Northern Ireland Running

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Brendan Teer and Hannah Oldroyd win Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k:

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) retains title in close race:

On Sunday 30th March 2014, nearly one hundred athletes turned out for the annual Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k and associated 5k race in Castlewellan, County Down.

In decent conditions, it was reigning Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) who impressed most.  The local athlete, who represented Northern Ireland at the Home Countries XC International in England last weekend, completed the 10k route in 33:28 (1st place).  David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC), a third place finisher last year, slashed almost three minutes off his 2013 to take 2nd place in 33:54; East Down AC's Martin Wilcox secured the final podium place in 36:46 (3rd place).

The ladies race brought an interesting battle between England and Scotland, with Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) and Laura Devine (Garscube Harriers) battling it out at the front.  In the end, it was Hannah Oldroyd who claimed victory, breaking the tape in 40:10 (1st place).  Laura (40:46) claimed 2nd place, before Castlewellan AC's Sinead Murtagh sealed 3rd place in 41:49.

In the associated 5k event, up and coming East Down AC star Aoife Cochrane led the field home in 23:03 (1st place), thus taking a well-deserved win in the girls category.  Ruairi King (Club Unknown) followed just over one minute later to win the boys race in 24:08 (1st place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 33:28, 2nd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 33:54, 3rd Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) – 36:46

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 40:10, 2nd Laura Devine (Garscube Harriers) – 40:46, 3rd Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) – 41:49

Full Results:  Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k 2014 Results

City of Derry AC to host Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships 2014:

Bay Road 5k will be Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championship Race:

It has been announced that the Bay Road 5k, a popular annual event organised by City of Derry AC, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 9th April 2014 (7.30pm), will once again host the Athletics NI 5k Road Championships; it will also be the final scoring event in the Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Association 2013/14 League.

The flat and fast course, based around the banks of the River Foyle in Derry/Londonderry is well known to be the perfect setting for personal bests.  Entries are available on the night (from 6pm), but pre-entry would be appreciated by organisers.  All you have to do is send your name, date of birth, gender, club (if applicable), to: [email protected] The entry fee of £8 (or €10) 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 Sainsbury's Car Park on Strand Road.

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]

Northern Ireland athletes impress in Germany, Hungary and Ireland:

Northern Ireland runners compete outside the province:

On Sunday 30th March 2014, at least six athletes from Northern Ireland joined approximately twenty five thousand participants at the 34th annual running of the Berlin Half Marathon, a race well-known for it's flat and fast course.

Orangegrove AC's Paul Cordner looked in good form as he led the local contingent home in 1:35:18.  He (Paul), was followed across the line by Kim McDonald (Dromore AC), Jill Holland (Orangegrove AC) and Kerry Hall (Dromore AC), with the trio recording 1:52:58, 1:53:23 and 1:57:48 respectively.  Another Orangegrove AC athlete, Beverley Martin, narrowly missed a sub two hour finish, clocking 2:00:44 for the 13.1m course.  The fast improving Kerri Thrower (Unattached) crossed the line in 2:07:14.  Kenyan athlete Leonard Komon won the race in 59:14, while Tadelech Bekele (Ethiopia) took the ladies title in 1:10:05.

Also this weekend:

Northern Ireland athletes were in action at indoor events in Ireland and Hungary.  At the World Masters Indoor Championships in Budapest (Hungary), Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City Track Club) took 3rd place and the associated bronze medal in the Vet45 1500m event; Cathal ran a brilliant 4:10.80 in the closely contested race, which was won by USA's Nicholas Berra in 4:07.75.  

Newry based athlete Geraldine Finegan (Dunleer AC) put in good performances in the 60m hurdles (7th place - 10.21secs) and the 800m (8th place – 2:46.36) before winning a gold medal in the Vet45 Heptathlon.  Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC), Tim Shiels (Derry City Track Club), David Priestley (Manchester Harriers), Stephen Galbraith (NIMAA), Pat Logan (NIMAA), Averil McClelland (Lancaster & Morecombe AC), Fiona Argent (Medway & Maidstone AC), Lisa Finlay (Dumfries AC) and Sian Finlay (Dumfries AC) also performed to their usually high standard, despite not bringing home silverware.  Full results from the four days of exciting competition are available below.

At the Woodies DIY AAI National Juvenile Indoor Championships, held in the AIT Arena in Athlone (Ireland), Ballymena & Antrim AC men Ben McKeown, Ryan McIlroy, Owen Agnew and Craig Newell collected bronze medals after taking 3rd place in the U-19 4x200m relay event; they ran 1:33.43 in the race, which was won by Craughwell AC in 1:31.83.  There were also notable outings from the Newry AC and two other Ballymena & Antrim AC teams. Full results are available below.

Full Results:  Berlin Half Marathon 2014 ResultsWorld Masters Athletics (Indoor) World Championships 2014 ResultsWoodies AAI National Juvenile (Indoor) Championships 2014 Results

Eddie McGinley and Maria McCambridge excel at Omagh Half Marathon:

Record numbers celebrate Omagh Half Marathon's 25th anniversary:

On Saturday 29th March 2014, a record number of runners turned out for the 25th annual running of the SPAR Omagh Half Marathon in County Tyrone; the race was the third event of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, which has so far attracted nearly five thousand participants, when including the AES Larne Half Marathon and the DUNE Half Marathon.

In pleasant running conditions, almost three thousand athletes embarked on the 13.1 mile journey, which would take them through the atmospheric Omagh Town Centre before moving onto a more rural section, which led back to the Race HQ and a well-supported finish at Gibson Primary School.

At the head of the pack, Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC), Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), Barry Minnock (Rathfarnham WSAF) and Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) all looked good in the early stages, but as the race progressed, it was Gary Murray and Eddie McGinley who began to take control.  In the ladies race, Irish Olympian Maria McCambridge (DSD AC) was a dominant figure and looked extremely composed as she gradually built up a massive lead on her competitors, which included Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC), Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC), Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), Siobhan Carroll (Unattached), Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) and Liosa McKeown (Unattached).

As the men went through the 11 mile marker, a comfortable looking Eddie McGinley started to stamp his authority on the race by taking up a position at the front; this proved to be a wise decision by the Annadale Striders star, as NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist Gary Murray did not counteract his move, which meant that Eddie only had the clock and his previous personal best (of 1:08:20) to beat.  To huge applause from the awaiting spectators, Eddie negotiated the final uphill section, before breaking the tape in a new personal best of 1:06:35 (1st place).  Gary Murray took a well-deserved 2nd place in 1:08:14, before Gary O'Hanlon (1:08:41) just pipped Declan Reed (4th place – 1:08:48) to 3rd place after the pair had enjoyed an excellent dual.

Maria McCambridge was rewarded for her faultless display of front running with impressive victory; the DSD AC lady crossed the line in 1:16:40 (1st place).  Karen Alexander continued her notable start to 2014, claiming the runners up spot in 1:24:52 (2nd place), while another athlete in-form, Claire McGuigan, completed the ladies podium less than twenty seconds later in 1:25:09 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 1:06:35, 2nd Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) – 1:08:14, 3rd Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 1:08:41

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Maria McCambridge (DSD AC) – 1:16:40, 2nd Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:24:52, 3rd Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 1:25:09

Full Results:  SPAR Omagh Half Marathon 2014 Results

Paul Pollock claims personal best at IAAF World HM Championships:

IAAF World Half Marathon Championships 2014:

On Saturday 29th March 2014, Northern Ireland man Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) set a personal best as he was fifth best European when 30th place at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen (Denmark).

The County Down man cut one minute and forty three seconds off his previous 13.1 miles best set at the Bath Half Marathon earlier this month (March 2014) as he clocked a new Northern Ireland Half Marathon record of 1:02:09 in the Danish capital.

Paul was the second best European when he finished 21st in last year's World Championship Marathon Moscow (Russia); "I'm very happy with that run," said the 27-year-old. "I was hoping to break 62 minutes, but taking over one minute off my personal best is a good day's work.  I've just came out of Athletics Ireland training camp in Portugal and I didn't really ease down" added the well-respected athlete.  "I came through the race strong.  I was 29:47 at 10k and 47 minutes at 10 miles. I really felt I could have run a couple more miles today."

The Annadale Striders athlete, who also represents Kent AC, wants to run two 10,000m track races in the US in May, in the hope of achieving qualifying standards for both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.  The Northern Ireland man has already achieved the marathon qualifying standard for both the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships.  "I plan to run two 10k's in Stanford in May and the European Cup in June, then I want to do well at the Commonwealth Games and on to Zurich for the Europeans."

Kenya's Geoffrey Kipsang took gold in 59:07, the fastest half marathon time this year.  Africans filled the first fifteen places in Denmark and the two top European finishers were both born in Africa.  Paul Pollock was forty eight seconds behind leading European, Turkey's Polat Kemboi Arikan, who took 16th place.

This article was taken from the BBC Northern Ireland website; it has been slightly altered by NiRunning but should be fully credited to the BBC.

Allan Bogle and Jackie Lee win British Championship Race in Newcastle:

Local athletes impress in British Championship event:

On Saturday 29th March 2014, mountain running enthusiasts from across the UK and Ireland descended on the coastal town of Newcastle (County Down) for the 'Donard Challenge' mountain race, which was also the opening fixture of the 2014 British Mountain Running Championship.

In difficult misty conditions, it was Northern Ireland athletes who impressed most on the tough 10k course, which included 850m of ascending.  As the top qulaity field set off, a large lead group, which included numerous local men, including Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) and Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC), led the way through Donard Forest and onto Millstone Mountain; this is where the weather conditions began to take effect.  Visibility was as low as 7ft at times, which led to confusion and some navagational issues, with a large number of athletes choosing a more complicated route from Millstone towards the summit of Slieve Donard.

It was Scotland based Northern Ireland international Iain Whiteside who came off Slieve Donard first, but a strong looking Allan Bogle pursued him into Donard Forest.  As the pair worked their way back towards the finish in Donard Park, Allan caught and passed Iain; he (Allan) finished fast to claim an outstanding victory in 1:05:25 (1st place).  Iain Whiteside followed in 1:05:35 (2nd place), before Neil Northrop (Dark Peak Fell Runners) secured 3rd place in 1:05:53.

Like the men's event, the poor visibility meant that spectators following the ladies race were unable to keep a good track on the standings; like many, pre-race favourites Victoria Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers) and Helen Fines (Calder Valley) found conditions difficult and therefore did not feature as expected.  However, this offered an excellent opportunity for others to excel, most notably, experienced Welsh international mountain runner Jackie Lee (Eryri Harriers); Jackie negotiated the course well, before breaking the tape in 1:24:14 (1st place).  Emma Gould (Mercia Fell Runners), who won the 'Cloud  Nine' mountain race earlier this month (March 2014), took 2nd place in 1:26:42, while Claire Green (Pudsey & Bramley AC) completed the ladies top three in 1:27:33 (3rd place). Lagan Valley AC's Shileen O'Kane was the first local lady to finish in 1:29:42 (5th place).  In the team competition, Carnethy HRC (Scotland) won the men's event, while Eryri Harriers (Wales) took the ladies title.

Top 3 Men:  1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 1:05:25, 2nd Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) – 1:05:35, 3rd Neil Northrop (Dark Peak Fell Runners) – 1:05:53

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jackie Lee (Eryri Harriers) – 1:24:14, 2nd Emma Gould (Mercia Fell Runners) – 1:26:42, 3rd Claire Green (Pudsey & Bramley AC) – 1:27:33

Top Northern Ireland finishers:

Top 3 Men:  1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 1:05:25, 2nd Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) – 1:05:35, 20th Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 1:12:04

Top 3 Ladies:  5th Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:29:42, 9th Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 1:32:44, 16th Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 1:35:55

Full Results:  Donard Challenge (British Mountain Running Championship race) 2014 Results - A more in-depth race report can be found on the NIMRA website HERE.

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

Weekend Preview:  Northern Ireland runners to race at home and abroad...

This weekend brings two major events for the local running fraternity to look forward to, the British Mountain Running Championship race in Newcastle (County Down), which we looked at in our 'Special Preview' yesterday (it's available below this Weekend Preview) and the third race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the Omagh Half Marathon in County Tyrone.  

Over and above these races, the Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k (and associated 5k) will also take place; Northern Ireland runners will also be in action in Ireland, Denmark, Germany and Israel in the coming day's.

On Saturday 29th March 2014, over two thousand six hundred runners will bring Omagh to a standstill as they take on the 25th annual running of the SPAR Omagh Half Marathon; this will be the third race in the 2014 Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, after successful events in Newry and Larne.

Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and Brendan Teer (East Down AC) could all be amongst the front-runners come race day.  Stephen Scullion's impressive performance in 2013 saw him claim victory in a new course record and personal best of 1:04:46; that particular confidence booster sparked an excellent run of results for the England based NI man, which included wins at the Titanic 10k, Laganside 10k, Belfast City Half Marathon and numerous top outings on the track, the most notable of which was a 13:58 clocking over 5,000m at a BMC event in Manchester (England).  Belfast man, Eddie McGinley, returned to action after a break since the Dublin Marathon (October 2013) at Jimmy's 10k earlier this month (March 2014), sealing the runners up spot behind Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) in a speedy 31:23.  Eddie's only previous outing over the 13.1m distance was at the Belfast City Half Marathon last year (2013), when he crossed the line in 1:08:20 (for second place); despite this being an excellent debut effort, the ambitious Annadale Striders athlete will be looking to secure a new personal best.

Local hero Stephen Duncan should be a welcome addition to the line-up; in an unfortunate set of circumstances, Stephen was forced to pull out of this race at the mid-way point last year and the injury that forced this withdrawal led to him missing the remainder of the year.  Thankfully, judging by excellent winning performances at the NI & Ulster Masters XC, Altamuskin 5, Carmen 10k and the Enniskillen XC, the popular athlete seems to be back to full fitness.  Having won this race on several occasions, he knows the course well and will undoubtably be there or there abouts in the final stages.  Recently crowned Irish 50k Champion Gary O'Hanlon, a fourth place finisher here last year, will be keen to improve on that position.  Compared to 2013, Gary seems to be racing sparingly and should therefore be in good shape going into this event.  Another man who will be in fine form is Brendan Teer; last weekend, Brendan represented Northern Ireland at the Home Countries XC International in Nottigham (England), where he covered the tough 10k course in 34:12.  The East Down AC man's highlight of the year so far was a win at the Albertville 5; he led the field home in 25:47.

The challenge for top ten finishes will be interesting, with a plethora of talent set to race.  Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Nat Glenn (East Coast AC), Michael Fitzpatrick (North Belfast Harriers) and Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC) all had good runs at the AES Larne Half Marathon last week, and will be looking for similar here.  However, they will have to be on top form, as Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), Samuel Drummond (Larne AC), Kevin O'Boyle (Ballymena Runners), Steve Darby (Barnsley AC), Wayne Morrow (Larne AC), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), Bernard Brady (Larne AC), Aaron Parks (Armagh AC) and NI & Ulster 800m and 1500m, and AAI National 1500m Champion Mark Wright (Annadale Striders) will also be vying for high finishes.

In the ladies race; reigning Champion Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) will prove hard to beat if she decides to defend her title.  Ann-Marie was a convincing winner in 2013, after running 1:20:03, and like the men's winner last year (Stephen Scullion), Ann-Marie went on to enjoy an extremley successful year; this culminated in selection for the Ireland team for the European XC Championships in December 2013.  More recently, Ann-Marie claimed an superb fourth place finish at the Armagh International 3k last month (February 2014) and won the Airtricity 10k in 35:16.

Fellow Lifford AC athletes, Natasha Adams and Claire McGuigan could also be worth watching. Natasha is the current AAI National Masters 1500m and 3,000m Champion, and also holds the NI & Ulster Masters 3,000m title.  The NI lady has been in good form of late, having recorded 1:00:44 at the Cara Bundoran 10m race; she (Natasha) also finished in second place at the SSE Airtricity 10k and won the St Patrick's Day 5k in Letterkenny (Ireland) in 17:24.  Meanwhile, Claire McGuigan was the winner of the annual 'Paula's Run' (5k) on St Patrick's Day.  Letterkenny AC Olympian Maria McCambridge, a previous winner of this race, could also be a surprise late/elite entry.

Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC), Sarah Kivelehan (City of Derry AC) and Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) will also feature prominently at the front.  International athlete Karen Alexander is extremley consistent, she dominated the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series, winning the ladies race at each of the events.  On top of that, Karen won the Enniskillen XC, Moira XC and the Dungiven 10k.  In 2013, Donna Evans had to settle for the runners up place behind the strong running Ann-Marie McGlynn; Donna's expertise over the distance will prove vital, and we would expect the Finn Valley AC lady to be amongst the top finishers; the same could also be said for Sarah Kivelehan and Hannah Oldroyd, two ladies who are well used to claiming prizes.  Sarah won a race at the North West Triathlon Club 5k Series and also finished on the podium during the well supported Series; she (Sarah) followed this up with a decent run at the Stormont XC.  Hannah is a regular vistor to Northern Ireland and a follower of parkrun throughout the UK; we have no doubt that if Hannah can fit the new Bangor parkrun in before lining up in Omagh, she will do so!  On her last visit to the province, earlier this month, Hannah won the Ecos parkrun in a new course record, then won the Magherafelt 10k that afternoon.  The next day, she took second place in the DUNE Half Marathon behind the brilliant Heather Foley (Unattached).

Other ladies who will run well should include, Tara Malone (Enniskillent Running Club), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Liosa McKeown (Unattached), Melanie Minshull (City of Lisburn AC), Janice Plumb (East Coast AC), Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners), Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC), Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached), Rhonda Brady (Larne AC), Laura Bateson (Unattached), Andrea Heslip (Dromore AC) and Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers).

Also on Saturday 29th March 2014, Northern Ireland man and current NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), will represent Ireland at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen (Denmark).  

Paul qualified for the event after running a new 13.1m personal best of 1:03:52 at the Bath Half Marathon, where he claimed third place behind two Kenyan athletes.  The local man, who now bases himself in England, will be aiming for a new personal best and a high finish.

On the same day (Saturday 29th March 2014), well-known Northern Ireland international and winner of the AES Larne Half Marathon last weekend, Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), and fellow teacher/coach Michael Cooke, will take a strong team from St Malachy's, Belfast to the ISF World Schools XC Championships in Israel.  The squad, who won the Irish Schools XC Championships in 2013 includes Paddy Robb, James Smyth, Christopher Connolly, Ronan O'Fril, Darryl McNicholl and Kieran O'Reilly.  Their 5k race will take place on Tuesday 1st April 2014.

Closer to home, several teams from Northern Ireland are expected to turn out at the Woodies DIY AAI Juvenile National Indoor Relay Championships, which will be held at the AIT Arena in Athlone, Ireland on Saturday 29th March 2014.  Ballymena & Antrim AC and Newry AC are amongst the local club's who will be challenging for top honours.

On Sunday 30th March 2014, athletes from across the province will travel to Castlewellan (County Down) for the annual Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k (and associated 5k).  The event starts in the Upper Square, Castlewellan (at 1pm) and is expected to attract several well-known runners, as well as a large number of fitness enthusiasts.  Amongst those who could toe the line are local men, and quality atheltes, David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and David McNeilly (Newcastle AC).  The international mountain runners could be joined by the likes of Paul Carlin (Newcastle AC), John Kelly (Newcastle AC), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), Brendan Quail (Newcastle AC), Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC), Paula McKibbin (Murlough AC), Natalie Davidson (County Antrim Harriers) and Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers).  

On the same day (Sunday 30th March 2014), a number of athletes from Northern Ireland will join approximately twenty five thousand other runners at the 34th annual Berlin Half Marathon in Germany.  Paul Cordner (Orangegrove AC), Jill Holland (Orangegrove AC), Beverley Martin (Orangegrove AC), Mark Shields (North Belfast Harriers), Kerri Thrower (Unattached), Kim McDonald (Dromore AC) and Kerry Hall (Dromore AC) will be just some of the local runners who take on the flat and fast course.

This weekend will also see the introduction of a new parkrun to the province, the Bangor parkrun, which will start on Saturday 29th March 2014 (9.30am) will take place every week in Ward Park, Bangor.  Northern Ireland’s other sixteen parkrun events will also take place as normal, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page. 

Speical Preview:  Donard Challenge inc British Championship 2014...

This Saturday, the 29th March 2014, the British Fell Running Championship bandwagon will roll into to the coastal town of Newcastle, County Down.  The Donard Challenge mountain race is the first event of the four race Series.  In addition to this, the event will be used as the English Fell Running Championships ‘away day’, therefore counting in the overall standings across the Irish Sea in England.

This new route, classed as a short race in term of the Championship is, as it says in the title, challenging.  Measuring 10k in distance, with over 850m of climbing, the race will take in Millstone Mountain before climbing to the summit of Slieve Donard at 850m, then descending all the way to the finish in Donard Park at sea level. This should make every competitor’s journey well worthwhile and satisfy the most discerning fell runner.

The event starts in Donard Park and follows forest roads across the Donard Bridge then taking a rough cobbled path on the south side of the Glen River before turning south-east using the forest paths to reach Checkpoint 1(Drinneevar Quarry Wall at 300m. Map ref. 376287). Runners will then ascend on rough steep ground to reach Checkpoint 2 at Millstone Mountain summit (460m. Map ref. 373285). After making a short boggy descent off Millstone, the main climb, to the summit of Slieve Donard lays ahead.

Underfoot the ground is mostly heather turning to grass with patches of boulders as it steepens towards the summit of Northern Ireland’s highest peak (Slieve Donard Summit 850m. Map ref. 358277). From the top the route is all testing downhill to the finish at sea level. Checkpoint 4, at the small gate at the edge of the quarry forest (Map ref. 371293) will be passed as competitors make their way through Donard Wood, into Donard Park and impending finish.

Men's Race:

Scottish International Mountain Runner Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC) will make the trip to County Down for this Championship opener and will go into the event as favourite. However, brothers Rob and Danny Hope (of Pudsey and Bramley AC) are expected to push Finlay over this course, as will former English Fell Running champion Lloyd Taggart of Manx Fell Runners.  The well-known Scot Finlay Wild, can climb fast and descent fearlessly.  As well as this, his flat speed makes him the one to beat here.  Finlay has won the legendary Ben Nevis race in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. So far this year he (Finlay) finished runner up to Orlando Edwards at Carnethy 5 Hill race in Penicuik (Scotland).

Former English and British Fell running Champion Rob Hope has started the 2014 season strongly, with a convincing win at the ‘Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round’. The P&B AC runner put a good forty five seconds into Ian Holmes, with Eryri Harriers’ Matt Roberts taking a very good third.  In 2014 Danny Hope (Pudsey and Bramley AC) has won the ‘Ashurst Beacon 6 mile Fell race’ (January 2014) and the amptly named ‘Mr Sparkle’s Dark’un’ (5 mile event – February 2014).  Although unlikely to match the pace of his brother Rob, or Finlay Wild, Danny will be looking for a podium spot.  Matthew Roberts (Eryri Harriers) is quick on the runnable terrain, so the start and finish of this event will suit him.  If Matt can stick with the leaders on the climb he could take a podium finish.

Ambleside AC and Inov-8 pair Ben Abdelnoor and Paul Tierney are both in good form, comfortable in the rough ground and have a good turn of pace. Although a recorder holder at the Lakeland 50 event in Lake District, Ben appears to be concentrating on the shorter fell season in 2014.  He sat out the ‘Middle-Fell’ Fell race a few weeks ago and will be ready for this one.  Paul finished runner up to local athlete Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) in the Wicklow Way 51k Ultra last weekend; if he has recovered sufficiently, Paul will enjoy this course.  Pete Vale (Mercia Fell RC) is a man who always performs to the highest standard and will be there or thereabouts amongst the top vets.  Pete ran well at the ‘Edale Skyline’ event last weekend, taking second place behind top Inov-8 and Dark Peak athlete Oli Johnston.  Others to watch out for are Richard Roberts of the Welsh club Eryri Harriers and Ian Nixon, another top runner from Pudsey and Bramley AC, who recently took a second place finish at the ‘Sedbergh 3 Peaks’ race.  Martin Mikkelsen-Barron (Borrowdale AC) is another who is competitive in this type of event.

On a local front; with Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) expected to be an absentee, the focus will be on Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC).  Although experienced Northern Ireland international’s living elsewhere, such as Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC), Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley Fell Runners) and Chris Stirling (Ambleside AC) will also be competing for the first NI position.  Another Northern Ireland man based on the mainland, Ryan Stewart (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers/Larne AC), is also in good form and will be wanting to make that known on the bigger stage.  Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Emmet McAlister (Ballymena Runners), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) and David Steele (Newcastle AC) have been running well in the mountains and know this course and will be looking forward to this challenge.

Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Richard Hanna (Mourne Runners), Phil Hodge (Murlough AC), Richard Bell (Mourne Runners), Mark King (Newcastle AC), David Gamble (Unattached) Stephen Purvis (Ballymena Runners), Gareth McKeown(BARF), Declan McCrory (Armagh AC), Clarke Campbell (BARF), Andrew Wallace (Ballydrain Harriers), Robbie Evans (BARF), David Bell (Mourne Runners), Ian Bates (Dromore AC), Conor Reid (Ballymena Runners), Pete Grant (Team Purple), Kevin Briggs (Peninsula Triathlon Club), Paddy Ritchie (Ballydrain Harriers), Trevor Wilson (BARF) and the experienced veterans from Mourne Runners, Stewart Cunningham and Harry Teggarty will all be looking to test themselves against the UK’s top mountain talent.

Ladies Race:

The ladies race will see top mountain stars Victoria Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers) and Helen Fines (Calder Valley Fell Runners) battle it out a the head of the pack.  Other contenders will include Charlotte Morgan (Carnethy HRC), Jackie Lee (Eryri Harriers), Caitlin Rice (Glossopdale Harriers) and Hazel Robinson (Ambleside) will ensure that Victoria Wilkinson and Helen Fines don’t get it their own way.

Earlier this month (March 2014), Victoria Wilkinson was the clear winner at the ‘Sedbergh 3 Peaks’ event in England.  A week later in the ‘Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round 10 mile race’, Victoria was running well ahead in the women's race, until some navigational issues in the mist put paid to her chance of winning, but she still took third place.

Helen Fines (pictured right), a sub 3 hour marathoner who travels quickly over the longer distances, represented England in 2013 at the WMRA (World Mountain Running Association) Long Distance event in Poland, taking a very credible sixth spot.  This year, Helen has also taken first place in long distance races at Mickleden Straddle and Wadsworth Trog, but has form over shorter distances as well, with a win in the Jubilee Plunge race at Moel Famau just before the turn of the year.  The English star won the Northern Ireland leg of the British Championship in 2013, held at Silent Valley.  Caitlin Rice is a speedy lady and has made a big improvement in her road times lately. That said, she is no stranger to podium finishes in the fell running calendar and this course will suit her. Caitlin started the year off with wins at ‘Hit the Trail 5 and Trigger Tor’ Fell race.  In February 2014, Caitlin won the ‘Terry Nortley Radcliffe 10’ near Manchester and took a fifth place at the Carnethy 5 mountain race, behind quality opposition.  This good form continued into March (2014) with a win at ‘Ilkley Moor’ and a second place finish at the ‘Sedbergh 3 Peaks’ race. Only last weekend, Caitlin claimed an impressive runners up spot at the popular Edale Skyline event.

Charlotte Morgan of the well known Carnethy Hill Running Club took second place in the Carnethy 5 Hill race in February (2014), against good opposition. Charlotte finished only twenty seconds (1.01:03) behind Irish International XC and Mountain star Sarah McCormick (Moorfoot Runners).  Hazel Robinson of Ambleside AC has raced plenty in 2014; she started the year well with a win at the ‘Nine Standards’ Fell race, and followed this up with good performances at ‘Blakes Heaven’ (second place) and the ‘Jarrett Jaunt Handicap’ (second place) and ‘Sedburugh 3 Peaks’ (third place) events in March 2014. At ‘Middle-Fell’ Fell race two weeks ago, Hazel finished well in second place, amongst good competition.  Welsh international Mountain runner Jacqueline Lee (Eryri Harriers) is another, who on her day, will compete well in this race.  Like Caitlin, this course will suit the lady who is an ever present at Championship events in Northern Ireland.

Although not a Northern Ireland Championship event, local eye’s will be following the well known Lagan Valley AC pair of Shileen O’Kane and Hazel McLaughlin, as well as the always impressive Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), who has been dominating the Northern Ireland scene over the last six months. Tayrn McCoy (BARF), Jackie Toal (BARF), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) and the ever present Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) will also contest the local bragging rights as they aim for the prestige of being the first ‘local’ finisher.

BAC and NiRunning announce details of Rathlin Run 2014:

Rathlin Run 2014:

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

The Rathlin Run is Northern Ireland's most unique, and arguably, most challenging road race. This will be the 13th annual running of the event, which was originally introduced by Raleigh International, before Belfast Activity Centre took the reigns several years ago.  In recent years, the event has offered participants the choice between a 10k (6.1m) and a Half Marathon (13.1m), but this year, the decision has been made to revert back to the VERY popular '10 mile challenge', the original distance that caught the imagination of the local running community and cemented the event as an annual favourite. The associated 5k run will also return, and offer an alternative for those wanting to test themselves over (or enjoy) a flatter, shorter course.

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

Belfast Activity Centre's Andrea Kilpatrick spoke of her excitement for this years event, "I am delighted to be working in association with NiRunning this year on the Rathlin Run. It will no doubt add a new dimension to a race that has been very important to people for a number of years. Through the combined skills and knowledge of BAC and NiRunning we anticipate that Rathlin Run 2014 will be the highlight of the year, so be sure to sign up soon." 

Ryan Maxwell (NiRunning) added, “The Rathlin Run has been an event that I have participated in and travelled to on a number of times, it's a truly unique race and an excellent experience; having enjoyed and respected the event so much over the years, it is now quite surreal, and really nice to be part of it.  This is something we as a team, alongside our friends at BAC, are looking forward to!  The fact that it falls on the same weekend as our website's '2nd Birthday' makes it all the more exciting.”

Entries will be limited to 300 (inclusive of both events), so we would encourage everyone to enter early make use of the early-bird options, which are priced at £15 for the 10 mile race and £10 for the 5k.

Entry Details:

To enter the Rathlin Run 2014 please contact Belfast Activity Centre on 028 90 600 132; you will be able to pay by debit/credit card (or call to the office with cheque or cash).  The entry fee's for 2014 are:  RATHLIN 10 mile Challenge£25 per individual entry (£15 early bird entry available until 31st May 2014). RATHLIN 5k Run£15 per individual entry (£10 early bird entry available until 31st May 2014).

Special Charity Fundraising Package:

Enter a team of 10 runners to fundraise for your good cause and qualify for a special charity group entry rate of £100 (register and pay by 31st June 2014).

Transport - Important Information:

All runners and supporters must make their own ferry arrangements. To book your outbound and return ferry with the Rathlin Island Ferry visit their on line booking website at or contact the booking office on 028 2076 9299.  We would recommend that you reserve book your return ferry crossings first before confirming your race registration and payment.      

Let your friends know that the challenge is back and save the date!  Please follow us on facebook (NiRunning) and twitter (@NiRunning) if you would like to be kept up to date with the Rathlin Run 2014. You can also follow Belfast Activity Centre on facebook (Belfast Activity Centre) and twitter (@BACCharity).

Chris Denton and Gillian Cordner impress at East Antrim Marathon Series:

Endurance enthusiasts take on 26.2 miles:

On Sunday 23rd March 2014, organisers of the East Antrim Marathon Series welcomed athletes from across the province to the third event of their popular Series.  The event, which started and finished in Newtownabbey (County Antrim) took the thirty hardy competitors on a 26.2 mile journey from Loughshore Park, Newtownabbey to the Cultra Boat Club, just outside Bangor, where they turned and made their way back to Loughshore Park.  

Respected distance runner, Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), who was a top ten finisher at the recent Irish 50k Championships, cruised to victory in 2:53:09 (1st place), the fastest time clocked by anyone competing in the ongoing Series so far.  Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC) followed in 3:09:28 (2nd place), before Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) completed the men's top three in 3:11:59 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) continued her 100% record; having one the previous to races, Gillian, who had completed the AES Larne Half Marathon in 1:33:29 just 24 hours earlier, crossed the line in 3:30:07 (1st place).  Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) clocked 3:37:04 (2nd place), while Lorna Murphy (Unattached) secured 3rd place in 4:08:48 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) – 2:53:09, 2nd Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC) – 3:09:28, 3rd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:11:59

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 3:30:07, 2nd Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) – 3:37:04, 3rd Lorna Murphy (Unattached) – 4:08:48

Full Results:  East Antrim Marathon Series (Race 3) 2014 Results

Northern Ireland junior athletes secure AAI National titles in Athlone:

Local stars secure AAI National titles:

On Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd March 2014, a number of junior athletes from Northern Ireland travelled south to Athlone (Ireland) for the Athletics Ireland organised Woodies DIY AAI National Juvenile Indoor Championships, which were held at the impressive AIT Arena.

There were several notable performances by local prospects, with the highlight being AAI National titles for Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC), Oisin O’Callaghan (Newry AC) and Naomi Morgan (City of Derry AC). Roseanna McGuckian produced one of the performances of the weekend to win the U-18 60m in a new personal best of 7.71secs (1st place).

Oisin O’Callaghan looked strong as he powered to victory in the U-17 800m, breaking the beam in 1:58.57 (1st place). This followed a silver medal winning performance in the U-17 1500m race, where Oisin recorded 4:15.81 to finish in 2nd place behind race winner Conall Hayes (Le Cheile AC), who won in 4:15.51. In the U-19 hurdles, City of Derry Spartan Naomi Morgan sealed victory after covering the jumps in a speedy 9.34secs (1st place).

Omagh Harriers’ cross country star, Sean Corry, picked up a silver medal in the U-15 800m after crossing the line in 2:08.72 (2nd place); the race was won by Mark Milner (Tullamore Harriers) in 2:05.82. There were also silver medals for City of Lisburn AC duo Jake Harbinson (pictured above) and Ikenna Nzewi; Jake (2:01.90) took 2nd place in the U-16 800m, behind winner Kevin McGrath (Bohermeen AC), who ran 2:00.21. Meanwhile, Ikenna (2nd place - 7.04secs) finished just after Tallaght AC’s Eoin Doherty (7.01secs) in the very close U-18 60m final.

In the U-19 400m final, City of Derry AC’s Martin McGeady clocked 50.17secs (3rd place) to secure a podium place; the race was won by Paul Murphy (Ferrybank AC) in 48.96secs. Kate Farrelly added to City of Lisburn AC’s medal haul, after running 9.39secs to finish in 3rd place in the U-17 60m hurdles. Elizabeth Morland (Cushinstown AC) won in 8.55secs. Mid Ulster AC’s hot prospect, Martin Mellon collected two bronze medals, in the U-16 60m and 200m. In the 60m race, Martin crossed the line in 7.43secs (3rd place), just behind race winner Daniel Ryan (Moycarkey AC), who won in 7.26secs. In the 200m, Martin finished in 23.85secs; the race was won by Menapians AC’s David McDonald in 23:47secs.

Full Results:  Woodies DIY AAI National Juvenile Indoor Championships 2014 Results – Day 1 and Day 2 (Photograph above was taken from Athletics Ireland's facebook page)

James Speight claims podium place at Finn Valley AC 5k:

Finn Valley AC 5k and 10k road races 2014:

On Sunday 23rd March 2014, popular County Donegal club Finn Valley AC hosted another of their 5k Series events in Stranolar (Ireland); the race programme also included a 10k race.

There were several Northern Ireland based club’s represented at the event; however, it was a Northern Ireland man representing the host club who led the local athlete’s home.  James Speight (Finn Valley AC) was the first NI finisher, after clocking 15:58 (2nd place) to take the runners up spot behind his club mate Gerard Gallagher (Finn Valley AC), who won in 15:30.  Foyle Valley AC’s Stephen Connor followed in 16:20 (4th place), while City of Derry AC’s Kevin Hurley (16:45) and Foyle Valley AC’s Matthew McLaughlin (17:29) also claimed top ten places, securing 6th place and 10th place respectively. 

The ladies 5k race was won Catherine Dooher (Finn Valley AC) in 19:51.  In the 10k race, there were no Northern Ireland based club’s listed on the results, but Paul Ward (Tir Chonaill AC) won the men’s event in 35:06, with Finn Valley AC’s Noleen Porter taking the ladies title in 41:53.

Full Results:  Finn Valley AC 5k and 10k 2014 Results

NI man Justin Maxwell takes Wicklow Way Ultra title:

Northern Ireland athletes travel to Wicklow Way events:

On Saturday 22nd March 2014, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland completed the Wicklow Way Ultra-Marathon, a 51k event (with 1,940m of accumulative ascent) which takes competitors through the incredibly scenic Wicklow Mountains, from Glencullen to Ballinastoe and back.

There were quite a few notable performances by the local contingent, none more so than East Coast AC's Justin Maxwell; the Causeway Coast Ultra-Marathon winner finished fourth at this event last year and showed good strength as he battled it out at the front throughout, before moving clear in the latter stages to win in 4:12:00 (1st place).  Fellow NI man Eoin Lennon (Unattached) also claimed a podium spot, taking 3rd place in 4:40:30, just under a minute ahead of Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), who crossed the line in 4:41:20 (4th place).  Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club) and Cathal McGreevy (Team Purple) recorded 4:55:39 (8th place) and 4:59:00 (8th place).

Murlough AC's Phil Hodge (12th place – 5:07:37) and North Belfast Harriers' Robert Irvine (16th place – 5:18:14) also ran well, finishing just ahead of BARF's Gary Kingston (22nd place – 5:23:02) and Magherafelt Harriers' Mark McGinn (23rd place – 5:23:05), who were separated by just three seconds.  Another Murlough AC athlete, Dominic McInerney followed three seconds later in 5:23:08 (24th place), while Kevin Murdock (Team Purple) clocked 5:32:32 (24th place).  

Respected long distance athlete, Taryn McCoy (BARF) then secured second place in the ladies race - won by Donna McLoughlin in 5:26:35 – after completing the course in 5:32:34 (2nd place lady).  Having crossed the line with Taryn, Stephen Wallace (BARF) had exactly the same finish time of 5:32:34 (34th place). Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), winner of the event in 2013, ensured that NI ladies dominated the podium after taking 3rd place (in the ladies category) in 5:49:10.

Noel Carr (Newry City Runners) clocked 5:53:40 (46th place), while his NCR club mate Ronan Mynes (Newry City Runners) just nipped under the 6:00:00 mark in 5:59:50 (50th place).  Mark King (Newcastle AC) and Aaron Shimmons (BARF) finished in 6:10:50 (61st place) and 6:12:51 (64th place) respectively, before Unattached athlete Desi O'Hagan reached the line in 6:15:08 (66th place).  Martin Mullan added to the BARF finishers after running 6:17:00 (80th place), this was enough to pip Amy Beggs (Larne AC) and Violet Linton (BARF) to the post, with Amy taking 6th place in the ladies race in 6:39:30 and Violet 8th place in 6:43:10.  Crusaders AC's Brian Linton (87th place – 6:44:56), Unattached athlete Orla McElroy (9th place lady – 6:49:00) and Newry City Runners' James McNally (98th place – 6:56:35) then secured top 100 places.  Other Northern Ireland finishers included:  Fred Hammond (BARF) – 7:10:00 (105th place), John McBride (BARF) – 7:26:40 (112th place), Paul Burchmore (North Fermanagh Running Club) – 7:27:00 (113th place), Clarke Browne (Unattached) – 7:41:00 (118th place), Jackie Toal (BARF) – 7:42:00 (119th place).

Northern Ireland was also represented in the associated 26k race, which took participants from Ballinastoe to Glencullen.  Declan Morgan (City of Lisburn AC) led the local athletes home in 2:26:12 (46th place), before Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) narrowly missed a podium place in the ladies race, after crossing the line in 2:30:10 (4th place).  Orla Smyth (City of Lisburn AC) continued her training for the upcoming Mourne Way Marathon with a solid performance, the multiple World Transplant Games medallist and record holder finished in 2:45:18 (5th place lady).  BARF's Clarke Campbell and Newry City Runners' Tony Malone ran 3:10:10 (154th place) and 3:23:45 (171st place) respectively.

Full Results:  Wicklow Way Ultra-Marathon (51k) and Wicklow Way Trail Race (26k) 2014 Results

Northern Ireland represented at Inter Countries XC Championships 2014:

Inter Countries XC Championships 2014:

On Saturday 22nd March 2014, a team of twelve Northern Ireland athletes took part in the Inter Countries International Cross Country in Wollaton Park, Nottingham (England).

Up against strong opposition from Egland, Scotland and Wales, including a 'Combined Servieces' team, all of the local runners put in strong performances.  The Junior Women's 6k kicked off proceedings, with Yasmin Wilson (Lagan Valley AC) leading the NI ladies home in 24:37 (26th place), before Omagh Harriers' Elish Flanagan and City of Derry AC's Amy Jackson recorded 25:09 (27th place) and 25:34 (30th place) respectively.  Roisin Flanagan (Omagh Harriers) followed in 26:25 (33rd place).  The race was won by Engand's Grace Baker (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) in 21:06; England won the team prize, with Northern Ireland finishing in 6th place.  International debutant Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) was Northern Ireland's only representative in the Junior Men's 8k, where he crossed the line in 29:03 (31st place).  The event was won by Doug Mussan (Notts AC) in 25:27, with England taking the team honours.

In the Senior Women's 8k, NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) impressed with a 30:44 finish time, securing a credible 18th place.  The Armagh lady was followed by team mates Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) and Joanne Mills (Lagan Valley AC), with Rachel claiming 25th place in 33:13 and Joanne 26th place in 34:04.  The race was won by Catherine Blew (Birchfield Harriers) in 28:07; England won the team prize, with Northern Ireland finishing in 6th place.

Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) lined up for Northern Ireland in the Senior Men's 10k race.  AAI National Masters XC Champion Declan Reed was the first of the local athletes to finish, recording 33:12 (19th place) for the distance.  A mere five seconds split Scott Rankin and Brendan Teer, with Scott running 34:07 (26th place) and Brendan 34:12 (27th place).  Glenn Phair completed the NI contingent in 35:09 (29th place).  Hallamshire Harriers' Andy Heyes won the race in 31:33, while England won the team title.  Northern Ireland finished in 6th place.

Full Results:  Inter Countries XC Championships 2014 Results

Joe McAlister and Fiona Stack take top honours at AES Larne HM:

Ladies course record smashed as McAlister and Stack excel:

On Saturday 22nd March 2014, over one thousand four hundred athletes turned out for the 22nd annual running of the increasingly popular and well-organised AES Larne Half Marathon, which is the second race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series.

In breezy conditions, the athletes set off on their scenic 13.1 mile journey; after a short but atmospheric Town Centre section, the field reached the iconic Coast Road, at which point, three times winner of the event, Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) had stamped his authority on the race.  Joe had a sizeable lead over Half Marathon debutant Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), who in-turn had opened up a gap between himself and a chase group containing David Graham (Unattached), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), James Brown (East Coast AC), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) and Dennis Scott (North Down AC).  

In the ladies event, pre-race favourite Heather Foley (Unattached) was first to reach the 5k mark, with Fiona Stack (Raheny Shamrock AC), relay runner Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC), Julia Belyavin (Bristol & West AC), Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), Ann Fitzpatrick (Unattached) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) amongst those in pursuit.  

As the race progressed, Joe McAlister continually increased his lead, while Andrew Annett was establishing himself in the runners up position; behind, the early group of David Graham, James Brown, Stephen Wylie, Barrie Atkinson and Dennis Scott were being caught by Francis Marsh (North Down AC) and Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), who were reaping the rewards of a well paced start.  Meanwhile, at the head of the ladies field, Fiona Stack had overtaken the in-form Heather Foley, with Julia Belyavin and Marina Campbell looking the most likely contenders for the final podium place.

As the crowd gathered around the seaside finish, it wasn't long before the lead man came into view.  As expected, it was Joe McAlister; the St Malachy's AC man, who won Jimmy's 10k last week powered his way along the final section to break the tape in 1:09:44 (1st place), thus claiming his fourth victory at the Larne Half Marathon.  The impressive Andrew Annett secured 2nd place in an excellent personal best of 1:11:30, before Stephen Wylie (3rd place - 1:14:20) pipped his club mates Dennis Scott (4th place – 1:14:22) and Francis Marsh (5th place – 1:14:24) to the final podium place.

Fiona Stack's relentless pace back in the Coast Road from the in-land section at Ballygally, saw her come into the final straight well clear; she (Fiona) covered the remaining metres quickly to win in a new course record of 1:19:44 (1st place).  Heather Foley continued her good run of form, taking 2nd place in 1:23:09, while  English athlete Julia Belyavin crossed the line in 1:25:20 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 1:09:44, 2nd Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:11:30, 3rd Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) – 1:14:20

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Fiona Stack (Raheny Shamrock AC) – 1:19:44, 2nd Heather Foley (Unattached) – 1:23:06, 3rd Julia Belyavin (Bristol & West AC) – 1:25:20

Relay Winners:  1st Men's Team - Ballymena Runners (1:16:46), 1st Ladies Team - Larne AC (1:42:26), 1st Mixed Team - Lagan Valley AC (1:25:37)

Full Results:  AES Larne Half Marathon 2014 Results  Note – Photograph's from the AES Larne Half Marathon have been added to our Photo Gallery.

Weekend Preview:  AES Larne Half Marathon takes centre stage...

Weekend Preview:  Athletes set for events in Larne, Nottingham, Bolton...

After the first race of the Pure Running – ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series last weekend in Newry/Dundalk (DUNE Half Marathon), the fixtures from the first half of the Series will now come thick and fast, with one of the best attended and most popular events, the AES Larne Half Marathon taking place this weekend.  Northern Ireland athletes will also be in action in Wicklow (Ireland), Nottingham (England), Bolton (England) and Stranolar (Ireland).

The main focus of the weekend’s local activities will centre on the aforementioned AES Larne Half Marathon (and associated three person relay event), where in excess of 1,500 competitors are expected to take on one of the provinces most scenic courses.  The route spans 13.1 miles of road, taking athletes around the Town Centre, before moving onto the Coast Road, where they will make their way towards Ballygally and a short inland section.  After which, the runners will make their way back in the Coast Road, finishing along the atmospheric Promenade behind Larne Leisure Centre.

A glance at the pre-entry list throws up a plethora of recognisable names, such as Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) and Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), who are all likely to play a prominent part at the head of the field.  Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) and Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) are also expected to make use of the late entry system.

Brendan Teer is unlikely to feature, having been selected for the Northern Ireland team to compete at the Home Countries XC International in Nottingham (England) on the same day.  Current course record holder and three time winner of the event, Joe McAlister, will start as favourite and will prove hard to beat if he toes the line.  Joe, who put in two impressive performances at the Armagh International Road Races last month (February 2014), over 3k and 5k, looked strong as he secured an excellent win at Jimmy's 10k last Sunday (16th March 2014).  Amongst those chasing the St Malachy's AC man will be another previous winner of the event, Paul Rowan.  Paul won the Larne Half Marathon in 2005 and 2006, and has completed the old course in 1:07:54 (2004).  He (Paul) has started this season well with a 26:07 finish at the Albertville 5 and a 33:00 time for Jimmy's 10k.   Francis Marsh (North Down AC) is another man to watch out for; interestingly, Francis ran his 13.1m personal best (1:12:58) at this event, whilst sealing a podium finish in 2010.  Three week’s ago, the respected athlete and coach recorded an excellent 1:13:47 at the Bath Half Marathon in England, which shows that he is in good shape.

North Belfast Harriers duo Conor Curran and Andrew Annett will be there or there abouts.  Conor has run two personal bests in the last two months, over 5k (16:01) and 5 miles (26:40), so should go into the event with confidence.  The AAI National Masters 5,000m medallist ran 1:14:28 at the Dublin Half Marathon in 2012 and may be hoping for something similar here.  Meanwhile, mountain running international Andrew Annett will take on his first Half Marathon (according to available records); the 15:48 5k man could be the surprise package here, when taking his strength from years of tough mountain running into consideration. Earlier this month he (Andrew) claimed the runners up spot at the Kinvara 10k (Ireland), after crossing the line in 33:11.  Adding to the list of previous Larne Half Marathon winners is local man, Brian Campbell.  Brian, who is originally from Larne, won the race in 2007 and 2008; in recent years, the decorated runner and triathlete has suffered with injuries, but seems to be on the road to recovery, especially after a 56:32 finish at the Armagh 10m road race at the back end of 2013.  The local favourite would be a popular winner with spectators.

Other athletes who will be vying for high placings will include Dennis Scott (North Down AC), James Brown (East Coast AC), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Graham Barr (Invictus Triathlon Club), Sam Crawford (East Antrim Harriers), Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC), Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Guinness World Record holder, for the 'Fastest Marathon in the World by a Zombie', Sean McShane (North Belfast Harriers).

Commonwealth Games qualifier, Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) could be a late addition to the ladies field.  At the start of this month, Breege took second place at the Cara Bundoran 10m road race in Ireland, this followed a 29:06 finish at the Raheny 5 in January 2014; this event could prove an excellent training opportunity for the highly rated athlete, the same could also be said for her club mate, Gladys Ganiel O'Neill, who won Jimmy's 10k last week in 36:44. In the absence of last years top three ladies, Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) and Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers), the podium places are well and truely up for grabs.  An athlete almost certain of achieving one of those places is Heather Foley (Unattached); since Heather's fourth place finish here last year, when she ran 1:28:40, the talented runner and duathlete has improved immensely; in the last three week's, she (Heather) has won the Sportsman Duathlon and also the DUNE Half Marathon, where she broke the tape in a massive new personal best of 1:22:03.  

Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) could also be contenders. Marina Campbell showed her class throughout the Athletics NI XC Series, with the highlight being an excellent third place finish at the McConnell Shield XC.  Since then, the Spartan athlete has picked up a prize at the 'Run in the Dark' in Belfast and also slashed her 10k personal best to 38:23 at the Seeley Cup 2013.  In recent months, Amanda Perry has shown signs of good form, with a third place finish at the Comber Cup XC last month (February 2014); her most recent outing was a forth place finish at Jimmy's 10k, where she ran 40:45 for the distance.  The ever consistent Karen McLaughlin won the Roe Valley Trail Race two week's ago, this was after narrowly missing a podium spot at both the Enniskillen XC and Magherafelt 10k races; on her day, Karen could be amongst the prizes, and will most certainly be a top ten finisher.  

Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC), Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Catherine Roberts (North Down AC), Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers), Catriona Kerr (Glens Runners), Catherine Pinkerton (Springwell Running Club), Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC), Patricia Blair (Larne AC) and Janice Plumb (East Coast AC) will also be aiming for personal bests and a top ten finish, but will have to fend off the challenges of Nikki Heywood (North Down AC), Claire Forth (Unattached), Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached), Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC), Mairead McAleer (Carmen Runners), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) and Paula McKibbin (Murlough AC) if they wish to seal the latter (ie a podium place).

Also on Saturday 22nd March 2014, a large number of Northern Ireland runners will travel south to County Wicklow (Ireland) for the Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon; an event which takes competitors on and 'out and back' route from Glencullen to Ballinastoe.  The course measures 51k, with 1,940m of accumulative ascent.

Last years winner, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) will not return to defend his title, but Northern Ireland will be well represented in the form of Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Paul Burchmore (North Fermanagh Fitness Club), Mark King (Newcastle AC), Violet Linton (LVO), Suzanne Carson (LVO), Declan McGrellis (LVO), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Noel Carr (Newry City Runners), James McNally (Newry City Runners), Roman Kimberly (Newry City Runners), Mickey Shields (Newry City Runners), Frankie Rea (Newry City Runners), Orla McElroy (Newry Triathlon Club), Mark McGinn (Magherafelt Harriers), Nicki McPeak (Springwell Running Club), Kevin Murdock (Team Purple), Cathal McGreevy (Team Purple), Jeremy Sutton (Unattached), Amy Beggs (Larne AC), Gerry Kingston (BARF) and Brian Linton (BARF/Crusaders AC).  

The above mentioned runners will be joined on the start-line by fellow NI endurance specialists Jackie Toal (BARF), Fred Hammond (BARF), Gareth McKeown (BARF), Martin Mullan (BARF), Aaron Shimmons (BARF), Dave Evans (BARF), Desi O'Hagan (BARF), John McBride (BARF), Taryn McCoy (BARF), Ivan Sadlier (Unattached), Declan Faulkner (Omagh Harriers), Robert Irvine (North Belfast Harriers), Orla Smyth (City of Lisburn AC), Stepen Wallace (Murlough AC), Dominic McInerney (Murlough AC), Wiola Gorman (NIMRA), Elaine Warnock (NIMRA), Michael Galloway (NIMRA), William Edgar (NIMRA).  The local contingent will face stiff opposition from a talented field, this includes Irish international ultra-runners Eion Keith (Boards AC) and Paul Teirney (Eagle AC), as well as regular competitors in Northern Ireland, Torban Dahl (Crusaders AC) and Donna McLoughlin (100 Marathon Club).

Further afield on Saturday 22nd March 2014, a team from Northern Ireland will be in action at the Home Countries Cross Country International in Nottingham, England.  The strong line-up will include the following athletes:  Under 20 Women (6k) - Amy Jackson (City of Derry AC), Elish Flanagan (Omagh Harriers), Roisin Flanagan (Omagh Harriers) and Yasmin Wilson (Ballymena & Antrim AC).  Under 20 Men (8k) - Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers).  Senior Women (8k) - Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC). Senior Men (10k) -  Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) and Declan Reed (City of Derry AC).

Also in England on Saturday 22nd March 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based junior athletes will represent Ireland at the SIAB School's International XC in Bolton.  Caelainn Rose (Sacred Heart, Omagh), Peter Fegan (St Coleman's, Newry), Ciaran Brolly (Omagh CBS), Aife McSheffrey (Limavady GS), Stanley Edgar (Friends School, Lisburn), Christy Conlon (Rathmore School, Belfast) are all part of a talented Ireland squad due to participate.

On Sunday 23rd March 2014, Finn Valley AC will host their annual 10k road race in Stranolar, County Donegal (Ireland).  Considering the amount of Northern Ireland based runners who have travelled to the club's 5k Series, we would expect several to make the short border crossing for this event.  This may include, Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC), Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC), Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) and Denise Toner (Clones AC).

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

Athletics NI hold Annual General Meeting (AGM):

Athletics NI AGM:

The Annual General Meeting of Athletics Northern Ireland was held last night (Wednesday 19th March 2014).  Before the meeting commenced, trophies were presented to the winning teams in the 2013-14 Cross Country League by outgoing President of Athletics NI, Gerry Lynch.

They were Women – Springwell RC and Men – City of Derry Spartans AC (View League Results). 

The following office bearers were re/elected to their positions:  President – Gary Keenan, Vice Presidents – T. Alderdice, P. Brown, J. Glover, M. Moffitt, P. Moffitt, B. 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:- J. Alexander, P. Brown, L. Glover, B. Scarth, U. Fay, W. Davis, R. Mack, B. Brodie, B. Scott, K. Scott

Cross Country and Road Running Committee:- J. Quinn, L. Cochrane, T. Wall, P. Magee, J.McLaughlin, R. Black, A. Han, D. Marshall

The following motions were passed at the meeting:

- Application for club membership will be accepted provisionally in the first instance.  Membership will be withdrawn if, within 9 months of affiliation, the club is unable to satisfy the Board that it is working towards the minimum published criteria for the operation of an athletic club as approved from time to time by the Board.  For information - The criteria will be published following ratification at the next meeting of the Athletics NI Board.

- All club athletes must be registered and have paid the appropriate annual fee before participating in open competition.  However, no fee will be payable for athletes who have not yet reached their 13th birthday.

- The Club Affiliation fee will remain at £100 per club and athlete registrations will be £9 for adults (16 +) and £4 for ages 13 to 15. These are payable from 1st April for the coming year (to March 2015).  Athlete registrations should not be paid before 1st April, as on this date all current registrations are re-set to unregistered.

Article taken from Athletics NI website.

Stephen Duncan and Pauline McGurren win Altamuskin 5m Road Race:

Altamuskin 5m Road Race 2014:

On Monday 17th March 2014, the Altamuskin Community Association hosted their annual St Patrick's Day 'Altamuskin 5'; the well supported 5 mile road race, which takes place just outside Omagh (County Tyrone), attracted nearly two hundred competitors.

At the head of the field, it was reigning Champion Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), who set the pace.  The international athlete has won the race every year since 2011 and showed great confidence as he led from start to finish, breaking the tape in 26:36 (1st place); this ensured that Stephen retained his 100% winning start to 2014, having been victorious at the Carmen 10k, Enniskillen XC and NI & Ulster Master XC races.  Conor Moore slashed nearly two minutes off his finish time at this event last year, when crossing the line in 28:54 (2nd place); Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) completed the men's top three in 29:13 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) continued the form that has put her amongst the provinces most highly rated runners; the Carmen 10k winner cruised to victory in 32:21 (1st place).  Junior international and Northern Ireland Age-Group 1500m medallist, Toni Moore (Omagh Harriers) followed in 36:30, before another Omagh Harriers lady, Deirdre Haigney recorded 37:40 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) - 26:36, 2nd Conor Moore (Omagh Harriers) - 28:54, 3rd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 29:13

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) - 32:21, 2nd Toni Moore (Omagh Harriers) - 36:30, 3rd Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers) – 37:40

Full Results:  Altamuskin 5m Road Race 2014 Results

NI & Ulster Champion Natasha Adams claims victory in Letterkenny:

Northern Ireland athlete takes top spot in Letterkenny (Ireland):

On Monday 17th March 2014, at least two athletes from Northern Ireland took on the Letterkenny AC 'St Patrick's Day 5k' in Letterkenny, County Donegal (Northern Ireland).

Northern Ireland lady Natahsa Adams (Lifford AC) stole the headlines, the current Woodies DIY AAI National Masters 1500m and 3,000m, and NI & Ulster Masters 3,000m Champion, led the ladies home in 17:24 (1st place); this was enough to secure an impressive fifth place overall, and followed an excellent podium spot at the recent Airtricity WCM 10k, where she took second place.

Foyle Valley AC's Darren Wallace was also in action; Darren completed the course in 19:18 (26th place).  The men's race was won by Letterkenny AC's Ivan Toner, who broke the tape in 19:18.

Full Results:  Letterkenny AC St Patrick's Day 5k 2014 Results

Northern Ireland athletes impress in Ireland, Scotland and England:

Impressive medal haul for NI athletes at BMAF Championships 2014 and more...

This weekend (Saturday 15th March 2014), at least five Northern Ireland athletes travelled to Glasgow (Scotland) for the British Masters Athletics Federation (BMAF) Cross Country Championships.

A day of top quality performances were rewarded with an impressive medal haul; in the Ladies and Veteran 65+ Men's 6k race, Ballydrain Harriers' Debbie Matchett ran well; Debbie completed the course in 24:37 (17th place - 4th place Vet45), before Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) kicked off the medal winning performances.  Ruth finished in 24:47 (23rd place), this was enough to secure top spot in the Vet55 category, thus sealing the gold medal in her category.  The overall winner of the race was Lesley Chisholm (Garscube Harriers), who recorded 22:20.  North Down AC's Fred Murdoch was also competing in the same race, and crossed the line in 28:23 (6th place - 7th place Vet70).  The Vet70 category was won by Gordon Orme (Carmarthan Harriers) in 25:57.

In the Men's 8k race, Laurence Johnston led a trio of North Belfast Harriers athletes home; Laurence finished in 29:42 (47th place - 8th place Vet55), just ahead of club mate Paul Elliot (53rd place – 29:55), who claimed yet another medal, adding the BMAF bronze medal to his AAI National Masters XC gold, after taking 3rd place in his Vet60 category. Jim Newberry followed in 32:44 (91st place - 9th place Vet60), ensuring that the North Belfast Harriers men collected a team silver medal, after finishing as runners up to Scottish club Cambuslang Harriers.

In other news:  England based NI man Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) represented Kent AC at the Southern '12 Stage' Road Relay's in Milton Keynes (England) on Sunday 16th March 2014.   Up against top quality opposition, Paul clocked the second fastest 7.7k leg of the day, crossing the line in 23:06.  This was enough to help the Kent AC team finish in 2nd place and follows an excellent new personal best and IAAF World Half Marathon Championships qualifying standard of 1:03:52 at the Bath Half Marathon two week's ago.  The fastest leg of the day came from Team GB and Commonwealth Games star Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC), who ran 22:35.  

In Dublin (Ireland), Lifford AC's Ann-Marie McGlynn produced an excellent performance at the St Patrick's Day 5k.  The Strabane lady took 2nd place in an impressive 16:01, finishing as runner up to Kilcoole AC's Fionnuala Britton, who won in 15:33.

Full Results:  BMAF Cross Country Championships 2014 Results - Southern Road Relay's 2014 Results – St Patrick's 5k (Dublin) 2014 Results (Currently Unavailable)

Don Travers and Heather Foley win Half Marathon Series opener:

DUNE Half Marathon 2014:

On Sunday 16th March 2014, endurance enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland took on the first race of the 2014 Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the DUNE Half Marathon.  An event that saw competitors race from Newry (Northern Ireland) to Dundalk (Ireland).

Don Travers (Newry City Runners), a fourth place finisher last year, produced an excellent performance over the undulating course; despite having Barry Monaghan (Club Pulse AC) for company at the front, the international ultra-runner managed to forge a gap, before breaking the tape in 1:17:05 (1st place).  Barry Monaghan claimed 2nd place in 1:17:41, before Murlough AC's Alan Johnston recorded 1:19:40 (3rd place) for the distance.

In the ladies race, established runner and duathlete Heather Foley (Unattached), followed up her win at the Sportsman Duathlon two week's ago with an excellent performance and another impressive victory, after crossing the line in 1:22:03 (1st place).  Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), who broke the Ecos parkrun (Ballymena) record and won the Magherafelt 10k yesterday (Saturday 15th March 2014), showed little signs of tiredness as she sealed the runners up spot in 1:26:12 (2nd place).  Liosa McKeown (Unattached) completed the ladies podium in 1:28:51 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:17:05, 2nd Barry Monaghan (Club Pulse AC) – 1:17:41, 3rd Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) – 1:19:40

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 1:22:03, 2nd Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 1:26:12, 3rd Liosa McKeown (Unattached) – 1:28:51

Full Results:  DUNE Half Marathon 2014 Results

Joe McAlister and Gladys Ganiel O'Neill win Jimmy's 10k:

East Down AC host annual Jimmys 10k:
On Sunday 16th March 2014, East Down AC welcomed over seven hundred competitors to the annual Jimmys 10k road race in Downpatrick (County Down), an event seen by many as the first major 10k race of the road racing season.

Straight from the off, it was clear there was going to be a battle for first place, as 2013 winner Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), 2012 winner Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC), and Annadale Striders’ James O’Hare were all closely grouped together.  At the half way mark, the trio were still working off each other and looking strong when they crossed the 5k marker at 15:36.  In the final stages however, Joe McAlister and Eddie McGinley began to surge ahead of James O’Hare.  After a fast sprint down the finishing straight, it was 2012 winner Joe McAlister who crossed the line first, taking top spot in 31:17 (1st place).  In what was his first major event since his marathon debut in 2013, Eddie McGinley followed just six seconds behind, taking 2nd place in 31:23.  Eddie’s clubmate, James O’Hare completed the men’s podium places in 32:26 (3rd place), putting in an excellent performance to start the season off.

The ladies race wasn’t as close an affair as the aforementioned men’s event, as North Belfast Harriers’ Gladys Ganiel O’Neill stayed at the front throughout.  The Commonwealth Games qualifier, AAI Half Marathon and Athletics NI 10k (Road) medallist covered the first 5k of the course in 17:54, almost two minutes ahead of her nearest rival.  This gap was maintained into the second half of the race when she crossed the finish line in 36:44, securing 1st place.  The final podium places were decided on in the latter stages of the race as Dromore AC’s Rebecca Murtagh and Ballydrain Harriers’ Denise Logue stayed close throughout.  Denise worked hard until the end, crossing the line just under the forty minute mark in 39:51 (2nd place), with up and coming star, Rebecca just behind in 40:03 (3rd place).  In the associated relay event, Willowfield Harriers took top honours in a time of 37:03.

Top 3 Men:  1st Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC) – 31:17, 2nd Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 31:23, 3rd James O’Hare (Annadale Striders) – 32:26

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:44, 2nd Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 39:51, Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC) – 40:03

Full Results:  Jimmy's 10k 2014 Results

Scott Rankin claims top honours at annual St Patrick's 5k:

Athletes enjoy annual St Patrick's Day 5k:

On Saturday 15th March 2014, approximately one hundred runners took to the start-line of the highly anticipated annual St Patrick's Day 5k, which was held in Gransha Grounds, Derry/Londonderry.

At the front, it was almost a replay of last weekend's SSE Airtricty 10k, minus Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC); Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) all played a prominent part at the front. After a close race, it was Scott Rankin who claimed the headlines, after breaking the tape in 15:21 (1st place).  Just like six days ago (at the Airtricity 10k), the Foyle Valley AC man was followed across the line by City of Derry AC duo Declan Reed and Emmett McGinty, with the talented pairing clocking 15:29 (2nd place) and 15:34 (3rd place) respectively.

Winner of the recent Lifford 5k, Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC), secured victory in the ladies race, after covering the distance in 18:58 (1st place).  Current NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion, Sarah Lindsey (Foyle Valley AC) ran well to take a well-deserved 2nd place in 19:20 (2nd place), just ahead of City of Derry AC's Jackie McGinley (19:52), who just pipped Spartan club mate Amy Jackson (4th place – 19:59) to 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:21, 2nd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 15:29, 3rd Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) – 15:34

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 18:58, 2nd Sarah Lindsey (Foyle Valley AC) – 19:20, 3rd Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) – 19:59

Full Results:  St Patrick's Day 5k 2014 Results

Adam Boyd and Hannah Oldroyd excel at Magherafelt 10k:

Athletes turn out for Magherafelt 'Classic' 10k:

On Saturday 15th March 2014, nearly one hundred and fifty runners turned out for the Magherafelt 'Classic' 10k road race in County Derry/Londonderry, a well organised event hosted by newly established club Magherafelt Harriers.

North Belfast Harriers man Adam Boyd, who recently clocked a thirty second 5k personal best of 15:23 at the Armagh International, looked strong as he powered around the 6.1 mile course, before breaking the tape in 33:58.  Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) continued his good run of form, crossing the line in 34:56 (2nd place), before Paul Blaney (North Belfast Harriers), a recent team medallist at the AAI National Masters XC, took 3rd place in 35:09.

Pre-race favourite, Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) was made to work for top honours; the parkrun follower, who was racing after having set a new course record (of 18:37) at the Ecos parkrun in Ballymena, was joined at the front by Anne Paul (City of Derry AC), but managed to stave off the Spartan's challenge to win in 39:57 (1st place). Anne followed in 40:11 (2nd place), while Springwell Running Club's Gemma Turley finished just over a minute later in 41:24, securing 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:58, 2nd Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) – 34:56, 3rd Paul Blaney (North Belfast Harriers) – 35:09

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 39:57, 2nd Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 40:11, 3rd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 41:24

Full Results:  Magherafelt 'Classic' 10k 2014 Results

Jonny Steede and Diane Wilson win Glenariff Mountain Race:

Glenariff Mountain Race 2014:

On Saturday 15th March 2014, mountain running enthusiasts from across the province turned out for the opening race of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship, the Glenariff Mountain Race in Waterfoot (County Antrim).

After the participants had collected the customary bag of potatoes, it was time for business.  As the athletes made their way along the flat and fast opening section towards the Glen, it was race director and 2011 event winner, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Slieve Gullion winner, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), who led the way to the mountain.  On the 1,200ft ascent, the pair were working well together, with Jonny beginning to break away just before the summit.  However, it was on the downhill section that Jonny Steede began to really open the gap, his fast descent helped him secure 1st place in an impressive 42:48.  Seamus Lynch was next to cross the finish line in 44:07, taking 2nd place.  The final podium place was awarded to the ever consistent, Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) in 45:35 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, it was the 2013 NIMRA Championship winner, Diane Wilson of Dromore AC who led the field.  Diane, who was the convincing winner of the opening race of the 2014 campaign in Slieve Gullion, has been sharpening up for the mountain running season with several outings at the Wallace Park parkrun; this hard work has paid off as she was the first lady to finish in 53:52 (1st place).  Last year's winner, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley) worked hard throughout the race, and after a fast downhill section towards fast and flat finish, the outstanding athlete crossed the line in 55:06, claiming 2nd place.  

The final podium spot was hotly contested between the experienced trio of Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Taryn McCoy (BARF) and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC).  All three ladies worked off each other on the tough ascent and fast descent of Glenariff mountain.  As the three made their way towards the finishing area, Taryn McCoy and Denise Mathers began to move clear of last years runner up, Hazel McLaughlin.  In what was an exciting finish, experienced ultra-runner Taryn, sprinted towards the finish line just ahead of Denise, claiming the final podium spot in 58:54 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 42:47; 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 44:07; 3rd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 45:35

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 53:52; 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 55:06; 3rd Taryn McCoy (BARF) – 58:54

Full Results:  Glenariff Mountain Race 2014 Results

Athletics NI announce Home Countries XC team:

Athletics NI announce squad for upcoming International XC event:

Athletics Northern Ireland have today announced the athletes that will represent Northern Ireland at the Home Countries Cross Country International in Nottingham (England) on Saturday 22nd March 2014.  The squad will be spearheaded by current AAI National Masters XC Champion Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), former NI & Ulster XC Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and NI & Ulster Senior XC medallist Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC).

Northern Ireland Team:

U20 WomenAmy Jackson (City of Derry Spartans AC), Ellish Flanagan (Omagh Harriers), Roisin Flanagan (Omagh Harriers) and Yasmin Wilson (Ballymena & Antrim AC)

U20 Men - Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers)

Senior WomenDanielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC)

Senior MenScott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) and Declan Reed (City of Derry Spartans AC)

Information for article taken from Athletics NI website.

Weekend Preview:  NIMRA Championship & Half Marathon Series begin...

Weekend Preview:  Glenariff Mountain Race, Dune HM, Jimmys 10k...

As a busy weekend of action approaches, endurance enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland will be looking forward to the opening race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series in Newry/Dundalk, while the mountain running fraternity will be hoping for a good start to the newly structured Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship in Glenariff.  The ever popular Jimmys 10k will also attract massive numbers; there are also events in Magherafelt, Derry/L'Derry and Castlederg.

The action kicks off on Saturday 15th March 2014, when mountain runners from across the province will descend on St Patrick's School in the coastal village of Waterfoot (County Antrim) for the annual Glenariff Mountain Race, hosted by Ballymena Runners. 

The race starts with a short road section, before the competitors make their way onto a grassy river bank, which in-turn leads to the steep ascent of the Glen.  After negotiating the steep and at times rocky climb, the athletes then return via the same route, with many places being decided on the final two mile flat section back to the finish.  

Race Director and well respected ultra and mountain runner Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) will hand over the organisational reigns to his club mates as he attempts to win the race for a second time; having won it back in 2011, 'the Steede' will be keen to regain top spot, which has been won for the last two years by City of Derry AC's Allan Bogle.  Allan will not return to defend his title, and the associated honour of a 'hat-trick' of wins, but Jonny could face stiff opposition from training partner and 2013 NIMRA Champion Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners).  Interestingly, going by all available records, and despite all of the honours Stephen has claimed over the years, this is one event he has never won!  It could therefore be presumed that he will be out to rectify that with a victory, and with it, the customary bag of potatoes.  

Armagh AC's Paul McAnespie has finished in or around the top three at this race on a number of occasions, and going by his performance at the Slieve Gullion race two weeks ago, where he finished in third place, that will be the case here once again.  The men who beat Paul that day, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) should also race.  Seamus will be in the thick of the action; his road and trail speed should see him reach the mountain in the same lead group as Jonny Steede, Stephen Cunningham, Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers); it is here were Seamus will excel.  The Ticknock Winter Mountain race winner has the ability to climb, meaning he should hold his place on the steep ascent and descent, then on the long run in to the finish, his strength and speed will come in very useful.  Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners), Emmet McAlister (Ballymena Runners), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) and Jonathan McCloy (Ballymena Runners) will all finish in the top ten.

Slieve Gullion winner and 2013 NIMRA Championship winner Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) will be seeking her first win at this event, and judging by Diane's performances since last season, even two time winner Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) will find it hard to prevent her from doing so.  Diane looked incredibly strong at the Slieve Gullion race, winning by over two minutes.  However, having won this race for the last two years, Shileen O'Kane knows the course well and will be determined to claim victory for a third consecutive year.  In recent times, Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) has secured two second place and two fourth place finishes in Glenariff, so she will be keen to continue that kind of form, as will her Lagan Valley AC club mate Anne Sandford, who is also no stranger to the podium.  Anne finished in third place at this event in 2012 and 2013 and will be hoping to improve on that this time around.  Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) and Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) should all run well. 

Also on Saturday 15th March 2014, newly established club, Magherafelt Harriers will host the Magherafelt 10k classic road race in County Derry/Londonderry, starting and finishing at the impressive Meadowbank Sports Arena.

Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Steve Darby (Barnsley AC) and Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) should be the main contenders.  North Belfast Harriers man Mark McKinstry has been in fine form so far this year, with the highlights being podium places at the NiRunning Trail Race and Sperrin Harriers races in Drum Manor, An Creggan and Lough Fea; Mark won the races in An Creggan (5 miles – 27:32) and Drum Manor (10k – 35:49).  Despite being based in England, Steve Darby has become a regular on the Northern Ireland running scene; the parkrun follower has toed the line no less than twenty two times in 2014, with twelve of these being races and the remaining ten being parkrun events.  Arguably his best run has been at the Central Lancashire Half Marathon, where he recorded 1:20:56 for eleventh place.  Steve's most recent 10k time was 37:37 at the Drewsbury 10k in England five weeks ago.

Aaron Meharg looks to be getting back into the condition that saw him enjoy a fantastic 2012.  After showing huge potential, which included a 2:50:29 marathon outing, Aaron had a bit of a start-stop 2013, but recent races have shown that this year could be the Sperrin Harriers athletes finest to date; he narrowly missed podium places at the Sperrin Harriers races in Drum Manor and Lough Fea, and clocked 28:57 at the Sperrin Harriers 5 mile race in An Creggan.  Other men to look out for could include Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers), Paul O'Callaghan (Sperrin Harriers), Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) and Aidan O'Hagan (Sperrin Harriers).

The ladies race could see an excellent battle between three talented athletes; Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) is a definate starter, and could be joined on the start line by local athletes Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) and Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers).  Like the previously mentioned Steve Darby (Barnsley AC), Hannah Oldroyd is a regular visitor to Northern Ireland, and the multiple parkrun course record holder is also a consistent prize-winner.  She (Hannah) ran 5:05 for the mile last year (2013), with this years most impressive performance being at the Raheny Shamrock 5m road race, where the previous 'Original Cookstown Half Marathon' winner crossed the line in 31:07.  

Karen Alexander's CV makes for good reading, the Northern Ireland international runner went through the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series unbeaten, winning all five of the races in a convincing manner; meanwhile, her club mate, Pauline McGurren, looked to be in good shape as she cruised to victory at the Carmen 10k last weekend.  Pauline won in 39:18, a time that will surely put her amongst the podium finishers here.  Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club), Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Nuala Kelly (Sperrin Harriers), Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) and Jenny Algar (Carmen Runners) will all be hoping for top ten places.

In Derry/Londonderry on Saturday 15th March 2014, City of Derry AC will host a St Patrick's 5k road race within the confines of Gransha Grounds.  The annual event is aimed at both recreational and competitive athletes, and should therefore attract a sizeable number of participants.  This may well include top quality athletes such as Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC), Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) and Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) amongst others.

On Sunday 16th March 2014, the 2014 Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series will begin in Newry, with the second annual running of the DUNE cross-border Half Marathon, which will see competitors race from Newry in Northern Ireland to Dundalk in Ireland, the opposite direction to last year.

It is likely that Clonliffe Harriers pair Gary O'Hanlon and Tudor Moldovan will battle it out at the front, in what could be an exciting race.  Newly crowned AAI National 50k Champion, Gary O'Hanlon, won here last year (1:15:27) and will start as pre-race favourite. Tudor Muldovan has a 13.1 mile personal best of 1:08:00, but he hasn't really shown that form since.  Late last year (2013), Tudor raced at the Enniskillen 10k, where he finished as runner up to City of Derry AC man Declan Reed, having crossed the line in 32:55.  

Local hero and WPFG medallist Don Travers (Newry City Runners) will also play a prominent part in proceedings; having finished just outside the podium places at last years event, he will be eager to improve on that.  The Newry City Runners man will also be keen to replicate his performance throughout the 2013 Half Marathon Series, win he was crowned winner of the Vet35 category.  Maurice McMahon (North East Runners), Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) and John McCambridge (St Peter's AC) should all go well, while Michael McKeown (East Down AC) and Angus McCready (Up & Runners) are likely to continue there 100% attendance in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series, having completed all thirty seven races since the Series began back in 2009.

Lagan Valley AC lady Catriona Donaldson could return to defend the title she won so impressively twelve months ago.  In the inaugural running of the event, Catriona led the ladies home comfortably, with a massive nine minute gap between her and the second place finisher.  Ciara Coffey (Club Pulse AC) has kept a low profile in recent months, but could return for this; Ciara claimed a podium spot at the Newry City Half Marathon last year, after completing the distance in 1:28:17.  Despite the fact that this is an entirely different event, it shows that Ciara has the ability to mix it up at the front.  Newry City Runners ladies Anne Havern and Caroline Wade could also feature, while Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC), Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) and Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC) will all be hoping for good placings.

Also on Sunday 16th March 2014, nearly six hundred athletes are expected to take to the streets of Downpatrick (County Down) for the annual Jimmys 10k road race, an event hosted by East Down AC and seen by many as the first major 10k race of the season.

Amongst the hundreds of competitors, there will be some well-known faces, this will include athletes such as Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers), David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and James Brown (East Coast AC).  Local athlete Brendan Teer has enjoyed many wins over the years, with at least eighteen top spots last year and two so far in 2014; however, this race, probably the one that would mean the most, has always eluded him.  The closest Brendan has come to the top prize has been a third place finish in 2012, could this be his year?  His 25:47 winning time at the Albertville 5 mile road race two weeks shows that the NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion is in good form.  Ever consistent North Belfast Harriers athlete Eamon White was part of the bronze medal winning County Antrim team at the AAI National Masters XC Championships in Dunboyne (Ireland) three weeks ago and will take that confidence into what will be his first road race of the year.  

David O'Flaherty and James Brown have both looked strong in the last few months, David was part of the triumphant Newcastle AC team at both the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships and the Comber Cup.  On an individual basis, David has won the Moira XC and the Comber XC, adding to a podium finish at the Rollercoaster 5k, where he finished behind Brendan Teer.  Like the aformentioned Eamon White, James Brown was also part of the medal winning County Antrim team at the AAI National Masters XC Championships in February (2014); the Larne based runner enjoyed a massive five mile personal best of 26:34 at the Albertville 5 at the beginning of this month.  Based on this, James will smash the 35:14 finish time he achieved here twelve months ago.  Addiction NI 10k winner, Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) will also challenge at the front, as will North Down AC trio Dennis Scott, Stephen Wylie and Brian Barron.  Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Nat Glenn (East Coast AC) and Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) should all place well.

International duathlete Judith Lonnen looks like the strongest lady on the pre-entry list; the City of Lisburn AC athlete never fails to impress, whether it be in running or duathlon/triathlon.  Two weeks ago, Judith took second place at the Setanta Duathlon in Dundalk; interestingly, finishing behind another quality runner, Heather Foley (Unattached).  Barring late entries from the likes of Heather or athletes such as Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) and Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Judith should be the pace setter.  However, Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) should be there or there abouts.

Denise has a 10k personal best of 38:35, which will see here contest a prize-winning place.  The Ballydrain Harriers athlete, who has shown excellent progression in the last year, took fourth place at the recent Comber Cup XC, so should be feeling good going into this race.  It will also be interesting to see how much she (Denise) takes off her 40:08 finish time from last year.  Amanda Perry beat Denise at the Comber Cup XC, but Denise appears to run better on the firmer surfaces, which could make for an exciting dual between the pair, who both travelled to Cardiff (Wales) last year to represent Northern Ireland at the British & Irish Masters International Cross Country.  Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC), Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC) and Andrea Heslip (Dromore AC) will all finish well up the field.

Sunday 16th March 2014 will also bring the annual instalment of the very worthwhile Paula's Run, a 5k event in Castlederg (County Derry/Londonderry), run in memory Paula Gallen, who sadly passed away in 2008.  The race is expected to attract a good mixture of local fun runners and well-known athletes, all aiming to set a decent time, whilst raising money for charity.

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

NI athlete Lauren Quee claims personal best and victory in Scotland:

Lauren Quee and John McManus claim Pb's in Scotland:

On Sunday 9th March 2014, Northern Ireland international cross country runner, Lauren Quee (Glasgow University), claimed an impressive victory at the Balloch-Clydebank Half Marathon in Scotland.

Lauren was joined on the start-line by another athlete from Northern Ireland, East Coast AC's John McManus, as well as nearly five hundred other competitors.  John, a 'Comrades Ultra-Marathon' finisher, was representing his Scottish club, Garscube Harriers, and was the first of the pairing to complete the course, crossing the line in a new personal best of 1:21:32 (33rd place).  This was just under a minute ahead of Lauren Quee, who also clocked a massive new personal best as she led the ladies home in 1:22:24 (1st place); interestingly, this was nearly three and a half minutes quicker than her previous 13.1 mile personal best of 1:25:52 (2013).  The men's race was won by Robert Gilroy (Cambuslang Harriers) in 1:08:21.

Full Results:  Balloch-Clydebank Half Marathon 2014 Results

Northern Ireland runners impress in Ireland, England and Holland:

Local athletes compete outside Northern Ireland:

On Sunday 9th March 2014, several athletes from Northern Ireland joined in excess of two hundred and fifty participants at the third race of the Finn Valley AC 5k Series in County Donegal (Ireland).  Paul McCafferty (City of Derry AC) and Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC) both claimed prizes; Paul won in 16:24 (1st place), with race two podium finisher Stephen (16:29) following five seconds later in 2nd place.  Stephen's Foyle Valley AC club mate Matthew McLaughlin finished just outside the top three in 4th place, after completing the course in 17:41.

On the same day (Sunday 9th March 2014), local runners Peter Fleming (Ballymena Runners) and Mark Ramsey (Unattached) were also in action outside the province.  Peter travelled to England for the well-known 'Grizzly' 20 mile multi-terrain race in East Devon (England); this event attracts approximately one thousand five hundred participants on an annual basis and is held in the highest regard by the UK running community.  Peter completed the tough course in 3:22:12, slashing a massive twenty five minutes off his time from 2013.  The race was won by Ceri Rees (Wild Runners) in 2:20:13.  

Meanwhile, Mark Ramsey joined 40,000 runners at the ABN AMRO Hague Half Marathon in Holland.  In warm and sunny conditions, Mark ran a new 13.1 mile personal best of 1:59:03; this was a personal best and the first time that the Belfast man has ran under two hours for the Half Marathon distance.  The race was won by Kenyan athlete John Mwongang in 1:00:26.

Closer to home... North Belfast Harriers' Simon Reeve collected the top prize at the Resolution Run 10k race in Craigavon.  The event, which is organised to raise money for charitable causes, saw competitors cover a course around the Craigavon Lakes area; there was also a 5k race.  Simon led the 10k field home in 37:19 (1st place).  There was also a large representation from Lurgan based club, St Peter's AC.  Full results for the event are not available.

Full Results:  Finn Valley 5k 2014 Results - ABN AMRO Hague Half Marathon 2014 Results - The 'Grizzly' 2014 Results (Photograph of Stephen Connor used above was taken from the Foyle Valley AC facebook page).

Barrie Atkinson and Jennifer Black impress at Addiction NI 10k:

Nearly 200 runners support charity 10k:

On Sunday 9th March 2014, nearly two hundred runners descended on Ormeau Park, Belfast, for the Addiction NI 10k road race; the event is primarily organised to raise worthwhile funds for the charitable organisation, but attracted several well-known local athletes.

East Down AC man Barrie Atkinson produced the performance of the day; having won the Masters race at the IAAF Antrim International XC in January 2014, it was obvious that Barrie was in good form, but he proved that was indeed the case, winning in a new personal best of 33:50 (1st place).  North Down AC's Stephen Wylie took 2nd place in 35:04, while Neill Weir (Lunchtime Legends) recorded 35:25 for 3rd place.

In the ladies race, Jennifer Black (BARF), a top ten finisher in the recent Stormont XC, continued her good form.  Jennifer looked assured at the front of the pack as she dominated proceedings from the off, before sealing victory in 39:34 (1st place).  Triathlete Aishling Allum (Olympian Triathlon Club) and Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC) also ran well, taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively; Aishling clocked 42:06, with Allyson finishing just under under ninety second later in 43:34.

Top 3 Men:  1st Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 33:50, 2nd Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) – 35:04, 3rd Neill Weir (Lunchtime Legends) – 35:25

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jennifer Black (BARF) – 39:34, 2nd Aishling Allum (Olympian Triathlon Club) – 42:06, 3rd Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC) – 43:34

Full Results:  Addiction NI 10k 2014 Results

Conor Bradley and Ann-Marie McGlynn excel at SSE Airtricity WCM 10k:

SSE Airtricity Walled City 10k 2014:

On Sunday 9th March 2014, organisers of the SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon officially kicked off the run up to their 26.2m main event this June (2014), with the first of two warm up events, a 10k road race, taking place in Derry/Londonderry.

City of Derry AC men Conor Bradley, Declan Reed and Emmet McGinty, and Foyle Valley AC duo Scott Rankin and Adrian McGowan all played their part at the head of the field, but in the end, it was current Athletics NI 10k (Road) Champion and Commonwealth Games hopeful, Conor Bradley who claimed victory.  Conor saw off a strong challenge from Scott Rankin to break the tape in 31:56 (1st place), with Scott following just three seconds later in 31:59 (2nd place); Declan Reed completed the men's podium in 32:11 (3rd place).

As expected, Irish international Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) proved a force to be reckoned with in the ladies race.  The Lifford AC star, who was an AAI National 5,000m Silver medallist in 2013, broke the tape in 35:16; not only was this enough to secure the ladies title, but also saw Ann-Marie finish in sixth place overall.  AAI National Masters and NI & Ulster Masters 3,000m Champion, Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) also had an excellent run, sealing 2nd place in a massive new personal best of 36:31, before Omagh Harriers' Ita Kelly recorded 44:15 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) – 31:56, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 31:59, 3rd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 32:11

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 35:16, 2nd Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) – 36:31, 3rd Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers) – 44:15

Full Results:  SSE Airtricity 10k 2014 Results

Allan Bogle, Matt Wray and Karen McLaughlin win in Limavady:

Roe Valley Trail Race 2014:

On Saturday 8th March 2014, Springwell Running Club welcomed athletes to Roe Valley Country Park in Limavady for a day of exciting trail races, which included events for both junior and senior athletes.

After the competitive junior races, it was time for the ladies to take to the start line for their 8k race; during which, the host club, Springwell Running Club featured heavily at the front.  Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) ran well, leading the field home in 36:47 (1st place).  Fellow Springwell Running Club athletes Kerrie McIlmoyle (37:25) and Rebecca Conlon-Elwood (37:32) followed in 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

The penultimate event of the five race programme was the Veteran and Junior Men's 8k, which brought an excellent battle between Matt Wray (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Peter Cromie (Unattached).  Matt Wray eventually assumed control, breaking the tape in 29:47 (1st place).  Peter Cromie finished in 29:51 (2nd place), while Michael Kelly (Armagh AC) secured 3rd place in 29:59.

In the Men's (8k) Open event, pre-race favourite, Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) led from the off, the Spartan athlete progressively opened the gap between himself and the remainder of the field, before crossing the line in 27:31 (1st place).  North Belfast Harriers' Simon Reeve recorded 30:04 for 2nd place, before Bruce Lovell (Vegan Runners UK) completed the top three in 30:15 (3rd place).

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) – 36:47, 2nd Kerrie McIlmoyle (Springwell Running Club) – 37:25, 3rd Rebecca Conlon-Elwood (Springwell Running Club) – 37:32

Top 3 Veteran/Junior Men:  1st Matt Wray (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 29:47, 2nd Peter Cromie (Unattached) – 29:51, 3rd Michael Kelly (Armagh AC) – 29:59

Top 3 Open Men:  1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 27:31, 2nd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 30:04, 3rd Bruce Lovell (Vegan Runners UK) – 30:15

Full Results:  Roe Valley Trail Race 2014 Results

Stephen Duncan and Pauline McGurren win Carmen 10k:

Carmen Runners welcome record numbers to annual 10k road race:

On Saturday 8th March 2014, a record number of athletes turned out for the annual Carmen 10k road race is Carrickmore, Omagh; an event hosted by local running club Carmen Runners.

The pre-race talk was focused around the return of former winner, and current NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), and it was indeed Stephen who stole the show.  The Northern Ireland international looked a class above the field as he cruised to victory in 31:57 (1st place), thus regaining the title he won in 2012 and couldn't defend in 2013 due to injury. Armagh AC man, Leroy Brady followed just over two minutes later in 34:13 (2nd place), before Gavin Corey (35:01) led a large contingent from Sperrin Harriers home in 3rd place.

The ladies race produced a similar story, with Sperrin Harriers' Pauline McGurren dominating proceedings.  The talented athlete, who really came to the fore in 2013, looked strong as she broke the tape in 39:18 (1st place) to win; interestingly, this was just twelve seconds outside her personal best for the distance (39:06).  The host clubs Jenny Algar replicated her 2013 finishing position, when she once again secured 2nd place, sixteen second quicker than last year, in 42:59; Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) brought her good form from the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series onto the roads with a 43:15 (3rd place) finish.

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) – 31:57, 2nd Leroy Brady (Armagh AC) – 34:13, 3rd Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) – 35:01

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 39:18, 2nd Jenny Algar (Carmen Runners) 42:59, 3rd Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) – 43:15

Full Results:  Carmen 10k 2014 Results

Weekend Preview:  Athletes look forward to events in Omagh, Belfast...

Weekend Preview: Road and Trail events in Omagh, Belfast, Derry/L'Derry...

Last weekend, the Albertville 5 signified the beginning of the road racing season in Northern Ireland; this week, the local running fraternity will have at least three road races and one trail race to choose from, with events taking place in Omagh, Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and Limavady.  Junior athletes from NI will also travel south for the Irish Schools XC in Cork (Ireland).

The action kicks off on Saturday 8th March 2014, when Carmen Runners host their annual Carmen 10k road race in Carrickmore, Omagh (County Tyrone), an event that always seems to attract a decent crowd and several 'high profile' names.

Last years winner, Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), should return to defend his title; despite the fact that one of the pre-race favourites, Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) has had to withdraw, the recently crowned AAI National 50k Champion (Gary) will still have battle on his hands if he wants to retain his trophy, this will come in the form of Northern Ireland man Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers).  

Stephen is a previous winner of the event and has returned to racing, after almost a year away from the sport, in fine fashion, with convincing wins at the NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships and the Enniskillen XC.  Stephen has run 30:51 on this course before (2012), which must surely put him at the top of the list when it comes to potential winners.  Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) and Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) should also play a part at the front; Paul hasn't featured in 2014 so far,  but the locality of this race will provide the perfect opportunity for him to lace up the racers and hopefully improve on his fourth place finish last year.  Fergus McGirr has started the year well, with a podium place at the Enniskillen XC and a win at the recent Omagh CBS 10k; based on this form, the Enniskillen RC man should finish well up the field, as will Dermot Kerr (Armagh AC), Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club), Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners), Eoin Mullan (Annadale Striders), Aaron Parks (Armagh AC) and Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers).

NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) may make a rare appearance on the roads; the cross country specialist rarely takes to the tarmac, however, considering the likelihood of a strong Omagh Harriers turn out, Michelle may well join her club mates on the start line.  Should she (Michelle) do so, the talented lady will prove hard to beat.  That will not stop fellow Omagh Harriers athletes Julie Butler and Patricia Campbell from having a go, Julie had a superb outing at the recent Stormont XC, where the cross country international took a few 'scalps', including the aformentioned Michelle Sturm, to win.  Meanwhile, Patricia Campbell showed good strength throughout the Sperrin Harriers Winter Trail Series, ultimately winning her Vet45 category.  Other top performers in the Sperrin Harriers Series, Nuala Kelly (Sperrin Harriers), Caroline Miller (Omagh Harriers), Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers), should all race, and will be amongst the top finishers if they do; Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners), Mairead McCann (Omagh Harriers) and Mairead Mc Aleer (Carmen Runners) will all have similar ambitions.

Also on Saturday 8th March 2014, Springwell Running Club will welcome athletes to Roe Valley Country Park in Limavady (County Derry/Londonderry), for their popular Roe Valley Trail Races.  The event programme includes something for everyone, with the Senior/Veteran races covering 8k within the scenic country park.

Established mountain/trail runners, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) could race; with the event taking place seven day's before the Glenariff Mountain Race, it would be the perfect opportunity for the duo to 'test' themselves.  Both enjoyed a good cross country season but most recently, Allan won the Sperrin Harriers 10m trail race at Lough Fea (Saturday 1st March 2014), while Jonny won the NiRunning 5m trail race three weeks ago (Sunday 16th February 2014).  Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) could also enter on the day; the ever-consistent North Belfast Harriers athlete seems to be at home on the trails, with some of his best performances coming over the terrain.  Mark was a regular on the podium at the Sperrin Harriers Winter Series, winning three of the five races, he also claimed a medal at the NiRunning Trail Race.  Other men to look out for could include Richard Johnston (City of Derry AC), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), Andy Gregg (Larne AC) and Ballymena Runners' Kevin O'Boyle, Ben Morrow and Mark Alexander.

Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) will be the stand out performer in the ladies race, the Sperrin Harriers star has been pretty much unbeatable recently, winning all five races in the Sperrin Harriers Trail Series, as well as the Moira XC and the Dungiven 10k road race.  Several ladies who will be hoping to stop Karen defending her 2013 crown, could be Springwell Running Club duo Gemma Turley and Gillian Wasson.  Both ladies played a major part in their clubs success in the Athletics NI XC League; individually, Gemma took fifth place at the Albertville 5 last weekend, against a top quality ladies field, adding to a podium place at the Dungiven 10k in January 2014.  Gillian's last race was the Enniskillen XC, where she was a top ten finisher; over this terrain, the Northern Ireland international mountain runner will be a tough competitor.

Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) may return to action, the same could be said for City of Derry AC's Anne Paul, who took the runners up spot behind Karen Alexander at the Sperrin Harriers 5m trail race in An Creggan last month (February 2014).  Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club), Hannah Su (Sperrin Harriers), Sharon Harvey (Ballymena Runners) and Shelley Tomlins (Ballymena Runners) will all be looking for high placings.

Further afield, on Saturday 8th March 2014, a large number of junior athletes from Northern Ireland will travel south to Cork (Ireland) for the Irish School's and Varsity XC Championships.  Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) and Madison Bowyer (City of Lisburn AC) are just two of the runners who will make the trip.  The NiRunning team wish each and every one of the up and coming stars the very best of luck for the competition. 

On Sunday 9th March 2014, organisers of the SEE Airtricity Walled City Marathon, will begin the official run up to their 26.2 mile event (on Sunday 1st June 2014), with a 10k road race in the host city, Derry/Londonderry.  The course, which will cover some of the marathon route, will be prominently based around the banks of the River Foyle, and will start and finish in Ebrington Square in the City Centre.

Local man, Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) will be seen by most as the pre-race favourite.  This is perfectly justified when looking at the Spartans recent record, which includes top honours at the AAI National Masters XC Championships as well as a 25:46 clocking at the Raheny 5 mile road race.  Declan could be joined on the start line by Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) and Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers).  Like Declan Reed, Emmett McGinty was part of the strong City of Derry AC squad who won the Athletics NI XC League, and the 31:57 10k man crowned off the season with a second place finish at the Stormont XC two weeks ago.  The man he (Emmett) finished behind that day, won in impressive fashion, before going on to record a speedy 14:54 at the Armagh International 5k, so he should be high in confidence going into this race.  

As will his Foyle Valley AC team mate, Chris McGuinness, who ran well at the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships, finishing just outside the top ten (in thirteenth place).  Since then, he has run 15:59 and 15:47 for 5k, with the 15:59 securing victory at the Lifford AC 5k road race.  The 15:47 5k came at the Armagh International; at the same race, Belfast man Conor Curran also ran a new personal best.  Conor covered the Armagh course in a new personal best of 16:00 and looks to be in good form.  Just last week, he (Conor) finished in fourth place at the Albertville 5, running 26:40 for the distance.  A week prior to that, the AAI National 5,000m medallist claimed second place at Born 2 Run's Minnowburn 10k in Belfast.  Recent Finn Valley AC 5k winner, Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) may also toe the line, where he could be accompanied by Noel Logan (City of Derry AC), Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC), Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC) and Benny Mullan (City of Derry AC) amongst others.

Irish International Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) could toe the line; the all-terrain specialist was one of Northern Ireland's top performers throughout 2013, with just two highlights of a glittering twelve months being selection for Ireland at the European Cross Country Championships and a win at the Waterside Half Marathon, where she ran 1:19:47.  Lifford AC ladies, Natasha Adams and Claire McGuigan will also be contenders should they decide to enter; current NI & Ulster and AAI National Masters 3,000m Champion, Natasha Adams finished fourth in last week's Cara Bundoran 10 mile road race, crossing the line in 1:00:44.  In the same race, Claire McGuigan ran 1:04:52 for eighth place, this followed a good win at the Lifford AC 5k in County Donegal (Ireland) two weeks ago, where she ran 18:46.

Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC) and Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) may also be among the leading ladies.  Marina showed real potential throughout the Athletics NI XC League, in particular, her performance at the McConnell Shield XC in November 2013, caught the spectators attention.  Since then, Marina has produced good performances at the 'Run in the Dark' in Belfast and the Malcolm Cup XC.  Current NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion and NI & Ulster Intermediate XC medallist, Sarah Lindsay has really came to the fore in the last few months, and taking into consideration her fast improvement, the Foyle Valley AC athlete should be in or around the podium place.  If fit, Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC), Trish McClintock (Foyle Valley AC), Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) and Paula McGilloway (City of Derry AC) should all finish within the top ten.

Also on Sunday 9th March 2014, athletes from across the province will descend on Ormeau Park, Belfast, for the Addiction NI 10k road race; the race, although aimed at raising funds for charity, should attract some notable entries.

Amongst these are experienced and competent performers, Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Brian Young (Unattached) and Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC).  On paper, Stephen Wylie would be the most obvious choice if you were tasked to pick a winner.  His 10k personal best of 33:47 is the quickest of the bunch, alongside this, he (Brian) recorded a thirty second 3,000m personal best of 9:18 at the Armagh 3k recently.  Brian Young is best known for his outstanding displays on the the local trail running scene, just last week the unattached athlete took a podium place at the Sperrin Harriers 10 mile trail race at Lough Fea; last summer, he looked in good shape at the East Antrim Harriers Forest Series and the Crawfordsburn Trail Race.  

On the other hand, Barrie Atkinson's track speed and strength over cross country could give him the edge on the roads.  The East Down AC man grabbed an excellent win in the Masters race at the IAAF Antrim International Cross Country at the turn of the year, were his aforementioned strength and speed were evident in the latter stages.  It will therefore be an excellent battle should all three men race.  Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC), David Noble (Larne AC), Paul Horan (North Belfast Harriers) and James Robinson (East Coast AC) will also be worth watching.

There should be a strong Orangegrove AC representation in the ladies race, with Julie McKimm, Sharon Dickenson and Jacqueline Maxwell all set to start. This trio will finish well up the field, but out of the pre-entries, the lady to watch is East Coast AC's Allyson O'Toole.  Allyson has progressed well in the last twelve months, and secured a prize at the Runher 5k event in 2013.  Three weeks ago, the Larne based athlete finished as runner up to Jessica Craig (North Down AC) a the NiRunning 5m Trail Race.  Grainne Keenan (City of Lisburn AC), Stephanie Irvine (North Down AC) and Lindsay Doulton (North Down AC) will be aiming for personal bests and highly placed finishes. 

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

NiRunning and BMC announce details of 'Festival of Miles 2014':

NiRunning and BMC announce details of 2014 'mile' event:

Since the NiRunning (Northern Ireland) website was set up in August 2012, our NiRunning Mile has been a prominent event in our annual schedule, it is something that we are extremely proud of.  It is therefore with great pleasure that we announce that this years 'Mile' will be a combined event, a 'Festival of Miles', in conjunction with the world renowned British Milers Club (BMC) and sponsored by our good friends at ChampionChip Ireland.

The 'Festival of Miles' will take place on Tuesday 6th May 2014 and will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first ever sub four minute mile, run by Roger Bannister on the 6th May 1954.  It is only fitting that the event will take place at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the newly refurbished Mary Peters Track in Belfast.  The exciting race programme will kick off at 7pm and will include mile events for runners of all abilities, after all, EVERYONE needs a mile time!

BMC's Northern Ireland Secretary, John Glover commented, "The British Milers Club is delighted to be working in association with NiRunning in promoting the 'Festival of Miles' to commemorate the 60th anniversary of perhaps the most momentous event in the history of our sport, the breaking of the four minute barrier for the one mile. 

Despite the fact that the athletics world has long since gone metric, the imperial mile still holds a certain magic among runners and although Sir Roger Bannister's magnificent achievement seems to come from another era, the ability to put together four laps taking less than a minute each is still a worthy target and has only been accomplished by thirteen Northern Irish men in the six decades since.  

Interestingly, this year is also the 60th anniversary of the first woman to run under five minutes. This was Britain's Diane Leather just twenty three days after that wonderful night in Oxford in 1954.  The 'Festival of Miles' however, is not about breaking four or five minutes, although we would be delighted if this were to be achieved, rather it is a rare opportunity for everyone to test themselves over the magic mile, 60 years, almost to the hour when history was made." 

NiRunning's Ryan Maxwell echoed John Glover's comments, adding “for us (NiRunning), the NiRunning Mile is something that we have grown from the website's first days.  To watch it grow and now to run it in conjunction with the BMC, whilst celebrating such an important event in the history of running, is an incredibly proud moment for me personally.  I would love to see runners of all abilities come along and make the night one to remember.”

Entry Information:

Entry will cost £3; pre-entry is encouraged, please email your Name, Club (if applicable), Date of Birth and Target Mile Time to John Glover at [email protected] and then pick up your race number on the night (on payment of registration fee); further details or enquires can be sent to the same address or [email protected] 

NI ultra-runners to represent Ireland at IAU World & Euro Championships:

NI duo selected for IAU World and European 24hr Championships 2014:

Northern Ireland ultra-runners Susan McCartney (Unattached) and Eddie Gallen (Unattached) have been selected to represent Ireland at the IAU World and European 24 hour Championships in Pilzen, Cech Republic on the Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd June 2014.

This is further excellent news for the Northern Ireland running community, after Annadale Striders' Paul Pollock was named in the Ireland team for the upcoming IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.  Susan, who will be making her international debut, is now living in Berkshire (England), but competes locally on a regular basis.  She claimed top honours at the 26extreme Mourne Way (52.4 mile) Ultra, as well as a runners up spot at the Energia 24 hour Race at the Mary Peters Track last Summer (2013).  In the Energia 24 hour event, Susan covered an excellent 197.1k, finishing just behind Irish 24 hour record holder Ruthann Sheahan (Athenry AC), who will also travel to the Czech Republic.

Belfast born Eddie Gallen, who now lives in Madrid (Spain), has represented Ireland at the last six IAU 24 hour World Championships and has completed twenty five 24 hour races, including all four of the Energia 24 hour races, where he has claimed two second place finishes and two third place finishes.  Eddie's last outing over the time period saw him cover 215k.

The energetic pairing will be joined by the aforementioned Ruthann Sheahan, as well as two familiar and friendly faces to ultra-runners in Northern Ireland, namely John O'Regan (Le Cheile AC) and Eoin Keith (Boards AC).  NiRunning would like to wish Susan, Eddie and the entire Ireland team the very best of luck at the IAU World and European 24 hour Championships.

Paul Pollock selected for IAAF World Half Marathon Championships:

AAI select Paul Pollock for IAAF World Half Marathon Championships 2014:

Northern Ireland man Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) has been selected to represent Ireland at the upcoming IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark on Saturday 29th March 2014.

The well-deserved selection follows Paul's personal best of 1:03:52 at the Bath Half Marathon (England) yesterday (Sunday 2nd March 2014), which was enough to secure 3rd place at the prestigious event.

Speaking about his selection, Paul explained “I'm delighted that Athletics Ireland have selected me for what will be my 2nd World Half Marathon Championships.  It's disappointing that there won't be a full Irish team competing but I'll try my best and hopefully will come back with a better outcome than my 34th placing two years ago”

NiRunning would like to wish Paul, and the entire Ireland team the very best of luck at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. 

Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) wins Finn Valley 5k race:

Foyle Valley AC athletes claim podium places in County Donegal (Ireland):

On Sunday 2nd March 2013, nearly three hundred runners turned out for the second race of the Finn Valley AC 5k Series in County Donegal (Ireland); there were several Northern Ireland based athletes amongst the large field, and two claimed podium finishes.

Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), who won the Letterkenny 5m road race in County Donegal in January 2014, continued his impressive start to 2014 with another fine performance.  The Foyle Valley AC man broke the tape in 16:02 (1st place); he (Adrian) was followed into the finish area by Foyle Valley AC club mate Stephen Connor, who recorded 16:29 (2nd place) for the distance.  

The next NI runner home was another Matthew McLaughlin (Foyle Valley AC), who took 8th place in 17:53.  Derry City Track Club's Conor McCullagh just missed a top ten finish when he claimed 11th place in 18:07, this was just under a minute ahead of another Foyle Valley AC competitor, Michael McGowan, who ran 19:02 for 16th place.  The ladies race was won by Eimear McDermott (Finn Valley AC) in 21:07.

Full Results:  Finn Valley 5k Series (Race 2) 2014 Results

Don Travers and Gillian Cordner claim prizes at Born 2 Run event:

Born 2 Run 'Run Forest Run' Rossmore Forest 10k 2014:

On Sunday 2nd March 2014, nearly three hundred particpants took part in the Born 2 Run Events 'Run Forest Run' Series event in Rossmore Forest, Monaghan (Ireland).  As Born 2 Run are a Northern Ireland based company, it was anticipated that a large number of local athletes would make the journey to compete.

This did prove to be the case, and it was Don Travers (Newry City Runners) who led the Northern Ireland contingent home in 36:30; this was enough to secure 2nd place behind race winner Caoimhin Kelly (Club Unknown), who broke the tape in 35:23 (1st place).  Born 2 Run events regular Stuart Paulin (Unattached) narrowly missed a podium place as he finished in 38:04 (4th place), just ahead of another local athlete, Stephen O'Connor (Banbridge AC), who recorded 40:04 for 6th place.

After a short gap in familiar faces, it was Seapark AC's endurance specialist Bobby Irvinne who appeared next; Bobby crossed the line in 44:47 (20th place), with Unattached athlete (and NI resident) Sebastian Wisniewski (45:06) and Banbridge AC's Eugene O'Gorman (46:14) taking 22nd place and 27th place respectively.  Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) then added to her podium place at the East of Ireland Marathon Series event last weekend, after securing 3rd place in the ladies race, with a time of 46:25.

Glenn Smart (County Antrim Harriers) followed a mere six second later in 46:31 (31st place), with Seapark AC's Gary Connolly (32nd place - 46:32) just one second behind him.  Janice Reid, who was part of a strong Dromore AC group who made the short border crossing, completed the course in 48:50 (7th place lady), with only City of Lisburn AC athlete Chris Madden (48th place – 48:18) seperating her (Janice) from her club mates, Wendy Fleming (49:52) and Jeanette Bailie (50:40), who also sealed top ten finishes in the ladies category, with Wendy finishing in 8th place and Jeanette 9th place.  The ladies race was won by Emma McKenna (Club Unknown) in 45:20.

Full Results:  Born 2 Run 'Run Forest Run' Rossmore Forest 10k 2014 Results

Paul Pollock achieves podium place and IAAF standard at Bath HM:

Excellent performances by local runners at Half Marathon's in England, Scotland and France:

On Sunday 2nd March 2014, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland took part in several of Europe's best supported Half Marathon events, the Reading Half Marathon (England), Bath Half Marathon (England), Stranraer Half Marathon (Scotland) and the Paris Half Marathon (France).

Despite a few notable performances, it was former AAI Marathon and Half Marathon Champion, and IAAF World Championship marathoner Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) who stole the headlines, after an excellent display at the Bath Half Marathon (England).  Paul, who went into the race seeking the IAAF World Half Marathon Championship qualifying standard (of sub 1:05:00), produced the performance of the day.  The England based athlete crossed the line in a new personal best of 1:03:52; this was enough to secure 3rd place and the honour of being the first European finisher.  The race was won by Kenyan athlete Nicholas Kirui in 1:03:13.  North Down AC's Francis Marsh was also in competition, he covered the distance in 1:13:47 (30th place).

Magherafelt Harriers were also out in force at the event, with Alvin Taylor (317th place - 1:26:31), Francis Stewart (445th place - 1:28:39), Kevin Murphy (577th place - 1:30:55) and Paul McErlain (930th place - 1:35:33) all representing the relatively new club.

In Reading, at least two local athletes joined nearly 16,000 competitors on the start-line of the very popular Reading Half Marathon (England).  Many of the elite field were aiming for IAAF World Half Marathon Championship qualifying times, but the windy conditions made this almost impossible.  However, despite their disappointment, Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) and Gladys O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) still performed well, with Joe clocking 1:08:26 (23rd place) and Gladys 1:16:40 (14th place lady).  The men's race was won by Team GB's Scott Overall in 1:04:44, while Susan Partridge (Leeds City AC) took the ladies title in 1:12:20.

Further afield, Larne AC's Ian Brennan took on the Paris Half Marathon in France, alongside 40,000 other participants.  In decent conditions, Ian ran well. The Larne man recorded a new 13.1m personal best of 1:37:40.  There was an Ethiopian double at the head of the field, with Mulle Wasihon (1:00:08) and Yebrgual Melese (1:09:24) securing the impressive wins in their respective male and female categories.  In Stranraer (Scotland), Lagan Valley AC's David Wright and Ballymena Runners' Susanna Allen enjoyed good outings at the Stranraer Half Marathon, an event which always attracts participants from Northern Ireland.  David completed the distance in 1:24:57 (16th place), while Susanna ran a new personal best of 1:39:47 (6th place lady).  The race was won by Robert Gilroy (Cambuslang Harriers) and Jennifer Emsley (Arran Runners) in 1:08:29 and 1:18:20 respectively. 

Full Results:  Bath Half Marathon 2014 ResultsReading Half Marathon 2014 Results – Paris Half Marathon 2014 Results (Currently Unavailable) - Stranraer Half Marathon 2014 Results

NI runners David Graham and Tara Malone win Carlingford HM:

Carlingford Half Marathon 2014 - Initial Summary and PROVISIONAL results:

On Saturday 1st March 2014, Northern Ireland based events management compnay 26extreme hosted the annual Carlingford Half Marathon (and associated 10k race), just across the border in County Meath, Ireland; as expected, the well-organised event, which is run in aid of St Brigid's School (Dundalk), attracted quite a few local athletes.

In fact, in the Half Marathon, Northern Ireland runners secured the top places, with well-known triathlete David Graham (Club Unknown), of David Graham Fitness – Hydro Run, leading the field home in 1:13:29 (1st place), this was over two minutes ahead of Unattached Irish athletes David Brady (2nd place - 1:15:53) and John Courell (3rd place - 1:16:24).  Alan Ritchie (North Belfast Harriers) and Nigel Grier (Dromore AC) also ran well, recording 1:17:44 (5th place) and 1:18:41 (6th place) respectively. 


Enniskillen Running Clubs David Somerville (16th place – 1:22:44), North Belfast Harriers' Gerard McNamara (23rd place – 1:24:59) and Ballymena Runners' Ryan Armstrong (27th place – 1:25:25) all finished just ahead of the leading lady, who was Northern Ireland based Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club). Tara secured top honours in an impressive new personal best of 1:26:45 (1st place lady).  Lagan Valley AC's Jonathan Irvine crossed the line just behind Tara Malone, but his official chip time read 1:26:43 (29th place).  Omagh Harriers man Martin Cox followed in 1:27:04 (31st place), while Janice White (Unattached) claimed 3rd place in the ladies race, after finishing in 1:31:43.  NI man Andy Leathem ran 1:32:42 (83rd place), before Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC) and Tina Davies (Dromore AC) claimed top ten places in 1:33:15 (6th place lady) and 1:37:34 (10th place lady) respectively.

Provisional Results:  Carlingford Half Marathon (and 10k) 2014 Results.  Please Note – The above summary is based on PROVISIONAL results and is subject to change as soon as official/full results are available.

Keith Shiels secures victory as NI athletes take podium places:

Northern Ireland well represented at County Donegal event:

On Saturday 1st March 2014, a large number of Northern Ireland based athletes made the short border crossing to Bundoran in County Donegal (Ireland) for the annual Cara Bundoran 10 mile road race.  The popular event, which also includes 5k and 10k races is part of a weekend of sporting action in the town.

There were several notable performances by local stars, with six claiming top ten finishes; however, the performance of the day came from Foyle Valley AC man Keith Shiels, who secured victory in a new personal best of 51:31 (1st place). There was also a podium finish for NI man Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders), after he covered the distance in a speedy 52:26 (3rd place); North Down AC's Dennis Scott took 10th place in a massive new personal best of 57:48.

North Belfast Harriers' Breege Connolly battled it out with Fiona Stack (Raheny Shamrock AC) at the head of the ladies field; despite a brave effort, the Commonwealth Games qualifier was forced to settle for the runners up spot, with Fiona winning in 59:34 (1st place) and Breege crossing the line in 59:46 (2nd place). There were also top ten places for Northern Ireland XC international's Heather Foley (Unattached) and Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), with Heather recording 1:00:57 (5th place) and Danielle 1:01:17 (6th place).  There were numerous other impressive performances by Northern Ireland athletes, for full results (including the 10k), please follow the link below.

Full Results:  Cara Bundoran 10m (and 10k) Road Races 2014 Results

Allan Bogle and Karen Alexander win Sperrin Harriers Winter League race:

Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series – Race 4:  Lough Fea (10 miles)...

On Saturday 1st March 2014, nearly one hundred runners turned out for the final race of the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series 2014; on this ocassion, athletes faced a 10 mile course around Lough Fea, just outside Cookstown.

City of Derry AC man Allan Bogle, winner of Race 1 in the Series, returned and retained his 100% record.  The multi-terrain specialist, who is also an international Orienteer, led the field home in 56:23 (1st place).  Allan was followed just over one minute later by one of the most impressive Series participants, Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), who took the runners up spot in 57:44 (2nd place).  Brian Young (Unattached), a podium finisher in Race 1, replicated that position when he crossed the line in 59:17 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) looked back to her best after a disappointing outing at the Stormont XC last week, as she continued her domination of the (ladies) Series.  Karen made it five wins from five races as she cruised to victory in 1:04:30 (1st place).  Jacquline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) followed in 1:12:29 (2nd place), before Ballymena Runners' Sharon Harvey completed the course in 1:15:57 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 56:23, 2nd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 57:44, 3rd Brian Young (Unattached) – 59:17

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:04:30, 2nd Jacqueline Mulligan (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:12:29, 3rd Sharon Harvey (Ballymena Runners) – 1:15:57

Full Results:  Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series (Race 5) 2014 Results (including final Series standings)

Brendan Teer retains title as Fionnuala Britton catches headlines:

Albertville 5m Road Race 2014:

On Saturday 1st March 2014, hundreds of athletes descended on the Duncrue Industrial Estate, Belfast, for the Albertville 5 mile road race, an event which signifies the beginning of the road racing season in Northern Ireland.

The annual race caused quite a stir amongst the Northern Ireland (and wider) running community, with the unexpected appearance of esteemed Irish International and double European Cross Country Champion, Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC).

Although Fionnuala's appearance has attracted most of the attention, it was last years winner Brendan Teer (East Down AC) who dominated proceedings.  The former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion made his intentions clear from the off, powering clear of the field in the early stages.  Despite good performances from the likes of Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Darryl Blair (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) and James Brown (East Coast AC), it was the East Down AC man who crossed the line first, retaining his title in 25:47 (1st place).  Experienced athlete Paul Rowan showed that he is returning to his best after recording 26:07 (2nd place) for the distance, before East Coast AC's in-form James Brown completed the men's top three in a new personal best of 26:34 (3rd place).

Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) was amongst the pack in pursuit of Brendan Teer throughout the race, and although she was unable to 'hold on' towards the end, the exceptionally talented star clocked an excellent 26:43 (1st place) to win the ladies race comfortably; interestingly, Fionnuala claimed fifth place overall. Newcastle AC's Kerry O'Flaherty, another top quality participant, showed that she is in good form in the run up to a trip to America, as she took 2nd place in a personal best of 28:46.  North Belfast Harriers' Claire Connor (29:53) followed up a good run at the Armagh International 3k last week with a 3rd place finish.

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 25:47, 2nd Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) – 26:07, 3rd James Brown (East Coast AC) – 26:34

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) – 26:43, 2nd Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 28:46, 3rd Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) – 29:53

Full Results:  Albertville 5m Road Race 2014 Results - Photo's from the Albertville 5m Road Race are available within our 'Photo Gallery'.

Seamus Lynch and Diane Wilson win NIMRA opener at Slieve Gullion:

Athletes enjoy NIMRA season opener:

On Saturday 1st March 2014, mountain running enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland travelled to Slieve Gullion mountain, just outside Newry, for the opening fixture of the 2014 NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association) calendar, the Slieve Gullion Mountain Race, hosted by Armagh AC.

A crisp, sunny morning welcomed the athletes, most of whom seemed quite excited about the return of regular local races.  As they set off on the 3.9 mile course, which included 340 metres of ascending, the in-form Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) took up position at the head of the back.  

However, as they reached the tough climb, Seamus was joined by club mate Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), with Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC), John Kelly (Newcastle AC), Colum Campbell (Newcastle AC), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Eddie Hanna (Mourne Runners), Richard Bell (Mourne Runners) and Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) all forming the chasing pack.  In the ladies race, 2013 NIMRA Champion Diane Wilson was leading the way, from Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Mary Mackin (Dromore AC).

As the athletes reached the summit and began to descend, it was Seamus Lynch who assumed control; the Ticknock Winter Mountain Race winner gradually opened a gap on the consistent Deon McNeilly, and by the time he had reached the fast final section towards the finish line, the aforementioned lead had grown. Despite this, Seamus continued his relentless pace, covering the final yards quickly to break the tape in 31:58 (1st place).  Deon McNeilly followed in 32:27 (2nd place), before the host clubs Paul McAnespie claimed the final podium place in 32:55 (3rd place).

Diane Wilson continued her unbeatable form from the last campaign, finishing well to secure 1st place in 38:07.  Interestingly, Diane is one of very few ladies to have broken forty minutes on the course.  The ever impressive Shileen O'Kane took 2nd place in 40:14, while Sarah Graham (43:30) stamped her mark on the new season with an excellent run for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 31:58, 2nd Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 32:27, 3rd Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) – 32:55

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 38:07, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:14, 3rd Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners) – 43:30

Full Results:  Slieve Gullion Mountain Race 2014 Results.  Photo's from the Slieve Gullion Mountain Race will be added to our 'Photo Gallery' on Sunday 2nd March 2014.

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

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