Northern Ireland Running

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Lennon and Mageean win Ballygalget 10k Road Race:

Local athletes take part in Ballygalget 10k road race:
On Sunday 31st March 2013, Ballygalget GAC hosted the inaugural running of their 10k road race in County Down.  The event attracted local running enthusiasts as well as quite a few club runners, which included one of Northern Ireland’s best middle-distance track runners.  Eoin Lennon (Olympia Triathlon Club) won the event in 37:48, exactly one minute ahead of North Down AC’s Chris Speers (38:48) who took 2nd place.  Tim Young (Midhurst Milers) finished in 3rd place after recording 40:05.

International track runner, Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn AC), who is more familiar with races over 800m and 1500m; stepped up to the mark well.  The Portaferry lady crossed the line in 41:46 to win the ladies race.  Kerry Speers matched her husband Chris’ category position, taking 2nd place in 44:29 with Claire Scott (Peninsula Triathlon Club) finishing in 3rd place after crossing the line in 47:44.

Top 3 Men:  1st Eoin Lennon (Olympia Triathlon Club) – 37:48, 2nd Chris Speers (North Down AC) – 38:48, 3rd Tim Young (40:05) – 40:05

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn AC) – 41:46, 2nd Kerry Speers (North Down AC) – 44:29, 3rd Claire Scott (Peninsula Triathlon Club) – 47:44

Full Results:  Ballygalget 10k Road Race 2013 Results

Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) wins Letterkenny 'Easter 3k' race:

City of Derry AC celebrate impressive double:
On Sunday 31st March 2013, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes travelled to Letterkenny (Ireland) for the Letterkenny AC hosted Easter Sunday 3km road race.

Declan Reed, a man in outstanding form, having raced well in recent months, which included a new personal best performance at the Trafford 10k road race three weeks ago, produced another notable run to win the race in 9:16.  Patrick Hamilton (City of Derry AC) just missed a podium finish, taking 4th place in 9:22, while Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) crossed the line just one second later in 9:23 (5th place).  

Chris McGuiness (Foyle Valley AC) was the next of the Northern Ireland contingent to finish, clocking 9:25 (6th place) before City of Derry AC duo Gary Slevin (9:27) and Paul McCafferty (9:33) took 8th place abd 10th place respectively.  Nick Cassidy (City of Derry AC) clocked 9:45 (11th place), while Zac McGowan crossed the line in 10:38 (24th place).  Hannah McGowan completed an impressive double for City of Derry AC, winning the ladies race in 12:17.

Northern Ireland runners dominate podium at Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge:

McIntyre and Alexander win Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge:
On Saturday 30th March 2013, runners from Northern Ireland travelled to Ballyliffin, on the Inishowen Peninsula (County Donegal, Ireland) for the popular Ballyliffin International 10 mile Coastal Challenge.

It was a worthwhile trip, not only were the entrants treated to beautiful scenery, on a coastal course that skirts the Atlantic Ocean, but several of the Northern Ireland runners picked up prizes.  Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), a regular podium finisher in local races, won the event in 57:29.  He was followed across the line by last years winner, John Harkin (Tullamore Harriers), who recorded 58:07.  Foyle Valley AC celebrated again, as Stephen Connor finished in 59:32, securing an excellent 3rd place finish.

Northern Ireland ladies collected all the main prizes in the women’s race, with International runner, Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) covered the distance in 1:04:36 to seal an impressive victory.  Springwell Running Club’s Alison Rankin (1:09:57) finished in 2nd place, while her club mate Karen McLaughlin clocked 1:12:13 to take 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) – 57:29, 2nd John Harkin (Tullamore Harriers) – 58:09, 3rd Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC) – 59:32

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:04:36, 2nd Alison Rankin (Springwell Running Club) – 1:09:57, 3rd Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) – 1:12:13

Full Results:  Ballyliffin International 10 (mile) Coastal Challenge 2013 Results

*Note* We have noted several other Northern Ireland finishers, particularly from Springwell Running Club (as they have listed their associated club).  Since this race was outside the province, we are happy to add further information to the above summary.  If you would like your performance added, please contact us via email ([email protected]) before Monday 1st April 2013 (12pm).  Please include your name, club, exact finishing time and place.

Stephen Scullion wins Omagh Half Marathon in a new course record:

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

Full Results:  Omagh Half Marathon 2013 Results - Omagh Fun Run (5k) 2013 Results

Easter Weekend Preview:  NI runners prepare for busy holiday weekend:

Athletes prepare for events in Omagh, Ballygalget, Leitrim, Whitehead:
As the snow begins to thaw, race organisers across the country will breathe a huge sigh of relief and look forward to a less stressful weekend than those who had to postpone or cancel events this time last week. 

The impending holiday weekend brings one of the Northern Ireland’s most popular and well attended races, the Omagh Half Marathon, as well as other events in Balgalget, Leitrim and Whitehead.  Northern Ireland based events company, 26extreme will also host an event at Achill Island (Ireland) and several NI based runners are expected to take part in the Letterkenny 'Easter 3k' (Ireland) and the annual Ballyliffin 10 mile Coastal Challenge in Donegal (Ireland).

The main event of the weekend will be the Omagh Harriers' organised SPAR Omagh Half Marathon on Saturday 30th March 2013, already entries have exceeded last years record breaking figures and organisers are planning for in excess of three thousand participants (across the three events; Half Marathon, 5k Fun Run and Walk).  After the postponement of the Larne Half Marathon last weekend, this will be the second race in the Pure Running/ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series.

Last years winner and current course record holder, Sergui Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) will have a tough job on his hands as he tries to defend his title as well as his 1:04:48 record, with Polish Half Marathon Champion Radoslaw Dudycz having flown in especially for the event.  The Poland International runner has a Half Marathon personal best of 1:03:34, and boasts 10k and Marathon bests of 29:16 and 2:14:58 respectively.

Sergui and Radoslaw are not the only top names due to compete, with talented Northern Ireland men Joe McAllister (St Malachy’s AC), Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) and Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) also set to toe the line.  All three will be ready to take on the aforementioned pair, having produced excellent performances in recent weeks.  Joe clocked 1:06:58 to finish in ninth place at the Reading Half Marathon, a prestigious event that incorporated the English Half Marathon Championships, while Stephen Scullion smashed the Queen's 5km road race course record last Wednesday night after recording 14:27 to win the race.  Stephen Duncan has won several local races in the past month, with the most impressive being a 25:54 finish over the hilly Altamuskin 5 course two weeks ago.

Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and North Belfast Harriers trio Alan O’Hara, Adam Boyd and Andrew Considine will finish well up.   Dermot Kerr (Armagh AC) should make the top ten, while Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Gareth Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers) Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Greg Lavery (Larne AC) and David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) will also place well.  Michael McKeown (East Down AC), Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers), Gary Keenan (Orangegrove AC), John McCambridge (St Peter’s AC), Christy McMonagle (City of Derry AC) and Jim Breen (Springwell Running Club) will also produce their usually consistent performances.

Maria McCambridge, a previous winner of the ladies race, and recent third place finisher at the Reading Half Marathon (having run 1:14:22), has Rotterdam Marathon coming up in a few weeks, so she will more than likely give this race a miss.  That leaves North Belfast Harriers’ Breege Connolly, who may decide to take part after the postponement of Larne Half Marathon last weekend.  If she (Breege) does race, she will start as strong pre-race favourite. 

Last years winner Donna Evans (Monaghan Phoenix) is another likely starter, and could retain her title if Breege doesn’t race.  Donna, an accomplished athlete and current NI & Ulster veteran XC Champion is strong runner.  However, she will have to fend off the challenge of long serving City of Derry AC runner Anne Paul who will push her all the way.  Helen Stockdale (Clones AC) is another absentee, after having to withdraw because of illness, which leaves Helena Crossan (Innishowen AC) and Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners) as other possible contenders.   Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC), Niamh McDaid (Letterkenny AC) and Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) will hope for high placings, while Brigid Quinn (Ballymena Runners), Patricia Rocks (Newry City Runners), Anne Doherty (Milford AC), Patricia Brown (Newry City Runners) and Una Gavin (City of Derry AC) will all contest their categories.

Also on Saturday 30th March 2013, Northern Ireland based events management company, 26extreme, the organisers of the Mourne Way and Causeway Coast events, will take their popular road show to Achill Island (County Mayo) on the West Coast of Ireland.  The event will feature 5k and 10k races and although it will mainly attract competitors from the south, NiRunning will keep you informed of any notable performances by Northern Ireland runners. 

It is also expected that some Northern Ireland based runners will travel to the Ballyliffin in Donegal (Ireland) for the highly anticpated Ballyliffin 10 Coastal Challenge on Saturday 30th March 2013 and to Letterkenny (Ireland) on Sunday 31st March 2013 for the Letterkenny AC 'Easter 3k' road race.  This will include City of Derry AC runners Connor Bradley, Emmett McGinty, Declan Reed and Pajo Hamilton.  As always, we (NiRunning) will keep you updated as to how they performed.

On Sunday 31st March 2013, running enthusiasts from the County Down area will take part in the Ballyglaget Community 10k road race.  The event is hosted by Ballygalget GAC and should attract a number of club runners, especially those from in and around the local area.

The men’s race should feature the likes of Martin Wilcox (East Down AC), Richard Coey (Unattached), Phillip Vint (East Down AC), Ryan Andrews (Ballydrain Harriers), Michael Cultra (East Down AC) and Liam Keenan (East Down AC), while the ladies event is likely to be contested by Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC), Maureen Oliver (DUB Runners), Helen Vint (East Down AC) and Jenny McLeigh (Unattached).

On Monday 1st April 2013, Newcastle AC will host their annual Leitrim 5 mile road race, close to Castlewellan in County Down.   The race has continually grown since its inception and attracts numerous well-known and respected athletes; accompanied by the usual high level of efficiency and organisation provided by Newcastle AC, it makes for a good event.

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) will be the man to beat, but he’ll be chased willingly by strong running Newcastle AC trio Eoghan Totten, David O’Flaherty and David McNeilly; all of whom possess the talent to win on their day.  Eoghan finished as runner up to Brendan last year, but has had an exceptional year since, culminating in an appearance for Ireland at the European Cross Country Championships just before the turn of the year.  Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) has been running exceptionally well on the roads lately and it is suspected that he and Andrew Hicks (Dromore AC) could also enter on the day.  Both would be excellent additions to the line-up should they turn up, as it will make for an exciting battle at the front.  Luke McMullan (Newcastle AC), David Steele (Newcastle AC) and Brendan Quail (Newcastle AC) will also run well, as will Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) and Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC).

Violet Linton (LVO) and Virigina Ervine (Mourne Runners) should be the leading ladies in attendance.  Violet achieved an excellent third place finish at the notorious Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon last weekend.  As long as she (Violet) has recovered sufficiently, she should claim another prize here.  Viriginia, a regular and consistent competitor should also be in the lead group, leaving Helen McCartan (Dromore AC), Monica McCrickard (Leitrim AC) and Susan McGloin (Castlewelland AC) to battle it out for the remaining podium place.

Also on Monday 1st April 2013, runners from the east of the province will have the Whitehead Community Association organised Whitehead 5 mile road race to look forward too.  This race, which covers undulating roads through the populated village streets, has become somewhat of an Easter Monday tradition for many.

Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC) and Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) should head the field, while Christopher McPeak may also participate if he has shaken off a thigh problem that led to his withdrawal from the Queen’s 5km road race on Wednesday night.  North Belfast Harriers’ Conor Curran will make a welcome return to competition and should be joined on the start line by his club mates Tommy Hughes and Eddie Cooke, as well as Larne AC’s Nat Glenn and Seapark AC’s David Gamble.

In the ladies event, Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) will use this race as a good ‘tempo’ effort as she continues her preparation for the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 21st April 2103.  Claire Connor, also of North Belfast Harriers, will be aiming to make the podium for the second time in a week.  Having won the Queen’s 5km road race in impressive fashion on Wednesday night, the in-form lady should go into this race high in confidence.  After missing Wednesday’s 5k, City of Lisburn AC’s Judith Lowry, a previous podium finisher at this event, could well use her fresh legs to challenge Gladys and Claire at the front.

Judi Graham could be another entrant from North Belfast Harriers, and should challenge for a podium place if she does decide to race.  Seapark AC’s long distance specialist, Gillian Cordner could make use of the locality of this event.  Although the distance is some way shorter than what she is used to, Gillian should perform well.  Lagan Valley AC duo Ruth Magill and Fionnuala McCourt will also place well, as will Larne AC’s Rhonda Brady.

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.

City of Derry AC to host Athletics NI 5km (Road) Championships:

Bay Road 5k race is Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships and final scoring NIMAA event:
City of Derry Spartans AC have confirmed that its all systems go for their annual Bay Road 5k race, incorporating the Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships on Wednesday 10th April 2013 (7.30pm) and online entry for the popular event is now available.

All you have to do is send your name, date of birth, gender, club (if applicable), to: [email protected] before 6pm on Tuesday 9th April 2013.

The entry fee of £6/€7 can be paid and race pack collected from 6pm on race day, at race HQ in the University of Ulster Magee Sports Centre, Rock Road, Derry/Londonderry.  The excellent Magee facility is a mere three or four minute jog from the race start on the riverside path adjacent to the Sainsburys Car Park on Strand Road.

Alternatively entries will be taken on the night at Magee, from 6pm to 7.15pm. The same entry fee will apply.  The Bay Road race is the first in the 2013 ‘Furey Insurances 5k series’, and is the official Athletics Northern Ireland 5k (Road) Championships.  It is also the final scoring race in the Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Associations (NIMAA) Winter League.  Chip timing will be used and the Prize Fund offers cash awards to the top three male/female competitors in the ‘open’ race and all male/female age group winners from U-20 to Vet70.

A large field is expected from both club runners and joggers and the fast, flat Bay Road course has a proven track record of producing personal bests.  Further info from Gerry Lynch (City of Derry AC):07702006667 or email: [email protected]

ECOS parkrun prepares to celebrate this Saturday (30th March 2013):

Ecos ‘parkrun’ set to celebrate its birthday on Easter Saturday:
On Saturday 30th March 2013, ECOS parkrun in Ballymena, County Antrim will celebrate its first birthday.  The Mayor of Ballymena, PJ McEvoy will be in attendance and will conduct a prize-giving at 9.10am, with the 5km time-trial beginning at its usual start time of 9.30am.  There will be birthday cake and refreshments on offer afterwards and organisers would like to encourage running, jogging or walking enthusiasts to come along and celebrate.

The FREE weekly event, supported by Ballymena Borough Council and parkrun UK, is organised solely by volunteers and has a total of 900 registered runners.  776 of these runners have completed a total of 3,406 runs between them; this is the equivalent of 17,030km’s and 1,535 hours of exercise.  Course records are held by Larne AC’s Ryan Maxwell (16:35) and Lagan Valley AC’s Julie Murphy (19:41), while local lady, Brigid Quinn (Ballymena Runners) holds the age-graded record of 24:22 (88.44%).

In the first year, there has been an average attendance of 77 participants each week, with recent figures rising to over 100 per week.  Recently, the council have affirmed their support of the increasingly popular event by funding an excellent, permanently sign posted course and allowed participants and volunteers the use of the Ecos centre.  This provides space for refreshments afterwards where runners share their experiences and make friends. 

Participants vary from beginners who may start out walking the course to athletes who run it for competition or training.  The reasons can be just as diverse, for example some start out for health reasons, others come to meet up with friends.  Jean Gould, a regular runner who is sometimes joined by her daughter and grandchildren, said “it’s given me a new lease of life and opened a whole new world up for me”  while Ruth Murphy came to regain her fitness after her first baby was born and says “The sense of community among all involved in parkrun is second to none.”

Northern Ireland now has a total of eight ‘parkrun’ events, in Waterworks Park, Belfast; Victoria Park, Belfast; Falls Park, Belfast; Queen’s Playing Fields (Upper Malone), Belfast; Wallace Park, Lisburn; City Park, Craigavon; East Strand Beach, Portrush and of course, ECOS Park, Ballymena.

If you would like to take part in any ‘parkrun’ event you should visit to register, then bring your printed barcode to the event. 

Stephen Scullion breaks course record at QUB 'Race around the River':

Scullion and Connor impress at Queen’s Sport 5km Road Race:
On Wednesday 27th March 2013, hundreds of runners gathered at the Queen’s University Physical Education Centre on the Stranmillis Embankment, Belfast for the annual Queen’s Sport ‘Race around the River’ 5km road race.

Now in its ninth year, the event regularly attracts the provinces best athletes and this year was no different.  London based Northern Ireland man, Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) and Paralympic Gold Medallist Michael McKillop (St Malachy’s AC) joined a host of top names on the start line.  As the horn sounded, a group containing Stephen Scullion and Annadale Striders trio Eddie McGinley, Andrew Agnew and Ryan McDermott moved to the front.

However, by the second lap, Stephen had pressed ahead, forging a gap of approximately 5-6 seconds between himself and Eddie McGinley, with Andrew Agnew and Ryan McDermott slightly further behind.  Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC), Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) were also running well.

In the ladies race, Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) had caught and passed early leader Yasmin Wilson (Ballyclare High School), with Ciara Coffey (Unattached), Alex Kirk (Springwell Running Club) and Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) all following closely.

As race commentator Dave McKibbin kept the chilled crowd updated on the action, the white vest of Stephen Scullion quickly came into sight.  Running strongly, yet very controlled, the talented athlete crossed the line in a new course record 14:27 to claim a well-deserved win.  Eddie McGinley showed that his recent niggles are well and truly gone, claiming 2nd place in 14:58, before his Annadale Striders’ club mate Andrew Agnew (15:07) just pipped Ciaran Doherty across the line after a tussle for 3rd place.

Claire Connor increased her lead significantly to win the ladies race comfortably in 18:17, going one better than her runner up spot last year.  Young Springwell Running Club athlete Alex Kirk (18:45) produced an excellent final lap to take 2nd place, just two seconds ahead of Ciara Coffey (Unattached), who recorded 18:47.

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) – 14:27, 2nd Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 14:58, 3rd Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) – 15:07

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) – 18:17, 2nd Alex Kirk (Springwell Running Club) – 18:45, 3rd Ciara Coffey (Unattached) – 18:47

Full Results:  Queen's 5km Road Race 2013 Results - We will be uploading a full event/race review and some race photographs on Thursday evening (28th March 2013).

Special Preview:  Queen's 5km 'Race around the River' 2013:

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.

World Police & Fire Games team up with Cookstown Half Marathon:

Your chance to be part of the World Police and Fire Games:
At the launch of the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) Cookstown Half Marathon (an Athletics Northern Ireland approved event), Cookstown District Council announced a completely new course which is participant & spectator friendly with stunning views of the District, Sperrin Mountains and surrounds. As part of ANI’s stamp of approval the course has been measured and certified as accurate. The route has also been approved by the PSNI.

The WPFG Cookstown Half Marathon (Sunday 4th August 2013) is one of the Official Pure Running Half Marathon Series Events in association with ChampionChip Ireland and Athletics NI. It is open to Police and Fire Service personnel as well as civilian members of the public. Each participant who takes part in this unique one-off event will receive official WPFG merchandise as part of their race registration pack. This year’s event features increased prize categories and a larger prize fund than in previous years.

Speaking at last Friday’s launch, Cookstown District Council Chairman, Tony Quinn said, “The World Police and Fire Games is the third largest international multi-sport event in the world, and we were privileged to be asked to host the Road Race event of the World Police and Fire Games 2013 in the Cookstown District.  As one of the few events to be held outside the Belfast area, it represents an amazing opportunity to raise the District’s international profile, boost the local economy and leave a lasting legacy that follows on from our successful Olympic and Paralympic Celebrations in 2012.  The Games are anticipated to attract 25,000 visitors, including 10,000 competitors from around 70 countries, some of which will be coming to Cookstown.”

He continued, “One of the best things about this unique event is that you don’t have to work for the police or fire services to enter, and we‘d actively encourage members of the public to be part of it.  It will provide the general public with the opportunity to test themselves against competitors from around the world in a truly international event right on their doorstep.  There are many other activities being organised in Cookstown from Thursday 1st August and on the day to welcome all the runners.  For example, there will be performers on the course to entertain both spectators & participants bringing a carnival atmosphere to the event.”

If you want to be part of it, entry opens on Monday 25th March via Athletics NI’s website and their online booking system, which can be accessed at  Entry to the event will cost £16.50 for affiliated athletes and £17.50 for un-affiliated athletes.

The race starts from Mid Ulster Sports Arena at 2pm.  If you want to virtually try the route first, you can access the course HERE  (once opened click on the green flag on the map, the route will load and if you then press play on the top left of screen it will take you along the course).

Race organisers are keen to point out that there will be no entries accepted on race day itself.  Race packs must be collected before the day of the event and can be done so on Friday 2nd August and Saturday 3rd August 2013 at Mid Ulster Sports Arena.  There will be water and energy drink stops every three miles.  After the road race, refreshments will be made available for all competitors.

NI youngsters peform well at National Indoor Championships:

Northern Ireland youngsters pick up well-deserved awards:
On Saturday 23rd March and Sunday 24th March 2013, juvenile athletes from all over Ireland descended on the AIT Arena in Athlone, Ireland for the Woodie’s DIY National Juvenile Indoor Championships.

In the comfort of the newly built and regularly used stadium, well away from the snow that forced several race postponements and cancellations back home, many young Northern Ireland athletes produced notable performances.

On Day 1 (Saturday), City of Lisburn AC runner Megan Marrs clocked an excellent 7.57secs to win the U-17 60m title.  In the U-19 400m race, Jenny O’Brien (City of Derry AC) picked up a bronze medal after finishing in 3rd place.  Jenny crossed the line in 59.17secs, the race was won by Jade Leahy (DSD AC) in 58.24secs.

City of Lisburn AC’s Anna McCauley ran 8.39secs (4th place) in the U-13 60m final, missing a podium finish by 0.03secs, the race was won by Sophie Meredity (St Mary’s AC) in 8.27secs.  Another City of Lisburn AC athlete, Robbie Marrs, finished in 3rd place in his U-15 60m final.  Robbie recorded 7.48secs for the distance; the race was won by Daniel Ryan (Moycarkey Coolcroo AC) in 7.31secs.

In the U-16 1500m, Willowfield Harriers’ Amando Bamisile crossed the line in 4:34.20 to finish in 2nd place.  The race was won by Le Cheile runner Conall Hayes in 4:34.15.

On Day 2 (Sunday), City of Lisburn AC’s Matthew Dalton added to the clubs medal haul with gold in the U-16 60m hurdles, clocking 8.72secs to secure victory.  His club mate, Megan Marrs celebrated another title, after winning the 60m title on Saturday, the talented youngster added the U-17 60m hurdles title to her growing list of achievements.  On this occasion, she recorded 8.50secs to win.

City of Derry AC’s Naomi Morgan (9.22secs) picked up silver in the U-18 60m hurdles, finishing in 2nd place behind race winner Shannan Dawkins (St Joseph’s AC) who crossed the line in 8.58secs.  Naomi’s City of Derry AC friend, Megan Devine also finished in 2nd place, in the U-18 200m final.  Megan ran 25.76secs to finish just behind Kilkenny City Harriers AC’s Sarah Kate Lacey (25.10secs).

In the U-19 60m hurdles, St Peters AC’s Niamh Fussey (9.59secs) finished behind Orla Furney (Menapians AC) who ran  9.41secs to win.  Robbie Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) matched his bronze medal winning performance from Saturday, finishing in 3rd place after crossing the line in 9.10secs in his U-19 60m hurdles final.  Daniel Ryan (Maycarkey Coolcoo AC) won the event in 8.50secs.  City of Lisburn AC athlete Roseanna McGuckian finished an excellent weekend for the club when she won a bronze medal in the U-17 200m final, the talent athlete ran 25.37secs to finish in 3rd place, in a race won by St Louis O’Toole AC’s Rachel Doyle (24.92secs).

Full Results:  Woodies DIY Juvenile Indoor Championships 2013 Results - Race photograph used aboved was taken from the Athletics Ireland website.

Steede and Mathers celebrate wins in Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon:

NI runners dominate podium at Wicklow Ultra Marathon:
On Saturday 23rd March 2013, a number of runners from Northern Ireland braved the poor road conditions to travel south for the Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon, which took place in the notoriously scenic Wicklow Mountains, Ireland.

The 51km course (with 1,940m of ascending); made up of forestry roads, single track trails and ‘boards’ (approximately two miles of old railway sleepers) was wet and boggy, and covered in deep snow in places; heavy fog also made conditions difficult.  In a quality field, including some experienced international ultra-runners, it was Northern Ireland man Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) who stole the headlines.

The popular Ballymena man put in a head turning performance, finishing twenty minutes ahead of his closest rival.  He crossed the line in 4:14:55 to win the race, which must surely be the pinnacle of his progressing career!  Next of the Northern Ireland competitors to finish was Larne AC’s Justin Maxwell who clocked 4:38:58 to finish just outside the podium places, in 4th place.

Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) followed in 4:58:08 (5th place), before Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) crossed the line in 5:05:01 (7th place).  East Antrim Harriers’ Billy Reed (5:12:56) and Team Purple’s Cahal McGreevy (5:16:55) also finished in the top ten, taking 9th place and 10th place respectively. Gary Kingston (BARF) recorded 5:27:25 (15th place), while Mourne Runners’ Kevin Murdock and Murlough AC’s Phil Hodge both finished in 5:39:24 and were awarded joint 21st place.

Nicki McPeak (Springwell Running Club) finished in 5:41:32 (23rd place), while unattached athlete Matthew Hewitt covered the distance in 5:51:53 (28th place).  Distance running specialist, Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) was the first Northern Ireland lady to finish, winning the ladies race in 6:08:15.  This is an excellent achievement for the well-known mountain and ultra distance athlete.  Murlough AC’s Mark King also recorded 6:08:15 (41st place) to finish fifteen seconds ahead of unattached Northern Ireland man Paul Nesbitt who ran 6:08:30 (44th place).

City of Derry AC’s Hannah Shields (6:10:28) was the next NI finisher, claiming 2nd place in the ladies race.  Newry City Runners’ duo Noel Carr and Ronan Mynes ran together and completed the course in 6:14:08 (50th place), exactly one minute ahead of Murlough AC’s Dominic McInerney who clocked 6:15:08 (52nd place).

Kieran Race (Newry City Runners) took 66th place in 6:38:17, before LVO’s Violet Linton (6:38:50), who was this week awarded victory in the Slieve Gullion Mountain Race after an inquiry into the results, sealed 3rd place in the ladies race.  Frankie Rea (Newry City Runners) crossed the line in 6:55:55 (76th place), while his club mate Tony Malone just missed a sub seven hour finish after running 7:00:10 (78th place).  Larne AC’s distance running enthusiast, Amy Beggs finished in 8:20:05, taking 10th place in the ladies category.

In the associated Wicklow Way 'Trail' event (25.5km - 971m of ascending), which started at the half way point of the Ultra Marathon, runners from Northern Ireland also featured well.  Seamus Murray (Unattached) was the first NI based athlete to finish in 2:53:31 (104th place), while Team Purple's Fiona Murdoch was the first Northern Ireland female to complete the challenging course in 3:02:02, enough to secure 15th place in the ladies category.  Newry City Runners' members James McNally (132nd place - 3:03:40), Dermot Mathers (133rd place - 3:03:42), Paul Watters (134th place - 3:03:43) and Frank McKenna (135th place - 3:03:44) finished one after the other, having thoroughly enjoyed the testing conditions.  Orangegrove AC athlete Sarah Steer (3:05:46) achieved a credible 18th place finish in the ladies category, while Gerard Jones (Unattached) crossed the line in 3:15:07.

Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon:
  Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon 2013 Results - There seems to be a mistake in the ladies results, Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) was the winner, not Nicki McPeak (as suggested in results).

Wicklow Way Trail Race:  Wicklow Way Trail Race 2013 Results

Larne Athletic Club forced to POSTPONE Half Marathon:

Larne Athletic Club, promoters of the AES Larne Half Marathon have been forced to POSTPONE their annual event, due to take place on Saturday 23rd March 2013.  The decision was taken in light of the current weather situation throughout the province and in response to advice from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

In a statement, Larne Athletic Club have told us that entries will be carried forward to the new date, which will be announced in the coming days.  Organisers would be grateful if this message could be circulated as much as possible.

*Update - Saturday 23rd March 2013* The following 'parkrun' events have been CANCELLED: Victoria Park, Belfast - Waterworks Park, Belfast - Falls Park, Belfast - Queen's, Belfast - Wallace Park, Lisburn.  The ECOS parkrun in Ballymena is still on, as is the Portrush parkrun. 

The Castlewellan GAC 'Spring Lake Challenge', due to take place on Sunday 24th March 2013 has been POSTPONED.  Any further information/cancellations/postponements will be added to this article.

Weekend Preview:  Pure Running/ChampionChip HM Series set for Larne:

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**

NIMRA hold inquiry into Slieve Gullion Mountain Race results:

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)

Athletics NI Cross Country awards handed out at AGM:

Governing body hold Annual General Meeting:

The 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.

Two 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.

The 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).

Full story and Photograph used above taken from the Athletics NI website.

Paul Pollock picks up award at England Athletics HM Championships:

Northern Ireland man adds another trophy to his already bulging cabinet:
National Half Marathon and Marathon Champion Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) has been officially confirmed as runner-up in the Athletics England Half Marathon Championships 2013.  Paul recorded 1:06:09 to finish in 5th place overall at the Reading Half Marathon (England) on Sunday 17th March 2013, which incorporated the Championships.

After carrying out the necessary checks, Athletics England have now officially released the details of the podium finishers.  Paul, who was representing Kent AC at the event, only lost out to well-known Great Britain marathon runner David Webb (Leeds City AC), who was crowned champion.  David Webb finished in 4th place overall after crossing the line in 1:05:14.  Joe McAllister (St Malachy’s AC) also had a good run at the same event, he ran 1:06:58 to finish in 9th place.

Please visit the England Athletics website for full details on the Half Marathon Championships.

North Belfast Harriers and Chain Reaction announce new partnership:

North Belfast Harriers team up with world famous Northern Ireland cycling company:
Chain Reaction Cycles flagship store is excited to announce a “Proud to Support” initiative with North Belfast Harriers for the next two years.

North Belfast Harriers is one of the province’s oldest and best athletics clubs.  Formed in 1896, they currently have hundreds of active members competing each week in a diverse range of running events around the UK and Ireland.

The Harriers cater for all standards of runners.  At the top end their elite runners have competed at European and Commonwealth Games but above all they are a club grounded in their local community.  Children can get involved in weekly sports hall athletics nights and they introduced parkrun to Northern Ireland (a free community based; timed 5km walk/jog/run) which now takes place every Saturday morning across the province.  They also recently established a ‘Couch to 5K’ training group on Monday and Wednesday nights, aimed at encouraging and training ‘non-active’ people to get out and run on a weekly basis.  Around 100 people now attend this training event at Girls Model School in Belfast twice a week.

Neil McGuigan, Chain Reaction Cycles Retail Store Manager commented:  “Whilst we are predominately a bike store, catering for runners and triathletes has become a large part of our business over the last few years.  We are massively excited to be involved with North Belfast Harriers and look forward to working closely with them on a weekly basis on a range of projects.  Hopefully this will be a relationship that will go from strength to strength.  To reinforce our commitment to North Belfast Harriers and to running in general we have committed to sponsoring the Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast Hills 10k for the next two years - with the concept of extending and building on this.”

The Belfast Hills 10km will be the third event in the 2013 NIMRA Grand Prix Series and will take place on 25th May 2013 at 11.30am.  The start is just below the entrance to the Boys Model School in North Belfast;  Changing facilities will be available before and after the race.  This is a trail run predominantly on gravel paths through the Cavehill Country Park taking in views of Belfast Castle, Belview and McArts Fort.  Competitors will receive a free buff with prizes for the top three men and women in addition to spot prizes.

To sign up please visit: or 

NI star Ciara Mageean parts company with long term coach:

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.

Northern Ireland runners compete in Sunderland and Barcelona:

A further update on Northern Ireland runners competing outside the province:
Last weekend, Northern Ireland veterans Jim Newberry and Laurence Johnston were in action outside the province.  The North Belfast Harriers men took part in the British Masters Athletic Federation Cross Country event in Sunderland, England on Saturday 16th March 2013.

The event, was held within the confines of Herrington Park in Sunderland; the same venue used for this year’s National Cross Country races.  In cold, breezy conditions, both men performed well; Laurence completed the 8km course in 32:44 to finish 9th place Vet50, the category was won by John Convery (Bingley AC) in 30:13.  Jim narrowly missed a podium place in his Vet60 category, finishing in 4th place after recording 34:10.  The Vet60 race was won by Michael Hager (Tipton Harriers) in 30:10.

Scotland based Northern Ireland man Steve Cairns, who was representing Tyne Bridge Harriers at the event, picked up a silver medal after finishing in 2nd place in his Vet45 category.  He crossed the line in 28:42, not far behind the category winner Ben Reynolds (Thames Hare & Hounds AC) who clocked 28:18.

Further afield, Enniskillen Running Club’s Tara Malone was the first Northern Ireland based athlete to cross the line at the Barcelona Marathon, Spain on Sunday 17th March 2013.  The NI lady completed the 26.2 mile distance in 3:23:38.  North Belfast Harriers duo Sean McShane and Patrick McShane ran together, and crossed the line in 3:37:53.  It was a similar story with County Antrim based Janice White and Peter Grimes, the running buddies stuck together and finished in 4:03:03.  The Marathon was won by Ethiopian runner Gezahegn Abera Hunde in 2:10:17, with Lemelem Berha Yachem (Ethiopia) winning the ladies title.

Full Results:  BMAF Cross Country 2013 Results and Barcelona Marathon 2013 Results

O'Hanlon and McCorkell win first ever DUNE Half Marathon:

Athletes turn out for inaugural cross-border event:
On Monday 18th March 2013, over four hundred runners took part in the inaugural running of the DUNE Half Marathon.  The unique event, organised by Newry men Dermot Winters and Barry Duffy, starts in Dundalk (Ireland) and finishes in Newry (Northern Ireland); and is an important fundraiser for the Ryan Cinnamond Trust.  It is also the first race in this year’s ChampionChip Ireland/Pure Running Half Marathon Series.

Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), who has raced every day this weekend, led a group containing; Don Travers (Newry City Runners), Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), Maurice McMahon (North East Runners) and Bray Runners’ duo Gary Condon and Ian McGrath in the early stages.  

Meanwhile, in the ladies race, Catriona McCorkell (Lagan Valley AC) was in full control.  The Belfast lady had a five minute lead over Laura O’Driscoll (Unattached), Linda Meehan (Unattached) and Andrea Kennedy (Club Unknown) as they went through half-way.

As the race progressed, Gary O’Hanlon broke clear of the leading group and was subsequently pursued by Don Travers, Adam Boyd and Maurice McMahon but the Clonliffe Harriers star was too strong and increased his lead.  Gary arrived in Newry first and broke the tape in 1:15:30 to seal an impressive victory.  Adam Boyd followed in 1:16:50, while Maurice McMahon claimed 3rd place in 1:16:53.

Catriona McCorkell ran out clear winner in the ladies category, finishing in 1:29:01.  Behind her, Linda Meehan (1:37:58) produced an excellent second half to take 2nd place, with a tired but happy Laura O’Driscoll (1:39:03) holding on to a well-deserved 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 1:15:30, 2nd Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:16:50, 3rd Maurice McMahon (North East Runners) – 1:16:53

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catriona McCorkell (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:29:01, 2nd Linda Meehan (Unattached) – 1:37:58, 3rd Laura O’Driscoll (Unattached) – 1:39:03

Full Results:  DUNE Half Marathon 2013 Results ... Photograph used above was taken from

Enniskillen Running Club and Clones AC athletes dominate St Patrick's Day event:

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.

10k Race:
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

5k Race:
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

Results:  St Patrick’s Day 10k and 5k (Irvinestown) 2013 Results

Pollock and McAlister achieve top ten finishes in Reading Half Marathon:

Brilliant performances by Pollock, McAlister and McCambridge in Reading, England:
On Sunday 17th March 2013, top Northern Ireland runners Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC) were in action at the Reading Half Marathon, England.

Over 16,000 participants braved the cold, wet conditions which hampered any chances of personal bests.  The race was won by Andrew Lesuuda (Run Fast) in 1:04:14.  National Half Marathon and Marathon Champion Paul Pollock, who was representing Kent AC on this occasion, covered the 13.1 mile course in 1:06:09 to finish in 5th place, while St Malachy’s AC star Joe McAlister crossed the line in 1:06:58 to take 9th place.

Lettekenny AC’s Maria McCambridge, a regular competitor in Northern Ireland, achieved a podium finish in the ladies race.  Maria recorded 1:14:22 to take 3rd place; the race was won by Emily Biwott (Run Fast) in 1:13:14.

Elsewhere, several Northern Ireland runners took part in the Tralee International Marathon on Saturday 16th March 2013.  Alan Ritchie (North Belfast Harriers) continued his preparations for the upcoming Connemara Ultra Marathon (39 miles) with a personal best performance of 3:11:38 (25th place).  Omagh Harriers duo, Des Flanagan (3:47:18) and Edel Flanagan (4:28:35) also completed the 26.2 miles distance, finishing in 167th place and 383rd place respectively. East Antrim Harriers' 100 Marathon Club member Ken Beggs finished in between the Omagh Harriers pair, in a time of 3:58:28 (238th place).  Peter Mooney (Club Unknown) won the men's race in 2:37:57, while Eagle AC's Anne-Marie Holland (2:59:19) was victorious in the ladies event.

Full Results:  Reading Half Marathon 2013 Results and Tralee International Marathon 2013 Results

Duncan and Connolly impress at exciting Altamuskin 5:

Duncan and Connolly win, while ladies involved in exciting finish:
On Sunday 17th March 2013, runners from all over Northern Ireland descended on Altamuskin Community Centre in County Tyrone for the annual Altamuskin 5 mile road race.  

Well over two hundred runners took on the tough course, with last years winner Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) retaining his title in fine fashion.  The talented athlete completed the course in 25:54 to seal victory.  Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) took 2nd place in 26:25, ahead of Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) who recorded 26:53 (3rd place).

Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) was the well-deserved winner of the ladies race, she crossed the line in 29:23, which gave her an excellent sixth place finish overall.  There was an exciting battle for the remaining podium places, with Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC), Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) and Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) all in contention throughout.  The three ladies were together for most of the race, before Gemma surged clear at the end, taking 2nd place in 32:08.  Patricia O’Hagan and Julie Butler crossed the line at exactly the same time (32:12), and were awarded joint 3rd place by race organisers.

Top 3 Men:  Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 25:54, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 26:25, 3rd Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) – 26:53

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 29:23, 2nd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 32:08, 3rd (Joint) Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC) and Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) – 32:12.

Full Results:  Altamuskin 5 (mile) Road Race 2013 Results

McGinley and O'Neill win Jimmy's 10k:

Hundreds turn out for St Patrick’s Day event:
On Sunday 17th March 2013, well over six hundred runners celebrated St Patrick’s Day by participating in Jimmy’s 10k in Downpatrick, County Down.  The East Down AC event is commonly referred to as the first major 10k race of the Northern Ireland road racing calendar.

In perfect running conditions, Annadale Striders’ Eddie McGinley marked his return from injury with an excellent display.  The Belfast man ran to a well-deserved win, breaking the tape in 31:01.  In a sprint finish between Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), James O’Hare (Annadale Striders) and Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers); Gary O’Hanlon took 2nd place in 31:38, while James O’Hare claimed the final podium place in 31:41.

Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) continued her preparations for London Marathon with a comfortable victory.  The North Belfast Harriers’ star, who finished fifth in last week’s Hague Half Marathon completed the course in 35:18.  Claire Connor, another member of North Belfast Harriers who is in brilliant form, finished in 2nd place after crossing the line in 38:06, while North Down AC’s Julie Balmer took 3rd place in 39:07. 

In the team awards; Annadale Striders, who had three finishers in the top seven, were awarded the men’s prize. North Belfast Harriers, who have been enjoying consistent success in the ladies team prizes recently, added another trophy to the cabinet.

Top 3 Men:  1st Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 31:01, 2nd Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 31:38, 3rd James O’Hare (Annadale Striders) – 31:41

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) – 35:18, 2nd Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:06, 3rd Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 39:07

Full Results:  Jimmy’s 10k 2013 Results  .... Photograph used above was taken from the East Down AC facebook page.

Rankin and McGlynn win 'Paula's 5km' Road Race:

Scott Rankin continues to impress:
On Saturday 16th March 2013, runners from around the Derry/Londonderry area took part in ‘Paula’s 5k’ road race, held within the City of Culture’s Gransha Grounds.

In perfect running conditions, it was Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) who stole the headlines.  He clocked an excellent 14:49 to seal an impressive victory.  City of Derry AC’s Richard Johnston (14:56) ran well to take 2nd place, ahead of his club mate Gary Slevin (3rd place – 15:41).  Lifford AC’s Ann-Marie McGlynn won the ladies race in 16:52, beating her rivals by almost two minutes.  Next home was Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC), who recorded 18:30 to finish in 2nd place, while Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) took 3rd place in 18:59.

Top 3 Men:  1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 14:49. 2nd Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC) – 14:56, 3rd Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) – 15:41

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 16:52, 2nd Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 18:30, 3rd Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) – 18:59

Full Results:  Paula’s 5km Road Race 2013 Results

Kerry Harty claims podium finish in Dublin:

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

Bogle and O'Kane excel at Glenariff Mountain Race:

Mountain Runners enjoy well organised ‘potato race’:
On Saturday 16th March 2013, mountain runners from all over Northern Ireland congregated at St Patricks Primary School in Waterfoot, County Antrim for the start of the Glenariff Mountain Race (6 miles – 1,100ft).

The event, once covered by Sky Sports is an annual tradition for many of the country’s hill runners, and is affectionately known as ‘the spud race’ because of the free potatoes handed out at registration, courtesy of sponsors ‘Glens of Antrim’.

Athletes were forced to warm up in blizzard-like conditions, which fortunately cleared prior to the race starting.  As the runners set off on the two mile, fast and flat section towards Glenariff Glen, City of Derry AC athlete Allan Bogle moved to the front.  Allan then led the men onto the mountain, with Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC), Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) and Justin Maxwell (Larne AC) close behind.

Phelim McAllister (Larne AC), Glenn Donnelly (Sperrin Harriers), Jonathon McCloy (Ballymena Runners) and Eamonn McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) also started well.  Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) was the first lady to begin the steep climb, followed by Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Mary Mackin (Dromore AC).

The challenging climb and subsequent descent was made even more difficult because of the wet, slippy conditions.  Allan Bogle was first off the mountain and back onto the flat grassy section, en-route to the shoreline finish back at the school.  Stephen Cunningham was next, with Neil Carty and Paul McAnespie battling it out for third place. 

Meanwhile, at the finish; supporters and race officials braved the pouring rain as they awaited the arrival of the runners.  A radio transmission indicated the imminent arrival of the leader, which turned out to be Allan Bogle.  The impressive City of Derry AC athlete ran to a well-deserved victory, breaking the tape in 44:39, retaining his title from last year.  Paul McAnespie and Neil Carty had worked hard on the final stretch to catch Stephen Cunningham, but this took it’s toll, as Stephen beat both in a sprint finish to take 2nd place in 45:04.  Paul just edged out Neil (4th place – 45:09) to finish in 3rd place, clocking 45:06.

In the ladies race, Shileen O’Kane continued her dominance of the terrain; the strong, experienced international mountain runner sealed a comprehensive win, completing the course in 54:13.  Another Lagan Valley AC runner, Hazel McLaughlin, celebrated her opening race of the mountain running season with a 2nd place finish after recording 59:14.  Dromore AC’s Mary Mackin, a podium finisher at Slieve Gullion last weekend, took the final podium place in 1:03:15.

Mourne Runners were awarded the team prize, with three of their athletes finishing in the top ten.  Individual race runner up, Stephen Cunningham was the first of the winning team to finish.

Top 3 Men:  1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 44:39, 2nd Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) – 45:04, 3rd Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) – 45:06

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 54:13, 2nd Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 59:14, 3rd Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) – 1:03:15

Full Results:  Glenariff Mountain Race 2013 Results.  Race Photograph’s are available within our ‘Photo Gallery’.

Weekend Preview:  Plenty of choice for NI runners over holiday weekend:

Northern Ireland runners gear up for busy St Patrick’s weekend:
As St Patrick’s Day approaches and the customary celebrations begin, Northern Ireland runners will enjoy an extended weekend of racing, with events taking place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  These include major events in Glenariff, Downpatrick and Newry/Dundalk.

On Saturday 16th March 2013, Ballymena Runners will welcome mountain runners from across the province to Waterfoot, County Antrim for the Glenariff Mountain Race.  This will be the opening race of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Grand Prix.  The event, which measures approximately 6 miles in distance with 1,100ft of climbing, is well known for its fast start and finish (and the FREE potatoes!).

The flat two mile section to and from the mountain gives the athletes who rely on their speed more than their climbing ability the opportunity to get ahead of the strong climbers, and on the return journey, it allows the speedsters time to make up any lost ground.  Possessing both of these qualities, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) must surely be the strong pre-race favourite.

Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) will be another one to watch, as his recent performances on the road and over cross country suggest that he has added serious speed to his repertoire.  Jonny and Andrew will be joined at the front by Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners), Paul McAnsepie (Armagh AC), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers).  Justin Maxwell (Larne AC) will start and finish well, but will need to hold off the likes of Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Emmet McAllister (Ballymena Runners) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) on the climb, if he wants a top ten finish.  Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners) and Andy Gregg (Larne AC) will also run well.

The ladies race will hopefully resurrect last week’s battle between Lagan Valley AC duo, Shileen O’Kane and Diane Wilson.  After a closely fought race, it was Shileen who crossed the line first at Slieve Gullion.  Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) could be a surprise entry on the day, if so, even though both are in good form; Shileen and Diane will find it hard to beat her to top spot.  The aforementioned ladies should be pursued by Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Violet Linton (LVO) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC), who on their day, have the ability to place well and will be ready to move should any of the leading ladies falter.

On Sunday 17th March 2013, East Down AC will celebrate St Patrick’s Day by hosting their popular Jimmy’s 10k road race in Downpatrick, County Down.  The first 10k of the season always attracts large numbers, and this year, the fast flat course has very nearly sold all of its six hundred places.

Some of the country’s top runners are set to participate, with local East Down AC member Brendan Teer likely to challenge Clonliffe Harriers’ Gary O’Hanlon at the front.  Gary has been racing frequently of late, and is therefore sharp and high in confidence, especially after two wins in two days last weekend, but Brendan is no slouch and will push him all the way.  After an excellent win at the recent Albertville 5 mile road race, and with the home crowd behind him, Brendan is well placed to take on the Ireland International.

Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) will also be in the thick of things, and should lead the chase group of Andrew Hicks (Dromore AC), James O’Hare (Annadale Striders), Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) and Newcastle AC duo David O’Flaherty and Seamus Lynch.

Another Newcastle AC athlete, Mark Kendall, will be hoping for a new personal best over the distance, having achieved a new Half Marathon Pb of 1:16:00 in the recent Meath Spring Half Marathon (Ireland).  Larne AC trio; Nat Glenn, James Brown and Greg Lavery will all run well, as will Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), Luke McMullan (Newcastle AC) and Dennis Scott (North Down AC).

The ladies race will be an exciting event, with Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Catriona McCorkell (Lagan Valley AC) and Ciara Coffey (Unattached) all guaranteed to perform to their usual high standard.  Julie may just edge it, but both Ciara and Catriona have the potential to win.  Caroline O’Hare (East Down AC), Elaine Burch (Lagan Valley AC), Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) and Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) should be amongst the chasing pack, while Fionnuala McCourt (Lagan Valley AC) and Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) will prove hard to beat in their respective categories.

Also on Sunday 17th March 2013, a large turnout is expected for the annual Altamuskin 5 mile road race in County Tyrone.  Having attracted well over two hundred entries last year, the event continues to become increasingly popular.

Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), who won the race by over three minutes in 2012, should participate again this year.  Should he do so, he will retain his title.  Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) and Eoin Mullan (Annadale Striders) will battle it out for the remaining podium places.  Sperrin Harriers duo, Pierce McCullagh and Delfim Pimental should also put in decent performances.

In the ladies race, Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC) should continue her exceptional winning streak.  The Lurgan lady has enjoyed a successful start to 2013, winning impressively at the Rollercoaster Races and the NI Civil Service XC amongst others.  Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) could be another top finisher, while Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers), Miread McCann (Omagh Harriers), Jenny Alger (Carmen Runners) and Caroline Miller (Omagh Harriers) will all be aiming for a podium finish.  Anne Killen (Unattached) and Paula Donaghy (Carmen Runners) will make the top ten if they race.

On Monday 18th March 2013, the DUNE Half Marathon will kick off the Pure Running/ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2013.  The inaugural event will see competitors start in Dundalk Town Centre (Ireland) and cross the border to finish at the Quay’s Shopping Centre, Newry (Northern Ireland).

Quite a few Northern Ireland runners are set to participate, including Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Michael McKeown (East Down AC), John McCambridge (St Peter’s AC), Mark Ramsey (Unattached), Brian Kirwan (Unattached), Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners) and Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC).  Organisers are keen to let interested persons know that entry will be available on the day, and there will be buses available to transport runners between Newry and Dundalk.

Also this weekend, Northern Ireland runners will be in competition outside the province.  Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC) will compete in the St Patrick’s Day 5km road race in Dublin (Saturday 16th March 2103), prior to heading off to Font Romeu for eight weeks of altitude training.  Alan Ritchie (North Belfast Harriers) will complete the Tralee International Marathon, County Kerry (Saturday 16th March 2013) as he continues his preparation for the upcoming Connemarathon Ultra in April 2013.

Meanwhile, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Joe McAllister (St Malachy’s AC) and Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC) will feature in the elite men’s race at the Reading Half Marathon (England) on Sunday 17th March 2013.  The race attracts over 16,000 entrants, and includes well known southern based athletes:  Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC), Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham WSAF), Brian Maher (Kilkenny City Harriers), Thomas Fitzpatrick (Tallaght AC), Barry Minnock (Rathfarnham WSAF) and Niamh Devlin (DSD 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.

NiRunning Mile:  Friday 12th April 2013 (7pm), Antrim Stadium:

Whats your mile time?  How fast can you run a mile? …… Have you been asked these questions?
NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) will host a night of ‘mile’ races at Antrim Stadium, Antrim Forum on Friday 12th April 2013.  

Race number collection will be at 7pm, with the first ‘mile’ commencing at 7.15pm.  The event is open to runners of all abilities.  There will be a £2 entry fee and pre-registration via email is essential (see below for details).  Prizes will be awarded to the fastest male and female of the night and our team of fully qualified time-keepers will be present to make sure every runner’s mile time is recorded.

After our first ‘mile’ venture, organised in association with world famous website/podcast Marathon Talk in September 2012, we have been inundated with requests about the next event.  

We had hoped that we would be able to provide another FREE event, like the Marathon Talk Magic Mile; but unfortunately this has proved difficult without bringing in a sponsor, so we have to request the small entry fee to cover costs.  Any extra money will go towards further NiRunning events, or will be donated back into running in Northern Ireland through our sponsorship of other local races.

To pre-register, please email your name, club (if applicable) and predicted mile time to [email protected] before Friday 3rd April 2013.  Payment will be taken on the night when you collect your race number.  An Athletics Northern Ireland (UKA) permit has been obtained for this event.

Young NI runners impress at Irish Schools/Universities XC event:

Young NI athletes compete well at UUJ, Jordanstown:
Last weekend (Saturday 9th March 2013), numerous well-known and highly talented Northern Ireland athletes were in action at the University of Ulster in Jordanstown, as part of the Aviva Irish Schools Cross Country and the Irish University Cross Country Championships.

Lorna Fitzpatrick swapped her Beechmount Harriers vest for that of Queen’s University, Belfast as she took on some of Ireland’s top student athletes.  Lorna completed the 4km race in 20:21, to finish in a credible 5th place.  Jessica Craig (University of Ulster) recorded 21:37 to finish in 18th place, while Aubree Piepmeir (Queen’s University) crossed the line in 21:50 (23rd place).  The Senior Women’s race was won by UCD AC’s Fiona Roche in 19:22.

In the Senior Men’s 8km event, James O’Hare (Queen’s University) led the Northern Ireland based competitors home in 29:06 (7th place).  Andrew Annett (University of Ulster), a notable absentee from the Slieve Gullion Mountain Race on the same day, finished in 29:58 (25th place), just ahead of Neil Johnston (Queen’s University) who clocked 30:20 (29th place).  Queen’s University duo Stephen Prentice (30:53) and Evan Whetsell (31:04) finished in 38th place and 42nd place respectively, while University of Ulster’s Neil McCartan ran 32:38 to take 55th place.  His fellow UUJ student, and one of the race organisers, Stephen Rooney crossed the line in 33:06 (63rd place).  The Senior Men’s race was won by Jason Fahey (WIT, Waterford) in 27:44.

In the School’s races; Patrick McNiff (Banbridge Academy) and Peter Fegan (St Coleman’s, Newry) finished in 2nd and 3rd place respectively in their Minor Boys 2.5km race.  Patrick covered the distance in 9:53, while Peter led his St Coleman’s team to victory in 9:56.  The race was won by Paddy Maher (Dunshaughlin CC) in 9:45.

In the Inter Girls 3.5km race, Zoe Carruthers (Friends School, Lisburn) picked up a bronze medal after finishing in 3rd place.  She crossed the line in 14:52; the race was won by exceptionally talented Clodagh O’Reilly (Loreto College, Cavan) in 14:29.  St Malachy’s College, Belfast picked up the Inter Boys title, with Paddy Robb leading the team home in 15:34 (4th place), he missed out on an individual bronze medal by one second.  The 4.5km race was won by Kevin Mulcaire (St Flannan’s, Ennis) in 15:20.

It was a similar story in the Senior Girls 2.5km event, with Yasmin Wilson (Ballyclare HS) narrowly missing a podium place after recording 11:02 to finish in 4th place.  The race was won by Irish International XC runner Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Colaiste Iosagain) in 10:27.  It wasn’t all bad news for Yasmin though, as Ballyclare High School collected the team silver medal.

There were also team prizes for Northern Ireland school’s; Sacred Heart College, Omagh and Methodist College, Belfast.  Sacred Heart College, Omagh finished in 2nd place in the Minor Girls race, and Methodist College, Belfast picked up a medal after finishing in 3rd place in the Junior Girls final standings.

Full Results:  Irish Schools XC 2013 Results
Full Results:  Irish Universities 2013 Results

We would like to apologise for the delay in uploading this race summary, we were waiting on the results of the University races.  Race photographs from the Senior Men’s race are available within our ‘Photo Gallery’ (courtesy of Gareth Heron).

Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC) wins Glaslough 5k Road Race:

Harty win ladies race as several Northern Ireland runners place well:
On Sunday 10th March 2013, Northern Ireland athletes travelled south to Glaslough, County Monaghan for the Glaslough Harriers 5km Road Race.  

In blustery conditions, Newcastle AC’s Kerry Harty continued her excellent build up to the outdoor track season with a comfortable win in the ladies race; clocking 17:09 for the distance.  This sealed an impressive fifth position overall.  Kerry was followed by regular competitors in Northern Ireland, Clones AC’s Denise Toner (18:36) and Monaghan Phoenix AC’s Donna Evans (18:59), who took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.  Northern Ireland International XC runner, Helen Stockdale claimed 4th place in 19:24, while Beechmount Harriers’ Ellen Gracey crossed the line as top junior lady in 21:49 (7th place).  Armagh AC’s Angela Kerr also had a good run, completing the course in 23:00 (12th place).

In the men’s event, Armagh AC legend Dermot Kerr recorded 17:30 to finish in 5th place.  Michael McGee (Beechmount Harriers) ran 17:32 (6th place) to finish just ahead of name-sake and club mate Lorcan McGee (Beecmount Harriers) who finished in 17:40 (7th place).  The race was won by Clonliffe Harriers’ Gary O’Hanlon in 15:34, making it two wins in as many days, after he won the Carmen 10k in Northern Ireland on Saturday 9th March 2013.  Rumour has it that he had another 5k race planned for Sunday evening.

Full Results:  Glaslough 5k Road Race 2013 Results – Men’s Race and Ladies Race

Grew and Robinson win Addiction NI 10k:

Athletes turn out for good cause:
On Sunday 10th March 2013, running enthusiasts from all over Northern Ireland took part in the Addiction NI 10k road race in Ormeau Park, Belfast.  The event is organised primarily to raise much needed funds for the local charity, and with nearly one hundred and fifty participants, it will undoubtedly be considered as an outstanding success.

In cold, dull conditions it was North Belfast Harriers’ Brendan Grew who brightened things up, improving on his second place finish from last year; Brendan broke the tape in 34:33 to claim a well-deserved victory.  Ironically, he was followed by the man who finished just behind him in 2012, Unattached athlete Brian Young (2nd place – 35:15).  Another North Belfast Harriers member, Mark McKinstry, took 3rd place in 36:59.

The ladies race was dominated by Unattached athletes, with Louise Robinson (Unattached) claiming victory in 45:04, while Angela Higgins (Unatatched) just beat Lagan Valley AC’s Letita Meenan (3rd place - 46:16) across the line to take 2nd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) – 34:33, 2nd Brian Young (Unattached) – 35:15, 3rd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:59

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Louise Robinson (Unattached) – 45:04, 2nd Angela Higgins (Unattached) – 46:13, 3rd Letita Meenan (Lagan Valley AC) – 46:16

Full Results:  Addiction NI 10k 2013 Results

Gladys O'Neill takes on notorious Hague Half Marathon:

North Belfast Harriers’ represented in Holland:
On Sunday 10th March 2013, popular Northern Ireland runner Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) took part in the Hague Half Marathon, in Holland.  The event, renowned for having held a Half Marathon world record when Samuel Wanjiru clocked 58:33 in 2007, always attracts the world’s best athletes.

Despite the tough conditions, Gladys performed to her usual high standard; completing the 13.1mile course in 1:15:51 to finish in a very credible 5th place in the ladies category.   An excellent performance considering she has recently been unwell and was therefore treating the outing as more of a training run than a race.  The ladies race was won by Laurane Picoche (France) in 1:11:45.

Another Northern Ireland runner, Mark Ramsey (Unattached) was also competing.  Having only started running last year, Mark was happy to break the two hour barriers for the first time.  He crossed the line in an un-official time of 1:59:42

City of Derry AC duo impress in Trafford 10k (Manchester, England):

Northern Ireland runners in competition elsewhere:
On Sunday 10th March 2013, City of Derry AC athletes Declan Reed and Emmett McGinty joined nearly eight hundred competitors in the Altrincham & District AC organised Trafford 10k in Manchester, England.

Despite the blustery conditions, both men managed to produce personal best performances.  Declan, a consistent and always impressive performer managed to cover the distance in 30:43 (13th place), while his talented club mate Emmett dipped under the thirty two minute barrier, crossing the line in 31:57 (24th place).

Irish athlete, Ava Hutchinson; a member of DSD AC in Ireland also had a brilliant run.  Representing Cardiff AC on this occasion, she managed 2nd place in the ladies race after clocking 33:18.  Richard Weir (Derby AC) won the men’s race in 29:50, while triathlete Non Standford (Swansea Harriers) won the ladies race in 32:39.

Meanwhile, quite a few Northern Ireland runners took part in the Cara Bundoran 10 mile and 10km road races in Bundoran, Ireland this weekend (Saturday 9th March 2013).  Although no titles were brought back across the border, many NI based runners produced decent performances.  Results are available below.

Full Results:  Trafford 10k (Manchester) 2013 Results and Cara Bundoran Challenge 2013 Results

O'Hanlon and McCann secure impressive wins in Carmen 10k:

Competitors enjoy increasingly popular Carmen 10k:
On Saturday 9th March 2013, nearly two hundred runners turned out for the annual Carmen 10k road race in Carrickmore, County Tyrone.

In cold and blustery conditions, it was Clonliffe Harriers’ Gary O’Hanlon who won the well organised event.  The Amphibian King sponsored, southern based athlete put in a strong performance to lead the field home in 32:10.  He was followed by Foyle Valley AC’s talented Keith Shiels, who clocked a personal best of 32:29 to take 2nd place.  Young Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), who has been consistently impressive during the cross country season, showed his talent on the road, claiming 3rd place in 33:02.

Miread McCann (Omagh Harriers), recent winner of the Omagh CBS 10k road race, continued her winning streak after celebrating victory in the ladies race, crossing the line 42:20.  Local lady, Jenny Alger (Carmen Runners) took 2nd place in 43:16, while Caroline Miller (Omagh Harriers) claimed 3rd place in 44:46.

Top 3 Men:  1st Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 32:10, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 32:29, 3rd Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) – 33:02

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Miread McCann (Omagh Harriers) – 42:20, 2nd Jenny Alger (Carmen Runners) – 43:16, 3rd Caroline Miller (Omagh Harriers) – 44:46

Full Results:  Carmen 10k Road Race 2013 Results

Cunningham and O'Kane win exciting Slieve Gullion Mountain Race:

NI mountain running season kicks off at Slieve Gullion:
On Saturday 9th March 2013, seventy one hardy mountain runners started the opening race of the Northern Ireland mountain running season at Slieve Gullion in County Armagh.  In wintery conditions, competitors were faced with poor visibility as they took on the 6.9km course, with 460 metres of climbing.

As the runners set off, it was Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) who moved to the front.  He was followed by Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) amongst others.

Jonny powered his way clear as the field climbed towards the impending check points; however, in a cruel turn of events, the Ballymena man was accidently given the wrong instructions by a marshall.  As he was well ahead of any challenger, fellow participants were unable to advise him of the error and bring him back on track, he therefore descended prematurely.

In the ladies race, pre-race favourite Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and her Lagan Valley AC club mate Diane Wilson contested top spot, while Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Violet Linton (LVO) and Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) all battled it out for the remaining podium place.

As spectators awaited the return of the competitors, a shout from the close-by forest indicated that a runner was en-route to the finish.  It was Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) who emerged from the tree covered path and into the finish area.  On finishing, Jonny had an idea that he may not have covered the entire route and after a discussion with hard working race director Brian Vallely (Armagh AC), this proved to be correct.  

Last year’s NIMRA Championship winner Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) was next into sight, he covered the remaining yards quickly to finish in 37:23; and was subsequently crowned the winner.  Impressive Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) continued his excellent form to take 2nd place in 38:26, while Armagh AC’s Paul McAnespie (39:05) pipped Newcastle AC’s Deon Mc Neilly (4th place – 39:06) and North Belfast Harriers’ Neil Carty (5th place – 39:09) to 3rd place.

Experienced International mountain runner Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) won the ladies event, crossing the line in 44:56, while the fast descending Diane Wilson (Lagan Valley AC) took a well-deserved 2nd place in 45:05 and Violet Linton (LVO) completed the top three in 52:10 (3rd place).

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 Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 44:56, 2nd Diane Wilson (Lagan Valley AC) – 45:05, 3rd Violet Linton (LVO) – 52:10

Full Results:  Slieve Gullion 2013 Results

Weekend Preview:  Mountain Running specialists ready for season opener:

Road, Mountain and Cross Country on offer for NI runners:
After embracing the traditional start to the road racing season last weekend, Northern Ireland runners will be just as pleased to see the return of regular mountain running fixtures; with the Slieve Gullion Mountain Race marking the start of the 2013 Northern Ireland mountain running season.  There are also fixtures on the road and over cross country to wet the appetite a little more, as we look forward to another frantic weekend of racing.

On Saturday 9th March 2013, mountain running enthusiasts from far and wide are expected to travel to Slieve Gullion Forest Park in County Armagh, for the Armagh AC hosted Slieve Gullion Mountain Race.  The course is 6.9km in distance with 460 metres of climbing.  Last year’s NIMRA Championship winners; Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) and Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) are expected to participate, and both should feature prominently in their respective categories.

In the men’s race, Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) will have to fend off stiff competition from Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), who has been training extremely hard during the close season.  Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) will be another contender, and he’ll hope that excellent performances on the road and over cross country will stand him in good stead for the mountains.

The aforementioned men will be joined at the front by Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), all of whom possess the talent to take a podium place.  Newcastle AC new boy Seamus Lynch will add strength to the already impressive County Down club, and he’ll be joined on the start line by club mates David Steel, Dominic McGreevy and PJ McCrickard; while Emmett McAllister (Ballymena Runners) and Justin Maxwell (Larne AC) will also run well.

Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) is the stand out name in the ladies field; however, a win will not come easy with the likes of Ciara Largey (FERMO), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) likely to compete.  Another Lagan Valley AC member, Anne Sandford should run well; as will Violet Linton (LVO) and Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners).

Also on Saturday 9th March 2013, Carmen Runners will host their annual Carmen 10k road race in Carrickmore, County Tyrone.  Entries for this event have increased year on year since it began, and this year will be no different; with a record number of participants expected.

The close proximity to Dungannon, Cookstown and Omagh will mean a significant turn out from clubs around those areas, including Omagh Harriers, Sperrin Harriers and the hosts, Carmen Runners.  Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) should head the field, with club mates Paul Barbour and Martin Cox in tow.  In-form Brendan Teer (East Down AC) may also enter, and if he does, he’ll join Stephen up front.

Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers), Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) could also race, while Sperrin Harriers duo Glenn Donnelly and Pierce McCullagh should make the top ten.

Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers), Ciara Coffey (Unattached), Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) and Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) will battle it out for the ladies title, while Caroline Miller (Omagh Harriers), Rosaleen McCartan (Omagh Triathlon Club) and Cheryl Caldwell (Sperrin Harriers) are all worthy podium finishers if any of the leading ladies falter.

Meanwhile, in County Antrim; students from all over Ireland will descend on the University of Ulster (Jordanstown) on Saturday 9th March 2013 for the Aviva Irish Schools Cross Country, which will also incorporate a University Cross Country event.

North Down AC’s Jessica Craig will be representing the University of Ulster in the ladies 4km race, while a plethora of young local talent will line up for their schools in the junior races, including: Maxi Walmsley-Pledl (Armagh AC), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harrier), Ryan Sharkey (Lagan Valley AC), Yasmin Wilson (Lagan Valley AC), Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers), Paddy Robb (St Malachy’s AC), Zoe Carruthers  (City of Lisburn AC), Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC), Patrick Sheridan (Newcastle AC) and Christy Conlon (Beechmount Harriers).  Although up against a huge array of flair, many of the young prospects will hope to be in contention for medals.

On Sunday 10th March 2013, local runners will turn out for the Addiction NI 10k road race, held within the confines of Ormeau Park in Belfast.  The event, primarily used to raise much needed funds for the charity often attracts several high profile runners.

This year, Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) may return to defend the title he won so impressively last year.  North Belfast Harriers’ duo Brendan Grew and Alan Ritchie may also enter on the day, while Christopher Moren (Willowfield Harriers), Brian Young (Unattached), Andrew Muir (North Down AC) and David Noble (Larne AC) will also be amongst the front runners.

In the ladies race, Letitia Meenan (Lagan Valley AC) will be there or there abouts, but may find it hard to challenge Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) should she enter on the day.  Fiona Johnston (Up & Runners), Debbie McVeigh (Unattached) and Catherine Fearon (Up & Runners) will also challenge for a podium place, as will Catherine Kerr (Unattached) and Roisin Kelly (Unattached).

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.

NiRunning announce details of 'NiRunning Mile':

Whats your mile time?  How fast can you run a mile? …… Have you been asked these questions?
NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) will host a night of ‘mile’ races at Antrim Stadium, Antrim Forum on Friday 12th April 2013.  Race number collection will be at 7pm, with the first ‘mile’ commencing at 7.15pm.  The event is open to runners of all abilities.  There will be a £2 entry fee and pre-registration via email is essential.  Prizes will be awarded to the fastest male and female of the night and time-keepers will be present, meaning that every runner’s mile time will be recorded.

After our first ‘mile’ venture, organised in association with world famous website/podcast; Marathon Talk in September 2012, we have been inundated with requests about the next event. 

We had hoped that we would be able to provide another FREE event, like the Marathon Talk Magic Mile; but unfortunately this has proved difficult without bringing in a sponsor, so we have to request the small entry fee to cover costs.  Any extra money will go towards further NiRunning events, or will be donated back into running in Northern Ireland through our sponsorship of other local races.

To pre-register, please email your name, club (if applicable) and predicted mile time to [email protected] before Friday 3rd April 2013.  Payment will be taken on the night when you collect your race number.  An Athletics Northern Ireland (UKA) permit has been obtained for this event.

Sport NI announce plans to increase 'parkrun' events in Northern Ireland:

Further 'parkrun' events set for Northern Ireland:
Last weekend (Saturday 2nd March 2013), nearly one hundred runners participated in Northern Ireland’s latest ‘parkrun’ event in Wallace Park, Lisburn.  Eoin Mullan (Annadale Striders) was first home in 16:57, with local lady Melanie Minshull (City of Lisburn AC) leading the ladies home in 22:49.

Sport Northern Ireland joined runners at the event and have since released a statement in relation to the launch of further FREE 5km ‘parkrun’ events throughout N. Ireland.

Sport Northern Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure have been working with not-for-profit organisation parkrun to host the runs at eight new venues across the province.  The events, which take place in local parks, are open to people of all ages and abilities, and there is no charge for taking part.  Set in a welcoming environment and targeted at participation rather than competition, these events give runners the opportunity to participate in sport in a community environment.  Facilitated by local, trained volunteers, parkrun is encouraging local people to participate and volunteer.

There are currently 600 participants per week taking part in parkrun events at seven established events within Northern Ireland at the following venues; Ecos Centre, Ballymena; Falls Park, Belfast; Queens Playing Fields, Belfast; Victoria Park, Belfast; Waterworks Park, Belfast; East Strand Beach, Portrush and Citypark, Craigavon.  The Wallace Park event in Lisburn increases this number to eight.

However, plans are now being put in place to develop eight new venues across Northern Ireland, in; Belfast, Lisburn, Antrim, Cookstown, Omagh, Fermanagh, Derry and Armagh.

Acting Director of Participation for Sport Northern Ireland, John News, commented:  “These parkrun events provide excellent opportunities for new participants to get involved in sport and physical recreation on a weekly basis, including young people, older people, women and girls, people with a disability, and people from socially and economically deprived communities.  “parkrun is an important initiative in local communities as it creates links with existing sports clubs, providing lifelong opportunities for participation and improving the health of those who take part.”

To find your nearest parkrun event or for more information about Volunteering please visit or contact parkrun NI co-ordinator Matt Shields on [email protected]

Information and quotes relating to Sport Northern Ireland are courtesy of the Sport NI website.

O'Flaherty and Kendall perform well in County Meath (Ireland):

Northern Ireland clubs represented in County Meath event:
On Sunday 3rd March 2013, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes joined over six hundred runners at the Bohermeen AC organised Meath Spring Half Marathon and 5k in County Meath, Ireland.

In the Half Marathon, Newcastle AC’s Mark Kendall was the first of the Northern Ireland runners home in a new personal best of 1:16:00 (10th place).  Mark’s club mate Paul Rodgers followed in 1:28:56 (112th place), before Jack O’Hare (Newcastle AC) and Joe McCann (Newcastle AC) both finished in 1:31:25, 137th place and 138th place respectively.  

North Down AC’s Michael Roberts crossed the line in 1:38:32 (244th place), ahead of fellow North Down AC members Nichola Kinnear (570th place – 2:05:40) and Pat O’Driscoll (576th place – 2:07:57).  The race was won by Gary O’Hanlon (Amphibian King) in 1:09:42, while Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) won the ladies category in 1:17:38.

In the associated 5k race, David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) showed that his recent niggles are a thing of the past with a fantastic performance, completing the course in 16:28 to take 2nd place.  Brendan Donnelly (Newcastle AC) just missed a top ten finish, recording 18:08 to finish in 11th place.  The race was won by Niall O’Callaghan (West Limerick AC) in 15:51.

Results:  Meath Spring Half Marathon and 5k 2013 Results

Amy Foster misses out on European Indoors final:

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.

Results:  European Indoor Championships 2013 (Sweden)NAIA Indoor Championships 2013 (USA)

Convincing wins for Hughes and Paul in Lough Fea 10 mile race:

Impressive turn out for series finale:
On Saturday 2nd March 2013, Sperrin Harriers hosted the sixth and final race of their popular and well organised Winter League Series at Lough Fea, just outside Cookstown.  Several categories remained undecided going into the closing event, which suggested a day of exciting racing lay ahead; and spectators were not disappointed.

In the men’s race, it was the host North Belfast Harriers’ experienced Tommy Hughes who covered the 10 mile course quickest, clocking 55:13 to win clearly.  Sperrin Harriers’ duo Aidan O’Hagan and Pierce McCullagh battled it out right up until the finish, when Aidan surged ahead to take 2nd place in 1:01:00.  Pierce claimed 3rd place, but more importantly; his continually podium finishes throughout the series, which has included two race wins led to him being named as the top male in the overall series.

Anne Paul (City of Derry AC), the leading lady in the series so far, continued her consistent run of fine performances with another victory.  She led the ladies home in 1:05:36, ahead of Springwell Running Club’s Alison Rankin (1:10:26) in 2nd place and Omagh Harriers’ Caroline Miller (1:14:31) in 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Tommy Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) – 55:53, 2nd Aidan O’Hagan (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:01:00, 3rd Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:01:05

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 1:05:36, 2nd Alison Rankin (Springwell Running Club) – 1:10:26, 3rd Caroline Miller (Omagh Harriers) – 1:14:31

Full Results:  Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series (Race 6) 2013 Results
Final Standings:  Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series 2013 Final Standings

Young athletes compete for NI & Ulster Juvenile Indoor titles:

Northern Ireland & Ulster Juvenile Championships (Day 2):
On Saturday 2nd March 2013, juvenile athletes were in action at UUJ, Jordanstown for Day 2 of the Northern Ireland & Ulster Juvenile Indoor Championships.

After a competitive Day 1 at the Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt in January 2013, much was expected from the day of 60m events.  In the U-13 60m hurdles, Shercock AC duo Jayne Drury (10.49secs) and Mark Hughes (10.86secs) secured good wins.  In the U14 (60m hurdles) category, Lagan Valley AC’s Olivia Burns (9.89secs) won the girls race, while Thomas Mullen (Lifford AC) won the boys race in 10.13secs.

Both Robbie Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) and Niamh Malone (Monaghan Phoenix AC) ran sub ten seconds to win their U-15 60m hurdles final.  Robbie clocked 9.28secs, while Niamh covered the distance in 9.89secs.  The U-16 (60m hurdles) event was won by City of Lisburn AC athletes Matthew Dalton (8.72secs) and Kate Farrelly (9.95secs).  In the U-17 60m hurdles, Paul Sexton (Annalee AC) won the boys race in 8.82secs, while Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) won the girls equivalent in 8.70secs.

Shercock AC’s Garbhon McKenna (8.02secs) took the boys U-18 60m hurdles title, and Sarah-Hannah Ward (Olympian AC) won the girls race in 11.17secs.  In the eldest age category, the U-19 (60m hurdles); Annalee AC’s Andrew Creamer (8.81secs) and Regent House’s Clare Robinson (9.71secs) were victorious.

As the hurdles were moved, the 60m athletes prepared for competition.  U-12’s Lauren Callaghan (Finn Valley AC) and Aiden McCluskey (Mid Ulster AC) won in 9.02secs and 9.01secs respectively.  In the U-13 (60m) boys race, Niall Quinn (Lifford AC) won in 8.66secs; Anna McCauley (City of Lisburn AC) won the girls race in 8.49secs.

Hannah Vogan (Banbridge AC) and Jamie Doherty (Letterkenny AC) won their U-14 (60m) races, with Hannah running 8.42secs and Jamie recording a brilliant 7.96secs.  The U-15 (60m) saw Robbie Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) and Janice Boyle (Finn Valley AC) take the headlines.  Robbie won the boys race in 7.68secs, while Janice ran well to win the girls event in 8.27secs.

The U-16 (60m) titles were won by Shercock AC’s Rory Cassidy (7.80secs) and Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Sasha Lawther (8.31secs), while Dominic Bradley (Mid Ulster AC) and Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) won the U-17 (60m) races in 7.51sec and 7.83secs respectively.  In the U-18 60m events, Ciaran Corrigan (Shercock AC) won the boys race in 7.13secs and Christine Logue (Olympian AC) claimed victory in the girls race in 8.06secs.  Senan McGreevey (Shercock AC) won the U-19 (60m) category in 7.31secs, while Emma Willis (Upper Bann AC) won the girls race in 8.19secs.

Full Results:  NI & Ulster Juvenile Indoor Championships (Day 2) 2013

Northern Ireland runners pick up prizes in Carlingford:

Travelling Northern Ireland contingent place well in Carlingford events:
On Saturday 2nd March 2013, several Northern Ireland runners picked up prizes at the Carlingford 10k and Half Marathon races in County Louth.  The event, which attracted a total of six hundred and eighteen runners; is well known for its scenic course, which allows competitors to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Cooley Penninsula, the Mourne Mountains, Ballagan Point, and Carlingford Lough before returning to Carlingford Village and the atmospheric finish.

In the 10k race, the first participant to experience the aforementioned vocal support was Shane Lynch (Newcastle AC), when he crossed the line in 37:10 to seal an impressive win.  Unattached athlete Patrick Brennan (37:50) finished in 2nd place, while Tony Keenan (Unattached) recorded 37:58 to secure 3rd place.

Jenny Mulry (Raheny Shamrock AC) led the 10k ladies home, celebrating victory in 39:58.  Unattached  athlete Orla O’Leary followed in 41:13 (2nd place), while Caroline O’Hanlon (Unattached) took 3rd place in 41:21.

In the Half Marathon, Niall McCabe (Setanta Triathlon Club) put in a strong performance to break the tape in 1:16:30.  Simon Mulvey (Sparta AC) claimed 2nd place in 1:17:11, just ahead of Newry City Runners’ Dermot Mathers who claimed 3rd place in 1:17:15.

The ladies race brought no real surprises, with strong pre-race favourite Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) winning comfortably in 1:22:48.  Enniskillen Running Club’s Tara Malone continued her good form with a personal best time of 1:26:52 to take 2nd place.  Mayo AC athlete Paula Prendergast took the remaining podium position (3rd place – 1:27:41).

10k Podium Finishers:
Top 3 Men:  1st Shane Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 37:10, 2nd Patrick Brennan (Unattached) – 37:50, 3rd Tony Keenan (Unattached) – 37:58.

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jenny Mulry (Raheny Shamrock AC) – 39:58, 2nd Orla O’Leary (Unattached) – 41:13, 3rd Caroline O’Hanlon (Unattached) – 41:21

Half Marathon Podium Finishers:
Top 3 Men:  1st Niall McCabe (Setanta Triathlon Club) – 1:16:30, 2nd Simon Mulvey (Sparta AC) – 1:17:11, 3rd Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 1:17:15.

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:22:48, 2nd Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club) – 1:26:52, 3rd Paula Prendergast (Mayo AC) – 1:27:41

Full Results:  Carlingford 10k and Carlingford Half Marathon

Teer and O'Hagan continue winning streak:

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

Brave Scullion misses out European Indoor Championships final:

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).

Results:  European Indoor Championships 2013 Results (Friday)

Weekend Preview:  NI athletes ready for another busy weekend:

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.

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