Northern Ireland Running

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Christine McMahon records Euro Championships standard in Belgium:

Christine McMahon, Leon Reid and Mandy Gault impress on the track:

Over the weekend (Saturday 28th June 2014), Commonwealth Games bound Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) secured the qualification standard in the 400m hurdles for the European Track and Field Championships in Zurich (Switzerland). In-form Christine recorded a new personal best of 56.97secs to finish in 2nd place at the Nivelles International Meeting in Belgium. The time was just inside the required standard of 57.00secs for the prestigious competition. The race was won by Anneri Ebersohn (ZAF) in a time of 56.85secs (1st place).

Fellow Team NI athlete, Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers), was in action at the Sainsbury’s British Championships at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. Reid finished in 6th place in the 200 metres final, the 20 year old European Junior silver medallist from last season was drawn in the outside lane and had battle wind and rain to cross the line in 21.45secs. Leon's Birchfield Harriers club mate Danny Talbot was the winner in 20.42secs after edging out firm favourite Adam Gemili of Blackheath AC, who recorded 20.61secs. In the Women's 400 metres hurdles final, Lagan Valley AC's Mandy Gault finished in 7th place in 61.20secs in a race won by well-known Scottish athlete Eilidh Child in 55.58secs.

Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) and Mandy Gault (Lagan Valley AC) are all set to take part in tomorrow nights much anticipated Belfast International Track & Field Meeting at the Mary Peters Track.  More details on the event can be found on the Athletics NI website HERE.

Full Results:  Nivelles T&F Meeting 2014 Results and Sainsbury's British Championships 2014 Results - Please Note:  Information for the above story was taken from the Athletics NI website.

Athletes from NI impress at Skyrunning World Championships:

Local athletes compete at events in Chamonix (France):

This weekend (Friday 27th to Sunday 29th June 2014), a number of runners from Northern Ireland enjoyed several days of training and racing as they lined up alongside some of the World's top athletes at the Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix, France.

The action kicked off on Friday (27th June 2014) morning at 4am, when Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) toed the line in in the Skyrunning Ultra Championships, an 86k race with over 6,000m of ascent, covering some of the most stunning scenery on earth.  The Northern Ireland international started well and worked his way through the field impressively; he gained places on the gruelling climbs and was the first British/Irish finisher in 13:14:53 (39th place). The race was won by Spanish athlete Luis-Alberto Hernando in 10:25:52 (1st place).

Later in the day, well-known mountain runner Robbie Bryson (Newcastle AC) took on the Vertical Kilometer (incorporating the Skyrunning VK World Championships).  The tough event saw competitors negotiate 1,000m of ascent in just 3.8k.  Robbie covered the uphill only course in 41:14, this was enough to secure 35th place overall and 1st place in the 'Veteran 2' category.  The race was won by Kilian Jornet (Team Salomon) in 34:18 (1st place).

On Saturday (28th June 2014), Richard Bell (Mourne Runners), Emmet McAlister (Ballymena Runners), Eamonn McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) were in all competition.  In 'Cross du Mont-Blanc' (23k with 1454m of ascent), Richard Bell produced an excellent performance, negotiating the technical route in 2:49:53 (61st place).  The race was won by Cederic Fleureton (France) in 2:06:21 (1st place).  The 10k du Mont Blanc (10.25k with 325m of ascent) was steeped in confusion; Emmet, Eamonn and Hazel all started well but like the entire field, they were sent the wrong way by a marshal.  Organisers stopped the competitors and returned them to start, after having covered approximately 8k.  After the re-start the local athletes once again found themselves well up the competitive field; Emmet McAlister led the trio home in 51:52 (39th place).  Eamonn McLaughlin followed in 52:22 (47th place), before Hazel claimed 20th place in the ladies race after recording 58:43.  The race was won by Christopher Berraho (France) in 43:22 (1st place), while Anne-Marie Comeau (Canada) in 45:33 (1st place) took the ladies title.

The weekend of exciting action finished up on Sunday (29th June 2014), when Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC), John McManus (East Coast AC/Garscube Harriers) and Conor Shiels (North Belfast Harriers) joined over 2,000 fellow athletes in the Marathon du Mont-Blanc (42k with 2,136m of ascending), which incorporated the Skyrunning Marathon World Championships.  Due to the predicted extreme weather conditions, organisers were forced to alter the route and move the finish area into Chamonix, instead of Plan Praz (which is located at just over 2,000m above sea level).  Despite the wet and slippy conditions, the Northern Ireland men performed well; Mark Kendall was the first of the familiar faces to return in 4:51:59 (226th place).  Conor Shiels arrived into the well supported finish area in 5:21:19 (448th place), just ahead of the fresh looking John McManus, who crossed the line exactly two minutes later in 5:23:19 (471st place).  The race was won by Kilian Jornet (Team Salomon) in 3:23:39 (1st place).

Full Results:  Skyrunning World Championships 2014 Results

Simon Reeve and Virginia Ervine win Ballykinlar 10k:

Ballykinlar 10k 2014:

On Sunday 29th June 2014, a small but enthusiastic crowd turned out for the annual Ballykinlar 10k in County Down; there was also the option of a 5k race for competitors.

Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) looked to be back to his best as he sealed top spot; the North Belfast Harriers man sustained a knee injury at the turn of the year, but appeared in good shape as he crossed the line in 40:22 (1st place). Newcastle AC's Martin Melville took the runners up prize in 40:58 (2nd place), while Mark O'Connor (East Down AC) finished in 42:54 (3rd place).

Mourne Runners athlete Virginia Ervine put in a strong performance to win the ladies title, the versatile runner covered the tough course in 47:43 (1st place), thus sealing victory.  Lisa Robinson (GTR) followed just under three minutes later in 50:33 (2nd place), before BARF's Victoria Simms ran 52:52 for 3rd place.

In the associated 5k race, East Down AC youngster Chris O'Connor showed great potential as he led the field home in 24:12 (1st place).  Joanne Morgan (Unattached) claimed victory in the ladies race in time of 30:18 (1st place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 40:22, 2nd Martin Melville (Newcastle AC) – 40:58, 3rd Mark O'Connor (East Down AC) – 42:54

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) – 47:43, 2nd Lisa Robinson (GTR) – 50:33, 3rd Victoria Simms (BARF) – 52:52

Full Results:  Ballykinlar 10k 2014 Results

Local athletes put in top performances at Irish Runner 5m Road Race:

Irish Runner 5m Road Race 2014:

On Saturday 28th June 2014, at least four athletes from Northern Ireland took on the Irish Runner 5 mile road race in Dublin, Ireland; the event was the first of three races in the build up to the Airtricity Dublin Marathon in October 2014.

Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders) showed the same kind of form that saw him claim a podium place at the recent Dunshaughlin 10k; the Annadale Striders man clocked a speedy 24:42 to secure 3rd place.  City of Derry AC's Greg Roberts took 6th place in 25:31, while North Belfast Harriers man Eddie Cooke crossed the line in 26:59 (11th place).  In the ladies race, Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) narrowly missed a podium place when she finished in 28:33 (4th place).  The men's race was won by Brandan Hargreaves (Club Unknown) in 24:18 (1st place), while Teresa McGloin (Finn Valley AC) took the ladies title in 27:35.

Full Results:  Irish Runner 5m Road Race 2014 Results

Northern Ireland mountain runners impress at British Championship event:

Dollar Mountain Race (inc British Championships 2014):

On Saturday 28th June 2014, a number of mountain runners from Northern Ireland were in action at the Dollar Mountain Race, an event hosted by Orchill Runners in Scotland.  The race was the Scottish Hill Running Championships and also part of the British Fell Running Championships, which ensured a top quality field.

Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), winner of the British Championship race in Northern Ireland, was the first of the local contingent to cover the 9.4 mile course (which incorporated 3,150ft of ascending) in 1:15:26 (10th place).  Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) followed in 1:18:13 (25th place), before Scotland based Northern Ireland international Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) crossed the line in 1:20:02 (35th place).  The race was won by Mercia AC athlete Simon Bailey in 1:11:27 (1st place).

Full Results:  Dollar Mountain Race 2014 Results

Stephen Duncan and Patricia O'Hagan win Dromore 10k:

Dromore 10k Road Race 2014:

On Saturday 28th June 2014, close to two hundred runners from across the province turned out for the annual Dromore 10k and associated 5k, in County Tyrone.

After much debate as to whether who would take part, it was the 2012 Champion who took centre stage.  In an event Northern Ireland international Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) took centre stage to win in an event that he has enjoyed success in previously; having won the race in 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Omagh Harriers man sealed victory in 33:28 (1st place).  His club made, Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) followed on from his podium place at the Enniskillen 10k recently, with another 2nd place finish in 34:53, while City of Lisburn AC man Stephen Morris crossed the line in 35:57 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, the in-form Patricia O'Hagan (St Peters AC) dominated proceedings.  After a strong start, Patricia moved clear of reigning Champion Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) to win in 38:46 (1st place); this time not only sealed top honours in the ladies race but secured fourth place overall for Patricia.  Julie Butler claimed the runners up spot in 39:53 (2nd place), with Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) completing the top three in 41:16 (3rd place).

In the associated 5k race, there were several high profile local athletes who took to the start line, but it was Conor Moore (Omagh Harriers) and Alexandra Kirk (Springwell Running Club) who picked up the prizes with Conor finishing in 18:17 and Alexandra 21:27.

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 33:28, 2nd Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 34:53, 3rd Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) – 35:57

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Patricia O'Hagan (St Peters AC) – 38:46, 2nd Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) – 39:53, 3rd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 41:16

Full Results:  Dromore 10k 2014 Results

William McKee and Catherine O'Connor win Hill & Dale 'Drinahilly':

Newcastle AC host Hill & Dale Series finale:

On Friday 27th June 2014, Newcastle AC hosted the eleventh and final race of their well organised and successful Hill & Dale Series 2014.  Nearly two hundred runners turned out for the event, which started and finished in Donard Park, Newcastle and covered approximately 3 miles in and around Donard Forest (Drinahilly).

In what was a close encounter, it was William McKee (Mourne Runners), a man that has impressed throughout the Series, who stole the headlines.  William followed on from his podium place in Race 10 (The 'Meels') with a well-deserved win, after he broke the tape in 21:10 (1st place).  This was enough to see off the consistent David Steele (Newcastle AC), who claimed 2nd place in 21:15.  North Belfast Harriers' Neil Carty completed the top three finishers in 22:18 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, it was Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) who topped the podium.  Catherine has been a real 'find' on the local mountain running scene this year, so much so that she has found herself on the international stage recently, and has been selected again for the upcoming Snowdon International; the East Down AC athlete covered the course in 26:02 (1st place).  Another well known international, Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) took 2nd place in 27:01, while Norwegian athlete Mari Troeng (OK Linne) reached Donard Park in 28:21 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 21:10, 2nd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 21:15, 3rd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 22:18

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 26:02, 2nd Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) – 27:01, 3rd Mari Troeng (OK Linne) – 28:21

Full Results:  Hill & Dale (Race 11 – Drinahilly) 2014 Results.  Complete Series results will be added to our 'Results' page as soon as they are available.  Photo above taken from the Newcastle AC facebook page.

Eddie McGinley and Gladys Ganiel O'Neill win Ards Half Marathon:

Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series continues in Ards:

On Friday 27th June 2014, well over six hundred runners brought Newtownards Town Centre to a standstill for the annual Ards Half Marathon, which was also the first race of the second half of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, as well as the Athletics NI Half Marathon Championships.

Pre-race favourite Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) looked strong from the off and sealed the prestigious Northern Ireland Half Marathon title, despite the brave efforts of former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion, Brendan Teer (East Down AC).  After being sent the wrong way at the Lisburn 10k last week, the Dublin Marathon bound star was probably keen to ensure that he topped the podium this time around.  That did indeed prove to be the case, when he claimed the gold medal in 1:09:37 (1st place).  Local man, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) tired and was caught in the second half of the race by the impressive Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders), who took 2nd place in 1:11:12 (2nd place).  Brendan (1:11:36) held on for 3rd place.

In the ladies race, it was a similar pattern to that of the Lisburn Half Marathon.  Gladys Ganiel O'Neill continued her build up to the Commonwealth Games with a solid outing.  Looking untroubled, Gladys crossed the line in 1:19:03 (1st place) for victory.  Heather Foley (Unattached) replicated her finishing position from the Lisburn Half Marathon, when she recorded 1:23:53 (2nd place) for the distance.  North Belfast Harriers' Louise Smith followed in 1:26:06 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 1:09:37, 2nd Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) – 1:11:12, 3rd Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 1:11:36

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:19:03, 2nd Heather Foley (Unattached) – 1:23:53, 3rd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:26:06

Full Results:  Ards Half Marathon 2014 Results

NIMRA announce teams for Snowdon International Mountain Race:

Snowdon International Mountain Race 2014:

The Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) have announced teams for the upcoming Snowdon International Mountain Race, which will take place on Saturday 19th July 2014 in Wales.

The strong male and female teams for the prestigious event include:  Men – Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) and Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley).  Ladies – Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC).

More details on the Snowdon International Mountain Race can be located HERE.

Weekend Preview:  Local athletes set for events at home and abroad...

Weekend Preview:  N. Ireland, Ireland, Scotland, France, America...

After a miserable week weather wise, running enthusiasts will be looking towards a good weekend of racing to brighten things up, and there is no shortage of choices for those interested in racing, with the final Hill & Dale Series race (Drinahilly), Ards Half Marathon, Dromore 10k (County Tyrone) and the Ballykinlar 10k all on the official fixture list.  On top of that, runners from Northern Ireland will compete in events in Ireland, Scotland, France and America.

The action has already kicked off in Chamonix (France) this morning (4am - Friday 27th June 2014), where a group of athletes from Northern Ireland have been staying in the run up to the Skyrunning World Championships.  

East Coast AC's Justin Maxwell will be the first of the local faces to toe the start line, when he continues his preparation for the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc 'CCC' race (in August 2014) by taking on the 80k Ultra Marathon (which includes 6,000m of ascent).  Later in the day, Robbie Bryson (Newcastle AC) will negotiate the gruelling Vertical Kilometre (otherwise known as the 'VK'), which will see athletes ascend 1,000m over 3.5k on at times dangerous terrain.  

The weekend of top quality running continues on Saturday 28th June 2014, when Mourne Runners man Richard Bell will join thousands of competitors in 'the Cross' (23k with 1,600m of ascent).  Emmet McAlister (Ballymena Runners), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Eamonn McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) will all race in the 10k event, which includes 325m of ascent.  On Sunday 29th June 2014, Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC), John McManus (East Coast AC/Garscube Harriers) and Conor Shiels (North Belfast Harriers) will cover some of the world's most stunning trails as they complete the famous Marathon du-Mont Blanc (42k with 2,700m of ascent).

Closer to home, tonight, (Friday 27th June 2014) will see thousands of athletes descend on Newtownards (County Down) for the latest race in the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the Ards Half Marathon.  This race will also include the Northern Ireland Half Marathon Championships, meaning that it should attract a sizeable crowd.

Those looking for prizes may well include Annadale Striders men Paddy Hamilton and Eddie McGinley; both Paddy and Eddie have looked strong at recent events in Dunshaughlin and Lisburn respectively and should they race each other, it will make for an excellent spectacle.  Having made a successful return from injury last weekend, Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) may aim to replicate or better his bronze medal winning performance at this race last year.  However, the talented Northern Ireland international could face stiff opposition from the likes of Don Travers (Newry City Runners), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) and Dennis Scott (North Down AC).

Heather Foley (Unattached) will prove difficult to beat if she toes the line.  The former Commonwealth Games cyclist has finished in second place at the Larne, Newry and Lisburn Half Marathon's and won the DUNE Half Marathon already this year and should be pre-race favourite here.  Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) has been racing sparingly this term but may be tempted by this race, having enjoyed success here previously.  Other ladies to look out for include Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached), Catherine Roberts (North Down AC), Gillian Burns (Dromore AC), Claire Forth (Unattached), Athanasia Sevastki (North Belfast Harriers) and East Coast AC trio Janice Plumb, Penny Lindsay and Kerry Fokkens.

Also this evening (Friday 27th June 2014), Newcastle AC will host the eleventh and final race of their very popular and well organised Hill & Dale Series; the event will start and finish in Donard Park, Newcastle and will cover the Drinahilly course, which measures approximately 3 miles in distance and includes 1,080ft of ascent.

The prominent figures in the Series so far, Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC), Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and David Steele (Newcastle AC) will all race, and the strong trio could well be joined by William McKee (Mourne Runners), Barry McConville (Unattached), Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) and Sam Herron (Mourne Runners).

Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) and Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) should feature as they aim to cement their places on the prize-winners list.  Unfortunately, due to a bad fall and subsequent wrist injury at the Flagstaff to Carlingford race last week, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) will not make the start line; in Shileen's absence, Patricia McKibbin (Unattached), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) will all be hopeful of an 'on the night' podium spot.

On Saturday 28th June 2014, running enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland are expected to turn out for the annual Dromore 10k road race and the associated 5k race; the event, which has an excellent reputation, often attracts a high quality field.

Amongst those expected to participate is previous winner Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers).  Since his return to competition in January 2014 (after an absence of approximately six months), Stephen has impressed with several notable wins and podium palces; this is something he will have his sights set on here, especially after having to settle for third place at the Omagh Youth Sport 10k last week.  Enniskillen 10k and Lisnaskea 10k winner Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) may also race, as could Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club), Stephen Cassidy (Enniskillen Running Club) and Shane Brody (Unattached).

Last year's Champion, Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) should return to defend her ladies title; having won the race in 40:04 in 2013 and taking into account that Julie won last week's Omagh Youth Sport 10k in 40:04, there is a fair chance that the local athlete should retain her crown.  That is unless the likes of Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC), Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) or Rhian Pegram (Acorns AC) decide to enter on the day.  These three ladies have been regular podium finishers of late and will settle for nothing less here.

Also on Saturday 28th June 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes are expected to travel south for the popular Irish Runner 5 mile road race in Dublin (Ireland); this race is part of the official build up to the Dublin Marathon.  As with previous years, North Belfast Harriers should be well represented, with talented athletes Conor Curran, Eddie Cooke, Adam Boyd and Paul Elliot all likely to make the trip.

In Scotland, at least three Northern Ireland men will compete at the Dollar Mountain Race, an event hosted by Orchill Runners on Saturday 28th June 2014.  The race, which is the Scottish Hill Running Championship and also part of the British Fell Running Championships, will cover 9.4 miles with approximately 3,150ft of ascending.  Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) and Ryan Stewart (Larne AC/Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) should all perform well, going by their recent outings.

Also on Saturday 28th June 2014, two Northern Ireland endurance running specialists will be in competition at one of the world's most famous and notoriously difficult races, the Western States 100 in America.  Declan Faulkner (Knockmany Runners) and Cathal McGreevey (Team Purple) will both take on the 100 mile challenge. 

On Sunday 29th June 2014, organisers of the second annual Ballykinlar 10k race will welcome runners and fitness enthusiasts alike to their tough 6.2 mile event, which takes place on the shores of Murlough Bay in County Down.

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) is expected to lead the charge for the men's title after an impressive outing last year.  Newcastle AC's David O'Flaherty, who finished as runner up at the recent Mourne Way 10k, could also be a contender in the race for prizes.  The same could be said for Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) and  Martin Wilcox (East Down AC), who have both been running well of late.

Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) may decide to skip this event if she races at the Hill & Dale finale on Friday night (27th June 2014); in her absence, club mates Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) and Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) may head the pack.  However, Susan Smyth (Dromore AC), who claimed a podium place last year, will also be challenging for a high placing.  Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) and Lisa Milligan (East Down AC) will also go 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.  

Freddy Sittuk and Natasha Adams smash course records in Limavady:

Jude Gallagher 'Round the Bridges' Memorial 10m Road Race 2014:

On Thursday 26th June 2014, well over four hundred runners completed the annual Jude Gallagher 'Round the Bridges' Memorial 10 mile road race, hosted by Springwell Running Club in Limavady (County Derry/Londonderry).

Belfast City Marathon winner Freddy Sittuk (Unattached) continued his impressive run of results with another notable victory; from the gun, the Kenyan athlete, who won the Lisburn Half Marathon last week, looked strong and composed as he sat on the heels of Foyle Valley AC's Scott Rankin until the seven mile marker.  Despite Scott's valiant effort, Freddy moved clear in the closing stages to secure victory in a new course record of 50:53 (1st place).  Last years winner, Scott, followed in a new, well-deserved personal best of 51:47 (2nd place), before Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) also clocked a new personal best, after running 55:18 for 3rd place.

Not to be out done by her male counterpart, Lifford AC's Natasha Adams was also in record breaking form. The Strabane based AAI Masters 1500m and 3,000m title holder crossed the line in an excellent 58:06 (1st place), a new ladies course record.  Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) followed in 1:03:58 (2nd place), while the ever consistent Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) took 3rd place in 1:05:09.

Top 3 Men:  1st Freddy Sittuk (Unattached) – 50:53, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 51:47, 3rd Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) – 55:18

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) – 58:06, 2nd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:03:58, 3rd Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 1:05:09

Full Results:  Jude Gallagher 'Round the Bridges' 10m Road Race 2014 Results

Brendan Teer and Catherine O'Connor win Loughinisland 5.05m race:

Loughinisland 5.05m Road Race 2014:

On Wednesday 25th June 2014, East Down AC welcomed athletes to the annual Loughinisland 5.05 mile road race in County Down - The event always brings the question, why 5.05m?  (Why not 5m?).  Well, we know that this is because the race starts on the road (close to a hill) and finishes in the local school, and if the experienced organisers altered this, it would be too close to a dangerous section of road; thus it has been left the way it is to ensure the safety of competitors and officials.

On the racing front, it was local man Brendan Teer (East Down AC) who impressed most.  The local man, who has won no less than eight races this year and just this month reduced his 5,000m personal best to 15:16, broke the tape to retain his title in 27:08 (1st place).  Newcastle AC's David McNeilly looked as if he is well on the road to recovery following a recent rib injury, when he took 2nd place in 28:29.  East Down AC's Martin Wilcox ensured the the host club dominated the men's podium when he recorded 29:02 for 3rd place).

It was a similar story in the ladies race, with East Down AC athletes playing a prominent part at the head of the field.  None more so than the in-form Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC).  Catherine has been making waves in the local mountain running scene of late and recently made her international debut for Northern Ireland; she showed the same kind of strength here as she cruised to victory in 32:47 (1st place).  Up and coming star Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) finished in 33:53 (2nd place), just ahead of Orangegrove AC's improving Sile Brennan, who clocked 34:17 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 27:08, 2nd David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 28:29, 3rd Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) – 29:02

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 32:47, 2nd Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) – 33:53, 3rd Sile Brennan (Orangegrove AC) – 34:17

Full Results:  Loughinisland 5.05m Road Race 2014

Rhian Pegram and Natalie Davidson pick up top prizes at Runher Larne:

Runher Carnfunnock (Larne) 2014:

On Wednesday 25th June 2014, hundreds of athletes descended on Drains Bay in Larne for the first ever Runher 'Pop Up' event.  The wet and misty conditions did not deter the field as they embarked on their 5k and 10k races within the scenic Carnfunnock Country Park, which is located on the famous Antrim Coastline.

In the 5k race, it was Acorns AC lady and winner of the recent Wilkies 5m road race, Rhian Pegram, who stole the headlines; from the off, the rising star looked as if she would be a prominent figure throughout.  That did indeed prove to be the case, when she (Rhian) held the lead from start to finish before claiming victory in 21:03 (1st place).  Despite her impressive display, Larne AC's Patricia Blair (21:29) was forced to settle for 2nd place, while her club mate Julianne Keane (Larne AC) completed the ladies podium finishers in 23:49 (3rd place).

In the five lap 10k race, Natalie Davidson (County Antrim Harriers), Caroline Salters (Seapark AC), Paula Arthur-McCarthy (Ballymena Runners), Barbara McCluskey (Unattached) and Wendy McKeegan (East Coast AC) were all amongst the early podium contenders.  However, it was Natalie Davidson who picked up the top prize, after finishing in a time of 48:01 (1st place).  Caroline Salters (49:50) followed in 2nd place, before Ballymena Runners' Paula McArthur secured 3rd place in 50:37.

Podium Places:

5k Race:  1st Rhian Pegram (Acorns AC) – 21:03, 2nd Patricia Blair (Larne AC) – 21:29, 3rd Julianne Keane (Larne AC) – 21:29, 

10k Race:  1st Natalie Davidson (County Antrim Harriers) – 48:01, 2nd Caroline Salters (Seapark AC) – 49:50, 3rd Paula Arthur-McCarthy (Ballymena Runners)

Full Results:  Runher 5k and 10k 2014 Results

Athletics NI announce star studded line-up for Belfast International:

Commonwealth Stars Set for Belfast International:

Athletics Northern Ireland are delighted to confirm that nine of Team NI’s Commonwealth Athletes will be competing at the Belfast International Athletics Meet at the Mary Peters Track on Wednesday 2nd July 2014.

Organised by Athletics Northern Ireland with support from Belfast City Council, the event will see Northern Ireland’s Commonwealth athletes compete against world class athletes from across the UK, Ireland and further afield. 

Local athletics fans will be able to see Team NI stars in action including Amy Foster (100m), Katie Kirk (800m), Christine McMahon (400m hurdles), Peter Glass (Decathlon), Jason Harvey (400m hurdles), Daniel Mooney (1500m), Leon Reid (200m), Ben Reynolds (110m hurdles) and  Zoe Brown (Pole Vault).

A highlight of the event will be the Men’s 1500 metres with an impressive international line-up already confirmed. Northern Ireland Commonwealth athlete, Danny Mooney, will be going head to head with top Australian Commonwealth athletes Ryan Gregson and Collis Birmingham.  Australian 1500m record holder, Gregson, will undoubtedly be a dominant force in the race; the London Olympics semi-finalist recorded a very fast 3 minutes 36.17 seconds in May. In addition to the antipodean challengers, English Commonwealth athlete Andy Vernon will be in the running as he takes to the line against Birmingham and Gregson in both the 1500m and 5000m. St. Coco’s Paul Robinson will lead the Irish challenge and with a SB of 3.36.45 will no doubt be to the fore.

John Allen, General Secretary of Athletics Northern Ireland, said:

“On the 2nd July the Mary Peters Track will host world class athletes and as an organisation Athletics Northern Ireland relishes the opportunity to welcome them to the home of Athletics in Northern Ireland. Many of the Northern Irish athletes competing will be in the final stages of their training ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Taking place just three weeks ahead of the Games this will be the last chance for local athletics fans to cheer on their favourite Northern Irish athletes before they depart for Glasgow.”

The Belfast International Athletics Meet will commence on Wednesday 2nd July 2014 at 6.30pm with public access to the Mary Peters Track from 5.00pm. Additional car parking will be available at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park from 5.00pm. Admission is £5 per person and includes a commemorative programme, for Under 18s admission is free.

Mark McKinstry and Maeve Lavery win EAH Forest Series - Race 4:

East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series (Race 4 – Woodburn):

On Tuesday 24th June 2014, East Antrim Harriers hosted the final race of their annual Forest Trail Series, which is now celebrating it's 10th anniversary.  Record numbers have turned out for the Series thus far and despite wet conditions, a crowd of nearly one hundred hardy athletes descended on Woodburn Forest for Race 4, which covered an undulating 4.1m course.

The star of the Series so far, Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) made his intentions clear from the off, as he led earlier on.  Behind, Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), Nat Glenn (Unattached), James Trainor (DUB Runners), Andy Guy (East Coast AC) and Paul Horan (North Belfast Harriers) were all vying for the remaining podium spots.  In the ladies race, Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC), Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) and Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) were all in contention early on.

In the end, it was the ever impressive Mark McKinstry who claimed top honours; the North Belfast Harriers man, ensured that he maintained his 100% record in the Series, as he made it three wins from his three appearances, after crossing the line in 22:43 (1st place); with this, mark sealed the overall (Male Open) Series victory.  James Trainor finished well to claim 2nd place in 23:42, before Martin Rea (23:48) just pipped Nat Glenn (4th place – 23:50) to 3rd place.

Maeve Lavery was the leading lady on the night, braking the tape in 27:29 (1st place).  East Coast AC's Allyson O'Toole, who finished on the podium in her two previous Series outings (Race 2 and Race 3) followed in 28:30 (2nd place); this ensured that Allyson was the overall Ladies Open title winner.  Louise Lemon showed that she is returning completed the ladies top three in 29:05 (3rd place).

Race 4 (Woodburn Forest) Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 22:43, 2nd James Trainor (DUB Runners) – 23:42, 3rd Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) – 23:48

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) – 27:29, 2nd Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC) – 28:30, 3rd Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) – 29:05

Overall Series Category Winners:

Open:  Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC)

Vet35:  Nigel McClintock (Ballymena Runners) and Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC) 

Vet40:  Andy Guy (East Coast AC) and Rhonda Brady (Larne AC)

Vet45:  Andy Gregg (Larne AC) and Jill Holland (Orangegrove AC)

Vet50:  David Allen (Albertville Harriers) and Irene Beattie (Larne AC)

Vet55:  Bernie Regan (Larne AC)

Vet60:  Brian Todd (Orangegrove AC)

Under 20:  Daniel Girvin (East Coast AC) and Laura Brennan (Larne AC)

Full Results:  East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series Race 4 (Woodburn) 2014 Results inc Final Overall Standings

East Antrim Harriers all set for annual Forest Series finale:

East Antrim Harriers Forest Series 2014 reaches exciting climax:

Tonight (Tuesday 24th June 2014) brings the much anticpated finale of this years East Antrim Harriers Forest Series. The long standing event, which includes four races; one in Ballyboley Forest, one in Tardree Forest and two in Woodburn Forest has proved extremley popular this year, with inexcess of one hundred competitors at each event.

The final race will cover 4.1 miles in Woodburn Forest, just outside Carrickfergus and should attract the same kind of numbers as the previous three events. In association with East Antrim Harriers, we have produced a overview of the current standings and what could happen at tonights event:

Male Open:

James Brown (Unattached) is currently leading the Male Open category on 28 points with North Belfast Harriers man and winner of two races, Mark McKinstry in second place on 20 points. Another North Belfast Harriers athlete, Martin Rea, currently holds third place with 17 points. However, as organisers take the three best results (and if the athletes are level then the head-to-head record), this means if Mark wins tonight he will win the Series outright. James has completed three Races to date with Mark and Martin having completed two.

In the Under 20 standings, Daniel Girvin (East Coast AC) looks set to take the crown; however, the talented youngster must stay ahead stay ahead of Unattached athlete Jacob Brady to cement his position.

Female Open:

In the Female Open Ballymena Runners' Jacqueline McIlwrath is in front on 27 points, with Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) currently in second place – both having completed three races. However, East Coast AC lady Allyson O’Toole (on 20 points at present), is currently lying in third place and having completed only two races should be favourite to win overall if she turns out for the final race.

Male Veteran Categories:

Three categories are already decided, but the Vet50 is still very tight and will come down to who performs on the night. David Allen (Albertville Harriers) leads with 28 points with Philip Brines (Unattached) in the runenrs up spot with 26 points. Both men have completed three races, which means Willowfield Harriers' Karl Dines (currently third place on 19 points with two races completed) can still win overall if he can beat David Allen on the night.

In the Vet60 category, Francis Boal (Lagan Valley AC) and Brian Todd (Orangegrove AC) are both vying for top spot. Interestingly, Francis has run in every Series since it's inception 10 years ago and in all that time has only missed two races.

Female Veteran Categories:

Laura Simpson (Larne AC) and Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC) will battle it out for the Ladies Vet35 title – Sharon currently leads with 28 points and Emily Boal (Larne AC) lies in second place on 23 points (both completed three races), but because Laura has only completed two race and holds 20 points, she will be seen by many as favourite to seal the top prize.

In the Vet40 category it’s a straight battle between Larne AC's Rhonda Brady (20 points) and Unattached athlete Cathy Fraser(19 points) – both ladies have completed two races to date, with Rhonda being victorious in the opening race of the Series in Ballyboley Forest. Jill Holland (Orangegrove AC) and Carol Clarke (East Coast AC) will battle it out on the night for the Vet45 honours, while Larne AC team mates Laura Beattie and Laura Brennan will both have their eye on the Under 20 title.

East Antrim Harriers have stated that the 10th annual running of the Series has been a huge success, with a record number of entrants to date; they expect approximately one hundred and fifty athlete to be competing in the final race tonight, so early arrival is highly recommended. The race will start at 7.30pm sharp. After the race, prizes will be awarded for the Series. As well as the winners, there will also be a draw (spot prizes) for those that have completed the four races. Refreshments will provided. 

NI man Jason Harvey achieves European standard in Dublin:

Commonwealth Games bound NI man achieves European Track & Field standard in Dublin (Ireland):

On a weekend when Northern Ireland athletes excelled at track events in England and Estonia, local athletes were also in action in Ireland, at the AAI National League and the Aviva Tailteann Games in Dublin (Ireland) on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd June 2014.

The standout performance from the AAI National League competition came from Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC). Commonwealth Games bound Jason won the 400m hurdles in a time of 50.86secs, improving on his season’s best time of 51.13secs; more importantly, the time was inside the qualifying standard of 51.10secs for the European Athletics Track & Field Championships in Zurich (Switzerland), scheduled for August 2014.

There were numerous other notable performances by both junior and senior athletes at the above mentioned events this weekend.  Full results for both the Aviva Tailteann Games and the AAI National League will be added to this summary as soon as they are available.  Photo used was taken by Liam Behan.

Gary Murray and Julie Butler secure wins at Omagh Youth Sport 10k:

Gary Murray and Julie Butler lead the way at Kenny McGirr Memorial race:

On Sunday 22nd June 2014, nearly two hundred athletes turned out for the Omagh Youth Sport 10k road race in County Tyrone, an event run in memory of local sportsman Kenny McGirr.

As soon as the athletes set off, the leading trio of Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC), Keith Shiels (Foyle Vallley AC) and Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) moved clear of the field.  As the race progressed, it was Lisburn 10k winner Gary Murray who began to gain an edge on Keith and Stephen; he (Gary) further extended his lead before breaking the tape in 32:04 (1st place).  Keith Shiels marked his return to competition with a 2nd place finish in 32:31 (2nd place), a mere three seconds ahead of local star Stephen Duncan who clocked 32:34 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, it was one of the promotional stars for the event, Northern Ireland international cross country runner Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) who claimed the headlines.  Julie fended off the challenge of rising star Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) to secure victory in 40:04 (1st place).  Pauline took 2nd place in 40:40, while Carla Prentice (Unattached) completed the podium finishers in 42:27 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Gary Murray (St Malachys AC) – 32:04, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 32:31, 3rd Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 32:34

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) – 40:04, 2nd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 40:40, 3rd Carla Prentice (Unattached) – 42:27

Full Results:  Omagh Youth Sport 10k 2014 Results

Glenn Phair and Helen Stockdale claim titles in County Fermanagh:

Lisnaskea 10k 2014:

On Saturday 21st June 2014, running enthusiasts from across the province descended on Castle Park Centre on the shores of Lough Erne  (County Fermanagh) for the annual Lisnaskea 10k road race.

Fermanagh man Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) made it two wins in as many weeks when he followed up his top spot at the Enniskillen 10k with another impressive display.  Glenn broke the tape in 32:56 (1st place), while Stephen Cassidy (Ennniskillen Running Club) and Shane Brody (Unattached) finished in 33:42 (2nd place) and 34:44 (3rd place) respectively.

In the ladies race, Donegal Novice XC Champion Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) topped the podium in 37:00 (1st place).  Denise Toner (Clones AC) followed in 37:30 (2nd place), before local lady Karen Dolan (Enniskillen Running Club) recorded 41:42 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) – 32:56, 2nd Stephen Csssidy (Enniskillen Running Club) – 33:42, 3rd Shane Brody (Unattached) – 34:44

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) – 37:00, 2nd Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 37:30, 3rd Karen Dolan (Enniskillen Running Club) – 41:42

Full Results:  Lisnaskea 10 2014 Results

Katie Kirk claims British title as NI runners race outside the province:

British Athletics U-20 & U-23 Championships and European Team Championships 2014:

This weekend (Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd June 2014) saw athletes from Northern Ireland compete in two major Track & Field competitions, the British Athletics U-23 and U-20 Championships in Bedford (England) and the European Team Athletics (1st League) Championships in Tallinn (Estonia).

The performance of the weekend came from Belfast student Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC); Katie, who is coached by her father, respected athlete Mark Kirk, stole the show when she powered to victory in the U-23 800m at the British Athletics Championships.  She (Katie) crossed the line in a new personal best of 2:02.78 (1st place), thus sealing the prestigious British title and the associated gold medal.  Katie's winning time was also a Bedford Stadium and British U-23 Championship record.

Several other Northern Ireland based athletes enjoyed success at the event; 16 year old Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) excelled against athletes in the U-20 category to win silver in the 100m hurdles, where she recorded 14.10secs (2nd place).  The race was won by Yasmin Miller (Derby AC) in 13.62secs.

Up and coming star, Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) also performed well.  The recently crowned Ulster Schools 400m and 800m Champion took 5th place in her U-20 800m final after running 2:07.77.  The race was won by Charlotte Cayton-Smith (Cornwall AC) in 2:06:54 (1st place).  In the U-23 1500m race, Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) celebrated a seasons best of 4:32.21 (12th place); the race was won by Melissa Courtney (Poole AC) in 4:18.32 (1st place).

Local athletes also impressed whilst representing Ireland at the European Athletics Team Championships (1st League) in Tallinn (Estonia), where Ireland equalled their highest ever finishing position of 7th place, but bettered their overall best points total (with a total of 253.5 points) in the competition won by Belarus (302.5 points).

North Down AC's Ben Reynolds secured 3rd place in his 110m hurdles event, clocking 13.82secs for the distance; the competitive race was won by Hungarian athlete Balazs Baji in 13.15secs (1st place).  Racing in the 3,000m Steeplechase, Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) showed the same kind of form that saw her set a new NI record over the same distance three week's ago; the Newcastle AC lady came within one second of a new personal best when she crossed the line in 9:53.18 (4th place).  The race was won by Sandra Eriksson (Finland) in 9:40.36 (1st place).  Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) was also racing over 3,000m, but without the barriers; the experienced Strabane based Irish international narrowly missed a podium spot when she took 4th place in 9:21.19.  Well-known Sara Moreira (Portugal) won the event in 9:07.14 (1st place).

In the 100m, Northern Ireland (100m) record holder Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) ran 11.59secs, this was enough to finish in 5th place overall. Norway's Ezinne Okbaraebo was the fastest lady of the day, running 11.41secs (1st place).  Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) was racing over 400m twice; in her individual 400m hurdles race, Christine broke the beam in 59.24secs (6th place).  The race was won by Angela Morosanu (Romania) in 56.70secs (1st place).  In the 4x400m relay, Christine lined up alongside fellow Irish athletes Sinead Denny, Jessie Barr and Ciara McCallion and the girls ran well to finish in 3:39.40 (8th place). Romania won the race in 3:32.83 (1st place).

Full Results:  British Athletics U-20 and U-23 Championships 2014 Results and European Team Championships 2014 Results (Photo of Kerry O'Flaherty was taken from Finn Valley AC's facebook page).

Athletes from NI complete endurance events in Ireland:

Athletes from NI enjoy weekend events in County Kildare (Ireland):

This weekend (Saturday 21st June 2014), a number of Northern Ireland athletes were in competition at the two events hosts by Le Cheile AC in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland.

The first event was the 'Midnight Marathon' which saw athletes complete ninety five laps of the clubs new all weather track. Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) was the first of the local contingent to cross the line, after running 3:07:32 for 2nd place. Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners) recorded 3:52:13 (14th place) to finish less than one minute ahead of East Antrim Marathon Series co-organiser Craig Mills (15th place – 3:52:56). Peter Ferris (Unattached) clocked 4:18:00 (27th place), before Lagan Valley AC's Iryna Kennedy (4:36:31) took 4th place in the ladies race. Eugene Winters (Unattached) completed the course in 4:42:00 (39th place). The race was won by Mark Melia (Trim AC) in 3:03:54 (1st place), while Brenda Francis (Club Unknown) in 4:18:00 (1st place).

Later in the day, three of the above mentioned athletes returned to the start line for the 'Trail Marathon', which was also hosted by Le Cheile AC, starting and finishing at their soon to be (officially) opened new stadium.  Marathon enthusiast Peter Ferris (Unattached) was the first local man home in 4:59:15 (11th place) and was closely followed by Ballymena Runners' Ryan Armstrong (12th place - 5:00:50), who just missed a sub 5 hour finish. Eugene Winters (Unattached) crossed the line in 5:08:59 (15th place).  The race was won by Irish athlete Jim Breyfogle in 3:57:18 (1st place).

Full Results:   Le Cheile AC 'Midnight Marathon' and 'Trail Marathon' 2014 Results

Jonny Steede and Diane Wilson take top honours at Flagstaff-Carlingford:

Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race 2014:

On Sunday 22nd June 2014, Northern Ireland's top mountain runners turned out for the annual Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race.  The popular event, which took competitors over a tough but scenic 11 mile route and incorporated 3,000ft of ascending is also part of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championships.

Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) continued his dominance of the 2014 Series; having won the Glenariff Mountain Race, Commedagh Chase and the Annalong Horseshoe, Jonny secured another victory.  The Ballymena man crossed the line in 1:39:03 (1st place), just twenty two seconds ahead of the in-form Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), who ran 1:39:25 (2nd place).  Armagh AC's Paul McAnespie, podium finisher at the Slieve Gullion Mountain Race, took 3rd place in 1:42:17.

It was a similar story in the ladies race, with Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) continuing to stamp her authority on the category.  The reigning NIMRA Champion, who has one all of this years Championship fixtures to date, covered the course in 1:59:56 (1st place), which was enough to see off friend and international team mate Shileen O'Kane; despite having broken or seriously damaged her wrist, Shileen bravely finished in 2:04:05 (2nd place). Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) once again showed why she is fast becoming 'one to watch' with another top quality performance, she (Catherine) crossed the line in 2:17:01 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 1:39:03, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 1:39:25, 3rd Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) – 1:42:17

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 1:59:56, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 2:04:05, 3rd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 2:17:01

Full Results:  Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race 2014 Results

Philip Goss and Claire Connor win Between the Bridges (West Link) 5k:

North Belfast Harriers celebrate impressive double:

On Sunday 22nd June 2014, nearly seven hundred athletes participated  in the unique 'Between the Bridges' 5k road race, which took place on the 'West Link' in Belfast.

The well supported event saw competitors start in the Park Centre, before completing an out and back section along one of Northern Ireland's busiest section of road, the West Link, which was closed to traffic for the event; the athletes then returned to the Park Centre and the finish line.

Philip Goss (North Belfast Harriers) marked his return to competition with an impressive run, the Belfast man looked sharp as he played a prominent part at the front alongside John Craig (Orangegrove AC) and Owen Carleton (Annadale Striders), before sealing victory in 16:16 (1st place).  John Craig crossed the line in 16:20 (2nd place), while Owen Carleton completed the top three in 16:48 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) continued the form that has saw her win the Jengana 10k and finish on the podium at the Lisburn 10k recently.  The talented North Belfast Harriers lady recorded 18:45 (1st place) for the undulating course, finishing just ahead of Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) and Catriona Donaldson (Lagan Valley AC), who ran 19:16 (2nd place) and 19:57 (3rd place) respectively.

Top 3 Men:  1st Philip Goss (North Belfast Harriers) – 16:16, 2nd John Craig (Orangegrove AC) – 16:20, 3rd Owen Carleton (Annadale Striders) – 16:48

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) – 18:45, 2nd Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 19:16, 3rd Catriona Donaldson (Lagan Valley AC) – 19:57

Full Results:  Between the Bridges (West Link) 5k 2014 Results

Paddy Hamilton excels as NI men impress at Dunshaughlin 10k:

Podium places, personal bests and Irish records for NI men:

On Saturday 21st June 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes travelled south to County Meath for the annual Dunshaughlin 10k road race, an event which has proved successful for local athletes in the past.

This year proved no different, with Annadale Striders' Paddy Hamilton claiming 2nd place in 30:45. North Belfast Harriers men Conor Curran and Eddie Cooke recorded a new person new personal bests of 33:11 (13th place) and 33:26 (20th place) respectively.  Armagh AC's Gary Henderson continued the personal best haul after running 34:13 (37th place), before Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers) set a new Irish Vet60 10k record of 35:08 (56th place). Respected athlete Dermot Kerr (Armagh AC) completed the local contingent in 36:02 (77th place).  The race was won my Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers) in 30:03 (1st place).

Full Results:  Dunshaughlin 10k Road Race 2014 Results

Pure Running - ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2014 update:

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014 update by ChampionChip Ireland:

The Lisburn Half Marathon was held on one of the hottest days of the year (Wednesday 18th June 2014) and marks the halfway point in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014; the increasingly popular Series has attracted approximately 5,300 entries so far and there is now a clear picture emerging of the main contenders for the generous prize fund.

Athletes had to have completed at least three of the first five races, meaning that those who had completed only two races so far, had to run Lisburn, in what proved to be difficult conditions.  In total there are seventeen runners who have finished all five races to date, with evergreens Michael McKeown (East Down AC) and Angus McCready (Up & Runners) amongst the fourteen men and Diane Woods (Unattached), Brenda Kearns (Unattached) and Edel Dunlop (Unattached) the three women.  In the age categories, there are clear leaders in almost all the divisions with a large margin over their rivals. 

The closest fight is in the ladies Vet 40 with Catherine Roberts (North Down AC) in front by 5 minutes from Janice White (Forge Harriers), who herself leads Diane Watson (City of Derry AC) by 2 minutes 20 seconds, with Janice Plumb (East Coast AC) a further 4 minutes behind.

The updated rankings available HERE.  Any amendments or queries should be sent to [email protected]The next race in the Series is the Ards Half Marathon, which will take place on Friday 27th June 2014; this event will also be the Athletics NI Half Marathon Championships 2014.

Seamus Lynch and Diane Wilson win 'Meels' Hill & Dale race:

Hill & Dale Series 2014 - Race 10 ('Meels'):

On Thursday 19th June 2014, over one hundred and fifty runners turned out for the penultimate race of this years Hill & Dale Series, organised by Newcastle AC.  This week saw athletes travel to 'Happy Valley' for the 'Meels' (Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Meelbeg) race, which covered 3.5 mile and 1,800ft of ascending.

Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) made it two wins out of two races; the international mountain runner, who has consistently finished as runner up throughout the popular Series, broke the tape in 29:15 (1st place) to win.  Another Newcastle AC man, David Steele, secured 2nd place in 29:21, while William McKee (Mourne Runners) completed the top three men in 29:31 (3rd place).

Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) was the star performer in the ladies race; the exceptionally talented reigning NIMRA Champion led from start to finish, crossing the line in 34:30 (1st place).  Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) continued the form that saw her excel whilst representing Northern Ireland last weekend to take 2nd place in 35:26; Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) finished just over one minute later in 36:28 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 29:15, 2nd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 29:21, 3rd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 29:31

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 34:30, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 35:26, 3rd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 36:28

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series (Race 10 – 'Meels') 2014 Results

Katie Kirk, Aislinn Crossey and Michael Dyer impress in England:

Northern Ireland athletes impress in England:

This week (Wednesday 18th June 2014), three of Northern Ireland's top 800m runners were in action at a British Milers Club (BMC) event in Watford, England.

Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC), Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) and Michael Dyer (North Down AC) all performed to their usual high standard; Katie and Aislinn were competing in the same 800m event, during which Commonwealth Games bound Katie recorded 2:04.22 to claim 3rd place.  This was just over two seconds ahead of young Aislinn, who looked strong as she clocked 2:06.33 (5th place), her second quickest time ever over the distance.  The race was won by Endinbrugh AC's Emily Dudgeon in 2:01.89 (1st place).  In his 800m 'B' race, Michael crossed the line in a seasons best of 1:51.90 for 6th place; the race was won by Louis Rawlings (France) in 1:50.80 (1st place).

Full Results:  BMC Watford (England) 2014 Results

Weekend Preview:  Local, National and International fixtures ahead...

Runners from NI ready for Local, National and International fixtures:

After an excellent midweek of racing, which included the ever popular Lisburn Half Marathon and 10k, the local running community will now turn their attention to the weekend.  There will be a plethora of events to choose from, including 10k’s in Lisnaskea, Newry, Omagh and Belfast.  Local athletes will also race at events in Ireland and Estonia. 

The weekend events kick off in the early hours of Saturday 21st June 2014, when athletes from all of Ireland will take on the infamous Midnight Marathon, hosted by Le Cheile AC in Leixlip, County Kildare (Ireland).  Experienced marathoner Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners) will be amongst the sell out field, who will complete ninety five laps of a new all weather track.

Closer to home and also on Saturday 21st June 2014, the running fraternity in County Fermanagh will welcome fellow running enthusiasts to the County for the second weekend in a row, with their Lisnaskea 10k following on from last weeks successful Enniskillen 10k.

Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders), who won the Enniskillen 10k last week, will prove hard to beat if he toes the line.  The Annadale Striders man recorded 33:11 to claim victory, but will need to improve on that should he wish to fend off the challenge of Enniskillen Running Club's Conan McCaughey, after the Scottish Universities XC Champion ran 32:11 at Wednesday night's Lisburn 10k.  Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) and Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) may also make use of the on the day entry; should they do so, both men will challenge for a top three spot.  Paul enjoyed a good outing in Lisburn this week, when he ran 34:25 for 10k.  Interestingly, Fergus crossed the line just five seconds behind Paul at the Enniskillen 10k, which should make for another good race. Stephen Cassidy (Enniskillen Running Club) and Martin Cox (North Belfast Harriers) will also finish well up the field.

Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) will be the stand out competitor in the ladies field should she race.  After an excellent run over 5,000m at the Northern Ireland & Ulster Track & Field Championships two weeks ago, where she secured a silver medal, the Northern Ireland international is in good shape to race.  In the absence of local athlete Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), who is in the middle of a 6 marathons, over 6 days in 6 different countries challenge, it looks as if another Fermanagh based lady, Emma McKenna (Unattached), will be amongst the main contenders.  That will definately be the case if the Omagh Harriers trio of Julie Butler, Mairead McCann and Deirdre Haigney decide to wait until Sunday (22nd June 2014) and the Omagh 10k, to lace up their racers.

On Saturday 21st June 2014, many of the provinces up and coming stars who made the podium at the recent All Ireland School's Track & Field Championships will travel south for the Aviva Tailteann Games in the Morton Stadium, Santry.  The Games will see the very best Under 17 schools’ athletes from Ireland battle it out for their respective titles.  The local contingent will include the likes of Emma Hutchinson (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC) and Aaron Sexton (North Down AC).

Local athletes will also be competing at the Dunshaughlin 10k road race in County Meath (Ireland) on Saturday 21st June 2014.  The notoriously fast race is always well supported by Northern Ireland based runners and attracts a top quality field.  On this occasion, Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers) and Freddy Sittuk (Kenya) will be the familiar faces chasing personal bests.

Also on Saturday 21st June 2014, Northern Ireland based club's will be well represented at the annual Buncrana 10k road race in County Donegal, Ireland.  City of Derry AC and Foyle Valley AC are likely to be the most prominent vests on show, with the Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Noel Logan (City of Derry AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC), Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) and Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) all possible starters.

Over the course of Saturday 21st June and Sunday 22nd June 2014, five Northern Ireland based runners will represent Ireland team at the European Athletics Team Championships in Tallin (Estonia), where they will compete in their '1st League' match against Estonia, Belarus, Greece, Norway, Romania, Portugal, Finland, Belgium, Hungary, Slovenia and Lithuania.  Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) will all be in competition.

On Sunday 22nd June 2014, Northern Ireland's mountain runners will congregate in Carlingford (Ireland) for Round 5 of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Championships. The annual Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race consists of approximately 3,000ft of ascent over a tough but scenic 11 mile course through the Cooley Mountains and finishing in the atmospheric village of Carlingford. 

Last years winner Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) is an expected absentee, which means that the men's field is likely to be led out by Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC).  Jonny has raced sparingly in 2014 and has won the previous two battles between the speedy pair, at the Annalong Horseshoe in May (2014) and the Commedagh Chase in April (2014).  Seamus has been consistent podium finisher this season and only last night won the Meelmore - Meelbeg Hill & Dale race.  Should Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) decide to start, he (Allan) will make this an exciting three way battle. Others who will be pushing for a podium spot will include the impressive Sam Herron (Mourne Runners), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Ballymena Runners duo Alex Brennan and Emmet McAlister. 

In the ladies race, Championship leader and the seemingly unbeatable Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) should race and take top spot. However, the 2013 race winner (Diane) should face stiff competition from Lagan Valley AC trio Shileen O'Kane, Anne Sanford and Hazel McLaughlin, all of whom finished well up the field last time around.  Hazel and Shileen performed impressively for Northern Ireland last weekend and with the experienced Anne returning to form after injury, this could be an intriguing race for the top positions.  If you add endurance specialist and fourth place finisher in 2013, Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) to the mix and it makes the challenge that bit tougher. 

Also on Sunday 22nd June 2014, athletes from across the province will descend on Omagh (County Tyrone) for the Youth Sport Omagh 10k road race.  The event, which starts on the Killyclogher Road, will attract a mixture of recognised athletes and recreational runners.  

Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) and Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) are expected to be amongst the starters. Stephen will be hoping to show the same kind of form that has saw him win six races this year, one of which was was the NI & Ulster Masters XC title.  The Omagh Harriers man's most recent outing was a 1:10:28 finish at the Newry City Half Marathon, where he finished as runner up to Freddy Sittuk (Kenya).  Meanwhile, Foyle Valley AC man Keith Shiels will make his much anticipated return to competition.  After a phenomenal 2013, Keith has had a rough start to this year because of an ongoing injury, but he is scheduled to return here and should go well.  Omagh Harriers men Peter Neill and Martin McLaughlin should finish well up the field if the decide to compete.

Sperrin Harriers' Pauline McGurren could well turn out, and if she does, the in-form athlete will mix it well at the head of pack.  After wins at the Gortin 10k and the Killyclogher 10k, Pauline will be high in confidence going into this race and that may give her the edge over Omagh Harriers ladies Julie Butler, Mairead McCann, Deirdre Haigney and Patricia Campbell; on their day, each of these ladies possess the ability to play a part at the front, but the club mates may come head to head for the final podium places.  If that proves to be the case, out of the four, Julie Butler will more than likely set the pace; despite being 'off the radar' since the cross country season, when she won the Stormont XC, Julie should still have enough to lead the way.

In Newry, on Sunday 22nd June 2014, a large number of runners are expected to take part in the Aidan McAleen 10k road race, which will start from the Ballyholland Grounds in the City.

If local hero Don Travers (Newry City Runners) has recovered sufficiently from his impressive performance at the Mourne Way Ultra Marathon two week's ago, he may line up here.  The respected Northern Ireland international is in excellent shape; he covered the 39.3 mile Mourne Way event in 8:11:56 (1st place), which added to an excellent win at the DUNE Half Marathon back in March (2014).  Murlough AC's Alan Johnston could be another contender, alongside Newry City Runners' Dermot Mathers.  Both Alan and Dermot were also in action in the Mourne Mountains two weeks ago; the pair are always there or there about in the local events and that should be the same here, as long as they have recovered well.  Other men to look out for could include Brian Young (Unattached) and Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners).

Newry City Marathon winner Liosa McKeown (Unattached) may return to action after a memorable performance in her 'home town' marathon three weeks ago, where she won in 3:13:18.  Liosa is a regular on the podium in South Armagh and this should once again be the case here.  However, she (Liosa) will need to out run Newry City Runners' Caroline Wade and Anne Havern.  Based on several impressive runs recently, Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) is another lady to watch out for.

Also on Sunday 22nd June 2014, a large number of runners are expected to participate in the quite unique 'Between to Bridges 10k' road race, which will take place on the West Link (Yes!  The West Link!) in Belfast, starting and finishing at the Park Centre, close to the Royal Hospital.

Hundreds are expected to race on the closed route; information on possible entries is limited but we would expect to see a strong North Belfast Harriers turn out, which could be led by Brendan Grew, a second place finisher at the recent Jengana 10k in Antrim.  Versatile Annadale Striders man Mark Wright may also compete and could be joined on the start line by two Willowfield Harriers athletes who impressed at the Lisburn 10k on Wednesday night, Paul Rowan and Brian Campbell.  The latter, Brian, looked in excellent shape after what has been a very unlucky few years of niggles and injuries.  Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Dennis Scott (North Down AC) and Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) could also take to the start line.

The ladies race may feature North Belfast Harriers' Cathy McCourt and Lagan Valley AC athletes Suzanne Higgins and Julie Murphy.  Cathy has produced several good runs recently, taking prizes at the Fairhill 5 and the Stunnerz N'Runnerz 5 within the last few weeks.  Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) and  Ballydrain Harriers' international cross country star Denise Logue will also go well should they enter.

On Sunday 22nd June 2014, local runners Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), Paul Floyd (Unattached) and Darren Hamilton (Unattached) will complete their 6 marathons in 6 days, in 6 countries challenge.  The trio will have completed 26.2 mile runs in Scotland, England, Wales, Isle of Mann and Ireland before the grande finale in Belfast.  An estimated timetable for Sunday can be found as part of the 'Monthly Feature' we completed on the challenge.

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. 

Northern Ireland men claim podium finishes in Dundalk (Ireland):

Barrie Atkinson and Nigel McKibbin impress in Ireland:

This week (Tuesday 17th June 2014), two runners from Northern Ireland claimed podium places at the Alec Fennell 5k road race in Dundalk (Ireland), an event that attracted nearly three hundred participants.

Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), a man that has clocked several personal bests, including a 13.1 mile  time of 1:14:15 this year (2014) was the first of the local contingent to cross the line.  The Northern Ireland XC star recorded 16:18 (2nd place), finishing just ahead of fellow international Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) who finished in 16:54 (3rd place).  The race was won by Brian McCloskey (North East Runners) in 15:57 (1st place).

Full results will be added if they become available.

Sittuk, O'Neill, Murray and Connolly enjoy wins at Lisburn HM and 10k:

Lisburn Half Marathon and 10k 2014:

On Wednesday 18th June 2014, nearly three thousand competitors took to the streets of Lisburn for the annual Lisburn 10k and Half Marathon road races, organised by the Lisburn City Council.

In blistering conditions, the Half Marathon competitors set off first, and it wasn't long before the front running pair of Freddy Sittuk (Kenya) and Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham WSAF) moved clear of the field.  The chasing pack included Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), James Brown (Unattached), Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders), Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) and Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), amongst others.  

In the ladies event, pre-race favourites Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers), Heather Foley (Unattached), Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC) and Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC) were all looking sharp, despite the extremely warm conditions.

Freddy Sittuk and Sean Hehir worked together as the race progressed, and moved through the half way mark together; however, in the latter stages, the Kenyan athlete began to turn the screw, opening a gap on Irish Marathon Champion, Sean.  As the gathered crowds created a memorable atmosphere in the finish area, it was indeed the in-form Freddy Sittuk who emerged first.  Freddy negotiated the final yards quickly before breaking the tape in 1:07:06 (1st place).  Sean followed just over one minute later in 1:08:08 (2nd place), before Keith Purdy marked his return to competition with an impressive 1:12:13 finish, this secured 3rd place.

Gladys Ganiel O'Neill, racing for the first time since being named in the Northern Ireland squad for the Commonwealth Games, proved a dominant force in the ladies race.  Sticking to the pre-race plan, Gladys cruised across the line in 1:21:36 (1st place), thus taking top honours.  The always impressive Heather Foley claimed 2nd place in 1:24:37, while Donna Evans completed the ladies top three in 1:30:10 (3rd place).

The 10k brought a number of the provinces top competitors to the start line, with Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers), Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) and Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) all lining up in the top quality men's race and Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers), Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC), Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC), Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) and Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC) contesting the ladies title.

The men's event went to the wire, or rather the final 'snake' like formation of crowd control barriers, when Eddie McGinley was mistakenly directed into the wrong funnel, which gave the hard working Gary Murray the edge as the pair raced towards the line.  Gary made it to the line first, clocking 30:38 (1st place) for the victory.  Eddie crossed the line in 30:43 (2nd place); Scott Rankin continued the form that recently saw him claim an NI & Ulster medal, to take 3rd place in 31:59.

Breege Connolly lived up to her formidable reputation with a powerful performance in the ladies race.  The North Belfast Harriers lady led from earlier on and never looked back, before breaking the tape in 36:45 (1st place). Another lady in good shape at the moment, Patricia O'Hagan, followed up wins at the Enniskillen 10k and Runher Coastal 10k with a solid podium spot.  The respect St Peter's AC athlete recorded 38:01 (2nd place) for the distance, this was enough to fend off the challenge of Claire Connor, who sealed 3rd place in 38:57.

Half Marathon Podium Places:
Top 3 Men:  1st Freddy Sittuk (Kenya) – 1:07:06, 2nd Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham WSAF) – 1:08:08, 3rd Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) – 1:12:13
Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:21:36, 2nd Heather Foley (Unattached) – 1:24:37, 3rd Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC) – 1:30:10

10k Podium Places:
Top 3 Men:  1st Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) – 30:38, 2nd Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 30:43, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 31:59
Top 3 Ladies:  1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:45, 2nd Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) – 38:01, 3rd Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:58

Michael Crawley and Jenny Algar impress at An Creagan 5k Trail Race:

An Creagan 5k Trail Race 2014:

On Wednesday 18th June 2014, well over one hundred and fifty athletes descended on the scenic An Creagan Estate for what provided to be an exciting 5k trail race, which was organised as part of the 20th Anniversary celebrations to mark the opening of the An Creagan Visitors Centre in County Tyrone.

Although Michael Crawley (Acorns AC), Connor Moore (Omagh Harriers), Donal Gallagher (Unattached) and Darragh Crossan (Derry City Track Club) all looked like contenderd from early on, it was the Acorns AC man, Michael Crawley who covered the course first.  Michael powered to a notable victory in 16:56.18 (1st place).  Connor Moore claimed 2nd place nine seconds later in 17:05.46, while Donal Gallagher took 3rd place after crossing the line in 17:12.16.

The ladies race brought saw Carmen Runners' Jenny Algar steal the headlines; the talented triathlete, who was a podium finisher at the recent Carmen 10k, clocked 2:03.03 (1st place) to win.  Winner of the East Antrim Harriers Forest Series (Race 2) event in Woodburn Forest, Katrina Sinclar (Springwell Running Club) was the next lady home in 20:33.82 (2nd place), just ahead of Sperrin Harriers' Natalie Hall (3rd place – 20:46.83).

Top 3 Men:  1st Michael Crawley (Acorns AC) – 16:56.18, 2nd Connor Moore (Omagh Harriers) – 17:05.46, 3rd Donal Gallagher (Unattached) – 17:12.16

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jenny Algar (Carmen Runners) – 20:03.03, 2nd Katrina Sinclar (Springwell Running Club) – 20:33.82, 3rd Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) – 20:46.83

Full Results:  An Creagan 5m Trail Race 2014 Results

Local athletes named in Ireland's European Championship squad:

Local stars set for European Team Championships:

A total of eight local athletes have been named on a forty five strong Irish team who will be competing at the European Team Athletics Championships in Tallinn, Estonia this weekend (Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd June 2014). The eight include five competitors who were named a week ago in the Northern Ireland team for this Summers Commonwealth Games.

The Irish team will face Estonia, Belarus, Greece, Norway, Romania, Portugal, Finland, Belgium, Hungary, Slovenia and Lithuania during the two-day (1st League) competition, with the top three finishing teams earning a promotion to the following year's Super League.

Ireland hosted the European Team Championships last year in Dublin, with the Irish team achieving its highest ever placing finishing seventh. With one of the strongest teams in recent years set to line out, Ireland will be targeting a top five position at the 2014 event in Estonia.

North Down AC's high hurdler Ben Reynolds won his event in Dublin last year in a time of 13.71secs.  He will be aiming to claim victory again in view of his recent superb form.  In the ladies 100m, City of Lisburn AC’s Amy Foster will also be hoping for a good performance following her recent Northern Ireland record of 11.40secs.  Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) will be aiming to get close to her new Northern Ireland Steeplechase record of 9:52.94.

Glasgow bound Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will be making her debut in the competition in the 400m hurdles. The Queens University student has also been named in the 400m relay.  Strabane based Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) will race over 3,000m in which she set a personal best last month of 9:21.96 which places her third in the current Irish list.  Ann-Marie is enjoying her best season ever with a thirty four second improvement in her 5,000m time.

Away from running, javelin thrower Matthew Martin of North Down AC will also compete, while Irish Universities long jump Champion Adam McMullen (Crusaders AC) has also been named.  Finn Valley AC's Dempsey McGuigan will compete in the hammer event.

Please Note:  Selected information from this article has been taken from the Athletics Ireland and Athletics NI websites.

Billy Reed and Greg Byrne are first to complete 'Denis Rankin Round':

Round Up:  Denis Rankin Round - Portumna 100k and Marathon:

On Sunday 15th June 2014, three well-known mountain runners were the first athletes to attempt the recently conceived 'Denis Rankin Round' in the Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland.  The challenge requires runners to complete the 56 mile course (which includes 39 peaks and 6,000m of ascent) in less than 24 hours. 

Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and IMRA (Irish Mountain Running Association) men Greg Byrne and Richard Nunan set off at 2am from Donard Park in Newcastle (County Down).

Conditions were pleasant but some cloud on the summits made for tricky navigation in the early stages.  As the day progressed the sun and associated scorching heat became more of a problem, but light breezes mitigated its effects. Unfortunately, Richard Nunan had to withdraw during the challenge due to injury, but Billy and Greg continued steadily towards the tough ground of the South Western Mourne Mountains. The pair maintained a consistent pace and with the support of friends who plied them with fluids, food and encouragement at various stages, they made it back to Donard Park, Newcastle and the finish line in a very impressive time of 20:29:47.

More information on the 'Denis Rankin Round' can be found on the official website HERE.

Portumna 100k and Marathon 2014:

Northern Ireland athletes were in action at endurance events outside the province over the weekend.  On Saturday 14th June 2014, Mark Walker (Unattached) and Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners) were in action at the Portumna Forest 100k and Marathon in Galway (Ireland).  Unfortunately, despite an impressive start to the event, Mark Walker was forced to withdraw from the 100k at the 85k mark.  The 100k race was won by Thomas Klimas (Unattached) in 7:57:17 (1st place).  In the 26.2m event, experienced marathoner Ryan Armstrong performed well to completed the course in 3:36:23 (17th place).  The marathon was won by John Hannon (Club Unknown) in 2:59:22 (1st place).  Results for the Portumna Forest events are available HERE.

Athletics NI president Gary Keenan listed for British Empire Medal:

Athletics NI President Awarded British Empire Medal:

Athletics Northern Ireland President, Gary Keenan, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to education. Gary is also one of the founding members of Orangegrove AC as well as dedicating a lot of time to his role as a Track & Field starter and road race marshal.

NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) would like to congratulate Gary on his award, which was announced in the Queen's Honours list over the weekend.  NiRunning's Ryan Maxwell praised Gary efforts in the local running scene, "Since we set up our NiRunning website, Gary has been extremely supportive.   Over the last two years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Gary and see the work he does for the local running scene, and all of this whilst still training and competing himself.  I would like to congratulate Gary on this well-deserved honour".

Some information in this article was taken from the Athletics NI website.

Local athletes produce top performances at GV Ryan T&F Meeting:

Northern Ireland athletes impress in Ireland:

On Saturday 14th Junue 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes were in action at the GV Ryan Track & Field Meeting in Dublin (Ireland), an event hosted by the Irish Milers Club (IMC) and Crusaders AC.

There were wins and podium places for several of the local contginent.  In the 400m, Strabane Track Clubs Conor McLaughlin continued his impressive start to the season with a win.  He (Conor) covered the distance in 50.74secs (1st place); this added to an earlier runners up spot in the 100m, where Conor (11.34secs) took 2nd place behind DSD AC's Mark Kavanagh in 11.37secs (1st place).  In the 1500m 'B' race, Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), claimed an impressive win after clocking 3:57.31 (1st place).  In the same race, Paddy Robb (St Malachys AC), secured 3rd place in 3:58.37.

Northern Ireland international cross country runner Denise Toner (Clones AC) was in top form over 800m.  The Irish Vet35 record holder over 1500m and 3,000m clocked 2:14.13 (1st place).  Aife McSheffrey (Springwell Running Club) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC) ensured that Northern Ireland athletes dominated the podium, taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively; Aife ran 2:17.13, while Jessica crossed the line in 2:18.21.

The ever impressive Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) looked to be back to her best after completing the 800m in 2:06.60.  This was enough to finish in 2nd place in the 'A' race and although three seconds off her personal best, it bodes well for the upcoming season; in the same event, North Down AC's Rachel Gibson set a new club record when she recorded 2:11.58 (9th place).  The race was won by BMC visitor Alexandra Bell in 2:04.14 (1st place). In the men's 800m 'B' race, Annadale Striders' Michael Quinn ran well to take 3rd place in 1:53.30; the race was won by St Abbens AC's Cormac Kelly in 1:52:01 (1st place).  Another Annadale Striders man, James O'Hare, also made the the podium.  James finished in 3rd place in the 1500m 'A' race after running 3:45.16; the race was won by BMC's Dan Studley in 3:44.76.

In the longest race of the evening, the 'mixed' 3,000m, Northern Ireland athletes were out in force, but it was Gary Murray (St Malachys AC) and Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) who stole the headlines.  Gary recorded 8:24.61 (2nd place) to finish behind Donore Harriers' John Travers (1st place – 8:12.80) in the men's event.  Ann-Marie achieved the same position in the ladies race, after running 9:19.88 (2nd place) to finish as runner up to Fionnuala Britton (Killcoole AC), who won in 8:50.80 (1st place).

Full Results:  IMC GV Ryan T&F Meeting 2014 Results

Northern Ireland teams take bronze medals at Home Country International:

Home Country International Challenge 2014:

On Saturday 14th June 2014, two teams from Northern Ireland put in top quality performances at the Home Country International Mountain Running Challenge in Keswick (England), with both the male and female teams returning with silverware.

In the men's 11.3k (with 690m of ascending) event, the Northern Ireland men 'packed' well, with Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC) leading the local contingent home in 54:58 (18th place).  The remainder of the team followed less than two minutes later; Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC), Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and David Steele (Newcastle AC) crossed the line in 56:33 (22nd place), 56:39 (23rd place) and 57:18 (24th place) respectively.  The event was won by Deeside Runners' Robbie Simpson in 49:03 (1st place).  In the team competition, which was won by Scotland, Northern Ireland finished in 3rd place.

There was a notable outing for East Down AC's Catherine O'Connor in the ladies 8.7k (with 460m of ascending) race.  The Northern Ireland lady couldn't have chosen a better time to produce the performance of her life; on her international debut, Catherine clocked 45:05 (14th place).  This was enough to finish just ahead of team mates Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC).  Gillian ran 45:39 (16th place), while Shileen (46:21) and Hazel (49:54) finished in 17th place and 19th place.  The race was won by Emma Clayton (Bingley AC) in 37:42. In the team standings, England took top honours, while Northern Ireland claimed bronze medals after finishing in 3rd place.

Full Results:  Home Country International Mountain Running Challenge 2014 Results

Glenn Phair and Patricia O'Hagan win Enniskillen 10k:

Enniskillen 10k Road Race 2014:

On Saturday 14th June 2014, a record number of over one thousand runners took part in the Enniskillen 10k road race in County Fermanagh, an event hosted by the Fermanagh District Council alongside the local Rotary Club at the home of the Enniskillen parkrun at Lake land Forum, Enniskillen.

Following his 5,000m personal best (of 14:33.91) at the Sports City Grand Prix in Manchester (England) two weeks ago, Annadale Striders athlete Glenn Phair looked just as sharp over double the distance; he (Glenn) cruised to victory in 33:11 (1st place), winning by almost two minuted.  In a close finish, Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), a man just returning from injury, claimed the runners up spot in 35:14 (2nd place).  Belfast City and Walled City Marathon pacer Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club), completed the top three in 35:19 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, St Peters AC's Patricia O'Hagan was a dominant force throughout.  The Runher Coastal 10k Champion showed the same kind of form that saw her seal victory on the North Down coastline twenty two days ago, crossing the line 37:47 (1st place).  Northern Ireland international Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) ran 38:28 for 2nd place, while Emma McKenna (Monaghan Phoenix AC) took 3rd place in 40:44 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) – 33:11, 2nd Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 35:14, 3rd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 35:19

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Patricia O'Hagan (St Peters AC) – 37:47, 2nd Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) – 38:28, 3rd Emma McKenna (Monaghan Phoenix AC) – 40:44

Full Results:  Enniskillen 10k 2014 Results

Suzanne Higgins claims top honours at Stunnerz N' Runnerz event:

Athletes turn out for Sperrin Harriers' Stunnerz N' Runnerz event:

On Saturday 14th June 2014, female athletes from across Northern Ireland descended on the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt for the 3rd annual running of the Sperrin Harriers organised, ladies only 'Stunnerz N' Runnerz' 5 mile road race.

As predicted, the race turned out to be a relatively close affair, with Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Anne Paul (City of Derry AC), Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) and Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) all battling it out for the three podium places.

As the race progressed into the latter stages, it became clear that it would the first four of the aforementioned ladies who would end up with the prizes.  In the end, it was Lagan Valley AC's Suzanne Higgins who took top honours, the talented athlete produced her most impressive performance since returning to competition to win 30:45 (1st place).  Last years winner, Anne Paul, secured 2nd place in 31:05, before the ever consistent Cathy McCourt followed 31:30 (3rd place). Winner of this weeks Annaghmore 10k, Pauline McGurren, crossed the line just ten seconds later in 31:40 (4th place), while Julie Murphy completed the top five finishers in 32:45 (5th place).

Top 5 Ladies:  1st Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 30:45, 2nd Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 31:05, 3rd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:30, 4th Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 31:40, 5th Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 32:45

Full Results:  Stunnerz in Runnerz 5m Road Race 2014

Mark McKinstry and Lyndsey Pronger excel at Active Antrim 5m Race:

Active Antrim 5m Race 2014:

On Friday 13th June 2014, over one hundred athletes took on the Active Antrim 5 mile race, an event hosted by a team from Antrim Borough Council, headed by former Northern Ireland 100m record holder Anna Boyle.  The race, which covered a relatively flat course, started and finished at the well-known Antrim Stadium.

As the competitors set off, City of Derry AC man Richard Johnston surged clear of the field and by the time the athletes had covered the one hundred metre track section, the returning Spartan had opened up a lead of approximately ten metres on the field.  However, by the 2 mile marker, North Belfast Harriers' Mark McKinstry and East Coast AC's Justin Maxwell had began to reclaim ground.  It wasn't long before the in-form pair were side by side with Richard, who was competing for the first time since getting back from injury.

In the ladies race, the fast improving Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) was looking strong at the head of the pack as she cruised along the Loughshore in the early stages, while Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC), Catrina Sinclar (Springwell Running Club), Ruth Wilson (Larne AC), Paula Wallace (Fit n' Running) and Shelley Tomlins (Ballymena Runners) contested the remaining podium place.

At the 3.5m marker, Mark McKinstry had moved clear of Justin Maxwell and Richard Johnston and was now looking like the eventual winner; the Mourne Way Half Marathon winner continued his relentless pace as he moved quickly back through the Loughshore Park, and before long, he could see the Stadium and the impending finish line.  To loud applause, Mark entered the Stadium and covered the final yards quickly to win in 26:50 (1st place).  Justin, who won the Mourne Way Marathon on Saturday (7th June 2014) followed in 27:08 (2nd place).  After the withdrawal of Richard Johnston, Springwell Running Club's Bryan Edgar completed the top three men in 29:40 (3rd place).

Lyndsey Pronger built on her impressive start to the race and cemented herself into the lead; this gradually increased as the miles passed, before the Orangegrove AC lady returned to the track to claim a well-deserved victory in 33:28 (1st place).  Kirsty Sharratt, who narrowly missed a podium place at the Fairhill 5 last week, took 2nd place in 34:19; Catrina Sinclar followed up her win at Race 3 of the East Antrim Harriers Forest Series, crossed the line in 34:30 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:50, 2nd Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) – 27:08, 3rd Bryan Edgar (Springwell Running Club) – 29:40

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 33:28, 2nd Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) – 34:19, 3rd Catrina Sinclar (Springwell Running Club) – 34:30

Full Results:  Active Antrim 5m Road Race 2014 Results (Photos from the Active Antrim 5m Road Race are now available in our 'Photo Gallery').

Athletes from NI dominate proceedings at Lifford 5k road race:

Lifford AC host annual Lifford 5k Road Race:

On Friday 13th June 2013, Lifford AC hosted the 13th annual running of their Lifford 5k road race in County Donegal (Ireland).  The race, which is one of the oldest in the Donegal Grand Prix (governed by Athletics Ireland) offered competitors an atmospheric Town Centre based course.

Athletes from Northern Ireland dominated proceedings; in the men's race, NI & Ulster 5,000m medallist Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) performed well to lead the field home in a speedy 15:06 (1st place).  Enniskillen Running Club's Conan McCaughey followed just over ten seconds later in 15:22 (2nd place), while Irish athlete Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC) secured 3rd place in 15:34 (3rd place).

There was further success for Northern Ireland club's in the ladies category, with respected City of Derry AC lady Jackie McGinley breaking the tape in 19:20 (1st place).  Another Spartan, Angeline McShane (City of Derry AC) claimed 2nd place in 20:10 (2nd place), finishing a mere two seconds ahead of Lisa Dalton (24/7 Triathlon Club), who ran 20:12 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:06, 2nd Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) – 15:22, 3rd Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC) – 15:34

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) – 19:20, 2nd Angeline McShane (City of Derry AC) – 20:10, 3rd Lisa Dalton (24/7 Triathlon Club) – 20:12

Full Results:  Lifford AC 5k Road Race 2014 Results

Weekend Preview:  Athletes prepare for events in Antrim, Magherafelt...

Weekend Preview:  Athletes prepare for events in Antrim, Magherafelt, Enniskillen, Dublin...

After a busy week of competition, which has included several major events – NI & Ulster T&F Championships, Mourne Way Marathon etc (as well as the naming of the Commonwealth Games squad) and a number of midweek races, the running community in Northern Ireland will now be looking forward to the upcoming weekend fixtures, with local events taking place in Antrim, Magherafelt and Enniskillen.  Northern Ireland based runners will also take to the start line at various events in Ireland.

The racing starts tonight (Friday 13th June 2014) in Antrim (County Antrim) and Lifford (County Donegal). In Antrim, running entusiasts from all over the province are expected descend on Antrim Stadium. However, this won’t be for an athletics meeting, which is what the Stadium is best known for, instead it will be for the Active Antrim 5 mile road race.

Last years Champion, Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC) is due to return from injury soon, but it is unclear as to whether he'll be fit enough to make the start line here.  Even if he does, despite his obvious ability, Richard may still find it hard to match the race sharpness of his Spartan club mate Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) who will be aiming to better his runners up spot from 2013.  

Allan has shown great form off-road recently, with wins at the British Championship Mountain Race in Newcastle (County Down) and the Mallorca Mountain Running Championships on the Balearic Islands.  He (Allan) also had a good run whilst representing Northern Ireland at the Inter-Counties Mountain Running Championships in Blackburn (England).

Jarlath Falls (Ballymena & Antrim AC) may also turn out, and based on his performance at the Fairhill 5m road race last week, the local man will be there or there abouts once again.  Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) and Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) will also finish well up the field.  Brendan narrowly missed a podium place at the Fairhill 5, when he claimed fourth place in 27:01, while Michael Bennett finished three places back in seventh place after a good run.  Justin Maxwell won the 26extreme Mourne Way Marathon last Saturday (7th June 2014) and should go well here despite his lack of outings over the shorter distances this year.  Bernard Brady (Larne AC), Jason Wilson (Ballymena Runners) and Oliver Cook (Ballymena & Antrim AC) should also compete.

The ladies race could bring an excellent battle between Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) and Christine Quinn (City of Lisburn AC).  The speedy pair enjoyed an excellent dual at the Fairhill 5, with Christine just pipping Gemma to third place on that occasion.  This term, Gemma has picked up prizes at the Magherafelt 10k and the Dungiven10k; meanwhile, former track star Christine is really starting to establish herself on the local road running scene, with impressive runs at the aforementioned Fairhill 5 (31:58) and also the Albertiville 5 (31:56).  Another lady who could feature is Lagan Valley AC's Suzanne Higgins; Suzanne came off a strong cross country campaign to produce notable performances at the Ballymena Belles 5m road race and more recently, the Jengana 10k. Jacqueline McIlwrath (Ballymena Runners), Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) and Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) will also run well.

In Lifford, it is expected that Northern Ireland club's will be well represented at the 13th annual running of the Lifford 5k road race, an event hosted by Lifford AC.  This race is one of the longest established on the Donegal Grand Prix circuit and has traditionally attracted some of the biggest fields of athletes, from the elite level through to the recreational runner.  

The route is one of the few Town Centre based races on the Grand Prix circuit (governed by Athletics Ireland) with the narrow streets and numerous viewing vantage points guaranteeing an excellent race atmosphere.  Foyle Valley AC men Scott Rankin, Chris McGuinness, Adrian McGowan, Matt McLaughlin and Stephen Connor will have high hopes going into the race; the same could be said for City of Derry AC man Gary Slevin and Derry City Track Club athlete Cathal McLaughlin.  Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) will go well in the ladies race and could well be joined by Claire McGuigan, if Claire has recovered from her excellent run at the Walled City Marathon.

On Saturday 14th June 2014, Sperrin Harriers will host the 3rd annual running of their Stunnerz n’Runnerz 5 mile road race. This ladies only event, which starts and finishes at Meadowbank Sports Arena (Magherafelt) has proved popular in previous years and with in excess of two hundred pre-entries, new records could well be set.

North Belfast Harriers ladies Breege Connolly, Claire Connor and Cathy McCourt will be the main contenders for the top prize.  Breege and Cathy were the front runners at last week’s Fairhill 5 in Ballymena, taking first and second place respectively.  On top of that, Breege has also won the Newry City Half Marathon (1:18:37).  A few week's ago, Cathy McCourt clocked 38:28 over a tough course to finish second at the Runher Coastal 10k.  Claire Connor has also been running well of late, her last outing was at the Jengana 10, where she won in 39:55.  Arguably Claire's best performance this year came at the Queens 5k – she ran a new personal best of 18:10.

The host clubs Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) will also play a prominent part in proceedings; having won the Annaghmore 10k on Wednesday (11th June 2014) night, she (Pauline) will go into the event high in spirits and confidence, which will make her one to watch.  Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) looked in good form at the Belfast Hills 10k late last month (May 2014) and will be eager to repeat the strong performance that saw her take third place there.

Julie Balmer (North Down AC) will also toe the line but with no pressure to 'break records'; the North Down AC athlete has been out of action with injury and is just taking her first steps back to race fitness.  Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers), a podium finisher at the Newry City Marathon, and the likes of Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners), Trish McClintock (Foyle Valley AC) and Olivia Mullin will all be chasing top ten places, as will Catherine Pinkerton-Moore and Carmen Runners trio Ciara Coyle, Mairead McAleer and Sinead Kerr.

Also on Saturday 14th June 2014, a large crowd are expected to turn out for the Enniskillen 10k road race in County Fermanagh.  The event is organised by the local Council and Community Association; it starts and finishes at the home of the Enniskillen parkrun, the scenic Lakeland Forum.

Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) will be regarded by many as pre-race favourite going into the event.  The current NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion has won no less than six races this year, although his last race was probably one of his most impressive.  At the Newry Half Marathon, Stephen pushed Belfast Marathon winner Freddy Sittuk (Kenya) the whole way before taking second place in 1:10:28.  Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) and Stephen Prentice (Annadale Strideers) could be amongst the other contenders.  Scottish Universities 5,000m Champion Conan ran a new 5,000m personal best of 5:10.19 at the NI & Ulster Track & Field Championships last week, so will go into this event high in confidence.  

Former Enniskillen Running Club man, Stephen finished just behind Conan in 15:25.26 at the MPT on Saturday (7th June 2014).  He has also put in top performances at the Whitehead 5m road race and the Minnowburn 10k, winning both. Other men to watch out for may include Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club), Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) and Bliadhan Glass (Acorns AC).  Foyle Valley AC's Keith Shiels may also make his long awaited return from injury.  After impressing throughout 2013, the Northern Ireland man has missed most of this year through injury.  He may race here or leave it another week before testing his race fitness.

Last years winner Denise Toner (Clones AC) should return to defend her title.  However, the Northern Ireland cross country international will have to fend off the challenge of up and coming Acorns AC star Rhian Pegram, who should also start.  Former Northern Ireland school's track runner Rhian has really came to the fore this year, with a number of notable performances, the best of which was a brilliant win at the Wilkies 5m road race in Derry/Londonderry in May (2014).  Mary Devlin (Acorns AC) and Mary Rutledge (Enniskillen Running Club) will also perform well.

Further afield on Saturday 14th June 2014, a large number of Northern Ireland based athletes will be in competition at the IMC (Irish Milers Club) GV Ryan Track & Field Meeting at the Irishtown Stadium in Dublin (Ireland).  Conor McLaughlin (Strabane Track Club), Mark Patterson (North Down AC), Ryan Sharkey (Lagan Valley AC), Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC), Jonny Whan (City of Lisburn AC), Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Emer Magee (Lagan Valley AC), Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders), Neil McCartan (East Down AC), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), Paddy Robb (St Malachy's AC), Ronan O'Fril (St Malachy's AC), James O'Hare (Annadale Striders), Owen Carleton (Annadale Striders), Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) and Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) are all scheduled to compete.

Also in Ireland, Northern Ireland man Mark Walker (Unattached) will take on the Portumna Forest 100k in Galway on Saturday 14th June 2014.  In the run up to the event, Mark won the Lost World's 50k race last month (May 2014).  Despite this being his first attempt at the 100k distance, Mark should place well. We are unaware of any other Northern Ireland athletes competing at the event.

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.

Please Note:  There may be a delay in getting race summaries and results online this weekend as our entire time will be unavailable for much of the weekend. However, we will try our best to keep things running as normal as possible.  Please follow us on Twitter - @NiRunning and Facebook – NiRunning for the latest race updates and information.

Seamus Lynch and Diane Wilson impress at Hill & Dale event:

Hill & Dale Series 2014 (Race 9 - Hen & Cock):

On Thursday 12th June 2014, Newcastle AC hosted the ninth race of their Hill & Dale  Series.  This weeks event saw athletes negotiate Hen and Cock Mountain's, covering 3.5 miles in distance with 1,600ft of ascent.

After the junior races had been completed, it was the turn of the adults to take centre stage.  On starting, the one hundred and sixty strong field were faced with a long ascent and it was the ever impressive Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) who moved to the head of the pack; he was pursued by William McKee (Mourne Runners), Jonathan McCloy (Ballymena Runners), Barry McConville (Not the Sunday Run) and William Herron (Mourne Runners) amongst others.  

In the ladies race, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) looked a class apart from the early on; behind, there was an excellent battle for the remaining podium places, with Patricia McKibbin (Unattached), Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Laura Smith (Larne AC), Sinead Murtagh (Unattached) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) all in the chasing pack.

Despite strong runs by William McKee and Barry McConville, the in-form Seamus Lynch, who has been impressive throughout the Series, proved un-catchable. In the end, the strong running international athlete secured a well-deserved victory in 28:23 (1st place).  William McKee followed just over thirty seconds later in 28:54 (2nd place), while Barry McConville completed the top three in 29:21 (3rd place).

As predicted, Diane Wilson led the ladies home; the current NIMRA Champion powered down the final descent to cross the line in 33:49 (1st place), over one minute ahead of her nearest rival, which was fellow Northern Ireland international Anne Sanford (2nd place – 40:59).  Patricia McKibbin (41:49) enjoyed an excellent run to seal 3rd place in 41:49.

Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 28:23, 2nd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 28:54, 3rd Barry McConville (Not the Sunday Run) – 29:21

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 33:49, 2nd Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:59, 3rd Patricia McKibbin (Unattached) – 41:49

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series (Race 9) 2014 Results

James Brown and Allyson O'Toole win EAH Forest Series (Race 3):

East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series 2014 – Race 3:

On Tuesday 10th June 2014, East Antrim Harriers welcomed almost one hundred athletes to the third race of their popular Forest Series.  On this occasion, Tardree Forest in Antrim was the venue of choice, with the athletes covering a 3.3 mile undulating course.

James Brown (Unattached), a runner up in the previous two races in the Series, went one better this time around.  After leading from early on, James gradually built his lead and went through the 2 mile marker well clear of the field.  The Larne based athlete went on to break the tape in 19:08 (1st place).  Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) showed little signs of fatigue from his podium place at the Mourne Way Marathon on Saturday (7th June 2014), when he finished well to claim 2nd place in 19:44.  Another North Belfast Harriers man, Paul Horan, crossed the line in 19:49, which saw him narrowly beat Ballymena Runners' Jason Wilson (4th place - 19:50) to 3rd place.

In the ladies race, Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC) looked strong from the off and took up a prominent position at the front.  The East Coast AC lady, who finished second in Race 2 two weeks ago, bettered that when she secured an excellent win in 23:36 (1st place).  The ever consistent Jacqueline McIlwrath (Ballymena Runners) was once again in the mix, taking 2nd place in 24:07, just ahead of Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC).  Louise, who was in competition at the Mourne Way Half Marathon at the weekend, recorded 24:33 (3rd place) for the distance.

Top 3 Men:  1st James Brown (Unattached) – 19:08, 2nd Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) – 19:44, 3rd Paul Horan (North Belfast Harriers) – 19:49

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC) – 23:36, 2nd Jacqueline McIlwrath (Ballymena Runners) – 24:07, 3rd Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) – 24:33

Full Results:  East Antrim Harriers Forest Series (Race 3) 2014 Results

Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games 2014 squad announced:

Twelve runners named in Northern Ireland squad for Commonwealth Games 2014:

Today (Tuesday 10th June 2014), the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council named the Northern Ireland squad to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Scotland) between Wednesday 23rd July and Sunday 3rd August 2014.

A number of well-known and respected Northern Ireland record holders are amongst the twelve runners selected; these include Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), and Paralympic champion, Jason Smyth (City of Derry AC). However, these athletes are only part of the strong team, which is made up of an exciting mix of Commonwealth Games veterans and debutants.

The full Commonwealth Games athletics team is: 

Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) - 100m; Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast Harriers) – Marathon; Peter Glass (North Down AC) - Decathlon and 4 x 100m; Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) - 400mH and 4 x 100m; Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) - 800m; Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) - 400mH; Daniel Mooney (Letterkenny AC) - 800m and 1500m; Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 3,000m Steeplechase; Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) - 10,000m; Leon Reid (Bristol & West AC) - 200m and 4 x 100m; Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) - 110mH and 4 x 100m and Jason Smyth (City of Derry AC) - 100m and 4 x 100m.

The runners will be recently finished athletics stadium by fellow Northern Ireland ‘field’ athletes Zoe Brown (Pole Vault) and Dempsey McGuigan (Hammer), from Raheny Shamrock AC and Fin valley AC respectively.  The FULL Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games team can be found HERE.

North Belfast Harriers athlete Gladys Ganiel O'Neill, who recently won the Edinburgh Half Marathon was delighted with her inclusion, the hard working athlete explained, "I feel really privileged to be part of such a strong team going to Glasgow. The support I've received over the last few years from North Belfast Harriers, Athletics NI, the Sports Institute NI, and the local running community has been outstanding. I am excited about the chance to represent Northern Ireland on such a competitive stage and hope to do everyone proud."

Kerry O'Flaherty added, "I'm delighted on my selection, it's been a lifetime of commitment and hard work with ups and downs along the way.  A big team effort has gone into helping me achieve my goals, from my coaches Richard Rodgers and Geoff Watkin, to the support staff at ANI and SINI. Hydro Run UK have been fantastic also in supporting me with the use of their underwater treadmill.  The support has been amazing this year already from everyone, especially NiRunning, so I'm really looking forward to competing at the games in Glasgow this summer and hopefully inspiring the next generation."

The Athletics Coaching Team will be headed by Jacqueline McKernan, alongside Assistant Athletics Coach Elaine Grant.  Jacqueline McKernan, Athlete Development Manager, Athletics Northern Ireland, said: “I am delighted that such a strong team of athletes has been selected to represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Each athlete selected responded to the challenge set in 2013 when the consideration standards were first announced and they continue to perform consistently as the season progresses.

“Athletics Northern Ireland have selected one of the largest ever athletics teams for the Commonwealth Games; the depth of talent and experience within the squad truly reflects how strong the sport of athletics in Northern Ireland is as a whole. Those athletes selected have shown dedication that is second to none and with the aid of their coaches they have earned their spot on the team, I would congratulate them all on their achievement.”

John Allen, General Secretary of Athletics Northern Ireland, said: “Athletics is undoubtedly a major highlight of the Games and draws support from fans throughout the Commonwealth. Athletics Northern Ireland are delighted to have worked alongside the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council to select such a strong athletics team. The athletes selected are a mixture of Commonwealth Games veterans and young talent all of whom will no doubt rise to the challenges of such a high profile event and thrive on the excitement of the Games. On behalf of Athletics Northern Ireland I would like to congratulate all our athletes and their coaches on their selection and to wish them good luck with their preparations ahead of the Games.”

NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the athletes who have been selected to represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games.  After watching many of them strive for and achieve the required standard, it is great to see that the hard work and dedication has paid off. It is our intention to provide in-depth coverage of Commonwealth Games, focussing on the performances of the runners from Northern Ireland.

Mountain runners from NI compete in England and Scotland:

NI athletes complete Low Alpine Mountain Marathon and Ennerdale Classic:

This weekend (Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th June 2014), at least two athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to Scotland for the 20th addition of the Low Alpine Mountain Marathon (LAMM).  Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners) and Jim McCormick (North Belfast Harriers) completed the gruelling event, which offers a unique challenge and unforgettable experiences. This years two day race took place in Strathcarron, a remote, high mountain region of the Scottish Highlands.  

Early conditions on Day 1 could not have been better for mountain marathoning - sunny skies, a light breeze. These remained for much of the day with light showers coming in the afternoon and the breeze picking up in the evening. Mark and Jim finished the 24k course (with 1400m of ascent) in 12th place in their Category in 6:22:16, placing the pair 3rd in the Male Veteran competition. Experienced Mountaineer Andy Charlton and Ambleside AC Fell runner Brian Wakeley led the race going into Day 2, having completed the route in a speedy 5:13:12.

Weather wise, Day 2 started in similar fashion to Day 1 and the Northern Ireland pairing set off well and remained strong throughout. The men covered  the 22km, including 1300 metres of ascent in an impressive 5:43:04, taking 11th place in their category and the second Male Veteran team to cross the line. Winners from Day 1, Andy Charlton and Bryan Wakeley were again victorious in 5:09:43  Overall, based on the timings for the two day event, Mark (Alexander) and Jim (McCormick) finished a very credible 12th place in the 'B Class' Category, with an overall time of 12:05:20. This time gave the duo a placing of 2nd in the (Category B) Male Veteran race. Andy Charlton and Bryan Wakeley took the victory in 10:22:55. 

In the 'C Class', Northern Ireland international mountain runner Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) and his girlfriend Megan Crawford (Fife AC) completed Day 1 in 5:47:22 (3rd place). Day 2 saw the strong running pair hold their position well despite a few directional mis-haps; in the end they claimed an excellent 3rd place after covering the course in 5:14:02 - This was enough to secure 3rd place (11:06:24) overall.    The 'C Class' was won by Scottish athletes Patrick Wallis and Paul Williams in 9:45:52.

Full Results:  Low Alpine Mountain Marathon 2014 Results

Also this weekend:

Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Ryan Stewart (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers/Larne AC) took on the Ennerdale Horseshoe Fell Race in the Lake District (England) on Saturday 7th June 2014.  Due to weather conditions, the course had to be altered, (meaning we don't have exact details of distance or ascent). However, both men performed well against the British Championship field, with Jonny taking 25th place in 3:12:52.  Dundee University student, Ryan followed just under ten minutes later in 3:21:51 (52nd place).  The race was won by Rob Hope (Pudsey & Bramley AC) in 2:52:16, while Jackie Lee (Eryri Harriers), followed up her recent win in Northern Ireland with another victory.  Jackie won the ladies category in 3:18:26.

Full Results:  Ennerdale Horseshoe Fell Race 2014 Results

Northern Ireland & Ulster Track & Field Championships 2014:

McGinley, Mills, Smyth, McGuckian, Marrs and Harvey amongst those who impress at MPT:

On Saturday 7th June 2014, a plethora of top local athletes were out in force at the  NI & Ulster Senior Track & Field Championships, organised by Athletics NI and the UAC.  Despite heavy rain causing challenging conditions, several Northern Irish athletes with the consideration standard for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games were in action, much to the delight of spectators.

Crusaders AC's Jason Harvey continued a strong start to the season by claiming victory and the associated gold medal in the 400m hurdles, after running 51.72secs to finish ahead of Athletics Ireland's Paul Byrne (51.91secs) and Dery City Track Clubs Andrew Bolster (60.82secs).  North Down AC high hurdler Ben Reynolds also continued to show form, winning his 110m hurdles event in a fast 13.83secs.

Paralympic champion, Jason Smyth (Derry City Track Club) claimed another NI & Ulster title in 10.87secs, finishing with a comfortable margin over Raheny Shamrocks AC's Jamie Davis (11.09secs) and Liverpool Harriers' Oliver Back (11.14secs).

In the women’s 400m hurdles Ferrybank AC's Jessie Barr (60.11secs) battled the challenging weather conditions to out run 2013 champion, Mandy Gault (Lagan Valley AC).  Mandy took 2nd place in 60.48secs.  DCH’s Catherine McManus was pushed to the line in the Women’s 100m by City of Lisburn AC's rising star Megan Marrs; Catherine held on to her lead to finish first in 11.93secs, while Megan finished second in 11.95secs, setting a new Northern Ireland U-18 record in the process. In the 100m hurdles, Megan Marrs went one better to top the podium in the U18's event 14.04secs.  City of Lisburn AC's Roseanna McGuckian, who recently attended the European Youth Olympic Trials, claimed victory in the 200m, after running a World Junior B standard of 24.38secs. Roseanna had finished second in her heat behind club mate Amy Foster (24.32secs) who did not take to the line for the final. North Down AC's Curtis Woods claimed top spot in the men's 200m race, clocking 22.38secs (1st place).

In the Men's 400 metres North Down AC led the way with Adam McComb retaining his 2013 title, after setting a new personal best of 48.14secs ahead of club mate Andrew Mellon (48.38secs). Well-known DSD athlete Sinead Denny took the women’s 400m title in 55.81secs, ahead of QUB and Lagan Valley AC star Katie Kirk (2nd place - 55.88secs) and Newry’s Aislinn Crossey (3rd place - 56.63secs).

Finn Valley AC's Mark Hoy, the fastest man at last month's NiRunning/BMC 'Festival of Miles', took the 800m title in 1:53.11 with North Down AC's Michael Dyer finishing in 2nd place in 1:54.17. City of Lisburn AC's Erin McIlveen topped the podium in the ladies 800m race in 2:10.96.

Letterkenny AC's Danny Mooney produced yet another solid time of 3:43.86 in the 1500m to secure a successive NI & Ulster title over the distance. The women’s race was won by 17 year old Clodagh O’Reilly of Annalee AC in 4:39.51. In the well-supported 5,000m race, it was Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) who secure the prestigious gold medal.  The Annadale Striders man broke the beam in 14:35.10 (1st place); he was followed across the line by Foyle Valley AC's Scott Rankin, who ran a new personal best of 14:41.00 (2nd place).  Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) secured bronze in 14:44.90 (3rd place).  Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham) took the ladies top prize in 18:04.30 (1st place), from Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) and Caroline O'Hare (Newcastle Uni AC), after the pair ran 18:18.90 (2nd place) and 19:09.60 (3rd place) respectively.

There were also some top quality performances in the associated NI & Ulster Under 18 and Under 20 'Age Group' Championships, which were held as part of the event.  Omagh Harriers' Eilish Flanagan looked strong as she sealed victory in the U-18 2,000m Steeplechase, recording 8:02.15 (1st place).  In the U-16 3,000m Timothy McCracken (Dromore AC) won the in 9:52.68 (1st place), while St Malachys AC's James Smyth (9:28.26) and Annalee AC's Clodagh O'Reilly (11:28.70) claimed gold medals in their respective races in the U-18 3,000m.

Provisional Results:  NI & Ulster Track & Field Championships 2014 ResultsPlease Note:  This summary has been compiled using some information taken from the Athletics NI website.  Photo used above (of Aislinn Crossey) taken from BBC Sport website.

Athletes enjoy record breaking 26extreme Mourne Way Marathon events:

26extreme Mourne Way Marathon (inc Ultra, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and 5k) 2014:

On Saturday 7th June 2014, a record number of athletes (and spectators) descended on the stunning Mourne Mountains for the annual running of the 26extreme Mourne Way Marathon Series, an event that offered competitors a choice of distances, namely Ultra Marathon (52.4 miles), Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and 5k.

Ultra Marathon (52.4m):

The torrential rain which greeted the ultra-runners as they assembled, subsided just before the 6am start, much to the delight of the athletes and race officials.  The eighty strong field then set off on a journey that would take them 26.2 miles from Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor to Donard Park, Newcastle and back – it wasn't just the distance that the athletes had to negotiate though, but also the rugged, wet and at times technical terrain, as well as dense patchy fog and persistent rain.

Pre-race favourite Kevin Doyle (Kimberworth AC) was the early pace-setter, going through the 10k mark just under four minutes ahead of Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) and Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC), with Nicki McPeak (Springwell Running Club) and Tim Brownlie (Unattached) just behind.  In the ladies race, Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) was leading the way, with Susan McCartney (Unattached) and Emma-Louise Kirk (North East Runners) on her tail.

As the miles went by, Susan McCartney over took Fran and was the first lady to reach Spelga Dam, but the Springwell Running Club athlete (Fran) was in view and as soon as the pair left the aid station, Fran made a move and regained her place at the front.  Not much had changed in the men's race as they passed 13.1 miles; that was except for Newry City Runners' Don Travers, who was beginning to make his way through the pack well and come into contention.  Somwhere in the mountain foothills between Fofanny Dam and Donard Park, early leader Kevin Doyle had aggrevated a foot injury, which had reduced him to a limp.  

Stephen Wylie had now taken up a position at the head of the pack, and the North Down AC man reached the 26.2 mile turn around first.  He turned down the offer of liquids and food, making his way into the second half straight away.  Experienced ultra-distance athlete Don Travers followed; but unlike the race leader, he spent time refuelling and set off in pursuit of ultra debutant Stephen.  Tim Brownlie and Eoin Lennon were less than a minute behind Don, and had a slight lead on Shane Donnelly, who was suffering from cramp.  The ever consistent Ivan Sadlier was also running well.

A smiling Susan McCartney was th first lady into the 26.2 mile aid station, having snatched the lead back off the now tiring Walled City Marathon hero Fran McFadden.  Emma-Louise Kirk was third and from this stage the podium places in the ladies race were beginning to take shape; however, the ladies weren't aware of this.  It was a different story in the men's race, as Don Travers over took Stephen Wylie on the uphill section out of the turning point and he was aware of what he wanted, the Mourne Way Ultra title that has eluded him this far.  Unfortunately, Stephen Wylie withdrew from the race at this point and made his way back towards Donard Park (Newcastle), letting Tim Brownlie and Eoin Lennon come through into the podium places; Tim left Eoin and chased Don. As the leading pair negotiated the downhill road section from Spelga Dam, a mere three seconds split them, making for an excellent finish.

An excellent battle ensued, but in the end it was Don who held on to take a well deserved victory in 8:11:56 (1st place).  Tim, who registered over one hundred miles at the last 24 hour Race in Belfast, crossed the line eight seconds later in 8:12:04 (2nd place); the fast improving Eoin Lennon completed the top three men in 8:27:52 (3rd place).

AAI 24 hour medallist Susan McCartney gradually increased her lead in the second half of the race, before entering Kilbroney Park and descending towards the finish.  The respected endurance runner completed the gruelling distance in 10:17:48 (1st place), thus securing top honours.  Fran McFadden claimed 2nd place in 10:51:22, an excellent achievement after her marathon personal best in Derry'Londonderry six days ago.  Emma-Louise Kirk marked her debut over the 50+ mile distance with a 3rd place finish, after running 11:26:16.


The strong marathon field set off from Donard Park, Newcastle at 12.30pm, making their way up through Donard Forest before veering right across the Mourne Way towards Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.

Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), Stuart Paulin (Unattached) and Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC) were prominent figures at the front as the sea of athletes disappeared into Donard Forest, but it was Stuart Paulin who took up the reigns at the front, pushing the pace as the men breezed across the well marked trails towards the Trassey Track.  Justin Maxwell remained in sight, with Martin Rea and Mark Kendall just behind.  In the ladies category, Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) took charge, reaching Spelga Dam approximately three minutes ahead of Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) and Ange Stevenson (Newcastle AC).

By this stage (Spelga Dam) in the men's race, Justin Maxwell had overtaken Stuart Paulin and was cementing his place at the front.  After the unfortunate withdrawal of Mark Kendall due to a hip problem, Martin Rea had no-one but the back tracking Half Marathoner's for company as he made his way quickly onto the mountains from the two mile road section at half way.  The leading trio continued their relentless pace over the wet, boggy ground and through the fog but there was no change in the pecking order, with Justin Maxwell reaching Kilbroney Park first.  The East Coast AC man, who finished as runner up at the HOKA Highland Fling last month (May 2014), cruised into the finish, securing victory in 3:21:06 (1st place).  The ever impressive Stuart Paulin clocked 3:42:44 (2nd place), before decorated athlete Martin Rea crossed the line in 3:46:56 for 3rd place.

The ladies race proved to be quite different, with places being won and lost in the final 10 miles.  The strong Ange Stevenson picked off Helen Weir before taking on Mary Mackin; once at the front, Ange moved clear of the now tired Mary, who in-turn was caught by trail specialist Helen Weir.  In the end, it was Ange Stevenson who stole the headlines, beating the two well-known athletes to the finish line, after recording 4:42:26 (1st place) for 26.2 mile course.  Helen Weir sealed 2nd place in 4:44:39, while a tired but happy Mary Mackin finished in 4:49:50 (3rd place).

Half Marathon:
Nearly three hundred athletes took on the 13.1m race, which started on the Slievenaman Road, just above Fofanny Dam; the athletes negotiated a small rise, before making use of a fast downhill section that would take them past Spelga Dam, before turning left onto the mountains.

Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Eddie Hanna (Mourne Runners) and Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) raced clear of the pack immediately, taking up a position at the front as the leaders turned right towards Spelga Dam; as they passed the well supported feed station, located at the Dam, Mark McKinstry had a slight lead on Alan Johnston, who was just ahead of Rory O'Sullivan, Eddie Hanna and Rory Mulvaney (Unattached).  Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) was also running well.

Nothing separated Joanne Bolton (Kimberwoth AC) and Catherine Dunn (Unattached) in the ladies race and both ladies looked strong in their positions at the front, while Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC), Linda Meehan (Lagan Valley AC) and Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) also looked like worthy contenders as they made their way across a boggy section of the course not long after passing 'electric hill'.

Possibly due to the fast improving weather, a large crowd of well-wishers had gathered at Leitrim Lodge to support the athletes as they passed by (or started – 10k), and it was Mark McKinstry who received the applause first.  The County Antrim man didn't stop to re-fuel, instead he powered along the uneven track before splashing through the 'stream' and making his way into the final 10k.  By this stage, he (Mark) had opened up quite a lead on the chasers, with Eddie Hanna, Rory O'Sullivan, Rory Mulvaney and Ben Morrow following.  

Despite their efforts, the men were unable to catch Mark, who used his resilient edge to force things even though he was getting tired.  Eventually, Mark broke the tape in 1:28:54 (1st place) to win.  Eddie Hanna's intent to chase the in-form Mark McKinstry had caught up with him, as the mountain man began to suffer because of the early pace.  This allowed Alan Johnston to move into the runners up spot, which he made his own as he completed the course in 1:34:14. Unfortunately, Eddie took a wrong turn, which allowed Rory Mulvaney, who was unaware the situation, an opportunity to claim a podium spot.  Rory duly obliged, taking 3rd place in 1:36:16.

The fast starting Joanne Bolton, a podium finisher here last year, continued the early pace that she has set into the second half, and was the first of the ladies to reach Leitrim Lodge.  At this stage, it was clear that there was no catching her, and this did indeed prove to be the case, with the persistent athlete holding onto her position for the remainder of the race to win in 1:53:07 (1st place).  A few seconds split Catherine Dunn and Athanasia Sevastaki as the pair 'negotiated' a small technical section with approximately six miles remaining, but it was 3:21:03 marathoner Athanasia (1:57:07) who final got the edge, beating Catherine (3rd place – 1:57:20) to the runners up prize.

10k and 5k:

The 10k race started at Leitrim Lodge and brought competitors along the trails and fire roads which ajoin 'the lodge' with the rear of Kilbroney Forest Park, where, on passing Caravan Park, the participants would take a sharp right and make their way onto the final grassy downhill section to the finish.  The 5k race started slightly further up the track (closer to Kilbroney Park).

The 10k brought one of the most exciting battles of the day, with David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) battling it out the whole way.  Right until the very last mile it looked like David, who is returning to competition after illness would claim the title, but a strong final descent from Matthew, a top finisher at this years Race Over the Glens, saw him lift the trophy, after clocking 35:10 (1st place).  David O'Flaherty ran 35:13 to take 2nd place, while Newry City Runners' Dermot Mathers made up the prize-winning places in 37:00 (3rd place).

Ruth Hill (Unattached) was the star of the show in the ladies race; despite having never raced off-road before, Ruth looked assured as she cruised to a comprehensive victory in 43:44 (1st place)  Larne AC's Rhonda Brady moved through the field well, before crossing the line in 46:38; this was enough to seal 2nd place ahead of Claire Chapman (Kimberwoth AC), who ran 46:47 (3rd place).

In the 5k, Orangegrove AC celebrated an excellent double victory, with Andrew McIntyre (1st pace - 19:05) and Joy McAleer (1st place - 23:45) winning their respective races.  Sinead Tully (Unattached) followed in 2nd place, after completing the course in 25:08, while Gavin Poland (2nd place – 27:58) followed to ensure a podium place.  Unattached runners Sinead Owens (28:57) and Nigel McKnight (35:49) took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

Podium Places:

Ultra Marathon (52.4m):

Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 8:11:56, 2nd Tim Brownlie (Unattached) – 8:12:04, 3rd Eoin Lennon (Unattached) – 8:27:52

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Susan McCartney (Unattached) – 10:17:48, 2nd Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) – 10:51:22, 3rd Emma-Louise Kirk (North East Runners) – 11:26:16


Top 3 Men:  1st Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) – 3:21:06, 2nd Stuart Paulin (Unattached) – 3:42:44, 3rd Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:46:56

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ange Stevenson (Newcastle AC) – 4:42:26, 2nd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) – 4:44:39, 3rd Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) – 4:49:50

Half Marathon:

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast AC) – 1:28:54, 2nd Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) – 1:34:14, 3rd Rory Mulvaney (Unattached) – 1:36:16

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Joanne Bolton (Kimberworth AC) – 1:53:07, 2nd Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:57:07, 3rd Catherine Dunn (Unattached) - 1:57:20

10k Race:  

Top 3 Men:  1st Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) – 35:10, 2nd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 35:13, 3rd Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 37:00

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ruth Hill (Unattached) – 43:44, 2nd Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) – 46:38, 3rd Claire Chapman (Kimberworth AC) – 46:47

5k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Andrew McIntyre (Orangegrove AC) – 19:05, 2nd Gavin Poland (Unattached) – 27:58, 3rd Nigel McKnight (Club Unknown) – 35:49

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC) – 23:45, 2nd Sinead Tully (Unattached) – 25:08. 3rd Sinead Owens (Unattached) – 28:57

Provisional Results:  26extreme Mourne Way Marathon (and associated events) 2014 Results -  Please note, this summary is based on PROVISIONAL results and places only.  Photos from the 26extreme Mourne Way events will be uploaded to our Photo Gallery in the coming day's (Sunday 8th June 2014 and/or Monday 9th June 2014).

Weekend Preview (Part 2):  26extreme Mourne Way Marathon and more...

Weekend Preview (Part 2):

As the province continues to hope for the same kind of weather that greeted athletes and spectators on this weekend last year, running enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland will once again be gathering their racing kit in preparation for an exciting weekend of action.

We have already covered the Northern Ireland & Ulster Track & Field Championships (scheduled for Saturday 7th June 2014) in John Glover’s excellent ‘Special Preview’ (which is still available further down this ‘News’ page), so it’s time look at the weekend’s other events, which will see local athletes compete in the scenic Mourne Mountains (Newcastle – Rostrevor), Belfast, and the Lake District (England).

The main event, aside from the aforementioned NI & Ulster Track & Field Championships at the Mary Peters Track (Belfast) is undoubtedly the 26extreme Mourne Way Marathon Series (which includes; Ultra Marathon, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and 5k events).  The action starts at 6am in the Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, where the Ultra Marathon participants will begin their 85km (52.4m) return journey to Donard Park, Newcastle and back, passing through many of the most popular Mourne Mountain haunts, including Spelga Dam, Leitrim Lodge, Trassey Track, Hen Track and Donard Forest. 

International long distance star Don Travers (Newry City Runners) looks to be the man to beat in the longest race of the day; Don knows this course and the Mourne Mountains well.  He has been a podium finisher at the Seven Seven's as well as several 26extreme events, just last year (2013) he claimed the runners up spot in the marathon behind David Simpson (Unattached), and his recent form, which includes a 2:41:55 (2nd place) finish at the Newry City Marathon last week, shows he is in good shape.  Another man who knows the course, despite being from England, is Kevin Doyle (Kimberworth AC); Kevin travels to the event on an annual basis and has won the Mourne Way Marathon three times.  True to his word he has stepped up to the Ultra last year, taking second place. It will be interesting to see if Kevin can go one better this year; in April (2014), he ran his second quickest marathon time ever, after clocking 2:42:35 at the Virgin London Marathon.  Interestingly, this was five minutes quicker than his previous outing in London in the run up to the Mourne Way Ultra in 2013.

Eoin Lennon (Unattached), Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club), Ivan Sadlier (Unattached) and Noel Brick (Ballycastle Runners) will also be in or around the top places.  Nicki McPeake and Eoin Lennon both enjoyed notable performances at the HOKA Highland Fling approximately six weeks ago; Nicki followed that up with a win at the Lost World's 100k in May (2014).  

Consistent performer Ivan Sadlier is a sure-fire top ten placer, the strong running distance specialist will come through the field as the race progresses and will be one to watch in the final stages.  Noel Brick has also shown his skills over the longer distances, in 2013 the Ballycastle man was a podium finisher at the Lost World's 100k.  Other athletes to watch out for include Tim Brownlie (Unattached), Paul Nesbitt (Unattached), Phil Hodge (Murlough AC) and Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners). 

In truth, it is hard to look past Irish 24 hour medallist Susan McCartney (Unattached) in the ladies Ultra.  Susan battled it out with Jolene Mellon (North East Runners) here twelve months ago, before moving clear in the latter stages to win in 9:13:15. The Belfast lady is a strong competitor, she collapsed during a 24 hour race a few years ago, but refused to withdraw; having rested for a few hours she got back onto the track and covered a total of 86 miles!  Since then she has established herself as one of Ireland's top female ultra-distance athletes and this year passed through the 100 mile mark in 24 hours.  This is a lady worth watching!   In the absence of Jolene and fellow podium finisher Violet Linton (LVO) this year, Susan's only challenger looks to be late entrant Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club).  Although Fran is undoubtedly a talent, having won the Lost World's 100k last month, the fact that she raced the Walled City Marathon last week may have an adverse effect on her performance.  Other notable entries in the ladies category are Lost World's 50k podium finisher Emma-Louise Kirk (Unattached) and Stephanie Goodchild (Manchester YMCA).

The Marathon starts in Donard Park, Newcastle at 12.30pm and will take competitors on an enjoyable 26.2 miles journey to Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.  One of the many highlights of this route is the view over Newcastle as the runners reach the top of Donard Forest and turn right, it is spectacular.  

The men's race will be a close affair, with Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC) and Stuart Paulin (Unattached) looking like the podium chasers.  Esteemed ultra-distance athlete Martin Rea has returned to competition with several head turning performances.  The Irish international claimed second place at the Lost World's 50k last month (after running 4:24:05) and then went on to show his speedy edge with with a third place finish at the much shorter East Antrim Harriers Forest Series race in Ballyboley Forest, where he recorded 24:44 for a tough 4.3 miles.  Justin Maxwell will enjoy the company of friend and training partner Martin and fellow Northern Ireland international Mark Kendall at the front, but it will be interesting to see which of the three take on the pace when it comes to the final stages.  Justin has been in good form over the longer distances this year, with a win at the Wicklow Way Ultra and a runners up spot at the prestigious HOKA Highland Fling amongst his list of achievements.   

The aforementioned Mark Kendall will also go well; Mark is a speedy character and his strength in the mountains will bode well over this more trail orientated course.  The Newcastle AC athletes last race was the Virgin London Marathon, where he crossed the 'Mall' finish line in 2:44:51.  Stuart Paulin, a regular on the podium at 26extreme and Born 2 Run events, will also be worth keeping an eye on.  He has proved himself over the 26.2 mile distance before, when taking second place at the Causeway Coast Marathon in 2012. Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC), Michael Cultra (East Down AC), David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) and Aaron Shimmons (BARF) will run well.

Experienced marathoner Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) should lead the pack in the ladies marathon; the talented athlete, who showed that she isn't just an long distance competitor with a podium place at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 5k two weeks ago, has picked up numerous prizes over the 26.2 mile distance this term.  However, her most impressive run of 2014 so far has been a 3:18:33 personal best at the Virgin Marathon in April.  Earlier in the year, the Seapark AC lady ran a 13.1m personal best of 1:33:12 at the Omagh Half Marathon.  Multiple World Transplant Games medallist Orla Smyth (City of Lisburn AC) has been looking forward to this event since we (NiRunning) spoke to her back in March (2014), and the brave athlete will hopefully be rewarded for her hard work in training with a top performance; if all goes well, Orla could be a podium finisher.

The same could be said for Unattached athlete Aoife O'Donnell, after she impressed at the inaugural Titanic 101k last September (2013).  Despite being 'under the radar' since, we would expect Aoife to finish well up the field here.  A host of other ladies will be waiting in the wings should any of the previously mentioned contenders falter, this will include the likes of Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners), Patricia McKibbin (Unattached), Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC), Aine McNeill (Unattached), Claire Withers (Unattached) and Cara Hamilton (Belfast Running Club).

North Belfast Harriers' Mark McKinstry will be the stand out performer in the Half Marathon (2pm start), which will take competitors from Spelga Dam to Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.  This week, Mark chalked up yet another top class performance when he secured third place at the Ballymena Runners Fairhill 5m Road Race in a time of 26:33.  Mark has also shown strength in the ongoing East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series, where he holds a 100% win record. Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) will be Mark's biggest rival over the stunning 13.1 mile course; Ben, a 2:39:11 marathoner, has been quiet on the racing front of late, but will undoubtedly play a part at the front.  Martin Cox (North Belfast Harriers) and Thomas Craig (Larne AC) should also finish well up the pack.

The ladies Half Marathon is a hard one to call, with several ladies likely to mix it up at the front.  Orangegrove AC's Louise Lemon and Sarah Steer should play a prominent part in proceedings; both have looked good off-road in the last few months, in training and racing.  Just last week, Louise narrowly missed a top three placing at the East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series event in Woodburn Forest (Carrickfergus).  At the same event, Sarah, who has some mountain running experience, claimed a top ten spot.  Forge Harriers' Janice White is also a contender; after winning the gruelling Connemarathon in 3:21:23, Janice raised her profile within the local running fraternity and considering the terrain over which this race in run, the County Antrim based athlete could well come good – on her day, if she races, Janice could top the podium.

Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) and Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC) will also have a podium place in their sights; Athanasia was one of the top performers at the Newry City Half Marathon, where she finished in second place after recording a new personal best of 3:21:03.  Meanwhile, Eileen is a consistent athlete, one who has impressed quite a lot over the last twelve months.  At the last 26extreme Women's Mini Marathon, Eileen picked up an award for third place.  Monica McCrickard (Leitrim Ladies), Catherine Fearon (Newry City Runners), Aine McCormick (Unattached), Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC) and Lisa Milligan (East Down AC) will also be there or there abouts.

Wayne Morrow (Larne AC), Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners), Bernard Brady (Larne AC) and East Coast AC pair Matthew Hewitt and Dan Spencer will head the male challengers in the 10k race, which will start at Leitrim Lodge (at 3pm) and finish in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.  Despite struggling with a niggle, Wayne managed 1:20:23 for 13.1 miles at the Omagh Half Marathon back in March (2014).  Although he hasn't raced since the Glenarm man will no doubt be geared up for this one. At times, Dermot Mathers is a hard man to predict, but on form, he has the ability to place well here.  In his last outing, Dermot ran 28:27 for 5 miles, this was enough to take second place at the Leitrim 5 mile road race.  Bernard Brady will hope to replicate the performance that saw him lower his 5 mile personal best to 28:14 at this weeks Fairhill 5.  Matthew Hewitt and Dan Spencer have both been at the top of their game off-road in recent months; Matthew climbed the podium at the Born 2 Run 'Run Forest Run' in Gosford Forest, before going on to impress at numerous mountain races, including recent Hill & Dale events.  His club mate Dan covered a hilly 5k in 19:27 a few weeks ago, and also impressed away from running, with a quality performance at an 112 mile cycle event in England.  David Turtle (Unattached) and Declan Magee (Newcastle AC) will also feature, as will triathlete Malcolm Robinson (Unattached).  

Anne Havern (Newry City Runners), Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) and Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC) will contest the ladies 10k. Anne is a regular on the podium at events in South Armagh, and on her last visit to the Mourne Mountains, the Newry lady took top honours at the 26extreme Women's Mini Marathon. She (Anne) will know this course well, which could give her a massive advantage over her competitors.  In saying that, Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC) may also have good knowledge of the at times technical route, and being no stranger to a podium place herself, Joy may put up a fairly strong challenge. Rhonda Brady has also shown well off road recently, with a win at the East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series (Race 1).  Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC) and Susan Lambe (Lagan Valley AC) should be in or around the top three finishers.  Unattached athletes Sinead Owens, Andrew McIntyre, Gavin Poland and Emily Arbuthnot will be amongst the 5k competitors who will join in with the 10k runners as they go through 5k enroute to Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.

Eslewhere on Saturday 7th June 2014, four Northern Ireland runners will take on the classic, but challenging Ennerdale Horseshoe Fell Race in the Lake District (England).  Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley Fell Runners), Ryan Stewart (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers/Larne AC) and Iain Whiteside (Carnethy Hill Running Club) will all travel to the scenic 'Lakes' to cover the 23 mile route, incorporating 7513 feet of ascent.  The 2014 event has be designated as a British and English Championship race, with the Northern Ireland athletes focussing more on the British Championship Series aspect of the event.  That said, Gavin Mullholland may have an eye on both.  The four men will come up against the top British talent, with almost four hundred competitors pre-registered and a wealth of noticeable talent amongst them. 

On Sunday 8th June 2014, Mary Peters Track (Belfast) will play host to it's second major event of the weekend, in the form of the NI & Ulster 'Age Group' Track & Field Championships.  On this occasion, it will be the turn of those up and coming stars aged 14 and 15 years old to impress.  The action kicks off at 10am and an event timetable can be located on the Athletics NI website HERE.

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. 

Ian Bailey and Catherine O'Connor win Hill & Dale 'Millstone' race:

Hill & Dale Series (Race 8) 2014:

On Thursday 5th June 2014, Newcastle AC hosted Race 8 of their ever popular Hill & Dale Series, which on this occasion, started and finished in Donard Park, Newcastle; the course, which measured 4 miles in distance (and incorporating 1,500ft of ascent) took in Millstone Mountain.

There was an interesting battle at the front, with the top three men in the previous two Hill & Dale races, Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC), Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and David Steele (Newcastle AC), all in contention.  However, despite the valiant efforts of Seamus and David, it was the red hot Ian Bailey who continued his unbeatable run of form; having been victorious in at least the last three races he has taken part in, Ian added to those wins when he crossed the line in 36:12 (1st place).  Seamus Lynch followed in 36:26 (2nd place), just ahead of another Newcastle AC man, David Steele (3rd place – 36:31).  Interestingly, these three men have now finished in the same order in the last three Hill & Dale races!

There was a little more variety in the ladies competition; in the absence of Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), East Down AC's Catherine O'Connor once again showed her increasing ability over the mountains, securing a well-deserved win in 45:22 (1st place).  Lagan Valley AC's Shileen O'Kane ran well to finish just over one minute later in 46:26 (2nd place), while Sinead Murtagh (Unattached) completed the podium places in 50:08 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 36:12, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 36:26, 3rd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 36:31

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 45:22, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 46:29, 3rd Sinead Murtagh (Unattached) – 50:08

Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series 2014 (Race 8 – Millstone) Results

Weekend Preview (Part 1):  NI & Ulster T&F Championships 2014:

Weekend Preview (Part 1):  NI & Ulster Track & Field Championships, by John Glover...

This weekend, Saturday 7th June 2014, brings the 90th Anniversary of the first Northern Ireland Men's Track and Field Championship and the 75th Anniversary of the Women's. Over the years titles have been contested on a wide variety of surfaces and at many different venues ranging through the Oval soccer stadium, Ravenhill rugby grounds, Dunmore and Celtic Park dog tracks, Balmoral Showgrounds, the luscious green grass of Cherryvale on Belfast's Ravenhill Road, the cinders of Shaw's Bridge, Tillysburn, Shore Road, Coalisland, Coleraine and Paisley Park and the tartan of Upper Malone and Antrim Forum. 

The 2014 edition takes place on the ultra fast Mondo surface of the latest reincarnation of the Mary Peters' Track at Upper Malone, Belfast, the home of Athletics in Northern Ireland.  Since 2014 is an even number not divisible by four this year is also significant in that it means it is time for another celebration of the Commonweath Games and the rare opportunity for some to pull on a Northern Ireland vest. This year the Games are being held within a stones throw of our shores (well I am sure Finn McCool could have made it if his stone had been smaller), which allows a great opportunity for our athletes to get the maximum support from friends and family. If however you are not lucky enough to be going to Glasgow then make sure you get to the MPT this Saturday as this will be the only opportunity to see all our Commonwealth hopefuls together in one place.

Saturday provides the final chance for Northern Ireland qualified athletes to impress the initial selectors as the names to be put forward by Athletics Northern Ireland will be chosen directly after the Championships. It is for the Commonwealth Games Council to ratify these names before the athletes can head to the fitting room for their uniform and families can start to look for accommodation in Glasgow and the best of luck with that as the only rooms available for the last few months will require at least five numbers up in this weeks lottery.  With five days to go, twelve athletes qualified to represent Northern Ireland have achieved the standard set down by Athletics NI in order to be considered for selection. It can be assumed that these athletes will take precedence over those who are close to the standard; however the unknown factor in the equation is the number of places which will be allocated to athletes (as opposed to shooters, bowlers, boxers etc) by the CGC, and of course there is also the possibility that a relay team might be considered!  So who are the stars to look out for this weekend? Who have reached the consideration standard and who will be relishing the opportunity to destroy reputations and make a late bid for a ticket on the Larne to Cairnryan ferry?

Up until this weekend there were six men and five women with consideration performances but timing is everything and symmetry was achieved by the record breaking performance of Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) in the 3,000 metres Steeplechase. The former Northern Ireland 1500 metres and Cross Country Champion took to the newest event in women's track competition in 2011 and broke 10 minutes the following year. At that time her appearance in Glasgow seemed assured but a horrendous accident at a water jump last year nearly put paid to her career let alone her ambitions. This season she has battled back with reasonable performances in the USA and England before setting a new personal best of 9:52.94 in Belgium last week, thus putting her name in the hat.  Kerry was not the only Northern Ireland lady in record breaking form at the weekend as Zoe Brown (Raheny Shamrock AC) soared to new record height in the Pole Vault winning the Welsh Championship in Cardiff (Wales) with a height of 4.32 metres. If selected this will be Zoe's fourth Games despite being only 30 years old. Her first experience was as a 16 year old gymnast before being persuaded to take up vaulting by Jim Alexander and competing in that event in Manchester and Melbourne.

Sticking with the ladies, the two youngest of the hopefuls, Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Christine McMahon (21) and Lagan Valley AC’s Katie Kirk (20) have both made remarkable breakthroughs in recent weeks. The 400 metres hurdler, coached by Ian Neely, really put the technical components of the event together in the Loughborough International to record a massive personal best of 57.63 secs to go third on the Northern Ireland all time lists.  The slightly younger Katie Kirk assumed a similar position in the 800 metres lists in the BMC race at Watford clocking 2:02.97 for the two lap event.  Further up the age scale and way beyond the distance scale is marathon runner Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast Harriers). 

The former Abbey AC, now North Belfast Harriers athlete finally broke the 2:40 barrier (after 2:39:26) in Berlin (Germany) last September (2013) and judging by her recent performance in the Edinburgh Half Marathon she is in great shape and well acclimatised for the Scottish conditions. At the other end of the distance scale is City of Lisburn AC’s Amy Foster. The widely travelled sprinter (she competed in eleven different countries in 2013) ran the fastest race of her life in the NI & Ulster Championships in 2010 but the following wind meant the 10.32secs did not count for record purposes. This season the conditions were more favourable as she set new Northern Ireland and Irish figures of 11.40secs in Florida (USA).

The current male total of 'consideration' athletes is six comprising a sprinter, a sprint hurdler, an intermediate hurdler, two distance runners and a jack of all trades (and master of them all as well). The latter of these is Peter Glass (North Down AC), the Decathlete who last season scored a total of 7510 points for the ten events. While this might not mean a lot to most people, some of his individual personal bests give an indication of his ability.  For example, in running terms… Peter’s 100m best is 11.18secs; others, including a 2 metres plus high jump, a 7 metre plus long jump and a 56 metres plus javelin throw are not to be sniffed at as individual performances. Looking back to 2002 when the young Regent House pupil ranked in six different events as an Under 15 his destiny was perhaps sealed as multi-event expert.

Another North Down AC athlete is 'on the list' in the form of High Hurdler Ben Reynolds. The current pin up boy of the Athletics NI and Athletics Ireland website’s is coached by brother Tom, himself no mean hurdler, and his recent run in the AAI Games at Santry (Dublin) shows he is rounding into the sort of form that saw him smash the Northern Ireland record in the Belfast International last year (2013). Sticking with hurdles of a lower and longer variety Crusaders AC (and ex Lagan Valley AC) Jason Harvey also made good use of a trip to Belgium Last weekend to clock 51.13secs, just one second shy of his 'consideration standard' personal best. Which he set whilst taking silver at last seasons All Ireland Championships.

Kent AC 's Paul Pollock (also of Annadale Striders), could in theory have a choice of events if selected having achieved the standard at both Marathon and 10,000 metres. Paul's performance in the former event however also saw him being selected for the European Marathon Championships in Zurich in August (2014) and so it is likely that his preference will be for the 25 lap race (is it possible to have a preference for such an event?). His magnificent 28:32.18 in the USA this year missed the Northern Ireland record of Dermot Donnelly by a vests width so he will no doubt hope to go one better in Glasgow. 

The other distance runner is Thomas Frazer of St Malachy's AC. Like Gladys Ganiel, Thomas had a great run at the Berlin Marathon to clock 2:17.45, but also like Pollock this gained him European selection and it is unlikely that he will choose the 26.2m option in Glasgow ahead of Zurich.

Perhaps least known of the men is sprinter Leon Reid who runs for Birchfield Harriers and will make his second appearance on a local track on Saturday having finished second in the Belfast International last year.  Leon is a former English Schools Champion and European Junior Silver medallist who represented England in the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011, before switching allegiance to the Northern Ireland from where his mother hails. He achieved the 200 metres consideration standard with a 20.62secs in the European Junior Championship last year (2013). 

On Saturday, Leon may look as if he has gone a few rounds with Carl Frampton having been involved in a head on collision with a Cuban hurdler during warm up at a meeting over last weekend.

If these are the probables, what about the contenders… While there might be a few who secretly hope to pull out something special at the last minute there appear to be four with a realistic chance.  Jason Smyth (City of Derry AC):  The Paralympic and World Champion has been struggling to regain the form which saw him run 10.22secs back in 2011. Sadly his one consideration standard of 10.30secs last season was nullified by a 2.1 mps wind reading but he is within a tenth of a second this season so with the right conditions he is a real contender. Daniel Mooney (Letterkenny AC) with a recent 1500 metres of 3:42.11 is also not too far away from the required 3:40.00.  Lagan Valley AC’s Portsmouth based reigning NI & Ulster 400 hurdles Champion, Mandy Gault, is less than a second adrift of the 57.90secs 'consideration standard'.  Lifford AC's Ann-Marie McGlynn will also feature in the 1500m, where she is expected to impress, especially considering her recent form.  Hayley Murray, like Leon Reid, is a Birchfield Harrier with parental claim to selection but she will have to find four metres in the Hammer to impress the selectors.  

There are over three hundred athletes have entered for the Championships on Saturday and it is not all about Commonwealth Selection. Incorporated with the Senior are the NI & Ulster U-18, U-19 and Under 20 events and many of these youngsters will provide formidable opposition for their Senior counterparts.While not likely to give Amy Foster much trouble in the 100 metres, City of Lisburn AC’s Megan Marrs will be happy in the knowledge that she currently leads the World in her age group over the 100 metres hurdles and the equally young Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC) will no doubt return from the Youth Olympic Trials in Azerbyjan full of confidence.  Andrew Mellon (North Down AC) has twice smashed his 400m personal best this season, leaving it currently standing at 47.93secs, which will take some beating. The men’s 5,000 metres has attracted an amazing thirty competitors requiring a possible two races with Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) surely favourite for the title. The Ulster and Irish Schools Champion Jackie Burns (Cookstown HS) looks favourite to add the Senior Javelin title to her CV, while Lynsey Glover (Lagan Valley AC) will hope to add to her collection of eleven outdoor medals in her fourteenth consecutive appearance in the Championships.

The exciting day of action kicks off at the Mary Peters Track (Belfast) at 10am and should provide an excellent day of athletics for spectators, who are encouraged to come along and cheer their local stars before some of them head off to represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games.  A full event timetable and start list can be located HERE.

Conor Curran and Heather Foley win Craigavon Lakes 10k:

Hundreds turn out for Craigavon Lakes 10k:

On Wednesday 4th June 2014, athletes from across the province descended on the Craigavon Sports Centre for the Craigavon Lakes 10k (and associated 5k), organised by the local Council.

The 10k course consisted of two 5k laps and was relatively flat and fast, barring a minor ‘bump’ in the back section of each loop.  North Belfast Harriers’ Conor Curran, a man who has been in top form this year; having recorded new 5k and 5 mile personal bests in recent months, the international cross country athlete looked sharp as he dominated proceedings.  Conor broke the tape in 33:45 (1st place) to win, finishing ahead of club mate, Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers), who made a welcome return to competition, with a 34:19 (2nd place) clocking.  Armagh AC’s Gary Henderson followed in 34:46 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, it was one of the most impressive performers of 2014 (so far) who claimed the headlines.  Heather Foley (Unattached) followed on from wins at the DUNE Half Marathon, Ballynahinch 10k and Omagh CBS 10k with another victory, after crossing the line in 37:16 (1st place).  Runher Coastal 10k Challenge winner Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC) produced another notable performance, taking 2nd place in a new personal best of 37:32; Finn Valley AC’s Donna Evans (3rd place – 40:07) completed the ladies podium in just over forty minutes.

Top 3 Men:  1st Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:45, 2nd Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers) – 34:19, 3rd Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) – 34:46

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 37:16, 2nd Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC) – 37:32, 3rd Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC) - 40:07

Full Results:  Craigavon Lakes 10k 2014 Results 

Paddy Hamilton and Breege Connolly secure wins at Fairhill 5:

Ballymena Runners host successful Fairhill 5m Road Race 2014:

On Wednesday 4th June 2014, Ballymena Runners welcomed well over three hundred athletes to their annual Fairhill 5 mile road race, which takes place in the heart of Ballymena Town Centre.  The positive atmosphere around the start line, located near the Braid Centre, was evident as the competitors prepared for the well organised event.

In pleasant, if not a little breezy conditions, the athletes set off the two lap course. As the crowds gathered at the 'band stand' to watch the participants go through the half way mark, it was Annadale Striders' Paddy Hamilton who appeared first, well clear of the field.  Jarlath Falls (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) and Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) all followed.  The ladies race followed a similar pattern to the men, with Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) leading the way, with quite a gap between herself and club mate Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers); it was the battle for the final podium spot that looked most interesting, with Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), Christine Quinn (City of Lisburn AC) and Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) all in contention.

As the enthusiastic spectators moved from the half way point and began to line the finishing straight, they didn't have long to wait until the first finisher arrived. It was no surprise when the impressive Paddy Hamilton appeared first; the strong running distance athlete powered home in a speedy 24:15 (1st place).  Local man and a regular at the event, Jarlath Falls, took 2nd place in 25:49.  Mark McKinstry continued his notable form with another podium finish; having won the East Antrim Harriers Forest Series race in Woodburn Forest last week, Mark secured 3rd place in 26:33.

Breege Connolly looked a class above the field as she cruised into the finish, clocking 28:37 (1st place) for top honours.  Fellow North Belfast Harriers athlete and regular prize winner, Cathy McCourt crossed the line in 30:29 (2nd place), before Christine Quinn (31:56) just pipped last years winner Gemma Turley (4th place – 32:01) for 3rd place.

In the associated 2.5 mile race, up and coming North Belfast Harriers star Connor McQuillan broke the tape first, winning in 14:34 (1st place).  Unattached athlete Adele Kennedy took the ladies top prize in 20:43 (1st place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders) – 24:15, 2nd Jarlath Falls (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 25:49, 3rd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:33

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 28:37, 2nd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 30:29, 3rd Christine Quinn (City of Lisburn AC) – 31:56

Full Results:  Fairhill 5m Road Race 2014 Results

BARF launch 'Denis Rankin Round' in memory of mountain legend:

BARF launch ‘The Denis Rankin Round’:

The Belfast Association of Rockclimbers and Fellrunners (BARF) have today (Wednesday 4th June 2014) launched the ‘Denis Rankin Round’ – This gruelling, none-competitive challenge, similar to the infamous ‘Bob Graham Round’ in England, will consist of a circuit which includes all of the peaks in the Mourne Mountains of County Down, Northern Ireland, measuring over 400m in height, covering over 86km (54miles) in distance and over 6,000m (20,000ft) of ascent.  The Challenge is to complete this within a 24 hour period.

The Round is named after Denis Rankin, a pioneer and leading light in fell running and mountain marathons in Northern Ireland since the 1970’s, who tragically died on 16th May 2013 whilst competing in a fell race on Slieve Moughanmore.  Registration and record keeping is being undertaken on a voluntary basis by a group of Denis’s friends in the Belfast Association of Rockclimbers and Fellrunners (BARF).

This is not an organised event but a challenge open to all who believe they can circumnavigate the beautiful, rugged and demanding mountains of Mourne within 24 hours.

Full details are on the official website, launched today at

WCM course records tumble as Sittuk and Curley take top honours:

SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon 2014:

On Sunday 1st June 2014, thousands of athletes brought the City of Derry/Londonderry to a standstill as they took to the Maiden City's streets for the 2nd annual running of the newly established SSE Airtricty Walled City Marathon; an event which has now been installed as a permanent fixture after it's successful debut during last years UK City of Culture programme.

Although marathon running is not new to the City, given the fact that there used to be a 26.2 mile race there in years gone by, this newly adapted course, and the event in general, appears to be catching the imagination of not only the locals but also the wider running community, as record numbers turned out again this year.

In damp but almost perfect running conditions, the large field set off from the Everglades Hotel in the Prehan Area of the City, where they completed a short 'out and back' section before heading towards the City Centre.  As early as the first mile the potential winner was evident, with Belfast City Marathon winner Freddy Sittuk (Kenya) quickly moving clear of the field; by the time Freddy had completed the aforementioned 'out and back' section and returned to the City Centre via the Low Deck of the Craigavon Bridge (approximately 5.8 miles), he had put just over four minutes between himself and Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC), who in turn had a reasonable lead on James Crampsey (City of Derry AC), Ciaran McGonagle (Rosses AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Ryan Snodgrass (Foyle Valley AC), Benny Mullan (Inishowen AC) and Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC).

In the ladies race, impressive Donore Harriers athlete Anne Curley was leading the way as the athletes went through the 6 mile marker.  Pre-race favourite's Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC) and Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) weren't far off the pace, while reigning Champion Jacqui Boyle (Tallaght AC) followed but didn't look comfortable.  Nicola Frizelle (Springwell Running Club), Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) and Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) all looked as if they were running well within themselves.

As Freddy Sittuk moved through half-way in 1:09:34, he had increased the time between himself and the chasing men to almost twelve minutes; it was obvious at this point, barring any late mishaps, that Freddy would be crowned Champion, meaning that there were only two podium spots left for the remaining five or six contenders.  Pauric McKinney reached 13.1 miles in 1:21:05, with James Crampsey a mere seven seconds behind in 1:21:12.  Ciaran McGonagle (1:22:40), Chris McGuinness (1:23:38), Benny Mullan (1:23:55) and Mark Mullan (1:23:59) were also still in contention.

Anne Curley was gradually moving clear of her rivals as the ladies reached the Half Marathon stage; the Irish athlete crossed the mat in 1:28:37, over thirty seconds clear of local Spartan Marina Campbell (1:29:10).  Fran McFadden (1:35:24) was also performing well, but the talk amongst the pundits at this stage related to Claire McGuigan's progress, as the recent Airtricty 10m winner had moved through the field into fourth place, passing the 13.1m checkpoint just four seconds behind Fran in 1:35:29; Springwell Running Club's Nicole Frizelle (1:35:57) had also moved into the reckoning.

The iconic Peace Bridge marked the 20 mile point and the roaring crowds who had chosen that particular spot to watch the race were treated to the first sight of Champion elect, as Freddy Sittuk crossed the bridge well clear of the remainder of the field.  This news quickly filtered back to the loud, atmospheric Guildhall Square finish area, where it was greeted with excitement and cheers.

Freddy continued his relentless pace in the final stages, cover the remaining miles in seemingly effortless fashion; showing no signs of fatigue, he entered the home straight to deafening applause from the gathered spectators. Arms aloft in celebration, Freddy broke the tape in a new Walled City Marathon course record of 2:25:44 (1st place).  

Inishowen AC's Pauric McKinney, a previous AAI National Marathon Champion, took 2nd place in 2:41:34, before James Crampsey crossed the line in 2:43:45 (3rd place).  Chris McGuinness (2:44:14) finished strongly to secure 4th place, while Ciaran McGonagle completed the top five finishers in 2:46:25.

Anne Curley was rewarded for her efforts throughout the 26.2 mile endurance test with a well-deserved victory; having led from the early stages, Anne covered the distance in a new ladies Walled City Marathon course record of 2:57:50 (1st place).  Local hero Marina Campbell drew the loudest cheer of the day as she secured the runners up spot in 3:08:17 (2nd place), while Strabane based Claire McGuigan also received a notable reception as she claimed the final place on the ladies podium in 3:11:10 (3rd place).  Fran McFadden recorded 3:17:04 (4th place), while Foyle Valley AC's fast finishing Sandra McKeever crossed the line in 3:22:15 for 5th place.

Top 10 Men:  1st  Freddy Sittuk (Kenya) – 2:25:47, 2nd Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC) – 2:41:31, 3rd James Crampsey (City of Derry AC) – 2:43:42, 4th Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) – 2:44:11, 5th Ciaran McGonagle (Rosses AC) – 2:46:25, 6th Benny Mullan (Inishowen AC) – 2:50:24, 7th Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC) – 2:51:22, 8th Bruce Lovell (Unattached) – 2:51:38, 9th Brian O'Connor (Petts Wood Runners) – 2:53:53, 10th Brian McGread (Omagh Harriers) – 2:54:27

Top 10 Ladies:  1st Anne Curley (Donore Harriers) – 2:57:50, 2nd Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC) – 3:08:17, 3rd Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 3:11:10, 4th Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) – 3:17:04, 5th Sandra McKeever (Foyle Valley AC) – 3:22:15, 6th Nicola Frizelle (Springwell Running Club) – 3:25:50, 7th Jolene Mellon (North East Runners) – 3:27:45, 8th Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) – 3:28:03, 9th Siobhan Kenny (Unattached) – 3:28:44, 10th Andrea Kennedy (Enniskillen Running Club) – 3:29:18

Northern Ireland mountain runners secure impressive wins:

Diane Wilson and Allan Bogle win outside Northern Ireland:

This weekend (Saturday 31st May 2014 and Sunday 1st June 2014), mountain runners from Northern Ireland have excelled at major event outside the province, with Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) and Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) securing impressive wins.

On Saturday 31st May 2014, at least three local athletes travelled to Ireland's highest mountain, Carrauntoohil in County.Kerry (Ireland) for the Carrauntoohil Mountain Race.  Carrauntoohil stands 1137m tall and this event was the second race in the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA) Championships; interestingly, the first race an 'away day' at the Slieve Donard Classic earlier this month. 

Starting on the Kerry Way, 12.5k route follows a fence line to Curraghmore, where runners move along to Caher and on to the summit of Carrauntoohil. Participants then retrace their steps back to the finish.  Diane Wilson, who won Race 1 of the IMRA Championships and is currently leading the NIMRA Championship, was the outstanding performer from the North and arguably on the day overall.  

Diane smashing the course record, which she held, to secure victory and a very credible fourteenth place overall in 1:44:12 (1st place). Kevin Murdock (Team Purple) finished in 1:45:18 (17th place), while only ten seconds split the next Northern Ireland participants; Mark King (Newcastle AC) and Dominic McInerney (Murlough AC) ran 1:58:10 (35th place) and 1:58:20 (37th place) respectively.  The men's race was won by Tom O'Donoughue (IMRA) in 1:15:16 (1st place).

On Sunday 1st June 2014, City of Derry AC athlete Allan Bogle was in action in at the Balearic (Mountain Running) Cup, a 17k (incorporating 1,000m of ascent) mountain race on island of Mallorca.  Allan, who enjoyed an outstanding victory at the recent British Championship held in Newcastle (County Down), enjoyed an exciting dual at the front with local athlete Toni Marti, before he gained the edge on a tough technical descent in the final kilometre, before claiming a notable victory in 1:28:29 (1st place).

On the same day (Sunday 1st June 2014), BARF's Joanne Curran took on one of the world's toughest events, the Comrades Ultra-Marathon in South Africa. Each year, the event start line switches between Durban and Pietermaritzburg; this year, the 87k race kicked off in Pitermaritzburg and competitors made their way down to Durban. Joanne completed the distance in 8:52:02 (130th place).  South African athlete Bongmusa Mthembu won in 5:28:34, with English runner Ellie Greenwood taking the ladies title in 6:18:15.


Five local mountain runners travelled to the Isle of Jura last week (Saturday 24th May 2014) for the infamous Isle of Jura Fell Race.  The well-known event takes competitors on a gruelling 28k journey incorporating 2,370m of ascent over seven summits.  Larne AC's Phelim McAllister led the local contingent home in 4:57:49 (109th place); Phelim was followed into the finish by Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), after the international mountain runner clocked 5:22:15 (15th place lady).  

Bryan Magee (Larne AC) covered the distance in 5:28:24 (145th place), before BARF's Trevor Wilson crossed the line in 6:03:34 (179th place).  Unfortunately, Eamon McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) was forced to withdraw after sustaining a back injury during the race.  The race was won by Hector Haines (HBT) in 3:06:30, while Jasmine Paris (Carnethy HRC) took the ladies title in 3:52:53.  A full report in relation to the event is available on the NIMRA website HERE.

Full Results:   Carrauntoohil Mountain Race 2014 Results (Currently Unavailable) – Balearic Cup 2014 ResultsIsle of Jura Fell Race 2014 Results - Comrades Ultra-Marathon 2014 Results

Note - May 2014 'News', including some of this weekend's action taking place on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st May 2014, is available HERE or by following the navigational bar at the top of the page.

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