Northern Ireland Running

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Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) wins Redcar Half Marathon:

Paul Pollock cruises to victory at Redcar Half Marathon:

On Sunday 29th September 2013, Northern Ireland man, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) followed up his excellent win at the Bangor 10k just 24 hours earlier with another victory, this time at the Redcar Half Marathon in England.

Paul, who recently represented Ireland at the World Championships in Moscow (Russia), recorded 30:45 for 10k on Saturday (28th September 2013) and showed no signs of fatigue as he covered the coastal Redcar course in 1:07:25, winning by over three minutes.

Full Results:  Redcar Half Marathon 2013 Results (Photograph used above taken from

ChampionChip announce date for Pure Running HM Series prize-giving:

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2013:

After the final race of the 2013 Pure Running Half Marathon Series in Derry/Londonderry (Waterside Half Marathon), ChampionChip Ireland have released the date for the Series prize-giving.  This will take place on Friday 1st November 2013 (12.30pm) at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast.

ChampionChip Ireland have contacted prize-winners via text and/or email and wish to ask those people to RSVP as soon as possible, so that plans can be finalised for the event.  Please email Glenn at [email protected] as soon as possible.

The 2013 Pure Running Half Marathon Series final standings are available HERE.

Junior athletes enjoy McGrady Financial XC event in Kilbroney Park:

McGrady Financial XC Series (Race Day 2):

The weekend (Saturday 28th September 2013) saw junior athletes from across County Down travel to the scenic Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor for Race Day 2 of the popular McGrady Financial Junior XC Series.  On this occasion, Series regulars East Down AC, Newcastle AC, Burren AC and Dromore AC were joined by guest’s, 3 Ways AC from Newry.

Proceedings kicked off with the P4 (and Under) 500m race, which was won by James McVeigh (Newcastle AC) in 1:52; Anna Gardiner (East Down AC) claimed victory in the girls race, with a winning time of 1:56.  Just four seconds split the top three boy’s in the P5 600m race, Newcastle AC’s Louis Sheridan (2:11), East Down AC’s Michael O’Connor (2:13) and Burren AC’s Luke McKeveney (2:15) were the podium finishers, while Laura McCarthy (Burren AC) won the girls race in 2:11.

In the P6 800m race, guest Ultan O’Callaghan (3 Ways AC) claimed victory in 2:39, but the Series points will go to runner up Thomas McKeveney (Burren AC) who recorded 2:43 for the distance.  It was a similar story in the girls race, with 3 Ways AC’s Olivia Hall (2:49) winning and Burren AC’s Eva Sloan (2:58) being awarded the points as Olivia’s club are not part of the overall Series.  Newcastle AC’s Danny Williamson (3:38) and Dromore AC’s Bethany Nixon (3:44) won the P7 1000m race, before Cathal Brennan (3 Ways AC) led the Year 8 1250m field home in 4:04.  Burren AC’s Sean Campbell was runner up in 4:09; Chloe Galloway (East Down AC) won the girls race in 4:42.

In the Year 9 1500m event, Jack O’Farrell (Burren AC) ran well to seal victory in 4:49, while Gemma Doyle (3 Ways AC) took top honours in the girls race in a winning time of 5:47.  Runner up Lucy Kenneally of Newcastle AC took the Series points after crossing the line in 5:56.  Ethan Dunn (Dromore AC) and Laura Green (East Down AC) celebrated victory in their respective Year 10 2000m race, with Ethan running 6:16 and Laura 7:28.  Rebekah Nixon (Dromore AC), a quality athlete even against senior competition, cruised to victory in the Year 11 2000m event after recording 6:52 for the distance.  Daniel Dawson (Dromore AC) was a comfortable winner in the Year 11 boy’s 3000m race, crossing the line in 9:55.

Full Results:  McGrady Financial Junior XC Series 2013 (Race Day 2) - Photograph used above was taken by Graham McCauley (More photographs available HERE)

Gladys Ganiel O'Neill achieves Commonwealth Games standard in Berlin:

O'Neill and Frazer claim Commonwealth Games qualifying standards as NI athlete impress in Berlin:

On Sunday 29th September 2013, the Northern Ireland running community watched in anticipation as Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) became the second NI lady to achieve a Commonwealth Games 2014 (Marathon) qualifying standard, after recording 2:39:26 at the BMW Berlin Marathon in Germany.  Gladys ran a well paced race to finish in an excellent 13th place overall, this was enough to secure top spot in the Vet35 category.

Gladys’ new personal best beats her previous 2:40:56 clocking for 26.2m (Houston Marathon 2012) and means that she will join club mate Breege Connolly on the list of Northern Ireland ladies who have run sub 2:40:00 this year. Breege ran 2:39:23 at the Virgin London Marathon 2013.  This crowned an excellent year for Gladys; despite suffering the disappointment of missing the Commonwealth Games qualifying time in London, the exceptionally talented North Belfast Harriers lady went on to run a new Half Marathon personal best of 1:15:08 to claim a silver medal at the AAI Half Marathon Championships in Dublin and represent Ireland at the European Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria.  She (Gladys) also put in excellent performances at the Mourne Way Half Marathon and the Fingal 10k, where she ran here quickest 10k in fifteen years (34:42).

Gladys wasn't the only local athlete to impress, former St Malachy's AC man Thomas Frazer, who is now based in America, recorded an outstanding 2:17:45 to finish in 22nd place overall.  This is also a Commonwealth Games (Marathon) qualifying standard, should Thomas wish to compete at the Games next Summer. Northern Ireland were well represented at the event, which will be remembered for Wilson Kipsang’s new 26.2 mile World Record.  The Kenyan athlete re-wrote the record books with a 2:03:23 finish time, knocking a full fifteen seconds of Patrick Makua’s previous record of 2:03:38.  The ladies race was won by Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) in 2:21:13.  

Fionnuala Ross (McNeese State College) was the next NI athlete to finish after Gladys; the Dungannon lady, who studies in America, ran 2:57:03 for her first ever attempt at the distance.  Orangegrove AC's Thomas Leitch recorded a seasons best time of 3:06:49 to finish less than a minute ahead of Unattached athlete Paul Horan (3:07:37), who has been training with North Belfast Harriers recently.  Stephen Stokes was the first of a large group of Newry City Runners to cover the distance, crossing the line in 3:08:02, before experienced and consistent marathon runner Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers) recorded 3:09:52.  Paul McCullagh (City of Lisburn AC) ran a massive personal best of 3:21:40, before Gareth Murdock (Newry City Runners) finished in 3:23:55.

Mike Barnett (Newry City Runners) then led a convoy of his club mates him; Mike finished in 3:31:05 and was followed by (40th) birthday boy Cormac Cranney (3:33:35), Shane O’Callaghan (3:34:20), Damian Murphy (3:34:59), Robbie Marsh (3:40:33), Eimear McCracken (3:40:53), Aidran Trainor (3:46:27) and Colm McCann (3:52:16).  As the 4:00:00 finish time came and went, it was another Newry City Runners man who appeared next; Colm O’Brien clocked 4:12:48 to finish just sixteen seconds ahead of Orangegrove AC’s Martin Doherty who ran 4:13:04, who, in turn crossed the line just over a minute ahead of East Down AC’s Diarmuid Quail (4:14:15).  Club Pulse AC athlete Daniel McKenna celebrated his 4:25:32 finish, before North Belfast Harriers’ Jason Reid (4:27:58) also achieved a sub 4:30:00 time.

Newry City Runners’ Margaret Trainor and Club Pulse AC’s Sonia McNeice just missed the aforementioned 4:30:00 barrier, with Margaret running 4:30:23 and Sonia 4:30:41.  Patrick McNeice (Club Pulse AC) completed the 26.2 miles in 4:32:08, while William McCracken (Newry City Runners) battled well to cross the line in 4:47:53.

Full Results:  BMW Berlin Marathon 2013 Results

Please Note - Finish times used above are based on those from the official BMW Berlin Marathon 2013 website and may vary from those recorded by individuals.  Also, we have trawled the results and picked out as many Northern Ireland finishers as possible.  However, we may have missed some, especially those with no club name listed.  If you completed the event and would like to be added to the above summary, please send your name, club (if applicable) and exact finish time to [email protected] before 12pm on Monday 30th September 2013.

Andrew Annett takes podium place as NI athletes race in Galway (Ireland):

Northern Ireland well represented in Galway (Ireland):

On Saturday 28th September 2013, a large number of Northern Ireland based runners made the long cross border trip to Galway (Ireland) for the annual Galway Bay 10k and Half Marathon.  Both events are set on the shores of the infamous Galway Bay, with the courses covering quite a lot of the scenic coastline.

Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) returned to competition in style; the International mountain runner, who has impressed on the roads over the last twelve months, took an excellent 2nd place in the 10k.  Andrew recorded 34:07 to finish as runner up to Clonliffe Harriers’ Gary O’Hanlon who won in 33:31.  Sperrin Harriers’ Tommy Harraghy was the next familiar face to finish, crossing the line in 43:53 (42nd place), just over a minute ahead of his club mate Nuala Kelly (11th place lady - 45:01) who just missed out on a top ten place in the ladies race, which was won by Sarah Mulligan (DSD AC) in 35:05.  Sperrin Harriers duo Nicola Gallagher (35th place lady - 51:30) and Louise Kelly (63rd place lady - 52:40) then finished, before Margaret Edgar (Springwell Running Club) completed Northern Ireland’s interest in the 6.1 mile race after covering the distance in 56:17 (113th place lady).

In the Half Marathon, Springwell Running Club’s Bryan Edgar led the Northern Ireland contingent home in 1:25:27 (15th place).  Sperrin Harriers trio Toirleach Gourley (1:41:18), Barry Loughran (1:46:55) and Gerard Loughran (1:48:13) followed in 112th place, 172nd place and 193rd place respectively.  Their club mate, Laura McErlaine (Sperrin Harriers) then claimed 28th place in the ladies race with a time of 1:48:23, before Kieran Henry (Termoneeny Running Club) crossed the line in 1:49:03 (215th place).

Sperrin Harriers didn’t have to wait long for further red vests to arrive, with Karen McElroy (1:50:52) and Hannah Su (1:54:33) claiming top one hundred spots in the ladies race; Karen took 41st place, while Hannah secured 63rd place.  Shaun Dillon (Termoneeny Running Club) recorded 1:56:14 (336th place) and was the last Northern Ireland based athlete to break the 2:00:00 barrier; Ursla Kelly (Sperrin Harriers) missed it by just thirty nine seconds after running 2:00:39 (108th place lady).  After a quiet spell of recognisable finishers, Sinead Herron (Sperrin Harriers) sparked an avalanche; Sinead clocked 2:05:16 (136th place lady) with Roisin McErlain (146th place lady - 2:06:36), Adele McNally (165th place lady – 2:08:54), Deirdre Bradley (181st place lady – 2:12:03) and Maureen Mallon (243rd place lady – 2:25:01) all crossing the line in relatively quick succession.

The Half Marathon was won by Ireland based Moldovan athlete Sergui Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) in 1:07:11, while Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) claimed the ladies top prize in 1:20:03.

Full Results:  Galway Bay 10 2013 Results and Galway Bay Half Marathon 2013 Results

Athletes enjoy 26extreme Causeway Coast Marathon Series:

26extreme Causeway Coast Marathon Series 2013:

On Saturday 28th September 2013, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on one of Northern Ireland’s (and the world’s) most scenic locations for the 26 Extreme Causeway Coast Marathon Series.  The increasingly popular event included a 65k Ultra Marathon, Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k, ensuring that there was something for everyone.

The hardy ultra-runners were first off and it was Unattached athlete Ian Lockington who led early on; Ian, who was being pursued by Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), Cathal McGreevy (Newry City Runners) and Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club) had nearly a three minute lead at one point.  However, the chasing pack gradually reduced that and by the time the front runners had gone through the 17 mile mark, Justin Maxwell had overtaken Ian and was looking strong.  

Behind, the ever consistent Cathal McGreevy, Nicki McPeake and Tim Brownlie were also looking good.  As the race progressed, Justin gradually opened the gap between himself and Ian, while Eoin Lennon (Unattached) and Jonathan Gibson (Unattached) worked themselves into contention for podium places.  In the end, Larne based athlete Justin Maxwell was rewarded for his reserved early pace as he cruised to victory in 5:34:21.  A tired but happy Ian Lockington (Unattached) held on for 2nd place, crossing the line in 5:59:39.  Nicki McPeake followed on from his win at the Titanic 101k with another podium place, taking 3rd place in 6:05:34.  In the ladies race, local lady Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) started well and led early on, but it was talented triathlete Christina McKenzie (Unattached) who stole the headlines.  Christina claimed victory in 6:48:30.  Helena completed what has been an amazing month with a 2nd place finishing, clocking 6:50:01 for the 65k.  Janeen McGregor (Club Unknown) completed the ladies podium in 7:46:28 (3rd place).

In the Marathon; Ballydrain Harriers’ unassuming front man David Simpson showed his class.  David, winner of the Mourne Way Marathon in June 2013, led from start to finish and looked relaxed throughout.  He (David) broke the tape in 3:18:46 to seal a comfortable and deserved victory.  26extreme regular and recent sub 12 hour Ironman finisher, Stuart Paulin (Unattached) produced an excellent performance, working his way into the podium places, before finishing in 3:28:52 (2nd place).  Local man and well respected athlete, Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) took 3rd place less than a minute later, after crossing the line in 3:29:33.  As predicted, the ladies 26.2 mile race turned out to be a very close affair.  After an early exchange of places it was Sarah Kelland who showed great strength to take on the lead.  This proved to be a good move, as she (Sarah) ultimately celebrated victory in 4:28:36.  North Belfast Harriers lady Helen Weir followed in 4:34:55 (2nd place), before Nuala McLaughlin (Ballymena Runners) pipped Sarah Doherty (Unattached) to the finish line; although both ladies recorded a time of 4:35:20, Nuala was awarded 3rd place.

The Half Marathon proved to be just as exciting as it’s ‘bigger brother’, well, the men’s race did!  Throughout the race, the lead group stayed close, but it was Marc Jennings (North Belfast Harriers) who made the surge relatively late on to win in 1:30:49.  Less than forty seconds later, Unattached athlete Peter Cromie (1:31:26) took 2nd place; Phillip Tweedie (Unattached) followed in 1:32:12 (3rd place).  Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) was one of the star performers of the day; the experienced trail runner was the leading lady from the gun and ended up finishing fifth in the entire field after running 1:34:21, this secured the top spot in the ladies category.  Lagan Valley AC’s Julie Murphy was touted as a podium finisher, and the runner and triathlete did not disappoint.  Julie clocked 1:51:04 to take 2nd place, finishing ahead of Unattached athlete Anne Bonner (1:53:52) who also ran well.

The final race of the day was the 10k, which started at Dunseverick and finished at the atmospheric Portballntrae (the finishing place for all the races).  Dermot McElhinney (Sperrin Harriers) was a dominant force throughout, before breaking the tape in 41:20 to win.  Andrew MacLaine (Unattached) and Peter Hopley (Unattached) followed in 2nd and 3rd place respectively; Andrew ran 43:35, while Peter recorded 44:42.  Outstanding athlete Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) continued what has been an excellent year; with at least ten race wins to her name in 2013, this tough 10k will surely go down as one of Gemma’s most enjoyable victories considering the scenic course.  The Springwell Running Club lady crossed the line in 46:09 to seal the win.  Sonia Knox (Unattached) followed in 47:49, while Julie-Anne Lewis (Unattached) claimed 3rd place in 51:55.

Ultra Marathon (65k):

Top 3 Men:  1st Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) – 5:34:21, 2nd Ian Lockington (Unattached) – 5:59:39, 3rd Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club) – 6:05:34

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Christina McKenzie (Club Unknown) – 6:48:30, 2nd Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) – 6:50:01, 3rd Janeen McGregor (Club Unknown) – 7:46:01


Top 3 Men:  1st David Simpson (Ballydrain Harriers) – 3:18:46, 2nd Stuart Paulin (Unattached) – 3:28:52, 3rd Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) – 3:29:33

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Sarah Kelland (Unattached) – 4:28:36, 2nd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) – 4:34:55, 3rd Nuala McLaughlin (Ballymena Runners) – 4:35:20

Half Marathon:

Top 3 Men:  1st Marc Jennings (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:30:49, 2nd Peter Cromie (Unattached) – 1:31:26, 3rd Phillip Tweedie (Unattached) – 1:32:12

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:34:21, 2nd Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:51:04, 3rd Anne Bonner (Springwell Running Club) – 1:53:52


Top 3 Men:  1st Dermot McElhinney (Sperrin Harriers) – 41:20, 2nd Andrew MacLaine (Unattached) – 43:35, 3rd Peter Hopley (Unattached) – 44:42

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 46:09, 2nd Sonia Knox (Unattached) – 47:49, 3rd Julie-Anne Lewis (Unattached) – 51:55

PROVISIONAL Results:  26extreme Causeway Coast Series 2013 Results (Scroll down for each race).  We must stress that these are PROVISIONAL and are subject to amendment by 26extreme.

Paul Pollock and Julie Turley excel at record breaking Bangor 10k:

Record numbers turn out for Bangor 10k:

On Saturday 28th September 2013, record numbers turned out for the annual Bangor 10k road race in County Down.  In perfect running conditions, the participants gathered in Castle Park for the beginning of the event.  Amongst them was Bangor Mayor and established club runner, Andrew Muir (North Down AC).

The seemingly endless swarm of 1,000 runners were set off by Race Director David Seaton; as they left the park and made their way through the Town Centre, the gathered spectators collected their belongings and moved towards the nearby finish area in Ward Park.  

As the athletes reached the 5k mark, pre-race favourite Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) were side by side, with both going through half way in approximately 15:48.  Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) followed close behind (15:57), with Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) and Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) all in pursuit.  Francis Marsh (North Down AC and Mark Wright (Annadale Striders) were also running well.

In the ladies race, Julie Turley (Dromore AC) was living up to expectation, leading the ladies through 5k in 18:09.  Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), another lady just returning from injury, was just over a minute behind (19:11), with Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC) all following in quick succession.

As the atmosphere in Ward Park continued to rise, loud cheers and clapping signalled the arrival of the first runner; this turned out to be Paul Pollock, who had broken clear of Keith Shiels in the second half to win in 30:45.  Keith was unable to continue his winning streak, but took a well-deserved 2nd place in 31:45, before Alan O’Hara claimed the final podium spot in 31:57 (3rd place).  A special mention must also go to Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers), who ran a new Irish Vet60 10k record of 36:36 (19th place).

Julie Turley continued to increase the gap between herself and the chasing pack as the race progressed, eventually turning into the finishing straight to cross the line in a speedy 36:39.  An excellent time, especially considering that she (Julie) has just returned to competition.  Cathy McCourt took 2nd place in 38:22 and will also be happy with her continued come back to racing; local lady Julie Balmer followed just thirteen seconds later, recording 38:35 (3rd place) for the distance.

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) – 30:45, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 31:45, 3rd Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:57

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Julie Turley (Dromore AC) – 36:39, 2nd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:22, 3rd Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 38:34

Full Results:  Bangor 10k Results 2013 (Photograph used above is courtesy of Keith McClure)

Weekend Preview:  Another weekend of major events ahead...

Weekend Preview:  Causeway Coast Series and Bangor 10k top the bill:

After last weekend’s Deep RiverRock Half Marathon brought thousands of runners onto the streets of Northern Ireland’s capital city, one would be forgiven for thinking that this weekend would therefore be quiet; but no, it’s right back at it for the Northern Ireland running fraternity, with two major events, both likely to attract in excess of one thousand participants, on offer.  Aside from this, there are also events in Rostrevor , Rathfriland and Galway (Ireland).  Northern Ireland will also be well represented at the BMW Berlin Marathon in Germany.

The action begins early on Saturday 28th September 2013, when the hardy ultra-runners at the 26extreme Causeway Coast Series, begin their 65k journey from Portstewart to Ballintoy and back to the finish line in Portballintrae.  The scenic route will take competitors along the Causeway Coast Way, past some of the most beautiful scenery in the world!

Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club), Cathal McGreevy (Newry City Runners), Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) and Timothy Brownlie (Unattached) will all be hoping for podium places.  Nicki McPeake had been on the fringes of the local scene for a while, building his reputation as a strong and competent ultra-runner with several top performances, which included a fourth place finish at the Lost World’s 100k in May 2013.  Nicki then ran a perfectly paced race to win the Titanic 101k earlier this month, thus making him the ‘one to watch’ in this race.  UTMB competitor Cathal McGreevy will play a prominent part in proceedings if he has recovered from his 168k jaunt around the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc less than four weeks ago; the experienced distance runner, who also claimed a top ten finish at the Wicklow Way Ultra in March 2013 has consistently proved himself in the local mountain running scene and also performed well on the roads, most recently at the Newry City Marathon, where his took 6th place in 2:59:22.

East Coast AC’s Justin Maxwell will go into the race having enjoyed several notable long distance performances in the World Skyrunning Series over the summer; this included an excellent run at the Ultraks Ultra Marathon (46k -3,600m of ascending) in Zermatt (Switzerland) last month.  The Northern Ireland international runner has also shown his speed at shorter distances, with a 16:17 finish at the Solstice 5k in Belfast.  Justin was a top ten finisher in last weekend’s Belfast City Half Marathon (1:16:47) and should be there or there abouts in the latter stages of this event.  Tim Brownlie is one man who will have no problem covering the distance; Tim finished in sixth place at the Energia 24 hour race in June 2013, having covered 117 miles.  The Belfast man also finished in second place behind Nicki McPeake at the Titanic 101k three weeks ago.  Other top competitors, in what should be a closely contested race, will include Eoin Lennon (Unattached), Conor Cromie (Carnethy HRC) and Matthew Allum (Olympian Triathlon Club).

The ladies race Ultra could prove to be just as close; Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) was the well-deserved winner of the Titanic 101k; the experienced ultra-runner has also enjoyed a podium finish at the Lost World’s 25k and a win at the Newry City Marathon this year.  However, should Helena want to celebrate consecutive ultra-marathon wins, she will have to fend off the likes of Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Petra Tolarova (Unattached), Jacqui Toal (BARF) and Christina McKenzie (Unattached).

Gillian Cordner has excelled at longer distances this year and has picked up podium places at the Newry City Marathon and the Connemarathon, amongst others; the Seapark AC athlete recently completed her twenty fifth marathon.  Jacqui Toal completed the gruelling CCC race at the UTMB festival, covering the 101k course (with 6,100m of ascending) in just over 24 hours.  Czech mountain runner Petra Tolarova, now based in Dublin, is a regular in the Irish mountain running scene and also a very consistent performer.  The terrain will really suit Petra and if she has put in the mileage, a podium place will be well within her reach.  The same goes for international triathlete, Christina McKenzie; In July this year, Christina won the Bermuda Olympic distance triathlon in impressive fashion.  She (Christina) will go well here and could play a part at the head of the field.

The Marathon event will start at 9.30am in Portballintrae and will take the athletes along the coast to Ballintoy, where they will turn and make their way back towards the atmospheric finish in Portballintrae.  The men’s race will be an interesting tussle between Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Geoff Smyth (Unattached), Noel Brick (Unattached) and Paul Nesbitt (Unattached).  Chris Denton is well known for his road speed, the 2:47:58 marathon runner, who was a pacer at this year’s Belfast City Marathon, also finished on the podium at the Newry Half Marathon and is a regular winner of the tough Portrush parkrun.  It could be the strength gained from those sandy parkrun’s that puts Chris into the reckoning.  Another man who will be at the head of the field will be Noel Brick; Noel was runner up at the Lost World’s 100k in May 2013 and also one of the competitors in the Energia 24 hour race who exceeded the 100 mile mark.  Geoff Smyth is a regular at the 26extreme events an always finishes well up the field, last year he narrowly missed a top three finish in the ultra, taking fifth place.  Geoff’s speed and knowledge of the course could prove extremely useful; the fact that he won the ultra-marathon over this course in 2011 will also stand him in good stead as he chases the win.  Paul Nesbitt completed a 100 mile charity run in Gosford Forest in July 2013 and ran well in the ultra-marathon here last year.  Depending on what training Paul has done since this fantastic achievement will dictate how high up the pecking order he finishes; on form, he has the capability to place highly.  David Turtle (Seapark AC) should also be a top ten finisher.  

The ladies Marathon is a wide open event; although Patricia McKibbin (Murlough AC) and Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) would appear to be the most obvious choices if we had to pick a winner.  Patricia is a regular podium finisher on the roads but also showed fantastic strength to win the Millstone Hill & Dale race in the early part of the summer.  The Murlough AC lady was also one half of the ladies pair (which also included Sam McNeilly) who topped the 35k standings at the Mourne Mountain Marathon.  Helen Weir is also a lady with the talent to win; having finished third at this year’s Mourne Way Half Marathon, it appears that the North Belfast Harriers athlete has been working her way up to this event.  Helen’s obvious strength on the hills was summed up by a high finish at the Chain Reaction Belfast Hills NIMRA Grand Prix race earlier this year.  Debbie Tutty (Springwell Running Club) and Cara Hamilton (Club Unknown) should also run well.

Participants also had the choice of the 13.1 mile Half Marathon; which will see the athlete’s race from Ballintoy to Portballintrae.  Not to be outdone by the aforementioned Ultra and Marathon events, this race will also be a hard one to call.  Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Wayne Morrow (Larne AC) will be chasing top honours.  Dermot has celebrated victories at the Mullaghbawn 10k and the Glenn 10k recently, and also won the Castleward Half Marathon back in April 2013, so he will be going into the race high in confidence.  However, Larne AC’s talented runner and triathlete Wayne Morrow will be hard to beat.  Last year, Wayne proved himself to be one of the best triathletes in the country, regularly taking podium places at local events.  This year, the Ironman finisher has raced sparingly, but he did produce an impressive performance recently to win the North Coast 10k, which notably, was run over tough terrain, similar to what the competitors will cover in this race.  Martin Cox (Club Unknown), David Gamble (Seapark AC), Paul Jenkins (North Belfast Harriers), Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers), Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) and Kilian Woods (North Belfast Harriers) will all battle it out for third place.

Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) is the stand out lady in the Half Marathon start list; the international athlete led a top quality ladies field home at last weekend’s Felix 10k, this followed wins at the Keith Reid Memorial 10k and the Dambusters 10/10 races.  Over this terrain, there are very few ladies in the province who would push Karen for the top spot; however, that will not deter Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) and Kerry Speers (North Down AC).  Julie Murphy is a consistent performer, the Lagan Valley AC lady has picked up prizes in numerous races this year, including the NFU Mutual 5 mile race, the Castleward Half Marathon and the Bann 10k.  She (Julie) also won the Les Jones Memorial 10k and has topped the standings at several Portrush parkrun’s.  Like the earlier mentioned Chris Denton (Marathon competitor), the experience gained on this tough course could well help Julie in her quest for a top three finish.  Louise Lemon was in fantastic form throughout the East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series, where she maintained a 100% win record throughout; away from that, Louise has also won the Ballykinlar 10k race and taken top three places at the Millisle 6, the Divis Mountain 10k and the Stunnerz in Runnerz 5 mile race.  Louise possesses the ability to be amongst the prizes here.  Kerry Speers returned from injury recently to finish as runner up at the Crawfordsburn 5k trail race and should be amongst the top ladies; Aine Fegan (Newry City Runners), Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) and Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC) should also finish well up the field.

The 10k race, which starts close to Dunseverick and takes competitors along the coastal path to the finish at Portballintrae, will include one of the provinces outstanding female athletes, Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club).  Gemma should not only win the ladies race, but should finish well up the overall standings, based on her impressive series of race wins throughout 2013.  Gemma will be joined on the start line by Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC) and Julie-Ann Keane (Larne AC), both of whom should claim top ten finishing spots.  The men’s race is a wide open affair, with numerous club athletes and running enthusiasts likely to battle it out for the top places.

The 26extreme Causeway Coast Series isn’t the only major event of the day; also on Saturday 28th September 2013, athletes from across the province will make their way to the North Down town of Bangor for the annual Bangor 10k road race.  The race will start close to the Leisure Centre and take the participants out towards Groomsport, where they will turn and make their way back along the coast to the finish in the well-known Ward Park.  Race organisers are encouraging anyone travelling from the Belfast direction to leave plenty of time for their journey because of a long stretch of road works on the carriageway into Bangor.

One of Northern Ireland’s top runners and recent ‘Marathon Talk’ interviewee, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) will go into the event as pre-race favourite. The current AAI National Marathon Champion and IAAF World Championships competitor, who is now based in England, won the race last year and should retain his title barring any major mis-haps.  Paul’s club mate Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), who finished as runner up to Stephen Scullion at last week’s Belfast City Half Marathon, has been touted as another possible starter.  Should he toe the line, Eddie will no doubt perform to his usual high standard, which has actually saw him clock a faster 10k time than Paul this year.  He (Eddie) ran a personal best of 29:32.51 at the Sainsburys Games in Birmingham in July 2013.

Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) will hope to continue what has been an outstanding year; the exceptionally talented Foyle Valley AC athlete has won no less than thirteen races this year, including the prestigious Waterside Half Marathon.  He has also set new personal bests over five distances, 3000m (8:47.82), 5k (15:11), 5 mile (25:51), 10k (30:59) and Half Marathon (1:09:32).  Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers), Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) and Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) will also race.  Paul hasn’t raced much for the last couple of years, but the veteran athlete is a top class performer and probably wouldn’t enter if he wasn’t in good shape.  He recorded 33:54 at this year’s Titanic 10k but will surely be hoping for something quicker than that; two years ago he ran 32:46 on this course.  Ben Morrow ran here last year and finished in fifteenth place in 35:50; going by Ben’s improvement and subsequent performances since then, we would expect him to smash this time and finish well up the field.  

Stephen Wylie is another man who has improved significantly in the last year; the local athlete dropped his 2012 10k personal best from 35:43 to 33:47 at this year’s Laganside 10k; he has also done similar over other distances and just last week, Stephen claimed an excellent eighth place at the Belfast City Half Marathon, having run 1:16:22.  Mark Walker (Unattached), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) and Dennis Scott (North Down AC) will also perform well.

In the ladies race, Dromore AC’s leading lady, Julie Turley will make a welcome return from injury.  Julie has been incredibly unfortunate with regard to injury throughout 2013, but hopefully this race will be the beginning of her much anticipated comeback.  Julie will be up against popular North Down AC athletes Julie Balmer, Jessica Craig and Rachel Gibson.

Julie Balmer has been one of the top female competitors of 2013, having recorded six Half Marathon wins (Larne, Newry, Groomsport, Decathlon, Dervock and Ards).  Aside from this, Julie also picked up the newly introduced Moira O’Neill trophy at the Belfast Marathon, having led the NI ladies across the Ormeau Park finish line.  Both Jessica Craig and Rachel Gibson have enjoyed good outings on the track over the summer, Jessica also won the Crawfordsburn 5k trail race and achieved podium places at the Portaferry 10 mile road race and the Runher Coastal Challenge (10k).  Meanwhile, Rachel came off the track to record a new 10k personal best (39:11) at the Laganside 10k last month.

Talking of 10k personal bests, Ballydrain Harriers’ Denise Logue achieved her first sub 40 10k at the Felix 10k last week (39:45); putting this alongside Denise’s third place finish at the Les Jones Memorial in May 2013, the ever improving lady should be looking at a high placing here, as will the likes of Millisle 6m winner Jodi Smith (North Down AC).   Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers), Geraldine Branagh (Dromore AC), Nikki Heywood (North Down AC) and Lyndsey Pronger (Unattached) will all be in the thick of the action.

On Saturday 28th September 2013, Rathfriland will host its first ever 10k (and associated 5k run and walk) in aid of local charity PIPS.  This very worthy charity is being supported by the Rathfriland Regeneration Group as well as a number of local volunteers - and already there has been a fantastic response to the event.

Fresh from his magnificent success at the World Police and Fire Games, Rathfriland’s own gold medal winner Don Travers (Newry City Runners) has thrown his weight behind the event.  He said, “I am delighted to help promote this 10k and really pleased to see such an event take place in my home town.  It goes without saying that Rathfriland is best known for its hills, but I’ve looked at the course and it’s not too severe given the geography of the place.  PIPS is a very hard working charity and I hope as many people as possible come out and support this event.”

Don will more than likely be joined on the start line by a number of locally based athletes, such as Timothy McCracken (Dromore AC) and Anne Haveron (Newry City Runners).  The event kicks off at 4.45pm in the Square with a memorial balloon launch before the run gets underway at 5pm sharp.

10k entrants must be minimum 16 years of age, no exceptions and the 10k route is restricted to runners only.  Anyone walking will complete the shorter 5k route - but children are encouraged to take part in the fun run.  The cost of entering is £10 per 10k runner, and £5 for fun run/walkers. You can register anytime at Square 15 coffee shop Church Square, Rathfriland, or alternatively a registration night will be held on Thursday September 19 at 7pm in Square 15. Note – Rathfriland preview compiled with the assistance of the ‘Dromore Leader’ newspaper.

Also on Saturday 28th September 2013, junior athletes from County Down will descend on Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor for Race 2 of the popular McGrady Financial Services Cross Country Series.  After an impressive turn out on Race Day 1 in Castlewellan Country Park, the up and coming stars will be keen to build on that, especially considering that a similar course to the one set for this event will be used for the upcoming 'Age Group' Cross Country event.

Further afield on Saturday 28th September 2013, Northern Ireland will be well represented at the Galway Bay 10k and Half Marathon events in County Galway, Ireland.  The event, which is set on the shores of the famous Galway Bay often attracts athletes from Northern Ireland and this year will be no different. Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) will return to action in the 10k; we also expect members of Sperrin Harriers and Springwell Running Club to take to the line.

On Sunday 29th September 2013, a number of Northern Ireland based runners will travel to Germany for the 40th BMW Berlin Marathon, a course which is well known to be the fastest marathon route in the world; in fact, the current marathon world record was set on this 26.2 mile course in 2011 by Kenyan Patrick Makua (2:03:38).

North Belfast Harriers’ Gladys Ganiel O’Neill has travelled and will be joined on the start line by club mate Greg McClure and Newry City Runners’ Mike Barnett, Cormac Cranney, Aidan Gilmore, Brendan Heaney, Robbie Marsh, Eimear McCracken, William McCracken, Colm McCann, Gareth Murdock, Yvonne Murphy, Damian Murphy, Colm O’Brien, Shane O’Callaghan, Stephen Stokes, Kevin Teggart, Aidan Trainor, Margaret Trainor, Caroline Wade.  Orangegrove AC pair Thomas Leitch and Martin Doherty will be supported by friends and family, as will Club Pulse AC’s Daniel McKenna, Patrick McNiece and Sonia McNiece.

Running enthusiasts will also welcome a new parkrun to the province, the new event, which will take place on the paths around Loughshore Park, close to Antrim Forum (Antrim) will start this Saturday (28th September 2013 – 9.30am).  Northern Ireland’s other twelve 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 - Photograph used above was taken from 'Average Joes' website.  Rathfriland preview was compiled with the assistance of the 'Dromore Leader' newspaper.

Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon 2014 launched in Ulster Hall:

Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon 2014:

On Thursday 26th September 2013, organisers of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon officially launched their 2014 event at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, invited guests included Paralympic hero Jason Smyth (an ambassador for the official charity, CLIC Sergeant) and Belfast Lord Mayor, Mairtin O’Muilleoir.  The 33rd annual running of the increasingly popular event will take place on Bank Holiday Monday, the 5th May 2014.

Belfast City Marathon Chairman, Danny O’Connor opened proceedings by welcoming the gathered media, special guests and sponsors to the launch.  He then went on to say; “It is hugely encouraging that we already have several hundred people signed up to take part this coming year. 

In the past number of years, we have more than doubled the number of people taking part in the event, and, after this past weekend’s very successful first Half Marathon, we’re looking forward to another fantastic year.”

Danny also added that the price scale for the event would remain the same as it has done since 2009, putting this down to the increase in participants.  He also welcomed two new sponsors to the event – sportswear manufacturers Asics and local healthcare company Randox Health.  For the first time in the history of the event, the organisers have arranged for all participants to receive their race numbers, timing chips and instructions two weeks before Race Day, enabling participants to dedicate 100 per cent to their final few weeks of training and preparation.  

On completion of the event, all entrants will receive their new finisher’s pack, containing their race t-shirt and a number of goodies. “We are delighted with our new plans for Race Day, as it sees us fitting in line with the arrangements made by many other main races in the UK and Europe.  We want to create a celebrative atmosphere on Race Day with the assistance of all our sponsors and official charity, so we will be making the entertainment at the finish area bigger and better, an event not to be missed,” commented Danny O’Connor.

The event Chairman elaborated on the idea of making the finish area in Ormeau Park even more attractive, by explaining that the atmosphere would be created with the help of a fun fair, catering and local bands for the finishers and spectators.  He also explained that the bus service offered by Translink, which takes relay participants to their points and back to the finish would again be in place.  Efforts would also be made to encourage residents, businesses and bands to come out and support the runners throughout the course.

Danny then introduced Lord Mayor of Belfast, and keen runner, Councillor Mairtin O'Muilleoir to the stage, the Mayor revealed that he himself would be putting his best foot forward in just over seven months’ time by taking part in his home Marathon.  After congratulating Danny O’Connor, Claire O’Reilly and their team on the success of Sunday’s Half Marathon, Councillor O’Muilleoir then went on to add; “More than 30 years ago, Belfast City Council, took the decision to stage the first Belfast City Marathon – and, over the intervening years, the event has gone from strength to strength.

“When other marathons fell by the wayside, Belfast continued to grow.  Now, with the resurgence of interest in running – especially as a cheap and efficient way of getting and staying fit – we are benefiting from record entry numbers each and every year,” continued the Lord Mayor, who was once of more than 3,000 who completed Sunday’s Half Marathon.  While the marathon is undoubtedly a serious business, especially for competitive runners, it is also about having fun and enjoying yourself – whether you are facing up to the full 26.2 miles, or taking part in the relay with a team of friends or just cheering the runners along. Belfast, quite rightly, is regarded as one of the world’s friendliest marathons, and runners from near and far are always encouraged by the warmth of the support they find in all four corners of our city.  Once again, I would urge the people of Belfast to turn out and support the runners on May Day – whether it be by offering a glass of water or a slice of fruit, or merely an encouraging word,” concluded Councillor O'Muilleoir.

After the official speeches, we (NiRunning) had the opportunity to have a chat with Danny O’Connor and Claire O’Reilly about the 2014 event.  We were keen to ask several questions, some of which our followers had previously put forward, and some that we ourselves were interested in.

The first point we raised was in relation to the course and if there would be any changes to it after criticism last year (and previous years); Claire stated that “the course will remain the same”, for what would be the “seventh year”.  However, they had been “working with Stena” in relation to the fact that runners have been stopped on the course to allow traffic to flow through Duncrue Industrial Estate.  Danny was also keen to point out that the traditional rule of the course going through the North, South, East and West of the City would be adhered too.

When we asked if the incentives offered to local runners to compete last year would remain in place, both Danny and Claire insisted that they would, and further to that, they had been “working with Athletics NI on an ongoing process over 3 years to attract top local runners to compete at the Belfast City Marathon”. This year, like previous years, a mixture of elite UK and International runners will also be invited.

The final point that we raised was one that has been suggested quite a lot recently; that Sunday’s Belfast City Half Marathon was a ‘test’ for the Belfast City Marathon to be run on a Sunday.  When we put this question to Danny and Claire, Danny quickly stated that it definitely “was not” a test and that they “had to take a Sunday for the Half Marathon” if they wanted to take runners through the City Centre and in particular Royal Avenue.  However, he did add that they had “taken note of the success” of the event.   Danny added “we have a perfectly good Monday event”.

We would like to thank both Danny and Claire for taking the time to chat openly and genuinely about the 2014 event; it is obvious when speaking to them that their passion for both the Half Marathon and the Marathon is immense and that they take huge pride in every detail of both events; they also seem to be actively trying to make the Marathon better.

Entries for the 2014 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon are now open at

Dearbhla Magee takes on UK & Ireland's best at Home International:

British & Irish Junior Mountain Running Home International 2013:

Last weekend (Saturday 21st September 2013), Newcastle AC’s Dearbhla Magee and Declan Magee travelled to Aberfoyle, Scotland for the British & Irish Junior Mountain Running Home International. 

Northern Ireland did not send a full team, but up and coming star Dearbhla entered the U-16 race and performed well against the UK and Ireland’s top junior stars.  Motivated by the encouraging words of former World Mountain Running Champion Angela Mudge, who was a race marshall, the accomplished junior international completed the tough 3.8k course (which included 225m of ascending) in 24:40, securing 22nd place.  The race was won by England’s Elizabeth Greenwood in 19:23.  England also won the team prize.

Experienced mountain runner, Declan took on the In the Senior Open 7k race (which included 375m of ascending) and also produced a notable performance, once again against quality opposition.  The Newcastle AC man crossed the line in 45:45, claiming 7th place.  The race was won by Mick Harris (Fife AC) in 33:09.

Next year, the British & Irish Junior Mountain Running Home International will be hosted by IMRA (Irish Mountain Running Association), in Glendalough County Wicklow.  The provisional date for the event is Saturday 20th September 2014.

Full Results:  British & Irish Home International 2013 Results (including Non-International races)

Athletes complete gruelling Mourne Mountain (2 Day) Marathon:

Mourne Mountain Marathon reaches exciting climax:

Sunday 22nd September 2013 brought Day 2 of the well organised Mourne Mountain Marathon, a gruelling two day event which takes place in the heart of the Mourne Mountains, starting and finishing at the Tollymore National Outdoor Activity Centre, just outside Newcastle, County Down.  Like Day 1, the competitors only received their course maps as they approached the start line.

There were three distances on offer to participants, they were 55k, 45k and 35k; entrants only receive a course map as they approach the start line each morning.  On Day 1, the 55k athletes covered 28.7k (with 1,470m of ascending) and it was local men and pre-race favourites Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) who reached the finish line first, the talented duo covered the course in 5:26:03, just over four minutes quicker than Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Gerry Kingston (BARF) who recorded 5:30:44.

Shane Lynch (Unattached) and Jonny Kendall (Unattached) led the 45k participants at the end of Day 1; the strong pairing covered the 22k course (with 1,110m of ascending) in 4:04:20.  The leading ladies in the 45k are Taryn McCoy and Kathleen Monteverde, both of BARF.  Taryn and Kathleen crossed the line (at 22k) in 6:38:58.  In the 35k event, Conor Short (Club Unknown) and Kevin O’Boyle (Unattached) completed the 18.3k route (which included 880m of ascending) first.  They reached the overnight campsite in a speedy 3:24:59.  

Day 2 brought several changes to the overall standings; however, in the 55k category, Newcastle AC duo Deon McNeilly and Ian Bailey continued their dominance of the race, leading the field home for the second day in a row; the duo covered the remaining 21.3k of their 55k course in 3:49:14 (Overall time for 55k – 9:15:17).  Gavin Miles (Unattached) and Gary Tompset (Club Unknown), bettered their finishing position from Saturday, this time taking 2nd place in 3:52:02, thus securing 2nd place overall with an accumulative time of 9:24:21.  Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Gerry Kingston (BARF) took 4th place on the day, crossing the line in 4:28:35, behind Paul Mahon (Club Unknown) and Adrian Hennessy (Unattached) who claimed 3rd place in 4:22:27.  However, Billy and Gerry’s overall time of 9:59:19 (3rd place) was enough to ensure a place on the podium.

In the ‘mixed’ category, endurance specialists Dale and Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) showed great determination to close a 26 minute gap and claim top honours, with an overall time of 13:02:57 (Saturday – 7:49:20 and Sunday – 5:13:37).  LVO’s Violet Linton and Greg McCann took 2nd place in 13:09:29 (Saturday - 7:23:30 and Sunday – 5:45:59).

In the 45k race, Unattached athletes Shane Lynch and Jonny Kendall held onto their comprehensive Day 1 lead to win in 7:39:31; they covered the remaining 23k of their route in 3:35:11 (adding to Saturday’s time of 4:04:20 for 22k).  BARF ladies Taryn McCoy and Kathleen Monteverde produced excellent performances over the two days to win the ladies category in 11:36:06 (Saturday – 6:38:58 and Sunday – 4:57:08).

Conor Short (Unattached) and Kevin O’Boyle (Unattached) were comfortable winners on Day 1 of the 35k and the two men took that form into Day 2 (and the remaining 16.7k of the race), leading the category participants across the line in 2:52:05.  This was an overall finish time of 6:17:04 (when adding Saturday’s time of 3:24:59).  Possibly one of the most impressive performances of the weekend came from Maurice Ruddock (Club Unknown) and Lee Paterson (Club Unknown), the pair moved from 7th place on Day 1 (5:01:16) to claim 2nd place overall in 8:46:58 after finishing Day 2 in 3:45:42.  Patricia McKibbin (Murlough AC) and Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) won the ladies 35k in 10:17:31 (Saturday – 5:44:19 and Sunday – 4:33:12).

Full Results:  Mourne (2 Day) Mountain Marathon 2013 Results (Photograph above taken from the Mourne Mountain Marathon Flickr page HERE).

Keith Shiels and Karen Alexander win competitive Felix 10k:

Talented field turns out for annual Felix 10k:

On Saturday 21st September 2013, athletes from across the province descended on County Tyrone town of Dungannon for the annual running of the Council organised Felix 10k road race.

At the front, an exciting battle between in-form trio Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) ensued; with a mile to go, Keith and Alan had forged a gap between themselves and Scott but it wasn’t until the final stretch were Keith surged clear of Alan, eventually claiming victory in 30:59.  Alan took 2nd place in 31:05, before Scott completed the top three in 32:06.

The ladies race also attracted a talented field, with Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers), Heather Foley (North Belfast Harriers), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) all toeing the line.  In the end, it was the ever consistent Karen Alexander who stole the headlines, leading the ladies home in 37:33.  The fast improving Heather Foley continued her rise through the ranks, with another podium place; the hot prospect sealed 2nd place in 38:03, while Cathy McCourt celebrated her return from injury with an impressive performance, crossing the line in 38:09 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 30:59, 2nd Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:05, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 32:06

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 37:33, 2nd Heather Foley (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:03, 3rd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:09

Full Results:  Felix 10k Road Race 2013 Results

Stephen Scullion and Aileen Reid win inaugural Belfast City Half Marathon:

International pair show their class at Belfast City Half Marathon:

On Sunday 22nd September 2013, a seemingly endless field of nearly four thousand athletes brought Belfast City Centre to a standstill as they took on the first ever running of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon, an event organised by the people behind the Belfast City Marathon.

Much of the pre-race talk touted Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) and Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) as the men to watch and this did indeed prove to be the case; Stephen went through the 5 mile mark in approximately 25:39, with a ten second gap on 13.1 mile debutant Eddie (25:49), who in turn had nearly a minute on East Down AC’s Brendan Teer (26:59).  Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) and Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers) followed, with a group containing Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), James Brown (East Coast AC), Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) in pursuit.

In the ladies race, exceptionally talented triathlete, Aileen Reid (City of Derry AC), a silver medallist at last weekend’s ITU Triathlon in London, was cruising. In the absence of pre-race favourite Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers), Aileen always looked strong and in control, showing little or no signs of fatigue from last weekend’s exploits.  Behind, Julie Balmer (North Down AC) and Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) also looked good, as did Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC), Lauren Quee (Unattached), Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), Victoria Hunter (Unattached) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC).

As the competitors made their way from the City Centre towards the newly refurbished Mary Peters Track via the towpath, spectators moved just as quickly (albeit in cars or bikes) to the finish area; as the newly erected stand at the MPT began to fill, Stephen Scullion turned the final corner and moved onto the finishing straight.  Stephen covered the remaining metres quickly to break the tape in 1:06:55 (1st place); less the two minutes later, Eddie McGinley received the same loud cheers from the gathered crowds as he moved onto the mondo surface and crossed the line in 1:08:20 (2nd place); an excellent performance for his first attempt at the distance.  Brendan Teer secured 3rd place in a new personal best time of 1:11:25.

Aileen Reid continued her relentless pace to lead the ladies home in 1:19:30; crowning an excellent week for the smiling Spartan.  Pure Running Half Marathon Series winner, Julie Balmer produced her second quickest half marathon time of the year, recording 1:23:56 to claim 2nd place.  Kelly Neely continued her rise to the top of the local road running scene with another excellent performance; the City of Lisburn AC lady completed the ladies podium in 1:24:50 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) – 1:06:55, 2nd Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 1:08:20, 3rd Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 1:11:25

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Aileen Reid (City of Derry AC) – 1:19:30, 2nd Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 1:23:56, 3rd Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) – 1:24:50

Full Results:  Belfast City Half Marathon 2013 Results

Mourne Mountain Marathon...  Update after Day 1:

Mourne Mountain Marathon reaches half way stage:

On Saturday 21st September 2013, hundreds of hardy mountain runners took on the first stage of the gruelling two day Mourne Mountain Marathon, an interesting event that starts and finishes at the Tollymore National Outdoor Activity Centre, just outside Newcastle, County Down.  

There are three distances on offer to participants, they are 55k, 45k and 35k; entrants only receive a course map as they approach the start line each morning.  On Day 1, the 55k athletes covered 28.7k (with 1,470m of ascending) and it was local men and pre-race favourites Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) who reached the finish line first, the talented duo covered the course in 5:26:03, just over four minutes quicker than Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Gerry Kingston (BARF) who recorded 5:30:44.

Shane Lynch (Unattached) and Jonny Kendall (Unattached) led the 45k participants at the end of Day 1; the strong pairing covered the 22k course (with 1,110m of ascending) in 4:04:20.  The leading ladies in the 45k are Taryn McCoy and Kathleen Monteverde, both of BARF.  Taryn and Kathleen crossed the line (at 22k) in 6:38:58.  In the 35k event, Conor Short (Club Unknown) and Kevin O’Boyle (Unattached) completed the 18.3k route (which included 880m of ascending) first.  They reached the overnight campsite in a speedy 3:24:59.  

Day 1 Standings:  Mourne Mountain Marathon (Day 1) Results - Photograph above taken from Mourne Mountain Marathon Flickr page (HERE).

Northern Ireland runners take on Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon:

Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon:

On Saturday 21st September 2013, a number of Northern Ireland runners joined nearly six thousand competitors on the start line of the Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon, the penultimate event in the popular Dublin Marathon Series.  The 13.1 mile race was held within the confines of the scenic Phoenix Park.

Michael Magee (Beechmount Harriers), a man who has been running well throughout the Series, led the Northern Ireland contingent home in 1:20:49.  He was followed by Paul Gaskell (Larne AC), Stephen Walker (North Belfast Harriers) and Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC), who clocked 1:25:00, 1:26:39 and 1:27:46 respectively.  Sean McShane (North Belfast Harriers) just missed the infamous sub 1:30:00 Half Marathon finish when he crossed the line in 1:30:19, while Newry City Runners’ Pat Rocks ran 1:32:50; this was enough to secure runners up spot in the Vet60 category.

East Down AC lady Cheryl Denvir, winner of the recent Shore 10k, covered the distance in a new personal best of 1:35:43.  Raymond Monaghan (Magherafelt Harriers) produced an excellent performance to finish in 1:36:38, before Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers) recorded 1:38:20.  Colin Drain (Beechmount Harriers) was the next NI competitor to finish in 1:43:01; he was followed closely by North Belfast Harriers’ Patrick McShane (1:44:59).  Just five seconds split Michael Monaghan (Magherafelt Harriers) and Shane Caher (Up & Runners), with Michael running 1:48:43 and Shane 1:48:48.  Nicola Gurney (Omagh Harriers) battled well to finish in 2:17:34.  The race was won by Dunshaughlin AC’s Robbie Matthews in 1:08:21, while well-known Letterkenny AC athlete Maria McCambridge won the ladies race in 1:16:45.

Full Results:  Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon 2013 Results

Weekend Preview: NI gears up for Belfast City Half Marathon and more...

Weekend Preview:  Belfast, Dungannon, Limavady, Mourne Mountains and more...

As we move towards another weekend of racing, running enthusiasts throughout Northern Ireland will be gearing up for a number of events.  Undoubtedly the biggest race of the weekend is the new Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon, which has attracted over 4,000 pre-entries.  There are also races taking place in Dungannon, Limavady and the Mourne Mountains.  A number of Northern Ireland based runners will travel to Dublin for the Dublin Half Marathon, while at least one local athlete will take part in the British & Irish Mountain Running (Junior) Home International in Scotland.

The action kicks off on Saturday 21st September 2013 in the Mourne Mountains, where the 34th annual running of the Mourne Mountain Marathon will take place.  The two day event starts and finishes at the Tollymore National Outdoor Centre in Newcastle, County Down and see’s competitors race as two person teams.  There are three distances on offer, 55k, 45k and 35k; just prior to the start on both days, the athletes will be handed the course for that day, which they then cover as a pair.

Last year, Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) finished as runner up with Eamon McCrickard (Newcastle AC) in the 55k category; this year, Deon will buddy up with club mate Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC), which will make an extremely strong pairing.  Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Gerry Kingston (BARF) were also podium finishers in 2012, and the talented pair will be aiming to at least replicate this placing.  Johnathan McCloy (Ballymena Runners) and Patrick Higgins (Springwell Running Club), and Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners) and Jim McCormick (North Belfast Harriers) will also be challenging for prizes, while the husband and wife team of Dale and Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) will prove hard to beat in the ‘mixed’ 55k category.

In the 45k category, reigning champions Barry Tinnelly (Club Unknown) and Pete Grant (Newry City Runners) will be going for top honours once again.  The strong running pair won by fifteen minutes last time but will have to fend off the challenge of Shane Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Jonny Kendall (Club Unknown) if they want to win again.  BARF duo Taryn McCoy and Kathleen Monteverde will be there or there abouts in the ladies race.  26extreme Titanic 10k podium finisher, Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) will team up with Eimear Campbell (Club Unknown) in the 35k event and should finish well up the field.

Also on Saturday 21st September 2013, athletes from across the province will take on the annual Felix 10k road race in Dungannon, County Tyrone.  The Council organised event attracts a mixture of local athletes and fitness enthusiasts; last year entries were just short of the one hundred mark.

Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) will go into the event as pre-race favourite and should claim the top prize based on his recent form.  Two weeks ago, Keith won the Waterside Half Marathon in impressive fashion, beating Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) in a sprint finish.  The Foyle Valley AC man also won Dessies 10k in 30:59 last month.  Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) and Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) could also race.  

Scott Rankin will surely join Keith at the head of the field, where the duo should battle it out for the title.  At the Waterside Half Marathon, Scott was a contender until late on when Declan Reed and Keith Shiels moved clear, he then had to settle for third place.  However, the current NI & Ulster 10k (Road) and 5,000m (Track) medallist really showed his class with a stunning performance to win the Jude Gallagher 10 mile road race two months ago in an excellent 52:14; he (Scott) will play a big part here.  Pius McIntyre will be hopeful of bettering his runners up spots at the Buncrana, Riverine and Killyclogher 10k races and should lead the chasing pack, with his club mate Chris McGuinness; Chris (McGuinness) has enjoyed several excellent outings over the summer, taking third place at the Strabane 10k, Riverine 10k and Jude Gallagher 10 mile road race.  Chris McPeake returned from injury last month and has won races nearly every weekend since, with victories at the Ballinderry 10k, Castledawson 10k and the Keith Reid 10k.  Chris will know this course well as he won the race last year. Pierce McCullagh will toe the line high in confidence, having picked up awards at the Ballinderry 10k, Donaghmore 10k and Run ‘N’ Bann 5k within the last five weeks.  Other top ten finishers could include Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC) and Charlie Leonard (Unattached).

Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) won comfortably here last year and will no doubt play a prominent part in proceedings once again.  The international athlete won the Keith Reid 10k two weeks ago and also claimed victory at the Dambusters 10 mile race a week prior to that.  Springwell Running Club’s Gillian Wasson will be Karen’s closest rival; despite being better known for her brilliant performances in the mountains, Gillian proved that she has speed as well as strength when she cruised to victory at Dessies 10k, running 37:50.  Heather Foley (North Belfast Harriers), Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) and Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) will also feature well and will more than likely contest the final podium place.

Saturday 21st September 2013 will also bring the penultimate race in the Airtricity Dublin Marathon Series, with the Dublin Half Marathon taking place within the stunning Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland.  This event has always been popular with Northern Ireland based athletes and although numbers may be well down this year because of the new Belfast Half Marathon, we know of several athletes making the cross border journey; this includes Michael Magee (Beechmount Harriers), Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC), Pat Rocks (Newry City Runners), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC), Michael Monaghan (Magherafelt Harriers), Raymond Monaghan (Magherafelt Harriers), Nicola Gurney (Omagh Harriers), Deirdre Haigney (Omagh Harriers), Shane Caher (Up & Runners), Damian Cranney (DUB Runners) and North Belfast Harriers trio Stephen Walker, Sean McShane and Patrick McShane.

In Limavady (County Derry/Londonderry) on Saturday 21st September 2013, the Limavady 400 Project will host the Rock ‘N’ Roll 5k road race in the heart of the town centre.  The event will start outside the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre and participants will be supported throughout the route with live bands. The race starts at 12pm and registration is available on the day.

Further afield on Saturday 21st September 2013, Northern Ireland junior international Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC) will travel to Scotland for the British & Irish Mountain Running Junior Home International, which will take place in Dounans OEC near Aberfoyle in The Trossachs.  Dearbhla will compete in the U-16 race, which will cover 3.4k (with 225m of ascending).

On Sunday 22nd September 2013, over 4,000 runners will bring Belfast City Centre to a standstill for the first ever running of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon.  The flat and fast 13.1 mile route will take competitors from City Hall to the newly refurbished home of Athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters Track.

At the head of the field, Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) and Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) will battle it out for the top prize.  Stephen has been quite dominant in the local scene this year, winning numerous races, most notably the Titanic 10k, the Laganside 10k and the QUB 5k; aside from that, the NI & Ulster 1500m medallist has also won the AAI 10k Championships in Dublin and more recently, the Fingal 10k (Dublin, Ireland).  He also claimed a podium place at the BUPA Great Edinburgh 10k.  Stephen took approximately five minutes off his Half Marathon personal best when he won the Omagh Half Marathon earlier this year in 1:04:46; there is no doubt that Clonliffe Harriers man will be looking to improve this even further.  

One man who is guaranteed a new personal best is Eddie McGinley; interestingly, this will be the first time Eddie races over the Half Marathon distance. Despite this, Eddie is more than capable of challenging at the front over 13.1 miles.  His outstanding performance at the Highgate Harriers 10,000m race in England, where he clocked 29:53 to lead a talented field home showed his class and ability.  Not happy enough to settle for that (10,000m) time, the Annadale Striders star went on to smash it a month later when he recorded 29:32 at the Sainsburys Games in Birmingham.  Locally, Eddie has won Jimmys 10k and the Belfast Solstice 5k race.  Other top contenders will include Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders), Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers).

Like his Annadale Striders club mate Eddie McGinley, Andrew Agnew will step up to the Half Marathon distance for the first time.  Andrew finished on the podium with Stephen Scullion and Eddie McGinley at the QUB 5k in March 2013 and went on to enjoy a fantastic track season, during which, he narrowly missed a medal at the AAI National 5,000m Championships in Dublin.  Brendan Teer and Connor Magill will also run well; NI & Ulster XC Champion Brendan has won no less than fifteen races in what has been a sensational year for the East Down AC man.  Meanwhile, Connor Magill returned from a long period out through injury to win the Greyabbey 10k eight weeks ago.  Since then, the talented athlete has won the Loughsore 10k and finished third in the Cookstown 5m ‘Classic’. 

AAI National Masters 5,000m medallist Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) should also claim a top ten place, while Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Sam Crawford (East Antrim Harriers), Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC) and East Coast AC duo James Brown and Justin Maxwell should all perform to their usual high standard.

The ladies race will feature top talents; Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers), Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) and Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC).  Breege Connolly’s Half Marathon personal best of 1:17:29 makes her the overwhelming favourite; impressive performances at the Altamuskin 5m road race and the Runher Coastal Challenge further enforced the quality that has brought Breege a Commonwealth Games marathon qualifying standard, which she achieved when running 2:39:23 at the Virgin London Marathon this year.

Despite the aforementioned talent possessed by Breege, nothing in running is ever a certainty, and Julie, Kelly and Judith will be waiting for any hiccups.  Julie has been in top form throughout 2013, winning Half Marathon’s in Larne, Newry, Groomsport, Dervock, Ards and Belfast (Decathlon HM).  The North Down AC athlete was also the first Northern Ireland lady to cross the line at the Belfast City Marathon, the ‘bigger brother’ to this event.  Kelly Neely ran her first Half Marathon in Larne in June 2013, clocking 1:27:23; two weeks ago the former international track star finished third at the Waterside HM, having run 1:24:22. This emphatic improvement goes to show what is still to come from the City of Lisburn AC lady.  Judith Lonnen (nee Lowry) will also be a top finisher and should smash her previous Pb for the distance, which stands at 1:28:02, going by recent performances both in running and triathlon; Judith, who is training for the Lanzarote Half Ironman next month won the Dalriada Glenarm Triathlon recently and on doing so, produced the fourth fastest run time of the entire field (including male and female competitors).

Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) finished fifth in the Laganside 10k having recorded 38:58; she (Ciara) should also finish well up the field here.  Other top ten hopefuls will include Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners), Claire Prenter (North Belfast Harriers), Susan Smyth (Dromore AC), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC), Fiona Johnston (Unattached), Laura Bateson (Unattached), Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) and Nikki Heywood (North Down AC).

Northern Ireland’s twelve 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.

Lochlainn Connolly and Lauren Quee impress in NICHS 10k:

Lochlainn Connolly, Lauren Quee, Gary Gallagher and Elaine Waterson win in Benone:

Over the weekend (Saturday 14th September 2013), hundreds of athletes and spectators gathered on Benone Beach, close to Limavady, County Derry/Londonderry for the NICHS 10k (and associated 5k) race, hosted by events management company 26extreme.

Lochlainn Connolly (Armagh AC), a regular competitor in 26extreme events and recent winner of the Rathlin 10k, claimed a comfortable victory, covering the course in 38:40.  Foyle Valley AC’s Barry Smith followed in 40:15 (2nd place), before Unattached athlete Lauren Quee (41:40), a top ten finisher at the Laganside 10k two weeks ago, secured to spot in the ladies race.

Alan Robinson (Unattached) then took 3rd place in the men’s race after crossing the line in 42:05.  Martina McMullan (Club Unknown), runner up in the Walled City Marathon in June 2013, replicated that placing, taking 2nd place in 44:30; Unattached athlete Sarah Lindsay (3rd place - 45:30) completed the ladies top three.

In the associated 5k race; Gary Gallagher (Unattached) and Elaine Waterson (Unattached) won their respective categories, with Gary clocking 19:50 and Elaine 21:35.

Top 3 Men:  1st Lochlainn Connolly (Armagh AC) – 38:40, 2nd Barry Smith (Foyle Valley AC) – 40:15, 3rd Alan Robinson (Unattached) – 42:05

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Lauren Quee (Unattached) – 41:40, 2nd Martina McMullan (Club Unknown) – 44:30, 3rd Sarah Lindsay (Unattached) – 45:30

Full Results:  NICHS 10k 2013 Results and NICHS 5k 2013 Results (Photograph used above was taken by Carrick Camera Club)

Northern Ireland runners complete Great North Run:

Northern Ireland runners take on world's most popular Half Marathon:

On Sunday 16th September 2013, a large number of Northern Ireland based athletes joined in excess of 50,000 participants on the start line of the world’s most popular Half Marathon, the Great North Run, which takes place in Newcastle, England.

In blustery and damp conditions, the world’s media watched Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) out sprint Team GB’s Mo Farah to win in 1:00:09; Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) took the ladies title in 1:05:45.  Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) led the Northern Ireland competitor’s home in 1:26:34 despite the recurrence of an Achilles problem after only six miles.  Magherafelt Harriers men Francis Stewart (1:26:51), Alvin Taylor (1:27:23), Kevin Murphy (1:29:23) and Paul McErlain (1:31:00) followed before Dromore AC’s Alwyn McKee continued his fast improvement with a 1:32:38 finish, this was nearly three minutes quicker than his previous best on the course and also a personal best.  North Belfast Harriers' Kilian Woods also recorded a new personal best of 1:34:41.

Murlough AC’s David Fulcher (1:36:48) and Lifford AC’s Gerard Campbell (1:36:42) crossed the line just four seconds apart, while Ballymena Runners’ Conor McKeown completed his first ever Half Marathon in 1:37:58.  Murlough AC’s Hugh Oram, Club Pulse AC’s Michael Carlisle and County Antrim Harriers’ Glenn Smart recorded 1:38:41, 1:39:26 and 1:40:31 respectively to finish just ahead of the first Northern Ireland based lady, the ever impressive Natalie Bowbanks, who ran 1:40:58.  

Club Pulse member, Fergal McKeown completed the distance in 1:41:12 and was joined in the finish area by his club mate Mairead Hughes (1:43:08) and Newry City Runners' Aine Fegan (1:43:05), both of whom crossed the line between Magherafelt Harriers’ Paddy Quinn (1:42:40) and Murlough AC’s Gerard Rowe (1:43:14).  Lynne McFetridge (Ballymena Runners) then celebrated a new personal best of 1:45:14, before Club Pulse AC duo Hugh Daly (1:46:04) and Clodagh O’Neill (1:49:12) and Larne AC’s Jayne Liddle (1:48:22) all dipped under the 1:50:00 barrier. 

Irene Downey (County Antrim Harriers) was the next familiar face to experience the long shore-front run in and was rewarded for her efforts with a 1:51:19 clocking; Unattached athletes Lynne Ervine (1:52:18) and Austin McLaughlin (1:52:42) then finished in close proximity.  As the crowds continued to cheer each and every athlete home, some of the runners approaching the final straight were looking to break the infamous 2:00:00 mark; County Antrim Harriers’ Louise Smart (1:56:50) and Ballymena Runners ladies Debbie McPherson (1:57:58), Pamela Davis (1:58:52), their friend Moira McBride (1:58:52) and Murlough AC’s Michelle McCann (1:59:13) and Club Pulse AC’s Gary Beattie (1:59:32) all achieved this.

Orangegrove AC’s Lisa Fleming crossed the line as the clock read 2:00:04, with Murlough AC’s Shauna McKenny (2:00:31) and her club mate Nicola Mathers (2:00:51) only being split by Seapark AC’s Karen Waring (2:00:34).  Cathy Hopkins (County Antrim Harriers) and Donna Owens (Unattached) recorded 2:03:11 and 2:03:12 respectively, while Ballymena Runners’ Paula Lorimer (2:04:04) and Murlough AC duo Anne McCormick (2:05:35) and Claire Rooney (2:07:32) all appeared happy to finish.

Just thirteen seconds was the difference between Murlough AC ladies Hazel Crudington (2:10:33), Jane Rowe (2:10:34) and Therese McInerney (2:10:46); with over twenty Murlough AC members starting the event, it wasn’t long before their black, red and white vest was again in sight.  Selena Mussen (2:13:34), Colette McBride (2:15:42), Michael Haghian (2:16:10), Lisa Brown (2:18:13), Ciara Murphy (2:19:05), Roisin Devlin (2:23:18) and Sarah McKay (2:23:18) all experienced the atmospheric finish; Portadown lady Kelly Jones (2:14:48) and North Belfast Harriers man Thomas McKinstry (2:17:43) finished the 13.1 mile race amongst the Murlough AC members.

Joan Simpson (Unattached) recorded 2:30:04, while Leanne Scullion (Unattached) also ran well to finish in 2:50:24. Husband and wife Brendan and Ciara Heaney (Newry City Runners) finished side by side in 2:52:33.  Davida O’Connor (Murlough AC) reached the South Shields finish in 3:10:17, before Susan Leneghan and Grainne Madden pushed their Murlough AC club mate and friend Paula McKibbin across the line in a wheelchair.  Paula had recently broken her foot, but with the assistance of her thoughtful and considerate friends, she was determined to take part.  The three ladies crossed the line in 3:13:11.

Full Results:  BUPA Great North Run 2013 Results

Junior athletes welcome the return of McGrady Financial XC Series:

McGrady Financial XC Series (Race Day 1 - Castlewellan):

On Sunday 16th September 2013, Newcastle AC welcomed well over 100 athletes to the opening race of the popular McGrady Financial Junior Cross Country Series.

The Series, which involves Newcastle AC, Burren AC, East Down AC and for the very first time, Dromore AC offers up and coming runners the opportunity to test themselves against their peers.  Race Day 1 took place in the scenic Castlewellan Country Park, County Down.

The days racing kicked off with the P4 (and Under) 370m race, which turned out to be one of the most competitive of the day, with Noah Sheridan (Newcastle AC) just seeing off the challenge of club mate James McVeigh (1:19) to win in 1:18.  Catherine Cousins (Newcastle AC) completed an excellent double for the club, winning the girls category in 1:25.  The P5 450m race was won by Fionn Carey (Newcastle AC) in 1:47, with Lara McCarthy (Burren AC) claiming top honours in the girl’s event after crossing the line in 1:48.  Burren AC athletes Thomas McKeveney (2:02) and Izzy O’Farrell (2:23) secured wins in the P6 550m race, before Patrick McCarthy (Burren AC) and Eve Keneally (Newcastle AC) won their respective categories in the P7 720m event; Patrick recorded 2:43, while Eve finished in 2:59.

In the Year 8 1,040m race, Josh Faulkner (Newcastle AC) claimed 1st place in 4:15; in the girls category, Burren AC’s Eve Dunford ran well, breaking the tape in a speedy 4:11.  East Down AC’s Tim Prenter (4:42) and Newcastle AC’s Sarah Dougherty (4:54) led the Year 1,240m competitors home, before Ethan Dunn became the first Dromore AC athlete to win at the McGradys Financial Services XC Series after crossing the line in 5:52 to secure victory in the Year 10 1,560m race.  Laura Green (East Down AC) won the girls race in 6:32.  The final race of the day, the Year 11 1,800m race was won by Burren AC’s Paraic Delahunt (6:25) and East Down AC’s Laura Gardiner (6:54).

Full Results:  McGrady Financial Junior XC Series (Race Day 1) 2013 - Photograph used above was taken from Newcastle AC website.

David McNeilly and Diane Wilson secure top honours at 'The Fallows':

'The Fallows' Mountain Race 2013:

On Saturday 14th September 2013, Northern Ireland's mountain running fraternity turned out for the penultimate race in the annual NIMRA Grand Prix, 'The Fallows' Mountain Race, which was held in the scenic Kilbroney Forest, Rostrevor (County Down).  The 10 mile course (which included 2,600ft of ascending) covered the trails and paths around the Kilbroney Forest and Ballyedmond Wood, as well as the mountain terrain surrounding the forest.

On the day, it was Newcastle AC’s David McNeilly who claimed the headlines; the Lurig Challenge winner looked strong as he battled his way to victory in 1:23:47.  Behind, Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) was showing no signs of fatigue, following his impressive outing at the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc two weeks ago, as he successfully held off the challenge from the returning Eddie Hanna (Mourne Runners), to take 2nd place in 1:24:37.  Eddie crossed the line in 1:24:58 to secure 3rd place.

In the ladies race, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) continued her dominance of the local scene; the Dromore AC lady, who was recently crowned winner of the 2013 NIMRA Championship, broke the tape in 1:33:36 to win.  Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), another athlete in top form at the moment, claimed the runners up spot in 1:34:34 (2nd place), before Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) completed the course in 1:43:33 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 1:23:47, 2nd Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 1:24:37, 3rd Eddie Hanna (Mourne Runners) – 1:24:58

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 1:33:36, 2nd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:34:34, 3rd Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:43:33

Full results will follow as soon as possible.

Chris McPeake and Heather Foley win Castledawson 10k:

Athletes turn out for inaugural Castledawson 10k:

On Saturday 14th September 2013, St Malachy's GAC welcomed athletes to Castledawson (County Derry/Londonderry) for the inaugural running of their Castledawson 10k road race; the route passed through the birth place (Mossbawn) of legendary poet, Seamus Heaney, who sadly passed away recently.

Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) won his third 10k in as many weeks, claiming the top spot in 35:15.  Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers), who finished second behind Chris in the recent Keith Reid Memorial 10k, replicated that performance today in 35:15. Dessie Foley (Club Unknown) followed in 36:08.

North Belfast Harriers’ Heather Foley, a fourth place finisher at the Pure Running Laganside 10k at the beginning of the month, was the first lady across the line, claiming first place in 39:10.  Moneymore 10k podium finisher Suzanne Higgins (nee McCormick) of Lagan Valley AC shortly followed (2nd place - 41:52) showing her improvement since returning to competition after over a year away from the sport.  Relative newcomer to the scene, Nuala Kelly (Sperrin Harriers) completed the podium by taking third place in a time of 45:52.

Top 3 Men:  1st Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) – 35:15; 2nd Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) – 35:25; 3rd Dessie Foley (Club Unknown) – 36:08

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (North Belfast Harriers) – 39:10; 2nd Suzanne Higgins – 41:52; 3rd Nuala Kelly (Sperrin Harriers) – 45:52

Full results will follow as soon as possible

Weekend Preview:  A 'Great' weekend of racing ahead for NI athletes:

NI athletes look forward to races in Ballymena, Rostrevor, Castledawson, Lurgan....

As the nights begin to get notably shorter and the light begins to fade, the main focus of the week’s action is now turning to Saturday and Sunday; this weekend, there are several local events taking place in Ballymena, Castledawson, Rostrevor, Garrison and Lurgan, while a large number of Northern Ireland based runners will travel to Newcastle (England) for the popular BUPA Great North Run and Sheffield (England) for the Sainsburys UK School Games.  Northern Ireland will also be represented at the Donegal 5k in Letterkenny (Ireland).

On Saturday 14th September 2013, the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association will host the penultimate race in their annual NIMRA Grand Prix in the scenic Kilbroney Forest, just outside Warrenpoint (County Down).  'The Fallows' 10 mile race (which includes 2,600ft of ascending) will cover the trails and paths around the Kilbroney Forest and Ballyedmond Wood, as well as the mountain terrain surrounding the forest.

Last year’s winner, Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), will not return to defend his title, which leaves Mourne Runners’ Stephen Cunningham as pre-race favourite.  Stephen has been in exceptional form of late, winning the Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Race by some margin and leading the NI contingent home at the Ben Nevis Mountain Race last week, where he finished in an excellent seventh place overall.  David Steele (Newcastle AC), another top finisher at Ben Nevis, should also toe the line and may be joined by talented club mates David McNeilly, David O’Flaherty, Deon McNeilly, Brendan Quail and Jerome McCrickard as well as North Belfast Harriers’ Neil Carty, who should excel over this course.  Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) has been a noticeable absentee in recent months; should he race here, the Newcastle AC man will hope to show the same kind of form that saw him cruise to victory in the Slieve Martin Hill & Dale Race, which covers parts of this course, earlier this year.

Organisers will be hoping that the event attracts more female athletes than it did on its inception onto the NIMRA calendar in 2012; last year, Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and Violet Linton (LVO) were the only two ladies to start, finishing in first and second place respectively.  However, that’s taking absolutely nothing away from the duo, who would have, and will no doubt play a prominent part at the front if there is an influx of female competitors.  Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) has shown real strength over the longer distances this year, with the most impressive being her victory and course record at the gruelling Seven Seven’s event last month; this should stand her in good stead as she tries to claim top honours.  Lagan Valley AC duo Hazel McLaughlin and Anne Sandford will also place well should they take part.

The North West Mountain Rescue Team will hold a Family Fun Day in Ecos Park, Ballymena on Saturday 14th September 2013.  As part of the fundraising day, there will be a number of events, this will include a series of races under the ‘Slemish Challenge’ headline.  There will be several distances on offer to competitors, namely 27k, 14k, 10k and 5k.

Ballymena Runners should be well represented at the event, given its location; Ben Morrow, Emmet McAlister, Kevin O’Boyle, Alex Brennan, Noel Connor, James Turtle, Matthew McCooke, Paul Wallace and Mark Alexander may all turn out for the local club and will challenge for honours if they do.  Although all of the aforementioned men have been running well of late; Ben, Kevin and Emmet would be considered as the stand out performers.  Ben has excelled at the East Antrim Inter-Club Race and Run ‘N’ the Bann 5k within the last four weeks and the talented athlete will prove difficult to knock off top spot.  However, his (Ben’s) dominance will be dependent on the amount of ascending/climbing involved and the nature of the terrain, with Kevin O’Boyle and Emmet McAlister both more accustomed to difficult mountainous terrain.  Both Kevin and Emmet finished ahead of Ben at the Lurig Challenge in August 2013.  Kevin produced an excellent run to finish third, claiming the highly sought after ‘first local’ title.  He (Kevin) also won the Cushendall 10k last month.  Emmet is an extremely consistent mountain runner and has placed very well throughout the 2013 NIMRA campaign, his most recent outing was at Slieve Bearnagh, where he took an impressive fourth place in what was a strong field.  

In the ladies competition; Northern Ireland international, Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), could be a high-profile entrant.  Gillian has had an excellent season so far in the mountains and also showed some excellent road speed at the Dessies 10k recently, winning in 37:50.  Shelley Tomlins (Ballymena Runners) could be another starter; in 2013, Shelley has placed well in numerous road and off-road events, which included a top fifteen finish (in the ladies category) at the Lurig Challenge.  Caitriona Kerr (Glens Runners) and Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) will be amongst the podium hopefuls should they make use of the on the day entry.

In Castledawson (County Derry/Londonderry), local football club St Malachy’s GAC, will host the Castledawson 10k road race on Saturday 14th September 2013.  This event is aptly timed (although not intentionally); with the recent passing of legendary poet Seamus Heaney; the route passes his birth place (Mossbawn) as well as Broagh and the Forge, two landmarks which featured in Seamus’ poetry.

Castledawson 10 (courtesy of John T Glover):

"Over four decades ago

seven shillings secured the slim volume

in which a squat pen unwittingly

traced the furrow we now forge

following the roads through Castledawson

ploughing a straight furrow down Hillhead Road

and up Creagh Hill

passing Mossbawn

which spawned a Nobel Laureate.

No sign now of turf spades or horse plough;

divining skills are rare,

AI has replaced Kelly's bull

and Mr Dickson's war has long since

been subsumed by more local animosities.

What 'Advancement of Learning' would

Heaney have gained

observing our seemingly pointless procession

toward Broagh which we as strangers

still struggle to sound."  

Now to the action; Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) may attempt to complete a hat-trick of wins, having picked up the top prize at both the Ballinderry Bridge 10k and the Keith Reid Memorial 10k in the last two weeks.  Chris will no doubt be joined at the head of the pack by men who featured in both of these events, Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) and Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers).  Pierce finished as runner up to Chris in Ballinderry and has been running well, having also enjoyed a podium finish at the Run ‘N’ the Bann 5k, while Aaron finished second at the Keith Reid Memorial last week and also had a good run at the Laganside 10k a week prior to that.

Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) and Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) will be amongst the top ladies should they enter on the day.  Karen returned from a few weeks of forced rest (because of a fall at the WMRA Long Distance Challenge) to win the Keith Reid Memorial 10k in emphatic fashion, with nearly three minutes between her (Karen) and her nearest rival.  Anne Paul won the Ballinderry 10k and had an excellent run at the Waterside Half Marathon last Sunday (8th September 2013), where she finished in fourth place (in the ladies category) after recording 1:27:02.  Pauline McGurren has been a fantastic addition to the fast growing Sperrin Harriers membership and having picked up several prizes recently, most notably at the Cookstown 5 mile ‘Classic’, the ever improving lady will be in good spirits going into this race.  Pauline’s club mate, Bronagh Hawe could be another starter and will finish well up the field if she does decide to participate.

Also on Saturday 14th September 2013; athletes from County Fermanagh will descend on the village of Garrison for their annual 5 mile road race. Registration will be in the village, after which, competitors will be transported to the start line in Kilcoo; they will then make their way back to Garrison and the much anticipated finish line.

The event is expected to attract local sporting enthusiasts but may tempt several well established club runners from the County Fermanagh or neighbouring cross-border towns and villages, such as Glenn Phair (Enniskillen Running Club), Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club), Derek Somerville (Omagh Harriers), Adam Cooke (Enniskillen Running Club), Denise Toner (Clones AC), Helen Stockdale Clones AC) and Eoin McManus (Unattached).

Over the course of the weekend (Saturday 14th September 2013 and Sunday 15th September 2013) a number of junior athletes from Northern Ireland will travel to Sheffield for the prestigious Sainsburys UK School Games.  We (NiRunning) would like to wish the entire team the very best of luck as they take on the UK’s best up and coming talent in what will be an incredible experience.

On Sunday 15th September 2013, St Peter’s AC will host the inaugural running of their Lurgan Park 5 mile and 5k road races within the confines of Ireland’s second largest town park, Lurgan Park, in Lurgan (County Armagh).  More associated with Cross Country events (and of course the Lurgan Park rally) over the years, the landscaped park’s vast pathways and scenery should provide an excellent location for a ‘road race’.

Local man, Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers) may be tempted to race on ‘home turf’, despite focusing on the upcoming Charleville Half Marathon (Ireland).  If so, Connor will prove hard to beat.  Since returning from injury in July (2013), the exceptionally talented athlete has won the Greyabbey 10k, Loughshore 10k and recorded 25:56 for 5 miles and 15:30 for 5k.  Other top contenders may include Don Travers (Newry City Runners), Andrew Hicks (Dromore AC), Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), Donal Gallagher (Sperrin Harriers) and Nigel Grier (Dromore AC).

Don has had a glittering summer (and 2013 in general!), picking up several medals at the World Police and Fire Games, including gold at the trail race.  The Newry City Runners man also ran 2:34:54 to finish second in the Newry City Marathon and his quickest Half Marathon time for five years, a 1:14:22 at the Waterside Half Marathon last weekend.  Alongside this, Don has won the Run Armagh 10k, Sea 2 Sky 10k, Dambusters 10 mile road race, Castle Ward Half Marathon and the Groomsport Half Marathon.  Andrew Hicks has been racing sparingly this year but appears to be in decent shape, he won the Mourne Way 10k in May 2013 and more recently recorded 9:13.02 for 3,000m and 16:03.04 for 5,000m at the Mary Peters Track.  

Meanwhile, North Belfast Harriers man Adam Boyd returned from injury in August 2013 and looked in great form, running 15:49.17 for 5,000m and 33:19 for 10k, alongside this, Adam won the tough Moneymore 10k in 34:49.  Donal Gallagher has been winning the City Park parkrun on an almost weekly basis and will no doubt be preparing himself for the upcoming XC season, where he seems to perform brilliantly.  The Sperrin Harriers athlete may use this flat and fast course to see ‘where he is at’ race wise; Athletics NI 10,000m Silver medallist Nigel Grier will want to reproduce some of the form he showed at the Mary Peters Track a few weeks ago when he finished in 36:33.

Local lady Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC) will looking to continue the form that secured her a fourth place finish at the Monaghan 10 mile road race last month, where she clocked 1:15:05 for the distance.  However, if Eileen wants to win, she may have to fend off stiff competition from Club Pulse athlete Ciara Coffey and Dromore AC trio Mary Mackin, Susan Smyth and Andrea Heslip.  Ciara Coffey has only missed a podium place in three of the races she has completed this year; she (Ciara) won the Glenn 10k two weeks ago and also finished as runner up in the Lisburn 10k in June 2013.  The talented lady also picked up a podium place at the Newry Half Marathon, finishing in third place behind Julie Balmer (North Down AC) and Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers).  

Be it, road or mountain, Mary Mackin will be challenging for honours or category prizes.  Over and above her good performances and category prizes at local Hill & Dale events, Mary won the Ballynahinch 10k in a season’s best time of 44:13; Susan Smyth was also in the prizes in Ballynahinch, before going on to take the runners up spot at the gruelling Ballykinlar 10k.  Andrea Heslip should also be in or around the podium place if she has recovered sufficiently from the 26extreme Titanic 25k race last Sunday, where she finished in third place.  Other top ten finishers could include Sharon Williamson (Unattached), Nuala Lemon (St Peter’s AC) and Joan Melanophy (St Peter’s AC).

Also on Sunday 15th September 2013, Northern Ireland athletes based in the North West of the province may make the short cross-border trip to Letterkenny, County Donegal (Ireland) for the Donegal 5k.  We expect City of Derry AC and Foyle Valley AC to be well represented at the event.

Further afield on Sunday 15th September 2013, a large number of Northern Ireland based athletes will take on the BUPA Great North Run in Newcastle (England).  The prestigious event attract in excess of 50,000 runners each year and is part of a fantastic weekend of running in the City; this year will see the much anticipated debut of double Olympic Champion Mo Farah.

Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC) and Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) should be amongst the leading Northern Ireland runners, while Murlough AC will be the best represented, with no less than twenty of their members likely to compete, this includes Nicola Mathers, Jane Rowe, Gerard Rowe, Hazel Crudington, Hugh Oram, Michael Haghian, Selena Mussen, Colette McBride, Ciara Murphy, Lisa Brown, Sarah McKay, Therese McInerney, Shauna McKenny, Michelle McCann and Anne McCormick all set to run.  Versatile athlete, Paula McKibbin was due to race, but having broken her foot recently, she will be pushed around in a wheelchair by her extremely thoughtful club mates Susan Leneghan and Grainne Madden.

County Antrim Harriers’ Louise Smart, Glenn Smart, Cathy Hopkins and Irene Downey will all travel, while Club Pulse will have Fergal McKeown, Hugh Daly, Gary Beattie, Cloagh O’Neill, Miread Hughes and Michael Carlisle wearing their colours.  Ballymena Runners’ Lynne McFetridge, Paula Lorimer, Debbie McPherson and Pamela Davis will be supported by injured team mate Rodney Livingstone.  Magherafelt Harriers vests will be worn for the very first time at the Great North Run, with Kevin Murphy, Paul McErlain, Francis Stewart, Paddy Quinn and Alvin Taylor all due to cover the 13.1m course.  Thomas McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Gerard Campbell (Lifford AC), Alwyn McKee (Dromore AC), Lisa Fleming (Orangegrove AC) and Newcastle AC legend Joe McCann will all represent their clubs, while unattached athletes Kelly Jones, Lynne Ervine, Austin McLaughlin, Joan Simpson, Leanne Scullion and Donna Owens will also be looking forward to the event, which will be televised live on the BBC on Sunday morning (15th September 2013) at 9.30am.

Northern Ireland’s twelve 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.

Please Note – There may be a delay in publishing summaries over the weekend as our entire team are unavailable.  Despite this, we will still try to keep our Twitter (@NiRunning) and Facebook (NiRunning – Northern Ireland Running) updated as much as possible (signal permitting); summaries and results will then follow as soon as possible.

Athletics NI announce details of 2013/2014 Cross Country League:

Athletics NI XC League 2013/2014:

After just two years in existence, the Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League has helped to increase participation and interest in cross country, with larger fields turning out for both men’s and women’s races.

Building on that success, and after consultation with clubs, athletes and coaches, the Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League 2013-2014 will include two new fixtures in Springwell, L’Derry (19th October 2013) and Enniskillen, Fermanagh (8th February 2014).  That brings the total number of races in the League to eight, and adds East-West geographical balance to the League.

At the conclusion of the 2012-2013 League, Athletics Northern Ireland distributed an online survey via email, Facebook, and the web, asking for feedback about the League and specifically about increasing the number of fixtures.  62% of respondents indicated that they would support the expansion of the league, with a further 30% saying that they would support new races depending on their location and timing.

“There is excellent support for the League among clubs and we are responding to a desire to expand it,” said Joe Quinn, Chair of the Cross Country and Road Running Committee.  We received very good proposals from Springwell and Enniskillen Running Clubs to host cross country events, and we are confident these will be top-class races on good cross country courses.”

The scoring system, with points for performance and participation, will remain the same.  The survey had asked for feedback on the scoring system, and a majority (44%) indicated that it should remain the same.  29% wanted more points for participation, and 25% wanted more points for performance.  There will be a unified scoring system across all races.  Full details of the points awarded for performance and participation, as well as clarification about how joint events like the Antrim IAAF International/Northern Ireland Senior Cross Country will be scored, are available at

Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League Fixtures 2013-2014:

Saturday 19th October 2013: Springwell Cross Country, University of Ulster, Coleraine

Saturday 26th October 2013: Bobby Rea Cross Country, Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor

Saturday 9th November 2013: McConnell Shield, Ballyclare

Saturday 7th December 2013: Malcolm Cup, Ballyclare

Saturday 21st December 2013: Northwest Cross Country, Gransha Hospital, L’Derry

Saturday 4th January 2014: Antrim IAAF International/Northern Ireland Senior Cross Country, Greenmount

Saturday 8th February 2014: Enniskillen Cross Country, Necarne Castle and Equestrian Centre, Irvinestown.

Saturday 22nd February 2014: Stormont Cross Country, Castle Grounds, Stormont

Note - Entire report taken from Athletics NI website.

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2013 - Final Standings!

Pure Running HM Series 2013 update, courtesy of ChampionChip Ireland:

On Sunday 8th September 2013, the tenth and final race in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series was held at Gransha, Derry/Londonderry, with just short of one 1,500 runners taking part.  Almost all the contenders for the top prizes in the Series took to the line, with most recording their fastest times so far this year.

The female categories saw no alteration to the standings after the previous nine races and Julie Balmer (North Down AC) romped home in second place at Waterside and also recorded the fastest aggregate time for any lady in 2013, 8:31:27 (when calculating six fastest times of the Series).

The men’s categories were a closer affair, with Gareth Grew (North Belfast Harriers) coming home in just over 1:22:35 to leap frog Mark Walker (Unattached) and take the M40 top prize by ninety seconds.  Likewise in the M45 category, Colin Simpson (Unattached) beat Michael McKeown (East Down AC) on the final day at Waterside to secure second place behind Derek Somerville (Omagh Harriers).

Eighteen runners completed all ten races, which is an excellent achievement considering all races took place between March to September 2013; Pure Running and ChampionChip Ireland would like to congratulate all eighteen athletes, as well as everyone who supported the Series.  The full list of rankings is available below.  Registration of times is open (via Athletics NI website) until Wednesday 9th October 2013, after which time no amendments will be taken and the prizes will be awarded on the standings at that point.  A lunch time prize giving will be held at Mary Peters Track at the end of October 2013 and all winners will be contacted by text or email.

Final Standings:  Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2013 Final Standings

Nicki McPeake and Helena Dornan win 26extreme Titanic 101k:

26extreme Titanic 101k, 50k and 25k 2013:

On Sunday 8th September 2013; popular events company 26extreme held their inaugural Titanic Series, a day of racing, which offers competitors the choice of 25k, 50k and 101k distances; interestingly, the 101k will be extended by 1k each year to mark an additional year of the Titanic anniversary.

The 101k kicked off at 6am and took participants from the Titanic Quarter to Ballywalter, County Down, before they turned and made their way back to the stunning finish area in the capital city, Belfast. The race turned out to be an interesting battle, with Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Nicki McPeake (Unattached), Tim Brownlie (Unattached) and Barry Thorton (Unattached) all in contention. Simon Reeve enjoyed an early lead, which at one point seemed as if it would be enough to secure a notable victory, however, the versatile athlete was joined at the front by Nicki McPeake and Tim Brownlie in the latter stages. 

Experienced ultra-runner Nicki showed his class, fending off the challenge of 24 hour runner Tim, to secure victory in 9:24:42. Tim held on for 2nd place, crossing the line in 9:30:51. Simon completed his first Ultra event in Northern Ireland in 9:32:51 (3rd place), taking a well-deserved 3rd place.  The ladies race, albeit hard fought, was not just as exciting. Helena Crossan (Ballycastle Runners) a lady who has enjoyed an incredibly successful year, which included a brilliant victory in the Newry City Marathon, led the ladies home in 9:40:51. Pre-race favourite, Hannah Shields (City of Derry AC) followed in 10:28:07, before Aoife O’Donnell (Unattached) completed the ladies podium in 11:38:46 (3rd place).

The 50k race started close to Ballywalter and guided the competitors back towards Belfast via the scenic coastal path and some road sections. Ger Copeland (Unattached) ran well, dominating proceedings to claim the title in a fairly quick 3:50:24. Matt Wilson (Willowfield Harriers) looked good as he made the step up from marathon distance; the Belfast man marked his arrival on the scene with a runners up prize, after covering the course in 4:05:37 (2nd place). Springwell Running Club’s Alastair Shaw was the third male athlete home in 4:17:55 (3rd place).  Another Springwell Running Club member, Fran McFadden bettered her club mates finishing position, making sure than the North Coast based clubs colours appeared on the ladies podium when she broke the tape in 4:35:12. Seapark AC’s endurance specialist Gillian Cordner, a second place finisher at the recent Achill Ultra Marathon, again found herself in the prizes. Gillian clocked 4:37:20 for 2nd place. BARF’s Joanne Curran followed in 4:39:11 (3rd place).

James Crossan (Lifford AC) was rewarded for his efforts in the 25k; the Southern based runner led from start to finish, eventually winning in 1:43:50. East Antrim Harriers’ Chris Collins was the first NI athlete to experience the scenic and atmospheric finishing area when he followed close behind in 1:48:51 (2nd place). Just over a minute later, Niall Majury (Unattached) made his way onto the finishing straight and covered the remaining yards to record 1:50:42 (3rd place).  The ladies top prize was contested by Meave Gormley (Unattached) and Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC). In the end it was Maeve who edged it, holding off a strong finish from Sarah to win in 2:06:24. Sarah ran 2:06:30 for 2nd place, adding to several decent summer runs and podium places at the East Antrim Harriers trail series. Andrea Heslip (Dromore AC) secured a 3rd place finish, when she stepped over the line in 2:18:00.

101k Race:

Top 3 Men: 1st Nicki McPeake (Unattached) – 9:24:42, 2nd Tim Brownlie (Unattached) – 9:30:51, 3rd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 9:32:51

Top 3 Ladies: 1st Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) – 9:40:51, 2nd Hannah Shields (City of Derry AC) – 10:28:07, 3rd Aoife O’Donnell (Unattached) – 11:38:41

50k Race:

Top 3 Men: 1st Ger Copeland (Unattached) – 3:50:24, 2nd Matt Wilson (Willowfield Harriers) – 4:05:37, 3rd Alastair Shaw (Springwell Running Club) – 4:17:55

Top 3 Ladies: 1st Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) – 4:35:12, 2nd Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 4:37:20, 3rd Joanne Curran (BARF) – 4:39:11

25k Race:

Top 3 Men: 1st James Crossan (Lifford AC) – 1:43:50, 2nd Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers) – 1:48:51, 3rd Niall Majury (Unattached) – 1:50:42

Top 3 Ladies: 1st Maeve Gormley (Unattached) – 2:06:24, 2nd Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) – 2:06:30, 3rd Andrea Heslip (Dromore AC) – 2:18:00

Full Results:  26extreme Titanic Events 2013 Results -  A selection of race photographs have been added to our 'Photo Gallery'.

Trimble collects bronze medal at World Mountain Running Championships:

Sharon Trimble claims World Championship medal in Poland:

On Sunday 8th September 2013, Northern Ireland lady, Sharon Trimble (North Belfast Harriers) represented Ireland at the World Mountain Running Championships in Krynica-Zdroj, Poland.  

Sharon covered the 9.08km course (which included 561m of ascending) in 50:12 (52nd place).  Sharon’s outstanding performance against the world's best mountain runners, coupled with that of her team mates, Sarah McCormack (6th place - 44:23), Kate Cronin (18th place - 46:11) and Sarah Mulligan (27th place - 46:24) was enough to secure a bronze medal for Ireland in the team standings.  The race was won by Italian athlete Alice Gaggi in 42:47.  The team competition was won by Italy.

Full Results:  World Mountain Running Championships 2013 Results

Northern Ireland mountain runners take on Ben Nevis Mountain Race:

Stephen Cunningham and Ciara Largey lead NI runners home in Ben Nevis Mountain Race:

This weekend (Saturday 7th September 2013), a large number of Northern Ireland mountain runners joined six hundred hardy souls on the start-line of the prestigious Ben Nevis Mountain Race.  The race, which takes competitors from New Town Park to the summit of Britain’s highest mountain (4,409ft) and back again sells out on a yearly basis and is well-known for its tough ascent.

Northern Ireland Mountain Running Championship winner Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) led the NI contingent home, taking an excellent 7th place in 1:41:35.  Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) finished well despite going off course; he claimed 22nd place in 1:51:12, before Clive Bailey crossed the line in 1:53:42 (36th place).  Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) followed in 1:57:51 (50th place), while Newcastle AC duo David Steele (1:59:43) and Brendan Quail (1:59:45) finished just two seconds apart, in 64th place and 65th place respectively.  Newcastle AC’s Jerome McCrickard (2:07:34) and Mourne Runners’ William Marks (2:09:11) took 110th place and 119th place.

David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) recorded 2:11:09 (126th place) and barely had time to catch his breath before his club mate Barry Wells (136th place – 2:12:00) pipped the leading NI lady, Ciara Largey (Fermangh OC) to the line.  Ciara, a podium finisher at the British Fell Running Championships (2012) covered the gruelling course in 2:12:05, taking 5th place in the ladies race.  Mourne Runners’ Richard Hanna (139th place – 2:12:11) and East Coast AC’s Justin Maxwell (147th place – 2:13:26) followed in quick succession.

Mourne Runners duo Garth McGimpsey (169th place – 2:16:35) and Roy Donaldson (176th place – 2:17:50) were split by Newcastle AC’s PJ McCrickard (173rd place – 2:17:39) as the trio finished within sixty four seconds of each other.  Another Mourne Runners man, Michael Barton ran 2:18:26 (180th place), before Brian McBurney (Newcastle AC) crossed the line as the clock read 2:20:29 (191st place).  Mourne Runners duo David Bell (209th place – 2:23:37) and Ricky Cowan (366th place – 2:49:07), and BARF pair Trevor Wilson (312th place – 2:38:53) and Clarke Campbell (361st place – 2:48:18) then descended strongly to complete Northern Ireland’s representation in the event.  The race was once again won by Lochaber AC’s Finlay Wild (1:30:06), while Carnethy HRC’s Angela Mudge also retained the ladies title in 1:52:40.

Full Results:  Ben Nevis Mountain Race 2013 Results

Keith Shiels and Ann-Marie McGlynn clinch Waterside HM titles:

Nearly 1,500 athletes turn out for final race of Pure Running Half Marathon Series:

On Sunday 8th September 2013, thousands of athletes and spectators gathered in Gransha Grounds, Derry/Londonderry for the Waterside Half Marathon; the final race in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series.

Perfect weather conditions and talented field set things up for an excellent race, especially considering the new fast and flat course.  As the field went through half-way, a leading group of Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) were pursued by Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC).  Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC), Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC) and new Athletics NI 10,000m (Track) Champion James Brown (City of Derry AC) were also running well.

In the ladies race, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) was living up to her pre-race favourite status, dominating the field with an excellent display of front running.  Julie Balmer (North Down AC) and Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) were also looking good as they moved into the last 6.1 miles ahead of City of Derry AC duo Anne Paul and Marina Campbell.

In the end, it was Keith Shiels who claimed victory, just edging Declan Reed (2nd place – 1:09:47) to the finish line, breaking the tape in 1:09:46.  This was only Keith’s third Half Marathon, following on from his huge personal best performance in Ards.  Scott Rankin completed the men’s top three in personal best time of 1:11:39 (3rd place).

Ann-Marie McGlynn upped the pace in the second half of the race to seal a comfortable victory in 1:19:47; Julie Balmer continued her impressive run of podium finishes, claiming 2nd place in 1:23:23, while Kelly Neely, another regular prize-winner, secured a well-deserved 3rd place in a massive new personal best of 1:24:21.

Top 3 Men:  1st Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) – 1:09:46, 2nd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 1:09:47, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 1:11:39

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 1:19:47, 2nd Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 1:23:23, 3rd Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) – 1:24:21

Full Results:  Waterside Half Marathon 2013 Results

Chris McPeake and Karen Alexander win Keith Reid Memorial 10k:

Keith Reid Memorial 10k 2013:

On Saturday 7th September 2013, athletes braved wet and blustery conditions to complete the annual Keith Reid Memorial 10k in Draperstown, County Derry/Londonderry.

Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) continued his winning return from injury, following up his win at last weekend’s Ballinderry Bridge 10k, with another victory.  The talented City of Derry AC man broke the tape in 34:40; Chris was followed across the line by Sperrin Harriers’ Aaron Meharg (2nd place - 35:18), while Charlie Leonard (Unattached), another podium finisher in Ballinderry claimed 3rd place in 37:42.

Not to be outdone by her male counterpart, Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) also won for the second week in a row. Karen, who won the Dambusters 10 mile race last Saturday (31st August 2013), secured victory in 37:47.  Another Sperrin Harriers lady, the fast improving Pauline McGurren, took 2nd place in 40:40, with Alison Rankin (Springwell Running Club) finishing just over a minute later in 41:52 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) – 34:40, 2nd Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) – 35:18, 3rd Charlie Leonard (Unattached) – 37:42

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) – 37:47, 2nd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 40:40, 3rd Alison Rankin (Springwell Running Club) – 41:52

Full results will follow as soon as possible.

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

26extreme Titanic Series and Waterside Half Marathon are top local events:

Once again the weekend is upon us; a quick look at the fixture list would lead you to believe that it is somewhat of a quiet one, with only three events listed.  However, given the fact that this trio includes the 26extreme Titanic Series (101k, 50k and 25k) and the Waterside Half Marathon, it will prove to be a very busy weekend for the running community in Northern Ireland, with thousands expected to compete.  A large number of Northern Ireland based athletes will also travel to Scotland for the prestigious Ben Nevis Mountain Race.

Locally, the action will start on Saturday 7th September 2013, with the annual Keith Reid Memorial 10k road race in Draperstown in County Derry/Londonderry.  

Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) made a winning return to competition last week at the Ballinderry Bridge 10k and could head the field here.  The City of Derry Spartan could be joined on the start line by Sperrin Harriers duo Aaron Meharg and Pierce McCullagh.  Aaron ran well in Sunday’s Laganside 10k in Belfast, recording 35:31 for the distance, while Pierce finished as runner up to Chris in Ballinderry Bridge and also claimed second place in last night’s Run ‘N’ the Bann 5k, he (Pierce) will more than likely claim a podium place here should he compete.   Sperrin Harriers’ Pauline McGurren, Bronagh Hawe and Ciara Coyle should be amongst the leading ladies.

Also on Saturday 7th September 2013, at least twenty five Northern Ireland based athletes will travel to Fort William in Scotland for the Ben Nevis Mountain Race.  The extremely challenging course takes competitors from New Town Park to the summit of Britain’s highest mountain (4,409ft) and back again.

Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners), Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners), Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners), David Steele (Newcastle AC), David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Jim McCormick (North Belfast Harriers) and Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) will all place well in what is expected to be a high quality field, which interestingly, is limited to 600 runners, who have had to prove their ability just to guarantee entry.  The aforementioned men will be joined on the start line by BARF’s Clarke Campbell and Trevor Wilson, Mourne Runners’ Michael Barton, David Bell, Ray Donavon, Noel Douglas, Richard Hanna, Sam Heron, Darren Heron, William Marks, Garth McGimpsey, David Newell, Alwynne Shannon and Ricky Cowan; and Newcastle AC’s Brian McBurney, Jerome McCrickard, PJ McCrickard, Brendan Quail and Berry Wells.

Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC), winner of the race in 2010, 2011 and 2012 will return to defend his title and will be joined by Robb Jebb (Bingley Harriers) and Murray Strain (Hunters Bog Trotters).  Angela Mudge (Carnethy HRC) should go into the race as ladies favourite.  The current course records holders are Kenny Stuart (Keswick AC) and Pauline Haworth (Keswick AC), who clocked 1:25:34 (1984) and 1:43:25 (1984).

Sunday 8th September 2013 will bring the weekend’s two biggest events, the 26extreme Titanic Series and the Waterside Half Marathon.  The much anticipated 26extreme Titanic Series will start at 6am in Belfast, with 101k, 50k and 25k races on the programme.  The 101k will start in the Titanic Quarter and take competitors along the coast to Donaghadee, where they will turn and make their way back towards Belfast; on the way, the long distance specialists will be joined by the 50k and 25k runners, who will start along the coast and make their way towards the atmospheric Titanic Quarter finish line.

Accomplished ultra-runner, Nicki McPeake (Unattached) will feature prominently in the 101k.  Having enjoyed excellent outings at the Lost World’s Causeway Crossing and the Mourne Way Ultra, Nicki is in good shape going into this race.  Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) and Barry Thornton (Unattached) will also play a part at the front.  Simon is a strong runner and well-known within both the mountain and road running scenes. Recently, Simon finished in second place at the Crawfordsburn 5k trail race; this course could really suit the North Belfast Harriers man.  Sean Goodman is a regular participant at 26extreme events and is a regular top ten finisher, we expect the same here.  Wicklow man, Barry Thornton, participated in the Energia 24 hour race and has plenty of experience over long distances, having completed three 12 hour races in the past.  Tim Brownlee (Unattached), Sean Paul Hughes (Glens Runners) and Martin Lilley (Unattached) will also place well.

Mount Everest conqueror Hannah Shields (City of Derry AC) will go into the ladies race as strong pre-race favourite.  The Lost World’s Causeway Crossing winner will prove extremely difficult to beat; all being well Hannah will have shaken off an injury that has kept her racing to a minimum over the summer months.  Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners), Aoife O’Donnell (Unattached) and Amy Beggs (Larne AC) will also take on the 101k.

Matthew Wilson (Willowfield Harriers), Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC) and Steven Gibson (Unattached) will battle it out at the front of the 50k race.  Matthew is a talented road runner and accomplished marathoner (who has a personal best of 2:45:00); to our knowledge, this will be Matt’s first step into the world of ultra-running.  This will not stop him from playing a part at the head of the pack.  Bobby Irvine and Steven Gibson are regulars in the long distance scene, just last weekend both took on the Longford Marathon; Bobby covered the distance in 3:47:11, while Steven recorded 4:17:32, in what was his 100th marathon (and his third event of the weekend).  Joanne Curran (BARF) will lead the ladies in the 50k; the talented long distance athlete won last year’s Causeway Coast Marathon and has excellent ‘big race’ experience, having completed the HOLKA Highland Fling and Comrades Ultra Marathon in the past.  Kathryn Gracey (Unattached), Hiedi Thomsen (Unattached) and Rachel Stewart (Unattached) will also be hoping for high placings.  

Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers), James Sinton (Unattached), Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC), Kathryn Walls (Unattached) and Andrea Heslip (Unattached) are the most recognisable names on the 25k start list.  All should run well, over what will be a scenic course.

Also on Sunday 8th September 2013, over one thousand five hundred athletes are expected to take on the Waterside Half Marathon, which boasts a new flatter, faster course.  The event will be the final race in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series.

A good day of racing is anticipated, with a plethora of top talent set to toe the line.  Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), Freddy Sittuk (Kenya), Tudor Moldovan (Clonliffe Harriers), Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Don Travers (Newry City Runners) will all race.

AAI National 10k Champion Stephen Scullion won the Omagh Half Marathon in fine fashion earlier this year and has produced several notable performances since, including wins at the Titanic 10k, Fingal 10k and Laganside 10k as well a podium finish at the BUPA Great Edinbrugh 10k.  Stephen clocked 1:04:46 in Omagh and will be hoping to improve on that here.  Tudor Moldovan (Clonliffe Harriers) was a runner up at the recent AAI National Half Marathon Championships; he also finished in the same spot behind Declan Reed at the Enniskillen 10k in June 2013.  Freddy Sittuk has been winning races on an almost weekly basis since his top three finish at the 2013 Belfast City Marathon; just last weekend the Kenyan supremo won the Longford Marathon, adding to victories at the Larne Half Marathon, Monaghan 10m road race, Carlingford 5k, Galway Bay 10k and the Strawberry Half Marathon (Ireland).  Stephen and Freddy will be joined at the front by Walled City Marathon runner up Greg Roberts and his speedy club mate Declan Reed, who currently holds the Athletics NI 5k (Road) title.  

Foyle Valley AC duo Keith Shiels and Scott Rankin will also be amongst the front-runners; both having had an outstanding year so far, arguably Scott’s best performance was a 52:14 10 miler in Limavady, while Keith wacked approximately fifteen minutes off his previous 13.1 mile personal best after running 1:09:32 in Ards.  The strength in depth of this field will no doubt assist both men with their goal of obtaining further personal bests.  Don Travers has had an excellent few months, having collected three medals at the World Police & Fire Games; the International athlete also won the Groomsport Half Marathon three weeks ago and the Dambusters 10 mile race last week.

Other top ten hopefuls will include Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC), James Brown (City of Derry AC) and Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC).  The fact that all of these men are more than capable of winning top races only goes to show the sheer amount of talent on show at this race.  For example, James won the Athletics NI 10,000m (Track) Championships last week, while Conor won a Silver medal at the recent AAI National Masters 5k Championships in Tullamore (Ireland).

The ladies field will also be littered with talent; Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC), Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) and Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC) should all be chasing top three places.  Ann-Marie won the Omagh Half Marathon in March 2103 and went on to enjoy a fantastic track season, where she won the NI & Ulster 800m title and picked up a Silver medal over 1500m.  The Strabane based athlete also won the Strabane 10k and Killyclogher 10k, and produced arguably the performance of year in Tullamore (Ireland) last month, when she ran a 3,000m seasons best of 9:34.78 to win at the AAI National League Final (whilst guesting for Tir Chonaill AC). 


Julie Balmer will hope to continue her impressive 13.1m form; the North Down AC lady has won no less than six Half Marathon’s this year, with 1:24:29 being the quickest.  Kelly Neely, who took second place at last weekend’s Laganside 10k, will also race and should play a prominent part at the front.  Kelly has won the Portaferry 10 mile road race and the Active Antrim 5 mile road race in the past few months and is continually gaining experience over the longer distance, having taken the step up after retiring from International track competition just over a year ago.

City of Derry AC ladies Anne Paul and Marina Campbell will be waiting for any slip ups from Ann-Marie, Julie and Kelly; both possess the qualities to win on their given day; Anne won the Ballinderry Bridge 10k last week, while Marina’s personal best of 1:25:11 (2012) will ensure that she finishes well up the field. Other ladies to look out for will include:  Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC), Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC), Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Trish McClintock (Foyle Valley AC), Anne Haveron (Newry City Runners) and Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC).

Northern Ireland’s twelve 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.  

Portrush parkrun will celebrate its first birthday this weekend and organisers would encourage everyone to come along to join in with the celebrations.  In the first year, 933 runners have taken on what is touted as one of the provinces toughest (but enjoyable/challenging) parkrun’s.  Annadale Striders’ Paul Carroll (17:38) and Springwell Running Club’s Gemma Turley (19:43) are the current course record holders, while North Down AC’s Terry Eakin holds the Age Graded record (20:18 and 81.12%).

Ben Morrow and Geraldine Quigley win Run 'N' the Bann 5k:

Hundreds turn out for annual Run 'N' the Bann 5k:

On Thursday 5th September 2013, well over two hundred runners brought the County Antrim village of Portglenone to a standstill for the popular Run 'N' the Bann 5k road race, an event that attracts personal best hunters with its flat and fast course.

Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) showed the form that led him to victory at the recent East Antrim Inter-Club Race, claiming another impressive win in 16:28.  North Belfast Harriers’ Brendan Grew followed in 16:40, with Ballinderry Bridge 10k podium finisher Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) taking 3rd place in 16:43.

Larne AC’s Geraldine Quigley enjoyed a relatively comfortable victory in the ladies race; the NIMAA Championship medallist crossed the line in 19:46.  Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) ran well, taking 2nd place in 20:23, before Ballymena Runners’ Linda Petticrew (3rd place - 21:30) just edged out her friend and club mate Sharon Harvey (4th place – 21:33) to complete the ladies podium.

Top 3 Men:  1st Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 16:28, 2nd Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) – 16:40, 3rd Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) – 16:43

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) – 19:46, 2nd Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) – 20:23, 3rd Linda Petticrew (Ballymena Runners) – 21:30

Full Results:  Run 'N' the Bann 5k 2013 Results (Please Note – These are PROVISIONAL results only).  Picture used above courtesy of Mark Alexander. More of Mark's race photograph's can be found HERE.

Orangegrove AC to host Athletics NI (Road) Relay Championships 2013:

Important event/entry information:

The 2013 Athletics NI (Road) Relay Championships take place on Saturday 5th October 2013 and will once again be hosted by Orangegrove AC in Victoria Park, Belfast.

After the success of the 2012 event, the race day programme will follow a similar pattern. Primary School races and Junior individual races will require registration on race day with entries closing 15 minutes before the race start time (listed below) and will cost £2 per entrant. Entrants will not need to complete the online form for Junior and Primary School age races. Registration opens at 11:00am and organisers would appreciate it if you could register as early as possible.

Junior Race timetable (Medals will be presented in the finish area immediately after each race):

12:00pm - Primary School Boys and Girls race (P4 to P7), 800m. Register before 11:45am. 
12:15pm – U13 Boys and U13 Girls, 1600m. Register before 12:00pm.
12:30pm - U15 Boys and U15 Girls, 1600m. Register before 12:15pm.
12:45pm - U17 Boys and U17 Girls, 3000m. Register before 12:30pm.

Senior and Masters IMPORTANT information:

Relay races for Seniors and Masters can ONLY be entered using the attached on-line form (HERE).  You will NOT be able to enter a team on the day and this form will enter ONE team only.  A separate form is required for each team.  

Before completing the form you need the following information for each entered team;

- Names of runners for male and mixed races, 4 runners + 2 reserves (or names of runners for female races, 3 runners + 2 reserves)

- Date of Birth for each athlete
- Athletics NI registration numbers for each athlete
- Payment (in advance by Paypal, credit or debit card before close of entries). 

Entries will CLOSE at midnight on Friday 27th September 2013. There is NO facility for paying on the day.

Senior and Masters Race timetable:
13:30pm - Senior and Masters Women, 3 x 3380m £15
14:30pm - Mixed team (2 men, 2 women), 4 x 1689m £20
15:15pm - Senior and Masters Men, 4 x 3380m £20
16:15pm - Presentations for Senior races and refreshments will take place after the final race in the Bowling Pavilion.

Each competitor can only participate in ONE race only. Substitutions for non-runners can be made ONLY from runners named as reserves on the entry form and must be approved by the event registrations team. Please ensure you read the full event rules. Any questions about race entry should be addressed to the Registrations Chief at: [email protected]

Gary Keenan and Jodi Smith take top honours in Millisle:

Ards Triple Series reaches its climax:

On Wednesday 4th September 2013, over one hundred runners took part in the PSC Millisle 6 mile road race (and associated 3 mile fun run), which was the final event in the Ards Triple Series.  This was a local Series which included the Greyabbey 10k and the Portaferry 10 mile road race.

Orangegrove AC’s NI Masters 5,000m (Vet50) Champion Gary Keenan produced yet another fantastic performance to lead the field home in 32:59.  Another track star, Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers) followed in 33:23 (2nd place), with Jonny Park (Orangegrove AC) taking 3rd place in 33:34, ensuring the Belfast based club, who will host the Athletics NI Road (Relay) Championships in October (2013), dominated the podium places.

North Down AC’s Jodi Smith, a top twenty finisher (in the ladies race) at Sunday’s Pure Running Laganside 10k claimed an impressive win in 41:03.  Unattached athlete Fiona Johnston ran well to claim the runners up spot in 41:10, while Orangegrove AC’s Louise Lemon secured 3rd place in 41:53.  In the overall Series, Orangegrove AC collected both the male and female trophies, an excellent reward for their consistent performances and turn out at the three races.

Top 3 Men:  1st Gary Keenan (Orangegrove AC) – 32:59, 2nd Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers) – 33:23, 3rd Jonny Park (Orangegrove AC) – 33:34

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jodi Smith (North Down AC) – 41:03, 2nd Fiona Johnston (Unattached) – 41:10, 3rd Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) – 41:53

Full Results:  PSC Millisle 6m (and 3m) 2013 Results

Brendan Teer and Joanne Mills claim Mill Hill Mile titles:

Brendan Teer takes men's title as Joanne Mills retains ladies top prize:

On Tuesday 3rd September 2013 nearly one hundred and fifty athletes turned out for the traditional Mill Hill Mile road race in Castlewellan, County Down.   The annual event, which see’s competitors start in Annsborough and run one mile uphill to the Market House in Castlewellan, has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in recent years, quite possibly due to the impressive amount of Junior athletes now getting involved.

Brendan Teer (East Down AC) took nearly one minute off his time from last year to seal a notable victory, the East Down AC man, who finished as runner up in Sunday’s Laganside 10k, crossed the line in 5:26 to huge applause from the gathered crowds.  Interestingly, Deon McNeilly holds the course record, which stands at 5:00.  Young Lagan Valley AC man, Ryan Sharkey followed in 5:44 (2nd place), before Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) claimed his second podium place in four days.  Nigel, a third place finisher in the 1500m at the NIMAA Championships on Saturday recorded 5:56 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham AC) retained her title from last year, bettering her winning time from last year (7:03) to win in 6:44. Newry AC’s Lauren Hutchinson showed some of the track speed that has secured her place as one of the provinces top up and coming talents, claiming 2nd place in 7:12; Lauren Gardner (East Down AC) crossed the line just four seconds later, taking 3rd place in 7:16.

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 5:26, 2nd Ryan Sharkey (Lagan Valley AC) – 5:44, 3rd Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) – 5:56

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Joanne Mills (University of Birmingham AC) – 6:44, 2nd Lauren Hutchinson (Newry AC) – 7:12, 3rd Laura Gardner (East Down AC) – 7:16

Full Results:  Mill Hill Mile 2013 Results

Ards Triple Race Series final places will be decided in Millisle:

Ards Triple Race Series update:

The Ards Triple Race Series, which includes the Greyabbey 10km, Portaferry 10 Mile and the PSC Millisle 6 Mile road races is nearing its climax, with the final race due to take place in Millisle on Wednesday 4th August 2013.

The Series was introduced to reward participation and achievement by club athletes. Clubs have earned points for each member who completes the races and additional points for athletes placed in the top ten male and female finishing positions.  These points have been awarded on the following basis.  10 points for a club athlete who completes each race.  Additional points are awarded to clubs who have an athlete finishing in positions 1-10 in each race.  10 points for a 1st place, 9 points for a 2nd place down to 1 point for 10th place.

Male and Female teams will be scored separately and the Series trophies will be awarded to the clubs who record the highest number of points for their Male and Female teams. The table below shows the results to date after the first two races in the series.  Orangegrove AC currently lead the men's league, while North Down AC top the ladies standings.  Prizes for the series will be awarded at the presentation immediately after the PSC Millisle 6 Mile on Wednesday 4th September 2013.  This race starts at 7pm.

Ards Triple Race Series:  Overall standings (as of Monday 2nd September 2013)

Brian McCluskey and Caitlin Malone secure wins at Cullaville 10k:

Athletes enjoy well-organised Cullaville 10k:

On Sunday 1st September 2013, nearly two hundred runners took to the roads of County Armagh for the well organised tough Cullaville 10k road race, an event that crosses the border into County Monaghan, before returning to Cullaville (Northern Ireland) to finish.

Brian McCluskey (North East Runners), a frequent competitor in Northern Ireland and a podium finisher at the last Castlewellan Christmas Cracker (with Gary O’Hanlon), claimed a comfortable victory in 34:35.  Murlough AC’s Alan Johnston followed in 37:09 (2nd place), with Raymond Carolan (Unattached) completing the men’s top three in 37:59 (3rdplace).

Caitlin Malone (3 Ways AC) broke the tape first in the ladies race, sealing victory in 43:05. Unattached athlete Jemma McGourty, who has been raising her profile in recent local events, having achieved podium places at the Glenn 10k and Mullaghbawn 10k, took 2nd place in 44:34, while Sharon Devlin (Unattached) crossed the line in 46:50 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) – 34:35, 2nd Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) – 37:09, 3rd Raymond Carolan (Unattached) – 37:09

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Caitlin Malone (3 Ways AC) – 43:05, 2nd Jemma McGourty (Unattached) – 44:34, 3rd Sharon Devlin (Unattached) – 46:50

Full Results:  Cullaville 10k 2013 Results

City of Derry AC host Northern Ireland (Track) Relay Championships 2013:

Northern Ireland (Track) Relay Championships 2013, courtesy of John Glover:

On Sunday 1st September 2013, over seventy teams braved the, at times, near gale force winds sweeping in from Lough Swilly as the Northern Ireland (Track) Relay Championships were held for the first time at the Templemore Complex in Derry/Londonderry.  

This was a suitable reward for the hard work and effort put in by promoter Eamon Gee and Meeting Director Chris Power.  While the number of teams was impressive it has to be said that the absence of representation from clubs in the North West was disappointing and the generous spread of events meant that some races had limited competition. 

Honours were fairly well spread across four main protagonists namely, City of Lisburn AC, North Down AC, hosts City of Derry AC and Ballymena & Antrim AC, with the latter coming out on top with nine victories in total.  Not all of the events held Championship status and it was one of the ‘odd’ events, the 4x200m Mixed Relays which provided the spectators with most entertainment, with the format allowing for two boys and two girls running in any order positions changed  rapidly from leg to leg.  In the Senior Championship events, City of Derry AC took gold in both 4x400m races with the men from the ‘Maiden City’ also taking the 3x800m title.  The final races of the day were the Blue Ribbon 4x100m and titles went to the ladies from North Down AC and the City of Lisburn AC’s mens ‘B’ team.

It is difficult in relays to pick out individual performances but from a purely ‘visual’ perspective, there were outstanding runs from Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) , Ollie Wakefield (North Down AC)  and Jake Harbinson (Ballymena & Antrim AC) on the male side and Grace Hillman (City of Lisburn AC)  Olivia Cumming (North Down AC) and Erin McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) for the females. 

Full Results:  NI (Track) Relay Championships 2013 Results

Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) wins Warriors 15k race:

Northern Ireland athletes take on Warriors 15k race:

On Saturday 31st August 2013, at least nine Northern Ireland runners took part in the Warriors 15k race, an event which is organised as part of the long standing Warriors Festival in Strandhill, Sligo (Ireland).

North Belfast Harriers duo Breege Connolly and Michael Fitzpatrick impressed most, with Michael being the first of the NI athletes to cross the line, finishing in 1:02:25 (13th place).  Breege followed closely, claiming the ladies title in an excellent 1:03:06. Newry City Runners’ James McNally recorded 1:06:04 (26th place), before Foyle Valley AC’s Barry Smith (40th place - 1:08:54) led Newry City Runners duo Paul Watters and Joe Finnegan into the finish.  Paul ran 1:13:48 and Joe 1:14:35, while their club mates Dermot Mathers (1:20:22) and Frank McKenna (1:20:29) to claim 237th place and 238th place respectively.  The men's race was won by Clonliffe Harriers' Brian McMahon in 52:49.

Full Results:  Warriors 15k 2013 Results

Stephen Scullion and Teresa McGloin win Pure Running Laganside 10k:

Thousands enjoy Pure Running Laganside 10k:

On Sunday 1st September 2013, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on Ormeau Park, Belfast for the annual Pure Running Laganside 10k (and associated children's one mile races), organised by North Belfast Harriers.

In breezy conditions, athletes set on the two loop course, which would take them towards the City Centre and onto the Lagan Towpath, before returning to the Ormeau Embankment, where they would then cover a second, shorter lap prior to finishing back at the Ozone Centre.  

Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) ran through 5.5k together, with Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers), Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) just behind.  Paul Gleeson (Clones AC), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) and Connor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) were also in the thick of the action.

In the ladies race, pre-race favourite, Teresa McGloin (Foyle Valley AC) had a comfortable lead, with Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), Heather Foley (Unattached) and Denise Toner (Clones AC) in pursuit.  Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) were also looking strong.

In the second half, Stephen Scullion stamped his authority on the race, and began to move clear of Scott Rankin and the chasing pack.  The ex-North Belfast Harriers man continued to open his lead and was the first to appear into the finishing straight, crossing the line in 30:48 to win.  In the latter stages, an impressive Brendan Teer overtook the brave Scott Rankin, to claim 2nd place in 31:50.  Scott secured a well-deserved 3rd place in 31:57.

Teresa McGloin continued to go from strength to strength in the ladies category, eventually breaking the tape in an excellent 35:05.  Kelly Neely showed why she is fast becoming one of the provinces top road runners (over and above her exceptional track background), securing the runners up spot in 37:08 (2nd place).  Denise Toner passed Heather Foley (4th place – 38:24) as the pair came into the final straight, taking 3rd place in 38:22.

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) – 30:48, 2nd Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 31:50, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 31:57

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Teresa McGloin (Finn Valley AC) – 35:05, 2nd Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) – 37:08, 3rd Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 38:22.

Full Results:  Laganside 10k 2013 Results and Laganside Kids (1 Mile) 2013 Results - We will also be adding a full event/race review to our ‘Race Review’ section and race photograph’s to our ‘Photo Gallery’ in the coming days (this will more than likely be Monday 2nd September 2013).

Note - August 2013 'News' is available HERE... or by following the navigation bar at the top of the screen.

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