Scullion and McGlynn win Omagh Half Marathon:
On Saturday 30th March 2013, record breaking numbers turned out for the twenty fourth running of the SPAR Omagh Half Marathon, organised by Omagh Harriers.
In favourable weather conditions, it was Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) who re-wrote the record books, breaking a second course record in four days, having smashed the Queen's 'Race around the River' 5km record last Wednesday night (27th March 2013).
Stephen was a late addition to the top quality field, which included previous course record holder Sergui Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers), Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and Polish International runner Radoslaw Dudyscz (Poland).
As the thousands of competitors began their 13.1 mile journey, it was Stephen Scullion who made his way to the front, where he was joined by Sergui Ciobanu and Radoslaw Dudyscz. Gary O'Hanlon, Stephen Duncan and Joe McAlister followed, with a group headed by Henry O'Neill (Michigan State) and Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) behind.
Anne Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) was the leading lady straight from the off, with Donna Evans (Monaghan Phoenix AC), Fiona Stack (Raheny Shamrock AC), Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC), Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC) and Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) all chasing.
As the men went through half way, Sergui Ciobanu and Stephen Scullion had moved clear of Radoslaw Dudyscz, who in turn had put some breathing space between himself and the chasing pair of Gary O'Hanlon and local man Stephen Duncan. Unfortunately, a short time later, Stephen Duncan was forced to withdraw as he was suffering from illness, leaving Gary alone in fourth position. Behind, gaps were starting to show in what was the chasing group, Joe McAlister was approximately two minutes ahead of Henry O'Neill, who had the same lead over Paul Barbour.
In the ladies race, Anne Marie McGlynn was increasing her lead almost stride by stride and looking good for the victory. Last years winner, Donna Evans had asserted herself in second place, being chased by Fiona Stack, Claire McGuigan and Tara Malone.
As the race entered the closing stages, Stephen Scullion, who had earlier matched several of Sergui Ciobanu's surges, made a break of his own and was not followed by Sergui, who's tiredness was beginning to show with the drop of his shoulders. Stephen opened a 20-30 metre gap on his Clonliffe Harriers club mate and was looking strong.
As the crowds gathered in the atmospheric finish area, the arrival of the lead car indicated that the leading runners were on their way; seconds later, a strong, confident looking Stephen Scullion raced into the home straight. Looking at the ever nearing finish line clock Stephen knew that the course record was within his grasp, his finishing sprint took him across the line 1:04:46. This was a new course record by two seconds and a new personal best for the ex North Belfast Harriers man. Out-going course record holder Sergui Ciobanu finished in 2nd place after recording 1:05:11, while Polish Half Marathon title holder Radoslaw Dudyscz claimed 3rd place in 1:06:51.
In the ladies race, Anne Marie McGlynn topped off an excellent solo performance, which saw her lead from start to finish, claiming a well-deserved victory in 1:20:03. Donna Evans ran strongly to take 2nd place in 1:23:06, with Fiona Stack claiming the final podium place in 1:23:52. Torque Wheel Chair Racing Club's leading man, Paul Hannan was the popular winner of the wheelchair race, crossing the line in 1:19:12.
Top 3 Men: 1st Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) - 1:04:46, 2nd Sergui Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) - 1:05:11, 3rd Radoslaw Dudyscz (Poland) - 1:06:51
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Anne Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) - 1:20:03, 2nd Donna Evans (Monaghan Phoenix) - 1:23:05, 3rd Fiona Stack (Rahenny Shamrock AC) - 1:23:53
Top Northern Ireland runners set to compete at popular event:
On Wednesday 27th March 2013, the students of Queen’s University, Belfast will welcome Northern Ireland’s top runners to their annual Queen’s 'Race around the River'. The 5km event, which started in 2005, has become somewhat of a ritual for running enthusiasts and attracts our best athletes year in, year out, spanning from talented track stars to accomplished marathon runners.
The event will bring both the Annadale Embankment and Stranmillis Embankment to a standstill, as runners take on the fast, flat course, made up of two and three quarter 1.8km loops.
Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), who recently represented Ireland at the European Indoor Championships in Sweden, will return to Belfast for the race. Judging by the form Stephen is in, the course record of 14:38, set by Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) in 2005 could well be toppled. Annadale Striders’ star Paul Pollock will push Stephen all the way, and having ran 14:12.46 to finish third at the prestigious Armagh International 5km, he will also have the course record in his sights.
Last year’s winner, Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC) could also return to defend his title. Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), winner of Jimmy’s 10k two weeks ago, will also feature prominently at the front. Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) and Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders) will both compete well, while race ambassador and podium finisher at last years event, Michael McKillop (St Malachy’s AC) will join the likes of Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Michael Dyer (North Down AC), Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) and Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) in the chasing pack.
Young Conall Kirk (Lagan Valley AC), impressive winner of the Armagh 3km road race in February, will also toe the line and should finish well up, while Ryan Sharkey (Lagan Valley AC), Phil Wood (Unattached), Francis Marsh (North Down AC) and Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) will all hope for a high placing.
In the ladies race, North Belfast Harriers’ Breege Connolly will prove hard to beat if she turns out on the day, but the battle for the remaining podium places will be close. Judith Lowry (City of Lisburn AC), Yasmin Wilson (Lagan Valley AC), Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers), Ciara Coffey (Unattached), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) and Alex Kirk (Springwell Running Club) are the most obvious contenders.
Judith, a talented triathlete, produced some outstanding performances on the road before the turn of the year, and after finishing second at this event last year, she will hope to go one better this time around. Claire Connor appears to be in good form of late, finishing as runner up at the NI Civil Service (Stormont) Cross Country and more recently at Jimmy’s 10k. Yasmin Wilson's impressive Cross Country performances, which saw her win the Ulster Schools XC title and just miss a podium place in the ‘All Ireland’ competition, will stand her in good stead for events such as this.
Although not possessing personal bests just as quick as the aforementioned ladies; Ciara Coffey, Emma Mitchell and Alex Kirk have the credentials to place well. Other top finishers will include Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Caitriona McGloin (Beechmount Harriers), Emma Laverty (Lagan Valley AC) and Helen Stockdale (Clones AC).
All in all, both the male and female races should prove to be exciting contests. Race numbers and timing chips can be collected from the Queen’s Physical Education Centre (PEC) from 3pm. On the day entry is available until 6.30pm sharp. The race starts at 7pm.
NI athletes set to compete over road, track, trail, and even railway sleepers:
This weekend brings one of the highlights of the Northern Ireland road racing calendar, the Larne AC organised AES Larne Half Marathon. Athletes from Northern Ireland will also be competing in Castlewellan and south of the border in Wicklow and Athlone, Ireland.
After a successful cross-border start to the Pure Running/ChampionChip Half Marathon Series last Monday (18th March 2013) in Newry, which saw Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and Catriona McCorkell (Lagan Valley AC) take the top prizes, attention turns to the East Antrim coastline and the scenic AES Larne Half Marathon.
Gary O’Hanlon will once again toe the line, and on this occasion he will face a strong challenge from Annadale Striders star Eddie McGinley, who beat him at Jimmy’s 10k last Sunday. Eddie will move up to the Half Marathon distance for the first time and should be a prominent figure at the head of the field.
Another man who should feature well is Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), the Larne man will make a welcome return to running following a long lay off through injury. Having won the event in 2007 and 2008, Brian will be looking forward to competing on a course he knows so well. The aforementioned trio will be joined on the start line by North Belfast Harriers’ duo Alan O’Hara and Adam Boyd. Three time winner of the race, and current course record holder, Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC) could make use of the late entry system.
Iain Taggart (Ballymena Runners), Nat Glenn (Larne AC), Dennis Scott (North Down AC) and Graham Barr (Olympia Triathlon) will all finish well up, as will Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) and Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) if they enter on the day.
Top Northern Ireland distance runner and winner of the event in 2009, Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) will prove hard to beat in the ladies race, and will therefore start the race as favourite. After winning in Altamuskin last weekend, Breege should be high in confidence and will surely be aiming to beat the ladies course record of 1:23:56, set by Sarah Comber (Unattached) last year. Another previous winner, Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) and Julie Balmer (North Down AC), who finished in 2nd place last year, should claim the remaining podium places.
However, Ali Robinson (North Down AC), Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC), Sarah Quinn (City of Lisburn AC), Cheryl Denver (East Down AC) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) will all be hoping to cause an upset. Sharon Harvey (Ballymena Runners), Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) and Kelly Cortney (Ballymena Runners) will all challenge for a top ten finish. Important Notice: **As of 8.00pm on Friday 22nd March 2013, the Larne Half Marathon has been POSTPONED**
Also on Saturday 23rd March 2013, a number of Northern Ireland runners are expected to take part in the Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon in the famous Wicklow Mountains (Ireland). The 51km ‘out and back’ course has 2,000m of climbing and covers multiple terrains, including forestry roads, single track trails and approximately two miles over old railway sleepers.
Ballydrain Harriers’ David Simpson won the race last year in 4hrs 11mins and may return to defend his title. He will be joined by Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Justin Maxwell (Larne AC) and Jim McCormick (North Belfast Harriers); all of whom have been in good form of late, most notably experienced ultra-runner Martin who achieved a podium finish at last month’s prestigious London 50k.
Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Declan McElroy (Newcastle AC), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Jackie Toal (BARF) could also travel. The Northern Ireland athletes will be up against some of Ireland’s top distance runners, with the likes of John O’Regan (Cheile AC), Paul Tierney (Eagle AC) and course record holder Eoin Keith (Setanta AC) all due to participate. English based, Ireland International runner Daniel Doherty (Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC) may also be a surprise entrant.
On Sunday 24th March 2013, Castlewellan GAC will host their ‘Spring Lake Challenge’ in Castlewellan Country Park, CountyDown. The event offers participants the option of a 5k or 10k route, which will take the runners through the beautiful forest and associated trails.
Newcastle AC men David McNeilly and David O’Flaherty could make use of the locality of the event, and use it as a good test over multi-terrain. Should they both enter, it will be an interesting battle to see who comes out on top. Their club mates, PJ McCrickard and Brendan Donnelly are also likely competitors, and both will challenge for a top three place should they turn out on the day. Michael King (Murlough AC) and Philip Vent (East Down AC) could also place well. The ladies race should see Anne Sanford (Lagan Valley AC), Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners), Paulette Thompson (Murlough AC) and Anne Turley (Unattached) contest the top places. Important Notice: **As of 2pm on Saturday 23rd March 2013, the Castlewellan GAC 'Spring Lake Challenge' has been POSTPONED**
In the AIT Arena, Athlone, Ireland; over 1,000 Juvenile athletes from all over Ireland are expected to take part in the Woodies DIY National Juvenile Indoor Championships on Saturday 23rd March and Sunday 24th March 2013.
Northern Ireland clubs should be well represented at the event, with some of our main medal contenders likely to be; Jack McCloskey (City of Derry AC), Alan Curtis (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Amando Bamisile (Willowfield Harriers), Rachel Brown (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Aoife Laverty (City of Derry AC) and Anna Lawther (Ballymena & Antrim AC).
Northern Ireland’s eight ‘parkrun’ events will also take place as usual, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page. Important Notice: **Please see above article in relation to the cancellation of a number of Northern Ireland 'parkrun' events**
Results amended for Slieve Gullion Mountain Race:
This week, the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) have released a statement in relation to the opening mountain race of the season, which took place at Slieve Gullion (6.9km – 460m) on Saturday 9th March 2013.
Following an inquiry into the results, a decision has been made to disqualify participants who accidently missed allocated checkpoints in poor visibility. The results have been amended accordingly. There is no change in the men’s top three, but the top two ladies; Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and Diane Wilson (Lagan Valley AC) have been disqualified, meaning that Violet Linton (LVO), who originally finished in 3rd place, has now been declared the winner. Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) have now been awarded 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.
Revised podium finishers:
Top 3 Men: 1st Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) – 37:23, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 38:26, 3rd Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) – 39:05
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Violet Linton (LVO) – 52:10, 2nd Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 52:45, 3rd Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) – 56:37
Amended Results: Slieve Gullion 2013 Results (Amended)
Governing body hold Annual General Meeting:
Annual General Meeting of Athletics Northern Ireland was held on
Wednesday 20th March 2013. Prior to the meeting commenced, trophies
were presented to the winning teams in the 2012/13 Athletics NI Cross
Country League by President Gerry Lynch. North Down AC won the ladies
title, while City of Derry Spartans AC picked up the men’s top prize.
The following office bearers were re-elected to their positions: President – Gerry Lynch, Vice Presidents – Trevor Alderdice, Pam Brown, Michael Moffitt, Pat Moffitt, Brian Smith, Chairman – David Seaton, Secretary – John Allen, Treasurer – Roy Corry.
Sub Committees were elected for the coming year as follows:
Track and Field Competition Committee: Joy Alexander, Bob Brodie, Pam Brown, Wendy Davis, Ursula Fay, John Glover, Liz Glover, Robin Mack, Andrew Minnis, Barry Scarth.
Cross Country and Road
Running Committee: Lawson Cochrane, Gladys Ganiel, Gary Keenan, Paul
Magee, John McLaughlin, Joe Quinn, Lisa Sturgeon, Tony Wall.
motions were passed at the meeting. One was to move the commencement of
the athlete registration year from 1st January each year to 1st April
to bring it into line with Club affiliations. This will be effective
from April 2014. The second motion is to restrict the maximum
continuous service of office bearers to six years. This regulation will
take effect immediately but will not be retrospective.
Club Affiliation fee will remain at £100 per club and athlete
registrations remain at £8 for adults and £3 for ages 13 to 16. These
are payable now for the coming year (to March 2014).
Athlete and Coach part company after successful partnership:
Ciara Mageean, one of Northern Ireland’s top runners has parted company with her long term coach Eamonn Christie. Eamonn, a winner of Athletics Ireland Coach of the Year and Athletics Northern Ireland Performance Coach of the Year has guided the Portaferry athlete through an outstanding junior career.
This includes silver medals at the World Junior Championships (1500m), the World Youth Championships (800m) and the European Junior Championships (800m), as well as medals at the European Youth Olympics.
In 2011, the junior star ran a 1500m Olympic B standard and looked set to contend for a place at the London 2012 Olympics; unfortunately, an ankle injury hampered her first season as a senior athlete and she failed to hit the Olympic standard required. It is thought that Ciara may take up one of a number of coaching options in Dublin, where she is currently studying.
For full details, please see the article produced by BBC Northern Ireland.
Runners brave wet and windy conditions for St Patrick's Day event:
On Sunday 17th March 2013, nearly one hundred runners took part in the St Patrick’s Day 10k road race in Irvinestown, County Fermanagh. The event, now in its second year, also included a 5k race.
In wet and windy conditions, Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club), Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) and last year’s winner Adam Cooke (Enniskillen Running Club) battled it out for top spot; with a significant gap between the trio and fourth place, it was obvious one of them would take the victory. In the end it was Stephen Prentice who moved clear, crossing the line in a new course record of 33:03 to seal a hard fought win. Fergus McGirr (33:09) crossed the line just six seconds later to take 2nd place, while Adam Cooke (34:10) had to settle for 3rd place.
The ladies race was also a close affair, with Clones AC club mates Helen Stockdale and Denise Toner reaching 5k together, before Denise gradually picked up the pace to open up a winning lead. She completed the undulating course in a new personal best of 37:35 to seal victory. A happy Helen Stockdale took 2nd place, in a personal best of 38:38 with Enniskillen Running Club’s Linzi Davidson (45:07) in 3rd place.
In the associated 5k race, Jack Scallon (Enniskillen Running Club) ran out comfortable winner, breaking the tape in 18:56. Stuart Beattie (Club Unknown) took 2nd place in 20:30, with Chris Audley (Clones AC) claiming the final podium place in 21:10. Clare Deasley (Unattached) won the ladies 5k race in 26:20, with Unattached athlete Shakira Steel (27:47) just over a minute behind in 2nd place. Donna Teague (Club Unknown) took 3rd place, crossing the line in 29:52.
Top 3 Men: 1st Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club) – 33:03, 2nd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 33:09, 3rd Adam Cooke (Enniskillen Running Club) – 34:10
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 37:35, 2nd Helen Stockdale (Clones AC) – 38:38, 3rd Linzi Davidson (Enniskillen Running Club) – 45:07
Top 3 Men: 1st Jack Scallon (Enniskillen Running Club) – 18:56, 2nd Stuart Beattie (Club Unknown) – 20:30, 3rd Chris Audley (Clones AC) – 21:10
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Clare Deasley (Unattached) – 26:20, 2nd Shakira Steel (Unattached) – 27:45, 3rd Donna Teague (Club Unknown) – 29:52
Northern Ireland runner performs well at St Patrick’s Festival:
On Saturday 16th March 2013, Newcastle AC athlete Kerry Harty travelled to Dublin for the St Patrick’s 5km road race. The event, organised by Metropolitan Harriers and St Brigid’s AC, was held as part of the Dublin City Council supported St Patrick’s Festival and attracted a top quality field.
Despite feeling a little heavy-legged, Kerry ran well to finish in 2nd place in the ladies race, recording 16:25 for the distance. The ladies category was won by well-known Ireland International Linda Byrne (DSD AC) in 16:01, while John Coghlan (Metro AC) won the men’s race in 14:46.
Full Results: St Patrick’s Day 5km Road Race (Dublin) 2013 Results
European Indoor Championships 2013:
On Sunday 3rd March 2013, City of Lisburn AC star Amy Foster missed out on a place in the 60m final at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. After progressing from her heat on Saturday with a 7.33secs (5th place) finishing time, the Ireland team member clocked 7.37secs to finish in 11th place in her semi-final on Sunday. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to achieve a place in the final. The event was won by Bulgarian Tezdzhan Naimova in 7.10secs.
Amy’s Irish team mate, Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) picked up Ireland’s second medal of the championships after finishing in 3rd place in her 3000m final. The popular athlete ran an outstanding last lap to record 9:00.54. Fionnuala’s bronze medal took the teams medal tally to two, after Ciaran O’Lionaird (Leevale AC) picked up a bronze medal after his 7:50.40 (3rd place) finish in Saturday’s 3000m final. The men’s 3000m final was won by Hale Imbrahimov (Azerbaijan) in 7:49.74.
Also this weekend, City of Derry AC’s JP Williamson was in action at the NAIA National Indoor Championships in Ohio, USA on Saturday 2nd March 2013. The City of Derry AC athlete, who studies in America reached the 5000m final after clocking a new personal best of 14:57.04 to win his heat in the early hours of Friday 1st March 2013. In the final, JP further improved his personal best after running 14:56.80 to finish in 10th place. The race was won by Nathan Martin in 14:22.14.
Northern Ireland runners turn out for season opener:
On Saturday 2nd March 2013, road running enthusiasts from all over the province descended on Duncrue Industrial Estate, Belfast for the twenty first running of the Albertville 5 (Mile) Road Race. Traditionally viewed as the opening fixture of the Northern Ireland road running season, the event always attracts a plethora of talent.
This year proved no different, and saw two of the cross country season's best performers bring their strength onto the road. Recently crown NI & Ulster Junior Cross Country Champion, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) produced the performance of the day, completing the fast, flat course in 25:29. City of Derry AC's Richard Johnston (25:44) took 2nd place, with Mourne Runners' Andrew Annett (26:07) claiming 3rd place.
The ladies race was won by leading St Peter's AC athlete Patricia O’Hagan in 29:50, making it two wins in as many weeks after her brilliant victory at the NI Civil Service Cross Country last weekend. North Down AC’s Julie Balmer (29:57) took 2nd place with Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) securing the final podium place in 30.42.
Top 3 Men: 1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 25:29, 2nd Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC) – 25:44, 3rd Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) – 26:07.
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter's AC) – 29:50, 2nd Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 29:57, 3rd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 30:42.
Full Results: Albertville 5 Road Race 2013
Ex North Belfast Harriers’ Stephen Scullion competes at European Indoor Championships:
On Friday 1st March 2013, Northern Ireland man Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) was competing over 3,000m at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. Representing Ireland, the well respected Belfast athlete gave a gutsy performance, holding a good position in the opening laps before taking the race on and leading with 1,000m to go.
Unfortunately Stephen was caught and passed with just over two laps remaining; he finished in 8:00.78 (6th place). Despite his brave efforts to up the pace of the race, in the hope that even a finish outside the top four would secure a fastest loser spot in the final, he missed out on that by just over one second.
The race was won by Stephen’s Irish team mate Ciaran O’Lionaird (Leevale AC) in 7:55.12. In Heat 2, Donore Harriers’ John Travers (8:23.83) finished in 11th place, which meant that he also missed out on a place in the final. City of Lisburn AC’s Amy Foster (Ireland) will line up in lane one of her 60m heat on Saturday 2nd March 2013, the race will take place at 12.42pm (GMT).
NI runners to compete in Belfast, Cookstown, Jordanstown, Gothenburg.....
A few would say that the Albertville 5 mile road race indicates the beginning of the road racing season in Northern Ireland, if that is the case; we hope you are all ready for the big kick off, as it takes place tomorrow (Saturday 2nd March 2013).
Also this weekend, Northern Ireland runners will be competing in Cookstown, Jordanstown, Carlingford, Gothenburg and America. The all new Wallace Park ‘parkrun’ in Lisburn will also start on Saturday 2nd March 2013 (9.30am).
On Saturday 2nd March 2013, hundreds of local runners are expected to turn out for this year’s Albertville 5 (mile) road race, held in Duncrue Industrial Estate, Belfast. Boasting a flat, fast course; the event is a perfect opportunity for athletes to open their road racing season with a personal best.
Brendan Teer (East Down AC) will hope to race well, having enjoyed a successful cross country season. Should the East Down AC runner take to the start line, he will no doubt be amongst the front runners. Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers), Andrew Hicks (Dromore AC), Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners), David Simpson (Ballydrain Harriers) and Francis Marsh (North Down AC) should also play a prominent part in proceedings. Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders), Gareth Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Nat Glenn (Larne AC), James Turtle (Ballymena Runners), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) and Craig Hutchinson (Larne AC) will also finish well up.
In the ladies race, in-form Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) will prove hard to beat. She should be joined on the start line by Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Judi Graham (North Belfast Harriers), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC). Other likely top ten finishers could include Stephanie Hambling (North Down AC), Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers), while Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC), Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) and Fionnuala McCourt (Lagan Valley AC) will hope to top their categories.
Also on Saturday 2nd March 2013, Sperrin Harriers will welcome runners to Lough Fea, just outside Cookstown for the sixth and final race in their Winter League Series.
The fact that many categories are still up for grabs shows how competitive the series has been. The final race will see competitors take on 10 miles; the longest race in the series so far. Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley) may not be able to win the series because he has not participated in enough races, but he will be out to retain his unbeaten record in the series, having won the three races he has attended. He will be chased by Sperrin Harriers’ Glenn Donnelly and Pierce McCullagh. Jason Walsh (Omagh Harriers), Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners), John McCambridge (St Peter’s AC) and Billy Reed (East Antrim harriers) have all been consistent performers in the series and will hope to top that off with a category prize.
Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) has been the most impressive lady in the series, having won three races. She will be aiming to improve on that with another win; however, Sperrin Harriers’ own Cheryl Caldwell, somewhat of a surprise package in the series will lead the chase to over-turn Anne’s reign, she’ll be ably assisted by Caroline Miller (Omagh Harriers), Rosemary Hargan (Sperrin Harriers), Rosaleen McCartan (Omagh Harriers), Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) and Olivia Mullin (Greencastle AC).
Saturday 2nd March 2013 will also bring Day 2 of the Northern Ireland & Ulster Juvenile Indoor Championships which will take place in University of Ulster, Jordanstown. After an enthralling Day 1 of competition in Magherafelt a few weeks ago, big things are also expected of this event.
On the track, 60metres is the distance on offer and potential stars Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Adam Hill (City of Lisburn AC), Robbie Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) and Mark McGarvey (City of Derry AC) will all hope for prizes in the boys events. In the girls races, Roseanne McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC), Gemma Thompson (City of Derry AC) and Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) will be amongst the leading Northern Ireland medal contenders.
A large number of Northern Ireland runners will also travel just over the border to Carlingford, County Louth for the Carlingford 10k and Half Marathon on Saturday 2nd March 2013. The race, in association with 26extreme will start in Carlingford Village and take in the beautiful surroundings of the Cooley Penninsula, the Mourne Mountains, Ballagan Point, and Carlingford Lough before returning to the Village for a well-supported finish.
We expect Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) to win the ladies race and Don Travers (Newry City Runners) to win the men’s equivalent, should he make use of the limited race day entries. Several other NI based athletes will be in or around the podium places, these include; Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Michael McKeown (East Down AC), Darren Warnock (Sperrin Harriers), Maurice Harte (Unattached), Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners), Anne Killen (Unattached), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC), Deirdre Conway (Sperrin Harriers), Janice White (Unattached) and Adele Murdock (Unattached).
Northern Ireland runners Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) and Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) will represent Ireland at this weekend’s European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden (Friday 1st March to Sunday 3rd March 2013). Stephen’s 3,000m heat will take place on Friday afternoon, and should he reach the final, it will be on Saturday evening. Amy’s 60m heat will be on Saturday, with the semi-final and final on Sunday should she make it through.
Further afield, JP Williamson (City of Derry AC) will compete in the 5,000m final at the NAIA National Indoor Championships in Ohio, USA on Saturday 2nd March 2013. The City of Derry AC athlete, who studies in America clocked a new personal best of 4:57.04 to win his heat in the early hours of Friday 1st March 2013 (GMT).
This weekend, Northern Ireland proudly increases it’s ‘parkrun’ total to eight. The new event, taking place in Wallace Park, Lisburn will start at 9.30am. For more information on this, as well as the other seven ‘parkrun’ events in Northern Ireland please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.