harvey (400m hurdles), Letterkenny AC's Danny Mooney (800m) and North Down AC's Ben Reynolds (110m hurdles) will all open their Commonwealth Games campaign, while Peter Glass (North Down AC) will take on the 110m hurdles as part of his Decathlon.
GloHealth AAI National 'Age Group' T&F Championships 2014:
Over the weekend (Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th July 2014), a host of Northern Ireland's top up and coming junior athletes travelled south to Tullamore (County Offaly, Ireland) for the GloHealth AAI National 'Age Group' Track & Field Championships, held at Tullamore Stadium.
There were numerous notable performances and personal bests over the two days of competition, but it was local stars Christy Conlon (Beechmount Harriers) and Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC) who stole the headlines, returning home with Athletics Ireland titles.
In the U-16 3,000m event, Christy Conlon produced an excellent display of controlled running to claim victory in 9:04.92 (1st place), thus adding the National 3,000m title to the National XC gold he won in Santry in November 2013. In the same race, Banbridge AC's Patrick McNiff clocked 9:23.23 for 3rd place. In the U-18 200m final, Roseanna McGuckian was the star of the show, and arguable the star of the day. The City of Lisburn AC lady ran a new competition record of 24.81secs into a -2.7 headwind, sealing 1st place and the associated gold medal.
There were also medals for City of Derry AC's Michael Melarkey and City of Lisburn AC's Bradley Mulholland. Michael (9:34.39) took 3rd place in the U-19 3,000m final won by Padraig Moran (Mullingar Harriers) in 9:02.37 (1st place). Meanwhile, in the U-15 200m hurdles, Bradley also claimed a bronze medal, after recording 34.85secs to finish behind race winner Kolade Abiodun (Donore Harriers), who won in 33.81secs (1st place).
Full Results: GloHealth AAI National 'Age Group' Track & Field Championships 2014 Results - Please Note: Certain event results are currently unavailable.
Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland HM Series: Cookstown HM 2014
On Sunday 27th July 2014, hundreds of athletes turned out for the annual Cookstown Half Marathon in County Tyrone. The event, which is organised by events management group Tri-Limits, was also the ninth race in the 2014 Pure Running-Champion Chip Ireland Half Marathon Series.
On the tough undulating 'out and back' course, it was pre-race favourite Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) who took top honours. After impressing throughout the Series, Barrie built on his reputation over the 13.1 mile distance with a well-deserved victory. After running side by side with triathlete Desi Foley (Unattached) in the early stages, Barrie broke clear and gradually increased his lead before crossing the line in 1:13:48 (1st place). Desi, a podium finisher at the Ballygalget 10k, took the runners up spot in 1:14:57 (2nd place), while East Coast AC's Justin Maxwell secured his second podium place of the weekend. The Larne based international ultra-runner claimed third place at the 'Milk Run' on Friday night and achieved the same position here after recording 1:15:28 (3rd place) for the distance.
Despite some classy performances by the men, it was the ladies winner, Heather Foley (Unattached) who produced the performance of the day. Heather continued her good run of form in the Series, which has included one win and three second place finishes, with an excellent run. After spending much of the race in the men's 'chase pack', she (Heather) led the ladies home in 1:20:06 (1st place); this was enough to seal 12th place overall. North Belfast Harriers' Louise Smith clocked 1:21:50 for 2nd place, before Scottish athlete Lyndsey Fraser (Edinburgh AC) crossed the line in 1:28:17 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 1:13:48, 2nd Desi Foley (Unattached) – 1:14:57, 3rd Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) – 1:15:28
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 1:20:06, 2nd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:21:50, 3rd Lyndsey Fraser (Edinburgh AC) – 1:28:17
Full Results: Cookstown Half Marathon 2014 Results
Commonwealth Games Round-Up: Athletics/Running Day 1...
On Sunday 27th July 2014, three of the twelve runners representing Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Scotland) kicked off their campaign for glory.
Day 1 of the athletics programme at the prestigious Games, which have caught the imagination of the world, brought the men's and women's marathon's and with no Northern Ireland interest in the men's event, it was North Belfast Harriers' Gladys Ganiel O'Neill who carried the hopes and expectations of the province. The AAI National Half Marathon medallist and NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion did not disappoint. After a disciplined start, Gladys went through 10k in 37:29 (17th place) The experienced international then picked off the athletes who were beginning to pay for their over zeleus start and after passing 13.1 miles in 1:18:34, the Belfast based athlete had moved up to 13th place.
Gladys looked strong going into the latter stages and hit 30k in 1:53:10 (13th place), before going on to finish in 2:40:29 (12th place), her second quickest 26.2 mile time ever. Although just outside a personal best, this performance and final placing over a tough course is just reward for Northern Ireland's top female marathon runner. The race was won by Kenyan athlete Flomena Daniel in 2:26:45 (1st place).
The afternoon brought Team NI stars Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers), Jason Smyth (Derry City Track Club) and Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) to the temporary track in Hampden Park (Glasgow) for their respective 100m heats. Unfortunately Leon Reid was one of two men disqualified from Heat 3 of the 100m for a false start. The England based athlete, who turned 20 years old last week, will now look ahead to his 200m competition later in the week. In Heat 4, Paralympic record holder Jason Smyth came out of the blocks well but tired in the latter stages before finishing in 10.66secs (5th place). After the race, Jason told the BBC of his delight at being part of the Commonwealth Games and that it was “fantastic to represent Paralympic Sport in mainstream athletics”. Heat 4 of the 100m was won by Kemar Hynman (Cayman Islands) in 10.20secs.
Amy Foster was the last of the trio to take to the start, in Heat 2 of the ladies 100m. The Northern Ireland 100m record holder put in a top performance, coming through well to cross the line in 11.62secs (2nd place). This was enough to see Amy qualify automatically for the semi-finals tomorrow (Monday 28th July 2014). Heat 2 was won by Australian Melissa Breen in 11.54secs (1st place).
Full Results: Commonwealth Games 2014 Results (Photo above by Mark Ramsey)
Coming Up: Tomorrow (Monday 28th July 2014) will see Amy return to the track for her 100m semi-final; North Down AC man Peter Glass, a member of the 4x100m team, will also start his main event, the Decathlon. Our 'running specific' Day 2 Round-Up will follow tomorrow evening, in the meantime, please be sure to follow us on facebook (NiRunning – Northern Ireland Running) and twitter (@NiRunning) for regular updates.
26extreme Women's Mini-Marathon 2014:
On Sunday 27th July 2014, well over 200 female athletes took part in the 26extreme Newry & Mourne Mini-Marathon, a 10k event that takes place in the heart of the Mourne Mountains, taking athletes from Leitrim Lodge to Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.
Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC), a regular top ten finisher in local events, played a prominent part at the head of the field through, negotiating the more technical sections of the route better than most, before descending into Kilbroney Park and the impending finish line to break the tape in 42:15 (1st place). Shauna Mulvenny (Unattached) followed in 43:49 (2nd place), just two seconds ahead of Dromore AC's Andrea Heslip who clocked 43:51 (3rd place). Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC) crossed the line six seconds later in 43:57 (4th place), while Martene Fitzgerald (Unattached) compelted the top five ladies in 44:49 (5th place).
Top 5 Ladies: 1st Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC) – 42:15, 2nd Shauna Mulvenny (Unattached) – 43:49, 3rd Andrea Heslip (Dromore AC) – 43:51, 4th Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC) – 43:57, 5th Martene Fitzgerald (Unattached) – 44:49
Full Results: 26extreme Newry & Mourne Mini-Marathon 2014 Results
Action on Hearing Loss NI 'Divis 10k' 2014:
On Sunday 27th July 2014, running enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland descended on Belfast for the second annual running of the Divis 10k. The event, which is primarily organised to raise much need funds Action for Hearing Loss NI, covered a tough but scenic 10k route on the Belfast Hills.
North Belfast Harriers' Brendan Grew looked in good shape throughout; from the off the parkrun regular was dominant at the head of the pack. He gradually increased his lead as the race progressed, before breaking the tape in 38:13 (1st place). Brendan's club mate, Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers), secured 2nd place in 40:44, while Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC) completed the men's top three in 41:01 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, Catriona Donaldson (Lagan Valley AC) showed that she is returning to her best after injury with an excellent performance. The 'Pure Running' lady was the star of the show, crossing the line in 45:54 (1st place). Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) replicated her finishing position from last year when taking 2nd place in 49:10. Angela Stevenson (Unattached) followed just nineteen second later in 49:29 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:13, 2nd Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) – 40:44, 3rd Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC) – 41:01
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Catriona Donaldson (Lagan Valley AC) – 45:54, 2nd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) - 49:10, 3rd Angela Stevenson (Unattached) – 49:29
Full Results: Divis 10k 2014 Results
Athletics NI preview opening day of Athletics action at Commonwealth Games 2014:
As pre-event preparations draw to a close, 14 Northern Irish athletes (including twelve runners) are set for what will be a highlight in their sporting lives, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
A 7 day feast of athletics based in Glasgow city centre and the revamped Hampden Stadium will pitch the NI's athletes against some of the best competitors in the World. The first of the Team NI athletes to feature in the athletics programme is North Belfast Harriers’ marathon runner, Gladys Ganiel. The 37 year old, who has a best time of 2:39.25 from the 2013 Berlin Marathon, will be going head to head with some of the Commonwealth’s best as they race through the streets of Glasgow starting and finishing at Glasgow Green.
Later in the day the trio of sprinters representing Northern Ireland will be in action at Hampden Park as they compete in Round 1 of the 100 metre sprints. Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) in Heat 2, Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) in Heat 3 and London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Jason Smyth (Derry City Track Club) in Heat 4.
Amy recorded her second fastest time of the year last weekend in Dublin where she was declared joint winner of the Irish title with Phil Healy in a Championship best time of 11.49 seconds. European junior 200 metres silver medallist Reid, who celebrates his 20th birthday today (Saturday 26th July 2014), will be doubling up in both 200 and 100 metres – he set a PB of 10.44 seconds in the short sprint earlier this season. You can see Gladys in action tomorrow on BBC One from 9:30 onwards. Coverage from Hampden Park will commence at 13:15 with Round 1 of the Men’s 100m getting under way at 14:37 followed by the Women’s 100m (Rd 1) at 15:55.
Hundreds turn out for Milk Run 2014:
On Friday 25th July 2014, nearly two hundred runners turned out for the newly named 'Milk Run' in Ballymoney, County Antrim. The 5 mile road race, which starts and finishes at the Joey Dunlop Centre is hosted by Springwell Running Club.
In warm conditions, the athletes set off on the fast downhill start, and it was City of Derry AC man Richard Johnston who took up a position at the front. Richard, who had built up a notable lead by mile two, was being pursued by Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers) and Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club). Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), James Brown (Larne AC), Stephen Joyce (Springwell Running Club), Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Running Club) and John Black (North Belfast Harriers) were just off the chasing duo.
In the ladies race, Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), Alexandra Kirk (Springwell Running Club) looked like the main contenders at the front, whilst Janice White (Forge Harriers), Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) and Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) also started well.
Shortly after the half way marker, Andrew Considine and Neil Johnston caught the tiring Richard Johnston and began to battle it out for top honours. The exciting dual saw Neil lead, then Andrew, before Neil finally took control in the final stages to break the tape in 26:46 (1st place). Andrew followed in 26:51 (2nd place), while Justin Maxwell was rewarded for a strong performance with a podium place; the East Coast AC man sealed 3rd place in 27:20.
Cathy McCourt continued her excellent recent form to claim another impressive victory; the recent Malahide 10k and Dervock Half Marathon winner clocked 31:30 (1st place) to win. Last years Champion Gemma Turley (32:18) once again climbed the podium, taking 2nd place on this occasion; this a mere eight seconds ahead of up and coming star Alexandra Kirk, who completed the ladies top three in 32:26 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) – 26:46, 2nd Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:51, 3rd Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) – 27:20
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:30, 2nd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 32:18, 3rd Alexandra Kirk (Springwell
Running Club) – 32:26
Weekend Preview: Commonwealth Games and more...
Another weekend is upon us which means only one thing, the local running fraternity will once again be preparing for events, or better still, decided which of the local races to take part in.
There is plenty on offer, covering various distances and terrain, with races taking place in Ballymoney (County Antrim), Belfast (County Antrim), Cookstown (County Tyrone), Newcastle (County Down) and Rostrevor (County Down). Of course, there will also be a major focus on the local runners who will be kicking off their Commonwealth Games campaign in Glasgow, Scotland.
The first of the local events will take place tonight, Friday 25th July 2014, and it will be the ‘Milk Run’, a 5 mile road race hosted by the well-organised and always welcoming Springwell Running Club in Ballymoney. This event, which offers a fairly fast course, has a new name this year and organisers will be hoping that the current sunny weather conditions remain, after a thunderstorm delayed the start of the 2013 event.
The purple vests of the host club, Springwell Running Club, should be prominent at the front of the pack, with Luke Dinsmore, Neil Johnston and Stephen Joyce all set to take part. Just last week, Neil Johnston and Stephen Joyce sealed third place finishes at the Kennedy Kane McArthur (Dervock) Half Marathon and 10k respectively. Although more used to racing on the track, youngster Luke Dinsmore should be competitive; however, all three of the local men will have a task on their hands if Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) turns out. After returning from injury recently, Keith has shown good form, winning the Rathmullan 5k in a speedy 15:16, a mere five seconds away from his personal best for the distance. Kevin O'Boyle (Ballymena Runners), Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners) and Bernard Brady (Larne AC) will all run well should they decide to enter on the night.
Last years winner, Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), should return to defend her title, and after a top quality performance at the North Coast 10k last week, the Springwell Running Club athlete will be high in confidence. Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) and Alexandra Kirk (Springwell Running Club) may also challenge for top honours; Cathy has enjoyed victories at the Malahide Castle 10k and the Kennedy Kane McArthur (Dervock) Half Marathon over the last few weeks and is looking in un-stoppable form. Meanwhile, Alexandra Kirk, an up and coming athlete, has really shown her potential over the last twelve months; Alex's most recent notable outing was a 19:20 finish at the Purple Ladies 5k in April 2014. Other ladies to watch out for could include Paula Arthur-McCarthy (Ballymena Runners), Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) and Janice White (Forge Harriers).
Strangely, there are no official events listed on the Athletics NI fixture calendar for Saturday 26th July 2014. This may tempt local athletes to visit one of the provinces eighteen parkun events. For more details on your nearest parkrun, please visit the dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our ‘Fixtures’ page.
There is one race in the south that may attract local interest on Saturday 26th July 2014; Blayney Rockets AC will host their annual 10 mile road race in Castleblayney, Ireland. Donna Evans (Monaghan Phoenix AC) and Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) may be amongst the familiar faces who take to the start line, on what is touted to be a fast course. Newry City Runners should also be well represented at the event.
On Sunday 27th July 2014, athletes from across Northern Ireland (and beyond) are expected to take part in the 'Original' Cookstown Half Marathon, which is organised by events management group Tri Limits. This will the eighth race of the Pure Running – ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series and comes off the back of the successful Kennedy Kane McArthur Half Marathon in Dervock last weekend.
After finishing in second place to Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) at the Dervock Half Marathon last Saturday (19th July 2014), East Down AC man Barrie Atkinson will return to action and will be hoping to improve on that position. Based on Barrie's performances over the 13.1 mile distance in Newry (1:14:17), Larne (1:14:56) and Omagh (1:14:38), he appears capable of mixing it at the head of the field. Last years winner, Steve Darby (Barnsley AC), may well return to defend his title, although he will have to battle it out with the aformentioned Barrie and regular Half Marathon pacer, Nat Glenn (Unattached), who should also finish well up the field if he treats this as a competitive event.
Meanwhile, the ever improving Mark Walker (Unattached) may find himself amongst the top finishers, as will trail specialist Brian Young (Unattached) if he is on form. Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) and Desi Foley (Unattached) will all run well.
Heather Foley (Unattached) will be the standout performer in the ladies race, and having put in such impressive performances at the Larne, Newry and Lisburn Half Marathon's and a win at the DUNE Half Marathon (1:22:03), it's hard to look past the exceptionally talented triathlete for a possible winner. Reigning Champion Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) will also play a major part in proceedings and will take a podium place if she travels from England for the event. That leaves one podium place, which should be contested by the likes of Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Anne Killen (Unattached), Louise Smyth (North Belfast Harriers), Janice Plumb (East Coast AC) and Susan Smyth (Dromore AC).
In Belfast, Action on Hearing Loss NI will hold the second annual running of their Divis 10k on Sunday 27th July 2014. This race proved to be popular with participants in it’s inaugural year and should become even more attractive given that it’s already scenic route has been revised to include the newly opened Ridge Trail, which offers more stunning views across the city and a good running surface.
North Belfast Harriers men Simon Reeve and Mark McKinstry are more than likely to be the men to watch out for here. Simon won the event last year (2013) and will be there or there abouts again, but Mark will be the man to beat. He (Mark) has been in outstanding form throughout the East Antrim Harriers Forest Series and before that, the Sperrin Harriers Winter Series. On the roads, Mark produced an excellent run to win the Active Antrim 5 mile road race last month. Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), John Craig (Orangegrove AC), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Sean McShane (North Belfast Harriers) and David Turtle (Unattached) should all take top ten places.
The ladies race could bring an excellent battle between off-road specialists Jenny Black (Orangegrove AC), Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) and Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC). Jenny has been one of the provinces top performing ladies this year and enjoyed a notable win at the Belfast Hills 10k, on these very hills approximately two months ago, and will therefore prove hard to beat; although Helen Weir is also worthy of note. The North Belfast Harriers lady, who trains on the Belfast Hills (including Divis Mountain) showed her class when she won the Cooley Legends Half Marathon earlier this year. Louise Lemon looked strong at the EAH Forest Series and should take a podium place if she races here. Dalriada Festival podium finisher, Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC) will also be amongst the top finishers should she decide to participate.
On the same day (Sunday 27th July 2014), the 26extreme organised Newry and Mourne Women’s Mini-Marathon will take place in the Mourne Mountains, in the area of Rostrevor (County Down). The 10k race will start at Leitrim Lodge and follow the scenic trails towards the finish area in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.
It is expected that this ladies only event will attract athletes from the length and breadth of Northern Ireland. This should include 2013 winner Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) as well as Jemma Gourty (Unattached), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC), Alison Dunne (Unattached), Ruth Hill (Unattached) and Rhonda Brady (Larne AC).
Also on Sunday 27th July 2014, the Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle (County Down) will welcome fitness enthusiasts and runners to the 2nd annual running of their Burrendale 10k race (which also includes a 7k fun run).
Although the field is expected to be made up of recreational runners, we would expect several familiar faces to toe the line. This could include local runners Brendan Teer (East Down AC), David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Brendan Quail (Newcastle AC), Donna Daley (Unattached), Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC), Michael King (Murlough AC), Laura Gardiner (East Down AC), Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) and Monica McCrickard (Leitrim Ladies).
At the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Scotland), Team Northern Ireland sprinters Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) and Jason Smyth (Derry City Track Club) will all be in action over 100m, with their heats scheduled to take place over the weekend (Sunday 27th July 2014). At the other end of the spectrum, North Belfast Harriers’ Gladys Ganiel O’Neill will line up in the marathon on the same day (Sunday 27th July 2014).
Our coverage of the Commonwealth Games will include a ‘daily round-up’ (from Sunday 27th July to Saturday 2nd August 2014) on the running specific events; this will be added to our ‘News’ page.
North Belfast Harriers Launch Pure Running Laganside 10km:
This week saw the official launch of the 2014 Pure Running Laganside 10km which takes place on Sunday 7th September 2014 (2pm) at Ormeau Park, Belfast.
Finishers of the popular race will receive a bespoke, hand-designed medal featuring scenes from the city of Belfast. Entries are capped at 1,000 and those who enter before 31st July 2014 will have their name printed on their number.
The Laganside 10km is the perfect 'tune up' race for those considering running in the Belfast City or Waterside Half Marathons in September 2014, and its flat course always produces a number of personal best times.
Commenting on this year’s event, race director Matt Shields of North Belfast Harriers said: “There’s something for everyone at the Laganside 10km – including those trying out the distance for the first time, experienced runners looking for a personal best, workplace teams, charity runners, and kids. Every year the race is great day out and a real celebration of running in the city of Belfast.”
This year the race doubles as the Northern Ireland & Ulster 10km Championships, with individual and team titles up for grabs. As usual, North Belfast Harriers and local shop Pure Running are providing generous goody bags and category prizes in the Open and Masters categories (35+).
Apart from the athletics club competition, the race will feature the new BLT9 Corporate Cup for workplace teams. Entry fees are a reasonable £12 for Athletics Northern Ireland affiliated runners and £14 for unaffiliated runners.
Youngsters can take part in the Rossi’s 1 Mile Children’s Fun Run for boys and girls 6-15 years old. This event will start at 1.15pm and is contested on a safe, marshalled and flat route within Ormeau Park. With entrance fees at only £3 and guaranteed goody bags and medals for all children, the mile race represents great value for money. Special medals will also be presented to first and second placed children in the following categories: Under 7; Under 9; Under 11; Under 13 and Under 15. Times for all children will be recorded but the focus of the 1 mile event is on fun and participation so parents will be allowed to run alongside younger competitors if they wish.
Runners for both the 10km and 1 mile events can now enter online at www.laganside10k.com. Online entries close on 31st August 2014. Any queries about entries, the races, fund raising or prizes should be posted on the official Laganside 10km Facebook page or to the North Belfast Harriers Twitter account (@nbharriers). The official race website is www.laganside10k.com
Brackaghreilly 5m Road Race 2014:
On Wednesday 23rd July 2014, a small but enthusiastic number of athletes turned out for the Brackaghreilly 5 mile road race, close to Maghera (County Derry/Londonderry).
Acorns AC man Aaron Meharg looked a class above the rest as he cruised to an emphatic victory. After claiming the runners up spot at the Maghera 10k and the Magherafelt Harriers 10k in recent months, Aaron went one better to win in 28:22 (1st place). Stephen Walker (North Belfast Harriers) followed just over two minutes later in 30:34 (2nd place), while Sam Linton (Sperrin Harriers) took 3rd place in 31:52.
Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) followed on from her podium place at the Lisburn Triathlon on Sunday (20th July 2014) with another top performance. Anne not only sealed victory in the ladies race, but crossed the line in 32:46 (1st place) to take fourth place overall. Deirdre Convery (Unattached) recorded 41:13 (2nd place) to finish ahead of Unattached athlete Rosaleen Rafferty (41:43) who sealed 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) – 28:22, 2nd Stephen Walker (North Belfast Harriers) – 30:34, 3rd Sam Linton (Sperrin Harriers) – 31:52
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 32:46, 2nd Deirdre Convery (Unattached) – 41:13, 3rd Rosaleen Rafferty (Unattached) – 41:43
Full Results: Brackareilly 5m Road Race 2014 Results
Portaferry 10m Road Race 2014:
On Tuesday 22nd July 2014, hundreds of athletes from across the province travelled to the coastal town of Portaferry (County Down) for the annual Portaferry 10 mile road race, which is held as part of a week long gala in the scenic town.
Versatile North Down AC man Stephen Wylie, a podium finisher at the recent Shore 10k, looked on form as he led the field home. The local athlete was the first runner to experience the notoriously atmospheric finish area in 'the square' after breaking the tape in 55:55 (1st place). His club mate, Dennis Scott (North Down AC), followed in 56:47 (2nd place), before the always impressive Breege Connolly clocked 59:44 (1st place) to not only win the ladies race, but also finish as the third individual athlete.
Respected coach, David Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC), celebrated his birthday, which was only hours away, with a podium place. The well-known triathlete recorded 1:00:28 to seal 3rd place. Judith Loonen bettered her husbands placing when she crossed the line in 1:03:45 (3rd place), while Orangegrove AC's Sile Brennan completed the top three in 1:10:14 (3rd place).
In the associated 2x5 mile relay competition, Orangegrove AC men Joe Craney and John Craig ran well to claim victory in 56:21 (1st place), with Willowfield Harriers duo David Proctor and Ryan Holt (58:33) and Dub Runners pair James Trainor and Maeve Lavery (1:01:52) taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.
Top 3 Men: 1st Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) – 55:55, 2nd Dennis Scott (North Down AC) – 56:47, 3rd place David Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) – 1:00:28
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 59:44, 2nd Judith Loonen (City of Lisburn AC) – 1:03:45, 3rd Sile Brennan (Orangegrove AC) – 1:1014 (3rd place).
Full Results: Portaferry 10 Mile 2014 Results
Northern Ireland athlete in action in America:
On Tuesday 22nd July 2014, local athlete Aislinn Crossey represented Ireland at the prestigious World Junior Tack & Field Championships in Oregan, America.
Up against the world's top junior athletes Aislinn put in a solid performance, clocking 2:08.06 for 7th place. Although this was not enough to see Aislinn progress through her heat, which was won by Ethiopian athlete Zeyituna Mohammed in 2:04.47 (1st place), but it was an experience that should stand Aislinn in good stead for what is sure to be a very bright future in the sport.
Full Results: World Junior Tack & Field Championships 2014 Results
Six local runners to represent Ireland at European Track & Field Championships 2014:
Today (Monday 21st July 2014), six local runners were amongst the team of thirty announced by Athletics Ireland to compete at the European Track and Field Championships in Zurich (Switzerland) between the 12th-17th of August 2014. This is one of the largest teams ever to compete at the Championships.
Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) will be competing in the 100m and Ballymena & Antrim AC's Christine McMahon will line up in the 400m hurdles. Another Commonwealth Games bound athlete, Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) has been selected to compete in the 400m hurdles following a standout season. Unfortunately, Jason missed the Irish Senior Championships over the weekend as a precaution ahead of the Games in Glasgow, due to a niggle picked up during training.
Athletics Ireland have also confirmed that for the first time they will be sending a team to compete in the European Marathon Cup, which is run in conjunction with the European Championships Marathon, with the results based on the National team’s three fastest finishers. Local athletes Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders AC), Thomas Frazer (St Malachy’s AC) and Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC) will be joined by Nicola Duncan (Galway City Harriers AC) and Barbara Sanchez (Raheny Shamrocks AC). The full squad is available HERE.
GloHealth AAI National Senior T&F Championships 2014:
This weekend, a large number of Northern Ireland based athletes travelled south to Santry, Dublin (Ireland) for the GloHealth AAI National Senior Track & Field Championships.
There were numerous top quality performances from the local athletes, with many claiming seasons bests and personal bests, but undoubtedly, the performances of the weekend came from newly crowned AAI National Champions Katie Kirk (Queens University AC), Ciara Mageean (UCD AC), Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Mandy Gault (Lagan Valley AC) and the North Down AC men's 4x400m relay team.
Katie Kirk (800m) and Christine McMahon (400m hurdles) were two particularly happy athletes in the final stages of preparation for the challenges in Glasgow. Queen's University student Katie showed brilliant tactical knowhow in her 800m race; after a slow 68 seconds first lap where the field included Irish number one Roseanne Galligan (Newbridge AC), the 20 year old took a five metres lead with some 250 metres remaining and never relinquished her advantage to take her first Irish Senior title in 2:09.01 (1st place).
Afterwards, Katie said; "The plan was to go for a fast finish and I am pleased my kick worked. I felt good even though Roseanne pressurised me in the home straight. My races are becoming more physical and I need this experience for Glasgow".
Ballymena and Antrim AC's Christine McMahon, who has achieved the standard for the European Championships, enjoyed an impressive victory in the 400 metres hurdles where she also took her first Senior title in 57.73 seconds. Christine commented; "I am happy with that time which isn't far off my PB. It was tough racing on my own but it was a solid run out and my preparations are great for Glasgow".
There was a sensational finish in the Women's 100 metres where triple Champion Amy Foster of City of Lisburn AC faced tough opposition in the form of Bandon AC's Phil Healy. The race came down to a photo finish which could not separate the two; they were declared joint winners in a Championship best time of 11.49secs, which is a seasons best for Amy and a personal best for Phil Healy. Both athletes have achieved the European Championships qualification standard.
In the 1,500m former World Junior silver medallist Ciara Mageean made a spectacular comeback after two years of injury to record an emphatic win in 4.14.91 (1st place). Newcastle AC's Kerry O’Flaherty secured a bronze medal in 4:18.77 (3rd place). In the ladies 400 metres, favourite Sinead Denny of DSD AC was caught on the line by Lagan Valley AC's Mandy Gault. Mandy claimed the gold although both women were given the same time of 54.24secs. The North Down AC's men's 4x400m relay team added further gold to the Northern ireland medal haul when they secured victory in an impressive 3:18.70 (1st place).
Annadale Striders' Eddie McGinley (30:15.54) took silver in the 10,000m behind Raheny Shamrock AC's Michael Clohisey (1st place – 29:58.31). In the men's 110m hurdles North Down AC's Tom Reynolds took bronze in 15.12secs. Carrick-on-Shannon's Gerard O'Donnell topped the podium in 14.57secs. In the 5,000m Lifford AC's Ann-Marie McGlynn recorded a huge personal best of 16:22.88 to take 3rd place behind well-known Irish internationals Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) and Maria McCambridge who ran 15:39.40 (1st place) and 15:54.73 (2nd place) respectively. City of Derry AC's Naomi Morgan also climbed the podium; the up and coming star sealed 3rd place in her 100m hurdles race after clocking 15.13secs; the race was won by Sarah Lavin (UCD AC) in 13.48secs.
Full Results: GloHealth AAI National T&F Championships 2014 Results - Please Note - Some information, including quotes from Katie Kirk and Christine McMahon was taken from the Athletics NI website. Photos by John Glover.
Athletes from Northern Ireland complete Fingal 10k:
On Sunday 20th July 2014, at least five local athletes were in action at the second race of the official Airtricity Dublin Marathon Series, the Fingal 10k road race just outside Dublin (Ireland).
Annadale Striders man Paddy Hamilton bettered his runners up spot from 2013, when he claimed a well-deserved victory in 31:20 (1st place). Another man who enjoyed a good run here last year, Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), crossed the line in 33:40 (9th place). There was also a personal best for John Black (North Belfast Harriers), after he covered the course in 34:44 (21st place); the ever consistent Paul Elliott followed in 35:52 (30th place), before Stephen Walker completed a good day for North Belfast Harriers after running 36:52 (57th place).
Full Results: Fingal 10k Road Race 2014 Results
Allan Bogle and Diane Wilson lead NI contingent home at Snowdon International:
On Saturday 19th July 2014, two strong teams from Northern Ireland took part in the prestigious Snowdon International mountain race in Llanberis, Wales. The well known event attracted a large number of top quality athletes from all over the world.
The original course would have seen participants complete approximately 10 miles (with 1,085m of ascent), but it had to revised and ultimately shortened due to the threat of lightning on the summit. Unphazed by the changes, the in-form Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) followed up a number of recent notable performances, including a win at the British Championship race in Northern Ireland (Donard Challenge) with another top quality outing. Allan led the local contingent home in 50:10 (11th place), while Newcastle AC's Ian Bailey followed just over a minute later in 51:31 (21st place). Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC) recorded 51:47 (23rd place), finishing just ahead of Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), who completed the team in 52:48 (26th place). Mourne Runners' duo Sam Herron and Ricky Hanna were also in action at the event and both ran well, clocking 57:48 (51st place) and 1:08:19 (207th place).
In the ladies race, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) ran well the complete the gruelling course in 1:02:58, thus securing an excellent 11th place. The fast improving Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) followed a mere fourteen seconds later in 1:03:12 (12th place), with Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) completing a good day for the team in 1:14:40 (17th place).
The men's race was won by Italian athlete Cesare Maestri in 47:20 (1st place), while Ireland European XC team gold medallist Sarah McCormack (Ireland) produced the performance of the day to win the ladies race in 55:20 (1st place).
Full Results: Snowdon International Mountain Race 2014 Results
Energia 24 hour race (inc AAI National 24 hour Championships):
On Friday 18th July 2014, a record number of competitors turned out at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast for the 5th annual running of the Energia 24 hour race, which once again doubled up as the AAI National 24 hour Championships.
The event also included a 12 hour race and a four person 24 hour relay, and on top of that, there was also the late addition of a 100k to facilitate England based athlete Paul Martelletti's attempt to reach the qualification standard for Team GB's World 100k Championships team.
In truth, the day brought more twists and turns than spaghetti junction, but this made for an excellent day for spectators who were treated to some quality displays of ultra-distance running.
None more so than the aforementioned Paul Martelletti, who was aiming to achieve a time (sub 7:03:00) that would see him selected for the Team GB squad for the World 100k Championships. The 2:16 marathoner was taking on the 100k distance for the first time and set out at a blistering pace; having made his expectations of a seven hour finish clear from the gun, Paul quickly set about attaining that target. He did not disappoint, delivering on his word after crossing the line in a speedy 6:57:22.
As the gathered crowds were being entertained by Paul's progress, the 12 hour and 24 hour competitors were beginning to settle into their stride. Experienced marathoner Ger Copeland, a regular winner of the East of Ireland Marathon Series events, was the early pace setter in the men's 12 hour race. Undeterred by the quality field behind, Ger started fast and held a good pace; by the time four and a half hours had elapsed, he (Ger) had a 2.7 mile lead on Grellan McGrath and Aidan Blake, who had covered 30.3 miles (48.8k) and 28.5 miles (46k) respectively. Unfortunately, Ger was forced to withdraw during the night because of injury, this left Grellan McGrath and Aidan Blake as front runners. Both mean kept up their consistent and steady pace throughout the night, with Grellan finishing on 130.3k (80.9 miles) and Aidan 124.9k (77.6 miles). However, a winner could not be confirmed as Barry Thornton had chosen to run his 12 hours from 6.45am to 6.45pm, so was only starting as Grellan and Aidan. Although he enjoyed a good run, Barry was unable to match the distances covered by Grellan McGrath (1st place) and Aidan Blake (2nd place) and after finishing on 121.1k (75.2 miles), he was forced to settle for 3rd place.
In the ladies race, Aine Gallagher (pictured below-right with Ed Smith) chose to run half the time (12 hours) that she did in 2013 and this proved to be a good choice. Almost replicating her start from last year, she (Aine) set off quickly and before long had built up quite a lead on the following Jeni Richards and Brenda Meire. By 11.15pm and despite having visited the event medics with a sore chest, Aine (42.4k - 26.3 miles) had moved nearly two miles clear of Jeni (40k - 24.8 miles) and Brenda (36.8k - 22.8 miles). As the hours passed and Aine seemed to shake off her earlier problem, almost going 'full circle' to look strong and assured; the future star continued to clock up the miles. Despite valiant efforts from Jeni Richards and Brenda Meire, Aine was crowned the winner after completing 104.6k (65 miles); interestingly this not only sealed 1st place but also a new Irish 12 hour record. In a close battle for the runners up spot, Jeni Richards (2nd place) just pipped Brenda Meire and the fast finishing Deidre Boland, after recording 91.4k (56.8 miles). Brenda and Deidre were awarded joint 3rd place on 90.5k (56.2 miles).
In the 'main event', the 24 hour race – Irish athlete Billy Holden took charge in the early stages and had covered 52.4k (32.5 miles) as the clock struck 11.30pm. Geoff Smyth (48k – 30.3 miles), John O'Regan (47.6k – 29.5 miles), Don Hannon (47.2 k – 29.3 miles), Thomas Bubendorfer (47.2k – 29.3 miles), Jan Uzik (47.2k – 29.3 miles) and Eddie Gallen (46.8k – 28.8 miles) were amongst the chasing pack; reigning Champion Eoin Keith was running a brave race, despite carrying a niggle; unfortunately, this would see him withdraw from the event through the night.
Meanwhile, Donna McLoughlin and Gillian Cordner were enjoying an excellent dual in the ladies 24 hour race. Although Donna (44k - 27.3 miles) led as midnight approached, Gillian was hot on her tail, having covered 43.2k (26.8 miles) in four and a half hours. Helena Dornan was moving well in third place, with the ever consistent Iryna Kennedy also impressing in fourth place.
As sunrise broke, Thomas Burbendorfer had caught and passed the tiring Billy Holden. Two time Irish Champion John O'Regan had also worked his way through the field into second place, while Eddie Gallen was also starting to make his mark as a contender; Billy Holden and Geoff Smyth dropped off the pace, but it was Cork based Slovakian runner Jan Uzik who was starting to draw attention from the pundits.
Jan, who only started running seriously three years ago, ran a disciplined first half and took charge at the front with just over six hours remaining. John O'Regan came the closest to catching Jan, with just 6k splitting the pair at the 21 hour mark. However, John was unable to hold the same pace and tired, which allowed Eddie Gallen, who had overtaken Thomas Burendorfer, to come through and move side by side with approximately half an hour remaining. The ladies race didn't throw up just as many twists as the men's event, although that being said, it was still an excellent race to watch. After Gillian Cordner withdrew on Saturday morning, the race was pretty much over as a contest. However, Donna McLoughlin proceeded to cover the laps at a relentless rate until the latter stages when a leg injury forced her to adopt a run/walk strategy; this worked and Donna's 'just keep moving' attitude paid dividends as she continue to increase her lead over Helena Dornan and Iryna Kennedy.
Jan Uzik (pictured left) was forced into a walk into the closing stages but his now massive lead meant that he would not be caught; eventually, the finishing horn sounded and the pleasant and happy Slovakian athlete was crowned the winner, having clocked up 236.0k (146.6 miles). Despite some predicting a sprint finish between John O'Regan and Eddie Gallen, the pair finished together; their total distance was 227.2k (141.2 miles) which meant that they were awarded joint 2nd place and more importantly, joint AAI National 24 hour Champions.
Achill Islander Donna McLoughlin secured the AAI National title after covering 180.7k (112.3 miles). Helena Dornan's efforts over the time period saw her claim a well-deserved silver medal after completing 431 laps of the track, this equated to 172.6k (107.2 miles). Iryna Kennedy, celebrated her fifth time at the event with a 3rd place finish – The Lagan Valley AC lady notched up 149.1k (92.6 miles).
The 24 hour four person relay event also brought some excitement to the 'party' - Although the action wasn't at the very front of the field, which was dominated by Irish club Donadea Runners who led from start to finish and won, having covered an excellent 272.6k (169.4 miles). The race for the runners up spot brought Le Chiele AC and Orangegrove AC head to head. During the opening stages, Le Chiele AC looked strong and had a decent lead of approximately 3 miles at one stage but the Belfast club fought their way back to within one lap of catching them. However, in the end, Le Chiele AC took 2nd place with 248.8k (154.6 miles). Orangegrove AC completed the top three after they were measured at 247.0k (153.4 miles).
In total, a record breaking 23 athletes broke the infamous 100 mile barrier for the event, they were: Jan Uzik (146 miles), John O'Regan (141 miles), Eddie Gallen (141 miles), Thomas Burbendorfer (139 miles), Tim Brownlie (130 miles), Vilnis Pleite (129 miles), Geoff Smyth (116 miles), Billy Holden (115 miles), Pat Staunton (115 miles), Donna McLoughlin (112 miles), Helena Dornan (107 miles), Paul O'Rourke (106 miles), Mark Melia (106 miles), Niall Higgins (105 miles), David Higgins (104 miles), Gerard McCann (102 miles), Patrick Quinn (101 miles), Craig Mills (101 miles), Ian Hurley (101 miles), Pol O'Murchu (101 miles), Darren Church (101 miles) and Anthony Lee (100 miles).
24 hour Race:
Top 3 Men: 1st Jan Uzik – 236.0k (146.6 miles), Joint 2nd John O'Regan – 227.2k (146.6 miles), Joint 2nd Eddie Gallen – 227.2k (141.6 miles)
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Donna McLoughlin – 180.7k (112.3 miles), 2nd Helena Dornan – 172.6k (107.2 miles), 3rd Iryna Kennedy – 149.1k (92.6 miles)
12 hour Race:
Top 3 Men: 1st Grellan McGrath - 130.3k (80.9 miles), 2nd Aidan Blake - 124.9k (77.6 miles), 3rd Barry Thornton – 121.1k (75.2 miles)
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Aine Gallagher – 104.6k, 2nd Jeni Richards – 91.4k (56.8 miles), Joint 3rd Brenda Meire – 90.5k (56.2 miles), Joint 3rd Deirdre Boland – 90.5k (56.2 miles)
24 hour Relay Race:
1st Donadea Runners – 272.6k (169.4 miles), 2nd Le Chiele AC – 248.8k (154.6 miles), 3rd Orangegrove AC – 247.0k (153.4 miles)
Hundreds enjoy Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k:
On Friday 18th July 2014, hundreds of athletes descended on the coastal village of Glenarm for the Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k races, a well-organised event which is part of a week long festival in the village. The undulating multi-terrain course took participants on a journey through the scenic Glenarm Castle grounds, before they returned to the heart of the village and the welcome finish line; the 5k runners completed one lap, while to 10k competitiors completed two laps.
Larne AC front runner James Brown continued what has been an impressive year, with an excellent effort in the inaugural 10k event. James, a podium finisher at the Albertville 5 mile road race back in March (2014), looked good from the off and sealed victory in 35:43 (1st place). Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) showed no signs of fatigue after he played a pivitol part in the winning relay team at Wednesday nights Dalriada Triathlon, as he took 2nd place in 36:49. Glenarm native Phelim McAllister (Larne AC) was a popular 3rd place finisher in a time of 37:11.
Scotland based athlete Clare McAuley (Ballyhouston Harriers), a regular competitor when on Northern Ireland soil, was the outstanding winner of the ladies race. Clare, a podium finisher at the Lurig Challenge during her last visit here, sealed top honours is 47:36 (1st place). Larne AC's Ruth Wilson and Helen Murray both ran well, crossing the line in 47:46 (2nd place) and 48:34 (3rd place) respectively.
In the 5k race, Nat Glenn (Unattached) bettered his second place finish in 2013 by taking top spot. Nat crossed the line in 17:18 (1st place), just ahead of Ballymena Runners' Michael Bennett, who recorded 17:20 (2nd place) for the distance. Larne AC's Martin Agnew used his track speed to take 3rd place in 17:42. Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) looked in good form as she led the ladies home in 20:44 (1st place). East Coast AC's Janice Plumb also performed well, covering the distance in 22:08 (2nd place), while Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC) completed the ladies top thee in 22:51 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Nat Glenn (Unattached) – 17:18, 2nd Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) – 17:20, 3rd Martin Agnew (Larne AC) – 17:42
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) – 20:44, 2nd Janice Plumb (East Coast AC) – 22:08, 3rd Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC) – 22:51
Top 3 Men: 1st James Brown (Larne AC) – 35:43, 2nd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 36:49, 3rd Phelim McAllister (Larne AC) – 37:11
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Clare McAuley (Ballyhouston Harriers) – 47:36, 2nd Ruth Wilson (Larne AC) – 47:46, 3rd Helen Murray (Larne AC) – 48:34
Full Results: Dalriada 5k and 10k 2014 Results
Kennedy Kane McArthur (Dervock) Half Marathon & 10k 2014:
On Saturday 19th July 2014, nearly three hundred and fifty athletes took part in the annual Kennedy Kane McArthur Half Marathon and 10k road races in the rural village of Dervock in County Antrim. The Half Marathon was also the seventh race in the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2014.
In the Half Marathon, it was well-known triathlete and runner Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) who stole the show. After having suffered several years of injury woes, the former international star looked pretty much back to his former self when he sealed victory in 1:14:29 (1st place). The in-form Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) continued what has been an impressive Series, taking the runners up prize in 1:16:07 (2nd place). Local athlete Stephen Joyce (Springwell Running Club) was a popular podium finisher, after crossing the line in 1:18:55 (3rd place).
North Belfast Harriers lady Cathy McCourt followed up her excellent win at the Malahide Castle 10k last weekend with another top notch performance. The Irish XC international led from gun to tape to win in 1:25:13 (1st place). The ever consistent Janice White (Forge Harriers) secured 2nd place in 1:30:45, while Unattached athlete Anne Fitzpatrick (1:31:19) recorded her second quickest time of the Series to take 3rd place.
In the 10k event, there was further cause for celebration for North Belfast Harriers when the always impressive Adam Boyd broke the tape first to win in 34:16 (1st place); this saw Adam finish just over one minute ahead of Armagh AC's Gary Henderson who clocked 35:19 (2nd place). Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) ensured that the host club were represented on the podium when he completed the scenic course in 35:38 (3rd place). Larne AC's leading lady, Geraldine Quigley sealed her second win in as many days, after winning the ladies race. Geraldine won last nights Dalriada 5k and showed little or no signs of fatigue as she cruised to victory in 43:53 (1st place). Lesley Doyle (Unattached) finished in 46:42 (2nd place), with Springwell Running Club's Caroline Irwin completing the top three in 49:20 (3rd place).
Half Marathon Race:
Top 3 Men: 1st Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) – 1:14:29, 2nd Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 1:16:07, 3rd Stephen Joyce (Springwell Running Club) – 1:18:55
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:25:13, 2nd Janice White (Forge Harriers) – 1:30:45, 3rd Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) – 1:31:19
Top 3 Men: 1st Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) – 34:16, 2nd Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) – 35:19, 3rd Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) – 35:38
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) – 43:53, 2nd Lesley Doyle (Unattached) – 46:42, 3rd Caroline Irwin (Springwell Running Club) – 49:20
Born 2 Run welcome record numbers to 'Sea 2 Sky' event:
On Friday 18th July 2014, a record number of participants took part in Born 2 Run's 'Sea 2 Sky' 10k race in Newcastle, County Down. The race saw competitors start on the award winning Central Promenade, before making their way towards the designated trails in Donard Forest, where they negotiated a gradual ascent to the 5k marker. After taking in the views across Newcastle, the athletes then descended towards the finish, which was located back on Central Promenade.
Brendan Teer (East Down AC) followed up his win at the Shore 10k road race last week with another notable victory. The former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion looked sharp as he made short work of the uphill section and quickly made his way back to the seaside finish in 34:32 (1st place). Newcastle AC's David O'Flaherty followed approximately ninety seconds later in 36:01 (2nd place), before William McKee (Mourne Runners) recorded 36:24 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, it was the pre-race favourites Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) who occupied the first two places on the podium. Amanda led from early on to claim a well-deserved victory in 43:33 (1st place), with Lyndsey taking the runners up prize in 45:04 (2nd place). English athlete Siana Jones (Thames Valley Harriers) crossed the line in 45:25 for 3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 34:32, 2nd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 36:01, 3rd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 36:24
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) – 43:33, 2nd Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 45:04, 3rd Siana Jones (Thames Valley Harriers) – 45:25
Full Results: Born 2 Run 'Sea 2 Sky' 10k 2014 Results
Weekend Preview: Athletes set for events inside and outside Northern Ireland...
After an enjoyable weekend of Bank Holiday action, which saw Northern Ireland athletes impress over almost every terrain, it’s now time to turn our attention to the upcoming weekend, which will be a busy one! Locally, the running community will look forward to events in Glenarm (County Antrim), Belfast (County Antrim), Newcastle (County Down) and Dervock (County Antrim). Northern Ireland based athletes will also be in competition in Dublin (Ireland) and Llanberis (Wales).
The action kicks off tonight (Friday 18th July 2014) at 6.30pm, when a large crowd is expected in the coastal village of Glenarm for the annual Dalriada Festival 5k, which this year, will be accompanied by a 10k. The event is part of a week long community festival and offers participants a fairly challenging but scenic course around the village and through the grounds of Glenarm Castle. Although online registration is now closed, entries will be available on the night.
Last year's Champion and winner of the unique hand crafted medal from Steensons Jewellers, Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), should return to defend his title. Although, there is a fair chance that Mark will take on the new two lap 10k route as opposed to the 5k he won in 2013. Local men Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) and Wayne Morrow (Larne AC) should also perform well, as long as they have recovered from their exploits in Wednesday's Dalriada Triathlon. Nat Glenn (Unattached), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC), Mark McManus (East Coast AC), Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) and Andrew Guy (East Coast AC) will also place well in whatever race they choose to enter.
It is unlikely that Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) will race at both this and tomorrows Kennedy Kane McArthur Dervock 10k and Half Marathon events, but should she pick the Dalriada event over Dervock, she'll go into it as one of the favourites. Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC), Sharon Harvey (Ballymena Runners), Susanna Allen (Ballymena Runners), Trisha Campbell (East Coast AC), Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers), Bernadette Campbell (East Coast AC) and Ruth Wilson (Larne AC) will also be hoping for high placings, if they decide to register on the night.
Also on Friday 18th July 2014, Born 2 Run Events will host their annual ‘Sea 2 Sky’ 10k in Newcastle, County Down. The race will start and finish on the award winning Central Promenade and take competitors towards Donard Forest, where they will go off-road and onto recognised trails before negotiating the gradual ascent to the 5k marker. Here, the athletes will be able to take in some stunning views across Newcastle, before descending towards the finish. On crossing the line, finishers will be awarded their medals by Commonwealth Games bound Kerry O’Flaherty (Team NI – Newcastle AC). Although online entries are closed, entry on the night will be available.
Interestingly, it's likely that Kerry's brother, David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) will be one of the pace setters. After a good run at this event last year, when he took the runners up spot, David will be keen to improve on that position, should he make use of the late entry system. Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) is a regular podium finisher at more localised events and is another man who possess the ability to push for a place at the head of the pack. Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), Michael Cultra (East Down AC), Jason Reid (North Belfast Harriers) and North Down AC duo Ben Caughers and Andrew Muir will also finish well up the field.
The ladies race should bring an interesting battle between the in-form Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) and North Belfast Harriers ladies Amanda Perry and Helen Weir. Since joining Orangegrove AC, Lyndsey has really impressed and this showed when she took a well deserved victory at the recent Active Antrim 5m road race. However, Lyndsey will have to show that same pace if she wants to get the edge on trail specialist Helen Weir; although an impressive runner over all terrain, Helen seems to excel off road and showed her class when securing top spot at the tough Cooley Legends Half Marathon in April (2014). Just last week, Amanda Perry enjoyed a good outing at the Greyabbey 10k, were she covered the course in 41:20 for second place. Virgina Ervine (Mourne Runners), Monica McCrickard (Leitrim Ladies), Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC), Claire Withers (Unattached) and Laura Bateson (Unattached) will also run well.
In Belfast, Friday 18th July 2014 will see the Energia 24 hour race return to the Mary Peters Track. For the third year in a row, the event will also double up as the AAI National 24 hour Championships and will therefore attract many of the island’s top runners, as well as entrants from across the globe.
Proceedings kick off at 6.45pm tonight (18th July 2014) and will run until 6.45pm on Saturday 19th July 2014. There will also be a 12 hour race and a four person 24 hour relay race; in addition to this, it has just been announced that organisers will facilitate Team GB athlete Paul Martelletti as he aims to gain the qualification standard for the World 100k Championships. This will mean that participants, who wish to get a 100k ranking, will be able to do so.
A ‘Special Preview’ for the 24 hour race (and the associated events) can be found by scrolling down this ‘News’ page – it's the article below this one; with the race taking place at the newly refurbished MPT, it offers those interested in watching some of the world’s top ultra-runners test themselves against the clock, from the comfort of the fully seated main stand.
On Saturday 19th July 2014, Springwell Running Club will welcome athletes from across the province to the latest race in the Pure Running – ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the Kennedy Kane McArthur Half Marathon, which will be held alongside the popular 10k race.
Keeping with tradition, we would expect a large entry on the day for both the Half Marathon and 10k events. However, a brief glance at the Half Marathon start list throws up well-known and highly respected names such as Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Michael Fitzpatrick (North Belfast Harriers), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC), Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers) David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers), Michael McKeown (East Down AC) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC). All of these athletes will perform well, but in truth, Barrie Atkinson looks to be the leading contender amongst them. After excellent runs at the Larne (1:14:56), Omagh (1:14:41) and Newry (1:14:17) Half Marathon's the East Down AC man has cemented his place amongst the leading athletes in the Series.
Sam Crawford (East Antrim Harriers), Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) and Larne AC pair James Brown and Phelim McAllister could also be late entries. The aforementioned Diane Watson will hope to continue her recent run of form; having won the Runegal 10k last weekend, Diane will be keen to impress at this event, especially as she has been going well in the Series this far. The ever consistent Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) will also be there or there abouts, while Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) and Catherine Pinkerton-Moore (Springwell Running Club) should both be top ten finishers.
Ballymena Runners men Matthew McCooke, James Turtle, Noel Connor and Kevin O'Boyle should all play a part in the 10k and based on recent form, all four could well be challenging for podium places. In saying that, Ballymena & Antrim AC star Jarlath Falls may also enter on the day and will start as pre-race favourite if he does. Despite racing sparingly this term, Jarlath produced a top notch performance to take second place at the Fairhill 5 mile road race, having recorded 25:49 for the distance. In the ladies race, it is unclear as to whether reigning Champion Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) will toe the line, but if she does, the talented athlete should head the field. Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club), Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) and Jacqueline McIlrath (Ballymena Runners) will also be considered as potential prize-winners should they turn out on the day.
On the same day (Saturday 19th July 2014), a team of local mountain runners will be representing Northern Ireland at the prestigious Snowdon International Mountain Race in Llanberis, Wales. The gruelling course, which covers 10 miles in distance and includes approximately 1,085m of ascent, is widely regarded as one of the toughest mountain races in Europe.
The 39th annual running of the event will attract a plethora of talent, but both the men’s and ladies teams, which include Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC), Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley), Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) are well equipped to deal with the challenge ahead of them. As are Mourne Runners men Sam Herron and Ricky Hanna, who will also take on the the prestigious race.
On Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th July 2014, a large contingent of Northern Ireland based track and field stars will travel south for the GloHealth AAI National Track & Field Championships, which will take place in Santry, Dublin (Ireland) and will provide athletes hoping to gain the qualification standard for the upcoming European Championships one final opportunity.
The line up includes several athletes who are set to compete at the Commonwealth Games, including Katie Kirk (Queens University AC), Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC), Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC). We know that Jason will not take to the line, but it is unclear as to whether any of the rest will race or save themselves for Glasgow next week.
Another notable absentee is Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC), who departed yesterday for the World Junior Track & Field Championships in Oregan, America (Note - Competition starts on Tuesday 22nd July 2014). A list of local athletes who are scheduled to compete at the GloHealth AAI Senior Track & Field Championships is below:
100m – Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Andrew Graham (North Down AC), Curtis Woods (North Down AC), Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Conor McLaughlin (Strabane Track Club) and Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC). 100m hurdles - Naomi Morgan (City of Derry AC), Laura Frey (Lagan Valley AC) and Rose Libby (City of Lisburn AC). 110m hurdles - Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), Adam Hill (City of Lisburn AC) and Tom Reynolds (North Down AC). 200m - Conor McLaughlin (Strabane Track Club) and Kenny Elliot (North Down AC). 400m - Katie Kirk (Queens University AC), Curtis Woods (North Down AC), Aaron Carlyle (Derry City Track Club), David Graham (Lagan Valley AC), Jordan Stokes (North Down AC) and Conor McLaughlin (Strabane Track Club). 400m hurdles - Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC). 800m - Ciara Mageean (UCD AC), Katie Kirk (Queens University AC), Jane Matthews (Lagan Valley AC), Erin McIlveen (City of Lisburn AC), Michael Dyer (North Down AC), Johnny Foster (Annadale Striders), Michael Quinn (Annadale Striders).
1500m - Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), James O’Hare (Annadale Striders), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Neil McCartan (East Down AC), , Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), Jordan Stokes (North Down AC) and Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC). 3,000m Steeplechase – James Speight (Finn Valley AC). 5,000m - Stephen Kerr (Armagh AC), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Gary Murray (St Malachy’s AC), Noel Logan (City of Derry AC), Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Owen Carleton (Annadale Striders), Dennis Scott (North Down AC), Conor Doherty (City of Derry AC) and Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham AC). 10,000m – Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders)
On Sunday 20th July 2014, there should also be a strong Northern Ireland representation at the Fingal 10k road race, just outside Dublin (Ireland). This event is the second race of the official Airtricity Dublin Marathon Series, which will climax on Monday 27th October 2014 when tens of thousands of runners will take on the 26.2 mile challenge.
Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders) should toe the line as he prepares for the main event in October; following several impressive outings, which included a 24:15 clocking over 5 miles at the Fairhill 5, the respected Physiotherapist should be amongst the front runners. He'll not be short of company on the start line, with a good North Belfast Harriers squad likely to feature, this includes Breege Connolly, Andrew Considine, Stephen Walker, Eddie Cooke and Paul Elliott. Beechmount Harriers' Gerard McClenaghan should also perform well.
Northern Ireland’s eighteen 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.
Energia 24 hour Race (inc Irish 24 hour Championships 2014):
This coming weekend (Friday 18th July and Saturday 19th July 2014) will see the Irish 24 hour Championships return to the Mary Peters Track in Belfast. This will be the third year in a row that the prestigious AAI Championships will be held in conjunction with the increasingly popular Energia 24 hour race, which this year, sold out a staggering three months before race day.
The event, which offers local running enthusiasts the opportunity to watch some top quality ultra-runners, started in 2010 and will see competitors start at 6.45pm on Friday 18th July 2014 and run around the clock to 6.45pm on Saturday 19th July 2014. There is also a 12 hour race and a four person 24 hour relay race option, both of which have also seen an increase in entries as ultra-running continues to increase in popularity.
The start list is littered with world class talent, including previous winners, record holders and record breakers. Reigning Champion and Irish 24 hour record holder Eoin Keith (Sportsworld Running Club) will return to defend his title and will no doubt have one eye on his current record of 152 miles, which he set whilst winning this event and the Irish title last year. Since that success, the respected athlete has went on to increase his status on the world stage; he (Eoin) became only the fourth person in history to run 300 miles in 3 days, on top of that, he has also set a new Irish 48 hour record of 217 miles and secured an age category podium place at the infamous UTMB (Ultra Trail du-Mont Blanc).
Despite his experience and true class, Eoin will not have everything his own way; he’ll be joined on the start line by talented athletes such as John O’Regan (Le Cheile AC), Eddie Gallen (Finn Valley AC) and Thomas Bubendorfer (Star of the Laune AC). This trio have all picked up prizes at this event and know what it takes to complete the gruelling event, during which, pretty much anything can happen.
Irish international John O’Regan is a familiar and friendly face to many Northern Ireland based ultra-runners, and is a training partner of the likes of Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) and Jim McCormick (North Belfast Harriers). John is a two time Irish 24 hour Champion and has showed good form recently, winning the ‘Wings for Life World Run’, which covers a tough 50k course around ‘the ring of Kerry’ in 3:33:00. In 2013, he (John) finished as runner up to Eoin after covering 137 miles. Madrid based Eddie Gallen will also be one to watch, the school teacher has competed in no less than twenty eight 24 hour races, so has no shortage of knowledge in what it takes to keep going when it gets tough. Eddie, alongside Lagan Valley AC’s Iryna Kennedy, has competed in all of the Energia 24 hours races since 2010.
Austrian athlete Thomas Bubendorfer was a podium finisher at this race in 2012, the year that will always be remembered for the torrential rain. This time out, Thomas will be hoping for better conditions and also an improvement on the 125 miles he covered two years ago in Bangor (County Down).
Another man who will be looking to impress, and go beyond the 125 miles marker is local athlete Tim Brownlie (Unattached). Since taking sixth place here last year (when he ran 117 miles), Tim has gone on to establish himself as one of the leading ultra-runners in Northern Ireland; he has placed well at various event, with possibly the most notable being the Titanic 101k in September 2013, where he took second place after a very impressive and disciplined run.
David Noone (Athenry AC), Mark Melia (Unattached) and well-known marathoners Gary Connolly (Seapark AC), Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners), Craig Mills (Unattached) and Geoff Smyth (Unattached) will also be in action.
In the ladies race, reigning Champion and current Irish 24 hour record holder Ruthann Sheahan (Athenry AC) will not feature. Unfortunately Ruthann is recovering from injury and has her sights set on the World 24 hour Championships in December 2014. Another notable absentee is England based Northern Ireland lady Susan McCartney (Unattached); following knee surgery, Susan, who picked up the Irish Championship silver medal after covering 122 miles here last year (2013), is also looking towards the World 24 hour Championships.
The status of pre-race favourite in the ladies event must surely go to Great Britain & Northern Ireland international ultra-runner and former world number one Sharon Gaytor (North Moors York AC). Sharon, who has written a book called ‘The Clock Keeps Ticking’, holds the world record for running from Land’s End to John O’Groats and from Mizen to Malin. She (Sharon) is also in the Guinness World Record Book for 517 miles on a treadmill in 7 day’s. Achill Island Ultra joint organiser and third placed lady at last years Energia 24 hour race, Donna Mc Loughlin (Unattached) will also start. Donna is a very consistent performer and will spend little time off the track, making her a hard athlete to break down. Ballycastle Runners’ Helena Dornan and Seapark AC’s Gillian Cordner will also challenge for a podium spot.
12 hour race:
The 12 hour race might be half the battle time wise, but the line-up suggests that it will be an epic battle. There are three previous winners set to toe the line, namely 2013 winner and friend of several Northern Ireland based athletes Aidan Blake (Club Unknown), 2012 winner Sean Burke (Unattached) and 2011 winner Sean McCormack (Abergele AC). In 2013, Aidan set a new MPT track record of 72 miles, but the Sean Burke (64 miles) and Sean McCormack (68 miles) have both got close to those figures recently, so we could be looking at another new track record and an exciting race for top honours. Previous winner of the Crawley 12 hour race, Brian Thornton (Club Unknown) will also be in the mix. In the ladies race, Aine Gallagher (Unattached) made a quick start in the 2013 24 hour race before tiring as the time elapsed; this year, she returns in the 12 hour race and could well be a good bet to top the podium. That is if she manages to fend off the challenge of North Wales based ultra-distance newcomer Jenni Richards (Abergele AC). Jenni made her ultra-running debut earlier this year and clocked 6:08:00 for 40 miles on the track. Caroline Reid (Dunboyne AC) and Brenda Miere (Dublin Bay Runners) will also go well.
24 hour relay race:
The four person relay is becoming a popular way of covering the 24 hour time period, and this year brings a record number of entries. Donadea Runners (Peter McIntyre, Stephen Coller, Andrew Greaney and Olyn Dunne) won the title last year after cover a total of 185 miles and will be hard to push off top spot this year. However, local Belfast club Orangegrove AC, who interestingly won the inaugural running of the 24 hour relay in 2011, will be represented by Martin Doherty, Gavin Marshall, Selina Myles and Michael O’Donoghue who will be hoping to improve on their runners up position from 2013. The Le Cheile AC team of Declan McIntrye, Des Walsh, Michelle Hayes and Tina Bergin will also be challengers.
Just like last year, our NiRunning team will be covering the 24 hour race whilst working around other events, including the Dalriada 5k and 10k races, Born 2 Run’s Sea 2 Sky 10k and the Dervock 10k and Half Marathon. Please be sure to follow us on twitter - @NiRunning and facebook – NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) for updates. Our ‘Weekend Preview’, covering the remainder of the weekend races will be published as usual on Friday 18th July 2014.
Hundreds turn out for races in Irvinestown, County Fermanagh:
On Tuesday 15th July 2014, nearly two hundred runners turned out for the Irvinestown 10.2k, a popular annual event which takes place in County Fermanagh and attracted a mixture of well-known athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
At the head of the field, it was local man Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) who impressed most. The Stirling University student, who won the Scottish University 5,000m Championships last term, broke the tape in 33:15 (1st place) to win by just under three minutes. Another Enniskillen Running Club athlete, Stephen Cassidy, followed in 36:03 (2nd place), while Derek Sommerville (Omagh Harriers) completed the podium in 38:18 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) put in the same kind of quality performance as her male counterpart and former club mate; Patricia looked strong and compossed as she claimed top honours in 38:47 (1st place). Unattached athletes Diana Cody and Aoife McCaffrey both ran well to secure 2nd place and 3rd place respectively, with Diana recording 38:47 and Aoife 41:49.
In the associated 5k race, Unattached athlete Shane Brody showed the same kind of form that saw him take a podium place at the recent Lisbellaw 10k to win in 17:02 (1st place). Abbey Barrett (Unattached) secure victory in the ladies category, after crossing the line in 22:35 (1st place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) – 33:15, 2nd Stephen Cassidy (Enniskillen Running Club) – 36:03, Derek Sommerville (Omagh Harriers) – 38:18
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) – 38:47, 2nd Diana Cody (Unattached) – 39:25, 3rd Aoife McCaffrey (Unattached) – 41:49
Six respected mountain runners complete Mourne 500 Challenge:
The Bank Holiday weekend saw six well respected mountain runners from Northern Ireland complete the Mourne 500 Challenge, a gruelling run that requires participants to reach the summit of every peak in the Mourne Mountains which measures over 500 metres in height.
On Saturday 12th July 2014, a four strong grouping of Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Stephen Wallace (Unattached), Dominic McInerney (Unattached) and William Marks (Mourne Runners) braved tough weather conditions to complete the route. After starting at Ott Car Park, the men were forced to use their navigational skills because of poor visibility; having completed the challenge, they returned to their starting point (participants are required to start and finish in the same place) in 15:44:00.
On Monday 14th July 2014, Murlough AC's Phil Hodge and Team Purple's Pete Grant set off to complete the challenge, which had been completed by nine people prior to this weekend; interestingly, the challenge record is held by Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and stands at 13:10:00. Phil and Pete put in gritty performances, covering approximately 41 miles and 39 peaks (incorporating 14,000ft of ascent) in 14:17:00.
Full details of the Mourne Challenge can be found HERE. This includes the 'Hall of Fame', which will be updated to reflect the weekend performances as soon as the routes are ratified.
Athletes from Northern Ireland top the podium in Ireland:
Over the weekend (Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th July 2014), athletes from Northern Ireland have enjoyed success at events outside the province, namely at the Malahide Castle 10k in Dublin (Ireland) and the Runegal 10k in Dunfanaghy (Ireland).
In Malahide, North Belfast Harriers' Cathy McCourt took on the scenic Malahide Castle 10k trail race. The Irish XC international added to her string of podium places this year, with another prize-winning performance. Cathy led the ladies race from start to finish to win in 39:22 (1st place); this not only sealed top spot in the ladies race, but a brilliant 5th place overall.
In Dunfanaghy, County Donegal (Ireland), a number of Northern Ireland based athletes completed the Runegal 10k, an event well known for is stunning setting in Horn Head. City of Lisburn AC's distance specialist Diane Watson produced an excellent run to secure the ladies title in 44:30 (1st place). Diane's City of Lisburn AC club mates Orla Smyth, Declan Morgan and Andy Watson were amongst the Northern Ireland contingent who also raced; however, with full results still unavailable we have no further information on their performances.
Full Results: Malahide 10k 2014 Results and Runegal 10k 2014 Results (Currently Unavailable)
Pimentel, Higgins, Barbour and Coney win at Great Rossa Run 2014:
On Sunday 13th July 2014, well over two hundred running enthusiasts brought the County Tyrone village of Ardboe to a standstill as they took on the well organised Great Rossa Run, an event that offered athletes a choice of three distances, namely Half Marathon, 10k and 5k (Fun Run).
At the head of the Half Marathon field, there was an exciting contest between respected athlete Delfim Pimentel (Unattached) and the fast improving Acorns AC runner Aidan O'Hagan; in the end, it was Delfim who claimed victory, crossing the line in 1:18:36 (1st place). Aidan followed in a new personal best of 1:18:46 (2nd place), while Carmen Runners front man Michael Kerr completed the podium places in 1:21:34 (3rd place).
The ladies race brought arguably the performance of the day, with Lagan Valley AC's Suzanne Higgins dominating proceedings from the off. Despite returning to the 13.1 mile distance for the first time in a number of years, Suzanne showed the same kind of ability that once saw her feature at the top of ladies road running on a regular basis; Suzanne took top honours in 1:28:17 (1st place), finishing just over five minutes ahead of the in-form Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers), who recorded 1:33:53 (2nd place). Acorns AC lady Jacqueline Mulligan ran well to secure 3rd place in 1:39:55.
The 10k race brought a convincing win for Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers); Paul showed that he is back to his best after returning from injury to break the tape in 33:53 (1st place), this saw him win by approximately ninety seconds over Sperrin Harriers duo Gavin Corey and Erin McDaid crossed the line in 35:22 (2nd place) and 35:51 (3rd place) respectively. In the ladies race, Charlene Abhraham (Unattached) followed up her good run at the recent Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race with a well-deserved victory, after sealing top spot in 42:39 (1st place). Louise Doherty (Unattached) clocked 49:23 for 2nd place, before Sarah Hughes took 3rd place four seconds later in 49:27. The 5k event brought a convincing win for Sperrin Harriers' David Moan (1st place - 20:18), while Stephanie Henry (Unattached) covered the course in 25:03 (1st place), this was enough to take the ladies title.
Half Marathon Podium Places:
Top 3 Men: 1st Delfim Pimentel (Unattached) – 1:18:36, 2nd Aidan O'Hagan (Acorns AC) – 1:18:46, 3rd Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) – 1:21:34
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:28:17, 2nd Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:33:53, 3rd Jacqueline Mulligan (Acorns AC) – 1:39:55
10k Podium Places:
Top 3 Men: 1st Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 33:53, 2nd Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) – 35:22, 3rd Erin McDaid (Sperrin Harriers) – 35:51
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Charlene Abhraham (Unattached) – 42:39, 2nd Louise Doherty (Unattached) – 49:23, 3rd Sarah Hughes (Sperrin Harriers) - 49:27
Full Results: Great Rossa Run 2014 Results – Please Note: The Half Marathon, 10k and 5k results are all listed on the same spreadsheet (attached) in ascending order. Photograph used above courtesy of John T Glover.
Letterkenny 'Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge':
On Sunday 13th July 2014, a large contingent of runners from Northern Ireland lined up against world class opposition at the 2nd annual running of the 'Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge', an event hosted by Letterkenny AC at the Danny McDaid Track in Letterkenny, County Donegal (Ireland).
Despite the blustery conditions, the local athletes produced some notable performances; however, it was the sub four minute mile of Mexican star Juan Luis Barrios (4:59.43) which will deservedly make the headlines. In the same race, Northern Ireland international Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) ran 4:07.63 (10th place).
Prior to this, the day got off to a bright start when Ballymena & Antrim AC man Johnathan Browning (11.05secs) took 3rd place in the 100m event, which was won by American athlete Philip Redrick in 10.87secs. Curtis Woods (Lagan Valley AC) and Conor McLaughlin (Strabane Track Club) also impressed in their 400m race; Curtis crossed the line in 49.29secs (2nd place), with Conor following just over one second later in 50.49secs (3rd place) – Oustanding Irish athlete Mark English (DSD AC) won the race in a new stadium record of 46.88secs.
There were three Northern Ireland ladies in the 800m race; Commonwealth Games bound Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) just missed a podium spot after taking 4th place in 2:05.57. North Down AC's Rachel Gibson (2:12.47) and Clones AC's Denise Toner (2:16.31) secured 7th place and 8th place respectively. Scottish runner Emily Dudgeon sealed top honours in 2:03.42 (1st place). In the men's 800m, the ever impressive Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) crossed the line in 1:53.70 (5th place); Kenyan athlete and winner of the 800m race at the Belfast International won in 1:49.51 (1st place). Up and coming star Jenny O'Brien (City of Derry AC) claimed 5th place in the 200m race, after recording 27.13secs; the race was won by Dublin City Harriers' Steph Creaner (1st place – 25.02secs).
The 'mixed' 3,000m race saw no less than six local runners toe the line, and it was AAI Masters XC Champion Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) who crossed the line first; Declan finished in 8:44.79 (3rd place) and was followed by Annadale Striders' Stephen Prentice (4th place - 8:47.14) and Foyle Valley AC's Scott Rankin (5th place - 8:47.27) who were split by a mere 0.13secs. City of Derry AC men Greg Roberts and Noel Logan also ran well, with Greg clocking 9:01.62 (6th place) and Noel 9:02.66 (7th place); the race was won by Donore Harriers' Eric Keogh in 8:40.46 (1st place). In the ladies category, Strabane based Irish international Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) sealed a podium place after covering the distance in 9:30.32 (2nd place). American Addie Bracy won in 9:16.92 (1st place).
Full Results: Letterkenny 'Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge' 2014 Results
British Milers Club (BMC) 'Trafford' Grand Prix 2014:
On Saturday 12th July 2014, at least six local athletes were in action at the British Milers (BMC) 'Trafford' Grand Prix in Stretford, Manchester (England). It proved to be an excellent night for the Northern Ireland contingent, with new seasons bests, personal bests and a Northern Ireland (Masters) record set.
The performance of the evening came from Annadale Striders' James O'Hare; having enjoyed a number of good outings this season, including a 3:46.38 1500m at the Belfast International two weeks ago, James further enhanced his reputation as a quality track athlete with a new personal best of 3:43.16 (4th place) in the competitive 1500m 'A' race, which was won by Frank Baddick (Newham & Essex Beagles AC) in 3:42.06 (1st place). In the 1500m 'C' race, the ever impressive pairing of Michael Dyer (North Down AC) and Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) both produced notable performances. Michael ran a seasons best of 3:49.68 for 2nd place, and while narrowly missing a new personal best, Gareth set a new Northern Ireland Vet35 1500m record of 3:50.99 for 4th place; the race was won by Exeter AC's Josh Trigwell in 3:49.57 (1st place).
Paralympic star Michael McKillop (St Malachy's AC) made a welcome return to competition in the 1500m 'D' race. The decorated athlete opened his season with a solid 3:59.85 (12th place); the race was won by Tim Sundstrum (Sweden) in 3:50.71 (1st place). In the 800m, America based Northern Ireland man Steven Morrow (Ballymena & Antrim AC) clocked a seasons best of 1:54.11 to secure 3rd place in the 'D' race won by Paul Rice (City of Sheffield AC) in 1:53.66 (1st place). Young City of Lisburn AC athlete Erin McIlveen looked strong in her 800m 'A' race, and covered the distance in 2:07.09 (9th place); this was her second quickest 800m ever. Angie Smit (New Zealand) won the 800m 'A' race in 2:00.59 (1st place).
Full Results: BMC 'Trafford' Grand Prix 2014 Results
Letterkenny 'Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge':
Later today (Sunday 13th July 2014), a host of Northern Ireland based athletes will be in competition at the 2nd annual running of the Letterkenny AC hosted 'Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge', which will be held at the Danny McDaid track in Letterkenny, County Donegal (Ireland). The start lists for the event are available HERE - Our summary of the event will be online later tonight or tomorrow (Monday 14th July 2014).
British Athletics-Diamond League Glasgow Grand Prix 2014:
On Saturday 12th July 2014, Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) continued her build up to the Commonwealth Games at the British Athletics-Diamond League Glasgow Grand Prix, which was held at Hampden Park, Glasgow (Scotland).
Competing against a top class field in the 100m, Amy powered out of the blocks quickly and produced a strong performance to cross the line in 11.54secs (9th place); this was just 0.14secs away from her current 100m personal best and Northern Ireland record of 11.40secs, which bodes well as she looks forward to the Commonwealth Games in two weeks. The race was won by Dutch athlete Dafne Schippers, who recorded a new National record of 11.03secs (1st place); interestingly, Dafne went on to win the 200m in another National record of 22.34secs (1st place).
Record numbers turn out for atmospheric Shore 10k:
On Friday 11th July 2014, a record number of competitors turned out for the annual Shore 10k in Killough, County Down. The well organised and atmospheric event brought the public of Killough onto the streets to support the athletes as they negotiated the scenic 6.2 mile course.
In perfect running conditions, it was fitting that the man behind the event, Brendan Teer (East Down AC), took centre stage; in truth, despite the talent within the field, Brendan looked a class above the rest and ran a 'time-trial' like race before breaking the tape in 32:34 (1st place). Behind, there was an excellent battle for the runners up spot between North Down AC team mates Stephen Wylie and Dennis Scott. As the pair approached the finish, Dennis made every effort to catch Stephen, who had a slight lead – However, Stephen held on to take 2nd place in 33:59, with Dennis settling for 3rd place one second later in 34:00.
The ladies race brought another convincing victory; Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) celebrated her selection for the Snowdon International Mountain Race with an emphatic display of front running. The Northern Ireland international sealed the win in 39:29 (1st place). Unattached athlete Caroline O'Hare took 2nd place in 41:16, while Ballydrain Harriers' Fiona Johnston completed the ladies podium in 42:27 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 32:34, 2nd Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) – 33:59, 3rd Dennis Scott (North Down AC) – 34:00
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 39:29, 2nd Caroline O'Hare (Unattached) – 41:16, 3rd Fiona Johnston (Ballydrain Harriers) – 42:27
Full Results: Shore 10k 2014 Results
Rathmullin 5k Road Race 2014:
On Friday 11th July 2014, athletes from Northern Ireland were in action at the Rathmullin 5k road race in County Donegal, Ireland. The event has proved successful for local athletes in the past and this year was no different, with no less than four familiar faces on the podium.
Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) continued his impressive return to competition after injury with a notable victory. Keith covered the course in 15:16 (1st place), this was enough to edge out the in-form pairing of Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) and Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), with Adrian running 15:30 (2nd place) and Chris 15:36 (3rd place). A special mention must also go to North Belfast Harriers' Lawrence Johnston, who won the Vet50 category in an excellent time of 17:24 (16th place).
The ladies race was won by the talented Catherine Dooher (Unattached) in a time of 19:17 (1st place); in what was a close race, Catherine finished a mere eight seconds ahead of Northern Ireland international and British (Masters) Championships gold medallist Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC), who recorded 19:25 (2nd place). Finn Valley AC's Karen Gallagher took 3rd place in 19:44.
Top 3 Men: 1st Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:16, 2nd Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:30, 3rd Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:36
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Catherine Dooher (Unattached) – 19:17, 2nd Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) – 19:25, 3rd Karen Gallagher (Finn Valley AC) – 19:44
Full Results: Rathmullin 5k 2014 Results
Morton Games 2014:
On Friday 11th July 2014, athletes from Northern Ireland joined competitors from around the world at the Morton Games, which were held at the Morton Stadium in Santry, Dublin (Ireland). The local runners played their part in what proved to be a night of top class athletics, during which, stadium records tumbled and no less than ten men broke the infamous 4 minute Mile barrier.
Northern Ireland man Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) continued his build up to the Commonwealth Games with an impressive display; racing over the 400m hurdles, Jason recorded a seasons best of 50.64secs to claim 4th place in the race won by the outstanding Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) in 48.94secs (1st place). Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC), who will also head to Glasgow in a few weeks, missed a sub 4 minute Mile by less than one second when he ran a brilliant new personal best 4:00.79 (12th place); American athlete Will Leer won the International Mile in a new stadium record on 3:51.82 (1st place).
Another of Team NI's medal hopefuls, Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) was in action in the International Ladies 800m race. Katie ran well to cross the line in 2:02.86 (6th place) and was followed by another NI based athlete, Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC), who recorded 2:06.58 (9th place). The race was won by Phoebe Wright (USA) in 2:01.91 (1st place).
There were a host of familiar faces in the other 800m races. In 'Race A', Michael Quinn (Annadale Striders) produced a new personal best on 1:52.36 (8th place); the race was won by Brian Kelly (St Abbans AC) in 1:49.78 (1st place). Race B saw junior stars Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers) and Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC) toe the line, with both performing to their usual high standard. Andrew broke the beam in 1:54.20 (7th place), with fellow countryman Oisin following less than a second later in 1:54.99 (8th place); the race was won by Darragh Lynch (Ennis Track Club) in 1:52.18 (1st place). East Down AC's Neil McCartan lined up in the 800m 'C' Race, where he covered the distance in a speedy 1:55.13 (5th place); Doneen AC man Niall McCormick took top honours in 1:54.21 (1st place). The versatile and ever impressive Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders) won the 800m 'D' race in 1:57.63 (1st place), while Derry City Track Club athlete Tim Shiels broke the two minute barrier for the first time after finishing in 1:59.18 (4th place).
In the ladies 800m 'A' race, Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) followed on from her successful outing at last weeks AAI National Junior/U-20 and U-23 Championships with a personal best on 2:12.12 (6th place); Emerald AC's Amy O'Donoghue won in 2:09.32 (1st place). In the 'B' race, Rebekah Nixon (Dromore AC) recorded 2:24.73 (8th place); the race was won by KCH's Anna Sheehan in 2:19.54 (1st place).
The Junior Mile saw three of St Malachys AC's top up and coming stars put themselves up against a quality opposition, and the trio put in excellent performances. Paddy Robb covered the 1,609m in 4:27.66, narrowly missing a podium spot after taking 4th place. He (Paddy) was followed by club mates Ronan O'Friel (4:29.14) and James Smyth (4:44.12), who claimed 7th place and 10th place respectively.
Full Results: Morton Games 2014 Results
Weekend Preview: Athletes prepare for events in Killough, Ardboe...
The summer holidays are now in full swing and as we approach a Public/Bank Holiday weekend, the racing season is also at full speed, with fixtures on an almost daily basis. Over the long weekend, local athletes will race at events in Killough and Ardboe, whilst Northern Ireland will also be well represented in Manchester (England), Letterkenny (Ireland) and Dublin (Ireland).
The action begins tonight (Friday 11th July 2014) in Killough (County Down), where a large crowd is expected to turn out for the annual Shore 10k road race, an event co-hosted by East Down AC.
Brendan Teer (East Down AC) is a fan of this race and will almost definitely toe the line; the County Down man, who has shown good form this year, has won no less than nine races; however, arguably his most notable outing was a race he didn't win, the Armagh International 5k, during which he clocked a new personal best of 15:20. Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) and John Craig (Orangegrove AC) enjoyed an excellent dual at the Greyabbey 10k last week and could well resume battle here, as long as Barrie has recovered from a good run over 3,000m (9:32.55) at the North Down AC Track & Field Meeting on Wednesday night (9th July 2014). A mere eight seconds split the pair seven days ago, with the fast improving John Craig taking top honours on that occasion. Newcastle AC men David O'Flaherty and David McNeilly may also turn out and could be joined on the start line by 2013 Champion Brian Young (Unattached) as well as Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) and Eddie Hanna (Unattached).
Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC), Heather Foley (Unattached) and Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) could contest the ladies top prize. All three have been in on top of their game recently, with Patricia winning the Beragh 5, Enniskillen 10k, Les Jones 10k, Dromore 10k and the Runher Coastal 10k; meanwhile, Heather has secured victory at the Omagh CBS 10k, Ballynahinch 10k, Termoneeny 10k and the DUNE Half Marathon – these statistics alone make for an exciting encounter. Catherine O'Connor has been a real star in the mountain running scene this term, and having enjoyed success throughout the Hill & Dale Series, the East Down AC lady returned to the roads to win the Loughinisland 5.05m race. Considering she has just been named on the Northern Ireland team for the Snowdon Mountain Running International, Catherine will go into this race high in spirits and confidence. Other ladies to watch out for could include Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) and Lisa Milligan (East Down AC).
Also on Friday 11th July 2014, A number of local runners will travel south to Dublin (Ireland) for the Morton Games, which will be held at Santry Stadium. Commonwealth Games bound stars Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC), Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) and Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) will be joined by Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC), Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), Tim Shiels (Derry City Track Club), Johnny Foster (Annadale Striders), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC), Mark Hoy (Fin Valley AC), Emer Magee (Lagan Valley AC), Curtis Woods (North Down AC), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), Michael Quinn (Annadale Striders) and St Malachy's AC trio Ronan O'Fril, Paddy Robb and James Smyth as they all chase prizes in what should prove to be an exciting night of athletics.
There are no fixtures listed on the official Athletics NI for Saturday 12th July 2014; however, athletes from Northern Ireland will be in action on the mainland, with at least five set to take part in the British Milers Club (BMC) 'Trafford' Track & Field event in Stretford, Manchester.
Paralympic gold medallist Michael McKillop (St Malachy’s AC) will kick off his 2014 campaign and will be joined in the ‘call room’ by Stephen Morrow (Ballymena & Antrim AC), James O’Hare (Annadale Striders), Michael Dyer (North Down AC) and Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC).
On Sunday 13th July 2014, the local running fraternity will be treated to a new event, the Great Rossa Run, which will take place in Ardboe (County Tyrone). The festival of running will offer competitors a choice of events, including a Half Marathon, 10k and 5k, which given the area, are likely to be contested over undulating courses.
On the face of it (and with respect), this appears to be a low key event, however, we would expect several high profile athletes to make an appearance. Amongst these could be Acorns AC men Aaron Meharg, Michael Crawley and Bliadhan Glass. The course could also suit East Coast AC man Matthew Hewitt, who recently topped the podium at the Mourne Way 10k; fellow County Tyrone man Delfim Pimental (Unattached) will also go well should he race. The stand out performer in the ladies race is Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC); Suzanne will not only lead the charge in the ladies category in the Half Marathon, but the talented athlete will also finish well up the field overall. The in-form Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) may enter on the day and if so, she (Pauline) could be joined by another regular headliner, Rhian Pegram (Acorns AC), who may fancy the 10k, especially after her impressive outing at the Runher 'Pop-Up' event in Larne two weeks ago, where she won comfortably. Jacqueline Mulligan (Acorns AC) and Rosemary Hargan (Acorns AC) will also finish well up the field.
Also on Sunday 13th July 2014, a large number of familiar faces will be in competition at the 2nd annual running of the Letterkenny AC hosted ‘Sub 4 minute Mile Challenge’.
Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC), Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) and Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), all of whom are also set to toe the line at the Morton Games (Dublin) on Friday night (11th July 2014), will definitely race. The speedy trio could also be joined by the likes of Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) and Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC), amongst others.
The following is the official preview for the event (Preview compiled by Daragh McDaid):
Mark English set to shine at International athletics meet in Letterkenny:
Ireland’s hottest athletics talent will be on show against some of the world’s best athletes on Sunday 13th July 2014 at the Letterkenny AC Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge Event. The opening ceremony for the event will take place at 1:45pm, with all the international action kicking off at 2:00pm at the Danny McDaid Athletics Track at the Aura Leisure Centre, Letterkenny (Ireland).
With such a high calibre of athletes competing from all over the World, it is a great opportunity to come and see world class athletics, and hopefully the first sub 4 minute mile to be run in Donegal. One of the main talents on show will be Letterkenny’s own world class performer Mark English, who will line up in the ‘Letterkenny Credit Union’ Men’s 400m. Mark has been in scintillating form at various meetings all over the world in the past few weeks, with a second place at the Diamond League Grand Prix over 800m in New York (USA), finishing just behind World and Olympic Champion David Rudisha. Added to this, he took victory at the European Team Championships 800m in Estonia, and on Tuesday night (8th July 2014) had a big victory over 800m in Lignano, Italy. His (Mark’s) busy schedule will take him to the Morton Games over 800m in Dublin on Friday (11th July 2014), and he will toe the line over 400m in Letterkenny on Sunday (13th July 2014).
Having run 46.56secs for 400m for victory at the Belfast International last week (Wednesday 2nd July 2014), it will be interesting to see how much faster Mark can go over 400m in the Letterkenny race as he fine tunes his preparations for the European Athletics Championships in Zurich (Switzerland) in August 2014. The 400m race in Letterkenny will also feature Trinidad and Tobago's Machel Cedenio and Kenya’s Carvin Nkanata. Cedenio ran 45.23 seconds for 400m last month in the Cayman Islands Invitational, and he was a 4th placer at the 2011 World Youth Championships. Nkanata competed for Kenya in the 4 x 200m in the IAAF World Relay championships, is the Kenyan record holder for 200m, and will be heading for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow at the end of the month. Nkanata will also double up in the Donnelly Foley Mens 100m and will go up against USA’s Philip Redrick with a personal best of 10.18. Shercock’s Craig Lynch will lead the Irish sprinters, himself doubling up in the 100m and 400m. Two North-West athletes just recently selected for the World Junior Championships in Oregon, Tirchonaill’s Karl Griffin and Sligo’s Zak Irwin will also compete in the 400m and 100m respectively.
The ‘Arena 7’ Men’s Mile is set to feature seven sub 4 minute milers in a world class field, along with seven other athletes who are all within one second of breaking the magical four minute barrier. Mexico’s double Olympic finalist Juan Luis Barrios, New Zealand’s Hamish Carson, Belgium’s Ali Hamdi, and Kenya’s Vincent Mutai are taking on the might of America’s best milers in Tommy Schmitz, Matt Elliott, Eric Finan, Jon Peterson and Kyle Merber who won the Cork City Sports Mile on Tuesday in a time of 3:56. Commonwealth Games bound and another one of Letterkenny AC’s middle distance stars, Danny Mooney will be hoping to cause an upset and steal a victory in front of his home crowd, and in the process dip under the 4 minute barrier, and record the first sub 4 minute mile on Donegal soil. It is interesting to note that less people have run a sub 4 minute mile than have climbed Mount Everest so it gives an idea of how remarkable this feat is.
The ‘Voodoo Lounge’ Women’s 800m is loaded with Commonwealth Games stars heading for Glasgow, and it will be interesting to see if any athlete can get close to breaking 2 minutes for the two lap distance. New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin is a double Commonwealth Games silver medallist and has a personal best of 1:59. Northern Ireland’s Katie Kirk, the Scottish duo of Emily Dudgeon and Hannah Tarver, USA’s Emily Lipari, Canada’s Celia Peters, and Ireland’s Ciara Everard will all be chasing fast times and will make a very exciting race of it. In the ‘Hickey, Clarke & Langan’ Mixed 3,000m, Lifford AC’s Ann-Marie McGlynn will be going up against American’s Clerc Simpson and Addie Bracy. McGlynn has been having a wonderful season so far with representing Ireland at the European Team championships in Tallin, Estonia last month, and will be looking to lower her personal best even further, and the Americans will no doubt push her on. The Men’s field will include Kenya’s Freddy Sittuk, winner of this year’s Belfast Marathon.
Multi-event Irish superstar Kelly Proper, who has been smashing records in many events, will be doubling up in the 200m and Long Jump. In the ‘Glencar Spar’ 200m, Proper will be aiming for a European Championship qualifying time, which she only narrowly missed out on last week by three hundredths of a second in running 23.37secs.
European Junior Champion Patrick Zwicker from Germany will be the athlete to beat in the ‘Tobin's’ Men’s 800m. Zwicker took the title in Rieti, and he will also be joined on the start line by fellow German athlete, Patrick Schoenball. Kenya’s Reuben Bett has a personal best of 1:44.79, will ensure that this will be a race not to be missed, along with several Irish athletes who will be looking to post fast times, including Letterkenny’s own Ruairi Finnegan.
Northern Ireland’s eighteen 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.
Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) and Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) lead NI charge in Lifford:
On Wednesday 8th July 2014, well over two hundred athletes turned out for the annual St Johnston-Carrigans 5k road race in County Donegal (Ireland). The event, which is hosted by Lifford AC and is part of the Donegal Grand Prix is a firm favourite amongst the Northern Ireland Ireland running community, mainly because of it's flat and fast course and the fact that it is so close to the North West border.
In fact, it was Northern Ireland runners and runners attached to Northern Ireland club's who dominated the podium. Foyle Valley AC's Adrian McGowan, a podium finisher at the recent Jude Gallagher 10 mile road race in Limavady, sealed an impressive victory. Adrian led the field home in 15:52 (1st place), finishing ten seconds ahead of City of Derry Spartan Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) who recorded 16:02 (2nd place). Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC) secured 3rd place in 16:14.
Strabane based athlete Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) looked strong in the ladies race; leading from early on, Claire, who enjoyed success at the Walled City 10 mile road race in May (2014) cruised to a well-deserved victory in 19:09 (1st place). Popular athlete Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC), a consistent performer throughout the Athletics NI Cross Country League, followed in 19:42 (2nd place), before Karen Gallagher (Lifford AC) completed the top three in 20:42 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) - 15:52, 2nd Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) - 16:02, 3rd Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC) - 16:14
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) - 19:09, 2nd Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) - 19:42, 3rd Karen Gallagher (Lifford AC) - 20:42
Full Results: St Johnston-Carrigans 5k Road Race 2014 Results
NIMRA announce team for WMRA Long Distance Championships:
Today (Monday 7th July 2014), the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) confirmed their four man team for the upcoming World Mountain Running Association (Long Distance) Championships, which will be held at the Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado (USA).
Team captain Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) will be joined on the start line by Chris Stirling (Ambleside AC), Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) and Peter Bell (Pegasus AC). The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon events begin at the base of Pikes Peak, in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and climbs over 7,815ft (2,382m) to the top of the 14,115ft (4,302m) peak. Since 1966, the race takes place each year in late summer, with the 'Ascent' taking place on Saturday (slightly longer than a half-marathon, at 13.3 miles), and the round-trip marathon on a Sunday.
The elevation gain of the route (from start to summit) is 7,815ft (2,382m); the start is at 6,300ft (1,920m) and the summit is 14,115′ (4,302m). The Ascent finish/Marathon turnaround is at approximately 14,050ft. The Ascent (and ascent leg of the Marathon) has very few stretches which are not going uphill with the average percent grade being 11%.
Northern Ireland based athletes enjoy a successful day at AAI National Championships:
On Sunday 6th July 2014, some of Northern Ireland's brightest prospects travelled South for the GloHealth AAI National Junior, U-20 & U-23 Championships in Cork, Ireland. At least eight local stars claimed medals and to top off an excellent day, Newry AC's Aislinn Crossey was officially confirmed in Ireland's squad for the upcoming World Junior Track & Field Championships in Oregan, America.
On the day, Aislinn claimed a bronze medal in the U-20 800m, having clocked 2:11.27 (3rd place) for the distance. The race was was won by well known Irish athlete Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner (DSD AC) in 2:10.46 (1st place); in the same race, Lagan Valley AC's Jane Matthews took 6th place in 2:22.27.
Two Northern Ireland athletes picked up gold medals at the Championships; the in-form Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) continued what has been a fantastic year, by securing two AAI Junior titles. Megan broke the tape first in the 100m (1st place - 11.82secs) and followed that up with an equally impressive performance over the 100m hurdles, winning in 14.42secs (1st place). James Speight (Finn Valley AC) claimed top honours in the 3,000m Steeplechase, after leading the field home in 10:00:15 (1st place). Banbridge AC's Emma Mitchell also excelled, sealing gold in her U-23 1500m after breaking the beam in 4:38.98 (1st place).
In the U-23 1500m, Annadale Striders' Stephen Prentice finished well to take the silver medal in 3:58.43 (2nd place); the race was won by Cormac Kelly (St Abbans AC) IN 3:58.33 (1st place). Irish junior international Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC) also claimed a podium place in her Junior 200m event, after crossing the line in 24.43secs. Cliodha Manning (Kilkenny City Harriers AC) won the title in 24.43secs (1st place). Karl McClean completed an excellent day for City of Lisburn AC when he followed on from club mate Megan Marrs' two gold medals with a bronze medal. Karl, who was racing in the Junior 200m, covered the distance in 22.41secs (3rd place) to finish just under a second behind winner Zak Irwin (Sligo AC), who recorded 21.42secs (1st place). Joanne Mills (Birmingham University AC) added to the Northern Ireland medal haul after taking 2nd place and the associated silver medal in her U-23 5,000m event. Joanne ran 18:35.33 to finish just behind race winner Maria O'Sullivan (Raheny Shamrock AC) who recorded 17:36.08 (1st place).
Local athletes take on events in Australia and Ireland:
On Saturday 5th July 2014, a number of runners from Northern Ireland took on events outside the province, these included the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia and the Clontarf Half Marathon and 5 mile road race in Ireland.
In Australia, Omagh Harriers man Richard Shannon joined nearly six thousand competitors on the start line of the Gold Coast Marathon in Queensland. Despite the warm conditions, the local athlete performed well and covered the 26.2 mile road in 3:24:11 (650th place). Keynan runner Silah Kipkemboi Limo won the race in a new course record of in 2:09:12 (1st place).
Closer to home; in Clontarf, Ireland, at least twelve local athletes were in action at the Clontarf Half Marathon and 5 mile road races. Amongst these was a notable contingent from Newry City Runners, who were led home by the ever consistent Pat Rocks in 1:35:23 (149th place). Damian Murphy (Newry City Runners) followed in 1:36:28 (170th place), while Canal Court's Nicky Gracey recorded 1:37:19 (185th place). Well respected East Down AC athlete Michael McKeown crossed the line in 1:39:46 (216th place), before Newry City Runners trio Paul Gorman (273rd place – 1:41:17), Emear McCracken (343rd place – 1:44:25) and William McCracken (500th place – 1:47:38) finished.
Belfast Running Club's Mark Ramsey covered the 13.1 mile route in 1:54:30 (844th place), while Orangegrove AC pair Hugh Young and Paula O'Reilly ran 2:08:32 and 2:08:31 respectively, although Paula's chip time was one second quicker, Hugh was awarded 1,236th place and Paula 1,237th place. Liz Power (Newry City Runners) joined the other Northern Ireland competitors in the finish area in 2:28:17 (1,523rd place). The race was won by Paul Lynch (SBR Fems) in 1:16:47 (1st place), with Aoife Joyce (Crusaders AC) taking the ladies title in 1:30:02 (1st place).
In the associated 5 mile road race, which was also run over a flat and fast course, Janine Ramsey (Belfast Running Club) also ran well. Janine, a newcomer to the local scene, completed the course in 46:17 (277th place). The race was won by Wishu Gebreselassie (Ethiopia) in 26:58 (1st place), while DSD AC's Justine O'Connell won the ladies top prize in 31:55 (1st place).
Northern Ireland stars impress at British League fixtures:
On Saturday 5th July 2014, at least three of Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games squad were in action at British Athletics 'British League' fixtures in England.
In Eton (England), Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) was representing Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow AC at a Women's British League (Premier Division) Fixture. Racing in the 2,000m Steeplechase, the Commonwealth Games bound star cruised to victory, leading from gun to tape to win in a massive new personal best and Women's League record of 6:34:20 (1st place). This excellent outing bodes well as Kerry looks ahead to the Commonwealth Games at the end of this month (July 2014).
Meanwhile, in Hendon (England), Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) was also showing that he is in good shape ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Whilst representing Liverpool Harriers AC in the British League (Premier Division), Jason clocked a seasons best of 50.79secs (1st place) for the 400m hurdles; this was enough to seal an impressive victory. Jason also lined up in the 4x400m with fellow Northern Ireland man Adam McComb (North Down AC) and Liverpool Harriers men James Webb and Alex Boyce; the team crossed the line in 3:13.80 (5th place). The race was won by Birchfield Harriers in 3:09.07 (1st place).
Northern Ireland man Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) followed up his win at Wednesday's Belfast International with another solid outing over 100m; the England based athlete ran 10.74secs to take 2nd place behind Confidence Lawson (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers), who won in 10.68secs (1st place). North Down AC's Curtis Woods lined up in the 4x100m with Liverpool Harriers' Alex Boyce, James Williams and Sam Millar; the men covered the distance in 42.26secs. This was enough to secure 2nd place behind race winners Enfield Harriers (1st place – 42.18secs).
NIMRA Championship (Round 6) – Spelga Skyline:
On Saturday 5th July 2014, Northern Ireland's mountain running fraternity descended on the scenic Spelga Dam, just outside Newcastle (County Down) for the sixth race of the 2014 Northern Ireland Mountain Running (NIMRA) Championships, the Spelga Skyline mountain race, hosted by Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners (BARF).
In good running conditions, athletes set of on the tough 12.5 mile course, which would see them cover 1,558m of ascent. As early as the first mile marker, when the leaders crossed the Slievenaman Road and headed towards the Ott Track, it was clear that Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and David Steele (Newcastle AC) would play a major part in proceedings.
In the absence of the recently announced Northern Ireland 'Snowdon International' team, the ladies race was a two way contest between Violet Linton (LVO) and Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners); the fact that the ladies were guaranteed a podium spot took nothing away from what turned out to be just as good a spectacle as the men's event.
As the field negotiated Slieve Meelbeg, Slieve Loughshannagh and Slieve Muck, there was no separating Jonny Steede and Seamus Lynch, with Jonny passing Deers Meadow a mere twenty seconds ahead of Seamus. David Steele followed, before Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) made their way over the road crossing (at Deers Meadow) and onto the Slieve Moughanmore. At this stage, Violet Linton had approximately four minutes lead on Denise Mathers and both ladies were looking strong.
Jonny Steede began to open up a lead on the always impressive Seamus Lynch as the men came off Slieve Muck; despite Seamus' efforts to regain ground on Rocky Mountain, it was the Ballymena man who appeared on the summit of Cock Mountain first, he (Jonny) descended well and climbed the final gruelling steps from the bridge below Spelga Dam, to cross the line in a speedy 2:31:04 (1st place); this made it five Championship race wins for Jonny, who will now be confirmed as the 2014 NIMRA Champion. A tired but happy Seamus Lynch followed in 2:32:58 (2nd place), before an epic finish between David Steele and Neil Carty. The pair appeared at the top of the final steeps together and a sprint finish ensued over the final twenty metres, with David just edging it in 2:45:20 (3rd place); Neil recorded 2:45:22 (4th place).
The second half of the ladies race was were it all happened; Denise Mathers, who was racing for the first time since her heroic efforts at the Bob Graham Round, gradually caught Violet Linton. On the final climb on Cock Mountain, Denise's choice of route allowed her to move past the ever consistent Violet; from here there was no looking back, Denise powered down the final descent and reached the finish line at Spelga Car Park in 3:38:56 (1st place). Violet crossed the line in 3:44:02 (2nd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 2:31:04, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 2:32:58, 3rd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 2:45:20
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 3:38:56, 2nd Violet Linton (LVO) – 3:44:02 *Only 2 Female Participants*
Lisbellaw 10k Road Race 2014:
On Saturday 5th July 2014, athletes from across the province turned out for the Lisbellaw 10k road race in County Fermanagh, an event hosted by the local football club, Lisbellaw Utd.
Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) showed the same kind of form that has seen him claim prizes at the Beragh 5 and Omagh CBS 10k this year; the respected athlete, who regularly paces local marathons, cruised to victory in 34:45 (1st place). Shane Brody (Unattached) secured 2nd place in 35:43, before Omagh Harriers' Derek Somerville crossed the line in 37:21 (3rd place).
The ladies race brought arguably the performance of the day, when Northern Ireland international Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) secured top spot in an excellent 38:22 (1st place); this time not only secured victory but saw Helen finish amongst the overall leaders. Enniskillen Running Clubs Karen Dolan recorded 43:34 for 2nd place, while her club mate Mary Rutledge (Enniskillen Running Club) completed the top three in 45:51 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 34:45, 2nd Shane Brody (Unattached) – 35:43, 3rd Derek Somerville (Omagh Harriers) – 37:21
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) – 38:22, 2nd Karen Dolan (Enniskillen Running Club) – 43:34, 3rd Mary Rutledge (Enniskillen Running
Club) – 45:51
Full Results: Lisbellaw 10k 2014 Results
Greyabbey 10k 2014:
On Friday 4th July 2014, running enthusiasts descended on the County Down village of Greyabbey for the annual Greyabbey 10k race, an event which covers an undulating but enjoyable course.
At the head of the pack, it was Orangegrove AC man and winner of the recent Belfast One World Run, John Craig, who stood out amongst the crowd; John covered the 6.2 mile course in 34:02 (1st place), thus sealing victory. Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) took 2nd place in 34:10, while the in-form James Trainor (DUB Runners) recorded 35:46 for 3rd place.
Jenny Black made it an impressive double for Orangegrove AC after taking top honours in the ladies race; Jenny, who won the 'Belfast Hills' race last month (June 2014, broke the tape in 38:44 (1st place). Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) secured the runners up spot in 41:20 (2nd place), just ahead of outgoing Champion Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), who crossed the line in 41:33 (3rd place).
In the associated 5k race, Ballydrain Harriers athlete Curtis McCaw impress with a 17:34 finishing time, this secured 1st place; in the ladies race, the always impressive Christine Quinn (City of Lisburn AC) clocked 19:17 (1st place) for victory.
Top 3 Men: 1st John Craig (Orangegrove AC) – 34:02, 2nd Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 34:10, 3rd James Trainor (DUB Runners) – 35:46
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Jenny Black (Orangegrove AC) – 38:44, 2nd Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) – 41:20, 3rd Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) – 41:33
Full Results: Greyabbey 10k Road Race 2014 Results
Weekend Preview: Road, Mountain, Track & Trail all covered this weekend...
As another weekend approaches, it's time to put the highlights of the previous seven day's onto the shelf as we once again look ahead to busy and entertaining three days of action.
Amongst the most notable fixtures will be the Spelga Skyline Mountain Race, Greyabbey 10k, Lisbellaw 10k and the Ballyhegan 'Park & Stride'. Athletes from Northern Ireland will also compete at the AAI National Junior & U-23 Championships in Tullamore (Ireland) and in the British League in England.
As with previous weeks, the competition kicks off on a Friday night; tonight (Friday 4th July 2014) will bring the annual Greyabbey 10k road race in County Down. This well-organised event, which covers an undulating course, never fails to attract numbers and usually brings a few high profile names to the start-line.
Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Andrew Considine (North Down AC) and Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) may be the front runners if they decide to make use of the on the night entry. Brendan ran well in blustery conditions at the Belfast International on Wednesday (2nd July 2014), clocking 15:35 over 5,000m. Andrew's last outing was at the Ards Half Marathon seven days ago when he finished in 1:18:42, while Brendan impressed at the Jengana 10k last month. Ballydrain Harriers duo Richard Coey and Ryan Andrews will also play a prominent part at the front should they toe the line.
In the ladies race, last years winner Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) could return to defend her title. The Queens parkrun regular enjoyed a good run (and win) at the final race in the East Antrim Harriers Series in Woodburn Forest. If she (Maeve) takes that confidence into this event, she will prove hard to beat. However, Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) and Nikki Heywood (North Down AC) could also be contenders.
The second annual running of the Ballyhegan 'Park and Stride' 10k will also take place on Friday 4th July 2014. The event, which also offers a 5k race, covers a scenic course within the grounds of Loughgall Country Park in County Armagh and is organised to raise funds for charitable causes.
Although the field may well be made up of exercise enthusiasts as opposed to competitive runners, there should be several recognisable faces in field. The location of the event may well suit East Coast AC's Matthew Hewitt, who recently won the Mourne Way 10k. Ruth Hill (Unattached) could be another starter, while Seapark AC endurance specialists Gary Connolly and Gillian Cordner will also finish well up the field.
On Saturday 5th July 2014 the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) will hold the classic Spelga Skyline event, Race 6 of their Championship Series, in association with Belfast Association of Rock-Climbers and Fell Runners (BARF). The scenic Spelga Dam will be the Race HQ for what may prove to be a tight affair.
The course is approximately 12.5 miles in distance and will see each competitor negotiate 1,550 metres of elevation gain, taking in the summits of Butter Mountain, Slieve Meelbeg, Slieve Loughshannagh, Slieve Muck, Slieve Moughanmore, Pierces Castle, Rocky Mountain, as well as Hen and Cock Mountains before returning to the finish area at Spelga Car Park.
In the men's field, this long distance course will no doubt see the impressive pair of Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) go head to head again. Jonny (Steede) won the previous encounter at Flagstaff to Carlingford, beating Seamus (Lynch) by a mere twenty two seconds. Although Flagstaff to Carlingford was close, earlier, longer events such as Annalong Horseshoe showed how competent the Ballymena man is over the longer distance. That said, Seamus has shown that he knows this area of the Mournes well, with top performances in the Hill & Dale Series, including a win at Hen & Cock, plus second place finishes at Loughshannagh and Rocky. On the International scene, Seamus performed well for Northern Ireland at the Home International event in Keswick (England) last month and was last week selected to represent his country at the iconic Snowdon International Mountain Race, which is due to take place this month (July 2014).
Veterans Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) will not only compete well in their respective categories but should be close to the leading pair throughout. If the Newcastle AC and Northern Ireland International pairing of David Steele and Ian Bailey decide to participate, they will also be well in contention, given their current form. David (Steele) has shown a massive improvement this year and like his Newcastle AC team mates (Seamus Lynch and Ian Bailey), ran well in the Hill & Dale events around Spelga. Mourne Runners men, Sam Herron and William McKee have also shown significant progress as the season moves along, with the latter (William McKee) taking victory in the Drinahilly race last week.
In the ladies race, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) is expected to be top of the podium here. Diane's form has been particularly impressive this year and the International lady seems to be pushing a lot of her male counterparts, as well as the course record times. The current NIMRA Champion was this week crowned as the 2014 Hill & Dale Series winner and will go into this race high in confidence with wins in all her recent Championship outings, including (most recently) Flagstaff to Carlingford and Annalong Horseshoe.
With the notable absence of Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), following a nasty fall at the aforementioned race at Flagstaff to Carlingford, the contenders for the remaining podium spots, if they decide to race, will more than likely be Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) and Lagan Valley AC duo Hazel McLoughlin and Anne Sandford, and LVO's Violet Linton. Catherine (O'Connor) has taken her good form from the Hill & Dale Series into the NIMRA Championship, with a podium finish in Carlingford and subsequently a win at Drinahilly last week. That aside the newcomer to mountain running as been selected for the Snowdon International mountain race, following a good performance for the Bronze medal winning Northern Ireland team in Keswick last month.
Hazel and Violet have been pushing for top three positions throughout the season and this will be a close encounter. Both ladies finished within a minute of each other in Carlingford, with Violet taking fourth place and Hazel fifth. Hazel, took third place at the Commedagh Chase Championship event earlier in April (2014) and normally shows her best form over the shorter routes. Hazel ran well in a 10k trail event in Chamonix (France) last weekend, and like Catherine impressed at the Keswick Home International event last month (June 2014). Endurance athlete Violet finished in third place in the tough Annalong Horseshoe event in May (2014) and will be hoping to gain more Championship points here. Anne who recently took the runners up spot at the Hen & Cock Hill & Dale race, will also get amongst these ladies and make this an interesting encounter to watch. Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) is expected to make a return this weekend, having (understandably) taken some time away from racing since her superb Bob Graham Round success. This type of event will complement Denise' massive endurance base and she may be in contention for a podium finish.
Registration for this event will take place at Spelga Car Park between 9.30 – 10.30am, with the Race starting at 11am sharp. All participants are reminded that the following equipment will be required - Important information re Equipment: All runners must carry; a) Whistle, b) Compass, c) Map of the entire course (Mournes Outdoor Pursuits Map) Black & White photocopy not acceptable, d) Emergency rations equivalent to one mars bar (minimum), e) Waterproof garments affording complete body protection, f) Hat and gloves.
Organisers have stressed that participants must bring the listed kit with them; runners will be advised of any adjustments to the kit list at registration. Runners will have their kit checked prior to the start.
Also on Saturday 5th July 2014, running enthusiasts in the County Fermanagh area will look forward to the 3rd annual running of the Lisbellaw 10k, an event hosted by the towns football club, Lisbellaw Utd.
Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) looks like the pre-race favourite going into this event; having won the race in 2013 and proved himself to be in top form with wins at the Enniskillen 10k and the Lisnaskea 10k, the Fermanagh man will be keen to make it a hat-trick on local turf. Glenn may face competition from another local, Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) as well as Stephen Cassidy (Enniskillen Running Club) and Shane Brody (Unattached).
The in-form Patricia O'Hagan (St Peters AC) will lead the charge for the ladies title if she makes the journey; however, the Runher Coastal 10k winner will have to fend off the challenge of reigning Champion Denise Toner (Clones AC). Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) and Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC) should also race, while Enniskillen Running Club's Tara Malone may compete if she has recovered from an epic 6 marathons in 6 days challenge, less than two weeks ago.
In England, Northern Ireland man Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) will be in competition over the 400m hurdles at the British League Track & Field Meeting (Match 5). At present we are unaware of any other local athletes competing at the event.
On Sunday 6th July 2014, four hundred of Ireland's very best athletes will descend on Cork IT (Ireland) for the GloHealth AAI National Junior & U-23 Championships. It is a very important year for Ireland’s leading junior athletes with the World Junior Track and Field Championships taking place in Eugene, Oregon this month (July 2014).
We expect a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland to compete at the event, with Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) and City of Lisburn AC duo Megan Marrs and Roseanna McGuckian amongst the local contingent who will be aiming for prizes. All the action will be streamed live from Cork via the Athletics Ireland website (HERE) in partnership with Aertv with commentary provided by Jumping the Gun (a local podcast).
Northern Ireland’s eighteen 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.
Reynolds, Foster and Reid amongst winners at Belfast International:
On Wednesday 2nd July 2014, Athletics Northern Ireland hosted a night of international athletics at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast. The entertaining track and field meeting offered athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games the opportunity to get one final competitive run out; it also allowed spectators to offer the local athletes a send off.
The night was littered with notable performances and personal bests, but on a local front, it was Northern Ireland record holders Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) and Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) who impressed most. Racing against a headwind in the 100m, Amy looked fit and strong as she powered to victory in 11.69secs (1st place). Ben, who also faced a headwind, claimed top honours, after winning his 110m hurdles event in 13.81secs (1st place).
England based Northern Ireland man and another Commonwealth Games bound star, Leon Reid (Bristol & West AC) also topped the podium, winning his 100m race in a speedy 10.63secs (1st place). In 400m hurdles, the in-form Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) went out of the blocks fast and led until the latter stages, but it was Aisha Naibe-Wey (Herne Hill Harriers) who came through to take victory in 58.54secs. Jessie Barr (Ferrybank AC) and Christine McMahon took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively, with both finishing in 58.85secs.
Irish athlete Paul Robinson (St Cocas AC) looked the part in the International Men's 1500m; he sat just of the pace setters before moving to the front in the latter stages. Despite the efforts of Australian Ryan Gregson (NSW), Paul secured the win in a new personal best of 3:40.39 (1st place). The first local finisher was Annadale Striders man James O'Hare who ran well to cross the line in 3:46.38 (8th place). Letterkenny AC's Mark English (46.56secs), Bristol & West AC's Theo Campbell (48.20secs) and Woodford Green AC's Shana Cox (54.01secs) were three of the evenings top performers, with all producing excellent outings to win their respective 400m 'A', 400m 'B' and 400m races.
Kenyan athlete Reuben Bett broke the tape first in the International Men's 800m 'A' race, after running 1:47.64 (1st place), while Northern Ireland man Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) ran well to finish in a new personal best of 1:50.20 (6th place). Brian Kelly (St Abbans AC) won the 800m 'B' race in 1:50.64 (1st place); in the same event, Willowfield Harriers' Andrew Wright finished impressively to take 3rd place in 1:53.83. Edinburgh AC's Hanna Traver was victorious in the International Ladies 800m, winning in 2:02.72 (1st place).
Australian runner Ben St Lawrence (NSW) was a dominant force throughout the International Men's 5,000m race, sitting just off the pacers before they dropped out and left him to finish the job in a notable 13:27.71 (1st place). Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) was the first local finisher in 14:28.52 (8th place). The U-23 100m hurdles brought a well-deserved victory for Catherine McManus (DCH) in 13.97secs; Catherine was followed by up and coming Northern Ireland star Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) in 14.03secs (2nd place).
Sean Corry (Omagh Harriers) and Katie O'Connor (Newry AC) were clear winners of their U-15 800m race, after the talented pairing ran 2:07.65 (1st place) and 2:21.23 (1st place) respectively. Aaron Sexton (North Down AC) jumped well as he took top spot in the U-15 100m hurdles in 11.67secs. (1st place) In the 100m Wheelchair event, versatile athlete Paul Hannon (Torque RC) won in 17.02secs (1st place), with Samantha Kinghorn (Scotland) winning the ladies equivalent in 18.60secs (1st place). Patrick Monaghan (Ireland) won the Wheelchair 1500m race in 3:53.63 (1st place); Scottish athlete Samantha Kinghorn secured her second title of the night when winning the 1500m in 4:02.87 (1st place).
Full Results: Belfast International Track & Field Meeting 2014 Results