Northern Ireland Running

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Paul Pollock and Aislinn Crossey nominated for Athletics Ireland awards:

Northern Ireland athletes rewarded for top performances with nominations:

Two Northern Ireland based runners have been nominated for awards at the annual Athletics Ireland ‘National Athletics Awards 2013’, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 20th November 2013.

Annadale Striders’ Paul Pollock has been nominated for ‘Endurance Athlete of the Year’, based on his sixteenth place finish in the marathon (after running 2:16:42) at this year’s IAAF World Championships in Russia; other nominees include Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC), Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) and Mary Cullen (Sligo AC).

Young Newry AC lady Aislinn Crossey has been nominated for ‘Junior Athlete of the Year’, after her excellent performance at the European Junior Championships in Italy, where she produced a new personal best of 2:03.93 to take fourth place.  Other nominees in Aislinn’s category include Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O’Toole AC), Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) and Phil Healy (Bandon AC).

NiRunning would like to wish Paul and Aislinn the very best of luck at the awards ceremony in Dublin.  Please visit the Athletics Ireland website for full story.

City of Derry AC man enjoys further success in America:

JP Williamson (City of Derry AC) continues to impress in America:

City of Derry AC athlete JP Williamson, a student at the Lindsey Wilson College in America, continued what has been an incredibly successful start his 2013 college term after recording his fifth victory in the space of two months.


Last Saturday (26th October 2013), JP sealed an impressive win at the Midway College 8k XC race in Kentucky, USA.  The local man, who produced several solid performances whilst at home in Northern Ireland during the summer, clocked 25:54 for the distance, winning by approximately forty seconds.  This adds to other notable wins over both road and cross country terrain; JP won the Columbia 5k road race in 15:19, the Berea College Invitational XC (8k) in 26:12 and the Kentucky Weselyan Invitational XC (8k) in 26:19.  He also claimed a runners up spot at the Greater Louisville Classic XC (8k) after running 25:43.


These are significant performances from the up and coming star, who has continued to produce the goods after showing great potential last year.  JP will now look forward to American Conference races in two weeks, the National College Championships, and ultimately, the upcoming All American College Championships.

Northern Ireland based runners named in Ireland Masters XC team:

British & Irish Masters International XC 2013:

At least five Northern Ireland based runners have been named in the Ireland Masters Cross Country team for the upcoming British & Irish Masters International Cross Country in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday 16th November 2013.

North Belfast Harriers will be well represented, with Cathy McCourt (Vet40), Paul Blaney (Vet40) and Paul Elliot (Vet60) all making the grade.  Letterkenny AC’s Ciaran Doherty (Vet35) will also travel, while Geraldine Branagh (Dromore AC) will be a reserve in the very strong Vet45 team.  

All five of the athletes have been in good form recently; Cathy has made an impressive return from injury, winning the NIMAA Masters XC race as well as achieving podium places at the Felix 10k, Runher 10k, Bangor 10k and Fairhill 5.  Paul Elliot recently ran a Vet60 Irish 10k record (36:36) at the Bangor 10k, while Paul Blaney enjoyed an excellent track season and also finished fourth at the Belfast Solstice 5k, after running 16:44.  Ciaran Doherty showed his class at last weekend’s Bobby Rea XC, leading a top quality field home in impressive fashion.  Dromore AC athlete Geraldine Branagh ran the second quickest (Masters) 3,380m leg at the Athletics NI (Road) Relay Championships earlier this month.

Frazer, Hamilton and McGinley impress at Airtricity Dublin Marathon:

Airtricity Dublin Marathon 2013:

On Monday 28th October 2013, hundreds of runners from Northern Ireland descended on Dublin (Ireland) for the 34th annual running of the Airtricity Dublin Marathon, which incorporated the AAI National Marathon Championships.

Thankfully, the record breaking field of 14,500 runners did not have to contend with the forecasted weather, but did have to battle a headwind during certain sections of the 26.2 mile course.  Much of the pre-race talk surrounded the marathon debuts of Annadale Striders pair Eddie McGinley and Patrick Hamilton, and both men performed well.  However, it was USA based NI man Thomas Frazer (St Malachy’s AC) who led the local contingent home.  

Thomas, who clocked 2:17:45 at the recent Berlin Marathon (Germany), worked his way through the field to claim an impressive 4th place finish in 2:22:34.  He was followed closely by Patrick Hamilton, who completed his first 26.2 mile race in 2:23:37 (5th place).  

Like Thomas and Patrick, Eddie McGinley ran a sensible race, moving up the rankings as the race progressed, before crossing the line in 2:24:52 (8th place). John Frazer (St Malachy’s AC) took five minutes off his 2012 Dublin Marathon time when he covered the course in 2:32:30, before North Belfast Harriers new boy finished in 2:40:29.  Don Travers (Newry City Runners) was not slowed much by his ‘skeleton’ fancy dress outfit, running 2:46:29, while Dublin Marathon race series participant Michael Magee (Beechmount Harriers) ran 2:51:12.  This sparked a train of NI finishers, with North Belfast Harriers' Niall Farquharson (2:51:13), Larne AC’s Sammy Drummond (2:51:20), Dromore AC’s Nigel Grier (2:51:24), City of Lisburn AC’s Peter Donnelly (2:52:52) and East Coast AC pair Andy Guy (2:51:44) and David Clarke (2:53:02) all finishing in close proximity to each other. Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) followed up his impressive Pure Running Half Marathon Series performances with a good outing; Richard ran 2:53:58 to finish just ahead of another Half Marathon Series participant, the ever improving Mark Walker (Unattached), who recorded 2:54:07.  Mountain runner, Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) was the next familiar face to arrive in the atmospheric finish area, crossing the line in 2:54:30.

Popular North Belfast Harriers man Jim Benson completed the course in 2:55:34, crossing the line just four seconds ahead of Belfast City Marathon pacer Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) who ran 2:55:38.  Omagh Harriers duo Brian McGread (2:55:51) and ( Damien Cox (2:56:02), Newry City Runners’ Martin O’Hagan (2:56:16), Larne AC’s Paul Gaskell (2:57:03) and Enniskillen Running Club's Michael Walsh (2:57:47) finished next, before a very happy looking Stephen Quinn (Newry City Runners) notched up a new personal best 2:58:09; Damian Mulholland (Newry City Runners), Aaron Parks (Armagh AC) and Terry Canning (Omagh Harriers) also dipped under the three hour mark, 2:59:11, 2:59:16 and 2:59:13 respectively.  Stephen Joyce (Springwell Running Club) just missed the aforementioned sub three hour time when he finished in 3:00:09.  Omagh Harriers' Derek Somerville (3:01:28) just pipped versatile North Belfast Harriers’ Simon Reeve (3:02:17), who interestingly, was sporting some nice purple hair! Respected mountain runner Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC) ran 3:02:46.  Paul Murphy (Club Unknown) and Marc Jennings (North Belfast Harriers) then finished in 3:03:15 and 3:06:01 respectively.  Gary Kernaghan (Enniskillen Running Club), Darren Church (Club Unknown), Pat McCrory (Omagh Harriers) and Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers) all ran well, with Gary running 3:07:09, Darren 3:08:37, Pat 3:08:30 and Greg 3:08:49. Christopher Capper (Springwell Running Club) recorded 3:09:15, before the ever consistent pacer, Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) brought a mass of happy competitors across the line in 3:09:41.

Talented, Ryan Landy (Unattached) finished in 3:11:03, while East Down AC’s Michael Cultra (3:12:13) and Newcastle AC’s Aiden Brown (3:12:35) crossed the line close together.  Armagh AC’s Leroy Brady (3:13:04) and Magherafelt Harriers’ Francis Stewart (3:13:40) looked good as they cruised into the finish, as did Colin Simpson (North Belfast Harriers), Andrew Stevenson (Club Unknown), Declan Teague (East Down AC) and Neil Porter (Club Unknown) who ran 3:14:01, 3:14:17, 3:15:39 and 3:15:46 receptively.  Barry Shanks (St Peter’s AC) recorded 3:16:13, while Springwell Running Club trio John Apperley (3:17:02), Eddie Clyde (3:17:39) and Andy Dowey (3:18:46) were amongst a group of NI finishers, which included East Antrim Harriers’ Michael Allen (3:17:49), Ballymena Runners’ Ryan Armstrong (3:18:17), North Belfast Harriers’ Sean McShane (3:18:36), Enniskillen Running Club's Ollie McShea (3:18:27) and Orangegrove AC pair Paul Woodman (3:18:47) and Joseph Crainey (3:18:49); they all looked to be in good shape as they came into the finish enclosure. Interestingly, Sean McShane's time (3:18:36) turned out to be a Guinness World Record for someone completing a marathon dressed as a zombie!

Enniskillen Running Club's Brian Johnston ran 3:19:05, before Paul Nesbitt (Unattached), a man who completed a 100 mile challenge for charity during the summer, clocked 3:19:10; Omagh Harriers' Deirdre Haigney ran 3:19:32, while the ever consistent Michael McKeown (East Down AC) covered the 26.2 miles in 3:20:50.  Phillip McNeill (East Antrim Harriers) looked happy with his personal best of 3:21:09, as did Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club), who wacked thirteen minutes off her 2012 marathon time when she crossed the line in 3:20:58.  Another Springwell Running Club member, Dave Sexton ran 3:21:56, while Barn Runners’ Jonathan O’Hagan, Enniskillen Running Club's Malcolm Browne and Unattached athlete Mark McDowell clocked 3:22:00, 3:22:03 and 3:23:08, finishing a short time before North Belfast Harriers’ Gerard McNamara (3:23:36), Orangegrove AC’s Paul Cordner (3:23:43) and Newry City Runners’ Brendan Savage (3:24:41).  Rory O'Donnell (Enniskillen Running Club), Paul Somerville (Enniskillen Running Club) and Kevin McLean (Springwell Running Club) were close throughout the race, but it was Rory who finished first in 3:25:28, a mere five seconds ahead of club mate Paul who ran 3:25:33; Kevin followed in 3:25:59.  Lagan Valley AC’s Paul Carlisle recorded 3:26:17 and East Down AC’s Gavin Oaks ran 3:26:28, before Unattached Fiona Johnston (3:27:15) ran her second quickest marathon time ever.  David Carlisle (Lagan Valley AC) crossed the line just behind his brother (Paul Carlisle) in 3:27:52 and Magherafelt Harriers’ Paul McErlain ran 3:28:07, finishing just ahead of a comfortable looking Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC), who recorded 3:28:16.  This was just four seconds ahead of North Belfast Harriers athlete Joseph Norney (3:28:20); in turn, Joseph just pipped Alwyn McKee (Dromore AC) and Valerie McDonoghue (North Down AC) to the post, Alwyn ran 3:28:35 and Valerie 3:28:58.  Francis McCloy (Club Unknown) and Caroline Millar (Omagh Harriers) also came in just under 3:30:00 in a time of 3:29:07 and 3:29:28.

Other Northern Ireland finishers (that we are aware of) included:  Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers) – 3:30:07, David Gamble (Seapark AC) – 3:30:10, Neil Garvey (Newry City Runners) – 3:30:41, Michael Ward (Omagh Harriers) – 3:31:42, Thomas Craig (Larne AC) – 3:32:29, Ryan Treanor (Newry City Runners) – 3:32:40, Glen Millar (Springwell Running Club) – 3:31:41, Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers) – 3:32:42, Andy Liddle (East Antrim Harriers) – 3:33:04, Linda Gillen (Springwell Running Club) – 3:32:56, Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers) - 3:33:30, Nuala McLoughlin (Club Unknown) – 3:34:36, Nicola Frizelle (Springwell Running Club) – 3:33:55, Norman Elliot (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:34:50, Paul Campbell (Springwell Running Club) – 3:35:51, Pamela McGlade (Springwell Running Club) – 3:36:27, Phillip Vint (East Down AC) – 3:36:35, Tina Davies (Dromore AC) – 3:37:39, Colin Lowry (Club Unknown) – 3:36:58, Ricky Wright (Unattached) – 3:39:23, Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC) – 3:38:00, Adrian Burns (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:39:02, Greame Morrison (Springwell Running Club) – 3:39:55, Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) – 3:40:59, Janice White (Forge Harriers) – 3:41:43, Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC) – 3:42:12, Colin McCann (Newry City Runners) – 3:43:13, Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) – 3:44:08, Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 3:44:09, Sam Hogg (Lagan Valley AC) – 3:44:29, Gary Moore (Springwell Running Club) – 3:45:21, Tommy Bradley (Springwell Running Club) – 3:47:21, Johnny Goldie (Springwell Running Club) – 3:47:22, Michael McAlister (Club Unknown) – 3:47:22, Andrew McDonald (Club Unknown) – 3:47:38, Robert Workman (Springwell Running Club) – 3:47:57, Scott Bell (Springwell Running Club) – 3:48:10, Dessie Elton (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:49:28, Bernie O'Donnell (Omagh Harriers) - 3:49:34, Trevor Denton (Unattached) – 3:49:48, John McDonald (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:49:57, Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) – 3:50:38, Jeanette Bailie (Dromore AC) – 3:51:08, John Donnelly (Unattached) – 3:51:16, James McNally (Newry City Runners) – 3:51:38, Andrew McConville (Unattached) – 3:52:23, Ciaran Browne (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:52:43, Rosemary Hargan (Sperrin Harriers) – 3:52:55, Catherine Pinkerton-Moore (Springwell Running Club) – 3:52:56, Peter Grimes (Forge Harriers) – 3:54:09, Lesley Young (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:54:30, Darren Warnock (Sperrin Harriers) – 3:54:56, Linda Walsh (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:56:02, Ciaran McSherry (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:56:04, Mairead McAleer (Carmen Runners) – 3:56:16, James Johnson (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:56:18, Albert Little (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:56:26, Denise McElroy (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:56:28, Eddie Blayney (East Antrim Harriers) – 3:56:29, Siobhan Monaghan (Enniskillen Running Club) - 3:56:53, Martin McMillan (East Antrim Harriers) – 3:57:06, David Patterson (Springwell Running Club) – 3:57:31, Jean-Claude Bourgeois (Springwell Running Club) – 3:58:04, Peter Jack (Springwell Running Club) – 3:58:09, Donna Owens (Omagh Harriers) - 3:58:15, Niall Heaney (Omagh Harriers) - 3:58:33, Paul Dane (Unattached) - 3:59:19, Donald Smith (Unattached) – 3:59:27, Matthew Nicholson (Unattached) – 4:00:02, Ciara Mullan (Sperrin Harriers) - 4:00:27, Jeff Curry (Club Unknown) – 4:00:50, Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) – 4:01:28, Bobby Collins (Omagh Harriers) - 4:01:39, Sean McShane (Club Unknown) – 4:02:01, Alan McKeeman (Springwell Running Club) – 4:03:28, Amanda Frizelle (Unattached) – 4:03:37, Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC) – 4:04:43, Bronagh Hawe (Sperrin Harriers) – 4:05:21, Stuart Mathieson (Unattached) – 4:06:25, Marie Donnelly (Omagh Harriers) - 4:07:00, Heather Smyth (Ballydrain Harriers) – 4:07:25, Jack Carberry (North Belfast Harriers) - 4:07:56, Brigid Quinn (Ballymena Runners) - 4:09:12, Ali McAllister (Springwell Running Club) – 4:10:15, Claire Shields (Ballydrain Harriers) – 4:11:54, Mary Duffin (Glens Runners) - 4:16:57, Rachel Farrell (Orangegrove AC) – 4:21:20, Rebecca McKenzie (Enniskillen Running Club) - 4:26:16, Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC) – 4:28:16, Pauline Love (Enniskillen Running Club) - 4:31:20, Noel Harkin (Springwell Running Club) – 4:36:51, Eileen Jack (Unattached) – 4:42:23, Bernie Liggett (Omagh Harriers) - 4:47:05, Ruth Kelly (East Coast AC) – 4:54:20, Ken Beggs (East Antrim Harriers) – 4:54:21, Amanda Simpson (Springwell Running Club) – 5:15:02, Beverley Gordon (Springwell Running Club) – 5:35:44.

The exciting race was won by Sean Hehir (Rathfranham WSAF) in 2:18:21; the equally close ladies race was won by Irish Olympian Maria McCambridge (DSD AC) who just edged out Leevale AC’s Claire McCarthy to win in 2:38:53.  As the race was also the AAI National Marathon Championships, both Sean and Maria claimed their respective titles.  Clonliffe Harriers won the men's team prize, while Raheny Shamrock AC topped the ladies team standings.  Northern Ireland club, Annadale Striders finished in 3rd place in the men's team competition, with Patrick Hamilton (2:22:37), Eddie McGinley (2:24:53) and John Devlin (2:59:30) making up the team.  USA based NI men Thomas and John Frazer also picked up prizes in the team event, both were 'counters' for Crusaders AC, who took 2nd place behind Clonliffe Harriers.  In the Wheelchair race, Northern Ireland men Paul Hannan and Jim Corbett excelled yet again; Paul won in 2:34:51 and was followed across the line by his friend Jim in 2:37:30.

Individual Results (via Tracking Service) are available on the Airtricity Dublin Marathon website HERE.  This summary is based on our observations whilst out on the course and at the finish line, as well as information provided by Club Representatives and through the above mentioned Tracking Service.  Despite our best efforts, we have almost certainly missed quite a few Northern Ireland finishers.  If you are not mentioned above (and would like to be), or know someone who completed the Dublin Marathon, please feel free to email us on [email protected]; information received before Thursday 30th October 2013 (12pm) will be added to the report.  We (NiRunning) would like to congratulate everyone who took part in the event.

Full Results:  Airtricity Dublin Marathon 2013 Results

Northern Ireland men impress in Germany:

Personal bests for Newcastle AC men at Frankfurt Marathon:
On Sunday 27th October 2013, at least five Northern Ireland men completed the BMW Frankfurt Marathon in Germany; an event that always seems to attract huge interest from the UK and Ireland.

Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC) proved that he is well and truly back to his best after a collar-bone injury cruelly stopped him making it to the start line of the Virgin London Marathon in April 2013; the Newcastle AC man covered the course in a new personal best time of 2:43:22.  Fellow Newcastle AC men, Alan Strachan (2:56:27) and Norman Smyth (3:05:56) followed, with Norman smashing his previous personal best by approximately ten minutes.

BARF pair, Miguel Robinson and Clarke Campbell also ran well, with Miguel covering the distance in 3:58:21 and Clarke 4:15:03.  The race was won by Kenyan athlete Vincent Kipruto in 2:06:16.

Full Results:  BMW Frankfurt Marathon 2013 Results (men) & BMW Frankfurt Marathon 2013 Results (women)

Stephen Scullion claims top ten finish at Great South Run:

Great South Run 2013:
On Sunday 27th October 2013, Northern Ireland man Stephen Scullion joined twenty five thousand runners on the start line of the Bupa Great South Run in Southsea, England.  The flat and fast course, which takes competitors through the historic Portsmouth Docks, has attracted the likes of Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah in the past.

Stephen, who was representing Aldershot, Farnham & District AC, put in an excellent performance.   The recent Belfast City Half Marathon winner covered the 10 mile course in 51:31, securing an excellent 9th place finish.  The race, which took place in very windy conditions,  was won by Emmanuel Bett (Kenya) in 48:03.

Full Results:  Bupa Great South Run 2013 Results

Ciaran Doherty and Danielle Fegan take top honours at Bobby Rea XC:

Junior and Senior athletes enjoy an excellent day of XC racing in Rostrevor:

On Saturday 26th October 2013, junior and senior athletes from across the province descended on the scenic Kilbroney Park, Rostervor for the Northern Ireland & Ulster ‘Even Age Group’ Cross Country Championships and the Bobby Rea Cross Country races.

In wet and blustery conditions, the programme of events kicked off with the competitive and impressive junior races; the potential was obvious throughout the age groups, with many up and coming stars showing off their running ability.  As the junior races came to an end, it was the turn of the more experienced senior athletes to take to the stage.  

In the men’s 5 mile race, it was 2012 World Masters 3,000m (Indoor) Champion Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC) who stole the headlines; Ciaran crossed the line in 26:31 to seal a well-deserved victory.  St Malachy’s AC star Joe McAlister looked in good shape as he returned to competition after injury, taking the runner up spot in 26:51 (2nd place), while last weekend’s Springwell XC hero Brendan Teer showed great strength to complete the podium place in just two seconds later in 26:53 (3rd place).

Armagh AC's Danielle Fegan produced arguably the performance of the day in the ladies 3 mile race.   The Athletics NI Cross Country medallist ran well in the early stages, cementing her place at the front, before finishing strongly to complete an outstanding victory in 19:36.  The ever improving Heather Foley (North Belfast Harriers), followed in 19:54 (2nd place), before North Down AC's Rachel Gibson (19:56) continued her good start to the cross country season with another podium place (3rd place), adding to her third place finish at the NIMAA XC two weeks ago.

Bobby Rea XC:

Top 3 Men:  1st Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC) – 26:31, 2nd Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC) – 26:51, 3rd Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 26:53

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) – 19:36, 2nd Heather Foley (North Belfast Harriers) – 19:54, 3rd Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) – 19:56

Full Results:  Bobby Rea XC 2013 Results and NI & Ulster 'Even Age Group' Championships 2013 Results

Northern Ireland runners perform well at Snowdonia Marathon:

NI athletes take on the UK's toughest 26.2m race:

On Saturday 26th October 2013, several athletes from Northern Ireland took on the Snowdonia Marathon in Wales, a race that was voted the UK’s toughest (26.2 miles with approximately 1,800ft of ascending), but also it's most spectacular marathon by Runners World magazine.

Up against top quality opposition and blustery conditions, Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) and Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) all performed well. Justin claimed 13th place in 2:54:38, while Gillian secured 16th place in the ladies race, after covering the tough course in 3:56:48. Gary Connolly also battled well, narrowly missing a sub four hour finish, when he crossed the line in 4:01:37 (46th place).

Well-known International athlete Rob Samuel (Eryri Harriers) retained the men’s title in 2:43:50, while Sarah Caskey (Bangor University AC) took the ladies top prize in 3:12:15.

Full Results:  Snowdonia Marathon 2013 Results

Mark Hoy and Breege Connolly secure Spooktacular victories:

Record numbers turn out for Spooktacular 5k:

On Friday 25th October 2013, nearly three hundred and fifty athletes turned out for the third annual running of the Enniskillen Running Club hosted Spooktacular 5k road race in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.

As expected, Finn Valley AC star Mark Hoy returned to defend the title he won impressively last year.  Just like 2012, the reigning champion was made to work for the top prize.  Once again, the race went to the wire, with Ireland international Emmett Dunleavy (Sligo AC) battling all the way.  In the end, Mark won by a mere two seconds, crossing the line in a new course record of 15:32.  AAI National Steeplechase silver medallist, Emmett (15:34) took 2nd place, while NIMRA member Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) claimed 3rd place in 16:02.

The ladies race didn’t prove to be just as close, but still produced some individual battles throughout the record breaking field.  At the front, it was talented North Belfast Harriers lady, Breege Connolly, who secured the title.  Breege, who has reached the qualifying standard for the Commonwealth Games (marathon), cruised to victory in 17:50.  Denise Toner (Clones AC) replicated her placing from last year when she recorded 18:45 for 2nd place; Helen Stockdale (Clones AC) continued her good run of form, completing the ladies top three in 19:06 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) – 15:32, 2nd Emmett Dunleavy (Sligo AC) – 15:34, 3rd Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) – 16:02

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 17:50, 2nd Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 18:45, 3rd Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) – 19:06

Full Results:  Enniskillen Spooktacular 5k 2013 Results

Ann-Marie McGlynn and Ryan McDermott to represent Ireland:

Northern Ireland based duo to represent Ireland in Belgium:

Two Northern Ireland based runners will represent Ireland at the upcoming Lotto Cross (Country) Cup in Antwerp, Belgium on Sunday 3rd November 2013.  Lifford AC’s Ann-Marie McGlynn (nee Larkin) and Annadale Striders' Ryan McDermott will join a strong Ireland team headed by double European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC).

Both Ann-Marie and Ryan impressed selectors at last weekend’s Gerry Farnan XC in Dublin, Ireland; Ann-Marie just missed out on a podium place after finishing strongly to claim fourth place, while Ryan also ran well.  He claimed an excellent eleventh place, meaning that he was one of the top U-23 finishers.  The full Ireland team can be viewed via the Athletics Ireland website.

Weekend Preview:  A Spooktacular weekend of racing ahead...

Weekend Preview:  Enniskillen, Rostrevor, Dublin and Snowdonia:

Another weekend of action beckons as runners from Northern Ireland gear up for several high profile races; these events, in Enniskillen (County Fermanagh), Rostrevor (County Down), Dublin (Ireland) and Snowdonia (Wales) will vary in both distance and terrain, making it an exciting weekend for every type of athlete, and with Championship honours at stake, the competition is sure to be fierce.

The weekend events kick off tonight in Enniskillen, where Enniskillen Running Club will host the third annual running of their popular and well organised Spooktacular 5k road race; an event that attracted a large number of runners and spectators last year.  The race starts at the Diamond at 7.30pm and participants will complete a two and a half lap circuit of the historic island town centre, before crossing the finish line on the main street. 

Last year’s race went to the wire, with Finn Valley AC’s Mark Hoy beating local hero Conan McCaughey (Enniskillent Running Club) by just four seconds. Since then, both men have gone on to establish themselves as two of the provinces top talents.  Mark impressed on the track, winning the 800m at the prestigious Mary Peters International (Belfast) and picking up a silver medal over 1500m at the Irish University Championships.  He also performed well at the British University Championships and AAI Senior Championships, before winning the Drumragh 10k earlier this month.  Last weekend, Mark finished well up the field at the competitive Gerry Farnan XC in Dublin, Ireland.  Conan started 2013 with a fantastic run at the NI & Ulster Junior XC Championships (finishing in fifth place), before enjoying some solid track performances.  However, (in our opinion) his strongest performances have been on the road, where he is rarely off the podium; most notably, Conan achieved top three finishes in Altamuskin (5m), Ballyshannon (5k), Enniskillen (10k), Carmen (10k) and last week at the ‘Run for Catherina’ 5k race.

Other top contenders may include Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), James Speight (Finn Valley AC) and Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club).  All three have enjoyed prize winning performances this year; Paul showed his class to win the Dromore 10k in comfortable fashion and has also taken top spot at the Knockmany Forest 5m Race, the Killyclogher 10k and the Strabane 10k.  The Omagh Harriers man ran a personal best over of 1:13:33 at the Omagh Half Marathon back in March 2013 and then clock 1:13:35 at the Belfast City Half Marathon last month.  He is in good form! James Speight ran very well at the Gerry Farnan XC last week and it was in the muck that he first really ‘stepped up’ a level; at the NI & Ulster XC Championships at the beginning of 2013, a relatively unknown James finished just outside the podium places in fourth place.  Local man, Stephen Prentice is always in the mix and has claimed victories at the Jengana 10k and the Fivemiletown 10k in recent months.  The Enniskillen Running Club member also took third place at the Downhill Demesne 5 mile trail race in August 2013.  Enniskillen Running Club trio Adam Cooke, Glenn Phair and Fergus McGirr could also play a part at the front.

Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC), winner of last year’s ladies race, will not feature; this leaves the title up from grabs.  Previous participant, Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) has been in fine form of late, winning the NIMAA Masters Open XC race in Belfast two weeks ago.  Last week, Cathy also ran well at the Gerry Farnan XC; off the grass, the North Belfast Harriers athlete has taken podium places at the Runher 10k and the Felix 10k in the last six weeks. Denise Toner (Clones AC) could also start and will place well if she does; Denise led the aforementioned NIMAA XC in Belfast before Cathy put in an outstanding final lap to claim victory.  One of Denise’s top performances of the year came at the Laganside 10k, where she achieved a personal best of 38:22 to finish in third place, in what was a quality field.  Over and above that, she has also won the Lisbellaw 10k, the Lisnaskea 10k and the Enniskillen 10k.  Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) and Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) will both challenge for a podium place should they make use of the on the night entry.  Both have started the XC season well, with Julie taking fourth place and sixth place at the NIMAA and Springwell XC races respectively; meanwhile, Helen has helped her new Finn Valley AC club mates to team prizes at recent Donegal XC Championships; on an individual basis, Helen won the Donegal Novice (Masters) XC title two weeks ago.  Omagh Harriers duo Caroline Miller and Mairead McCann will place well if they decide to participate.

On Saturday 26th October 2013, Athletics NI host the NI & Ulster Even Age Group XC Championships and the Bobby Rea Memorial XC at the scenic Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.  This event was a huge success last year, with many athletes and spectators particularly impressed with the venue; this year it is sure to attract some of the provinces top up and coming juniors, as well as the more established senior athletes.

Aidan McCluskey (Mid Ulster AC), Rebekah Nixon (Dromore AC), Timothy McCracken (Dromore AC), Yasmin Wilson (Unattached), Kate Moore (North Down AC), Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers), Claire Francis (Willowfield Harriers), Bethany Nixon (Dromore AC), Clodagh O’Reilly (Annalee AC), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), Emma Hutchinson (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Ben Gracey (Dromore AC), Rachel Brown (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Daniel Dawson (Dromore AC) are just a few of the potential stars that should toe the line in what will be extremely competitive junior races.

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) will surely start the Bobby Rea Memorial XC as pre-race favourite.  The NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion has been in unstoppable form throughout 2013.  Last week in Coleraine, Brendan took nearly thirty seconds out of a quality field of athletes to win easily.  This adds to impressive wins at the GR8 Dundrum Run, the Portaferry 10, Ballykinlar 10k, Albertville 5 and the Mill Hill Mile, to name just a few.  Arguably Brendan’s most notable race this year was a 1:11:25 personal best at the Belfast City Half Marathon last month, where he finished behind Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) and Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) in third place.

Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers), Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers), Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) and Andrew Hicks (Armagh AC) should be in contention for podium places.  Alan has been extremely consistent this year; he has recorded new personal bests over 5k (15:14), 10k (31:03) and Half Marathon (1:08:38).  His 53:10 finish time at the Armagh 10 mile road race this month was also an excellent performance.  Connor Magill should be applauded for the way he has worked himself back to full fitness after a frustrating start to the year; having put that behind him, the North Belfast Harriers man impressed in Armagh two weeks ago when he clocked 54:45 for 10 miles, this was enough to secure a podium finish, adding to previous prize winning performances at the Greyabbey 10k, Loughshore 10k and Sperrin Harriers 5 mile race in Cookstown.

Andrew Annett is another top performer, despite racing sparingly, the mountain running international seems to produce the goods every time he laces up the racers, no matter what the terrain is.  Andrew just missed a top ten finish at the infamous Snowdon International Mountain Race in July 2013, finishing in thirteenth place.  He then secured a runner up spot and the Galway Bay 10k in September 2013 after running 34:03.  Andrew’s mountain strength will prove his biggest asset on what could well be a heavy, muddy course.  Andrew Hicks had the pleasure of being part of a very talented altitude training group in Font Romeu last month and will hope to go into the cross country season off the back of that and the confidence gained from a strong track season and a win at the Mourne Way 10k, which interestingly, finished in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.  Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Mark Wright (Annadale Striders) and Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) will also place well, as will Pierce McCullagh, who could be part of a very strong Sperrin Harriers team.

Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) made a suprising return to competition last week at the Springwell XC, after her heroics at the BMW Berlin Marathon, where her finish time of 2:39:26 not only secured an excellent thirteenth place, but also ensured that she has the Commonwealth Games 2014 (marathon) qualifying standard.  Gladys could well take to the line here with the intention of building a good winter base over XC terrain, whilst looking ahead to next summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Scotland).   

As always, North Down AC should be well represented in the ladies race; Rachel Gibson, Jessica Craig and Roberta Dornan may all feature; Rachel ran really well at both the NIMMA Masters Open XC and the Runher 5k this month, finishing in second place and third place respectively.  This follows a good track season which saw the rising star run personal bests over 800m (2:15.54), 1500m (4:42.43) and 3,000m (10:19.30).  Northern Ireland international cross country runner, Jessica Craig, recovered well from the sickness that led to an unusually disappointing performance at the Bangor 10k, to finish on the podium at the recent Runher 5k at Stormont Estate.  If she is back to full fitness, Jessica could well claim another podium finish here.  The third member of the North Down AC trio, Roberta Dornan, returned to racing after nearly two years out to claim at Northern Ireland (Masters) International vest, following a strong performance at the NIMAA Masters XC in Belfast.  Considering the trip to Wales for the British & Irish Masters International is three weeks away, this could well prove a good fitness test for the talented lady.  Dromore AC’s Athletics NI (Road) Relay Championships gold medal winning team of Gillian Burns, Geraldine Branagh and Diane Wilson will also toe the line.  All three proved to be in exceptional form at the Relays, with Gillian running the quickest Masters 3,380m leg of the day (12:47); interestingly, Geraldine’s 3,380m time was just one second slower (12:48).  Diane has been a dominant force within the local and national mountain running scenes this year and was recently crowned NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running) Champion.  Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), Nuala Kelly (Sperrin Harriers) and Eva Laverty (Lagan Valley AC) will also run well.

Also on Saturday 26th October 2013, several Northern Ireland runners will take on the tough Snowdonia Marathon in Wales.  The demanding event which boasts a spectacular 26.2 mile route, encircling Snowdon, Wales’ and England’s highest peaks, was voted as the UK’s best marathon in 2011 by Runners World Magazine.  This is somewhat ironic since it is also regarded as one of the most difficult! East Coast AC’s Justin Maxwell, a podium finisher in the race last year, and Seapark AC duo Gillian Cordner and Gary Connolly will all take to the start line. 

On Monday 28th October 2013, hundreds, if not thousands of runners from Northern Ireland will travel south for the 34th annual running of the Airtricity Dublin Marathon.  In 1980, when the race was first run, there were 2,100 entries; this year, records have been smashed with a total of 14,500 participants due to start.

The Airtricity Dublin Marathon 2013 will also act as the AAI National Marathon Championships; this was arguably the title that set Annadale Striders star Paul Pollock on his way to the World Championships in Moscow this year, after he won the 2012 AAI National Marathon Championship in 2:16:50; an excellent time, especially considering it was his first attempt at the distance.

Although Paul will not race this year, two of his exceptionally talented Annadale Striders club mates are set to make their marathon debuts; namely Eddie McGinley and Patrick Hamilton.  Whilst preparing for their inaugural 26.2 mile jaunt, both men have picked up numerous accolades along the way.  Eddie has claimed two AAI National Championships medals already this year, having finished in third place at the Great Ireland 10k Run (incorporating AAI National 10k Road Championships), where he recorded 31:00 in awful conditions; he also picked up a silver medal in the AAI National 10,000m (Senior) Championships after running 30:08.24.  Eddie also clocked 1:08:20 in his first ever Half Marathon, finishing in second place at the Belfast City Half Marathon.  

In our opinion, Eddie’s best performances have been in England.  He won the prestigious Highgate Harriers 10,000m race in a (then) personal best of 29:53.37, then went on to absolutely smash that time at the Sainsburys Games in Birmingham; against world class opposition, the Belfast man finished just outside the podium places in fourth place, but his huge personal best of 29:32.51 was the performance of the night.  Recently, Eddie won the Armagh 10 mile road race in 51:02.  

Well-known Physiotherapist, Patrick (pictured right) has a Half Marathon personal best of 1:06:47 (Charleville Half Marathon 2012) and has won the Lisburn 10k, Bann 10k and Craigavon Lakes 10k this summer; as part of the Dublin Marathon Series, Patrick completed the Fingal 10k and the Frank Duffy 10 mile road race, he ran well in both - 30:57 at the Fingal 10k and 51:04 at the Frank Duffy 10.  Just last week, Patrick put on an impressive display of front running to cruise to victory at the ‘Run for Catherina’ 5k run in County Cavan, Ireland.  Despite the lack of challenge at the front, he managed a speedy 15:09; thus will be going into the marathon in high spirits.

Other Northern Ireland runners who are set to compete, that we are aware of, include:  Don Travers (Newry City Runners), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), Phil Wood (Unattached), Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC), Stephen Joyce (Springwell Running Club), John Black (North Belfast Harriers), Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Gaskell (Larne AC), David Clarke (East Coast AC), Andy Guy (East Coast AC), Michael Magee (Beechmount Harriers), Mark Walker (Unattached), Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Aaron Parks (Armagh AC), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC), Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC), Paul Nesbitt (Unattached), Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers), Francis Stewart (Magherafelt Harriers), Gary Connolly (Seapark AC), Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers), Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers), Stephen Harkens (Unattached), David Turtle (Seapark AC), Trevor Denton (Springwell Running Club), Ken Beggs (Springwell Running Club), Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners), Gerard McNamara (North Belfast Harriers), Stephen Kerr (Sperrin Harriers), Thomas McDonald (Sperrin Harriers), Cormac McGreevy (Newry City Runners), Michael Allen (East Antrim Harriers), Paul Cordner (Orangegrove AC), Thomas Craig (Larne AC), Mark Shields (North Belfast Harriers), Andy Deal (Springwell Running Club), Ryan Trainor (Sperrin Harriers), Graham Orr (Sperrin Harriers), Fergal McElroy (Sperrin Harriers), Patrick McShane (North Belfast Harriers), Eddie Blayney (East Antrim Harriers), Sean McShane (North Belfast Harriers), Bobbie Irvine (Seapark AC), John Knocker (Sperrin Harriers), Paul O’Hare (NISCAC), Phillip Vent (East Down AC), Conor Skelton (Unattached), Alwyn McKee (Dromore AC), Matt Nicholson (Unattached), Gavin Oakes (Unattached), Peter Lilburn (City of Derry AC), Declan Teague (East Down AC), Donal Murdock (Burren AC), Gareth Murdock (Newry City Runners), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC), Anne Havern (Newry City Runners), Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC), Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club), Karen McElroy (Sperrin Harriers), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC), Ruth Kelly (East Coast AC), Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers), Linda Gillen (Springwell Running Club), Jennifer Ashby (East Antrim Harriers), Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC), Heather Smyth (Ballydrain Harriers), Claire Shields (Ballydrain Harriers), Ciara Mullin (Sperrin Harriers), Helen Murray (Larne AC), Eileen Jack (Unattached), Rosemary Hargan (Sperrin Harriers), Fiona Johnston (Unattached), Jeanetter Bailie (Dromore AC), Rachel Farrell (Orangegrove AC), Tina Davies (Dromore AC), Valerie McDonough (North Down AC), Roisin Rocks (Newry City Runners), Bronagh Hawe (Sperrin Harriers), Catherine Pinkerton-Moore (Springwell Running Club), Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC) and Cara Hamilton (Unattached).

NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) would like to wish everyone competing in the Airtricity Dublin Marathon 2013 (and of course every other event this week, and every week) the very best of luck.  We will be in Dublin covering the event and will provide as many updates as we can.  Our aim is to have an initial race summary online by Monday (28th October 2013) evening, then we will add to this on Tuesday 29th October 2013 when we have had time to gather more information.

Northern Ireland’s fourteen parkrun events will also take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.  Please Note:  The Belfast Victoria parkrun has moved to a new temporary home at the ‘Alderman Tommy Patton Park’ (Start Time is 9.15am) at Inverary Avenue, Belfast (just off the Holywood Road, Belfast) whilst the ongoing construction works within Victoria Park take place.  For more information please visit the Belfast Victoria parkrun website HERE.

Important Information: Belfast Victoria parkrun moves to temporary home:

Temporary change of location for Belfast Victoria parkrun:

Due to the ongoing construction works within Victoria Park, Belfast, the weekly 5k parkrun has been temporarily relocated to the ‘Alderman Tommy Patton Park’ at Inverary Avenue, Belfast (just off the Holywood Road, Belfast) for the forseeable future.  As soon as Victoria Park is safe for use by runners, the parkrun will return.  The Belfast Victoria parkrun Team would like to thank you for your understanding and support during this challenging time.  

Organisers will be holding the start time until 9:15am for the next few weeks to give anyone coming from Victoria Park a chance to get to the new temporary venue. The post code for the ‘Alderman Tommy Patton Park’ is BT4 1RN.  To keep up to date with the latest information regarding Belfast Victoria parkrun, please visit their website HERE.

Ryan Holt (Willowfield Harriers) continues to impress in America:

Northern Ireland man completes hat-trick in USA:

Like a number of Northern Ireland men before him, Willowfield Harriers’ Ryan Holt appears to cementing his reputation as ‘one to watch’ in America.  Ryan, who is currently on a twelve month educational scholarship at the University of Ozarks, Clarksville (USA) has been named as American Southwest Conference ‘Runner of the Week’, for the third time.

Having won the prestigious award twice in September 2013, Ryan produced an excellent performance at the Lois Davis Invitational Cross Country (Arkansas), where the up and coming star claimed a podium place after securing 3rd place in what was a quality field; Ryan completed the tough 8k course in 26:24.

Full Results:  Lois Davis Invitational Cross Country 2013 Results

Northern Ireland runners race in Amsterdam, Palma, Birmingham and York:

Northern Ireland athletes race outside the province:

Last weekend (Sunday 20th October 2013), a large number of Northern Ireland runners were in competition outside the province; most notably at events in Palma, Amsterdam, York and Birmingham.

Nine Orangegrove AC members travelled to Palma for the annual TUI Marathon Palma de Mallorca.  The popular festival of running offers competitors a variety of distances, including 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon. 

In the Half Marathon, only one second split Julie McKimm and Paul Cordner, with Julie crossing the line in 2:01:10 and Paul 2:01:11.  Patricia Magill completed the course in 2:09:11.  The Half Marathon was won by Germany’s Michael Lang in 1:10:25, while Jessie Sanzo (Bristol AC) won the ladies race in 1:22:04.

Joy McAleer continued what has been an excellent season to lead the Orangegrove contingent home in the 10k; Joy recorded 50:15 and was followed into the finishing area by recently named NI Master XC international Jacqui Maxwell (50:41).  Sharon Dickenson also ran well to finish in 52:47, before the remaining trio of Mary Boyd (1:05:33), Tania Rothwell (1:05:33) and Sharon Corken (1:05:34) finished together.  The 10k race was won by Spanish pair Tomeu Rigo Mas (33:33) and Beatriz Antolin Perez (35:49).

In Holland, Northern Ireland was once again well represented at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon (and associated Half Marathon).  The event, which is well known for its fast and flat course always attracts participants from our local scene, and this year proved no different.

East Down AC’s Phillip Vint showed that he is returning to his best after injury, clocking 3:26:29 for the 26.2 mile course.  Newry City Runners pair Majella Murphy and Dermot Winters followed in 4:03:10 and 4:03:18 respectively, before their club mate Lillian O’Hanlon finished in 4:08:09.  Run Armagh 10k race director and endurance enthusiast Matthew Nicholson was the next familiar face to cross the line in 4:10:32, while Sperrin Harriers’ Hannah Su (4:22:34) ran her second quickest Marathon ever.  Seapark AC’s Vivien Davidson (4:23:55), Newry City Runners’ Paul Fegan (4:27:24) and Northern Ireland Civil Service AC’s Imo Damkat (4:28:02) all broke the 4:30:00 barrier, before Derek Mathers (4:34:31) and Colm Fearon (4:53:07) completed the strong Newry City Runners representation.  Brianan McBride (Unattached) battled well to finish in 5:10:53.  The 26.2 mile race was won by Kenyan duo Wilson Cherbet (2:05:35) and Valentine Kipketer (2:23:02).

In the Half Marathon, Gerard McAleenan (Newry City Runners) led the NI athlete’s home in 1:35:01.  He was followed by East Down AC’s Helen Vint (1:53:20), Unattached athlete Lindsay Damkat (2:15:17) and Newry City Runners’ Ciara McPhillips (2:26:08).  Holland’s Daan Van Den Ende won the Half Marathon in 1:10:11, while Norway’s Anna Holm Baumeister took the ladies title in 1:18:22.

At least three runners from Northern Ireland completed the inaugural Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon in York, England.  The brand new event, which sold over six thousand places in just three days, boasts a course flatter and faster than London, Paris, Berlin and Chicago Marathon’s, amongst others.

North Belfast Harriers Martin Rea was pacing the 3:00:00 group and judged the pace as perfect as ever.  The Virgin London Marathon and Belfast City Marathon pacer crossed the line in 2:59:23, therefore assisting many runners with personal bests and sub three hour finishes.  Larne AC’s Heather Baxter and Elaine Hall also enjoyed the experience, with Heather clocking a new personal best of 3:48:35 and Elaine running 4:20:21.

In Birmingham (England), Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers), Helen Collins (County Antrim Harriers) and Larne based men, Allan McCullough (East Coast AC) and Ian Brennan (Larne AC) joined tens of thousands of competitors on the start line of the Bupa Great Birmingham (13.1 mile) Run.  Chris continued his preparation for next weekend's Airtricity Dublin Marathon with a 1:33:34 finish time, before Allan completed the city centre based route in a new personal best of 1:35:49, taking approximately two minutes off his recent Belfast City Half Marathon time.  Helen also clocked a new personal best, crossing the line in 1:43:00.  Unfortunately Ian was forced to withdraw due to an ongoing hamstring problem.

Full Results:  TUI Marathon Palma de Mallorca - TCS Amsterdam Marathon (and associated Half Marathon) - Plusnet Yorshire Marathon - Bupa Great Birmingham Run

Patrick Hamilton (Annadale Striders) wins 'Run with Catherina' 5k race:

Podium places for Northern Ireland men in Cavan (Ireland):

On Sunday 20th October 2013, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes joined nearly seven hundred participants at the inaugural running of the ‘Run with Catherina’ 5k road race in Cavan Town, Ireland’ the event was hosted by Annalee AC and is organised to celebrate the achievements of Irish Olympian Catherina McKiernan.

Northern Ireland man, Patrick Hamilton (Annadale Striders) sealed an impressive victory.  The Annadale Striders man, who is preparing for the Airtricity Dublin Marathon clocked a speedy 15:09 to win. Enniskillen Running Club’s Conan McCaughey also produced an excellent performance to take 3rd place in 15:41.  

Kevin Murphy (Magherafelt Harriers) followed in 19:30 (36th place), before Karen Dolan recorded 21:01 (63rd place), this was enough to take 11th place in the ladies race; Joanne O’Donnell (Enniskillen Running Club) completed the course in 26:04 (214th place).  The ladies race was won by Catherina McKiernan (Ireland) in 17:20.

Full Results:  Run with Catherina 5k 2013 Results

Northern Ireland runners perform well at Gerry Farnan XC in Dublin:

Gerry Farnan Cross Country Festival 2013:

On Sunday 20th October 2013, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to Dublin (Ireland) for the 30th annual running of the prestigious Gerry Farnan Cross Country Festival, hosted by Metropolitan Harriers and St. Brigids Athletic Club in the scenic Phoenix Park.  The event was used by the Ireland Masters XC team management as the trials for the upcoming British & Irish Masters International, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday 16th November 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.

The ladies race was won by double European Cross Country star Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) in a time of 15:45.  Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) was the first of the Northern Ireland contingent home in 16:44 (4th place), just ahead of Newcastle AC star Kerry Harty (6th place – 16:47).  Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) continued her impressive return to competition with another solid performance; the North Belfast Harriers athlete recorded 18:21 (28th place) to finish a mere one second ahead of Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), who crossed the line in 18:22 (29th place).  Rachel’s club mate, Jessica Craig (North Down AC) followed closely in 18:37 (34th place), before Dromore AC’s Geraldine Branagh (54th place) and North Down AC’s Melissa Eccles (66th place) finished in 19:33 and 21:22 respectively.  

In the men’s event, Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) produced a notable performance to secure 7th place in 25:30.  Annadale Strdiers’ Ryan McDermott also ran well, narrowly missing out on a top ten spot after crossing the line in 25:49 (11th place).  Another Annadale Striders man, Andrew Agnew, covered the course in 26:34 (26th place) to finish just in front of Finn Valley AC pair Mark Hoy (28th place – 26:39) and James Speight (35th place – 27:02).  Francis Marsh (North Down AC) and Paul Blaney (North Belfast Harriers) clocked 27:47 (52nd place) and 28:05 (55th place) respectively, before Mark Wright (Annadale Striders) finished in 28:08 (57th place).  Recent Vet60 10k record breaker Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers) notched up another impressive performance, completing the course in 30:31 (90th place).  The race was won by Portlaoise AC’s Michael Mulhare in 24:30.

Northern Ireland were also represented in the junior races, with St Malachy AC’s Killian Gargan (23:07) taking 20th place and North Down AC’s Corey Brown (25:46) finishing in 31st place.   The race was won by Ireland star Sean Tobin (Clonmel AC) in 19:53.  Emer Magee (Lagan Valley AC) and Katie Moore (North Down AC) also performed well, with Emer running 12:45 (13th place) and Katie 13:04 (17th place).  The race was won by Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (DSD AC) in 11:22.

Full Results:  Gerry Farnan XC 2013 Results

Brendan Teer and Gladys O'Neill excel at Springwell XC Race:

Springwell Running Club host first race in Athletics NI XC League:
On Saturday 19th October 2013, Cross Country enthusiasts from across the province turned out for the first race of the 2013/14 Athletics NI Cross Country League, the all new Springwell XC race at the Ulster University Campus in Coleraine; the event was hosted by Springwell Running Club.

As with all Springwell Running Club events, the day was a huge success; the extensive race programme kicked off with junior races, before all eyes turned to the main adult races.  The Senior and Masters Ladies were first to toe the line for their 3 mile race and it was the recent Commonwealth Games qualifier, Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) who was first to cross the line in 18:21. Last year’s silver medallist in the (Intermediate) NI and Ulster Cross Country Championships, Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) closely followed in 18:30 to take second place.  Clones AC’s Denise Toner and Sperrin Harriers’ Karen Alexander both covered the distance in 18:52, but it was the winner of last year’s (Intermediate) NI and Ulster Cross Country Championships, Denise Toner, who claimed the final podium place.

In the Senior and Masters Men’s 5 mile race, Brendan Teer (East Down AC),  the current NI and Ulster Senior Cross Country champion, started off his campaign in style with a win in 27:17. Winner of last week’s Marty’s 5k, Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) was next to cross the line, claiming second place in 27:42.  City of Derry AC’s Allan Bogle used his strength from his mountain running background to take third place in 28:01.

Top 3 Men: 1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 27:17, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 27:42, 3rd Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 28:01

Top 3 Ladies: 1st Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) – 18:21, 2nd Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) – 18:30, 3rd Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 18:52

Full Results: Springwell XC Race 2013 ResultsPicture used above courtesy of Brian O'Neill.

Weekend Preview:  NI runners set for Coleraine, Dublin, Amsterdam...

Athletics NI XC League kicks off in Coleraine:

As another weekend approaches, the Northern Ireland running fraternity will once again lace up their racing footwear and take to the start line of various events, both within the province and beyond.  The main local event of the weekend is the inaugural Springwell Cross Country in Coleraine; however, athletes from Northern Ireland will also race in Dublin, Amsterdam, Palma, Birmingham and York.

On Saturday 19th October 2013, Springwell Running Club will host the first race of the Athletics NI XC League 2013/14, within the confines of the University of Ulster Coleraine Campus.  The first ever running of the event will offer a programme of races to suit all ages, with junior races taking place before the main adult events kick off.

A large turnout is expected from Ballymena Runners, City of Derry AC, Sperrin Harriers, Omagh Harriers and of course, the host club, Springwell Running Club.  Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) could head the men’s field.  Keith showed his class at last week’s NIMAA XC in Belfast, where he led from start to finish to win comfortably.  On doing so, he (Keith) secured a place on the Northern Ireland Masters team for the upcoming British & Irish Maters XC in Cardiff; Keith may use this event as part of his training for Cardiff.  Declan Reed is a strong competitor over XC terrain and is the current NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion.  Recently, Declan claimed the runners up spot at the Waterside Half Marathon, completing the course in 1:09:47; earlier this year, the City of Derry Spartan clocked a new 10k personal best of 30:43 at the Manchester 10k.  Scott Rankin is another top athlete, just last weekend he pipped club mate and friend Keith Shiels to top spot at Marty’s 5k, where he ran 15:00 exactly.  Arguably Scott’s strongest outing of 2013 was his win at the Jude Gallagher 10 mile road race, where he ran 52:14.

Other men to watch out for will be James Brown (City of Derry AC), Cathal McLaughlin (Foyle Valley AC), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) and Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club).  All five have the ability to place well on their day; James Brown and Cathal McLaughlin produced excellent performances last week at the NIMAA Masters Open XC to claim international vests, while Chris McGuinness just missed out on a podium place at Marty’s 5k, where he recorded a speedy 15:46 to take fourth place.  Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers), Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) and Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) should also make the top ten.

The ladies race is a hard one to call; Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) and Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) were both rewarded for excellent runs at the NIMAA Masters Open XC with places on the Northern Ireland team for Cardiff next month, so both could see this as perfect preparation.  The ladies (Gillian and Julie) finished in fourth place and fifth place last week, with Julie coming in just fourteen seconds ahead of all-terrain specialist Gillian.  Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) and Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) could also compete.  Gemma, who has won no less than eleven races this year, with the most recent being the Causeway Coast 10k, will play a major part in proceedings if she enters on the day.  Catherine Whoriskey has been ‘off the radar’ of late; we are unsure as to whether this was due to injury or not, but she (Catherine) had a good run at Marty’s 5k last week, where she claimed a podium finish.  This could be good strength work and a spring board for further top performances for Catherine.  NI & Ulster 5k (Road) medallist Michelle Sturm proved to be a star of the local XC scene last season, this culminated in a silver medal winning performance at the NI & Ulster XC Championships (Intermediate Category) in the early part of 2013.  Should Michelle turn out here, she will be in or around the podium places, as will up and coming Springwell Running Club duo Alex Kirk and Molly Brennan.

On Sunday 20th October 2013, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland will travel to Dublin (Ireland) for the 30th annual running of the prestigious Gerry Farnan Cross Country Festival, hosted by Metropolitan Harriers and St. Brigids Athletic Club in the scenic Phoenix Park.

The race marks the opening of the Athletics Ireland Cross Country season in which Ireland’s leading senior, junior and masters’ cross country runners will participate; with the European XC Championships scheduled for early December (2013) in Belgrade, the international selectors from the Athletics Association of Ireland (AAI) will be on hand to monitor the progress of potential team candidates for that race.  That will no doubt attract some if Ireland’s top talent; interestingly, the double European cross country champion of 2011 and 2012, Fionnuala Britton (Killcoole AC), commenced her seasons by winning the Gerry Farnan in each of those years.

The race, which is run in memory of Metropolitan Harriers and St. Brigids Athletic Club great coach and mentor, Gerry Farnan, who died in 1982, just one year before his most famous athlete, Eamonn Coghlan, won the World 5,000m championships in Helsinki, will also be used to select the Masters team for their upcoming British & Irish Masters International, which is due to take place on Saturday 16th November 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  The Northern Ireland teams were selected after last week’s NIMAA Masters Open XC in Belfast.

Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) and Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) may fly over from their London bases for the event, and both should place well if they do.  Annadale Striders have a good reputation at this race; they are always well represented and also won the team prize last year.  Unfortunately, the leading man in 2012, Eddie McGinley, a podium finisher, is unlikely to feature as he will be looking towards next weekend’s Airtricity Dublin Marathon.  Ryan McDermott, Owen Carelton and Andrew Agnew are all likely to start as the Belfast club attempt to defend their title.  Francis Marsh, Stephen Wylie, Dennis Scott and James Budde could all turn out for North Down AC, while new Armagh AC recruit, Andrew Hicks could be another high finisher.

Newcastle AC star Kerry Harty should also start; having spent the last number of months training at altitude in Font Romeu, Kerry should be in good shape for this race.  Kerry may be joined on the start line by Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers), North Down AC ladies Jessica Craig, Rebecca Gibson, Melissa Eccles and Omagh Harriers’ Sara Moore.  Dromore AC duo Geraldine Branagh and Julie Turley could also be aiming for Masters international vests.

Also on Sunday 20th October 2013, Northern Ireland runners will take part in two major events in England, the Great Birmingham (13.1m) Run and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.  Larne based pair, Ian Brennan (Larne AC) and Allan McCullough (East Coast AC) will join thousands of participants on the start line of the annual Great Birmingham Run, a Half Marathon that takes competitors through the city centre and past most of the city’s main landmarks.  

In York, North Belfast Harriers’ Martin Rea will pace the three hour group at the first ever running of the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.  The event, which boasts a course which is “flatter and faster than London, Paris, Chicago and Berlin” marathons attracted 6,000 entries in just three days.  Larne AC’s Heather Baxter and Elaine Hall will also take on the scenic 26.2 mile race.

Further afield, quite a few Northern Ireland based runners are expected to travel to Holland this weekend for the TCS Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday 20th October 2013.  Vivien Davidson (Seapark AC), Phillip Vint (East Down AC), Helen Vint (East Down AC), Hannah Su (Sperrin Harriers), Brianan McBride (Unattached) and NICSAC’s Ivo Damkat and his wife Lindsay will be joined on the start line by Newry City Runners’ Dermot Winters, Colm Fearon, Majella Murphy, Derek Mathers, Lillian O’Hanlon, Ciara McPhillips, Paul Fegan and Gerard McAleenan.  

A group of Orangegrove AC athletes will also be in competition at the TUI Marathon Palma de Mallorca on Sunday 20th October 2013; this is a festival of running that offers participants a 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon.  Julie McKimm, Sharon Dickenson, Joy McAleer, Jacqui Maxwell, Patricia Magill, Paul Cordner, Mary Boyd and Tania Rothwell will all race.

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

Sperrin Harriers launch Winter Trail Series 2013/14:

Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series 2013/2014:

Sperrin Harriers will once again host their Winter League Trail Series; the popular Series, which is now into its fifth year was initially set up as a small event for the club’s members, but in 2009 the Series was opened up to all and has now grown into one of Northern Ireland's premier trail race series.  It has proven to be attractive to all types of runners from the very beginner to some of the province’s top runners.

This year, Sperrin Harriers have reduced the number of races to 5 (it was previously 6) as it is getting more difficult to avoid clashing with other events, but they have retained the impressive and all encompassing variety of distances that have always been offered; this is a 5k, two 10k’s in different venues, a 5 mile, and a 10 mile.

This year a new venue will be introduced; it will be within the confines of the stunning Davagh Forest and will take advantage of the new forest trails that have been developed there (follow this LINK for details).  The 2013/14 Trail Series will kick off with a 10k at Davagh Forest on Saturday 2nd November 2013 (12pm).  For anyone using a GPS, the Postcode for Registration area is BT79 8JH.

Directions to Davagh Forest (By Car):  Located approximately 50 miles from Belfast, Davagh Forest is signposted off the A505 Cookstown to Omagh Road at Dunnamore.  If travelling from Draperstown, take the B47 through the village of Straw before bearing left on the Sixtowns Road. Turn left on the Davagh Road signed East Sperrins Scenic Route and after 3 miles the trailhead will be on your left hand side.  If you have a GPS the Postcode is:   BT79 8JH

Summary details of all races are as follows:

Davagh Forest (10k) on Saturday 2nd November 2013

Lough Fea (5k) on Saturday 14th December 2013

Drum Manor (10k) on Saturday 18th January 2014

An Creagain (5 mile) on Saturday 1st February 2014 

Lough Fea (10 mile) on Saturday 1st March 2014

This year the scoring system has been modified in order to ensure that as many entrants as possible will remain in contention until the Series is complete.  All 5 races will contribute to the overall score, and entrants must enter at least 3 races in order to be eligible in the final league placings.  Perpetual Cup’s will be awarded to both the top male and female scorer.  Overall prizes will be awarded to the top 3 scorers in both the male and female categories.  It is proposed to award Age Category prizes to 1st and 2nd scorers (Number of prizes awarded will be dependent on achieving our overall entries targets, and the entries in each age category)

Scoring System:

Overall Categories:

1. There will be separate Male and Female sections.

2. After each race, the runners are ranked according to finish position in their Male or Female section.

3. First home gets 1 point, the next home gets 2 points and so on

4. If a race is missed a score will be allocated by adding 6 points to the highest score achieved in the races completed. A runner must enter at least 3 races.

5. At the end of all five races, the number of points from all five races are added together.

6. The scores are then ranked from lowest to highest with the lowest score being the winner and so on.

Age Categories:

Category winners will be calculated in the same way, except that Category Place will be used instead of Overall Place.  The scoring system is designed to give those who enter four and five races a small competitive edge over those who enter the minimum 3 races required but at the same time the League remains competitive for all entrants.

Entry fee to each race is £5 affiliated & £6 un-affiliated with tea, coffee & refreshments being served to all runners taking part.  Registrations will open prior to each event from 11am with all races starting at 12 noon.  An Entry form is to be completed for the first event being entered, and will also cover subsequent races in this series.  An Entry Form can be downloaded HERE (Age category will be based on the Entrant’s age as on Saturday 2nd November 2013).

Athletes can keep up to date with the latest news regarding the series by liking our facebook page and following us on twitter @SperrinHarriers or the website

Northern Ireland runners perform well in Ireland, England, Italy and USA:

Round Up of performances outside Northern Ireland:

This weekend, athletes from Northern Ireland have been in competition outside the province, competing over a variety of terrains in Ireland, England, America (USA) and Italy.

On Saturday 12th October 2013, Newry City Runners duo Dale and Denise Mathers took on the Langdale Horseshoe Mountain Race in Cumbria (England). Although the main reason for the trip was for Dale to receive his well earned certificate for completing the gruelling Bob Graham Round in June 2013, the pair could not resist the challenge of the 21.1k race, which included 1,450m of ascending.  Both ran extremely well, with Dale covering the distance in 2:35:49 (52nd place) and Denise 3:12:03 (24th place lady).  The race was won by Ben Abdelnoor (Ambleside AC) in 2:07:00, while Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) took the ladies title in 2:26:27.

On Sunday 13th October 2013, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes took part in the Donegal Masters XC Championships in Castlefinn, Ireland.  Lifford AC’s Natasha Adams cruised to victory in the ladies race, covering the 3k course in 10:50 (1st place).  Meanwhile, Northern Ireland XC international, Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) also produced a notable performance; having won the Donegal Novice XC race seven days earlier, Helen continued her good form with a 6th place in 11:41.  This was enough to ensure that her Finn Valley AC team were crowned team champions. 

Further afield, at least three Northern Ireland based runners were in action at the 36th annual Chicago Marathon in America on Sunday 13th October 2013; the event was the first Marathon Major to take place on American soil since the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013.  At 07.30am local time, runners from all fifty American states and more than one hundred countries set out to accomplish a personal dream, by making it to the finish line, in the city's Grant Park.  

Both the Male and Female events saw Kenyan winners, with Dennis Kimetto completing the course in a new record time of 2:03:45.  The almost perfect conditions saw Kimetto, this years Tokyo Marathon winner, beat the old Chicago Marathon record of 2.04:38 (from 2012) by almost a minute.  Rita Jeptoo, also of Kenyan origin took the female title in 2:19:59.  This years Boston Marathon winner Jeptoo, who was beaten on the Grant Park finish line last year, ran what could be described as a solo race and crossed the line as comfortable winner.

David Somerville (Enniskillen Running Club) led the Northern Ireland contingent home in a new personal best of 2:56:18.  He was followed home by club mate Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), who also achieved a personal best of 3:18:53.  East Antrim Harriers’ Norman Caughey completed the 26.2 mile course in 4:02:47.

Also on Sunday 13th October 2013, Mourne Runners man Richard Bell joined the world’s best mountain runners at the final race of the Skyrunning World Series in Italy, for the Limone Xtreme race.  The race started and finished on the shores of Lake Garda.  The 24k course is the shortest of the 'Sky race' series, but with tough climbs and steep descents over technical terrain it is considered a true Skyrunning race. 

The action kicked off at 10am (local time) at the lakeside, with competitors tackling a total of 2,000m+ of vertical ascent on a looped course.  It was the Sky and Ultra Series Champion Kilian Jornet (Salomon International Team) who led on the first ascent to Monte Carone (1621m) and went on to take the win in 2.17:03. In the ladies race, Stevie Kremer (Salomon International Team) took the honours, finishing well ahead of the competition in 2.46:13.  This win ensured that Stevie, having beaten team mate Emelie Forsberg, became the new overall Sky World Series champion, following on from her win at Mont Blanc Marathon and top performance at Zegama.  Richard put in an impressive performance to record a finish time of 3:41:40.

Full Results:  Donegal Masters XC 2013 Results (Men and Ladies) – Langdale Horseshoe Mountain Race 2103 Results  – Chicago Marathon 2013 ResultsLimone Xtreme 2013 Results

Scott Rankin and Molly Brennan excel at Marty Gallagher 5k race:

Foyle Valley AC host Marty Gallagher 5k:

On Sunday 13th October 2013, over six hundred runners took part in the annual Marty Gallagher 5k race in Derry/Londonderry; an event organised by Foyle Valley AC as a fine tribute to the late Marty Gallagher.

At the front, it was a battle between Foyle Valley AC club mates Scott Rankin and Keith Shiels; a pair who have had some excellent duals this year.  On this occasion, Scott pipped his friend to the finish line, clocking 15:00 to win.  Keith, who won the NIMAA Masters Open XC in Belfast yesterday (Saturday 12th October 2013), took 2nd place in 15:21, before another Foyle Valley AC man, Aidan McGowan (3rd place – 15:43) made sure the host club dominated the podium.

The ladies race provided the story of the day, with Springwell Running Club’s junior athlete, Molly Brennan beating several of the North West’s household names to secure victory.  Molly crossed the line in 20:33 to win; she was followed by City of Derry AC star Catherine Whoriskey (21:06) and Inishowen AC’s Elizabeth McDaid (21:09), who claimed 2nd place and 3rd place respectively in a very close finish.

Top 3 Men:  1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:00, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:21, 3rd Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:43

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Molly Breenan (Springwell Running Club) – 20:33, 2nd Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) – 21:06, 3rd Elizabeth McDaid (Inishowen AC) – 21:09

Full Results:  Marty Gallagher 5k 2013 Results

Eddie McGinley and Gabriella Zelinka win Adidas Armagh 10m Road Race:

Hundreds turn out for Armagh 10 mile road race:

On Sunday 13th October 2013, hundreds of athletes gathered at the well-known ‘Navan Centre’ on the outskirts of the historic city of Armagh for the annual Adidas Armagh 10 mile road race; an event which is seen by many as the last tune up race before the Dublin Marathon, which takes place in two week’s  time (Monday 28th October 2013).

Straight from the off, Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) and Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) moved clear of the field; by the one mile mark, the speedy pair had developed a twenty metre gap on the chasing pack.  This gap increased as the race progressed, but so did the gap between Eddie and Alan, with Eddie setting the pace.  In the end, it was the Annadale Striders star, Eddie McGinley who broke the tape to win in 51:02.  Alan O’Hara took a well deserved 2nd place in 53:010, while his club mate Connor Magill completing the top three men in 54:45 (3rd place).

International triathlete, Gabriella Zelinka (Csepel Dolphins), who is based in Lisburn, claimed top honours in the closely contested ladies race; Gabriella covered the distance in 1:02:45 to win.  North Belfast Harriers’ Heather Foley continued her impressive improvement with a personal best of 1:03:01 (2nd place) to take the runners up spot, before local lady Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) secured a podium place in 1:04:04 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 51:02, 2nd Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) – 53:010, 3rd Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers) – 54:45

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gabriella Zelinka (Csepel Dolphins) – 1:02:45, 2nd Heather Foley (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:03:01, 3rd Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) – 1:04:04

Full Results:  Armagh 10m Road Race 2013 Results

NIMAA announce teams for British & Irish Masters International XC:

NI International teams for British & Irish Masters International XC announced:

After yesterday’s successful NIMAA Masters Open Cross Country event at the Queens University Playing Fields in Belfast (summary available below), the Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Association have announced their teams for the upcoming British & Irish Masters XC, scheduled to take place in Cardiff (Wales) on Saturday 16th November 2013.  

The teams are made up of:  Men Vet35 to Vet50 - 6 athletes with 2 reserves (if applicable) and Ladies (and Men Vet55 and above) - 4 athletes with 1 reserve (if applicable).  The teams are as follow:


Men: Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Anthony Glover (Westbury Harriers), Kevin O’Boyle (Ballymena Runners), Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC), Michael Magee (Beechmount Harriers) and Connor McMullan (Annadale Striders).  Reserves:  Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) and Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC)

Ladies:  Denise Toner (Clones AC), Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Roberta Dornan (North Down AC) and Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers). Reserve:  Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners)


Men:  Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers), Johnny Park (Orangegrove AC), James Brown (City of Derry AC), Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC), Mark Weir (North Down AC) and Greg Lavery (East Coast AC).  Reserve:  Philip Donaghy (City of Derry AC)

Ladies:  Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Lisa Finlay (Dumfries AC). Reserve:  Rhonda Brady (Larne AC)


Men:  Steven Cairns (Hunters Bog Trotters), Mark Wright (Annadale Striders), Cathal McLaughlin (Foyle Valley AC), Paul McCafferty (City of Derry AC), Nat Glenn (East Coast AC) and Matt Wray (Ballymena & Antrim AC).  Reserves:  Oran McBride (City of Derry AC) and Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners)

Ladies:  Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers), Hannah Shields (City of Derry AC), Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) and Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC).  Reserve:  Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC)


Men:  Gary Keenan (Orangegrove AC), Craig Hutchinson (Larne AC), David Clarke (East Coast AC), Frank Sharkey (Lagan Valley AC), Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners) and John Patience (North Belfast Harriers).  Reserves:  James Wallace (North Belfast Harriers) and Gerry Duddy (City of Derry AC)

Ladies:  Susanna Allen (Ballymena Runners), Jacqueline Maxwell (Orangegrove AC), Una Gavin (City of Derry AC) and Paula McGilloway (City of Derry AC).  Reserve:  Bridgeen Byrne (City of Derry AC)


Men:  Laurence Johnston (North Belfast Harriers), Derek Donaghy (North Belfast Harriers), Robert Wilson (Willowfield Harriers) and Gerry O’Doherty (Springwell Running Club).  Reserve:  Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers)

Ladies:  Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Hazel Imeson (Tamworth AC), Mable McFaul (Ballymena Runners) and Maureen Oliver (DUB Runners).  Reserve: Elsa Weatherspoon (Ballymena Runners)


Men:  Terry Aiken (North Down AC), Jim Newberry (North Belfast Harriers), Ray Curran (Ballymena Runners) and Peter Lilburn (City of Derry AC). Reserve:  None

Ladies:  None


Men:  Gerry Lynch (City of Derry AC), David Seaton (North Down AC), Francis Boal (Lagan Valley AC) and Willie Weir (Dromore AC).  Reserve:  David Nicholson (Club Unknown)

Ladies:  Brigid Quinn (Ballymena Runners) *No Team*


Men:  Brian Smith (North Down AC), Hugh Young (Orangegrove AC), Drew Crawford (North Belfast Harriers) and Michael Spotswood (Duncairn Nomads). Reserve:  None

Ladies:  None

NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) would like to congratulate all of the above named athletes on their selection to represent Northern Ireland!  Well done! Remember, you can find our NIMAA Masters Open XC race summary and full results a little further down this page.

GR8 performances by Teer and Alexander as both retain titles in Dundrum:

Nearly 600 runners complete GR8 Dundrum Run:

On Saturday 12th October 2013, nearly six hundred athletes turned out for the fourth annual running of the GR8 Dundrum Run, organised by Murlough AC.  The event, which appears to be growing in popularity each year, covers an 8 mile course, which consists of road, sand and (wooden) board sections; the sandy part of the course is along the scenic Murlough Bay.

As predicted it was Brendan Teer (East Down AC) who stole the headlines.  The extremely talented athlete was a dominant figure at the head of the field and eventually claimed another impressive victory, crossing the line in 44:46; interestingly, this was a mere one second quicker than his finish time last year (which was 44:47).  WPFG medallist and international runner Don Travers (Newry City Runners) followed just under a minute later in 45:41 (2nd place), before Annadale Striders’ Paul Carroll completed the course in 46:03 (3rd place).

It was a similar story in the ladies race, with last year’s winner Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) cruising to victory in the ladies race.  Karen made it four wins in as many weeks, following on from her victories in Drumragh (Drumragh 10k), Dungannon (Felix 10k) and Portballintrae (Causeway Coast Half Marathon), securing top honours in 51:22.  Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) took 2nd place in 54:50, while her club mate, experienced mountain runner, Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) completed the ladies top three in 55:10 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 44:46, 2nd Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 45:41, 3rd Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) – 46:03

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 51:22, 2nd Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 54:50, 3rd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 55:10

Full Results:  GR8 Dundrum Run 2013 Results

Keith Shiels and Cathy McCourt excel as NI XC season kicks off in Belfast:

NIMAA Masters Open XC (incorporated International trials):

On Saturday 12th October 2013, hundreds of athletes and spectators descended on the Queens University Playing Fields in Belfast for the opening race of the Northern Ireland Cross Country season, the Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Association (NIMAA) Masters Open XC, which also incorporated trials for the upcoming British & Irish Masters XC, due to take place in Cardiff (Wales) on Saturday 16th November 2013.

The Ladies and Masters Men 65+ were the first to toe the line for their three lap, 6k race.  At the front, veteran ladies Denise Toner (Clones AC) and Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) were joined by open category runner Rachel Gibson (North Down AC).  

Behind, Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers), Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Roberta Dornan (North Down AC), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers), Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) and Ballydrain Harriers duo Debbie Matchett and Denise Logue were also running well.  Gerry Lynch (City of Derry AC), Brian Smith (North Down AC) and Francis Boal (Lagan Valley AC) were the leading men.  As the race progressed, Denise Toner and Cathy McCourt moved clear of the hard working Rachel Gibson, who in turn was maintaining the gap between herself and the chasing pack.  Denise Toner had approximately five metres of a lead on Cathy McCourt going into the final lap; but it was here that Cathy showed her class.  

The North Belfast Harriers star produced a superb final lap to not only catch and pass Denise, but to take nine seconds out of the talented Clones AC lady. Cathy (Vet40) came off the final downhill section strongly and powered into the finish, crossing the line in 22:06 (1st place) to win.  Denise Toner followed, leading the Vet35’s home in 22:15 (2nd place), before Rachel Gibson sealed victory in the Open race in 22:34 (3rd place).  Debbie Matchett was the first Vet45 to cross the line, recording 23:38 (9th place), before Vet65 athlete Gerry Lynch covered the distance in 25:18 (15th place).  Gerry was followed closely by Brian Smith (17th place – 25:34) to win the Vet70 category; Mary Mackin clocked 25:38 to take 19th place and the honour of being the first Vet55 to finish, while Brigid Quinn crossed the line in 29:47 (46th place) to win the Vet65 category.  Vet75 Michael Spotswood (Duncairn Nomads) also won his category, running 38:44 (55th place).

In the Men’s 8k race, Foyle Valley AC man Keith Shiels controlled things from the off; gradually he worked himself further and further away from the chasing pair of Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) and Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers), who were having an excellent dual.  Anthony Glover (Westbury Harriers), Mark Wright (Annadale Striders), Cathal McLaughlin (Foyle Valley AC) Johnny Park (Orangegrove AC), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), James Brown (City of Derry AC) and Gary Keenan (Orangegrove AC) were all looking strong as they battled it out for category places and international vests.

As Keith Shiels went into the final lap, it was clear that he would win, barring any major mishaps; as the awaiting crowds looked up towards the final hill, it was Keith who came into view first.  He cruised towards the finish line in effortless fashion to break the tape in 25:46 (1st place).  Vet40 athlete Eamon White (2nd place – 26:12) just pipped Paul Rowan (3rd place – 26:15) to the post; Paul was the first Vet45 finisher.  Orangegrove AC’s Gary Keenan notched up arguably the performance of the day, working his way through the field to take 4th place in 26:28; this ensured Gary was the first Vet50 runner home.  North Belfast Harriers’ Laurence Johnston (28th place – 28:54) led the Vet55’s into the finish, before Terry Eakin (North Down AC) claimed the bragging rights in the Vet60 race, after recording 30:41 (41st place).

Top 3 Men (8k):  1st Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 25:46, 2nd Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:12, 3rd Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) – 26:15

Top 3 Ladies (6k):  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 22:06, 2nd Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 22:15, 3rd Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) – 22:34

Category Winners:

Men (8k):  Vet35:- Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 25:46, Vet40:- Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) -26:12, Vet45:- Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) – 26:15, Vet50:- Gary Keenan (Orangegrove AC) – 26:28, Vet55:- Laurence Johnston (North Belfast Harriers) – 28:54, Vet60:- Terry Eakin (North Down AC) – 30:41, Vet65 (6k):- Gerry Lynch (City of Derry AC) – 25:18, Vet70 (6k):- Brian Smith (North Down AC) – 25:34 and Vet75 (6k):- Michael Spotswood (Duncairn Nomads) – 38:44

Ladies (6k):  Vet35:- Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 22:15, Vet40:- Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 22:06, Vet45:- Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) – 23:38, Vet50:- Susanna Allen (Ballymena Runners) – 27:15, Vet55:- Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) – 25:38, Vet60:- None, Vet65:- Brigid Quinn (Ballymena Runners) – 29:47, Vet70:- None

Full Results:  NIMAA XC 2013 Results

Weekend Preview:  Plenty of choice for NI runners this weekend:

Weekend Preview:  Belfast, Dundrum, Armagh, Derry/L'Derry... 

This weekend will see the return of the Northern Ireland Cross Country season, with the Masters Open Cross Country races taking place in Belfast.  There will also be major events taking place in Dundrum and Armagh, while running enthusiasts in Brackaville and Derry/Londonderry will also have races on their door step. Newcastle AC will host the McGrady Financial XC Series (Race 3) and Northern Ireland will once again be represented outside the province, with athletes travelling to England and America.

The action begins at 11.30am on Saturday 13th October 2013, when the Northern Ireland Cross Country season kicks off in style, with the NIMAA Masters Open Cross Country races taking place at the QUB playing fields, DUB Lane, Upper Malone, Belfast.  This event will also act as the trials for this year’s British & Irish Masters International XC Championships, scheduled to take place on Saturday 16th November 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.

Although race entries are only taken on the day of the event, we suspect that the added incentive of an international vest will attract many of Northern Ireland’s top veterans.   As always, the Vet35 category will be fiercely contested.  Foyle Valley AC star Keith Shiels will play a major part in proceedings and could be joined at the front by the likes of Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), James Brown (East Coast AC) and Anthony Glover (Westbury Harriers).  Keith has been one of the provinces top performers throughout 2013; in April he travelled to England and cruised to victory in England Masters Athletics 3,000m (8:59.20).  Since then, he has won no less than ten races, with the Waterside Half Marathon being the most prestigious.  

Andrew Considine was part of the victorious North Belfast Harriers Masters team who claimed gold at last weekend’s Northern Ireland Road Relay Championships; individually, Andrew has excelled at the Decathlon 10k and the Newry Half Marathon this year, winning both.  James Brown also ran well at last week’s Relay’s, clocking the third quickest Masters 3,380m leg of the day (10:52); James started the season with a win at the Sperrin Harriers 5m Classic in Magherafelt and has progressed well since.  Bristol based Anthony Glover is the South West (of England) Masters 800m (2:07.05) and 1500m (4:28.56) Champion.  He narrowly missed a podium place at the British Masters Athletics Federation (BMAF) Championships after finishing fourth in a top quality 1500m race, where he recorded 4:14.01.  It is unclear whether other England or Scotland based athletes, such as Christopher Bryan (Skyrac/North Down AC) or George McCourt (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) will travel, but if they do, both should run well, as should Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC).

Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) should perform well in the ladies Vet35 category; Cathy has made an outstanding return to competition after nearly eighteen months on the sidelines, just last week Cathy took second place in the Runher 10k at Stormont; she (Cathy), finished on the podium at the Felix 10k and the Bangor 10k in consecutive weeks before that.  Hazel McLaughlin has enjoyed a successful season in the mountains, where she represented Northern Ireland at the Snowdon International.  The Lagan Valley AC lady also claimed a top ten place at the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in the Czech Republic in August 2013.  Geraldine Quigley has picked up numerous podium places on the roads and also collected medals over 800m and 1500m at the Northern Ireland & Ulster Masters Track & Field Championships six weeks ago.

David Morwood (Annadale Striders) and Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) were extremely strong Vet40’s last year, but with both having been quiet on the racing scene recently, it is unknown as to whether any of the two intend to put themselves up for selection this weekend.  Athletes who should race include Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), James Brown (City of Derry AC) and Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC).  If he races, Declan is a sure bet for an international vest; the City of Derry AC man has ran personal bests over three distances this year (3000m, 5000m and 10k), he is also the current Athletics NI 5k (Road) Champion after winning the Bay Road 5k.  Declan’s club mate James Brown also boasts a local title, having won the NI & Ulster Masters 5,000m Championships in August 2013.  Nigel McKibbin is another man who has impressed on the track this year, the Dromore AC athlete has finished on the podium at the NI & Ulster Championships, the NiRunning Mile and most recently, at the Mill Hill Mile.  Greg Lavery (East Coast AC), Paul Blaney (North Belfast Harriers), Donal Gallagher (Sperrin Harriers) and Johnny Park (Orangegrove AC) should also finish well up in their category.

The ladies Vet40 category will be close, with Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers), Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) and Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) all likely to start.  Julie Butler will go into the event in good spirits, having recently won a silver medal in the 3,000m at the NI & Ulster Masters Track & Field Championships.  Julie has also won the Lurgan Park 5 mile race, the Donaghmore 5 mile race and the Dromore 10k.  Gillian Burns should also be running with confidence; the Dromore AC star ran the quickest female veteran 3,380m leg at the NI Road Relay’s last weekend (12:47), she is also a regular winner at the Craigavon Citypark parkrun.  Jackie McGinley is a consistent runner and always finds herself in or around the podium places, winning category prizes on a regular basis. Arguably Jackie’s best performance of 2013 was a top ten finish at the Omagh Half Marathon (8th place – 1:31:04).  Stephanie Hambling (North Down AC) and Caroline Miller (Omagh Half Marathon) could be other contenders.

The Vet45 race should see Annadale Striders stars Mark Wright and Stephen McGrory take to the start line, as well as Cathal McLaughlin (Foyle Valley AC) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers).  Mark Wright has enjoyed an exceptional year on the track, winning the AAI National Masters 1500m title in 4:21.58. He also won the NI & Ulster Masters 800m (2:08.31) and 1500m (4:24.25) titles and showed his diverse range of ability by clocking 2:47:16 at the Virgin London Marathon.  Stephen McGrory has been racing sparingly but recorded a notable 56:39 to take second place at the Portaferry 10 mile road race in July 2013.  Should Stephen enter on the day, he will be a strong challenger in the category and also for a Northern Ireland vest.  Cathal McLaughlin is a top quality athlete, the Foyle Valley AC man won the AAI National (Indoors) Masters 1500m in 4:19.03 and went on to claim a European Masters (Indoor) 1500m silver medal in Spain; he will be a front runner here.  Neil Carty has been brilliant in the mountains this year, but also impressed recently when he came onto the road to complete the Belfast City Half Marathon in 1:16:51, just missing out on a top ten finish.  It’s hard to look past Neil for a high placing here.  Other men who should finish well up include Nat Glenn (East Coast AC), Bernard Brady (Larne AC) and James Turtle (Ballymena Runners).  

Helen Stockdale (FinnValley AC) is the stand out athlete in the Vet45 ladies race; just last week, Helen won the ladies race at the Donegal Novice XC in Ireland, assisting her Finn Valley AC side to the team prize.  Helen was also a multiple medal winner at the NI & Ulster Track & Field Championships in August 2013.  Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers), a winner at the Tattyreagh 5 mile road race in June 2013 is another lady who will have her eye on a high placing and an international cap.  Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Hannah Shields (City of Derry AC) will also be there or there abouts if they turn out on the day.

Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Gary Keenan (Orangegrove AC), Craig Hutchinson (Larne AC), David Clarke (East Coast AC) and Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners) will all battle it out for the top prizes in the very competitive Vet50 category, which should make for a great race.  Deon entered the Vet50 category at this event last year and was an extremely impressive performer, he will be hoping for more of the same this year.  However, Orangegrove AC front man Gary Keenan is in the form of his life; during the summer, Gary ran a lifetime best of 16:29.58 over 5,000m.  This was enough to secure a silver medal at the NI & Ulster Masters Championships.   Gary was also part of the Orangegrove AC team who took silver at the NI Road Relays last week.  Craig Hutchinson is a regular category winner and like Gary, he also enjoyed success at the NI & Ulster Masters Championships.  Craig won a bronze medal in the 400m after crossing the line in 60.35secs, an excellent achievement given the fact that he is more used to longer distances.  David Clarke has one eye on the Dublin Marathon as he goes into this, but he is still more than capable of producing a top performance; he notched up an excellent new personal best of 1:20:31 at the Belfast City Half Marathon last month and also showed good leg turnover speed to run a decent leg at the NI Relay’s last week (11:32).  Noel Connor ran well here last year, finishing as fourth placed Vet50.  He should go well this year, based on recent performances; again, referring back to last weekend’s Relay’s, when he (Noel) covered the 3,380m in 11:37.  Frank Sharkey (Lagan Valley AC) may also enter on the day and if he does, he will play a prominent part at the front.  Looking at the possible Vet50 ladies, Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC) and Una Gavin (City of Derry AC) look to be the strongest runners; Ruth should take the category win, although Una’s main priority will be selection for the trip to Wales.

In the remaining categories, strong runners Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers), Laurence Johnston (North Belfast Harriers), Willie Weir (Dromore AC), Brian Smith (North Down AC), John Glover (Lagan Valley AC), Fred Murdoch (North Down AC) and Jim Newberry (North Belfast Harriers) will all be aiming for top positions and international selection.  There is also an ‘Open’ race, which should attract the likes of David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) and North Down AC duo Stephen Wylie and Dennis Scott.  North Down AC should also be well represented in the ladies race, with Jessica Craig, Rachel Gibson and Melissa Eccles all likely to enter on the day.

Also on Saturday 12th October 2013, Murlough AC will host the fourth annual running of their increasingly popular GR8 Dundrum Run in County Down.  The event, which was well received last year, should attract record numbers, despite it being another busy weekend on the local racing calendar.  The scenic 8 mile course covers mainly road, but also includes a sandy section along Murlough Bay before finishing where it started, on the Main Street in Dundrum.

Last year’s winner, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) will return to defend his title and in truth, when taking into consideration the year he has had, it is hard to look beyond the East Down AC man for the top prize, despite the plethora of talent due to participate.  

Since taking the NI & Ulster Junior XC title in January 2013, Brendan has been in incredible form.  He (Brendan) has won fourteen races and recorded personal bests over 3,000m (8:52.19), 5 miles (25:29) and 10k (31:50); his most recent victory was at the Mill Hill Mile, where he completed the uphill course in 5:26.  One man who possesses the ability to stop Brendan in multiple WPFG medallist Don Travers (Newry City Runners).  Don has also produced numerous quality performances throughout the year, including well-deserved wins at the Sea 2 Sky 10k, Dambuster 10/10, Castle Ward Half Marathon and Groomsport Half Marathon.  Don’s strength and experience on rougher terrain may come in useful here and will prove his biggest asset.

Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders), Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) and Sam Crawford (East Antrim Harriers) will all be vying for the final podium place. Paul Carroll has finished as runner up to Brendan Teer at the Ballynahinch 10k, Downpatrick RGU 10k and the Downpatrick Lions Three Lakes 14k and will be looking to finish well up the field again here; Paul also played a major part in Annadale Striders’ silver medal winning performance in the Masters category at the NI Relay’s last week.  Brendan Grew has improved on an almost weekly basis this season, the North Belfast Harriers man has now established himself as an excellent talent.  He finished in seventh place here last year, but we expect him to improve on his 48:09 finish time; Brendan is more than capable of this considering his quality outings at the Run N’ the Bann 5k, Addiction NI 10k and Whitehead 5 mile road races over the summer.  Experienced distance runner Sam Crawford is always in the thick of the action and it should be no different here; Sam, a ‘Games Maker’ at the World Police and Fire Games this year, ran well at the Belfast City Half Marathon six weeks ago, finishing just outside the top ten in 1:19:03, showing that his old form is well and truly on the comeback.

Aside from the aforementioned men, there is a host of other top competitors due to toe the line, this includes Brendan Quail (Newcastle AC), Phil Hodge (Murlough AC), Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) and Kilian Woods (North Belfast Harriers).  Possible late entrants, David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and Wayne Morrow (Larne AC) will also feature well should they make use of the on the day entries.

The ladies race will bring just as much talent to the start line; Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) looks like a certain winner.  The international athlete is well suited to courses like this, with her strong mountain and trail running backround and also her road speed.  In the last three weeks, Karen has won the Drumragh 10k, the Causeway Coast Half Marathon and the Felix 10k and it will therefore take an incredible performance to knock the Sperrin Harriers lady off top spot.  However, that will not deter the likes of Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) and Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC).  Shileen won the Slieve Gallion Mountain Race last week and has been racing well in the mountains this year; in saying that, Shileen has also produced several top performances on the road as well, this included a podium place at the Kennedy Kane McArthur Half Marathon in July 2013.  Julie Murphy was runner up to Karen Alexander at the Causeway Coast Half Marathon two weeks ago, adding to runners up places at the NFU Mutual 5 mile road race and the Downhill Demesne Trail Race and an excellent win at the Les Jones Memorial 10k in May 2013.  Julie has also been performing well in triathlons of the summer.  Cheryl Denvir is a regular face on the podium, the East Down AC lady has won the Shore 10k, Killyleagh 5 mile road race, Loughinisland 5.05 mile road race and the Kilmore 5 mile road race in recent months and is always at the head of the field in the latter stages, it should be no different here.

Other top ten hopefuls will include Maeve Laverty (DUB Runners), Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC), Anne Havern (Newry City Runners), Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC), Catherine Roberts (North Down AC), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) and East Coast AC duo Penny Lindsay and Amanda Peoples.

The Brackaville 10k road race will also take place in County Tyrone on Saturday 12th October 2013, the local race will attract a mixture of local running and sporting enthusiasts as well as several better known runners.  The race will start at Brackaville GFC Club Rooms at 11am and entry is available on the day.

Northern Ireland mountain runners Dale and Denise Mathers (both of Newry City Runners) will travel to England this weekend, as Dale is due to pick up an award for completing the gruelling Bob Graham Round earlier this year.  Dale covered the 74 mile route (with 28,500ft of ascending) in less than 24 hours (22:45:00) back in June 2013.  Whilst in England, both Dale and Denise will take on the Longdale Horseshoe Race in Cumbria on Saturday 12th October 2013, this is a 21.1k race with approximately 1,450m of ascending.

On Sunday 13th October 2013, Armagh AC will host their annual Adidas Armagh 10 mile road race on the outskirts of the historic city.  The event, which is used by many as a tune up race for the upcoming Dublin Marathon should attract several of the provinces top athletes.

Annadale Striders man Eddie McGinley is due to take on his first ever 26.2 mile race in Dublin later this month, and will take to the start line here.  Eddie had a fantastic run in the Belfast City Half Marathon, recording 1:08:20 for his first attempt at the distance; this was enough to secure second place.  Over and above that, Eddie has performed well at several other local and National races this year, including Jimmys 10k, Highgate Harriers 10,000m and several BMC Grand Prix Meetings.  He also smashed his 5,000m personal best when he produced the performance of his life to finish just outside the podium places at the Sainsburys Games in Birmingham this summer (4th place – 29:32.51).  Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC) could be another starter; Joe has a great reputation at this event and won last year in 51:01.  He has been struggling a little since aggravating an injury at the Sperrin Harriers 5m Classic in Cookstown a few months ago but looked to be back to his speedy self at the NI Relay’s last week.  All being well, the St Malachy’s AC man will toe the line and attempt to defend his title.  

John Travers (Donore Harriers) finished as runner up to Joe last year and has bettered his previous position in this race each time he has entered.  In 2012, John took a massive twenty six seconds off his 2011 time and moved up three places (from fifth to second), this year… he may be out for the win!  Multiple Marathon and Half Marathon winner, Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) may return to the North for this race after some excellent victories in the South, if so, he will finish well up the field.  Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) may opt for this race instead of the Masters XC on Saturday (12th October 2013), and should he compete, Alan will run to his usual high standard.  He has set new personal bests over 5k (15:14), 10k (31:03) and Half Marathon (1:08:38) this year and may be looking to slash some minutes/seconds off his already impressive 10 mile best of 53:38.  Alan will be joined by club mate Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers); after struggling with injury at the start of the year, Connor has returned to form and recorded an excellent 1:13:36 to finish in fourth place at the Belfast City Half Marathon.  He has also claimed top honours at the Loughshore 10k and Greyabbey 10k over the past few months.  Other athletes who will be aiming for good performances will include Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers), Owen Carleton (Annadale Striders) and local men Dermot Kerr (Armagh AC), Aaron Parks (Armagh AC) and Richard Turkington (Armagh AC).

The ladies race is quite a hard one to predict; with Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) and Julie Balmer (North Down AC) unlikely to start, it may be left to the likes of Denise Toner (Clones AC), Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) or Donna Evans (Monaghan Phoenix AC) to control things.  All three have the ability to win on their day; Denise has won comfortably over 10k in Enniskillen, Lisbellaw and Lisnaskea recently and also ran a personal best of 38:22 to take third place at the Laganside 10k.  Based on this, she may be the pre-race favourite.  However, Anne Paul always battles well, the experienced City of Derry AC athlete has numerous wins, podium places and category prizes to her name, most notably three wins at the Ballinderry 10k, the Termoneeney 10k and the Moneymore 10k.  Meanwhile, Donna Evans ran 1:23:04 and 1:24:51 at Half Marathon’s in Omagh and Lisburn this year, winning in Lisburn.  She also won the Run Armagh 10k and the Craigavon Lakes 10k and picked up a medal at the NI & Ulster XC Championships earlier in the year. Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC), Ruth Hill (Unattached) and Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners) will also run well, and should be in or around the top ten ladies to cross the finish line, just outside the Navan Centre.

Also on Sunday 13th October 2013, Foyle Valley AC will host their annual Marty Gallagher 5k road race in Derry/Londonderry.  The event, which is organised as a fitting tribute to the late Marty Gallagher, attracts some of the North West’s top athletes.  Although we have little information about possible participants, we would expect a strong showing from both Foyle Valley AC and City of Derry AC, with Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Connor Bradley (City of Derry AC), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) and Pajo Hamilton (City of Derry AC) likely to be amongst the front runners.  The ladies race could well include the likes of Anne-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC), Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC), Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) and Martina McMullan (Foyle Valley AC).

Newcastle AC will host the third round of the McGrady Financial Services Junior XC Series in Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle on Sunday 13th October 2013.  After the success of Race Day 1 and 2, this event is sure to be just as competitive; especially given the fact that Dromore AC have now joined the regular participants from Newcastle AC, Burren AC and East Down AC.

Further afield on Sunday 13th October 2013, Northern Ireland runner Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), will take on the Chicago Marathon in America (USA).  In the last couple of years Tara has worked her way through the ranks of the local running scene and is fast becoming an athlete to watch; in September 2013, the Enniskillen Running Club lady ran 1:07:41 at the Llanelli 10 mile road race in Wales and 1:30:01 at the Belfast City Half Marathon.  She (Tara) is competing in Chicago with the ambition of bettering her 26.2 mile personal best of 3:19:56.  Tara will be joined on the start line by East Antrim Harriers' Norman Caughey.

The Northern Ireland running community will welcome a fourteenth parkrun to the province, with the Armagh parkrun starting on Saturday 12th October 2013 (9.30am).  The provinces other thirteen parkrun events will also take place as normal, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.  A special mention must go to NiRunning friend Kate Montgomery (Lagan Valley AC), who will complete her 100th parkrun this weekend.  Well done Kate!

Monster crowd expected at Enniskillen RC's Spooktacular 5k road race:

Generous prizes on offer at Spooktacular 5k:

A monster crowd is expected to take to the streets of Enniskillen (County Fermanagh) over the Halloween holidays as runners from across the province and further afield line up for one of the most atmospheric events in the Northern Ireland racing calendar.

The third annual Enniskillen Spooktacular 5k Run will be held on Friday 25th October 2013 and organisers are promising runners and spectators alike an evening of frighteningly good fun as well as top quality action; with the race starting at the Diamond at 7.30pm, participants will complete a two and a half lap circuit of the historic island town, before crossing the finish line back on the main street. 

In the past two years, around 300 runners of all ages and abilities have joined in the proceedings, this has included quality athletes such as Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC), Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), Teresa McGloin (Finn Valley AC), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC) and Denise Toner (Clones AC); enthusiastic crowds are always on hand to cheer everyone to the finish. 

With a bumper prize fund of over £1,000 available (including £100 each for the first male and female home), there's sure to be fireworks at the elite end of the field.  In a hotly contested race last year, local star Mark Hoy just pipped Enniskillen Running Club's own Conan McCaughey to the line in a course record of 15:50. Both runners have significantly improved since then, and it will take any visiting athlete to be at the top of his game to claim the honours.  In the ladies field last year, Patricia O'Hagan of the St Peter's club in Lurgan claimed the title in a time of 18:06, with Clones AC's Denise Toner nine seconds behind.  The ladies course record of 17:40 is held by Teresa McGloin (Finn Valley AC).

As well as prizes for the first three male and female runners across the line, there will also be a host of prizes in the Under 16, Vet40, Vet50 and Vet60 categories.  The evening's proceedings kick off at 6pm when registration opens at race HQ, Pat's Bar in the Diamond, which will also host the prize-giving and post-event refreshments.  Race director David Somerville said he hoped as many people as possible - from the serious athlete to the occasional running enthusiast - turn out for what should be a very enjoyable evening.

"We have had an amazing response over the last two years and we're hoping 2013 is going to be even bigger and better.  The feedback we have had is that people love the atmosphere of a night-time race right through the centre of town.  We have pegged entry fees to the same levels as previous years, but have almost doubled our prize fund on 2011.  The course is certified by Athletics NI, we will have chip timing from Precision Timing and we have a huge army of marshals and volunteers to make sure everything goes smoothly." 

Enniskillen Running Club chairman Stephen Clawson added: "We are looking forward to a high-quality night's racing, as well a fun, family event with a real Halloween holiday feel about it.  "We would encourage people who have friends or family members taking part to come out and cheer them on.  As the race goes round the town a number of times there's plenty of opportunity to support your runner." 

Online entries are now being accepted at, as well as at  There will be technical t-shirts for the first 250 entrants. Paper entries will be accepted before 5pm, Tuesday 22nd October 2013, at Salon Twenty2, East Bridge Street, and M&S Tyres, Cornagrade Road, Enniskillen. For postal entries, or to view the route and keep up to date with the latest race news contact the organisers at - Entry forms are available HERE.

James Speight and Denise Toner win inaugural Newtownbutler 5m race:

Athletes enjoy inaugural Newtownbutler 5m Road Race:

On Sunday 6th October 2013, nearly one hundred runners turned out for the first ever running of the Supervalu sponsored Newtownbutler 5 mile road race in County Fermanagh.

The course was relatively fast, barring one very steep hill towards the finish.  James Speight (Finn Valley AC), a fifth place finisher at the recent Donegal 5k Championships, stole the headlines with a comfortable victory in 28:19 (1st place). Enniskillen Running Club’s Fergus McGirr went one better than his result at the Drumragh 10k just 24 hours previous, taking 2nd place in 28:58; Mike Keeley of City of Derry AC claimed 3rd place in 30:20.

In the ladies race, Clones AC athlete Denise Toner cruised to an outstanding victory.  Denise broke the tape in 31:32, just under six minutes clear of Denise McElroy (Enniskillen Running Club) who secured 2nd place in 37:22.  Marie Therese Speight of Finn Valley AC completed the ladies podium in 37:51 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st James Speight (Finn Valley AC) – 28:19, 2nd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 28:58, 3rd Mike Keeley (City of Derry AC) – 30:20

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 31:32, 2nd Denise McElroy (Enniskillen Running Club) – 37:22, 3rd Marie Therese Speight (Finn Valley AC) – 37:51

Full Results:  Newtownbutler 5m Road Race 2013 Results

Armagh AC narrowly miss podium at MacAndrew Road Relays:

Cambuslang Harriers welcome Armagh AC to Scotland:

Last weekend (Saturday 5th October 2013), Armagh AC travelled to Scotland for the 74th annual running of the MacAndrew Road Relays, a popular event, which was held in Victoria Park, Glasgow; they were invited and welcomed by Scotland based club Cambsulang Harriers.

The Northern Ireland club entered three teams, one male team which consisted of Stephen Emery, Shane Kerr, Kris Muldoon and John Vernon; one ladies team, made up of Danielle Fegan, Aisling Fegan and Fionnuala Ross.  There was also a joint Armagh AC and Cambuslang Harriers team, which included Armagh AC’s Martin Gillespie and Paul Donnelly, and Cambuslang Harriers’ Stephen Harris and Robert Andreson.

Each participant completed one 5.2k (3.25m) lap of Victoria Park, before handing over to a team mate.  In the men’s race, Stephen Emery produced the second quickest 5.2k time of the day (16:06) to guide the team to a very credible 4th place finish after John Vernon (20:07) crossed the line in 1:11:19.  Shane Kerr covered his leg in 16:49, while Kris Muldoon ran 18:17.  The Armagh AC/Cambuslang Harriers team finished in 12th place, with Martin Gillespie (Armagh AC) running the quickest leg for the team (20:31).  Paul Donnelly ran 22:51, before Stephen Harris clocked 20:57.  Robert Anderson (23:02) completed the anchor leg to bring the team home in 1:27:21.  The men’s race was won by Inverclyde AC ‘A’ in 1:08:13.

The Armagh AC ladies team also ran well, claiming an impressive 6th place finish; recent Berlin Marathon competitor, Fionnuala Ross (19:29) ran the fifth quickest ladies leg of the day to bring the team home in 1:04:05.  This was after solid legs from sisters Danielle (20:14) and Aisling (24:22) Fegan.  The ladies race was won by Glasgow University Hares & Hounds in 58:01.

Full Results:  MacAndrew Road Relay’s 2013 Results

Mark Hoy and Karen Alexander impress in Drumragh 10k road race:

Athletes enjoy annual Drumragh 10k road race:

At the weekend (Saturday 5th October 2013), nearly fifty athletes took on the annual Drumragh 10k road race in County Tyrone; as predicted, the event attracted a mixture of running enthusiasts and well established club athletes.

Irish international runner Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) was one of the well established athletes to toe the line and he dominated the race from the off.  Mark used his track speed well, cruising to victory in 32:54.  Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), a fifth place finisher in last month’s Belfast City Half Marathon, claimed 2nd place in 33:44, before Enniskillen Running Club’s Fergus McGirr (35:34) took 3rd place.

In the ladies race, it was the seemingly unbeatable Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), winner of the recent Felix 10k and Causeway Coast Half Marathon, who stole the headlines.  Karen completed the course in 38:18, finishing in eighth place overall and securing the ladies title.  Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) followed in 39:54 (2nd place), while Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) continued what has been an impressive season, with another podium place; Pauline completed the ladies top three in 40:47 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) – 32:54, 2nd Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 33:44, 3rd Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) – 35:34

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 38:18, 2nd Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) – 39:54, 3rd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 40:47

Full Results:  Drumragh 10k 2013 Results

Northern Ireland runners compete in Ireland and Scotland:

Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) and Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) secure prizes outside NI:

Over the weekend, Northern Ireland athletes have been in action in various events outside the province, this included the Born 2 Run ‘Surf N Turf’ event in Wexford (Ireland), the Donegal Novice Cross Country Championships in County Donegal (Ireland) and the Great Scottish 10k and Half Marathon races in Glasgow, Scotland.

On Saturday 5th October 2013, Northern Ireland based events company Born 2 Run hosted their ‘Surf N Turf’ races in Wexford, Ireland.  The programme of events included a 10k, Half Marathon and a Marathon.  Endurance specialists Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) and Steven Gibson (Unattached) took on the marathon, and all three ran well over what proved to be a tough course, which covered road, trail and (beach) sand.

Gillian, who recently received a medal from the Marathon Club Ireland for completing twenty five marathons (pictured left), put in a strong performance to claim 2nd place in the ladies race.  The Seapark AC athlete crossed the line in 3:54:32, behind well-known international ultra-runner and multiple Irish record holder Ruthann Sheahan (Athenry AC) who won in 3:30:31.  Gary Connolly claimed 8th place after finishing in 3:55:41, while Steven Gibson recorded 4:26:01 for 18th place.  The men’s race was won by Raymond Lanigan (Unattached) in 3:05:55.

On Sunday 6th October 2013, Northern Ireland international XC runner, Helen Stockdale donned the blue and white of Fine Valley AC for the very first time after her recent transfer from Clones AC and marked her debut with a victory at the Donegal Novice Cross Country Championships at Mullaghderg Banks, County Donegal (Ireland).  The AAI National Masters 800m, 1500m and 3000m medallist won the 3000m race in 12:41, this win played a major part in Finn Valley AC’s success in the team standings, where they finished in top spot.

Also on Sunday 6th October 2013, a number of Northern Ireland athletes joined 24,000 participants on the start line of the Great Scottish Run and the associated 10k race in Glasgow, Scotland.  The televised race brought a two day ‘festival of running’ in the Scottish city to a close.  In the Half Marathon, Larne AC’s Ryan Stewart recorded a massive new personal best of 1:18:20 to lead the NI contingent home.  He was followed by talented Uattached athlete Lauren Quee (1:25:52), who knocked nearly two minutes off her Belfast City Half Marathon time from last month to take 13th place in the ladies category.  Ever improving Larne AC man Thomas Craig (Larne AC) then crossed the line in 1:34:34; it was then the turn of Ballymena Runners to dominate proceedings, with no less than six of their members taking part. Declan Stockman clocked 1:45:15 to finish just three seconds ahead of Elle Forrest (1:45:18), before Noel McAllister ran 1:46:13.  Fellow Ballymena Runners’ Peter Coulter (1:50:39), Stephen Brown (1:54:02) and Roy White (1:55:54) followed, with all coming in well under the two hour mark.  The Half Marathon was won by famous Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie in 1:01:09, while Team GB’s Susan Partridge (Leeds City AC) took the ladies title in 1:10:40.

In the associated 10k race, Ballymena Runners’ Nigel McClintock completed the distance in 38:43 to finish well within the top one hundred; he was followed by Larne AC lady Kerrie-Anne Kearney in 52:48 and a trio of Ballymena Runners athletes, Sharon Stephens (55:51), Norman Stephens (56:05) and Lilian Quigley (59:31).  The men’s 10k race was won by Simon Lawson (Carlisle Triathlon Club) in 26:21, while the ladies category was won by Sammi Kinghorn (Red Star AC) in 30:59.

Full Results:  Born 2 Run ‘Surf N Turf’ 2013 ResultsDonegal Novice XC Championships 2013 ResultsGreat Scottish Run 2013 Results

Thousands enjoy successful Runher 5k and 10k races at Stormont Estate:

Kelly Neely and Hannah Oldroyd take Runher 5k and 10k titles at Stormont:

On Sunday 6th October 2013, the second major event of an exciting weekend for running in Northern Ireland took place within the grounds of Stormont Estate, Belfast; the Runher 5k and 10k races, now in their seventh year, attracted thousands of athletes and spectators to Parliament Buildings.

The large crowd were kept entertained by music from Cool FM prior to the start of what proved to be an excellent day of competition; the main ethos behind Runher is about the participation as opposed to the prizes, but with the precise organisation of the event and the atmosphere that surrounds all of the Runher races, they never fail to attract some of the provinces top female athletes.  After the junior races had been run, a sea of 5k runners gathered under the brand new Belfast Telegraph Runher start/finish arch for the beginning of their event.   

As they set off along the front of Parliament Buildings, it was pre-race favourites, Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) and Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) who moved to the front of the pack.  The course took the participants through the extensive grounds of the scenic estate, before finishing back at the steps of the main Stormont building where they started.  It wasn’t long after the last of the runners went out of sight before Kelly Neely, an impressive performer at yesterday’s Athletics NI Road Relays, appeared on the infamous avenue.  Kelly made her way up to the finishing straight and crossed the line in 19:17 to win; this completed an excellent weekend for the former international track star after her City of Lisburn AC team collected gold in the senior ladies category of the aforementioned Athletics NI Road Relays.  Rachel Gibson (19:27) followed and looked strong as she powered up the final hill to claim 2nd place ahead of her club mate and friend Jessica Craig, who took the final podium place in 20:07 (3rd place). Commonwealth Games 400m star Christine McMahon battled well to claim an excellent 4th place in 21:08, before Allyson O’Toole (East Coast AC) completed the top five finishers in 21:31 (5th place).

In the 10k; the strong trio of Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) and Julie Balmer (North Down AC) looked on top form as they went out fast from the off.  Hannah, who won the Newtownhamilton 10 mile road race yesterday (Saturday 5th October 2013), took on the race and looked good as she cruised through the half way mark with a decent gap between herself and Cathy McCourt, who in turn had 50-60 metres on Julie Balmer. Behind, Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers), Naomi Broughton (Unattached), Lyndsey Pronger (Unattached), Catherine Roberts (North Down AC), Tiffany Brien (Unattached) and Nikki Heywood (North Down AC) were all running well.

Despite some concerns as to whether Hannah’s notable outing over a tough course 24 hours earlier would have any ill effects on her performance in the latter stages of the race, it was the Saltaire Striders lady who appeared on the final hill first.  Hannah broke the tape in 39:15 to secure her second victory in as many days.  Cathy McCourt continued her return from injury with an impressive showing, taking 2nd place in 39:37, before popular North Down AC athlete Julie Balmer claimed 3rd place in 40:10.  Amanda Perry and Naomi Broughton both produced good runs to finish in 4th place and 5th place respectively, with Amanda clocking 42:18 and Naomi 44:21.

5k Race:

Top 5 Ladies:  1st Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) – 19:17, 2nd Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) – 19:27, 3rd Jessica Craig (North Down AC) – 20:03, 4th Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 21:08, 5th Allyson O’Toole (East Coast AC) – 21:31

10k Race:

Top 5 Ladies:  1st Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 39:15, 2nd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 39:37, 3rd Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 40:10, 4th Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) – 42:18, 5th Naomi Broughton (Unattached) – 44:21

Full Results:  Runher (Stormont) 5k Race 2013 Results - Runher (Stormont) 10k Race 2013 Results 

Travers, Havern, Darby and Oldroyd enjoy Newtownhamilton success:

Hundreds turn out to support charity event:

On Saturday 5th October 2013, hundreds of athletes turned out to support the Run for Autism Half Marathon and 10 mile road races in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.  The tough but scenic course took competitors from Newtownhamilton Youth Club, through the town centre and onto undulating rural roads before finishing at the Lissummon Community Centre.

Don Travers (Newry City Runners) has finished on the podium in no less than eleven races during 2013, winning at least seven of those and the talented international man carried on this form with another well-deserved victory.  Don crossed the line in 1:20:18 to seal an impressive victory.   Fellow Newry City Runners, Stephen Quinn (1:25:40) and Martin O’Hagan (1:26:22) completed an excellent 1-2-3 for the club, after sealing 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

Anne Havern and Tina Crawley continued Newry City Runners’ dominance of the podium in the ladies category of the Half Marathon; Anne broke the tape in 1:43:59 to win, while Tina took 2nd place just under six minutes later in 1:49:56.  Clare Hearty (Warrenpoint Runners) completed the ladies top three in 1:57:33 (3rd place).

In the 10 mile race; Barnsley AC’s Steve Darby, winner of the ‘Original’ Cookstown Half Marathon this summer, claimed a comfortable victory in 1:01:02. Steve’s friend and another regular visitor to Northern Ireland, Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), who won the ladies race at the aforementioned Cookstown Half Marathon and more recently finished in the top ten at the Great North Run, was the next athlete to cross the line in 1:05:45, thus winning the ladies race. John Breen (Unattached) recorded 1:08:02 to take 2nd place in the men’s race, while another Unattached runner, Declan Corolan (1:10:41) finished in 3rd place. Jemma McGourty (Unattached), a podium finisher twice last month, at the Glenn 10k and the Mullaghbawn 10k, clocked 1:16:34 to secure 2nd place in the ladies category; Sperrin Harriers’ Mairead Hughes crossed the line in 1:18:56 (3rd place).

Half Marathon:

Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:20:18, 2nd Stephen Quinn (Newry City Runners) – 1:25:40, 3rd Martin O’Hagan (Newry City Runners) – 1:26:22

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) – 1:43:59, 2nd Tina Crawley (Newry City Runners) – 1:49:56, 3rd Clare Hearty (Warrenpoint Runners) – 1:57:53

10 mile Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Steve Darby (Barnsley AC) – 1:01:02, 2nd John Breen (Unattached) – 1:08:02, 3rd Declan Carolan (Unattached) – 1:10:41

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) – 1:05:45, 2nd Jemma McGourty (Unattached) – 1:16:34, 3rd Mairead Hughes (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:18:56

Full Results:  Run for Autism Half Marathon and 10 mile Race 2013 Results

Impressive performances at Athletics NI Road Relay Championships:

Athletes enjoy an exciting day of racing at ANI Championships:

On Saturday 5th October 2013, hundreds of athletes and spectators descended on the sun drenched Victoria Park in Belfast for the annual Athletics Northern Ireland Road Relay Championships, which were sublimely hosted for the second year in a row by Orangegrove AC.

The day kicked off with a number of junior races, which proved to be both fun and competitive; supporters were treated to some impressive performances, which highlighted the up and coming talent within the province.  After the competitive junior races, the first adult event of the day brought the senior and masters ladies to the start line.  Teams in both categories were made up of three ladies, with each runner completing 3,380m.  

Emer Magee (Lagan Valley AC) looked strong as she came through the first leg in the lead, with Geraldine Branagh of Dromore AC heading the masters pack. As the race progressed, Dromore AC began to dominate the masters race, with Gillian Burns and Diane Wilson both running strongly; in the senior race, City of Lisburn AC gradually clawed back the early leaders Lagan Valley AC, but it was Kelly Neely’s classy final 3,380m that made the most impact, taking the team (which also contained Christine Quinn and Diane Watson) from third place to first place.

Ultimately, it was Kelly who crossed the line in 38:54, claiming the Northern Ireland senior title for City of Lisburn AC.  Diane Wilson followed close behind in 39:07, ensuring that Dromore AC secured top honours in the masters category.  Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) finished in 39:51, which was enough to give Lagan Valley AC’s ‘A’ team (of Katie, Eva Laverty and Suzanne Higgins) the silver medal, while her club mate Ella Davis (and team mates Emer Magee and Harriot Gilmore) earned Lagan Valley AC another medal, after taking 3rd place in 40:26.  That wasn’t the end of the MPT based club’s medal haul, as Hazel McLaughlin finished off great work by team mates Ruth Magill and Julie Murphy to claim 2nd place in the master’s category in 41:28.  North Down AC’s Valerie McDonough, Jill Aiken and Catherine Roberts took 3rd place in 43:12.  Angela Lappin (City of Lisburn AC) ran the quickest senior leg (3,380m) of the day in 11:25, while Dromore AC’s Gillian Burns was the quickest masters runner, covering the course in 12:47; this was a mere one second quicker than her club mate Geraldine Branagh who ran 12:48.

Next up was the ‘mixed’ relay, which saw two male and two female athletes from each club complete one leg of 1,689m each.  East Coast AC’s Justin Maxwell was the first runner to hand over, with James Trainer (DUB Runners), Wayne Morrow (Larne AC) and Ross Deering (Ballydrain Harriers) in pursuit. Ballydrain Harriers’ Debbie Matchett then followed on from her team mate Ross Deering’s impressive start and began to work her way through the field, before handing over to the speedy Denise Logue.  North Belfast Harriers also came through as the race progressed, thanks to great efforts from Claire Prenter, Conor McQuillan and Athanasia Sevestaki; this made for an exciting finish, as DUB Runners, East Coast AC and Larne AC were all still going well and in contention.  However, it was Ryan Andrews who sealed a notable win for the popular Ballydrain Harriers team, which included the aforementioned Debbie Matchett, Ross Deering and Denise Logue, in 23:01.  Kent Swann was next, taking 2nd place for North Belfast Harriers in 23:17, before Mark McManus’s strong performance in the fourth leg claimed the final podium place for his East Coast AC team (which also included Justin Maxwell, Penny Lindsay and Trisha Campbell) in 23:21.  The quickest male ‘mixed’ relay leg was run by Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) in 5:03, while Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) ran the fastest ladies leg in 5:46.

The final race of the day was the senior men’s and masters men’s Championship; the teams were made up of four runners, who completed 3,380m each.  Ryan McDermott led the reigning champions, Annadale Striders out and was also the first to reach the changeover, Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers), who was in the master’s category followed close behind; Conall Kirk (Lagan Valley AC), Conor Magill (North Belfast Harriers), Patrick Linden (Willowfield Harriers) and Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) were looking good in the senior category, while Mark Wright and Gary Keenan were showing their track speed in the masters race.

As the race continued, it looked as if Annadale Striders were cruising to victory, until an outstanding leg from Andrew Wright brought Willowfield Harriers into the third changeover in top spot.  However, Andrew Agnew then stamped his authority in the early stages of the penultimate leg to regain the lead for Annadale Striders.  North Belfast Harriers and North Down AC were also performing well and looked to be contenders for the podium.  Meanwhile, in the master’s race, North Belfast Harriers were dominating; with Annadale Striders, Ballymena Runners, Orangegrove AC and East Coast AC all battling it out for the final podium place.  As the excitable crowd awaited the first finisher, it was Owen Carelton (Annadale Striders) who led the field onto the final straight.  The talented runner covered the final yards quickly to ensure that the Annadale Striders team of Ryan McDermott, Andrew Agnew and Glenn Phair (and of course Owen Carleton) retained the senior title in 41:41.  James Budde produced an excellent performance to follow on from club mates Stephen Wylie, Francis Marsh and Dennis Scott to claim 2nd place for North Down AC in 43:18, before up and coming star Conal McCambridge ran arguably the most impressive 3,380m leg of the day to take bronze for his North Belfast Harriers team, which also included Connor Magill, Brendan Grew and Mark McKinstry in 43:25.

It wasn’t long before North Belfast Harriers were celebrating again, as Simon Reeve led their strong master’s team, which also contained Alan O’Hara, Andrew Considine and Paul Blaney to victory; they won the masters title in 44:07.  The battle for the remaining podium places went to the wire, with Orangegrove AC’s Johnny Park overtaking Annadale Striders’ Michel LeVelly in the final leg to claim 2nd place for the host club (whose team also featured Gary Keenan, Paul Woodman and Michael Thompson) in 44:45; Michel managed to hold off a strong challenge from East Coast AC’s James Brown to secure 3rd place for Annadale Striders (Mark Wright, Paul Carroll, Conor McMullan and Michel Levelly) in 44:51.  Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders) was the quickest runner in the senior race, clocking 10:01 for his leg, while North Belfast Harriers' Alan O'Hara was the quickest in the masters field with a time of 10:05.

Top 3 Senior Ladies Teams:

1st City of Lisburn AC ‘A’ (Christine Quinn, Diane Watson and Kelly Neely) – 38:54, 

2nd Lagan Valley AC ‘A’ (Eva Laverty, Suzanne Higgins and Katie Kirk) – 39:51 

3rd Lagan Valley AC ‘B’ (Emer Magee, Harriet Gilmore and Ella Davis) – 40:26

Top 3 Masters Ladies Teams:

1st Dromore AC (Geraldine Branagh, Gillian Burns and Diane Wilson) – 39:07

2nd Lagan Valley AC (Ruth Magill, Julie Murphy and Hazel McLaughlin) – 41:28

3rd North Down AC ‘B’ (Valerie McDonough, Jill Aiken and Catherine Roberts) – 43:12

Top 3 Mixed Teams:

1st Ballydrain Harriers ‘A’ (Ross Deering, Debbie Matchett, Denise Logue and Ryan Andrews) – 23:01

2nd North Belfast Harriers (Claire Prenter, Conor McQuillan, Athanasia Sevestaki and Kent Swann) – 23:17

3rd East Coast AC ‘A’ (Justin Maxwell, Trisha Campbell, Penny Lindsay and Mark McManus) – 23:21

Top 3 Senior Men’s teams:

1st Annadale Striders ‘A’ (Ryan McDermott, Glenn Phair, Andrew Agnew and Owen Carelton) – 41:41

2nd North Down AC ‘A’ (Stephen Wylie, Dennis Scott, Francis Marsh and James Budde) – 43:18

3rd North Belfast Harriers (Connor Magill, Brendan Grew, Mark McKinstry and Conal McCambridge) - 43:25

Top 3 Masters Men's Teams:

1st North Belfast Harriers 'A' (Alan O'Hara, Andrew Considine, Paul Blaney and Simon Reeve) - 44:07

2nd Orangegrove AC 'A' (Gary Keenan, Michael Thompson, Johnny Park and Paul Woodman) - 44:45

3rd Annadale Striders 'A' (Mark Wright, Paul Carroll, Connor McMullan, Michael LeVelley) - 44:51

Full Results:  Athletics NI Road Relay Championships 2013 Results.  Photograph used above was taken by Keith McClure.  Race photographs (courtesy of Gareth Heron) are now available within our 'Photo Gallery'.

Alan Bogle and Shileen O'Kane win Slieve Gallion Mountain Race:

Mountain runners take on Slieve Gallion Mountain Race (report compiled by Richard Bell):

The Indian Summer held on for the final day in this year’s fell running season. A balmy, mist kissed Slieve Gallion was the stage for last encounter. In the muddy depths of Iniscarn forest season weary hill runners lined up for the last hurrah.

When the whistle was blown Alan Bogle (City of Derry AC) took off.  He was accompanied by Newcastle AC’s Damian McDaid. The chasing pack followed at safe distance.  The first section was all on grassy paths and as the leaders hurried on their way, the aforementioned chasing pack showed no particular enthusiasm to keep a pace until Mourne Runners’ Clive Bailey moved up to the front and took up the chase.  By the time the race had emerged from the grassy paths and onto firmer forest tracks, Damian McDaid had been dropped by Alan and picked up by the chasing group.  As the climb progressed Clive Bailey and Ballymena Runners’ Alex Brennan seemed to be making some inroads into Bogle’s lead.  On their heels were Newcastle AC’s Colm Campbell, Ballymena Runners man Emmet McAlister and Mourne Runners’ Richard Bell.

The forest trails led onto a good stretch until you hit a monstrous steep ascent to the mountain top.  At the front there was no change on this section, but coming from behind Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) and Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) started to gain some ground.  As the race proceeded over the flank of Slieve Gallion there was still no sign of Alan.  In the groups behind Clive Bailey and Alex Brennan were stretching their lead as the runners started to string out.  Once over the flank runners have to navigate the far base of the hill before taking on a punishing steep climb to the mast.  At this point Alex Brennan started to pull away from Clive Bailey.  Simon Reeve had caught Richard Bell and as they went over the top had taken over the chase of Damian McDaid, Emmet McAlister, and Colm Campbell.

The run from the top took the field down a mucky path before rejoining the forest trail, which took them back the way they had come.  It was a fast descent on which it is hard to make up ground.  In the end, it was Alan Bogle who claimed a well-deserved victory in 41:54; he was followed by Alex Brennan in 43:00 (2nd place) and Clive Bailey in 43:26 (3rd place).  The ladies race was won by Shileen O’Kane in 49:11, followed by Anne Sandford in 55:15 (2nd place) and Violet Linton in 57:33 (3rd place).  Today’s event was well supported by many running clubs, including Ballymena Runners, Mourne Runners, Newcastle AC, Lagan Valley AC, North Belfast Harriers, City Of Derry AC, Larne AC, Glen Runners, Pegasus AC, Foyle Valley AC and Dromore AC.

Top 3 Men:  1st Alan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 41:54, 2nd Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) – 43:00, 3rd Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners) – 43:26

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 49:11, 2nd Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) – 55:15, 3rd Violet Linton – 57:33

Full Results:  Slieve Gallion Mountain Race 2013 Results

Weekend Preview:  ANI Road Relays and Runher events take centre stage!

Weekend Preview:  Another weekend of major events for NI athletes:

Having enjoyed events such as the Belfast City Half Marathon, Bangor 10k and the Causeway Coast Marathon Series in the last two weeks, the seemingly endless run of big events in Northern Ireland continues this weekend, with the Athletics NI (Road) Relay Championships and the Runher (Stormont) 5k and 10k races taking centre stage.  

There are also events taking place in Drumragh (County Tyrone), Galbally (County Tyrone), Newtownbutler (County Fermanagh) and the Sperrin Mountains (County Derry/Londonderry).  Athletes from Northern Ireland will also participate in races in Ireland and Scotland.

The action kicks off on Saturday 5th October 2013, when athletes from across the province represent their clubs at the Athletics NI Road Relay Championships in Victoria Park, Belfast.  In 2012, this event proved to be a resounding success and this year looks as if it will be even better, with a record number of clubs signing up.

The unique nature of these Relay Championships creates an excellent atmosphere; the event provides runners who would normally represent their club over different terrains (and distances) the opportunity to come together for one day, with all aiming to earn the bragging rights associated with being Northern Ireland’s ‘fastest club’.  The exciting day of racing will begin at 12pm, with children’s races taking place before the adult Championship races kick off at 1.30pm.  The first of which will see the Senior Ladies and Masters Ladies take to the start line; each team will consist of three runners (and two reserves), with each covering 3,380m.

Lagan Valley AC will field three teams, of which, Lagan Valley AC ‘A’ look to be the strongest.  Eva Laverty, Katie Kirk and Suzanne Higgins (Nee McCormick) will lead the chase for the gold medal.  However, the talented trio will face strong competition from City of Lisburn AC’s Kelly Neely, Christine Quinn, Diane Watson, Melanie Minshull (reserve) and Paula Neill (reserve).  Despite the absence of last year’s star performer, Judith Lonnen, the aforementioned ladies should still be podium contenders, as will reigning Senior Ladies Champions, North Belfast Harriers, who will call on Claire Prenter, Athanasia Sevastaki and Heather Foley to defend their title.  Willowfield Harriers trio Lois Hagen, Chloe Crossley and Claire Francis could also play a part at the front.  Host club, Orangegrove AC will look to Louise Lemon, Sarah Steer, Leann Gibson and reserves Sharon Dickenson and Julie McKimm to bring home silverware.

The Masters Ladies race, which will take place at the same time as the Senior Ladies, looks to be wide open with regard to potential winners.  However, at a push, the Dromore AC team of Geraldine Branagh, Gillian Burns, Diane Wilson, Marie Mackin (reserve) and Julie Turley (reserve) look like a good bet, despite the fact that last week’s Bangor 10k winner Julie may not feature.  Talented WPFG medallist Paula McAllister will head the Ballymena Runners attack on the podium and will be backed up by Sharon Harvey, Linda Petticrew and reserves Shelley Tomlins and Jacqueline McIlrath.  Lagan Valley AC’s Ruth Magill, Hazel McLaughlin and Julie Murphy (alongside reserve Fionnuala McCourt) also look strong.

The ‘Mixed’ team race will follow the Senior/Masters Race and will start at 2.30pm; the teams will include two male athletes and two female athletes, with each runner completing 1,689m before handing over to their team mate.  At a glance, Ballydrain Harriers, East Coast AC and Larne AC look to be the strongest teams; the Ballydrain Harriers ‘A’ team will see Denise Logue, Debbie Matchett, Ryan Andrews and Ross Deering  (and reserves, Olivia Brown and Raymond Stanex) taking to the start line, while East Coast AC’s ‘A’ team of Mark McManus, Trisha Campbell, Justin Maxwell, Penny Lindsay and reserves James Robinson and Jenny Magill should also place well; likewise, Larne AC’s  (‘A’ team) Craig Hutchinson, Rhonda Brady, Ruth Wilson, Wayne Morrow and reserves Mandy Johnston and Declan McGaughey will also be amongst the top finishers.  Orangegrove AC’s Sharon Corken, Liz Watt, Thomas Leitch and John Neill, accompanied by Chris Winning and Jonathan Watson will also be in the thick of the action.

The final race of the day (3.15pm) will see the Senior Men and the Masters Men toe the line, for what could be one of the most competitive races of the day. In both categories, each member of the four man teams will cover 3,380m.  In the Senior competition, last year’s winners Annadale Striders will once again be well represented, with Ryan McDermott, Andrew Agnew, Owen Carleton and Keith Purdy having been named in the ‘A’ team; James O’Hare and Glenn Phair have been entered as reserves.  North Down AC’s ‘A’ team of Stephen Wylie, Francis Marsh, James Budde and Dennis Scott (and reserves, Mark Irvine and Mark Weir) should also be amongst the front runners, as will St Malachys AC’s Joe McAlister, Paddy Robb, Conor Gallagher, James Smyth, Dominic McAllister (reserve) and Steven Rooney (reserve).  

Last year’s Senior Men’s bronze medallists Willowfield Harriers will field two teams, with the ‘A’ team looking like the stronger of the two.  Patrick Linden, Andrew Wright, Amando Bamisile, Ian Farr, Ryan Henry (reserve) and Daniel Mills (reserve) will be aiming to at least replicate their 2012 team performance. However, Newcastle AC and North Belfast Harriers will also be vying for a podium place; Brendan Quail, Mark Kendall, David O’Flaherty and David Steel (and reserve, Joe McCann) will wear the red and yellow of Newcastle AC, while Connor Magill, Brendan Grew, Conal McCambridge, Kent Swann, Stephen Walker (reserve) and Connor McQuillan (reserve) will run for North Belfast Harriers.

The Masters category has no less than twenty eight teams competing, with Ballydrain Harriers, City of Lisburn AC and East Coast AC naming three teams each.  North Belfast Harriers have entered two teams, with their ‘A’ team looking like possible winners.  Alan O’Hara, Andrew Considine, Paul Blaney and Neil Carty will prove hard to beat, they will be supported by reserves Simon Reeve and Paul Jenkins in their quest for gold.  Annadale Striders’ Conor McMullan, Mark Wright, Michael LeVelley, Marty Southwood and Paul Carroll will also be seen as contenders, as will Ballymena Runners ‘A’, Derry Track Club and East Coast AC ‘A’.  Michael Bennett, Kevin O’Boyle, James Turtle and Richard Agnew (accompanied by reserves, Noel Connor and Paul Wallace) will make up the talented Ballymena Runners side, while Cathal McLaughlin, Adrian Boyle, Robert Bigger, Timothy Shiels, Malcom McCausland and Gary McGee have all been named on the Derry Track Club team sheet.  Larne based club, East Coast AC will look to Nat Glenn, James Brown, David Clarke, Greg Lavery, Andy Guy (reserve) and Paul Hutchinson (reserve) as they aim for a high placing in their first ever outing at the Championships.

Organisers have stressed that everyone should leave extra time to get to Victoria Park, as there is no parking within the park.  There is parking and a shuttle bus available from the Tommy Patton Memorial Park on the Hollywood Road, Belfast (BT4 1RN).  A special video regarding race instructions are available HERE.

The final race of the 2013 NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association) Grand Prix will also take place on Saturday 5th October 2013.  The Slieve Gallion Mountain Race, which starts in Iniscarn Forest in the Sperrin Mountains and covers 5 miles in distance (with 530m of ascending), is one of the few mountain races to take place outside County Down and should attract a sizeable crowd given the complimentary words attributed to the 2012 event.

Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) may return to defend the title he won so impressively last year, but the Ballymena man will have to fend off the challenge of team mates Emmet McAllister and Alex Brennan should he wish to retain the trophy.  All three men have been in impressive form recently, with all of them finishing in the top seven at the Slieve Bearnagh race last month.  Jonny also produced a notable performance at the Ben Nevis race in Scotland three weeks ago, where he finished in a credible twenty second place despite a navigational error.  Eddie Hanna (Mourne Runners) has made an excellent return to the mountain running scene and also picked up a prize at the Dambusters 10/10 road race; he (Eddie) will take a podium place here should he make the journey. Larne AC duo Andy Gregg and Brian Magee will also play a part at the head of the field should they compete.

Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) and Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) are likely to be the main contenders for the ladies top prize.  Shileen and Gillian had an excellent battle at the Lurig Challenge, with Shileen just pipping Gillian on that occasion.  Shileen finished second at ‘The Fallows’ race two weeks ago and has enjoyed another successful season in the mountains, she (Shileen) also managed a podium place on the roads, at the Kennedy Kane McArthur Half Marathon in July 2013.  Gillian has got stronger as the year has gone on and produced arguably her best performance of 2013 away from the mountains; the Springwell Running Club athlete won Dessies 10k in 37:50.  In saying that, Gillian’s runs at the Snowdon Mountain Race (Wales) and the European Championships Mountain Running Trial (England) were both exceptional.  In the last year or so, Karen Alexander has been competing over trails and road more than mountains, but the endurance specialist may well dust off her mountain running shoes for this event given its proximity. Should Karen enter on the day, she will play a prominent part in proceedings, especially when considering her form over the past few months.  The international athlete won the Causeway Coast Half Marathon last weekend and the Felix 10k prior to that; these victories added to wins at the Ballinderry 10k, Gosford 10k, Castleward Half Marathon and Mourne Way Half Marathon.  Violet Linton (LVO) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) will both finish well up the field should they participate.

Also on Saturday 5th October 2013, running enthusiasts and established club athletes will turn out for the annual running of the Drumragh 10k road race in County Tyrone.  The race is likely to attract the likes of Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club), Damian Cox (Omagh Harriers), Henry O’Neill (Finn Valley AC), Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers), Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) and Donna Evans (Monaghan Phoenix AC).

Further afield, Northern Ireland based events company ‘Born 2 Run’ will host 10k and Half Marathon races as part of their ‘Surf & Turf’ event in County Wexford (Ireland) on Saturday 5th October 2013.  Although we have little information with regard to any Northern Ireland based athletes who are taking part, we do expect some of the Born 2 Run regulars to travel south to support the races. 

Runher returns to Stormont Estate:

On Sunday 6th October 2013, thousands of female runners will descend on Stormont Estate, Belfast for the increasingly popular Runher 5k and 10k races. Although the ethos behind the Runher brand is based more on the taking part, the well organised event often attracts some of the provinces top athletes, which of course, adds an exciting competitive edge to what is always an atmospheric day.

Olympic gold medallist and Northern Ireland legend, Dame Mary Peters will be in attendance and has been given the coveted number one as her race number. Dame Mary will line up in the 5k, which will also include talented ladies Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) and Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC).

Claire has been racing sparingly of late, but never fails to impress when she turns out.  The North Belfast Harriers lady has enjoyed several good performances on the track over the summer, including two runners up places at events in Dublin, during which she recorded 10:43 for 3,000m.  Prior to this, Claire picked up podium places at both the Whitehead 5 mile road race and Jimmys 10k, finishing in second place in both; she (Claire) also won the Bann 10k and QUB 5k. Rachel Gibson is another lady who has impressed over various terrain; the up and coming star started 2013 with a top three finish at the Moira Cross Country before going on to record new 1500m (4:42.43) and 3,000m (10:19.30) personal bests on the track.  Most recently, Rachel clocked a new personal best of 39:11 to claim seventh place at the Laganside 10k.  Irish University and AAI National U23 400m (Indoor) Champion Christine McMahon will also toe the line, despite being more used to the 400m distance, and especially the 400m hurdles, there is no doubt that the international track star’s ability will see her finish well up the field.  Other ladies who will be hoping for a top ten finish will include Heather White (County Antrim Harriers), Sharon Williamson (Unattached) and Allyson O’Toole (East Coast AC).

In the 10k race; North Down AC’s Julie Balmer, a regular at the Runher events, will go into the event as pre-race favourite.  Julie finished in third place here last year, but should better that this time around based on her performances throughout 2013.  Aside from a win at the Albertville 5 mile road race and podium places at Jimmys 10k, Titanic 10k and Laganside 10k, Julie dominated the Pure Running Half Marathon Series, winning six of the eight races she entered. Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) is another lady to watch out for; Hannah is a regular visitor to Northern Ireland and is a contributor to the parkrun podcast. She (Hannah) notched up a 5:05 mile in Leeds this year and also finished ninth at the Great North Run two weeks ago after crossing the line in 1:24:48.  Hannah won the ‘Original’ Cookstown Half Marathon this summer in 1:27:24.

Tiffany Brien (Unattached), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Lyndsey Pronger (Unattached) will also be podium contenders.  Former Miss Northern Ireland, Tiffany Brien ran well here in 2012, completing the course in 46:25; the accomplished yachtswoman and Olympic hopeful also claimed a podium place at the ‘Run for Mark in the Dark’ event within Stormont Estate in late 2012.  More recently, Tiffany covered the 13.1m Belfast City Half Marathon in 2:06:28.  Amanda Perry has been running well over the summer and secured two second place finishes at the Greyabbey 10k and the Dambusters 10/10; Amanda’s seasons best for 10k is 41:58.  Lyndsey Pronger is a very talented and surprisingly unattached runner, the consistent performer is a regular parkrun winner and finished fifth in this race last year.  She (Lyndsey) narrowly missed out on a top ten finish at the last Runher event, the 10k Coastal Challenge (May 2013), in what was a very strong field.  Nikki Heywood (North Down AC) and Laura Bateson (Unattached) should also make the top ten.

There are also two smaller events taking place on Sunday 6th October 2013, the Newtownbutler 5 mile road race in County Fermanagh and the Galbally 10k road race in County Tyrone.  Both races will more than likely attract a mixture of fitness enthusiasts and established club runners.  Should results be made available, we will of course upload race summaries and results for both events.  

Athletes from Northern Ireland will also join thousands of participants on the start line of the Great Scottish Run (10k and Half Marathon) in Glasgow on Sunday 6th October 2013.  The event, which is promoted as a ‘festival of running’ offers competitors a number of distances, spread across the weekend.  There are Junior races and a mile race on the Saturday (5th October 2013) as well as Sunday’s 10k and Half Marathon.

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

Note - September 2013 'News' is available HERE or by following the navigational bar at the top of the page.

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