Northern Ireland Running

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Kent Swann and Leann Gibson secure wins at inaugural Cordners Spar 5k:

Cordners Spar (Ballybean) 5k Road Race 2015:

On Tuesday 31st March 2015, almost fifty athletes took on the inaugural Cordners Spar 5k road race, an event co-hosted by Willowfield Harriers and held in the Ballybean area of Belfast.

At the head of the pack, it was North Belfast Harriers man Kent Swann who impressed most.  The Resolution Run 10k winner added another trophy to his cabinet when he secured top spot in 17:35 (1st place), just ahead of the host club's David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) who ran 17:41 (2nd place).  Curtis McCaw (Ballydrain Harriers) completed the top three in 18:11 (3rd place).

In the closely contested ladies race, Leann Gibson continued her good form, which included a 19:40 for 5k at the Queen's last week, when she broke the tape in 20:20 (1st place).  Willowfield Harriers' youngster Lois Hagen followed in 20:41 (2nd place), before Ruth Peroli (Lagan Valley AC) crossed the line in 21:04 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) – 17:35, 2nd David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) – 17:41, 3rd Curtis McCaw (Ballydrain Harriers) – 18:11

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Leann Gibson (Orangegrove AC) – 20:20, 2nd Lois Hagen (Willowfield Harriers) – 20:41, 3rd Ruth Peroli (Lagan Valley AC) – 21:04

Full Results:  Cordners Spar 5k Road Race 2015 Results

Pure Running Half Marathon Series continues to grow in popularity:

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2015:

This year’s Pure Running Half Marathon Series kicked off three weeks ago and already it is clear that it will be as popular and competitive as always.  

Entries for the first three races, the DUNE Half Marathon, Larne Half Marathon and Omagh Half Marathon are up by 3% on last year and surpassing the 4,000 mark.

The DUNE Half Marathon, a race from Newry to Dundalk, started the ball rolling with over 450 entrants.  

The hilly climb out of Newry tested their metal but the overall winner, Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) completed the route in 1:09:47, with the ladies Mary Laverty (North East Runners) finishing in 1:23:07.  The AES Larne Half Marathon had another bumper turnout, their biggest ever with over 1,500 entrants.  On possibly the warmest day of the year so far, course records were shattered by Vincent Kiprotich from Project Africa in 1:06:15 and North Belfast Harriers’ Breege Connolly in 1:16:20.

The extremely popular Omagh Half Marathon, which took place just last weekend, maintained its record as the biggest event of the Series to date with almost 2,150 entrants.   Despite the windy conditions, Gideon Kimosop (Project Africa) clocked a fast winning time of 1:05:15.  His countrywoman Selina Kangogo, also of Project Africa, just beat Cathy McCourt to take the ladies title in 1:19:44.  There is a short break before the next leg which is the Newry Half and Marathon on Sunday 24th May 2015, where times will count from the Halfway point of the marathon if so wished. 

How do you take part in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2015?

Registration has now opened on the Athletics NI website for anyone who wishes to register their times for the Pure Running Half Marathon Series, so rankings can be compiled and updated.  In response to feedback from the competitors, the prize structure has been increased and the number of races required to count in the categories is reduced from 6 to 5.

Pure Running Half Marathon Series – Brief History:

When the Series began in 2009 there were six races and they attracted just over 5,600 entrants, the following year had seven races and just over 7,000 entrants.  In 2011 there were six races again but the entrants continued to flock in and there were over 1,000 entrants on average for each race.  Then in 2012 the Series expand to eight races and the 8,000 mark was exceeded comfortably.  2013 saw ten races in the Series and just short of 9,000 took part with eighteen runners completing all ten. Last year (2014) also had ten races covering more of the country with a new race, the Dambusters Half Marathon, held around the Silent Valley area in the Mourne Mountains.

Michael Jenkins has been a supporter of the Half Marathon Series since its inception in 2009 and continues to do so with his Pure Running brand  Pure Running are the chief sponsor along with ChampionChip Ireland, Ward Sports Management and Athletics NI.

Two runners have taken part in all 47 races to date.  Antrim man Angus McCready of Up & Runners and Michael McKeown who runs for East Down AC and is a regular prize winner also in his category.

The Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2015 will be comprised of the following races:

Saturday 15th March 2015 - DUNE Cross Border Half Marathon from Newry to Dundalk

Saturday 21st March 2015 – AES Larne Half Marathon

Saturday 28th March 2015 – SPAR Omagh Half Marathon

Sunday 24th May 2015 - Newry Half Marathon and Marathon

Wednesday 17th June 2015 – Lisburn Half Marathon

This completes the first half, runners must record a finishing time in at least 2 of these races.

Friday 26th June 2015 – Ards Half Marathon

Saturday 18th July 2015 – Dervock Half Marathon

Sunday 2nd August 2015 – Cookstown Half Marathon

Friday 14th August 2015 – Groomsport Half Marathon

Saturday 22nd August 2015 – Dambusters Half Marathon

Runners must complete at least 5 races from the series with at least 2 from the first half and 2 from the second half and one from either set.  The conditions and prize fund have been changed slightly but runners still must complete all the races in the Series to be awarded a special garment at the end.

The cumulative times of each competitor will be taken to calculate the rank in each category.  If a competitor finishes in more than 5 races then their best 5 times will be used provided they still have completed 2 races from the first half of races and 2 from the second set of races plus one other.  A competitor will stay in the age group they ran in at their first race.  Where two or more competitors have the same cumulative time at the end then their fastest time will be used as a tie break.

As previously mentioned, half way times in the Newry Marathon will be admissible if so desired and Athletics NI will provide a page on their website with regular updates on the leaders in each category and news of the Series.  Competitors are required to register their time through an online form on the Athletics NI website so that their progress can be logged and ranks accurately recorded.  A runner who fails to register their times through the Athletics NI website could be overlooked when the final prizes are awarded as it’s difficult to accurately log all the times from 10,000 entrants across the Series.  It is therefore the responsibility of each competitor to complete the necessary documentation on the Athletics NI website, should they wish to be considered for overall prizes.  A prize-list is available HERE. 

Athletes from NI collect prizes at events in Dunboyne and Athlone:

On Sunday 29th March 2015, a number of runners from Northern Ireland were in action at events in Ireland, namely the Dunboyne 4 mile road race and the GloHealth AAI National Juvenile Indoor Championships in Athlone.

At least five familiar faces were amongst the five hundred strong field at the Dunboyne 4 mile road race in County Meath, Ireland.  North Down AC were well represented and it was Michael Dyer who led the local contingent home in 20:52 (8th place).  Clones AC's Paul Gleeson took 11th place in 21:21, before North Down AC's Francis Marsh and Letterkenny AC's Ann-Marie McGlynn finished within four seconds of each other.  Francis recorded 21:39 for 14th place and top spot in the Vet40 category, while Ann-Marie completed an excellent week (having won the Queen's 5k on Wednesday), securing 2nd place in the ladies race after running 21:43.  

Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) also claimed a top ten finish in the ladies race after crossing the line in 24:29 (7th place).  The race was won by Mark Christie (Mullingar Harriers) in 19:10 (1st place), while Sara Treacy (Dunboyne AC) clocked 21:32 (1st place) to take the ladies title.

Meanwhile, in Athlone, some of Northern Ireland's top up and coming junior athletes were in competition at the GloHealth AAI National Juvenile Indoor Championships at the AIT Arena in Athlone.

There were a number of top drawer performances, but surely the most impressive athlete of the day was City of Lisburn AC's Jake Harbinson. Competing in the Under 17 800m, Jake led the field home in 1:57.08 (1st place).  There was also medals for North Down AC's Aaron Sexton and Lagan Valley AC's Jane Matthews.  Aaron (22.98secs) took 2nd place in the Under 16 200m final won by David Murphy (Gowran AC) in 22.93secs (1st place).  Jane added to the Northern Ireland medal haul when she claimed 3rd place in the Under 19 800m in 2:24.44. The race was won by Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) in 2:20.18 (1st place).

Full Results:  Dunboyne 4 mile Road Race 2015 Results and GloHealth AAI National Juvenile Indoor Championships 2015 Results

David O'Flaherty and Catherine O'Connor win Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k:

Castlwellan Spring Lakes 10k 2015:

On Sunday 29th March 2015, athletes from across the province descended on the County Down town of Castlewellan for the annual Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k (and associated 5k).  The event, which saw competitors cover a predominately trail based course within the scenic Castlewellan Country Park, attracted large numbers from local clubs such as Newcastle AC, East Down AC, Murlough AC and Castlewellan AC.

In the absence of reigning Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC), it was David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), a man who has performed well at the event previously, who dominated proceedings. The versatile athlete looked strong as he led the field home in 35:29 (1st place), well clear of club mates Brendan Quail and Martin Melville who secured 2nd place 3rd place respectively; Brendan crossed the line in 37:20, with Martin following eleven seconds later in 37:31.

Local mountain running international and pre-race favourite, Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) was just as impressive as her victorious male counterpart David O’Flaherty, as she cruised to victory in 40:20 (1st place), an impressive time considering the course.  Sinead McKibbin (Castlewellan AC) took 2nd place and the family bragging rights when she recorded 46:51, finishing ahead of Patricia McKibbin (Unattached), who ran 47:35 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 35:29, 2nd Brendan Quail (Newcastle AC) – 37:20, 3rd Martin Melville (Newcastle AC) – 37:31

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) – 40:20, 2nd Sinead McKibbin (Castlewellan AC) – 46:51, 3rd Patricia McKibbin (Unattached) – 47:35

Full Results:  Castlewellan Spring Lakes 2015 Results

Tony McCambridge and Liz Leitch secure Rabbit Run 5k victories:

Rabbit Run 5k 2015:

On Sunday 29th March 2015, well over three hundred running enthusiasts turned out for the Rabbit Run 5k, an event organised in aid of the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice.

Whilst the focus of the event was on raising much needed funds for the worthwhile charity, there was a competitive race to be run at the front end of the pack.  Young North Belfast Harriers athlete Tony McCambridge was the star of the show on what was a prominently dull and blustery day; the up and coming star led the field home in 18:48 (1st place).  Gavin Campbell (Unattached), a podium finisher at the Resolution Run 5k, took 2nd place in 18:58, while Ian Cleland (Seapark AC) completed the top three in 19:48 (3rd place).

In the very close ladies race, which saw Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) and Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) battle it out for top honours, it was the Orangegrove AC lady who claimed top spot in 23:51 (1st place).  Gillian Cordner followed six seconds later in 23:57 (2nd place), before Louise Smart took 3rd place in 24:09.

Top 3 Men:  1st Tony McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) – 18:48, 2nd Gavin Campbell (Unattached) – 18:58, 3rd Ian Cleland (Seapark AC) – 19:48

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC) – 23:51, 2nd Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 23:57, 3rd Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) – 24:09

Full Results:  Rabbit Run 5k 2015 Results

Gideon Kimosop and Selinah Kangogo secure titles at windy Omagh HM:

SPAR Omagh Half Marathon 2015:

On Saturday 28th March 2015, nearly two thousand competitors took to the start line of one of Northern Ireland's most popular running events, the SPAR Omagh Half Marathon.  

The 13.1 mile event was the third race of the well supported Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015, following on from the successful DUNE Half Marathon and AES Larne Half Marathon.

In windy conditions, the record field negotiated an undulating course, which took them through the spectator lined and atmospheric Omagh Town Centre; the seemingly endless field then completed a rural section of the route before returning to the town where they finished with a short section on the track at Omagh Leisure Centre.

Almost immediately after the athletes set off, Gideon Kimosop (Project Africa) and Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) moved to the head of the field, with Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC), John Frazer (Crusaders AC) and Omagh Harriers men Stephen Duncan and Paul Barbour amongst those in pursuit.  Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) and Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) were the prominent front runners in the ladies race, although Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) and Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) were also well in the mix early on.

As the field moved towards the half way marker, approximately one second split the leading duo of Gideon Kimosop and Paul Pollock.  In the ladies race, it was Selinah Kangogo, Cathy McCourt and Louise Smith who were looking like certain candidates for the top prizes, barring any mis-haps in the remaining 6.2 miles.  

In the latter stages of the event, Kenyan athlete Gideon Kimosop opened a slight lead on recently crowned NI & Ulster 5k Champion Paul Pollock. Gideon, who won the Inishowen Half Marathon last week and Jimmy's 10k and the Altamuskin 5 in the weeks proceeding that, looked strong as he descended back into the town.  He made the final successive left and right hand turns towards the track to applause from the assembled crowd; from here, Gideon completed the final metres on the track, crossing the line in 1:05:08 (1st place).  Paul Pollock followed in 1:06:24 (2nd place), while Vincent Kimosop completed the top three finishers in 1:07:56 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Selinah Kangogo produced an impressive performance to claim victory.  The young Kenyan athlete looked a lot more composed than she did in the final miles at AES Larne Half Marathon seven days ago as she glided off the road and onto the track, breaking the tape in 1:19:44 (1st place).  North Belfast Harriers' Cathy McCourt continued her good form to pip club mate Louise Smith to the runners up prize, with Cathy securing 2nd place in 1:20:12 and Louise 3rd place in 1:21:51.

Top 3 Men:  1st Gideon Kimosop (Project Africa) – 1:05:15, 2nd Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) – 1:06:24, 3rd Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) – 1:07:56

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa) – 1:19:44, 2nd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:20:17, 3rd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:21:51

Provisional Results:  Omagh Half Marathon 2015 Provisional Results

Cathal McLaughlin adds to local medal haul at Euro Indoor Championships:

European Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships 2015:

On Friday 27th March 2015, Northern Ireland based athlete Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City Track Club), added to the Ireland medal haul at the ongoing European Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships in Torun, Poland.  

Following on from Denise Toner's (Clones AC) gold medal over 800m yesterday (Thursday 26th March 2015), Cathal impressed in his Vet45 1500m final.  Up against a strong field, the Derry City Track Club athlete clocked 4:14.24 to secure 2nd place and the associated silver medal.  The race was won by Zbigniew Murawski (Poland) in 4:10.86 (1st place).

Respected local journalist and coach, Malcolm McCausland was also in action on the penultimate day of  the prestigious championships.  Malcolm, a supporter of the NiRunning Mile lined up in the 5k cross country, where he crossed the line in 17:39 to claim 14th place.  The race was won by local hero Krzysztof Borowski (Poland) in 15:22 (1st place).

Full Results:  European Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  The Pure Running Half Marathon Series bandwagon rolls on...

Weekend Preview:  The Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland HM Series bandwagon rolls on…

After an action packed week, which included the excitement of the record breaking Larne Half Marathon and successful performances by local athletes in England and Ireland, then the Queen’s Round the River 5k, it’s now time to look ahead to another exciting weekend of action.

The Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series ‘bandwagon’ rolls into Omagh for the SPAR Omagh Half Marathon, which has attracted a staggering 3,000 competitors over three events, the 13.1 mile Half Marathon, 5k Fun Run and Half Marathon Walk.

Aside from the Omagh Half Marathon, local running enthusiasts can also look forward to events in Newtownabbey, Castlewellan and Jonesborough over the course of the weekend.  Athletes from Northern Ireland will also race in Athlone (Ireland), Prague (Czech Republic) and Berlin (Germany). We’ll take a quick look at these later in the ‘Weekend Preview’, but firstly… let’s see what the Omagh Half Marathon has to offer.

SPAR Omagh Half Marathon:

On Saturday 28th March 2015,  close to three thousand runners from across Northern Ireland (and beyond) will take to the start line of the 26th annual SPAR Omagh Half Marathon in County Tyrone.  The event, which also offers a 5k (and Half Marathon Walk), is the third race of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015.  The start and finish returns to the town’s Leisure Centre and the course will take competitors through the atmospheric town centre and onto undulating rural course, before they return to the town and finish with a short run in on the track.

Talented Kenyan athletes Gideon Kimosop (Project Africa) and Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) will face their toughest test on the road since their arrival in Northern Ireland as part of the Project Africa Athletics programme, as they come up against Northern Ireland half marathon record holder Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and a plethora of talent, including John Frazer (Crusaders AC), Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers), Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC) and Declan Reed (City of Derry AC).  

The Project Africa Athletics programme has brought Gideon, Vincent and fellow Kenyan Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa) to the province for four weeks under the guidance of County Tyrone man Ciaran Collins and his team.

During this time Gideon narrowly missed a podium place at the IAAF Antrim International XC, before going on to win Jimmy’s 10k (30:34), the Altamuskin 5 mile road race (25:33) and the Inishowen Half Marathon in a course record of 1:06:07.  Meanwhile, Vincent finished as runner up to Gideon at both Jimmy’s 10k (30:39) and Altamuskin 5 miler (25:37), before securing victory at the Larne Half Marathon in a course record of 1:06:12.  Gideon and Vincent were due to race at the Queen’s 5k on Wednesday (25th March 2015) but did not start; disappointing, as it would have been interesting to see how they fared against Northern Ireland’s best, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), having had things (with respect) pretty much their own way in recent weeks.

Paul cruised to victory at the Queen’s 5k, increasing his lead gradually over the final 3k to win in 14:43.  This followed on from his podium place at the prestigious Reading Half Marathon three days earlier, where he recorded 1:04:05 for second place in what was a quality field.  The unassuming athlete has a half marathon personal best of 1:02:09, which is the current Northern Ireland record.  Paul has shown his versatility this year (2015), after running 4:06 for the mile, 7:58.78 for 3,000m as well as the aforementioned 5k and half marathon times.  South of the border based athletes Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers) and John Frazer (Crusaders AC) are also due to start and will feature prominently at the front - Olympian Martin Fagan ran 1:00:57 for 13.1 miles back in 2009, but despite recent impressive performances, the Mullingar Harriers man isn’t in that kind of shape at the moment but he did run 1:03:56 last year (2014) at the Charleville International Half Marathon.  On his last visit to Northern Ireland, Martin finished as runner up to Paul Pollock at the Greencastle 5 mile road race at the turn of the year, clocking 24:28 against Paul’s 24:07.  John Frazer has also been in good form this year; the former St Malachy’s AC athlete won the Albertville 5, clocking 25:22 in windy conditions.  Prior to that, he had run 24:35 for 5 miles at the Raheny 5 in Dublin, which interestingly, was won by Martin Fagan in 23:36.

City of Derry AC men Declan Reed and Greg Roberts will also be there or there abouts, having run 1:08:11 and 1:08:12 in their most recent half marathon events.  Declan has been in outstanding form over the winter, collecting the AAI Masters XC, the NI & Ulster Masters XC and the NI & Ulster Senior XC titles.  There is no doubt that the hard working athlete will transfer that to the roads.  Fellow Spartan Greg narrowly missed a podium spot at the recent Wokingham Half Marathon, where he took fourth place in the previously mentioned time of 1:08:12.  Just last week, Greg claimed the second place at the Inishowen Half Marathon in 1:09:23. Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) will significantly reduce his recorded personal best of 1:11:14 based on recent form, including a 15:09 5k at the Armagh International and 52:56 for 10 miles at the Cara Bundoran 10, where he finished in fourth place.

Martin Cox (Project Africa), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Dermot Kerr (Armagh AC), John Devlin (Annadale Striders), Gary Henderson (Armagh AC), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), Aaron Meharg (Foyle Valley AC), John Black (North Belfast Harriers), Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) and Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) will all contest top twenty placings.

Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa) is a late addition to the line up and the young Kenyan will be keen to improve on her second place finish at the Larne Half Marathon last week.  After enjoying comfortable wins at Jimmy's 10k (36:13) and the Altamuskin 5 (29:33), Selinah ran 1:20:11 to finish behind Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers), who smashed the course record to win in 1:16:19.  Local athletes Louise Smith and Cathy McCourt will also be chasing the title and both have impressed over the last number of months; just a few weeks ago, Louise and Cathy represented Northern Ireland at the IAAF Antrim International XC.  Less than 24 hours after the IAAF Antrim Internal XC Louise Smith  took third place at Jimmy’s 10k, crossing the line in 38:13.  Undoubtedly, Louise’s best performance of the year so far came at the NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships, where she secured a gold medal.  Her club mate, Cathy, has been equally impressive – after patiently working her way back from injury last year, Cathy is now starting to see the rewards for that effort.  She (Cathy) kicked off the road racing season with a good win at Jimmy’s 10k, breaking the tape in 29:40.

Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC) will be on hand to pick up the pieces should Selinah, Cathy or Louise faulter – Donna is a consistent performer and is always in or around the podium places; she was only eight seconds away from an overall podium place at the NI & Ulster Masters XC in January 2015, but was rewarded with a silver medal in her Vet45 category.  In 2014, Donna recorded 1:26:34 to take fourth place at this event.

Ultra-runner Fran McFadden ran 1:30:00 last week at the Larne Half Marathon, which was enough to secure fifth place in the ladies race.  On this occasion, Fran will be gunning to dip under that infamous ninety minute barrier, which again, should see her finish within the top five or six ladies.  Enniskillen Running Club’s Oonagh Fitzpatrick, Sperrin Harriers’ Natalie Hall and Dromore AC’s Mary Mackin should make the top ten as well.  Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Janice Plumb (North Belfast Harriers), Penny Lindsay (North Belfast Harriers), Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC), Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners), Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC), Sinead Kerr (Carmen Runners), Mairead McAleer (Carmen Runners) and Kerry McIlmoyle (Springwell Running Club) will also finish well up the field.

GloHealth Juvenile Indoor Championships:

Also on Saturday 28th March 2015, a number of athletes (aged between Under 13 – Under 19) from Northern Ireland are expected to compete against over six hundred junior competitors at the GloHealth Juvenile Indoor Championships at the AIT Arena in Athlone (Ireland).

Stephen McGahey (City of Derry AC), a winner at the GloHealth AAI National Age Group Championships last week and Junior International Roseanne McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC) should both compete.  They will be joined by the following athletes, amongst others:  Aidan McCluskey (Mid Ulster AC), Aaron Sexton (North Down AC), Jake Harbinson (City of Lisburn AC), Fintan Stewart (City of Derry AC), Conor Irving (City of Lisburn AC), Connur Lunnun (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Gareth Thompson (City of Lisburn AC), Aela Stewart (City of Derry AC), Hollie Galbraith (City of Lisburn AC), Emma Scott (Mid Ulster AC), Lucia Warnock (Enniskillen Running Club), Erin McDevitt (City of Derry AC), Lauren Roy (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Charlotte Braithwaite (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Jessica O’Hare (City of Derry AC), Lauren Strange (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Kate Farrelly (City of Lisburn AC) and Sarah Woods (City of Lisburn AC).

Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k (and 5k):

On Sunday 29th March 2015, athletes from the County Down area will descend on Castlewellan for the annual Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k (and associated 5k), which starts in the town (at 1pm) and covers a scenic course around the nearby Castlewellan Country Park.

Reigning Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) should return to defend his title and will be joined on the start line by a number of Newcastle AC athletes.  David O’Flaherty and David McNeilly should head this group; however, Glenariff Mountain Race winner Seamus Lynch may take to the trails and should he do so, he’ll challenge his club mates for a prize-winning place. Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC), Brendan Quail (Newcastle AC) and Marty Melville (Newcastle AC) will also perform well.

Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) will lead the charge for honours in the ladies race.  The ever improving mountain running international may be up against Sam McNeilly, who ran 20:30 at the Queen’s 5k on Wednesday night and Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC).  Laura Gardiner (East Down AC), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) and Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) could also make use of the on the day entries; should they do so, both will contest a podium place.

Rabbit Run 5k:

Also on Sunday 29th March 2015, close to four hundred competitors are expected to turn out for the Rabbit Run 5k in Hazelbank Park, Newtownabbey (11am).  Although this race is geared towards raising worthwhile funds for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, it will also have a competitive edge and ultimately, is a timed race.

There will be a large representation from local running clubs, with North Belfast Harriers, Belfast Running Club, Mallusk Harriers, County Antrim Harriers, East Coast AC, North Down AC, Orangegrove AC, Larne AC, Lagan Valley AC and Seapark AC looking like the Prominent amongst the pre-entries.  Gary Watton (North Down AC), fresh from a personal best of 17:51 at the Queen’s 5k, should play a part at the front and will be joined by the likes of Neal Skelton (Unattached), Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC), Padraig Bingham (North Belfast Harriers), Thomas McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) and Gary Stitt (Mallusk Harriers).

In the ladies race, ultra enthusiast Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) will be there or there abouts, but Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) and recent North Down AC recruit Cara Hamilton may have the edge speed wise, given Gillian’s high level of training for upcoming multi-day events. Kate Montgomery (Lagan Valley AC) has returned to action and should compete, as will Kim Gleave (County Antrim Harriers), Nuala Muldoon (North Belfast Harriers) and Lorna Fitzpatrick (Club Unknown).

Dromintee Rocky Road Challenge 10k (and 5k):

Elsewhere on Sunday 29th March 2015, running enthusiasts can look forward to the Dromintee Rocky Road Challenge 10k (and associated 5k) which will take place in and around the border village of Jonesborough, just outside Newry.  Starting at Dromintee GAC at 12.30pm, athletes will negotiate a tough but rewarding course which will provide views of Slieve Gullion and the surrounding area.

Berlin Half Marathon (Germany) and Prague Half Marathon (Czech Republic):

Further afield on Sunday 29th March 2015, athletes from Northern Ireland will join tens of thousands of fellow runners from across the globe as they take on the Berlin Half Marathon in Germany and the Prague Half Marathon in the Czech Republic.  Orangegrove AC athletes Raymond Leitch and Darren Moffett will be amongst the local contingent heading for Germany, while Ballydrain Harriers pair Mark Earney and Raymond Stanex will more than likely be two of many local runners taking to the cobbled streets of Prague.


As always, Northern Ireland’s nineteen parkrun events will 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. 

Denise Toner secures gold at European Masters Indoor Championships:

European Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships 2015:

This week, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland have been in action at the European Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships in Torun, Poland.  The prestigious competition is ongoing (Monday 23rd to Friday 28th March 2015) and one local athlete has already been crowned European Champion.

Fermanagh based Clones AC star Denise Toner stole the show in her Vet35 800m event.  The NI & Ulster Masters 400m, 800m and 1500m Champion put in a commanding performance to lead the field home in 2:15.73 (1st place). 

Derry City Track Club athlete Adrian Boyle also enjoyed a successful outing.  After securing a place in the Vet35 800m final, Adrian recorded a new personal best of 2:02.16 to take 6th place; the race was won by Spanish athlete Gonzalez Borento in 1:55.61 (1st place).  Derry City Track Club will also be represented tomorrow (Friday 27th March 2015) when Malcolm McCausland and Cathal McLaughlin compete in their 1500m events.

Full Results:  European Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships 2015 Results

Paul Pollock and Ann-Marie McGlynn retain titles at Queen's 5k road race:

Powerade Queens 'Race Round the River' 5k 2015:

On Wednesday 25th March 2015, a sell-out field of seven hundred and fifty athletes took to the start line of the annual Powerade Queen's 'Race Round the River' 5k road race, which also incorporated the NI & Ulster 5k (Road) Championships.

In cold and blustery conditions, Commonwealth Games star and Queen's University student Christine McMahon got the race underway, and with the sound of the horn the field set off quickly on the two and three quarter lap course.  As the runners negotiated the opening straight and the first two tight turns, it was 2014 podium finisher Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) who headed the lead group, which also contained reigning Champion Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers), Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders), Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) and Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers).  

In the ladies race, 2014 winner Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) had the narrowest of leads over NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion Teresa Doherty (Finn Valley AC).  Behind, Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC) were all looking strong.

As the race moved towards the 3k marker, the always impressive Paul Pollock had moved to the front and assumed control.  Over a short distance, the pre-race favourite opened up a gap on Scott Rankin, who in turn had approximately five metres on Andrew Wright and Ryan McDermott. Meanwhile, Ann-Marie McGlynn was stamping her authority on the ladies race, with Teresa Doherty and Natasha Adams in pursuit.

As the leaders covered the final lap relentlessly, Paul Pollock increased his lead at the front and before long, made his way off the Ormeau Road and onto the final 500 metre straight along the Stanmillis Embankment.  Arms aloft, the Annadale Striders and Kent AC athlete cruised into the finish, crossing the line in 14:43 (1st place) to successfully defend his title.  

Just over ten seconds later, the powerful duo of Scott Rankin and Andrew Wright came bounding towards the finish in almost an identical fashion to Scott Rankin and Glen Phair in 2014; having missed out on the runners up spot twelve months ago, Scott was never going to let go here and claimed 2nd place in 14:56, with Andrew clocking 14:57 for a well-deserved 3rd place.

European XC team medallist Ann-Marie McGlynn replicated the achievements of her winning male counterpart Paul Pollock when she sped into the finish to retain her title in 16:28 (1st place).  Teresa Doherty followed, crossing the line in 16:44 (2nd place) before Natasha Adams completed the top three ladies seven seconds later in 16:51 (3rd place).  

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) – 14:43, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 14:56, 3rd Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers) – 14:57

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) – 16:28, 2nd Teresa Doherty (Finn Valley AC) – 16:44, 3rd Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC) – 16:51

Top 3 Men's Teams:  1st North Belfast Harriers 'A', 2nd North Belfast Harriers 'B', 3rd Willowfield Harriers

Top 3 Ladies Teams:  1st North Belfast Harriers, 2nd Springwell Running Club, 3rd North Down AC

Full Results:  Powerade Queens 'Race Round the River' 5k (inc NI & Ulster 5k Championships) 2015 Results

Special Preview:  Queen's Race Round the River 5k 2015...

Queen’s Race Round the River 5k 2015:

On Wednesday 25th March 2015, a sell-out field of seven hundred and fifty competitors will take to the streets of Belfast for the annual Powerade Queen’s ‘Race Round the River’ 5k road race.  This year, the event, which takes place on a flat and fast course around the Annadale and Stranmillis Embankments will also double up and the Northern Ireland & Ulster 5k (Road) Championships.

Competitors will start on the Annadale Embankment at 7pm and cover two and three quarter laps of the course (each lap measures approximately 1.8k), finishing outside the impressive Queen’s University Physical Education Centre (PEC) on the Stranmillis Embankment.  

As always, the race will attract a plethora of talent.  Each and every runner will start with their own hopes and expectations, but we’ll take some time to look at the front of the pack and potential winners and podium placers.

The Men:

In truth, it’s hard to look past Annadale Striders’ Paul Pollock and Kenyan duo Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich, both of whom are in Northern Ireland for four weeks as part of the Project Africa Athletics programme.  Already this year, Paul Pollock has shown his class as well as his versatility, impressing over 3,000m at the European Indoor Athletics Championships and more recently the Reading Half Marathon.  The Northern Ireland half marathon record holder clocked a personal best of 7:58.78 for 3,000m and then recorded 1:04:05 for 13.1 miles, which albeit not a personal best, was enough to secure second place in a quality field. 

Paul is the reigning Champion here having won in 14:20 twelve months ago; his personal best for the distance is 14:13, which was set at the Armagh International 5k in 2013.  If Paul can get close to any of these times, even the in-form Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich will struggle to keep the pace.  Gideon claimed fourth place at the IAAF Antrim International 5k before going on to win Jimmy’s 10k (30:34), the Altamuskin 5 mile road race (25:33) and the Inishowen Half Marathon (1:06:07) – Meanwhile, Vincent finished behind Gideon at both the Jimmy’s 10k (30:39) and Altamuskin 5 miler (25:37) before winning the Larne Half Marathon in course record of 1:06:12.

Foyle Valley AC’s Scott Rankin, a podium finisher here in 2013, has improved even further since then.  Last month, the current NI & Ulster 5,000m (Track) Champion recorded a new 5k personal best of 14:28 at the Armagh International.  However, arguably his best performance to date was a 24:15 personal best at the Raheny Shamrock 5 mile road race in January (2015).  Current NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders) and AAI U-23 1500m and Irish Schools 1500m Champion Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers) will also be worth watching.  Ryan has a 5,000m personal best of 14:52, while Andrew ran 15:30 to take sixth place at this event in 2014 – However, he (Andrew) smashed that time when running 14:33 at the Armagh International last month (February 2015). 

In a field littered with local stars, Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers), Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC), Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers), Martin Cox (Project Africa), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers), Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) and Lindsey Gordon (Meadowhill Project) will all target top ten places whilst assisting their clubs in the team competition.  

Junior stars Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) and Callum Crawford-Walker (Lagan Valley AC) will have one eye on the Junior category, while Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Neil McCartan (East Down AC), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers), Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC), Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) and Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) will hope to set a good benchmark for the upcoming busy Spring and Summer.

The Ladies:

In the ladies race, 2014 winner Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) will return to defend her title.  However, the European XC team medallist (and captain), who won in 16:15 twelve months ago, will have to show the same kind of form that saw her clock 27:12 at the Raheny Shamrock 5 mile road race if she wants to fend off the challenge of newly crowned NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion Teresa Doherty (Finn Valley AC).  Teresa has been outstanding during the early part of 2015, after claiming victory at the aforementioned NI & Ulster Senior XC and arguably more impressive, taking second place at the Armagh International 3k in 9:22.95.

Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa), Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC), Lauren Quee (Lagan Valley AC) and Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC) will contest the remaining podium places.  All have proved their worth in recent weeks - Emma enjoyed a superb performance at the Armagh International, where she finished in the top ten (10th place - 9:48.28) before going on to represent Northern Ireland at the IAAF Antrim International XC.  Selinah Kangogo has cruised to victory at Jimmy’s 10k (36:13) and Altamuskin 5 (29:33) since visiting Northern Ireland, but the Kenyan athlete was forced to settle for second place at Saturday’s Larne Half Marathon (1:20:11), after Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) smashed the course record to win in 1:16:19.  Natasha Adams ran 16:52 for second place here in 2013 and the Letterkenny AC athlete showed her ability once again at the St Patrick’s 5k in Letterkenny last week; she (Natasha) ran a solo 17:07 for victory, a time that the multi title winning Masters athlete will improve on substantially with company.

Since impressing through the cross country season, Lauren Quee (Lagan Valley AC) has been relatively quiet aside from a 10:43 finish at the Armagh International 3k.  This only goes to serve as a warning for her competitors as the NI & Ulster Junior/Intermediate XC silver medallist never fails to impress at her target events – having run 17:52 for third place at the Queen’s 5k last time out, Lauren will be keen to not only replicate her medal winning performance, but to improve on that time.  Going by 2015 performances, Dromore AC star Rebecca Murtagh will go down as ‘one to watch’.  The up and coming athlete kicked off the year with a 10:26 personal best for 3k at the Armagh International, before going on to win the Rollercoaster 5k in Downpatrick.  

Rebecca then followed that up with another victory at the Glaslough 5k in a new best of 18:10 and a runners up spot at Jimmy’s 10k, where again, she recorded a new personal best of 38:01; interestingly, this was nearly two minutes quicker than what she had run over the same course in 2014!

Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Alexandra Kirk (Springwell Running Club), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Jessica Craig (North Down AC) and Emma Hutchinson (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will also claim top ten places, but will face strong opposition from the likes of junior stars Madison Bowyer (City of Lisburn AC), Aife McSheffrey (Springwell Running Club) and Abigail McBroom (Springwell Running Club), and experienced athletes Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club) and Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC).  Penny Lindsay (North Belfast Harriers), Janice Plumb (North Belfast Harriers), Allyson O’Toole (East Coast AC), Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Leann Gibson (Orangegrove AC), Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) and Sarah-Jane McFadden (North Belfast Harriers) will all aim for sub twenty minute finish times.

An exciting night of competition lies ahead and organisers, Queen’s Sport AC would encourage those not racing to come out and support one of the province’s premier road races.  NiRunning will be at the event, providing in race updates (phone signal permitting); a full race summary and results will be available late on Wednesday (25th March 2015) night.

Junior athletes from NI secure medals at AAI Indoor Championships:

GloHealth AAI National Age Group Indoor Championships 2015:

Over the course of the weekend (Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd March 2015), clubs from Northern Ireland were represented at the GloHealth National Juvenile Track & Field Championships at the AIT Arena in Athlone (Ireland).

The packed programme of events, attracted over one thousand five hundred up and coming stars to the track (and field).  All athletes competing over the weekend had qualified through from the five regional finals in Ulster, Dublin, Leinster, Munster and Connacht to reach the prestigious ‘All Ireland’ Championships. Up against quality opposition, the local athletes produced quality performances.

Amongst the highlights of the two days of competition, were silver medals for Northern Ireland based athletes Anna McCauley (City of Lisburn AC) and Stephen McGahey (City of Derry AC).  Anna lined up in the (Under 15) 60 metres and covered the distance in 7.95secs, which was enough to take 2nd place behind race winner Patience Jumbo-Gula (Dundalk St Gerard’s AC), who won in 7.84secs (1st place).  Stephen was also racing over 60 metres, in the Under 18 category ,and impressed with a 7.22secs clocking (2nd place); this saw Stephen finish behind winner Ryan Murray (Bree AC), who ran 7.13secs (1st place).

Full Results:  GloHealth AAI National Age Group Indoor Championships 2015 Results (Photograph used above was taken from City of Derry AC facebook page).

SIAB Schools International XC Championships 2015:

Junior athletes from Northern Ireland also represented Ireland at the SIAB Schools International XC Championships at Santry Demense, just outside Dublin this weekend (Saturday 21st March 2015).  James Edgar (Friends School Lisburn), Eoin McCann (Rathmore), Peter Murray (St Coleman’s College), Olivia Nelson (Strathearn School), Enya Haigney (Loreto Grammar) and Niamh Carr (Loreto Grammar) all ran well.  Full results for the event can be found HERE.

Athletes from Northern Ireland excel at major events in England and Ireland:

Reading Half Marathon (England):

On Sunday 22nd March 2015, at least three runners from Northern Ireland lined up alongside a 15,000 strong field at the annual Reading Half Marathon in England.  The event is well known for attracting a top quality field and this year proved no different with fifty seven athletes clocking a sub 1:10:00 finish time.

Northern Ireland men Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC) and Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) showed their class, with all making the top seven.  Paul took 2nd place in 1:04:05, with Kevin following just over a minute later in a new personal best of 1:05:07 (6th place).  Gary completed an impressive day for the local athletes when he crossed the line in 1:05:15 for 7th place.  The race was won by Amos Kiplagat (Kenya) in 1:03:09 (1st place).

Inishowen Half Marathon (Ireland):

Closer to home on Sunday 22nd March 2015, Northern Ireland based athletes also enjoyed success at the popular Inishown Half Marathon, hosted by Inishowen AC in County Donegal, Ireland.

City of Derry AC's Greg Roberts secured the runners up spot behind County Tyrone based Kenyan athlete Gideon Kimosop.  Gideon won in a new course record of 1:06:07 (1st place), with Greg running 1:09:23 (2nd place).  Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) narrowly missed a podium place when he crossed the line in 1:14:01 (4th place), while East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson and City of Derry AC's James Crampsey also made the top ten after running 1:17:01 (5th place) and 1:19:41 (7th place) respectively.

In the ladies race, Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) sealed a well-deserved victory in 1:27:38 (1st place).  Fellow NI based runner Sandra McKeever (Foyle Valley AC) also claimed a top ten spot after completing the course in 1:49:18 (6th place).

Full Results:  Reading Half Marathon 2015 Results and Inishowen Half Marathon 2015 Results

Jonny Steede smashes course record as NI athletes impress in Wicklow:

Local runners impress at Wicklow Way events:

On Saturday 21st March 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland completed the Wicklow Way Ultra-Marathon, a 51k event (with 1,940m of accumulative ascent) in Ireland which takes competitors through the incredibly scenic Wicklow Mountains, from Glencullen to Ballinastoe and back. 

Northern Ireland based athletes have impressed at this event over the last few years and despite the most competitive field ever taking part, this year was no different. Infact, Jonny Steede (Unattached) produced arguably the best performance by a local athlete at the event when he smashed the course record to win in 3:56:47 (1st place).   Winner of the event in 2014, Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) was the next of the NI contingent to cross the line, clocking 4:22:37 for 5th place, while East Antrim Harriers' Billy Reed also ran well to finish in 4:37:43 (7th place).  

Mark McGinn (Magherafelt Harriers), Martin Mullan (BARF) and Declan Faulkner (Knockmany Runners) recorded 5:05:43 (19th place), 5:07:43 (22nd place) and 5:16:39 (28th place) respectively before Joanne Curran (BARF) secured 2nd place in the ladies race in 5:16:41.  The ladies race was won by Clonliffe Harriers' Suzanne Kenny in 5:10:42 (1st place).  Newcastle AC's Mark King followed in 5:22:35 (32nd place), while BARF's Gerry Kingston completed the tough course in 5:29:48 (39th place).  

Jackie Toal (BARF) claimed a podium spot after taking 3rd place in the ladies race in a time of 5:32:48 – Springwell Running Club duo Nicki McPeake (43th place – 5:34:45) and Ron Peacock (44th place – 5:34:47) finished in quick succession, just ahead of Newcastle AC new boy Phil Hodge who crossed the line in 5:38:41 (49th place).  Dave Evans covered then distance in 5:41:50 (52nd place), while Denise Mathers (Mourne Runners) narrowly missed a podium place in the ladies race when she clocked 5:41:50 (4th place).  Violet Linton (LVO) and Amy Beggs (Larne AC) ran 6:38:25 (9th place) and 6:44:10 (11th place) respectively before Jeff Curry (Lisburn Triathlon Club) and John McBride (BARF) completed the Northern Ireland contingent, with Jeff running 6:49:54 (100th place) and John 7:36:35 (114th place).

Local athletes also performed well in the associated 26k race, which took participants from Ballinastoe to Glencullen. Team Purple's Maurice Harte was the first of the Northern Ireland competitors to finish in 2:09:30 (12th place).  Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) ensured that Northern Ireland was represented on the 26k podium when she secured 3rd place in the ladies race in 2:24:30.  Padraig Muldoon (Armagh AC) completed the course in 2:26:50 (37th place) before Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) sealed 5th place in the ladies race in 2:30:46.  Newry City Runners pair Frank McKenna and Dermot Mathers then took 93rd place and 94th place, with both recording 2:49:42.  The race was won by Rathfarnham WSAF's Brian Furey in 1:48:15 (1st place), while Sarah McCormack (Clonliffe Harriers) won the ladies race in 1:51:40 (1st place).

Full Results:  Wicklow Way 51k Ultra Marathon 2015 Results and Wicklow Way 26k Trail Race 2015 Results

Vincent Kiprotich and Breege Connolly win Larne HM in new course records:

AES Larne Half Marathon 2015:

On Saturday 21st March 2015, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on the coastal town of Larne for the 26th annual AES Larne Half Marathon.  The well organised event, hosted by Larne AC, was also the second race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015.

In perfect running conditions, the seemingly endless field of runners set off on the 13.1 mile journey which would take them along the famous County Antrim coastline, between Larne and Ballygally.  

First though, they had to negotiate a two mile inland section around the Town Centre and it was Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) who completed this and made his way onto the spectatular Coast Road first.  Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) followed with Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), Jarlath McKenna (Bristol & West AC) and Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) in a tight group; Dennis Scott (North Down AC) was just behind the trio.  

In the ladies race, there was very little between leader Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) and Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa), while Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers), Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) and Fran Mc Fadden (Springwell Running Club) all looked like potential podium contenders.

As the athletes came off the Coast Road and progressed through the half way point on another inland section, around the undulating Cairncastle area, it was Kenyan athlete and runner up in Jimmys 10k, Vincent Kiprotich who was looking like a certain winner.  He had just under a minute on Eddie McGinley, who in-turn had opened up a gap of approximately one minute on Jarleth McKenna and Brian Campbell.  Breege Connolly went through half way in 37:47, nearly seventy seconds ahead of Selinah Kangogo.  Maeve Lavery, Roisin Hughes, Fran McFadden and Lyndsey Pronger were all in pursuit.

On the final stretch of Coast Road from Ballygally into the scenic finish on the Promenade in Larne, Vincent Kiprotich was beginning to look tired; Eddie McGinley was obviously cutting the gap, but the strong running Project Africa athlete (Vincent) dug deep and maintained his lead.  He crested the final hill before dropping down onto the Promenade and the last 800 metres.  Vincent covered the distance quickly and to loud applause from the hundreds of spectators, he broke the tape in a new course record of 1:06:12 (1st place). Eddie followed in 1:07:01, taking a well-deserved 2nd place.  In an epic battle for the final podium place, Northern Ireland native Jarlath McKenna out-paced local hero Brian Campbell (4th place – 1:11:15) for 3rd place, clocking 1:11:12.

In the ladies race, the outstanding Breege Connolly covered the inward section of Coast Road relentlessly and it wasn't long before the North Belfast Harriers athlete, a winner of the Cara Bundoran 10 mile Challenge last week, appeared onto the final straight – with ease, Breege cruised to victory in a new course record of 1:16:19 (1st place).   A tired but happy Selinah Kangogo followed in 1:20:11 (2nd place), before Maeve Lavery completed the ladies top three in 1:24:49 (3rd place).

In the associated three person relay event, Ballymena Runners won the Men's race in 1:16:23 (1st place) and the Ladies in 1:28:30 (1st place), while North Belfast Harriers claimed the 'Mixed' Relay in 1:17:27 (1st place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) – 1:06:12, 2nd Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 1:07:01, 3rd Jarlath McKenna (Bristol & West AC) – 1:11:12 

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:16:19, 2nd Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa) – 1:20:11, 3rd Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) – 1:24:49

Full Results:  AES Larne Half Marathon 2015 Results – Photos from the AES Larne Half Marathon will be added to our 'Photo Gallery' in the coming days.

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

Weekend Preview:  AES Larne HM takes centre stage…

The Spring Half Marathon season and popular Pure Running-Championship Ireland Half Marathon Series kicked off last week with the unique cross border DUNE Half Marathon; it’s now pretty much full steam ahead for the long distance enthusiasts with several 13.1 mile events taking place over successive weeks – Larne Half Marathon, Omagh Half Marathon, Rotterdam Half Marathon and Marathon, London Marathon are all on the horizon.

This week’s offering is one of the province’s top road races, the AES Larne Half Marathon.  The event has attracted in excess of 1,500 entries and will be the highlight of the weekend action for the local running fraternity.  However, there are other events, with athletes from Northern Ireland set to compete at races in Ireland and England as well.

AES Larne Half Marathon:

Given its status, and of course a tiny hint of favouritism on our part, our weekend preview will focus on the aforementioned AES Larne Half Marathon (it’s our ‘home town’ Half Marathon) on Saturday 21st March 2015., The event, organised by Larne AC, covers a stunning route along the County Antrim coastline between Larne and Ballygally. 

There are two short inland sections to break things up; early on, competitors will run along the spectator lined Main Street, then after negotiating the outward section of the Coast Road, the record breaking field will complete an undulating 2-3 miles in and around the Cairncastle area before returning to the Coast Road and making their way back to Larne and the finish line on the scenic Promenade beside Larne Leisure Centre.

Kenyan athletes Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich, both of whom are currently in Northern Ireland as part of the Project Africa Athletics programme in County Tyrone, could well make use of the on the day entry system.  Should they do so, the busy pair will feature prominently at the head of the pack.  Gideon kicked off his time in Northern Ireland with a fantastic performance at the IAAF Antrim International cross country.  There, he missed a podium place by seconds, taking fourth spot; in the days after, he went on to win Jimmy’s 10k and the Beragh 5 mile road race.  On both occasions, his friend Vincent Kiprotich (full name: Vincent Chepyegon Kiprotich) was forced to settle for second place, with just three or four seconds splitting them – this time, he’ll be keen to overturn things.

Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC) and Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion) could also be potential starters.  All three have been in action over the last week following quiet winters.  Just last Tuesday (17th March 2015), Eddie cruised to victory at the St Patrick’s Day ‘Craic 10k’ in 31:40 in what was his first race of 2015.  

At Jimmy’s 10k last Sunday (15th March 2015), Joe McAlister took third place behind Kenyan duo Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich and the four times Larne Half Marathon winner will hope to test the pair over the longer distance.  In 2014, Joe won here in 1:09:49, but given his recent return to competition it is unclear as to how ‘race fit’ he is – based on his 32:07 at Jimmy’s, Joe isn’t too far off where he was twelve months ago.  In the last two weeks, Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) has enjoyed quality outings at the Albertville Harriers 5 mile road race and the DUNE Half Marathon; in the latter, Paddy ran 1:09:47 for 13.1 miles, which should put him in contention here.

Former winner of the event, Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) is another man who has returned to the local running scene recently.  The Larne native had a good run at the Albertville Harriers 5 mile road race two weeks ago, where he recorded 26:17 to take fourth place.  Given the fact that Brian is working his way back to full strength, he’s unlikely to finish in or around his 13.1 mile personal best of 1:08:46, but a time close to his 1:11:37 finish at Belfast City Half Marathon in 2014 should see him feature in the prize-winning places – an achievement which will please the spectators should it happen.  Interestingly, Brian’s previously mentioned best of 1:08:46 was set on the old Larne Half Marathon course when he won in 2007.

England based athlete Jarlath McKenna (Bristol & West AC) ran a personal best of 1:12:14 at the Bristol Half Marathon in 2014, which was a massive four minutes off his previous best of 1:16:25 set three months earlier.  His recent form (a 16:38 parkrun last week) would suggest that Jarlath may complete the course somewhere around 1:14:00, which should put him in the same group as North Down AC club mates Stephen Wylie and Dennis Scott.  Stephen and Dennis had an excellent battle for third place last year (2014), a contest that ‘dragged’ them both to new personal bests of 1:14:20 and 1:14:22 respectively.  Stephen went on to take another eight seconds off that time when he ran 1:14:12 at the Ards Half Marathon later in the year.  Both will return in the hope of replicating their performances and could line up alongside Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Martin Cox (Project Africa) and Francis Marsh (North Down AC).

Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners), Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC), Conor McMullan (Annadale Striders), Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) and Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) will all run well, while Pure Running Half Marathon Series stalwarts Michael McKeown (East Down AC) and Angus McCready (Up and Runners) will continue their phenomenal record of taking part in every race in the Series since its inception in 2009.

The ladies race should bring IAAF Antrim International cross country competitor and winner of Jimmy’s 10k (36:13) and Beragh 5 mile (29:33) road races Selinah Kangogo (Kenya) to the start line.  Selinah is another of the Project Africa athletes based in County Tyrone for the next four weeks and showed her class at the previously mentioned events.  Although finishing further down the field at the International XC, Selinah cruised to victory in Downpatrick and Beragh and in truth, should do the same here.

Reigning Champion Fiona Stack (Raheny Shamrock AC) was a late entrant twelve months ago and could well turn up on the day again.  The in-form Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) and triathlete Heather Foley, podium finisher in 2014, could also sign up at the last minute.  If all three race, it should make for an excellent spectacle at the front.  One lady who is definitely due to start is the returning Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) – after some time away from the competitive scene it’s good to see Roisin return; a very capable athlete with a 13.1 mile personal best of 1:27:21 and Marathon best of 3:01:10, the North Belfast Harriers lady is a welcome addition to the line-up and should perform well despite not having raced over this distance in some time.

Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club), Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) and Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) are also worth watching.  All three have won races in the last three or four weeks, with Fran winning the Valleys 5k, Lyndsey the Addiction NI 10k and Gemma the Magherafelt Harriers 10k and will therefore go into the race high in confidence.  There is no record of Gemma having raced over the Half Marathon distance before, so she could very well be the one to watch from the ever impressive trio.  Kerry McIlmoyle (Springwell Running Club), Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners), Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC), Catherine Pinkerton (Springwell Running Club), Paula Owens (DUB Runners) and Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) all add to the line-up and will be aiming for top ten places, as will Pauline Bayliss (Orangegrove AC), Andrea Heslip (Dromore AC), Linda Gillen (Springwell Running Club), Collette McCourt (DUB Runners), Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) and North Belfast Harriers pair Janice Plumb and Athanasia Sevastaki.

Wicklow Way Ultra Marathon (Ireland):

On the same day (Saturday 21st March 2015), a number of athletes from Northern Ireland will travel south to Ireland for the annual Wicklow Way Ultra in the scenic Wicklow Mountains in County Wicklow.

The tough ‘out and back’ route from the legendary Johnnie Foxes Pub in Glencullan to Ballinastoe will take athletes along trails, forest paths and even a ‘board walk’ as they negotiate 51k in distance and 1,940 metres of ascent.  Reigning Champion Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) will return; the Larne based athlete will be joined by training partner and another former winner, Jonny Steede (Unattached) as well as 2013 ladies Champion Denise Mathers (Mourne Runners).  Dale Mathers (Mourne Runners), Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers), Dave Evans (BARF) and Amy Beggs (Larne AC) will also race as the NI contingent come up against tough opposition, including previous winners Paul Tierney (Ambleside AC), Eoin Keith (Boards AC) and Donna McLoughlin (Unattached).

SIAB Schools International Cross Country Championships (Ireland):

Also in Ireland on Saturday 21st March 2015, several junior runners from Northern Ireland based schools will represent Ireland at the SIAB Schools International XC Championships at Santry Demense, just outside Dublin.

Amongst those included in the thirty two strong team, who will take on quality opposition from England, Scotland and Wales, are James Edgar (Friends School Lisburn), Eoin McCann (Rathmore), Patrick McNiff (Banbridge Academy), Peter Murray (St Coleman’s College), Olivia Nelson (Strathearn School), Enya Haigney (Loreto Grammar) and Niamh Carr (Loreto Grammar).

GloHealth National Juvenile Indoor Track & Field Championships (Ireland):

Over the course of Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd March 2015, clubs from Northern Ireland should be well represented at the GloHealth National Juvenile Track & Field Championships at the AIT Arena in Athlone (Ireland).

The packed programme of events, which will see over one thousand five up and coming stars take to the track (and field).  All athletes competing over the weekend have qualified through from the five regional finals in Ulster, Dublin, Leinster, Munster and Connacht to reach these prestigious ‘All Ireland’ Championships.  Day 2 (Sunday 22nd March 2015) will be streamed live via Athletics Ireland TV with commentary from the ‘Jumping the Gun’ team.

Reading Half Marathon (England):

On Sunday 22nd March 2015, at least three runners from Northern Ireland will be in action at the Reading Half Marathon in England.  The event has always been known for its fast course, but this year brings additional amendments to make it even faster, according to organisers.

Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders/Kent AC), Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) and Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC/Cardiff AC) will join in excess of fifteen thousand fellow competitors, including a stacked elite field on the start line.  Paul goes into the event fresh from his new 3,000m indoor personal best of 7:58.58 at the European Indoor Championships in Prague, while Gary enjoyed a classing personal best of 1:04:40 at the recent Wokingham Half Marathon.  Kevin will hope to show the same kind of form that saw him record 30:11 at the Trafford 10k in England earlier this month.


As always, Northern Ireland’s nineteen parkrun events will 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. 

Entries open for 2nd annual Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race:

Entries now AVAILABLE for the Mourne Skyline MTR & ‘GTR’:

Entries for the Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail-Race and the associated Granite Trail Race (‘GTR’) opened yesterday, St Patrick’s Day (Tuesday 17th March 2015) and have already attracted interest from all over the world, with competitors from Italy, France, Germany, Serbia and South Africa amongst those who have signed up to take on the 2nd annual running of the event.  

Following the success of last year’s inaugural Mourne Skyline MTR and ‘GTR’ and the worldwide media hype surrounding the event, the 200 entries available (for each race) are expected to sell quickly – Already, close to 75% of the available places in the Mourne Skyline MTR have been allocated.

The Mourne Skyline MTR, which takes place on Saturday 24th October 2015 (8am), is organised by popular local website and is part of the Skyrunning UK Series alongside races in England, Scotland and Wales – It offers competitors the opportunity to test themselves against world class opposition over a tough but incredibly scenic 35k course, which includes 3,370 metres of ascent.  In 2014, British Ultra Running Champion Kim Collison took the men’s title in 3:57:09, while two times Skyrunning (Skyrace) World Champion Stevie Kremer (USA) secured top honours in the ladies race, after recording 4:24:25.

The Granite Trail Race (‘GTR’) opens the weekend festivities on Friday 23rd October 2015 (7.30pm) and covers an uphill only route.  The course measures 2 miles in distance with approximately 1,000ft of ascent, taking competitors from the Newcastle Promenade, up the historic Granite Trail to the atmospheric and unique finish at Millstone Quarry, where finishers can take in the stunning night time views over Newcastle and the wider Mourne area.  Local athlete Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) excelled in 2014, taking victory in the men’s race in a time of 16:18; European XC Championships team medallist Sarah McCormack won the ladies race in 17:29.

Race Director Ryan Maxwell is enthusiastic about the 2015 event, saying “Last year, we were overwhelmed by the support and kind words from all over the world regarding the Mourne Skyline MTR and the ‘GTR’.  That has continued into this year, with almost 75% of available places snapped up in just over 24 hours.  It would be easy to rest on our laurels after the success of last year, but this is not something we do, nor is it the kind of team we are - we are working tirelessly to build on the success of 2014 and are hopeful that the races will continue to draw so much positive attention to Northern Ireland and the local running scene.”

Already this year, several local, national and international companies have come on board to show their support for the event, this includes Clif Bar, ‘The Ultra-Runner Store’, Manor Healthcare and Cotswold Outdoor.  Speaking in relation to Clif Bar’s involvement in the Mourne Skyline MTR for the first time, their UK & Ireland Marketing Manager David Smith said, “Clif Bar & Company is very excited to be partnering with the already iconic ‘Mourne Skyline MTR’ in 2015. Focused on sports nutrition and snacks for adventure, the family and employee-owned company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community and planet.”

Full details of the event, including race entry can be found on the official Mourne Skyline MTR website at

Danny Mooney and Natasha Adams win Letterkenny 5k:

St Patrick's Day Letterkenny 5k 2015:

On Tuesday 17th March 2015, Northern Ireland athletes Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) and Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC) celebrated success at the Letterkenny AC St Patrick’s Day 5k road race in County Donegal (Ireland).

The event attracted over one hundred and sixty competitors but it was the NI duo who stole the headlines. Danny, who is better known for his exploits over 1500m, pipped Letterkenny AC club mate Darren McBrearty to top spot, crossing the line in 15:58 (1st place) with Darren following in 16:03 (2nd place).

In the ladies race, Natasha enjoyed a much more comfortable win, leading from start to finish to seal a well-deserved victory in 17:07 (1st place). This not only ensured that the ever improving athlete took the ladies title, but saw her finish in 5th place overall.

Full Results:  St Patrick's Day Letterkenny 5k 2015 Results

Gideon Kimosop and Selinah Kangogo take top honours at Altamuskin 5:

Altamuskin 5 mile Road Race:

On Tuesday 17th March 2015, well over two hundred athletes toed the line for the 6th annual St Patrick's Day Altamuskin 5 mile road race in County Tyrone.  

On the sound of the gun, the field made their way downhill and immediately, the Project Africa trio of Gideon Kimosop, Vincent Kiprotich and Selinah Kangogo moved to the head of the pack.  This set the tome for the remainder of the race, with Gideon and Vincent gradually increasing their lead at the front of the men's race and Selinah out in front of the ladies. Just like their head to head battle at Jimmy's 10k 48 hours earlier, Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich contested top spot for almost the entire route, before Gideon edged it by a few seconds.  He (Gideon) clocked 25:33 (1st place), while Vincent crossed the line in 25:37 (2nd place).  Northern Ireland based Project Africa athlete Martin Cox completed a clean sweep for the newly brought together team in 27:21 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Selinah Kangogo continued her relentless pace throughout, before breaking the tape in 29:33 (1st place). This not only sealed victory in the ladies race, but saw the talented athlete take 5th place overall. Sperrin Harriers' Pauline McGurren claimed 2nd place in 31:51, before Charlene Abraham (Unattached) crossed the line in 32:15 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Gideon Kimosop (Project Africa) – 25:33, 2nd Vincent Kiprotich (Project Africa) – 25:37, 3rd Marin Cox (Project Africa) – 27:21

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa) – 29:33, 2nd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 31:51, 3rd Charlene Abraham (Unattached) – 32:15

Full Results:  Altamuskin 5 mile Road Race 2015

Eddie McGinley and Geraldine Branagh win St Patrick's Day 'Craic 10k':

St Patrick's Day 'Craic 10k' Road Race 2015:

On Tuesday 17th March 2015, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on Belfast City Centre for the 1st annual St Patrick's Day 'Craic 10k'. The course started outside City Hall and covered both the East and the West of the capital before finishing in the Titanic Quarter.

Eddie McGinley returned to action with a classy performance; racing for the first time in 2015, following his fourth place finish at the Greencastle 5 on Boxing Day (2014), the Annadale Striders athlete led from gun to tape. As early as the 1k marker, Eddie had opened a sizeable lead, which increased further as he cruised to victory in 31:40 (1st place). Recently crowned Ulster Schools XC Champion Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) also ran a solo effort, crossing the line in 34:24 (2nd place). This was enough to see Conal finish thirty two seconds ahead of Beechmount Harriers man Niall Farquharson, who recorded 34:56 (3rd place).

There was a equally dominant performance by Dromore AC's Geraldine Branagh in the ladies race. Geraldine moved into top spot early on and despite tiring in the latter stages, the Irish international XC runner held on to claim victory in 41:34 (1st place). Natalie Thompson (DUB Runners) followed in 41:52 (2nd place), before Fiona Prue (Ballydrain Harriers) completed the top three in 42:42 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 31:40, 2nd Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) – 34:24, 3rd Niall Farquharson (Beechmount Harriers) – 34:56

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Geraldine Branagh (Dromore AC) – 41:34, 2nd Natalie Thompson (DUB Runners) – 41:52, 3rd Fiona Prue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 34:56

Full Results:  SPAR Craic 10k 2015 Results

Local athletes secure titles at AAI Masters Indoor Championships:

GloHealth AAI Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships 2015:

On Sunday 15th March 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to the AIT Arena in Athlone (Ireland) for the GloHealth AAI Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships, an event attended by almost four hundred competitors.

During a day of top competition, several of the local athletes produced medal winning performances. Amongst the medal haul were a number of title winners, including Tim Shiels (Derry City Track Club), Jim Harris (Orangegrove AC), Denise Toner (Clones AC), Frank Stewart (City of Derry AC), Jonathan Carleton (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City Track Club) and Robert Bigger (Derry City Track Club).

Tim Shiels picked up a British Masters title seven days ago despite being ill and once again, the Derry City Track Club man showed his talent as he secured an impressive Vet35 400m and 800m double, recording 54.50secs (1st place) and 2:01.38 (1st place) respectively.  

There were also double celebrations for Jim Harris and Denise Toner, with Jim taking gold in the Vet65 400m (1st place - 1:10.82) and 800m (1st place – 2:56.40), while Denise won the Vet35 800m (1st place – 2:16.62) and 1500m (1st place – 4:49.23); interestingly, Denise enjoyed an excellent battle with fellow Northern Ireland lady Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) in the aforementioned 800m – Kelly, racing for the first time since giving birth to her daughter six months ago, returned to action with an excellent 2:16.96 (2nd place).

Respected athletes Cathal McLaughlin and Robert Bigger, both from Derry City Track Club, collected gold medals in their respective Vet45 and Vet55 categories, with Cathal winning in 4:32.31 (1st place) and Robert winning in 4:52.83 (1st place).  Robert also picked up a silver medal in the Vet55 800m after clocking 2:20.04 (2nd place) to finish behind race winner Eugene Moynihan (Marian AC), who ran 2:19.37.  Jonathan Carleton (Ballymena & Antrim AC) topped the Vet35 60m podium after producing one of the performances of the day, when he covered the distance in 7.16secs (1st place)..  In the same event, but in the Vet75 category, City of Derry AC’s Frank Stewart recorded 10.06secs for 1st place.

Larne AC’s Rhonda Brady also brought home two medals, after running 1:06.76 (2nd place) in the Vet40 400m and 30.07secs (3rd place) in the 200m; these races were won by Karen Crean (St Brigid’s AC) and Aointoinette Stafford (DMP AC) in 1:04:31 (1st place) and 27.17secs respectively. Orangegrove AC’s Joy McAleer ran well in the Vet50 800m to secure silver in 2:53.25 (2nd place); the race was won by Clonliffe Harriers’ Bernie Byrne in 2:31.88 (1st place).  There was also a silver medal for Dromore AC man Nigel McKibbin after he broke the beam in 9:32.94 (2nd place) in his Vet45 3,000m final, which was won by Damien Martin (Raheny Shamrock AC) in 9:31.31 (1st place).  In the Vet55 60m race won by Clonmel AC’s Hazel Galloway (1st place – 9.68secs), City of Derry AC’s Danea Herron crossed the line in 10.25secs for 3rd place.  Adrian Boyle added to Derry City Track Club’s medal haul when he was awarded the bronze medal after running 4:20.76 (3rd place) in the Vet35 1500m race won by St Killians AC’s Niall Shiels in 4:12.04 (1st place).

Full Results:  GloHealth AAI Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships 2015 Results

Athletes from Northern Ireland claim podium places in Ireland and Scotland:

Local athletes impress outside Northern Ireland:

On Sunday 15th March 2015, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland joined over one thousand five hundred competitors on the start line of the MSB St Patrick's Weekend 5k road race in Dublin, Ireland.

Up against top quality opposition, the local runners performed well.  None more so than Albertville 5 mile road race winner John Frazer (Crusaders AC) who claimed an impressive 3rd place in 14:57.  North Belfast Harriers' Conor Curran opened up his road campaign with a solid outing, clocking 16:08 (19th place) to finish just ahead of Strabane based Northern Ireland and Ireland international Ann-Marie McGlynn, who crossed the line in 16:17 as 2nd place lady.  The men's race was won by John Coughlan (MSB) in 14:32 (1st place), while Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) secured the ladies title in 15:52 (1st place).

Ben Gullipen Hill Race (Scotland):

Approximately 24 hours earlier (Saturday 14th March 2015), Northern Ireland man and junior mountain running international Ryan Stewart (Larne AC and Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) added to the success of NI athletes over the weekend with a podium finish at the Ben Gullipen Hill Race in Scotland.

The challenging course measured 12.5k with approximately 350 metres of ascent and despite finding himself in a solo third place, Mourne Skyline MTR finisher Ryan put in a strong performance to cement his position and cross the line 53:10 (3rd place).  The race was won by Andrew Gilmore (Carnethy HRC) in 50:41 (1st place).

Full Results:  MSB St Patrick's Day 5k 2015 Results and Ben Gullipen Hill Race 2015 Results

Paddy Hamilton and Mary Laverty win Pure Running HM Series opener:

Hundreds enjoy DUNE Half Marathon 2015:

On Sunday 15th March 2015, nearly five hundred runners took on the first race of the Pure Running – ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015, the unique cross border DUNE Half Marathon.  The start and finish of the race alternates between Newry (Northern Ireland) and Dundalk (Ireland) each year.  On this occasion, the competitors started in Newry and finished in Dundalk.

Slieve Gullion Runners new boy Paddy Hamilton followed up his excellent performance at last weeks Albertville 5 mile road race with another strong outing, only this time, the former Annadale Striders man bettered his runners up position from eight days ago, when he led the field home in 1:09:47 (1st place).  Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) found himself between Paddy and a group containing Don Travers (Newry City Runners), Joe McKevitt (Slieve Gullion Runners) and Shane Toner (Glenmore AC) but battled well to run a solo 1:12:43 for 2nd place.  Behind, local man Don Travers edged out Shane Toner and Joe McKevitt to take 3rd place in 1:15:23.

In the ladies race, North East Runners' Mary Laverty celebrated a well-deserved victory as she cruised into Market Square, Dundalk as the clock read 1:23:07 (1st place).  Teresa Duffy (Beechmount Harriers) showed that she 'still has it' when she claimed 2nd place in 1:24:40 (2nd place).  Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) completed the ladies top three in 1:31:04 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) – 1:09:47, 2nd Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) – 1:12:43, 3rd Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:15:23

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Mary Laverty (North East Runners) – 1:23:07, 2nd Teresa Duffy (Beechmount Harriers) – 1:24:40, 3rd Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) – 1:31:04

Full Results:  DUNE Half Marathon 2015 Results

Gideon Kimosop & Selinah Kangogo secure Kenyan double at Jimmy's 10k:

Jimmy's 10k Road Race 2015:

On Sunday 15th March 2015, hundreds of athletes descended on the County Down town of Downpatrick for the annual Jimmy's 10k road race, an event hosted by East Down AC.  Seen by many as the first 10k of the road racing season, the fixture never fails to attract a plethora of talent and this year was no different.

As the athletes set off, it wasn't long before the leading pair of Gideon Kimosop (Kenya) and Vincent Kiprotich (Uganda) began to take charge.  The pair, who both raced at yesterday's IAAF Antrim International XC, showed no signs of fatigue as they went through the half way marker together in 15:24.  Behind, Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) had the slightest of leads on Brendan Teer (East Down AC) as they moved into the second half of the race.  

In the ladies event, Kenyan athlete and another competitor at yesterday's International XC, Selinah Kangogo was in total control.  By half way, the speedy athlete had just over seventy seconds of a lead over Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) who were all in the same group, with Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) just behind.

As the race moved into the final stages, Gideon Kimosop was determined that he would not be beaten in a sprint finish for the second time in as many days; having been pipped for third place in Antrim 24 hours earlier, Gideon raced towards the finish to secure victory in 30:34 (1st place), five seconds ahead of fellow Project Africa athlete Vincent Kiprotich who clocked 30:39 for 2nd place.  In the battle for the final podium place, Joe McAlister got the better of local hero Brendan Teer in the latter stages, crossing the line in 32:07 (3rd place).

As predicted, Selinah Kangogo sealed a comfortable victory after leading from gun to tape, recording 36:13 (1st place) for the distance.  In truth, all the excitement was taking place behind the victorious Kenyan, with the three ladies (Rebecca Murtagh, Denise Logue and Catherine O'Connor) who were together at the turn now beginning to split.  Glaslough 5k winner Rebecca Murtagh looked controlled as she moved clear of the others and whilst Denise and Catherine tried to hold onto the Dromore AC athlete, North Belfast Harriers' Louise Smith had caught the pair and was now pushing on in the hope of cementing third spot.  In the end, it was Rebecca Murtagh who claimed 2nd place, after finishing in 38:01 – Louise Smith produced a similarly impressive second half to secure the final podium place in 38:13 (3rd place) just one second ahead of Ballydrain Harriers' Denise Logue (4th place – 38:14).

Top 3 Men:  1st Gideon Kimosop (Kenya) – 30:34, 2nd Vincent Kiprotich (Uganda) – 30:39, 3rd Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 32:07

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Selinah Kangogo (Kenya) – 36:13, 2nd Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC) – 38:01, 3rd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:13

Full Results:  Jimmy's 10k Road Race 2015 Results

Runners from Northern Ireland dominate at Cara Bundoran Challenge:

Local athletes enjoy success at Cara Bundoran Challenge 2015:

Over the course of this weekend (Friday 13th and Saturday 14th March 2015), Northern Ireland runners have enjoyed success at one of Ireland's most popular events, the Cara Bundoran Challenge.  The weekend of sporting events offers competitors the choice of 5k, 10k and 10 mile races, all set in and around the town of Bundoran on West Coast of County Donegal, Ireland.

On Friday 13th March 2015, local athletes got the weekend off to a good start, with up and coming stars Jack Scanlon (St Michael's AC) and Ryan Flanagan (St Michael's AC) securing podium places.  Jack took 2nd place in 17:20, with Ryan following just behind in 17:29 (3rd place).  Derry City Track Club duo Gary McGee (4th place – 18:25) and Malcolm McCausland (6th place – 19:46) also claimed top ten places, before Enniskillen Running Club's Karen Dolan won the ladies race in 20:44 (1st place).  The men's 5k was won by Precision Timings Ronan Wogan in 17:11 (1st place).

The next day (Saturday 14th March 2015) brought the 10 mile challenge and 10k road race; again, their was major success for Northern Ireland based athletes.  St Malachy's AC man Gary Murray put in a strong performance against quality opposition to take top honours in 52:34 (1st place).  He (Gary) was followed into the finish area just eighteen seconds later by fellow NI man Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), who recorded 52:52 for 3rd place.  A mere six seconds later, the in-form Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) crossed the line in 52:58 (4th place).  City of Derry AC's Gary Slevin also ran well and was rewarded with a top ten finish when he clocked 54:05 (7th place).

North Belfast Harriers' Breege Connolly was a class act in the ladies race, cruising to victory in an excellent 57:40 (1st place).  Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) and Martsje Hell (Enniskillen Running Club) then ensured that Northern Ireland based athletes dominated the podium when they finished in 1:03:15 (2nd place) and 1:05:57 (3rd place) respectively.

That wasn't the last of the success stories for the Northern Ireland contingent, with further podium places following in the 10k race.  Clones AC's Shane Brady won in 33:59 (1st place), while Darragh Crossan (Derry City Track Club) made the runners up spot his own when finishing in 36:40.  In the ladies race, which was won by Lettekenny AC's Fionnuala Diver (1st place – 37:28), Carmen Runners' Jenny Algar crossed the line in 41:48 for 2nd place.

Full Results:  Cara Bundoran 5k Road Race10 mile Challenge10k Road Race

Thomas Ayeko & Birtukan Fentealemu win at IAAF Antrim International XC:

IAAF Antrim International XC 2015:

On Saturday 14th March 2015, the eyes of the athletic world were on Northern Ireland, as the highly respected IAAF road show descended on CAFRE's Greenmount Campus in Antrim, for the annual IAAF Antrim International Cross Country.  The event also included the Home Countries International.

Prior to the International events, the exciting programme of competitive Junior races ensured that the atmosphere had built sufficiently for the 'main' events.  There were wins for Megan Briggs (North Down AC), Paul Carty (Lagan Valley AC), Miller Murphy (North Down AC), Cormac O'Rourke (Lagan Valley AC), Amelia Taylor (North Down AC) and Dylan Taylor (Willowfield Harriers), before England's Rebecca Murray and Jonathan Davies celebrated victory in the Junior Ladies and Junior Men's races.

In the International Ladies 5,600m race, it was evident from the early stages that victory would go to one of three ladies, pre-race favourite Steph Twell (Great Britain) or Ethiopian pair Birtukan Fentealemu or Birtukan Adamu.  As the race progressed, it was Birtukan Fentealemu who moved ahead, with Steph Twell taking up a position just behind and Birtukan Adamu further back.  Despite the efforts of the chasing pair, neither were able to catch the strong running Birtukan Fentealemu as she secured victory in 24:12 (1st place).  The returning Steph Twell recorded 24:28 for 2nd place, while Birtukan Adamu ensured that the Ethiopians dominated the podium when she crossed the line in 24:49 (3rd place).  Young Banbridge AC star Emma Mitchell led the Northern Ireland ladies home in 26:47 (25th place).

The International men's 10,000m race was the final event of the day and fittingly, it was pre-race favourite and previous winner of the race, Thomas Ayeko (Uganda) who stole the headlines.  After winning in 2013 and taking second place in 2014, Thomas proved a popular winner when he broke the tape in 31:27 (1st place).  Behind, there was an excellent battle between Kenyan trio Edwin Sol, Jonathan Ndiku and Gideon Kimosop for the remaining podium places.  However, it was Edwin Sol who eventually claimed the runners up prize in 31:40 (2nd place), while just behind, Jonathan Ndiku beat fellow countryman Gideon Kimosop (4th place – 32:26) to 3rd place when he clocked 32:25.  The in-form Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) was the first Northern Ireland athlete to cross the line, finishing in 34:33 (19th place).

Overall Podium Places:

Top 3 International Men (10,000m):  1st Thomas Ayeko (Uganda) – 31:27, 2nd Edwin Sol (Kenya) – 31:40, 3rd Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya) – 32:25

Top 3 International Ladies (5,600m):  1st Birtukan Fentealemu (Ethiopia) – 24:12, 2nd Steph Twell (Great Britain) – 24:28, 3rd Birtukan Adamu (Ethiopia) – 24:49

Northern Ireland finishers:

Top 3 Men (10,000m):  19th Declan Reed (City of Derry AC and Northern Ireland), 35th Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC and Northern Ireland), 36th Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC and Ireland) – 36:16

Top 3 Ladies (5,600m):  25th Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC and Northern Ireland) – 26:47, 31st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers and Northern Ireland) – 27:41, 33rd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers and Northern Ireland) – 28:26

Full Results:  IAAF Antrim International XC 2015 Results - Photos from the IAAF Antrim International are available within our 'Photo Gallery'. Photography by Gareth Heron.

Chris McPeake and Gemma Turley set course records at Magherfelt 10k:

Magherafelt Harriers 10k Classic:

On Saturday 14th March 2015, hundreds of athletes turned out for the 2nd annual Magherafelt 10k Classic road race, hosted by County Derry/Londonderry club Magherafelt Harriers.

The record breaking field made full use of the good running conditions as both the male and female course records were broke. In the men's race, City of Derry AC's Chris McPeake and Acorns AC's in-form Aaron Meharg contested top spot. In the end, it was Chris who secured victory, recording 33:42 for 1st place; this was a new course record. Despite losing out on the top prize, Aaron wont be too disappointed, after clocking his second personal best in as many weeks after running 33:48 (2nd place). Fellow Acorns AC athlete Darrell McKee took 3rd place in 34:56.

Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) showed that her hard work over the winter and strong performances in the Athletics NI XC League 2014/15 would stand her in good stead for the road season as she sealed a well-deserved win in 39:43, a course record. Local lady, Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) followed in 40:28 (2nd place), before Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) completed the ladies podium in 41:52 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) – 33:42, 2nd Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) – 33:48, 3rd Darrell McKee (Acorns AC) – 34:56

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 39:43, 2nd Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) – 40:28, 3rd Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 41:52

Full Results:  Magherafelt Harriers 10k Classic 2015 Results

Seamus Lynch and Shileen O'Kane excel at Glenariff Mountain Race:

Athletes turn out for the 'Potato Race':

On Saturday 14th March 2015, mountain runners from across Northern Ireland (and beyond) descended on the coastal village of Waterfoot for the annual Glenariff Mountain Race.  

The popular and well-organised event, which is affectionately known as ‘the Potato race’ because of the goodie bag consisting of potatoes, is hosted by Ballymena Runners.  It was also the first race of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running (NIMRA) Championship 2015.  The course measured approximately 5.9 miles, with 370 metres of ascent.

Early on, it was evident that the race for top honours would be between three men, with Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) coming off the flat 2 mile section and onto the mountain just ahead of the chasing Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Jonny Steede (Unattached).  In the ladies race, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) had already built up a considerable lead on Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Elizabeth Wheeler (IMRA) and Slieve Gullion winner Mary Mackin (Dromore AC)

On the steep ascent of the Glen, Seamus Lynch once again showed his strength on the climb as he closed the gap on Allan Bogle.  The pair were now neck and neck and despite Seamus just edging it on the descent, they came off the mountain and onto the final flat and fast section side by side. Jonny Steede followed, with David Steele (Newcastle AC), Sam Heron (Mourne Runners) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) amongst those in pursuit.  

The men negotiated the final 2 miles quickly and as the awaiting spectators aired their predictions, it was Newcastle AC's Seamus Lynch who came into view first.  The ever improving athlete covered the final metres on the road quickly, breaking the tape in 42:36 (1st place).  Allan Bogle crossed the line in 42:57 for 2nd place, while Jonny Steede completed the top three in 43:56 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, the dominant Shileen O'Kane certainly made amends for last weekend's navigational mis-hap; there was no getting lost here as the Lagan Valley AC lady cruised to victory in fine fashion, clocking 52:55 (1st place) for the route.  Club mate and friend Hazel McLaughlin looked strong as she reached the finish in 59:13 (2nd place), therefore securing the runners up spot.  Lorna Sibbett crossed the line in just over the hour (1:00:26) for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 42:36, 2nd Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 42:57, 3rd Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) – 43:56 

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 52:55, 2nd Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 59:13, 3rd Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners) – 1:00:26

Full Results:  Glenariff Mountain Race 2015 Results – Photos from the Glenariff Mountain Race will be added to the 'Photo Gallery' section of our website in the coming days (Sunday 15th or Monday 16th March 2015).

Emmet McGinty and Alex Kirk seal impressive wins at St Patrick's 5k:

St Patrick's Weekend 5k 2015:

On Saturday 14th March 2015, nearly one hundred and fifty runners turned out for the annual St Patrick's Weekend 5k road race in Gransha Ground, Derry/Londonderry.  The popular event, also known as Paula's Run was held in aid of the Foyle Hospice.

It the head of the pack, it was City of Derry AC man Emmet McGinty who impressed most.  In the absence of the two men who finished ahead of him at this event last year (Scott Rankin and Declan Reed), the pre-race favourite sealed a well deserved victory, recording 15:29 (1st place) for the distance.  Fellow Spartan Conor Doherty (City of Derry AC) followed in 15:37 (2nd place), before Inishowen AC's Pauric McKinney claimed 3rd place in 15:54.

The ladies race proved to be an epic battle between Foyle Valley AC's Martina McMullan and Springwell Running Club's Alex Kirk and Gillian Wasson.  The talented trio battled for pretty much the duration of the 3.1 mile course, but it was Alex who just edged in the end, crossing the line in 18:39 (1st place), a mere one second ahead of Gillian in 18:40 (2nd place).  Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC) followed up her win at last week's SSE Airtricity 10k with another podium finish, after taking 3rd place in 18:41.

Top 3 Men:  1st Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC) – 15:29, 2nd Conor Doherty (City of Derry AC) – 15:37, 3rd Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC) – 15:54

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Alex Kirk (Springwell Running Club) – 18:39, 2nd Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) – 18:40, 3rd Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC) – 18:41

Full Results:  St Patrick's Weekend 5k 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  A weekend of Championship action ahead...

Weekend Preview:  A weekend of Championship action ahead for local runners...

Last weekend brought great success for local athletes over various distances and terrain.  This week should prove just as busy and exciting, with several high profile Championship races and events taking centre stage.  

These prestigious offerings will be backed up by a plethora of local races, including what is referred to by many as the first 10k road race of the season, Jimmy’s 10k in Downpatrick.  Outside the province, local athletes will also compete at events in Ireland and America.

Glenariff Mountain Race:

The action kicks off on Saturday 14th March 2015 when mountain runners from across the province will descend on the coastal village of Waterfoot for the opening race of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship, the Glenariff Mountain Race.

Affectionately known as ‘the Potato race’ because of the goodie bag consisting of potatoes; yes, a full bag of potatoes, the race, hosted by Ballymena Runners, attracts runners from all corners of Northern Ireland.  The course measures approximately 5.9 miles, with 370 metres of ascent and with the initial flat and fast 2 mile section along the Glen River, which doubles up as the final 2 miles of the race, it makes this course suitable for everyone.  In previous years, the trail and road runners have led the field out, before the mountain men (and ladies) take charge as the field move onto the steep and continuous climb up the Glen.

Race Director Jonny Steede (Unattached) will start, which will mean another excellent dual between the current NIMRA Champion and his understudy, runner up Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC).  The pair took first (Jonny) and second (Seamus)  place here twelve months ago, which set up an excellent competition between them throughout the NIMRA season.  Seamus has raced a lot more over the winter than Jonny, helping his Newcastle AC team to top honours in the Athletics NI XC League 2014/15.  The last time th pair went head to head, at Race Over the Glens 2015, Seamus came out on top, beating Jonny by a mere ten seconds.  It will be just as close here, but Jonny will be hoping that his knowledge of the course will give him the edge.  David Steele (Newcastle AC), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) will contest the final podium place, while Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Dale Mathers (Mourne Runners) and Sam Heron (Mourne Runners) should make the top ten.

Current NIMRA ladies Champion Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) will open her 2015 campaign here and should successfully defend the title she won so impressively twelve months ago.  However, following the disappointment of a navigational error at Slieve Gullion last weekend, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) will be keen to make amends, and is therefore another lady to take into account when looking at potential winners and podium finishers.  Likewise, the ever improving Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) should run well, as will Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC), Taryn McCoy (BARF) and surprise Slieve Gullion winner Mary Mackin (Dromore AC).

IAAF Antrim International XC (incorporating Home Countries International):

On the same day (Saturday 14th March 2015), Athletics NI will welcome an excellent line-up of talent to their annual IAAF Antrim International XC event at CAFRE College, Greenmount, Antrim.  The top quality event also incorporates the Home Countries International.

Hosts, Athletics NI have produced the following preview:

Previous winners Thomas Ayeko (Uganda) and Steph Twell (Team GB) will be hoping for repeat victories in the big Greenmount IAAF Cross Country International at Antrim on Saturday which this year incorporates the Home Countries International (first event 1.20 pm).

23 year old Ugandan Thomas Ayeko will now be confident of repeating his 10k victory of two years ago when he easily defeated Kenyan David Bett. This is because his key rival and current World Champion Japhet Korir will not now be competing.  Japhet who beat Thomas by only two seconds at Greenmount a year ago has just been refused permission by Kenya to travel to the Province as he may be required for this year's World Cross in China in two weeks time.

The Ugandan's main opposition is therefore likely to come from former world junior steeplechase champion Jonathan Ndiku of Kenya who has a world class time of 8 mins 7 secs to his credit (for 3k). He recently had a big cross country win in Japan.  Two other overseas rivals are half marathon runner Tsedat Abeje of Ethiopia plus former Olympic 5,000 metres bronze medallist Edwin Sol of Kenya who was 7th in the Edinburgh XC recently.

In the Senior ladies 5.6k event 25 year old Steph Twell is coming back into good form following her recent 7th place in the European XC where she was a member of the winning GB team. The Aldershot woman is a former triple European Junior Champion and recently ran a 10k personal best of 32:28 in Leeds (England).  Steph will have her eyes on a second Greenmount victory following her narrow one second win over Ireland's Deidre Byrne back in 2009. The main challenge will come from Ethiopian steeplechase pair Birtukan Fente Alemu and Birtukan Adamu.

Birtukan Fente Alemu is a former World junior record holder and World junior silver medallist. Also racing is Slovenia's Sonja Roman who holds no less than 13 National titles over 1,500 metres.  The Irish team contains several athletes who fared well in the Recent Irish Inter Club XC at Rostrevor. The Northern Ireland men's team includes recent NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) plus Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and Scott Rankin  (Foyle Valley AC). Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) leads the Northern Ireland ladies team.  England will as usual dominate the Home Countries competition as their runners include several who performed well in the recent English National XC Championships.

The Northern Ireland Team is as follows:  

Senior Men:  Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) and Alan O'Hara (North Belfast Harriers)

Senior Women:  Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) and Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC)

Junior Men:  Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers), Ryan Sharkey (Lagan Valley AC), Michael Melarkey (City of Derry AC) and James Smith (St Malachy's AC)

Junior Women:  Aife McSheffrey (Springwell Running Club), Eilish Flanagan (Omagh Harriers) and Roisin Flanagan (Omagh Harriers)

Magherafelt Harriers 10k Classic Road Race:

Also on Saturday 14th March 2015, Magherafelt Harriers will host the 2nd annual running of their Magherafelt Harriers 10k Classic road race in the County Derry/Londonderry.  In its first running the race drew plaudits for the organisation and hospitality and this year should prove no different, with hundreds expected to turn out for the event (Note: On the day entry is available).

Acorns AC man and runner up at the event last year, Aaron Meharg, will hope to follow on from his personal best at last weekends Albertville 5 mile road race as he continues his training towards the London Marathon in April 2015.  He'll play a prominent part in proceedings here, but will have to see off the likes of Paul Blaney (Beechmount Harriers), James Turtle (Ballymena Runners) and Delfim Pimentel (Unattached) if he wants to top the podium.  James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners), Stephen Kerr (Acorns AC), Oliver Cook (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Andrew Dowey (Springwell Running Club) will also have ambitions of making it into the top ten.

In the ladies race, local athlete Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) will go into the event as pre-race favourite, especially when taking her win at the Carmen 10k into consideration – at the Carmen 10k, Pauline recorded an impressive 38:55 for the distance; if she runs anything close to that, it should be enough to seal victory.  Lagan Valley AC's Julie Murphy will be another podium contender, as will Sperrin Harriers' Natalie Hall and Ballycastle Runners' Helena Dornan.  Deirdre Bradley (Acorns AC), Stephanie Henry (Sperrin Harriers), Tanya Black (Sperrin Harriers), Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC) and Claire Martin (Ballymena Runners) will all finish well up the field.

St Patrick’s Weekend 5k Road Race (aka Paula’s Run):

In County Derry/Londonderry on Saturday 14th March 2015, hundreds of athletes are expected to take on the annual St Patrick’s Weekend 5k road race organised by City of Derry AC.  The event, which takes place within the Gransha Grounds is also known as Paula’s Run.

The top two finishers last year, Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), will both be absentees as they represent Northern Ireland at the IAAF Antrim International XC.  This should open the door for SSE Airtricity 10k runner up Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC) to take full advantage.  Emmet was also a podium finisher here in 2014 and his performance at the aforementioned SSE Airtricity 10k, where he recorded 32:46, showed that the Spartan athlete is in top form.  Fellow City of Derry AC athletes Gary Slevin and Paul McCafferty, will also be worth watching, while North Belfast Harriers' Brendan Grew should also run well.

Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) and Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC) should battle it out at the front of the ladies race.  Both ladies are worthy contenders given their recent outings – Claire has been very consistent in the Lifford 5k Series, while Martina claimed victory in the Maiden City last week, winning the SSE Airtricity in 40:10.  Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC), Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC), Catherine Whoriskey (City fo Derry AC), Sarah Kivelehan (City of Derry AC) and Katherine Woods (Springwell Running Club) should also play a part.

DUNE Half Marathon (Pure Running - ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015):

On Sunday 15th March 2015, close to five hundred endurance running enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland (and Ireland) are expected to turn out for the first race of this year’s Pure Running – ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the DUNE Half Marathon.  The unique race is a cross border event, which alternates its start and finish between Dundalk (Ireland) and Newry (Northern Ireland); this year the start will be in Newry and the finish in Dundalk.

Local hero Don Travers (Newry City Runners) has been racing sparingly of late, but never fails to impress when he turns out and will prove difficult to knock off top spot.  In 2014, Don won in 1:17:05 and the Northern Ireland international will be keen to impress on 'home turf' once again.  

Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) and Nigel Grier (Dromore AC) will both challenge for a podium place, as will St Peter's AC man and marathon specialist Barry Shanks.  Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) will also fo well, while East Down AC's Michael McKeown and Up & Runners' Angus McCready will continue their outstanding record of competing in every Pure Running Half Marathon Series race since the Series' inception in 2009.

The ladies race should be a closely contested affair, with a number of athletes likely to feature at the head of the pack.  Susan Smyth (Dromore AC), Gillian Abraham (Unattached), Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) and Eimear McCracken (Club Unknown) will all be there or there abouts, while Orangegrove AC pair Verity Cornford and Sharon Dickenson will also run well.  Donna Owens (Omagh Harriers) will also finish well up the rankings.

Jimmy’s 10k Road Race:

On the same day (Sunday 15th March 2015), East Down AC will welcome athletes to their annual and very popular Jimmy’s 10k road race in Downpatrick, County Down.  

The event is commonly reffered to as the first official 10k race of the season and aside from one hill early on, offers competitors a relatively flat and fast course to get the season off the a good start; a perfect benchmark for the Summer or to see ‘where you are at’ going into Half Marathon and Marathon season.

At the front of the pack, East Down AC's very own Brendan Teer should run well.  The former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion looks to be back to his best after suffering an injury at the back end of 2014.  

Brendan won his season opener at the Rollercoaster Road Races and then went on the claim third place at the Albertville Harriers 5 mile road race, when he clocked 26:07 in windy conditions.  Fellow County Down men David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) may move onto the roads following a successful cross country campaign; the duo could be joined on the start line by club mates Marty Mellville, Brendan Donnelly and Brendan Quail.  Triathlete, James Savage (East Down AC) will also be in or around the top ten, while Greg Lucy (Willowfield Harriers), Joe Craney (Orangegrove AC) and David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) will also be hoping for quality performances.

North Belfast Harriers' Louise Smith was due to race, but will more than likely give this a miss after being selected to represent Northern Ireland at the IAAF Antrim International XC.  In Louise's absence, Dromore AC's Rebecca Murtagh will be promoted to 'pre-race favourite' – last week, Rebecca produced an excellent performance to win the Glaslough 5k in 18:10.  Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) will be another athlete to look out for; her club mate Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) will also go well, and the same could be said for Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC), Gillian Logan (Larne AC), Lisa Milligan (East Down AC), Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) and Emma Burgess (Highgate Harriers).

GloHealth AAI National Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships:

Further afield on Sunday 15th March 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland are expected to travel south to the impressive AIT Arena in Athlone for the GloHealth AAI National Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships.  Amongst those chasing medals at the event will be Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), Emma Smith (Orangrgrove AC) and Derry City Track Club men Cathal McLaughlin, Tim Shiels, Robert Bigger and Adrian Boyle.  A full entry list is available HERE.

New York City Half Marathon:

In America on Sunday 15th March 2015, at least one athlete from Northern Ireland will take on the New York City Half Marathon in America.  The event, which has attracted sell out numbers, will start in Central Park and finish on Wall Street, taking in many of the City’s top sights along the way. 

However, Willowfield Harriers man Chris Moren, will not have much time to enjoy the views as he aims to follow up quality performances at the Bath Half Marathon and the Addiction NI 10k with another personal best.

Cara Bundoran 10 mile and 10k Road Races:

Also on Sunday 15th March 2015, clubs from Northern Ireland will be well represented at the Cara Bundoran 10 mile and 10k road races in County Donegal (Ireland).  Local athletes have enjoyed success at this event in the past and this year should prove no different.  Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) is a definite starter and the NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion should challenge for top honours.


As always, Northern Ireland’s nineteen parkrun events will 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. 

Belfast City Half Marathon organisers announce new sponsor and course:

Belfast City Half Marathon 2015:

The organisers of the Belfast City Half Marathon are delighted to announce “ASICS” as their new title sponsor for the 3rd Belfast City Half Marathon which was launched this morning and takes place on Sunday 20th September 2015.

The event is an extension of the hugely popular May Day Bank Holiday Marathon which enjoys its 34th running year on Monday 4th May 2015 and today, organisers confirmed that Marie Curie will be the Official Nominated Charity for both events.

Danny O’Connor, Chairman of the Belfast City Marathon organising committee, commented:

“We are overwhelmed with the success of the last two half marathon events in 2013 and 2014, so are delighted to offer this to everyone on annual basis. For the 2015 event, we are welcoming our new title sponsor ASICS for the first time. With their experienced international brand, we look forward to working together to increase participation numbers on Race Day.  For the 2015 event, we have chosen to start and finish in Ormeau Park. The site lends itself to running events like our Full Marathon May Day Event, as well as being located close to the City Centre for convenience for participants and spectators alike.

Our route will again showcase the city of Belfast by passing major landmarks including Belfast City Hall, Albert Clock and the Titanic Quarter to help raise money for our official charity.” Danny remarked.  “To celebrate the success, we have a brand new website for our ASICS Belfast City Half Marathon, so I urge everyone interested to visit this today and sign up at"

Rebecca Tredant, ASICS Events Manager said: “ASICS are delighted to be the title sponsors and training partner of the 3rd ASICS Belfast City Half Marathon event. We are proud to support a growing key half marathon event in the UK/Ireland race event calendar and are looking forward to supporting the runners in their journey to help them #gorunit.”

Anne Hannon, Partnerships Manager with Official Nominated Charity Marie Curie continued; “It is fantastic to be able to continue our partnership with the Belfast City Marathon Committee and to build on what we hope will be a successful marathon on Monday 4th May.  The level of support the charity has received to date has been humbling and has helped to reinforce the work that I and many of my colleagues do to ensure Marie Curie can deliver its services across Northern Ireland.  I have no doubt that the upcoming 3rd ASICS Belfast City Half Marathon will be hugely successful. I’ll be running myself and I’d encourage everyone to take part. It’s a fantastic new course and if you have aspirations to compete a full marathon then this is ideal training. If you decided to run in support of Marie Curie then you will be helping to fund our nursing service both in the local community and at our Belfast Hospice.”

The new ASICS Belfast City Half Marathon will start and finish in Ormeau Park. Details of the exact route can be found on the new website. Online entry is available now at

Northern Ireland runners secure British Masters Indoor titles in England:

British Masters Athletics Indoor Track & Field Championships 2015:

Last weekend (Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th March 2015), a number of runners from Northern Ireland travelled to Lee Valley Stadium in Edmonton, just outside London (England) for the British Masters Athletics Federation (BMAF) Indoor Track & Field Championships.

It proved to be a hugely successful event for the Northern Ireland competitors, with three athletes collecting medals, two of which were gold.  In the Vet40 1500m, England based Northern Ireland international Anthony Glover (Westbury AC) crossed the line in 4:24.32 (1st place) to claim the gold medal and associated British title.  In the 800m, Derry City Track Club's Tim Shiels secured an impressive victory, securing the Vet35 title in 2:03.53 (1st place) despite having suffered a viral infection in the lead up to the event.

Tim spoke to the local press (Tyrone Constitution) after the race, saying “It was a slow race. The first lap was really slow and I thought, 'just go for it' at the start of the second lap. So, I went for it after the first lap and no-one came with me."

"After 26 seconds I knew I had the race won so I took the foot off the gas, protected the body and jogged home, but I'm delighted to be the British champion," explained Tim, whose participation in the event was in doubt until late on Sunday.  "I arrived in London on Friday with a viral infection of some sort, a high temperature and aching limbs and spent Saturday in pain and was doubtful on Sunday if I was even going to run," he explained. "I only made up my mind 35 minutes before the race and I didn't really even do a warm-up.  It was while I was deciding what to do that I texted my wife Jennie and asked her what I should do. She said that I should run because it would be over in two minutes! It was then that I read a Facebook post from a friend, Sarah McCabe about the mark of a champion and how they can pick themselves up no matter how they feel. So I read that at the right time and said to myself 'suck it up'."

There was further success for Derry City Track Club at the event, when the always impressive Cathal McLaughlin recorded 4:21.49 to take 2nd place and silver in the Vet45 1500m.  The race was won by John Scott (South West Vets) in 4:20.92 (1st place).

Full Results:  British Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships 2015 Results

Full details of Hill & Dale Series 2015 now available:

Hill and Dale Series 2015 (including Junior Races):

Newcastle AC have confirmed the dates and location of their eleven ‘Hill & Dale Series’ races for 2015.  There are also three junior races included in the race programme.

Seen by many as a gradual introduction to Mountain Running, the popular Series takes competitors to the gentle slopes of Castlewellan and Tollymore prior to the challenge of the tougher climbs and open mountain.  Last year, over six hundred athletes took part in the Series, many for the first time and record numbers completing all eleven races.

Online Registration for Senior is now OPEN and available HERE.  All races (except the Slieve Donard race) will start at 7.30pm SHARP.  Entries will close at 7.15pm and entry fees will be:  £8 per Race, Non-Registered / Unattached / Non Affiliated Clubs – £10.  Juniors between 16 and 19 competing in Senior Race: £3.  All fee's will be payable on the night of each race.

Important:  Please note that Slieve Donard (Saturday 16th May 2015) race starts at 2:00pm and entries close at 1:45pm.

Hill & Dale Series 2015 Calendar:

Thursday 16th April – Castlewellan (5.5 miles/1,080ft) 

Thursday 23rd April – Tollymore (5miles/900ft)

Thursday 30th April - Slieve Martin (4.25miles/1,740ft)

Thursday 7th May – Slieve Binnian (2miles/2,000ft)

Saturday 16th May – Slieve Donard (5.5miles/2,300ft)

Thursday 21st May – Rocky (4.25m/1,600ft)

Thursday 28th May – Loughshannagh (5miles/1,700ft)

Thursday 4th June – Milestone (4miles/1,500ft) 

Thursday 11th June – Hen & Cock (3.5miles/1,600ft

Thursday 18th June – Meels (3.5miles/1,800ft)

Friday 26th June – Drinhilly (4.75miles/1,080ft)

Competitors:  Your best six results from the eleven races will count, and organisers have stressed the following safety requirements must be adhered too:  1. All competitors must carry a whistle;  2. If the weather is poor, all competitors must carry a waterproof coat;  3.  All runners must report to the finish;  4. Reasonable fitness levels needed.  Cut off times will apply at the discretion of the organisers;  5.  Safety equipment required for races: compass, whistle, full body cover which should be brought to ALL races;  6.  All efforts should be made by runners to car share, and park safely at all races.

Junior Races:  As part of the Series, Newcastle AC also hold races for Junior athletes.  This year, there will be three events which will run prior to the start of the Senior races at Castlewellan, Tollymore and Hen & Cock Mountain.  Details are below:

Hill & Dale Series 2015 Junior Races:

Thursday 16th April – Castlewellan (Primary and Secondary School)

Thursday 23rd April – Tollymore (Primary and Secondary School)

Thursday 11th June – Hen Mountain (Secondary School ONLY)

Junior races will start at 6.45pm SHARP.  Appropriate adults are asked to read and understand the disclaimer (HERE) and read the race rules on the Newcastle AC website (HERE).  Please visit the NIMRA or Newcastle AC websites for specific information on each event including race sign-in and start/finish areas.  Both websites will also publish any updates in relation to the Series.

Athletes from NI perform well at events in Ireland, England and America:

Round Up - Local athletes pick up prizes outside Northern Ireland:

On what was a busy weekend (Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th March 2015) both locally and outside the province, runners from Northern Ireland were in action and enjoyed success at numerous events in Ireland, England and America.  Amongst the quality performances there were several wins, podium places and personal bests achieved, over various distances and terrain.

Sharon Trimble and Denise Mathers claim prizes at Gaelforce Mountain Run:

On Saturday 7th March 2015, a number of local runners were in action at the Gaelforce Mountain Run in the stunning Connemara area of County Galway in Ireland.  Nearly one hundred hardy competitors braved strong winds as they took on the tough 22k course with 1,371 metres of ascent.

26extreme Tollymore Trail Marathon winner Peter Cromie (Springwell Running Club) was the first of the local contingent home, narrowly missing a podium place.  Peter recorded 1:44:03 for 4th place, finishing just over four minutes ahead of Mourne Runners new boy Dale Mathers who crossed the line in 1:48:34 (11th place). Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) followed in 1:50:00 (12th place), while North Belfast Harriers man Martin Rea clocked 1:56:20 (18th place) for the distance.

Scotland based Northern Ireland lady Sharon Trimble (North Belfast Harriers) put in a top class performance to lead the ladies home in 2:01:03 (1st place).  Another North Belfast Harriers athlete, Jim McCormick followed in 2:07:31 (24th place), before Team Purple’s Kevin Murdock finished in 2:10:34 (30th place).  Gareth Grew (North Belfast Harriers) followed in 2:12:13 (32nd place), while Denise Mathers (Mourne Runners) secured 3rd place in the ladies race after completing the course in 2:27:30.  The race was won by Killian Mooney (DSD AC) in 1:39:41 (1st place).

Rebecca Murtagh wins Glaslough Harriers AC 5k Road Race (Ireland):

Also on Sunday 8th March 2015, local athletes lined up at the annual Glaslough Harriers AC 5k road race in County Monaghan (Ireland).  The event has always attracted athletes from Northern Ireland and this year was no different, with seven local faces making it into the top ten of their respective races.  At the head of the pack, Paul Blaney (Beechmount Harriers) dipped under the 17 minute barrier when he crossed the line in 16:59 (6th place). Armagh AC legend Dermot Kerr followed in 17:22 (9th place), a mere two seconds ahead of Beechmount Harriers’ Michael Magee who ran 17:24 (10th place).  The next familiar face home was up and coming star Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC), who won the ladies race in 18:10 (1st place). Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC) covered the route in 19:40 (3rd place) to finish ahead of Beechmount Harriers ladies Daire McCartan (6th place – 20:21) and Rioghach Courtney (10th place – 21:04).

NAIA National Indoor Track & Field Championships:

Meanwhile, in America (on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th March 2015), two Northern Ireland runners currently studying at American Universities/Colleges lined up against top quality opposition at the NAIA National Track & Field Championships at the SPIKE Institute in Ohio, Geneva (USA).

At the event, both John-Paul Williamson (City of Derry AC/Lindsey Wilson College) and Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers/Oklahoma State University) were awarded ‘All American’ status, a prestigious title given to any athlete who secures a top eight finish at the Nationals.  John-Paul was racing over 5,000m and 1 mile - in Heat 1 of the 5,000m, which was won by Peter Koskey (Oklahoma City University) in 14:52.34, John-Paul recorded 15:02.34 (6th place); unfortunately this was not enough to qualify for the final.  The Spartan athlete did go one better over the classic mile, qualifying from Heat 2 in 4:15.49 (3rd place) before clocking a new personal best of 4:14.84 (6th place) in the final.  Matthew Clowes (Concordia Oregan) claimed the gold medal in 4:09.60 (1st place).

Sara also performed well – racing in the 1,000m event, the Omagh Harriers athlete led the field home in Heat 1, crossing the line in 2:55.74 (1st place).  In the subsequent final, won by Leah Eposito (Carroll) in 2:52.04 (1st place), Sara ran 2:54.21 which saw her take 4th place overall.

Kevin Seaward and Greg Roberts impress at Trafford 10k and Ballycotton 10 mile road race:

Also on Sunday 8th March 2015, Northern Ireland men Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC) and Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC) were in competition at the Trafford 10k in England and the Ballycotton 10 mile road race in Ireland respectively.  In England, Kevin recorded his second quickest 10k time ever when he completed the Trafford 10k in an excellent 30:11; this was enough to secure 15th place for the NI man who was representing Cardiff AC.  The quality throughout the field was evident, with no less than seven runners going under the 30 minute marker.  The race was won by Jonathan Davies (Reading AC) in 29:18 (1st place).  In Cork (Ireland), Greg narrowly missed a podium place when he clocked 51:26 for 4th place at the 38th annual Ballycotton 10 mile road race.  Interestingly, the event was won by Clonliffe Harriers man Sergiu Ciobanu for the fifth consecutive time – Sergiu won in 49:03 (1st place).

At least nine runners from Northern Ireland complete Meath Spring Half Marathon:

In Ireland on Sunday 8th March 2015, at least ten runners from Northern Ireland completed the Meath Spring Half Marathon in County Meath, an event promoted by Bohermeen AC.  North Belfast Harriers’ Thomas Simmons continued his recent good form with a 1:21:15 (30th place) finish. John Kelly led a strong Newcastle AC contingent home in 1:24:37 (73rd place); his club mates Colm Murtagh and Joe McCann followed in 1:26:57 (101st place) and 1:31:14 (171stplace) respectively, with Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) finishing between the pair in 1:30:51, which was enough to take 10th place in the ladies race.  Just fifteen seconds split Foyle Valley AC’s David Rowntree (223rd place – 1:37:03) and Newcastle AC’s Niall Carson (226th place – 1:37:18), while Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC) joined the pair before they even had time to catch their breath, after running 1:37:50 (232nd place).  The event was won by Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers) in 1:05:42 (1st place), while Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) won the ladies race in 1:19:31 (1st place).

Full Results:  Gaelforce Mountain Run 2015 ResultsGlaslough Harriers AC 5k Road Race 2015 Results - NAIA National Indoor Track & Field ChampionshipsTrafford 10k 2015 Results Ballycotton 10 mile Road Race 2015 ResultsMeath Spring Half Marathon 2015 Results

Please Note:  We are awaiting official results and information for the British Masters Track & Field Championships in England.  A summary in relation to this event will follow when this information is available.

Local runners impress at 'All Ireland' Schools XC Championships:

GloHealth ‘All Ireland’ Schools (inc IUAA) XC Championships 2015:

Over the weekend (Saturday 7th March 2015), hundreds of junior athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare, Ireland for the GloHealth ‘All Ireland’ Schools Cross Country Championships, which also included the Irish Universities Athletics Association Cross Country Championships.

It was a day of excellent racing, during which there were several medal winning performances by Northern Ireland based runners, both on an individual and team level.  In the Minor Girls 2,000m race, Strathearn (Belfast) student Murphy Miller secured 3rd place in 5:51.  The close race was won by Ballybay CS athlete Jane Duffy in 5:49 (1st place).  

Young Murphy also collected a bronze in the team competition, when she and her Strathearn team mates took 3rd place – the team title was won by St Dominics Cabra.  In the Minor Boys competition won by Naas CBS, Omagh CBS claimed 3rd place.  There was further success of Strathearn in the Junior Girls 2,500m race won by Sarah Healy (Holy Child Killiney) in 9:16, when Olivia Nelson secured 3rd place in 9:30.  Up and coming star Sean Corry (Omagh CBS) picked up a silver medal in the Junior Boys 3,500m race after clocking 11:04 (2nd place).  The race was won by Darragh McElhinney (Col Pobail Bheanntrai) in 10:56 (1st place) but in truth, it was the team win for St Coleman’s Newry (pictured above) which stole the headlines. Following good ‘packing’ from their talented team, the Northern Ireland College secured the National title.

The St Coleman’s victory wasn’t the only gold of the day for Northern Ireland, as James Edgar (Friends School) produced one of the performances of the day to win the Intermediate Boys 5,000m race in 16:26 (1st place).  Fellow Northern Ireland athlete Eoin McCann (Rathmore) claimed 3rd place in 16:36.  St Michael’s of Enniskillen finished in 3rd place in the team standings behind event winners St Flannan’s of Ennis (1st place).  There was a double success for Northern Ireland based Schools/Colleges in the Junior category, with St Malachy’s taking 3rd place in the Junior Boys competition and Sacred Heart Omagh securing 3rd place in the Junior Girls standings.  St Aidan’s Dublin (1st place) and Dominican College Wicklow (1st place) won the respective titles.

Full Results:  GloHealth ‘All Ireland’ Schools XC Championships 2015 Individual Results and Team ResultsIUAA XC Championships 2015 Results

Paul Barbour and Martina McMullan win SSE Airtricity 10k:

SSE Airtricity 10k 2015:

On Sunday 8th March 2015, hundreds of athletes put their training for the Walled City Marathon 2015 to the test as they toed the line at the first of three build up races to the event, the Airtricity 10k road race in Derry/Londonderry.

In windy conditions, Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) and Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC) battled for top honours. Right up until the 6k point, there was nothing to separate the strong running pair, but as the race progressed into the later stages, Paul seemed to cope better as they made their way back towards the Maiden City into a headwind. In the end, he (Paul) secured a well-deserved victory in 32:20 (1st place). Emmet crossed the line twenty six seconds later in 32:46 (2nd place), with his team mate Paul McCafferty (City of Derry AC) completing the top three just under two minutes later in 34:43 (3rd place).

In the absence of pre-race favourites, Letterkenny AC ladies Ann-Marie McGlynn and Natasha Adams, it was local lady Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC) who stole the headlines. Martina brought her strong performances throughout the Athletics NI XC League 2014/15 onto the tarmac as she covered the distance in a new personal best of 40:10 (1st place).  Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC) took 2nd place in 41:50, before Springwell Running Club's Katherine Woods recorded 43:03 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 32:20, 2nd Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC) – 32:46, 3rd Paul McCafferty (City of Derry AC) – 34:43

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC) – 40:10, 2nd Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC) – 41:50, 3rd Katherine Woods (Springwell Running Club) – 43:03

Full Results: SSE Airtricity 10k Road Race 2015 Results

Chris Miller and Fran McFadden secure double for Springwell RC:

Valleys 5k Series 2015 (Race 1):

On Sunday 8th March 2015, Valley Running Club hosted the opening race of their Valleys 5k Series; a popular off-road Series which takes place in the North West of the province.  Race 1 saw competitors complete an undulating course within Ness Country Park, close to Derry/Londonderry.

Almost one hundred athletes took to the start line, but it was Springwell Running Club's Chris Millar who ran out as clear winner in 21:04 (1st place).  Another Springwell Running Club member Aidan Devine followed in 22:44 (2nd place), finishing just ahead of respected coach and journalist Malcolm McCausland, who recorded 23:09 (3rd place).

Long distance specialist Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) showed her speedy age when she led the ladies home in 23:16 (1st place), securing an excellent double for Springwell Running Club.  Rebecca McSparren (Unattached) crossed the line in 27:23, while Fiona Gillan (Unattached) clocked 30:22 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Chris Miller (Springwell Running Club) – 21:04, 2nd Aidan Devine (Springwell Running Club) – 22:44, 3rd Malcolm McCausland (Derry City Track Club) – 23:09

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) – 23:16, 2nd Rebecca McSparran (Unattached) – 27:23, 3rd Fiona Gillan (Unattached) – 30:22

Full Results:  Valleys 5k Series 2015 (Race 1) Results

Lindsay Gordon and Lyndsey Pronger take top honours at Addiction NI 10k:

Athletes turn out for Addiction NI 10k 2015:

On Sunday 8th March 2015, a large number of athletes turned out in support of the annual Addicition NI 10k road race, an event which took place within the vicinity of Ormeau Park (and the surrounding area) in Belfast.

Lindsay Gordon (Meadowhill Project) followed on from his recent win at the Born 2 Run Castlewellan 10k with another notable performance.  The Belfast man broke the tape in 35:03 (1st place) to secure victory, while another in-form athlete, Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers) took 2nd place in 36:10.  

Athletics NI 10,000m Champion Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) edged out North Belfast Harriers' John McGuigan for the final prize-winning place; Stephen recorded 36:40 (3rd place), with John following three seconds later in 36:43 (4th place).

Belfast club Orangegrove AC were well represented at the event and it was two of their ladies who claimed the top two places on the podium.  The ever improving Lyndsey Pronger, a winner of the Active Antrim 5 mile road race in 2014, took top spot in 43:34 (1st place), with her club mate Pauline Bayliss claiming 2nd place in 44:49.  Unattached athlete Claire Quigley completed the ladies top three in 45:01 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Lindsay Gordon (Meadowhill Project) - 35:03, 2nd Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers) – 36:10, 3rd Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) – 36:40

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 43:34, 2nd Pauline Bayliss (Orangegrove AC) – 44:49, 3rd Claire Quigley (Unattached) – 45:01

Full Results: Addiction NI 10k 2015 Results (Photo above by Mags Mathieson)

Paul McAnespie and Mary Mackin win NIMRA season opener at Slieve Gullion:

Slieve Gullion Mountain Race:

On Saturday 7th March 2015, nearly fifty hardy mountain runners braved unfavourable conditions as they welcomed the start of the 2015 NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association) season, which kicked off with the Slieve Gullion Mountain Race just outside Camlough (County Armagh).

The course which measured approximately 3.9 miles, with 340 metres of ascent, was covered in mist and visited by gusting winds.  However, that did not stop local athlete and event regular Paul McAnespie fom producing the performance of the day.  Paul led from start to finish to notch up a rare Armagh AC win at the event in 33:07 (1st place), just twenty one seconds ahead of North Belfast Harriers man Neil Carty (2nd place – 33:28) - William McKee of Mourne Runners followed in 34:24 to lead his team to a convincing win in the team standings.

Unfortunately the conditions caused havoc among a group of runners who had been well placed at the second checkpoint but went off course and missed the third checkpoint. This error resulted in the disqualification of the leading lady Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC).  Dromore AC's Mary Mackin took full advantage as she followed the crowd home in 44:15 (1st place).  The ever consistent pairing of Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) secured 2nd  place and 3rd place in 44:37 and 44:55 respectively.

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) – 33:07, 2nd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:28, 3rd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 34:24

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) – 44:15, 2nd Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) – 44:37, 3rd Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 44:55

Full Results:  Slieve Gullion Mountain Race 2015 Results - Photo above by Jayne Bell, to view more of Jayne's photos please click HERE.

John Frazer and Cathy McCourt secure Albertville 5 titles:

Albertville 5 mile Road Race 2015:

On Saturday 7th March 2015, athletes from across the province descended on a blustery Duncrue Industrial Estate on the shores of Belfast Lough for the 23rd annual running of Albertville Harriers' Albertville 5 mile road race.

Well-known as the road racing season opener, the popular event attracted an excellent array of talent, including some notable late entries.  However, it was a man on the provisional start list who stole the show.  

John Frazer (Crusaders) made his intentions clear from the off, moving to the front after Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) had initially led out.  After 2 miles, the former St Malachy's AC man (John Frazer) had a five second lead on the chase group of Paddy Hamilton, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers). Meanwhile, in the ladies race, Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) looked in control at the head of the pack, with Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) and Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) all in pursuit.

As the field negotiated the flat and fast course, and the windy conditions, John Frazer continued to dominate proceedings.  As he (John) went through the 4 mile marker, his lead had drastically increased, with the main battle going on for the remaining podium places – Brendan Teer, Paddy Hamilton and Brian Campbell were all contenders.  It was a similar story in the ladies race, with Cathy McCourt cementing her position at the front, Maeve Lavery behind, and just further back, Rachel Gibson and Gemma Turley contesting third place.

As the spectators hurried from the 4 mile view point to the nearby finish, John Frazer breezed around the final bend, and made his way along the finishing straight to secure an impressive and well-deserved victory in 25:22 (1st place).  In the 'lottery' for the remaining podium places, it was Slieve Gullion Runners new boy Paddy Hamilton (26:03) and East Down AC's Brendan Teer (26:07) who took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

As expected, the in-form Cathy McCourt took the ladies title, clocking 29:40 (1st place) for the win.  Maeve Lavery followed in 30:48 (2nd place), before Rachel Gibson just about held off Gemma Turley for 3rd place.  Rachel recorded 31:17 (3rd place), while Gemma crossed the line in 31:20 (4th place).

Top 3 Men:  1st John Frazer (Crusaders AC) – 25:22, 2nd Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) – 26:03, 3rd Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 26:07

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 29:38, 2nd Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) – 30:48, 3rd Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) – 31:17

Full Results:  Albertville 5 mile Road Race 2015 Results.  Photos from the Albertville 5 mile road race (by Gareth Heron and NiRunning) are now available within our 'Photo Gallery'. 

Martin Cox and Pauline McGurren cruise to victory at Carmen 10k:

Carmen 10k Road Race 2015:

On Saturday 7th March 2015, nearly two hundreds athletes turned out for the 6th annual running of the Carmen 10k road race in County Tyrone, an event hosted by local running club Carmen Runners.

At the front, Project Africa athlete Martin Cox dominated proceedings.  After leading from early on the former Omagh Harriers star progressively increased his lead before breaking the tape in 33:43 (1st place), over a minute clear of his nearest rival.  Behind, Sperrin Harriers' Gavin Corey completed a good solo run to take 2nd place in 35:08, before his club mate Pierce McCullagh (3rd place – 35:44) sealed the final podium place just ahead of Unattached athlete Delfim Pimentel (4th place – 35:48).

In the ladies race, 2014 winner Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) once again stole the headlines.  Pauline looked strong as she sealed victory in a new personal best of 38:55 (1st place).   Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) followed in 40:46 (2nd place), while Foyle Valley AC's Denise Ward secured 3rd place in 42:25.

Top 3 Men:  1st Martin Cox (Project Africa) – 33:43, 2nd Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) – 35:08, 3rd Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) – 35:44

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 38:55, 2nd Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) – 40:46, 3rd Denise Ward (Foyle Valley AC) – 42:25

Full Results:  Carmen 10k 2015 Results

Danny Mooney competes at European Athletics Indoor Championships:

European Athletics Indoor Championships 2015:

On Saturday 7th March 2015, Letterkenny AC athlete and Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games competitor Danny Mooney represented Ireland at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.

The popular athlete, who has a personal best of 3:42.69 lined up in the 1500m heats.  For almost all of the race, which was run at what commentators described as a “steady pace”, Danny looked comfortable within the group, which included almost every athlete.  However, with 400m remaining, Swedish athlete Johan Rogestedt surged to the front which sparked a major injection of pace.  After initially falling to the rear of the group, Danny worked his way back to claim 6th place in a time of 3:48.96. The race was won by local hero Jakub Holusa (Czech Republic) in 3:46.62 (1st place).

Unfortunately this was not enough to see Danny qualify for tomorrow's 1500m final, but does give the NI man further experience on the European stage.  There was good news for Danny's Irish team mate John Travers, who qualified for the final after recording a new personal best of 3:41.37 in Heat 1.

Full Results:  European Athletics Indoor Championships 2015 Results

Paul Pollock records new personal best at European Indoor Championships:

European Athletics Indoor Championships 2015:

On Friday 6th March 2015, Northern Ireland man Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) was in action for Ireland on Day 2 of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.

The talented and unassuming doctor performed well against tough opposition in his 3,000m heat.  For much of the race, Paul was in or around the top three or four athletes, but as the race progressed towards the later stages, the recently crowned AAI National 3,000m Champion began to drop off the lead group.  Before long, the gap increased; however, he (Paul) managed to put in a gutsy finish to secure a new personal best of 7:58.78, taking 10th place.  The race was won by German athlete Richard Ringer in 7:52.14 (1st place).

Although this was not enough to secure a place in tomorrow's final, the Northern Ireland man will take the positives out of the performance and the personal best as he now looks ahead to the Reading Half Marathon and the Berlin Marathon.

Paul's Irish team mates also put in impressive performances, with no less than four qualifying for the next round of their respective events.  The following summary is from Athletics Ireland:

European Outdoor 800m Medallist Mark English (UCD AC) made qualification into tomorrow’s semi-final (5.25pm GMT) look easy, winning in 1:48.10 (1st place).  Despite settling at the back of the field he moved his way up to leaders with ease to time his kick past the leaders nicely with 100m to go, coasting down the home straight in confident style in the fastest time of all qualifiers.  He will be joined by Declan Murray (Clonliffe Harriers) who finished in 2nd place in his heat in 1:49.69 to also gain an automatic qualification spot.

Ciara Everard (UCD AC) also made the cut, producing a season’s best of 2:02.69 to finish in 3rd place in her 800m heat; this was just off her Irish record of 2:02.54. The time was quick enough to secure a fastest qualification spot into tomorrow's semi-final at 5pm and her time ranks her seventh overall with six spots in the final up for grabs.  Dara Kervick (Clonliffe Harriers AC) won his 400m heat in the morning session, commanding from start to finish, crossing the line in 47.06 secs (1st place) to ensure a spot in the semi-final and an outside lane.  In the semi-final he  produced his third fastest time ever of 46.96 secs to finish in 4th place. His time was the seventh fastest overall in the semi-finals, a very solid performance in his first major senior champs and no doubt more to come from him.

Full Results:  European Athletics Indoor Championships 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  Euro Indoors, NIMRA season, Albertville 5 and more...

Weekend Preview:  Euro Indoors, NIMRA Season, Albertville 5 and more...

As we look ahead to another busy and exciting weekend, it is clear that ‘Spring’ is in the air (despite the recent bout of snow), with the fixture calendar getting increasingly full.  This weekend will offer plenty of choice for those wishing to toe the line, with no less than six events in Northern Ireland.  Local athletes will also compete in Ireland and the Czech Republic.

This week will also see the return of the NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association) fixtures.  Although the first NIMRA Championship Series event isn't until next week, the traditional season opener will take place at Slieve Gullion. We’ll look it this after a quick run over the IAAF European Indoor Athletics Championships.

IAAF European Indoor Athletics Championships:

Over the weekend (Friday 6th to Sunday 8th March 2015), two Northern Ireland based runners will represent Ireland at the prestigious IAAF European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.  Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) will be in action over 3,000m and 1500m respectively.  Paul will line up in his 3,000m heat on Friday (6th March 2015) at 5pm, with the final taking place at 6.45pm on Saturday 7th March 2015.  Danny will start his 1500m campaign on Saturday (7th March 2015) at 10.50am, with the final taking place on Sunday 8th March (2015) at 3.30pm.  

Northern Ireland based high jumper, Adam McMullan (Crusaders AC) has already been in action at the event, but unfortunately failed to qualify for the final despite a strong and consistent performance.  The IAAF European Indoor Athletics Championships will be televised live on British Eurosport 2.  Coverage will also be available on the IAAF website as well as on the BBC and RTE.

Slieve Gullion Mountain Race:

On Saturday 7th March 2015, mountain runners from all over the province will travel to South Armagh for Armagh AC’s Slieve Gullion mountain race.  Although not part of the newly revised NIMRA Championship Series, 'Gullion' is expected to attract a sizeable crowd.  Amongst those competing will be several athletes who will be eyeing up top honours in the aforementioned NIMRA Championship Series and others wishing to test out their winter training.  Last year’s Slieve Gullion winners Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) are expected to return this year.  Seamus’ main competition is expected to come from Jonny Steede (Unattached), and Newcastle AC team mates Deon McNeilly and David Steele. 

Seamus Lynch has shown some excellent form during the cross country season, spearheading a successful Newcastle AC squad, with the pinnacle of his own results undoubtedly an impressive win at the Stormont XC event at the end of January (2015).  In 2013, a speedy Jonny Steede led the race to the top of the main climb but missed a turn, in misty conditions, ending up at the wrong summit and resulting in disqualification from the race.  Jonny didn't return in 2014 and will be aiming to put that mistake right this time around. Other names in the picture will be local boys Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) and Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), who continually perform well here.  Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) will be another who will go into this event with a strong cross country season behind him.

In the ladies race, provided she does return, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) is expected to get competition from the Lagan Valley AC trio of Shileen O'Kane, Hazel McLaughlin and Anne Sanford.  Shileen and Hazel both put in good performances against good competition at the recent NI & Ulster Senior XC event in Lurgan Park and have been training well in the mountains.

Acorns AC athlete Karen Alexander, an international mountain and trail runner could be a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up. Despite moving away from traditional fell running, this particular course may suit Karen, who performed well throughout the Athletics NI XC League.  Other women who are expected to show well at the front of the field and in their respective categories are Violet Linton (LVO), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) and Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners).

Albertville 5 mile Road Race:

Also on Saturday 7th March 2015, Albertville Harriers will host the 23rd annual running of their Albertville 5 mile road race in Duncrue Industrial Estate, Belfast.  Last year, Fionnuala Britton was a surprise late entry and ran out clear winner in the ladies race.  Already this year, pre-entries have exceeded the total amount of competitors in 2014, which makes for a good day’s racing at what is always considered as the event which starts the local road racing season.

St Malachy’s AC and Crusaders AC man John Frazer should start as favourite.  The 2:18 marathoner has already set his benchmark over 5 miles for this year, having recorded 24:35 at the Raheny Shamrock 5 mile road race in January 2015.  He’ll be hoping to improve on that and with the course being well-known to be flat and fast; there is no reason why John shouldn't.  Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) is another notable entry and depending on how fit the multi award winning runner and triathlete is, he could well challenge for a podium place.  The same could be said for a host of North Belfast Harriers men; John Black, Stephen Walker and Brendan Grew are definite starters but they should be joined on the line by Alan O’Hara, Conor Curran, Andrew Considine, Eddie Cooke and another expected front runner, Mark McKinstry.  Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners), James Trainor (DUB Runners), James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners), James Turtle (Ballymena Runners) and Naoise McLoughlin (Unattached) should also perform well.

Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) look like the leading contenders in the ladies event.  Louise has impressed a lot over the last 6-8 months and after podium places at the Bangor 10k, Seeley Cup 10k, Laganside 10k, Ards Half Marathon and Belfast Half Marathon, she was rewarded with an international vest for Northern Ireland.  This year, Louise secured an impressive victory in the NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships, which should mean that she goes into this race high in confidence.  Rachel Gibson, the NiRunning Mile record holder (5:13), also enjoyed a good cross country, but it’s her more recent exploits on the indoor track that has drawn some well-deserved praise.  The North Down AC lady just missed a top ten overall finish over 1500m at the AAI National Indoor Championships last month and it’s that speedy edge that will see her finish well up the field her; if she has the strength to add to it, Rachel may well be a contender for top spot.

The talented Claire Connor should add to the North Belfast Harriers contingent and will be another front runner if she does.  However, all of the ladies above will have to be on top form as there is good depth in the field; the likes of Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers), Sarah-Jane McFadden (North Belfast Harriers) will be in or around the podium places, while Julie McKimm (Orangegrove AC), Trisha Campbell (North Belfast Harriers), Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers) and Verity Cornford (Orangegrove AC) will be aiming for top ten places and personal bests.

Carmen 10k Road Race:

On the same day (Saturday 7th March 2015), in Carrickmore, close to Omagh, Carmen Runners will welcome athletes to the 6th annual running of their Carmen 10k road race.  The race has grown in popularity each year and former winners include Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) and Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), and Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) in the ladies category.

Although it is unclear as to whether any of the above named title winners will return for the 2015 instalment, one thing is clear, with the number of new faces in the running world, the podium places will be hotly contested.  Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) will look to continue the same form that saw him clinch the Sperrin Harriers Winter League 2014/15 title last week after dominating throughout.  This added to several quality achievements for Paul over the first few months of 2015.  Former Omagh Harriers star Martin Cox, who now represents the Project Africa athletes, should also start and he could be joined by ‘project leader’ Ciaran Collins (Project Africa) on the start line.  Armagh AC men Gary Henderson, Dermot Kerr, Aaron Parks and Leroy Brady will also be there or there abouts, while Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers), Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners), Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) and Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) will also contest high placing’s should they enter on the day.

The ladies race should be a competitive one, with the top three or four from last year (2014) likely to return.  Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) collected the top prize twelve months ago after winning in 39:18; behind, Jenny Algar (Carmen Runners), Jacqueline Mulligan (Acorns AC) and Angela O’Neill (Sperrin Harriers) were separated by twenty six seconds.  If you add the likes of Oonagh Fitzpatrick (Enniskillen Running Club), Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners), Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) and Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) to the mix, it should be an exciting race. Furthermore, triathlete/duathlete Heather Foley (Unattached) could be a surprise entry on the day; she (Heather) has been in red hot form in duathlons in recent weeks and with no obvious events scheduled for this weekend, Heather may make use of the on the day entry system.

GloHealth AAI ‘All Ireland’ Schools Cross Country Championships:

Further afield, on Saturday 7th March 2015, hundreds of junior athletes from across Northern Ireland will travel south to Kildare (Ireland) for the GloHealth All Ireland Schools’ Cross Country Championships.  The GloHealth ‘All Ireland’ Finals started out back in January (2015) with 12,000 schools athletes participating in the various zone races.  Over 3,500 athletes then moved to the regional competitions (Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connacht) to secure a place at the GloHealth All-Ireland Schools Cross Country Championships in Clongowes this Saturday. The Championships will witness close to one thousand of Ireland’s up and coming athletic talent battle it out for individual and team titles in the minor, junior, intermediate and senior categories.  Live Streaming:  All the action will be streamed live via the Athletics Ireland website beginning with the minor girl’s race at 12pm and concluding with the senior boy’s race at 2.40pm.  Note:  The GloHealth AAI ‘All Ireland’ Schools XC Championships preview was compiled in conjunction with Athletics Ireland.

Gaelforce Mountain Race:

Also in Ireland on Saturday 7th March 2015, a number of runners from Northern Ireland are expected to be in competition at the Gaelforce Mountain Run in the scenic Connemara area of County Galway.  International ultra-runner Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) is a definite starter and will be looking for a good workout over the 22k course, which includes 1,371 metres of ascent.

SSE Airtricity 10k Road Race:

On Sunday 8th March 2015, athletes from across Northern Ireland are expected to descend on the Maiden City, Derry/Londonderry, for the first of three build up races to this year’s SSE Walled City Marathon (Sunday 31st May 2015), the SSE Airtricity 10k road race.

City of Derry AC’s ‘man of the moment’ Declan Reed should compete and will play a prominent part in proceedings if he does.  Declan has enjoyed an outstanding winter, collected the AAI National Masters XC, NI & Ulster Masters XC and NI & Ulster Senior XC titles along the way. He (Declan) will be looking forward to get back onto the roads, especially after an excellent 14:59 clocking at the Armagh International 5k two weeks ago. Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) will also feature at the front if they enter, as will fellow North West men Emmet McGinty (City of Derry AC), Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC), Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC), Noel Logan (City of Derry AC) and Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC).  

In the ladies race, Irish International Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) should lead the way.  After some good indoor track performances, Ann-Marie returned to the roads to record 9:39 for 3k at the Armagh International Road Races, which secured a sixth place finish in what was a very competitive field.  Another competitor in Armagh who is likely to run at this event is Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC) – Natasha ran 10:11 for 3k, which added to her excellent performance at the AAI National Masters XC Championships last month (February 2015) when she secured a gold medal.  A former team mate of both Ann-Marie and Natasha, Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) will also finish in or around the podium places but will have to fend off City of Derry AC ladies Catherine Whoriskey, Sarah Kivelehan and Jackie McGinley to cement that place.

Addiction NI 10k Road Race:

In Belfast on Sunday 8th March 2015, hundreds of runners are expected to support the annual Addiction NI 10k road race, which takes places in the area around Ormeau Park and the adjoining Ormeau Embankment.

Last year’s winner Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) has been ‘off the radar’ recently, and for that reason, may not return to defend the title he won so impressively.  This should leave the door open for 2014 podium finishers Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) and Brian Young (Unattached) to take the crown.  In truth, given his recent form, Stephen would be considered as favourite between the pair. Current Athletics NI 10,000m Champion Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) should also compete, while the ever consistent Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers) and Gavin Campbell (Unattached) should also finish well up the field.

Orangegrove AC athlete Jenny Black may also compete and will prove hard to knock off top spot if she does.  However, that will not put off last year’s runner up and Mourne Skyline MTR finisher Aisling Allum (Olympian TC).  Aisling is a strong athlete with a good backround in various sports, most notably triathlon, which always stands her in good stead.  Joanne Curran (BARF), Andrea Heslip (Dromore AC) and Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC) could also enter on the day.

Valleys 5k Series - Round 1 (Ness Country Park):

Also on Sunday 8th March 2015, athletes in the North West of the province will look forward to the start of the Valleys 5k Series.  The four race Series will kick off in Ness Country Park, close to Derry/Londonderry.  A mixture of experienced athletes and fitness enthusiasts are expected to take part, with Springwell Running Club, Foyle Valley AC, Valley Running Club and Derry City Track Club all likely to be well represented.  On the day entry for this event will be available from 10am to 11.15am.


As always, Northern Ireland’s nineteen parkrun events will 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. 

Previous winners will return for IAAF Antrim International XC 2015:

IAAF Antrim International XC 2015 (Article and Photo by Athletics NI):

Previous winners Steph Twell (Team GB) and Thomas Ayeko of Uganda will be hoping to top the rostrum again at the Antrim International Cross country at CAFRE College, Greenmount (Antrim) on Saturday 14th March 2015. This is one of twelve IAAF international cross country events and is supported by Antrim Borough Council.

25 year old Steph of Aldershot, Farnham & District AC shot to fame locally back in 2009, when as a 19 year old she just snatched victory by one second from Ireland's Deidre Byrne.  This followed a memorable previous year when she captured the World Junior 1,500 metres title.  Steph famously secured a hat trick of European Cross Country Junior victories from 2006 to 2008. Unfortunately Steph later suffered several fractures to her ankle when racing, and was side-lined for some two years.  She however, has recently bounced back to form as a member of the GB winning Euro Cross Country team in December, where she was 7th just behind Irish star Fionnuala Britton. Steph also recorded a 10K PB time of 32minutes and 30 seconds in Leeds.

While opposition for Steph is still being finalised, 23 year old Thomas Ayeko will be seeking to repeat his clear thirty seven seconds victory in the men’s race over Kenya's David Bett two years ago.  However, a win this time will be no easy task as he faces existing World Cross Country Champion Japhet Korir, whom he lost to by just 2 seconds in last year's International event.  Both Thomas and David will be battling it out again, as Japhet will not be defending his World title later this month in China, as he recently failed to qualify for the Kenyan team in their cut throat trials. 

Thomas may just have the edge this time, following some excellent half marathon runs last autumn, including fifth place behind Mo Farah in the Great North Run last September with a personal best of 1:02:13.  Also racing is Aldershot's Jonathan Hay who is a former European Junior 5,000 metres medallist. The 23 year old was an excellent 3rd in the Edinburgh International Cross back in January. 

Irish Milers Club (IMC) announce event at Mary Peters Track:

Irish Milers Club announce event at Mary Peters Track:

This week, it was announced that the Irish Milers Club (IMC) and Beechmount Harriers will host an IMC event in Belfast on Saturday 23rd May 2015.  The exciting event will take place at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters Track.

The race programme will include 800 metre, 1500 metre and 3,000 metre events for men and women and will kick off at 6pm.  Race Director Eamonn Christie explained, “I believe this will be the best middle distance event to be held at the Mary Peters Track in quite a while and I hope that this IMC event will become an annual fixture on the calendar.  

We hope that athletes from the wider UK regions will make the journey over to compete against the best of the Northern Irish and Irish middle distance athletes.  I would like to thank for their generous sponsorship and to LittleBigShot for the supply of energy drink.”

Local runners impress at events in England and Wales:

Local athletes perform well outside Northern Ireland:

On Sunday 1st March 2015, a number of locally based athletes were in action at well-known events outside Northern Ireland, namely the Bath Half Marathon, Anglesey Half Marathon and the 'Grizzly' 20 mile Multi-Terrain Race.

Bath Half Marathon (England):

At the Bath Half Marathon in England, no less than three runners from Northern Ireland joined over 15,000 other competitors on the start line of the prestigious event.  Annadale Striders star and podium finisher at the Belfast City Half Marathon in 2014, Keith Purdy, once again showed his class as he recorded an excellent 1:09:42 (13th place) to lead the local contingent home.  Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers) followed in a new personal best of 1:18:41 (111th place) before Northern Ireland and Ireland parkrun co-ordinator Matt Shields (North Belfast Harriers) crossed the line in 1:21:23 (175th place). Interestingly, the race was won by Team GB ultra runner and winner of the 100k at last years Energia 24 hour race, Paul Martelletti in 1:05:27 (1st place).

Anglesey Half Marathon (Wales):

In North Wales, Orangegrove AC duo Thomas Leitch and Liz Leitch took on the scenic Anglesey Half Marathon, an event well known for its picturesque coastal course.  Thomas covered the undulating course in 1:25:54 (41st place), while Liz joined him in the finish area as the clock read 1:47:05 (63rd place lady).  The race was won by Alun Vaughan (Eryri Harriers) in 1:11:21 (1st place), while his club mate Lauren Jeska (Eryri Harriers) took the ladies title in 1:22:58 (1st place lady).

The 'Grizzly' 20 mile Multi-Terrain Race (England):

At one of England's toughest running events, the 'Grizzly' 20 mile multi-terrain race, Ballymena Runners athlete Peter Fleming produced a strong performance to smash his previous best over the course.  In 2012, Peter covered the tough route in 4:28:12, but on this occasion, the Belfast Marathon pacer showed that his recent training has paid off when he crossed the line in 3:16:23 (212th place).  The race was won by Ceri Rees (Wild Running) in 2:17:45 (1st place).

Full Results:  Bath Half Marathon 2015 ResultsAnglesey Half Marathon 2015 Results'Grizzly' 20 mile Multi-Terrain Race 2015 Results

Mark Clohisey and Maria McCambridge secure victory in Kilbroney Park:

Glohealth AAI Inter-Club XC Championships 2015:

On Sunday 1st March 2015, athletes from all over Ireland were in action at the GloHealth AAI National Inter-Club Championships in Kilbroney Park, Warrenpoint (County Down).

A number of local athletes were in action at the event, with North Belfast Harriers fielding the largest contingent.  Their Senior Men's team of Alan O'Hara, Mark McKinstry, Andrew Annett, Eamon White, John Black, Conor Curran, Andrew Considine and Eddie Cooke took 5th place in a fiercely contested team competition.

Event organisers, Athletics Ireland have published the following report (and associated photograph of Maria McCambridge) in relation to the event.

McCambridge and Clohisey Win Senior Titles:

Maria McCambridge (Dundrum South Dublin AC) and Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock AC) came out on top in their respective races at the GloHealth Inter Club and Juvenile Inter County Relay Cross Country Championships. The event took place on Sunday, 1st of March in the scenic Kilbroney Park in Co. Down.  Pre-race favourites Kevin Mulcaire (Ennis Track AC) and Hope Saunders (Clonliffe Harriers AC) lived up to their pre event billings as they won the junior titles.

Senior Races: 

Maria McCambridge went straight into the lead from the gun and quickly opened a gap on the rest of the field. The Dublin native got stronger and stronger as the race went on as she lengthened the gap from all of her pursuers. The chasing pack included team mates Sarah Mulligan and Michelle McGee along with Maria O’Sullivan (Raheny Shamrock AC) and Shona Heaslip (An Riocht AC).  McCambridge was a class apart as she cruised to victory in a time of 27:26 leading a DSD white wash with Mulligan second in a time of 28:54 and McGee third in a time of 29.04. DSD easily won the team title with a score of 13 points with Raheny Shamrock AC placing second on 50 points, one point clear of Crusaders in third on 51 points.

Clohisey Defends Title: 

Mark Clohisey was back to defend his senior title with challenges expected to come from Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers AC) and Brendan O’Neill (Dundrum South Dublin AC). The leading three along with Kevin Maunsell (Clonmel AC) and John Eves (Dundrum South Dublin AC) forged ahead over the opening three kilometres.  Clohisey continued to apply the pressure with only Ciobanu able to keep pace over the demanding course, Maunsell was establishing himself in third position with the DSD pairing battling it out in fourth and fifth respectively. Clohisey’s strength paid dividends as he pulled clear to win the national title in a time of 36:53. Ciobanu stayed strong for second place (37:26) with O’Neill storming through over the final lap to finish third in a time of 37:35.  Clonliffe Harriers packed well to come out on top in the team competition with a score of 27 points with rivals Raheny Shamrock in second on 46 points and Donore Harriers in third on 54 points.

Junior Races:

Kevin Mulcaire was content to sit with the leading group in the junior race for much of the 6,000m contest. As the athletes passed the four kilometre mark it was down to Mulcaire, Patrick MacGabhann (Dundrum South Dublin AC) and Sean Collins (Ennis Track AC) with Clonliffe Harrier Cathal Doyle in fourth place.  Mulcaire surged clear over the final kilometre to break the field and win the title in a time of 19:49 with MacGabhann second and Collins in third. Mulcaire had the added bonus of leading Ennis Track to their first ever victory in the junior men’s team category with a score of 23 points. DSD finished second on 27 points with Clonliffe Harriers third on 36 points.

Saunders Reigns Supreme:

There was good battle in the junior women’s race between Hope Saunders (Clonliffe Harriers AC) and Clodagh O’Reilly (Annalee AC). Saunders made the decisive break on the second lap of the race to create a 10m gap over O’Reilly. She kept the gap to that distance as she crossed the line in a time of 14:46 with O’Reilly battling all the way to the line to finish second in a time of 14:51.  Another of those having a good race was Sarah Fitzpatrick (Dundrum South Dublin AC) as she finished in third place in a time of 15:00 and also led her club to team victory with a score of 20 points. Clonliffe Harriers finished second with a score of 32 points with Skerries placing third on 55 points. 

Full Results:  GloHealth Inter-Club XC Championships 2015 Results

Swann, Logan, Campbell & Bulman win at Resolution 5k and 10k races:

Hundreds turn out for Resolution Run 5k and 10k:

On Sunday 1st March 2015, well over two hundred athletes descended on the impressive Queen's University Belfast Sport's facilities on the Upper Malone Road, Belfast for the annual Resolution Run 5k and 10k races, hosted by Stroke Association Northern Ireland.

The cold and blustery conditions did not deter the record breaking field and as the starting horn sounded a seemingly endless stream of purple vests and t-shirts, with several recognisable club vests scattered throughout, set off on their respective 5k and 10k courses, both of which covered the same 3.1 mile lap in the area around QUB Playing Fields, Barnetts Demesne and Mary Peters Track – the 5k competitors completed one lap, while the 10k runners took on two laps.

Almost immediately, North Belfast Harriers man and late entrant Kent Swann set about making his target of victory a reality, as he moved to the front of the pack. His club mate, Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) and DUB Runners' James Trainor followed. Despite having to cover double the distance, it was this trio who passed the start/finish area first, with Kent leading James and Simon as they progressed into their second lap.

However, there wasn't long to wait before the leading 5k athletes veered into the finishing straight, and it was relatively unknown but talented athlete Gavin Campbell (Unattached) who led the way. Gavin covered the final 50 metres quickly to cross the line in 18:18 (1st place). Another Unattached athlete, Patrick McGarrity, followed in 18:45 (2nd place), before NI Duathlon's Richard Bradley secured 3rd place in 20:22.

In the ladies race, Amy Bulman (Jog Lisburn) stole the headlines with an impressive performance. After leading from early on, Amy sealed a clear victory in 22:48 (1st place). Last years winner, Claire O'Reilly (Unattached), ran well to take 2nd place in 24:57, while Beverly Reid just pipped her Dromore AC club mate Sharon McKibbin to the final podium place. Both ladies recorded 26:55, but it was Beverly (3rd place) who was given the nod by race race officials, with Sharon taking 4th place).

There wasn't much change at the head of the 10k field in the second and final lap, nothing but the gaps between them that is. Leader, Kent Swann further increased his lead over the undulating course and broke the tape in 35:55 (1st place). James Trainor took the runners up spot in 37:50 (2nd place), before Simon Reeve completed the top three in 39:05 (3rd place).

Larne AC's Gillian Logan (pictured above collecting prize from Stroke Association NI's Tom Richardson) produced the performance of her running career as she clocked a new personal best despite the course and blustery conditions to lead the ladies home in 44:33 (1st place). BARF's Victoria Simms continued her return from injury to take 2nd place in 46:36; less than one minute later, Anna Kilpatrick (Unattached) crossed the line in 47:24 (3rd place).

Podium Places – 10k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) – 35:55, 2nd James Trainor (DUB Runners) – 37:50, 3rd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 39:05

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gillian Logan (Larne AC) – 44:33, 2nd Victoria Simms (BARF) – 46:36, 3rd Anna Kilpatrick (Unattached) – 47:24

Podium Places – 5k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Gavin Campbell (Unattached) – 18:18, 2nd Patrick McGarrity (Unattached) – 18:45, 3rd Richard Bradley (NI Duathlon) – 20:22

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Amy Bulman (Jog Lisburn) – 22:48, 2nd Claire O'Reilly (Unattached) – 24:57, 3rd Beverly Reid (Dromore AC) – 26:55

Full Results:  Resolution Run 5k and 10k Races 2015 Results - Photos from the Stroke Association NI Resolution Run 5k and 10k 2015 are now available within the 'Photo Gallery' section of our website.

Remember - If you would like to catch up on our 'News' from February 2015, including this weekend's action (Born 2 Run Castlewellan 10k, Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series etc), you can use the navigation banner at the top of the screen (and scroll to February 2015) or click HERE.

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