Local runners perform well in Ireland, Scotland and Germany:
On Sunday 28th September 2014, a host of athletes from Northern Ireland travel to events outside the province, with local club's being represented at races in Ireland, Germany and Scotland.
On Sunday 28th September 2014, at least four familiar faces lined up on the start line of the 10th annual Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland. The 26.2 mile course finishes in Inverness and covers an incredibly scenic route along the shores of the legendary Loch Ness.
Trail specialist Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) put in a top performance over what was a tough course, and led a trio of club mates home in 3:43:33. Fellow Orangegrove AC athletes Michael O'Donoghue, Ashleigh Collim and Sharon Dickenson followed in 3:50:14, 3:59:14 and 4:00:25 respectively. The race was won by Thomas Abyu (Salford Harriers) in 2:22:41, while Jennifer Emsley (Central AC) took the ladies title in 2:46:06.
In Germany, local athletes took part in the BMW Berlin Marathon, an event that will once again be remembered for providing a new marathon world record. On this occasion, it was Kenyan athlete Dennis Kimetto who set the standard, moving another step towards the much talked about sub 2-hour time when he recorded 2:02:57 to win. Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaya won the ladies race in 2:20:18.
On a local front, former Olympic and Commonwealth Games star James McIlroy (Larne AC) returned to competition; taking on the marathon for the third time, James achieved an excellent new personal best of 2:33:27. Ali Shaw (Springwell Running Club) crossed the line in 3:06:23, before the ever consistent Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers) finished in 3:08:54. City of Lisburn AC's Paul McCullagh and Dromore AC's Alwyn McKee clocked 3:19:21 and 3:23:40 respectively, while two more Dromore AC men joined the pair in the finish area – Mark Hall (3:36:12) and Colin Atkinson (3:39:4) both returned from injury to run well. Larne AC's Heather Baxter completed the fast and flat route in 3:49:32.
In Ireland, Derry City Track Club athlete Darragh Crossan came off a strong track season to claim a well-deserved victory at Orla's 5k in Letterkenny, County Donegal. Darragh led the field home in 17:57 (1st place). City of Derry AC man Sean Deery also performed well, securing a top ten place in 19:37 (10th place).
Also in Ireland, at least six Northern Ireland based runners completed the annual Rathfarnham 5k. St Malachy's AC man John Frazer was the first of the local contingent to reach the finish line when he covered the course in a speedy 14:50, thus securing 8th place. John Craig (Orangegrove AC) ran a new personal best and club record of 15:48 (26th place), before Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers) recorded 16:34 (54th place). North Belfast Harriers' James Wallace ran 17:44 (89th place), while Thomas Leitch dipped inside the top one hundred finishers in 17:49 (99th place). Paula Wallace (North Belfast Harriers) and Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC) covered the distance in 21:38 (56th place) and 21:54 (67th place) respectively.
26extreme Causeway Coast Marathon 2014:
On Saturday 27th September 2014, thousands of athletes and spectators from across Northern Ireland (and beyond) descended on the North Coast village of Portballintrae for the 26extreme Causeway Coast Marathon and associated events.
The extensive race programme included a 40 mile Ultra Marathon, Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k, all of which covered incredibly scenic courses along the world famous Causeway Coast Way.
The action will kick off at 7.30am when nearly one hundred hardy ultra-runners began their 40 mile journey from Portstewart to Ballintoy and back to the finish line in Portballintrae.
The morning sunrise may as well have acted as the starter with it's perfectly timed appearance as the athletes set off. Almost immediately, Scotland based athlete Stanley Topalian (Westerlands AC) made his intentions clear from the gun, moving clear of the field before they had even departed the Portstewart's East Strand beach. A competitve field, which included Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), Nicki McPeake (Unattached), Tim Brownlie (Unattached), Ron Peacock (Unattached), Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) and Dominic McInerney (Unattached), amongst others, followed as they headed towards Portrush and ultimately Portballintrae and the Giants Causeway. It was a similatr story in the ladies race, with Amy Masner (Unattached) quickly moving to the front and leading Donna McLoughlin (Unattached), Joanne Curran (BARF), Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) and Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) off the beach.
By the time the athletes reached Portrush, both Stanley Topalian and Amy Masner had opened up gaps on the athletes behind. This continued as the race progressed, and by the 14 mile marker, Stanley's lead over Martin Rea and Nicki McPeake, who were running together, was exactly five minutes. Meanwhile, the gap between Amy Masner and the following string of ladies (Donna McLoughlin, Joanne Curran, Fran McFadden and Helena Dornan) was close to eight minutes. Although the leaders remained the same through the half way point, the chasing packs began to faulter; the always impressive but on this ocassion, tired Nicki McPeake withdrew at 21 miles with cramp, while a similar situation was playing out in the ladies race, with AAI 24 hour Champion Donna McLoughlin dropping a significant amount of time (and places) because of fatigue.
The turning point (approximately 27 miles) brought more change; Amy Masner was starting to tire, and with Donna McLoughlin already out of the picture, it was local ladies Joanne Curran and Fran McFadden who stepped up to the mark. The duo, both of whom are experienced and well respected athletes, looked strong as they headed back towards Portballintrae and the impending finish.
In the men's race, it was now apparent that Stanley Topalian had the strength to hold his early pace, the newcomer to ultra-running was increasingly looking like the eventual winner – this became a certainty when the Scottish athlete powered through the 32 mile aid station looking composed. Martin Rea followed, while Tim Brownlie, an athlete well known for coming through the field, had worked himself into third place. Mark Hudson, Jonathan Gibson and Matthew Hewitt were also running well.
There was no stopping Stanley Topalian as the race reached the final stages and before long the talented mountain runner was working his way up the final climb towards the finish. He moved quickly into the final straight, crossing the line in 5:41:32 (1st place). Irish International Martin Rea finished well, following up his recent win at the Titanic 50k with a runners up spot, after securing 2nd place in 5:44:17. Tim Brownlie, accompanied by his young daughter, completed the top three in 5:50:17 (3rd place).
The ladies race brought an exciting finish and saw Joanne Curran reap the rewards of a well paced run; Joanne cruised into the finish to win in 6:34:59 (1st place). Fran McFadded claimed 2nd place in 6:38:29, while Amy Masner held on to take 3rd place in 6:41:05. These impressive finish times ensured that the ladies took 11th place, 12th place and 13th place respectively.
The Marathon event started in Portballintrae and took competitors along the coast to Ballintoy, where they turned and made their way back towards the atmospheric finish in Portballintrae, where they had began their journey.
Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), a third place finisher in this event last year (2013), looked intent on improving on that position. The 26.2 mile specialist started quickly; this relentless pace saw him lead the way through 7 miles, with Dale Corbett (Springwell Running Club), Pat O'Hare (Unattached), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC) and Mark McManus (East Coast AC) all in tow. In the ladies race, Claire McBride (Unattached) was putting in a classy performance. Looking calm and composed, Claire moved through Dunseverick quickly, with a sizable gap between herself and Helen Cassidy (Unattached), Carrie Stewart (Unattached) and Ballymena Runners pair Janice White and Naula McLoughlin.
Going through the half way point at Larrybane Quarry, both Chris and Claire remained in control. Dale Corbett had dropped off the pace, allowing Pat O'Hare and Phelim McAllister to take up podium places as they made their way back towards Portballintrae. Claire McBride, Helen Cassidy and Carrie Stewart reached the turning point in the same positions, but that was not the case as the ladies re-traced their steps along the coastline and through the Giants Causeway. Janice White and Naula McLoughlin gradually forced their way into contention and as the race moved towards the final stages, the pair moved into the podium spots, with Helen and Carrie relinquishing their positions.
In the end, it was Chris Denton who reached the finish line first; having negotiated the 'boards' in the final mile, he crested the final hill and broke the tape in 3:29:29 (1st place). Pat O'Hare crossed the line in 3:35:01 (2nd place), before Phelim McAllister reached the scenic finish area in 3:40:48 (3rd place). Unsurprisingly, but deservedly, Claire McBride led the ladies home after leading from the early stages; Claire finished in 4:23:47 (1st place). Rathlin 10 mile winner Janice White, covered the undulating 26.2 mile course in 4:36:04 (2nd place), just over ten minutes ahead of her friend Naula McLoughlin, who clocked 4:46:59 (3rd place).
Nearly four hundred athletes took part in the Half Marathon, during which, athletes completed a section of the Causeway Coast Way between Ballintoy and Portballintrae.
The in-form Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) was a dominant force throughout, dictating the pace from early on. Alongside Mark, Wayne Morrow (Larne AC), Peter Cromie (Unattached), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) and David Turtle (Seapark AC), ensured that the race proved to be one of the closest of the day. Mark McKinstry burst into the finishing straight to loud cheers from onlookers, crossing the line in 1:26:51. Behind, just ten seconds split Wayne Morrow and 2013 podium finisher Peter Cromie, with Wayne taking 2nd place in 1:29:44 and Peter securing 3rd place in 1:29:54.
Reigning ladies Champion Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) returned to defend her title as expected, and on doing so, produced one of the most impressive performances of the day. Karen completed the 13.1 mile course in 1:34:56 (1st place); this was not only enough to secure the ladies title, but saw the international athlete take 6th place overall. Springwell Running Club's Nicola Frizelle was the next athlete home in 1:48:35 (2nd place), while Lagan Valley AC lady Julie Murphy continued what has been a good year with another prize-winning performance. Julie crossed the line in 1:49:29 for 3rd place.
The final race of the day was the 10k; the short and sharp event started at Dunseverick and finished at the atmospheric Portballintrae (the finishing place for all the races), passing through the Giants Causeway en-route.
Interestingly, it was the two runners up from 2013 who stole the headlines. In the men's event, Andrew MacLaine (Unattached) knocked nearly three minutes off his time from twelve months ago (43:35) when he sealed an excellent win in 40:33 (1st place). As the masses from all of the concurrent events began to descend on Portballintrae, Adam Wilson (Unattached) crossed the line in 40:48, a mere five seconds ahead of Andrew McMurray (Unattached), who recorded 40:53 for 3rd place.
The ladies race brought Springwell Running Club athletes Sonia Knox and Gemma Turley together and despite having to settle for the runners up prize last year, it was Sonia who gained the upper hand here. The Nissan Coleraine 5 mile winner secured victory in 43:41 (1st place), with Gemma following in 45:00 (2nd place). Rathlin Run 5k podium finisher Jade Hegarty (Unattached) completed the the ladies top three in 50:08 (3rd place).
Men: 1st Stanley Topalian (Westerlands AC) – 5:41:32. 2nd Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) – 5:44:17, 3rd Tim Brownlee (Unattached) - 5:50:17
Ladies: 1st Joanne Curran (BARF) – 6:34:59, 2nd Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) – 6:38:29, 3rd Amy Masner (Unattached) – 6:41:05
Men: 1st Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) – 3:29:29, 2nd Pat O'Hare (Unattached) – 3:35:01, 3rd Phelim McAllister (Larne AC) – 3:40:48
Ladies: 1st Claire McBride (Unattached) - 4:23:47, 2nd Janice White (Ballymena Runners) – 4:36:04, 3rd Nuala McLoughlin (Ballymena Runners) – 4:46:59
Men: 1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 1.26:51, 2nd Wayne Morrow (Larne AC) – 1:29:44, 3rd Peter Cromie (Unattached) - 1.29.54
Ladies: 1st Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 1:34:56, 2nd Nicola Frizzelle (Springwell Running Club) – 1:48:35, 3rd Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:49:29
Men: 1st Andrew MacLaine (Unattached) – 40:33, 2nd Adam Wilson (Unattached) – 40:48, 3rd Andrew McMurray (Unattached) – 40:53
Ladies: 1st Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club) – 43:41, 2nd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 45:00, 3rd Jade Hegarty (Unattached) – 50:08
Provisional Results: 26extreme Causeway Coast 2014 Results
Aurora Bangor 10k 2014:
On Saturday 27th September 2014, nearly seven hundred athletes brought Bangor Town Centre to a standstill as they took on the popular Aurora Bangor 10k in County Down.
As the seemingly endless stream of runners sped downhill towards the Town Centre, there was a break at the front, this group included Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC), Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders), Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) and Brendan Teer (East Down AC).
However, as the race progressed, it was Waterside Half Marathon winner Gary Murray who gained control, before leading the field home in 30:29 (1st place). Dublin Marathon bound Eddie McGinley followed in 31:29 (2nd place), while Brendan Teer just edged out Brian Campbell (4th place – 32:18) to take 3rd place in 32:16.
In the absence of pre-race favourite Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers), it was another North Belfast Harriers lady who took up position at the head of the pack. Louise Smith, a podium finisher at the Belfast City Marathon, continued her recent good form to take top honours in 37:56 (1st place). Cathy McCourt continued the NBH dominance when she crossed the line exactly one minute later in 38:56 (2nd place), before current Donegal Masters XC Champion Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) completed the ladies top three in 39:14 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) – 30:29, 2nd Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 31:29, 3rd Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 32:16
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 37:56, 2nd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:56, 3rd Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) – 39:14
Full Results: Bangor 10k 2014 Results
Weekend Preview: Bangor 10k and Causeway Coast Series take centre stage:
As we approach another weekend, a quick glance at the official Athletics NI fixtures calendar would suggest that it’s a pretty quiet one compared to what we have come accustomed to over the summer months.
However, the two major events scheduled to take place, the Bangor 10k and the 26extreme Causeway Coast Marathon Series will attract close to 2,000 competitors between them, which almost certainly guarantees an excellent weekend of action. There is also an event in Derry/L'Derry and athletes from Northern Ireland will also travel to Germany for the Berlin Marathon.
Before looking at the aforementioned events, it is important to note that any club wishing to enter a team in the Athletics NI (Road) Relay Championships on Saturday 4th October 2014, MUST register before midnight tonight (Friday 26th September 2014). Absolutely no team entries or amendments will be accepted after this – Please visit HERE for full details.
On Saturday 27th September 2014, North Down AC will host their annual Aurora Bangor 10k in County Down. The popular event has attracted over six hundred pre-entries and hundreds more are expected to enter at official registration nights, which are being held at the newly constructed Aurora Leisure Complex.
The first of these took place last night (Thursday 25th September 2014) and there will also be another opportunity to register tonight (Friday 26th September 2014 - 5pm to 8pm). Although ‘on the day’ entry is available (from 9am), prospective participants are encouraged to enter before race day.
At the head of the pack, Annadale Striders’ Eddie McGinley will prove hard to beat. The NI & Ulster 5,000m and Athletics NI Half Marathon Champion will go into the race as favourite, especially after his excellent performance at the Belfast City Half Marathon, where he finished a very close second to Kenya’s Freddy Sittuk in 1:07:34. Foyle Valley AC’s Keith Shiels was due to race but has had to withdraw, this may mean that Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) and Dennis Scott (North Down AC) contest the final podium places. All four are extremely talented athletes and possess the quality to win any race on their day; for example, Brendan has won no less than thirteen races this year so far, with the most recent being the Mill Hill Mile earlier this month (September 2014). Brian and Keith both had excellent runs at the Belfast City Half Marathon, with Keith taking third place behind the aforementioned Eddie McGinley. Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) and Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers) may also compete.
The ladies race will bring North Belfast Harriers duo Gladys Ganiel O’Neill and Cathy McCourt together in an interesting head to head. Although Commonwealth Games competitor and winner of this months Belfast City Half Marathon will go into the race high in confidence, she isn’t the kind of athlete to take things for granted and will know a quality performance is required to see off Cathy. Cathy suffered a fall at the Laganside 10k at the beginning of this month (September 2014), but has returned to action since, claiming a category win at the Flatline Half Marathon in Ireland (in a time of 1:26:55). The Irish international XC star will be hoping to show the same kind of form that has saw her win events in Ballymena (Ballymena Belles 5), Mallusk (Mallusk 5), Dervock (KKMcA Half Marathon) and Ballymoney (Milk Run) since returning from injury earlier this year (2014).
Finn Valley AC’s Helen Stockdale is another definite starter and after picking up multiple medals at the NIMAA Track & Field Championships less than four weeks ago, there’s a fair chance that Helen will be one of a number of athletes with the final podium place in their sights. This may also include the in-form Heather Foley (Unattached), Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers), Jenny Black (Orangegrove AC), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners) and Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC).
26extreme Causeway Coast Marathon Series:
Also on Saturday 27th September 2014, thousands of athletes will descend on the North Coast and the area around the Giants Causeway for the 26extreme Causeway Coast Marathon Series. The event will offer competitors a variety of races, including a 40 mile Ultra, a Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k, all of which will cover extremely scenic courses.
The action will kick off at 7.15am when nearly one hundred hardy ultra-runners begin their 40 mile 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!
In what should be one of the most interesting races of the day, Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club), Tim Brownlie (Unattached), Ronald Peacock (Unattached), Dominic McInerney (Unattached), Geoff Smyth (Unattached) and Stephen Wallace (Unattached) will all be hoping for podium places.
Belfast man and Irish international ultra-runner Martin Rea returned to competition recently and stamped his authority on the local scene with an excellent outing at the Titanic 50k, where he claimed victory by five minutes. If Martin is in top form, he will be a podium finisher, if not the winner! Another man who may challenge for top honours is experienced distance runner Tim Brownlie; Tim won the Titanic 100k earlier this month and completed the Energia 24 hour race back in July (2014). Nicki McPeake, a podium finisher here last year, continues to build his reputation as a strong and competent ultra-runner; just last month, Nicki put in a top class performance in the CCC race at the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) Festival in Chamonix, France. Dominic McInerney and Stephen Wallace were also racing at the UTMB, with Dominic completing the TDS and Stephen the full UTMB race. Ron Peacock and Geoff Smyth have previously performed well over this kind of distance and should not be ruled out. Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC), Mark King (Newcastle AC) and Sean Goodman (Newry City Runners) should all run well.
The ladies Ultra race may not be just as 'stacked' but should provide an interesting spectacle all the same. The always impressive Joanne Curran (BARF), who won the Titanic 50k three weeks ago, looks like the stand out athlete. However, Joanne will have to fend off the challenge of the likes of Sarah Pinkerton (Unattached) - Last year, Sarah ran 5:13:30 for 42k at the Enigma Three Lakes Challenge in England. Consistent runners Christine Newbury (Liverpool Running Club) and Amy Magner (Unattached) will also be worth watching as the race progresses.
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 bring a number of talented athletes to the start line, Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC), David Gamble (Unattached), Mark McManus (East Coast AC) and Stephen Purvis (Ballymena Runners) are just a few of these. Chris Denton is well known for his road speed, the 2:47:58 marathon runner, who is a regular 'official' pacer at marathon events has enjoyed a good year, with top ten finishes at the Cookstown Half Marathon, Ards Half Marathon and the Donadea 50 (inc AAI Ultra Championships). Another athlete who will be at the head of the field is Noel Brick; Noel was runner up at the Lost World’s 100k last year (May 2013) and also previous competitor at the Energia 24 hour race where he exceeded the 100 mile mark in 2013.
Phelim McAllister is always worth watching, especially over long hilly courses, which pretty much sums this route up. The Larne AC man has clocked personal bests over the marathon (2:57:28) and half marathon (1:20:31) this year and will be going into this race high in confidence. Fellow Larne based athlete Mark McManus will continue his build up to the upcoming Mourne Skyline MTR in October (2014) and should play a part at the head of the pack, as will David Gamble and Stephen Purvis. Seapark AC pair Bobbie Irvine and Gary Connolly.
The ladies Marathon is a wide open event; although Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Brenda Miere (Unattached) and Janice White (Ballymena Runners) would appear to be the most obvious choices if we had to pick a winner. Gillian Cordner has continued to establish herself as one of the provinces top long distance athletes and having produced several classy runs this year, which included an overall victory at the 'Quadrathon' in Ireland, she (Gillian) will have high hopes going into this event. However, having completed the Great Barrow Challenge 10 marathons in 10 days event a few weeks ago, it'll be interesting to see if Gillian is suffering any ill effects. Brenda Miere is a former winner of the Energia 24 hour race, so has proven calibre, while Janice White secured top spot at the Rathlin Run last month (August 2014). Newry City Runners' Anne Havern will also finish in our around the podium places.
Participants also have the choice of the 13.1 mile Half Marathon (12.30pm); which will see the athlete’s race from Ballintoy to Portballintrae. The in-form Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) is the one to watch here. After quality outings and wins at the Active Antrim 5 mile road race and the more recent Run N' the Bann 5k, it is hard to look past the ever improving athlete, who has secured no less than thirteen podium places this year.
Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) and Wayne Morrow (Larne AC) will also be chasing prizes, and we would expect both to be contenders. Alan is a regular prize-winner at local events, while Wayne narrowly missed a podium place at 26extreme's Mourne Way 10k in June (2014), so he'll be hoping to overturn that here. Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC), Martin Cox (North Belfast Harriers), David Gamble (Seapark AC), Dan Spencer (East Coast AC) and Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers) will all finish well up the field.
In truth, it's difficult to look beyond Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) in the ladies Half Marathon start list; the international athlete had an impressive run at the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Austria a few week's ago, this followed a win over the half marathon distance in the same area (of Austria) a month earlier.
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) and Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers). Both ladies are also experienced over the trails and will chase Karen all the way. Parkrun regular Julie Murphy has won the Castleward Half Marathon, Minnowburn 10k and Loughshore 10k and placed well at the NI & Ulster Masters XC Championships so far this year. Meanwhile, Helen Weir always seems to produce the goods off-road; her most noteable outing in 2014 has been a win at the Carlingford Half Marathon. Linda Gillen (Springwell Running Club), Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC), Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC) and Melanie Minshull (City of Lisburn AC) will all finish well up the field.
The 10k race, which starts close to Dunseverick (at 2.30pm) and takes competitors along the coastal path to the finish at Portballintrae, will include the likes of Martan Keane (Larne AC), Murray Deller (East Coast AC), Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club), Jade Hegarty (Unattached), Julie-Ann Keane (Larne AC) and Rhonda Brady (Larne AC).
In Derry/Londonderry on Sunday 28th September 2014, a mixture of experienced club runners and exercise enthusiasts will turn out for the Paddy Friel Curran Memorial 10k, which will kick off at the Foyle Marina at 10am. Local clubs City of Derry AC, Foyle Valley AC and Pulse Running Club will be amongst those represented in the Council organised event.
Further afield, on Sunday 28th September 2014, a number of Northern Ireland based runners will travel to Germany for the 41st annual BMW Berlin Marathon, a course which is well known to be the fastest marathon route in the world; in fact, Kenyan athlete Wilson Kipsang's current world record of 2:03:23 was set on this route last year (2013). Alwyn McKee (Dromore AC) and Heather Baxter (Larne AC) are two local athletes named on the entry list, but we expect that there will be several more familiar faces lining up to race.
Northern Ireland’s nineteen parkrun events will also take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.
Comber Cup will kick off the 2014/15 XC League:
As it enters its fourth year the Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League is set to grow once again with an additional fixture taking the total to nine in 2014/15.
The relaunched Comber Cup organised by Ballydrain Harriers has been incorporated into this year's League following the submission of a comprehensive proposal to the Athletics NI Cross Country Committee.
The League has contributed significantly to the increase in both participation and interest in cross country running across Northern Ireland with larger fields turning out for races each year.
The scoring system, with points for both performance and participation, has been changed with all teams now consisting of four runners. There will be a unified scoring system across eight of the league fixtures with double points on offer at the NI and Ulster Senior Cross Country Championships.
Full details of how the points awarded for performance and participation will be scored are available at www.athleticsni.org/events
Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League Fixtures 2013-2014:
Saturday 11th October 2014: Comber Cup Cross Country - Castlereagh
Saturday 25th October 2014: Bobby Rea Cross Country - Jordanstown
Saturday 1st November 2014: Springwell Cross Country - Coleraine
Saturday 8th November 2014: McConnell Shield - Ballyclare
Saturday 6th December 2014: Malcolm Cup - Ballyclare
Saturday 20th December 2014: North West Cross Country - L'Derry
Saturday 24th January 2015: Enniskillen Cross Country - Irvinestown
Saturday 14th February 2015: NI & Ulster Senior Cross Country Championships - Lurgan
Saturday 28th February 2015: Stormont Cross Country - Belfast
Felix 10k Road Race 2014:
Last Saturday (20th September 2014), hundreds of athletes descended on the County Tyrone town of Dungannon for the 10th annual running of the Felix 10k road race. In good running conditions, spectators were treated to an excellent display of running.
In the men's race, Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) and Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers), battled it out at the front for nearly the entire 6.2 mile route. The men went through the half way marker side by side in just over fifteen minutes and despite a number of efforts by the pair, it wasn't until the closing metres that the eventual winner became apparent; in the end, it was current NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion Stephen Duncan who assumed control, winning in 31:42 (1st place). Keith followed in 31:48 (2nd place), before Donal Gallagher (Unattached) just pipped Delfim Pimental (Unattached) to 3rd place, after recording 35:05.
The ladies race didn't prove to be just as close; however, that takes nothing away from the brilliant Heather Foley (Unattached), who showed no signs of fatigue from prize winning performances at the Belfast City Half Marathon and the Bessbrook last Sunday (14th September 2014), when she broke the tape in 37:55 (1st place). Up and coming prospect, Charlene Abraham (Unattached) secured the runners up prize in 39:34 (2nd place), while Sperrin Harriers' Pauline McGurren took 3rd place in 42:25.
Top 3 Men: 1st Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) - 31:42, 2nd Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) - 31:48, 3rd Donal Gallagher (Unattached) - 35:05
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Heather Foley (Unattached) - 37:55, 2nd Charlene Abraham (Unattached) - 39:34, 3rd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) - 42:25
Full Results: TBC
British Mountain Running Championships 2014:
After what was a busy and exciting weekend for Northern Ireland's mountain running fraternity, there was further good news for local runners when the Fell Running Association (FRA) released the final standings of the British Mountain Running Championships 2014; the four race series included events in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.
City of Derry AC star Allan Bogle was the highest placed local athlete, finishing in a brilliant 6th place; this was just rewards following top ten places at the 'Dollar' and 'Maesgym Muddle' races and a win at the Slieve Donard Challenge. Fellow Northern Ireland international Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) finished in 11th place, while the always impressive Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) took 15th place overall. Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley Fell Runners), another consistent performer, also placed well in 31st place.
The high placings for the Northern Ireland men bodes well for future international events. On a local front, the NIMRA season will come to a close next month (October) with the Slieve Gallion Mountain Race on Saturday 4th October 2014 and then our very own Mourne Skyline 'GTR' and 'MTR' races on Friday 17th October and Saturday 18th October 2014 respectively.
Mourne Mountain Marathon 2014:
Over the course of the weekend (Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st September 2014), hundreds of hardy mountain runners took on the gruelling (and well organised) Mourne Mountain Marathon, a two day event which saw competitors compete in teams of two over various distances.
Shane Lynch (Cork Orienteering Club) won the 45k event here last year (2013) with partner Jonny Kendall (Unattached), but this time around, Shane joined forces with friend Marcus Pinker (Cork Orienteering Club), and the men looked like a strong pair in the 'elite class', which covered 55k. After Day 1, the talented pairing led from Newcastle AC men David Steele and Deon McNeilly. On Day 2, Shane and Marcus further increased the gap between themselves and the chasing field, before crossing the finish line in an overall time of 9:22:42 (1st place). Deon and David followed in 9:41:17 (2nd place); Alex McVey (Unattached) and John Ryan (Unattached) took 3rd place in 10:14:36.
Will Spain (Unattached) and Lucy Spain (Unattached) were the first 'Mixed' team to finish, recording 11:27:14 (6th place), while Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners) and Jim McCormick (North Belfast Harriers) picked up the 'Male Vet' prize in 13:39:47 (8th place). Experienced international athletes Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) secured top spot in the ladies category, after completing the two event in 16:29:28 (12th place).
Kevin O'Boyle (Curragh-Naas Orienteering Club) and Conor Short (Curragh-Naas Orienteering Club) followed on from their win over 35k in 2013, adding the 45k title to the CV – The duo looked strong from the off and had a nine minute lead going into Day 2. Despite finishing second fastest on Day, Kevin and Conor still done enough to win in an overall time of 7:04:09 (1st place). Alasdair McCallum (Unattached) and Tommy Begley (Unattached) moved up through the field in the latter stages of Day 2 to win the 'Male Vet' prize in 8:59:13 (4th place). In the 'Mixed' team category, Nigel McKernan (Unattached) and Linda O'Connor (Unattached) crossed the line in 9:21:00 (7th place), therefore taking top spot. Helen Flanagan (Unattached) and Louise Anderson (Unattached) won the ladies race in 14:32:05 (20th place).
The 35k 'C' and 'D' categories brought eighty four teams to the start line; in the 'C' race, LVO runners Ivan Millar and James Millar (3:47:13) were first to the campsite on Day 1, with a mere six seconds separating them and two more Unattached athletes, Eamonn McMahon and Steve Reenan (3:47:19). However, on Day 2, Ivan and James broke clear to win in an overal time of 6:52:02 (1st place).
Eamon and Steve followed in 7:19:59 (2nd place), which secured the 'Male Vet' title. Regina Kelly (Curragh-Naas Orienteering Club) and Ruth Lynam (Curragh-Naas Orienteering Club) took the ladies top prize in 8:26:34 (7th place), while Keith Adams (Unattached) and Noleen Ryan (Unattached) won the 'Mixed' category in 8:49:00 (11th place).
Connor McSwiggan (Unattached) and David Hicks (Unattached) topped the 'D' race (also 35k) final standings after covering the route in 8:04:55 (1st place). Brian Andrews (Unattached) and Earl Jess (Unattached) finished in 8:22:20 (3rd place), which was enough to win the 'Male Vet' category.
The 'Mixed' team award went to Jamie Aarons (Unattached) and Andy Taylor (Unattached), after the the pairing clocked 8:51:34 (6th place). The ladies race turned out to be a close affair, but it was Unattached athletes Joanne McCandless and Rebecca Sylvest (9th place – 9:32:27) who edged out Catriona Reid and Ailsa Armstrong 9:32:58 (10th place) by just thirty one seconds over the course of two days. Catriona (Unattached) and Ailsa (Unattached) also collected a prize, after topping the 'Ladies Vet' standings.
British & Irish Junior Home International 2014:
On Saturday 20th September 2014, a strong Northern Ireland junior mountain running team were in action at the British and Irish Junior 'Home International 2014' in Glendalough, County Wicklow. The event took place over the ‘Camaderry’ course which hosted the prestigious competition in 2009. The route, which varied in distance and elevation for each age group was mainly forest tracks, accompanied by sections of open mountain along grassy paths.
In the Under 20 men's race, which covered 6.7k in distance (incorporating 338m of ascent), Ballydrain Harriers' Paul Pruzina claimed 14th place after covering the route in 30:21. The race was won by Welsh athlete Iola Hughes in 26:41 (1st place). In the ladies equivalent (Under 20 race), which measured 5.6k (incorporating 314m in ascent), Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC) and Olivia Brown (Ballydrain Harriers) crossed the line in 35:06 (17th place) and 36:00 (18th place) respectively. The race was won by Louise Mercer (Scotland) in 26:43 (1st place).
No less than five Northern Ireland team members took part in the Under 17 race, which covered 5.6k with 314m of ascent. Springwell Running Club athlete Oisin Brennan was in top form, leading the team home in 25:43 (11th place). Ballydrain Harriers duo Aaron Harrison (21st place – 28:41) and Scott McKeag (22nd place – 28:45) followed in close proximity, before Joao Pimental (Sperrin Harriers) crossed the line in 31:14 (25th place). Eoghan Knight (Newcastle AC) completed the Northern Ireland contingent in 32:54 (26th place). The race was won by Scottish runner Tristan rees in 23:56 (1st place). In the team standings, Northern Ireland finished in 5th place, with Scotland taking top spot.
The Under 15 race brought great success for Northern Ireland athletes, with Omagh Harriers' Cathair Donnelly and Ballydrain Harriers' Joel Harrison claiming podium places. Cathair secured top honours having completed the 3.5k course (which incorporated 135m of ascent) in 15:02 (1st place); his team mate Joel clocked 17:09 for 3rd place.
In the overall team standings for the competition, Northern Ireland finished in 5th place. England won the over title, meaning they collected 'The City of Edinburgh' Trophy.
Full Results: British & Irish Junior Home International 2014 Results (Photo above of Oisin Brennan was taken from the Springwell Running Club facebook page)
Local athletes perform well in Ireland:
Over the course of the weekend (Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st September 2014) athletes from Northern Ireland have been in action at Half Marathon event in Ireland, namely the Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon and the Charleville International Half Marathon.
In Dublin on Saturday 20th September 2014, a number of local runners produced quality performances at the Airticity Dublin Marathon, an event which took place with then confines of Phoenix Park. Wayne Morrow (Larne AC), Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC) and Stephen Walker (North Belfast Harriers) all ran well, finishing well up the field, which contained well over 6,000 finishers. Wayne recorded 1:19:40 (57th place), while Mark and Stephen crossed the line in 1:20:09 (62nd place) and 1:20:26 (66th place) respectively. The race was won by Clonliffe Harriers' Gary O'Hanlon in 1:09:43 (1st place).
Meanwhile, today (Sunday 21st September 2014), in Charleville, between Cork and Limerick, Annadale Striders' Paddy Hamilton and City of Derry AC's Greg Roberts joined a talented field at the Charleville International Half Marathon. Paddy narrowly missed a podium spot when he took 4th place in 1:06:28, with Greg following just under three minutes later in 1:09:15 (7th place). Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers) won the race in 1:03:56 (1st place).
Boom Foundation 10k raises money for local charity:
On Saturday 20th September 2014, Springwell Running Club welcomed athletes from across the province to the 'Boom 10k', an event primarily organised to raise funds for 'the Boom Foundation', but which attracted several well-known athletes.
At the head of the pack, there was an interesting three way battle between Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC), Rhodri Jones (Springwell Running Club) and Kevin O'Boyle (Ballymena Runners). In the end, it was City of Derry AC Saprtan Mark Mullan who broke the tape first, after recording 35:31. Triathlete Rhodri Jones took 2nd place in 35:44, while Kevin O'Boyle followed eleven seconds later in 35:55 for 3rd place.
The ladies race brought a clean sweep for the host club, Springwell Running Club. Pre-race favourite Gemma Turley put in a classy performance to lead the purple vests home in 39:45 (1st place). The fast improving Suzanne Arbuthnot crossed the line in 42:03 (2nd place), before Karen McLaughlin completed the ladies top three in 42:16 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC) – 35:31, 2nd Rhodri Jones (Springwell Running Club) – 35:44, 3rd Kevin O'Boyle (Ballymena Runners) – 35:55
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 39:45, 2nd Suzanne Arbuthnot (Springwell Running Club) – 42:03, 3rd Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) – 42:16
Full Results: Boom 10k 2014 Results
Slemish Half Marathon and 10k 2014:
On Saturday 20th September 2014, hundreds of athletes and spectators turned out for the Slemish Challenge in Ballymena. The event, which was hosted by the North West Mountain Rescure Team (NWMRT) in conjuction with Ballymena Runners, offered competitiors the choice of 10k or 13.1 mile routes.
Well-known and respected athlete David Simpson (Unattached) returned to action on the local scene and went on to produce the performance of the day. David, who interestingly, was part of the Queen's baton relay team, negotiated the gruelling course with apparent ease, winning in 1:19:01 (1st place). Local man Peter Fleming (Ballymena Runners), a pacer at last weeks Belfast City Half Marathon, took 2nd place in 1:32:43, before Robin Montgomery (Unattached) crossed the line in 1:35:22 (3rd place).
In the ladies 13.1 miles race, Unattached athlete Lynda Shannon replicated the dominance shown by her male counterpart David Simpson. After leading from the early stages, Lynda claimed top honours in 1:51:28 (1st place). Bronach McAuley (Unattached) also ran well, taking the runners up spot in 1:58:37 (2nd place), while Francis Gault (Unattached) secured the final podium place in 2:06:46 (3rd place).
The 10k race was also run over a tough course, which seemed to suit the always impressive Ballymena Runners athlete Noel Connor (pictured above). Noel, who has been running well of late, recorded 1:32:42 for the distance, which was enough to see him take 1st place. Fellow Ballymena Runners man Connor Reid followed in 38:29 (2nd place), just over a minute ahead of Frazer Howe (Unattached), who finished in 39:46 (3rd place).
Martine Hamill enjoyed an excellent run in the ladies 10k, leading the field home in 48:31 (1st place). County Antrim Harriers' Jane Kinnear followed on from an impressive outing at the Kilbride 10k with another highly placed finish; Jane took 2nd place in 50:28, finishing just ahead of Sperrin Harriers' Ciara Coyle who clocked 50:54 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st David Simpson (Unattached) – 1:19:01, 2nd Peter Fleming (Ballymena Runners) – 1:32:43, 3rd Robin Montgomery (Unattached) – 1:35:22
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Lynda Shannon (Unattached) – 1:51:28, 2nd Bronach McAuley (Unattached) – 1:58:37, 3rd Francis Gault (Unattached) – 2:06:46
Top 3 Men: 1st Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners) – 37:30, 2nd Connor Reid (Ballymena Runners) – 38:29, 3rd Frazer Howe (Unattached) – 39:46
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Martine Hamill (Unattached) – 48:31, 2nd Jane Kinnear (County Antrim Harriers) – 50:28, 3rd Ciara Coyle (Sperrin Harriers) – 50:54
Weekend Preview: Athletes set for local, national and international events...
Last week saw thousands of runners take to the streets of Northern Ireland for a number of high profile events, none more so than the Belfast City Half Marathon and the record breaking Waterside Half Marathon. In total, the two events attracted approximately 5,700 entrants.
This week, the distances and probably the participation levels will drop. However, that will not take anything away from the competitive end of the field, where a win, podium place or category prize will mean just as much. There are events in Ballymena, Coleraine, Dungannon and Newcastle while athletes from Northern Ireland will also be competing in Ireland.
On Saturday 20th September 2014, athletes from across the province will descend on Dungannon, County Tyrone, for the annual Felix 10k road race. Surprisingly, given the hilly profile of the town, this course is touted to be relatively fast and therefore attracts quite a competitive field.
Reigning Champion Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) will return to defend his title; after several months of injury woes, the Foyle Valley AC man appears to be back on form after recent outings at local 5k races. However, he’ll have to be in race shape if he wants to see off City of Derry AC’s Chris McPeake who has enjoyed victories at the Ballinderry Bridge 10k and the Keith Reid 10k. The aforementioned duo could be joined on the start line by the likes of Erin McDaid (Sperrin Harriers), Donal Gallagher (Unattached), Gary Henderson (Armagh AC), Delfim Pimentel (Unattached), Aidan O’Hagan (Acorns AC) and Bliadhan Glass (Acrons AC).
In the ladies race, Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) may make a long awaited return to the roads. Following a time out through injury, the Northern Ireland international produced an excellent performance at the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) Masters Championships, and followed that up with a win at the ‘Fallows’ mountain race. Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), a podium placer last year and winner of the Ballymena Belles 5 mile, Mallusk 5 mile and Dervock Half Marathon road races (amongst others) already this year, should also play a part at the head of the field. Heather Foley (Unattached) ran well here in 2013, but is unlikely to feature after picking up prizes at both the Belfast City Half Marathon and Bessbrook 10k last Sunday (14th September 2014). Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Jacqueline Mulligan (Acorns AC) may also enter on the day.
In Coleraine, on Saturday 20th September 2014, the well organised and always welcoming Springwell Running Club will host the ‘Boom Coleraine 10k’ in the North Coast town of Coleraine in County Derry/Londonderry.
The event is primarily aimed at raising funds for charity, but should attract several well known athletes. One man who will definitely start in Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC); Aaron secured a top ten place at the Waterside Half Marathon, which follows on from runners up places at Magherafelt Harriers 10K, Ballinderry 10k and Maghera 10k. Richard Johnson (Ballymena Runners) and Springwell Running Club men Neil Johnston, Luke Dinsmore and Stephen Joyce will also finish well up the field.
It is likely that the host club (Springwell Running Club) will also be well represented in the ladies race, with Sonia Knox, winner of the Coleraine 5 mile road race, the most likely candidate to pick up the top prize. Club mates Gemma Turley, Catherine Pinkerton-Moore and Caroline Irwin will also be hunting good finish times. Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) and Rathlin Run 2014 podium finishers Janice White (Ballymena Runners) and Jade Hegarty (Unattached) should also be in our around the top places.
On Saturday 20th September 2014, the North West Mountain Rescue Team (NWMRT) will host the Slemish Challenge Half Marathon and 10k race in conjunction with Ballymena Runners on the outskirts of Ballymena, County Antrim.
Ballymena Runners' Alex Brennan will hope that he can show the same kind of form that has seen him collect several prizes over the last four weeks, this included wins at the Twin Peaks and Glenullin races, and podium spots at the Coleraine 5 mile, Downhill Demesne, Lurig Challenge and just last week, at the Fallows mountain race. The Ballymena mans club mates, Matthew McCooke, Kevin O'Boyle, Ben Morrow and Peter Fleming may also race; Larne AC's Andy Gregg could also start. Like the mens event, there is little information to work off, but we would expect Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) and Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners) to be amongst the leading ladies.
Further afield on Saturday 20th September 2014, a large number of runners from Northern Ireland are expected to take part in the penultimate race of the Airtricity Dublin Marathon Series in Dublin (Ireland), the Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon.
The race, which takes place within the confines of Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s largest inner-city landscapes, is always popular with local athletes, especially those gearing up for the main event, the 26.2 mile Airtricity Dublin Marathon on Monday 27th October 2014. Belfast Half Marathon runner up Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) may turn out as he continues his build up to the main event (Airtricity Dublin Marathon) in five weeks time. Annadale Striders' Paddy Hamilton (pictured left), who is also looking ahead to the 26.2 mile race, will opt for the Charlesville International Half Marathon on Sunday (21st September 2014), but Eddie may be joined byNorth Belfast Harriers' athletes Martin Rea, Jim Benson, Stephen Walker and Breege Connolly may also participate.
Also in Ireland on Saturday 20th September 2014, a strong Northern Ireland junior mountain running team head south to Glendalough, County Wicklow, for the British and Irish Junior Home International 2014. The event will take place over the ‘Camaderry’ course which was also used for the prestigious competition in 2009. The route, which will vary in distance and elevation for each age group (see details below), is mainly forest tracks, accompanied by sections of open mountain along grassy paths; the 'runable’ course will be conducive to fast times.
Along with the hosts Ireland, there will also be representatives and teams from England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland. The athletes representing Northern Ireland are Paul Pruzina (Ballydrain Harriers), Olivia Brown (Ballydrain Harriers), Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC), Scott McKeag (Ballydrain Harriers), Aaron Harrison (Ballydrain Harriers), Oisin Brennan (Springwell Running Club), Glenn Grainger (Newcastle AC), Eoghan Knight (Newcastle AC), Joao Pimmental (Sperrin Harriers) and Joel Harrison (Ballydrain Harriers).
This weekend (Saturday 20th September and Sunday 21st September 2014) will also see a group of hardy mountain runners complete the two day Mourne Mountain Marathon in the Mourne Mountains, County Down.
This will be the 35th annual running of the gruelling two day event starts and finishes at the Killowen Outdoor Education Centre, Rostrevor 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. On glancing at the entry list, the teams of Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – David Steele (Newcastle AC), Taryn McCoy (BARF) – Richard Nunan (Unatatached) and Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners) – Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) look like the main contenders in their categories over the 'elite' 55k route.
On Sunday 21st September 2014, the East Antrim Marathon Series organisers will host another of their popular 26.2 mile events. On this ocassion, athletes will negotiate a tough course on the roads around Greenisland and the Knockagh Monument. Amongst the field will be Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC), who will be competing in his 50th 26.2 mile event; Sean Nickell (Unattached), Craig Mills (Unattached), Peter Montgomery (Unattached), Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners), Darren Warnock (Sperrin Harriers), Eamonn Sheehan (Sperrin Harriers) and Iryna Kennedy (Lagan Valley AC).
Northern Ireland’s nineteen parkrun events will also take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.
Northern Ireland team set for Home International 2014:
This coming weekend (Saturday 20th September 2014) will see a strong Northern Ireland junior mountain running team head south to Glendalough, County Wicklow (Ireland), for the British and Irish Junior Home International 2014.
The event will take place over the ‘Camaderry’ course which was also used for the prestigious competition in 2009. The route, which will vary in distance and elevation for each age group (see details below), is mainly forest tracks, accompanied by sections of open mountain along grassy paths; the 'runable’ course will be conducive to fast times. Along with the hosts Ireland, there will also be representatives and teams from England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.
A ten strong contingent of athletes will compete for Northern Ireland and they are as follows:
Under 20 Boys (Course: 6.7k - 338m): Paul Pruzina (Ballydrain Harriers)
Under 20 Girls (Course: 5.6k - 314m): Olivia Brown (Ballydrain Harriers) and Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC)
Under 17 Boys (Course: 5.6k - 314m): Scott McKeag (Ballydrain Harriers), Aaron Harrison (Ballydrain Harriers), Oisin Brennan (Springwell Running Club), Glenn Grainger (Newcastle AC), Eoghan Knight (Newcastle AC) and Joao Pimmental (Sperrin Harriers)
Under 15 Boys (Course: 3.5k - 135m): Joel Harrison (Ballydrain Harriers)
Paul Pruzina and Eoghan Knight are well established orienteer’s and have both represented Northern Ireland recently. Thriving Belfast outfit, Ballydrain Harriers have the greatest number of representatives, their upcoming star Scott McKeag has been in notable form over the summer months. Oisin Brennan is another young talent who is producing exceedingly good times in the events that he has run.
Despite racing sparingly this year, current Junior Hill & Dale Champion Dearbhla Magee is selected and should perform. The Newcastle AC athletes experience at this level will be useful for both her and her fellow team mates, including Olivia Brown, who will accompany her (Dearbhla) to Glendalough. Based on Olivia’s performances over the last few months, she’ll also finish well up the pack.The teams will be based at the Glendalough International Youth Hostel which will also double up as Race HQ.
Record entry for Waterside Half Marathon 2014:
On Sunday 14th September 2014, a record number of athletes took on Northern Ireland's longest running Half Marathon, the Waterside Half Marathon in Derry/Londonderry, which took place over it's current course for the last time; from 2015, the route will cover both sides of the River Foyle.
After an exciting dual between Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC), it was the Donegal man, who interestingly, teaches in the Maiden City, who secured top spot. After passing the 10 mile marker, Gary moved clear of Declan to eventually cross the line in 1:08:01 (1st place). AAI National Masters XC Champion, Declan followed in 1:08:12 (2nd place), before the ever consistent Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) sealed 3rd place in 1:09:54.
The ladies race saw Irish international Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) dominate from start to finish. After winning the event last year, Ann-Marie was keen to retain her title, which she proved successful in doing when breaking the tape in a new personal best of 1:17:21 (1st place). Raheny Shamrock AC athlete Fiona Stack, a winner at this race in 2012, took the runners up spot in 1:20:26 (2nd place). Strabane based athlete Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC), completed the ladies top three in 1:25:19 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) – 1:08:01, 2nd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 1:08:12, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 1:09:54
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 1:17:21, 2nd Fiona Stack (Raheny Shamrock AC) – 1:20:26, 3rd Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) – 1:25:19
Full Results: Waterside Half Marathon 2014 Results
Deep River Rock Belfast City Half Marathon 2014:
On Sunday 14th September 2014, thousands of athletes from across Northern Ireland, and beyond, descended on the Kings Hall Complex in Belfast for the 2nd annual running of the Deep River Rock Belfast City Half Marathon.
After an unavoidable delay to the race start because of a serious road traffic collision which closed part of the course, the athletes set off on their 13.1 mile journey which would take them towards the City Centre and the breezy Titanic Quarter before returning to the Kings Hall and the atmospheric finish.
Pre-race favourites Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC) and Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) lived up to their billing and opened up a gap on the field early on, with Eddie leading the talented duo into the second half of the race. Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders), Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), Ben Beattie (Hallamshire AC) and Gary Hynes (Unattached) were also running well.
In the ladies race, Commonwealth Games hero Gladys O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) was in control, while Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) and Heather Foley (Unattached) battled it out for the runners up spot. Behind, Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC), Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) and Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) looked strong as the progressed through the half way mark and began their journey back to the Kings Hall via the newly constructed bridge in Victoria Park.
As the supporters geared up for the return of the athletes, it was Freddy Sittuk and Eddie McGinley who appeared into the finishing straight first, almost side by side; Freddy just had the edge and despite Eddie's best efforts, it was the Belfast City Marathon winner who broke the tape first, recording 1:07:31 (1st place) for the distance. Eddie followed in 1:07:34 (2nd place), while the always impressive Keith Purdy claimed the final posium place in 1:10:38 (3rd place).
There was no change at the head of the ladies field, with Athletics NI 10k (Road) Championships medallist Gladys Ganiel O'Neill once again showing her class. Gladys gradually increased her lead in the second half of the race to win in 1:19:15 (1st place). In the exciting battle for second place, North Belfast Harriers' Louise Smith just edged out Heather Foley, after crossing the line in 1:20:43 (2nd place). Pure Running Half Marathon Series winner Heather clocked a new 13.1 mile personal best of 1:21:23 for 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC) – 1:07:31, 2nd Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 1:07:34, 3rd Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) – 1:10:38
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:19:15, 2nd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:20:43, 3rd Heather Foley (Unattached) – 1:21:23
Full Results: Deep River Rock Belfast City Half Marathon 2014 Results - Photos from the Belfast City Half Marathon will also be uploaded in the coming days, these will be added to our 'Photo Gallery'.
Fifth Avenue Mile 2014:
On Saturday 13th September 2014, Northern Ireland's Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) was in action at one of the worlds most prestigious road races, the 5th Avenue Mile in New York (USA), an event hosted by the well-known New York Road Runners.
Ciara, a World and European Junior Championships medallist, continued her impressive comeback from long-term injury with a top quality display, recording 4:21 for 3rd place in a classy field, which included Hannah England (Team GB), Laura Weightman (Team GB) and Jordan Hasay (USA) amongst others. This follows Ciara's notable runners up spot in the Elite Mile at the Great City Games in Newcastle (England) last week. The 5th Avenue Mile was won by Jenny Simpson (USA) in 4:19 (1st place). A video of the ladies race at the 5th Avenue Mile is available HERE.
Full Results: NYRR 5th Avenue Mile 2014 Results
Mountain runners enjoy NIMRA Championship 2014 finale:
On Saturday 13th September 2014, a host of Northern Irealnd's top mountain runners descended on Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, for the final race of this years Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championships 2014, 'The Fallows'. The revised 'Fallows' course, which measured 10 miles in distance, was considered a medium distance event within the aforementioned NIMRA Championships and incorporated approximately 600 metres of ascent and descent.
Newcastle AC's Ian Bailey set the pace early on and reached the summit of Slieve Martin first; however, the recent Pikes Peak ascent finisher chose the wrong route off the Summit and went off course. Behind, an interesting battle was ensuing, with Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) and Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners) all involved – this trio would turn out to be the main contenders. In the end, it came down to an exciting finish, with Deon McNeilly securing victory in 1:25:05 (1st place). The in-form Alex Brennan, a man who is reaping the well-deserved rewards for his efforts in training, followed just one second later in 1:25:06 (2nd place); Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners) crossed the line in 1:26:12 (3rd place).
Northern Ireland international Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) followed up her impressive performance at the World Masters Mountain Running Championships last week with another excellent outing. Karen looked a class act as she covered the distance in 1:29:30 (1st place); this not only saw Karen top the ladies category, but finish amongst the leaders overall. The fast finishing, and fast improving, Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) took the runners up spot in 1:35:11 (2nd place), while Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) continued her return from injury with another good run, taking 3rd place in 1:35:54.
Top 3 Men: 1st Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 1:25:05, 2nd Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) – 1:25:05, 3rd Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners) – 1:26:12
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 1:29:30, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 1:35:11, 3rd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:35:54
Full Results: The Fallows Mountain Race 2014 Results
Weekend Preview: Major Half Marathon events take centre stage but NIMRA Championship event is worth a watch:
As the bright nights begin to fade and the midweek racing draws to a close, the local running community have some exciting weekend events coming up this month, none more so than this weekend, when a combined total of nearly 6,000 competitors will take to the start lines of two major events.
The Waterside Half Marathon and the Belfast City Half Marathon will of course attract the most attention in the coming days, but there will also be races in Rostrevor, Garrison and Maghery. Athletes from Northern Ireland will also race in the mountains of Scotland.
Tomorrow (Saturday 13th September 2014) will see the grand finale of Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship Series take place at Kilbroney Forest Park, Rostrevor.
The Fallows Mountain Race will start at 11am, close to the forest office inside the gate of Kilbroney Forest Park, Rostrevor. The revised course, which is still around 10 miles in distance, is considered a medium distance event and incorporates approximately 600 metres of ascent and descent. Jonny Steede (Ballymena Runners) and Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) have already been confirmed as Champions, so this event won't change the top spots, but given that this route differs from the norm, in that it mainly comprises of forest paths and trail, it may very well change the overall standings, right through the rankings.
Looking at the men's event, in the expected absence of Ballymena Runners' Jonny Steede, it is likely that the win will be contested between Newcastle AC pair Seamus Lynch and David Steele, along with William McKee (Mourne Runners). Seamus and David have both shown great form this year, with Seamus being victorious at the recent Seven Sevens in August (2014) and on the podium in many of the Hill & Dale events, including the Slieve Martin race (which also takes place in and around Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor) in May (2014). David Steele has moved up the field as the season has progressed and like his club mate (Seamus) has made the podium in numerous events of this nature, including three of the five Championship races that he has already competed in. William, has not only shown good form on the steeper fells over the last few months, but also on the road and trail, taking a third place at the 'Sea to Sky' event in July (2014) and then a win at Dambusters 10k two weeks ago. The Newcastle AC pair, along with Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) are challenging for the final two podium positions in the 2014 Championship Men's Open category. Along with Sam, who impressed in last weekends Ben Nevis race, others in contention are Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) and Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC). Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC), will be one to watch, should he make the short journey across to Rostrevor. Newcastle AC duo David O'Flaherty and David McNeilly cannot be discounted should the reigning champion (David McNeilly) and his club mate decide to return to racing.
In the ladies race, this course may make Saturdays event more of a battle than the previous encounters. With Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) and Lagan Valley AC trio Shileen O'Kane, Hazel McLaughlin and Anne Sandford all expected to run, it certainly makes for a grand finale. That said, Diane did win the Hill & Dale Series and can move quickly over this terrain. Catherine O'Connor has emerged as a future star in the mountains this year and following a good run at Laganside 10k last weekend, is likely to push the aforementioned Dromore AC lady to the finish. Shileen, having only just returned from injury, clearly showed she has not lost much fitness after taking eighth place in her category at the Masters World Championships in Austria last week. Hazel ran well at Seven Sevens in August (2014) and continues to excel over trails and undulating ground. Meanwhile, Anne is another women who performed well at last weekends Masters event, taking twenty second in a competitive Vet 45 category.
Also on Saturday 13th September 2014; athletes from County Fermanagh and the surrounding area will descend on the rural 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 local or neighbouring cross-border towns and villages, such as Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders), Craig Phair (Unattached), Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club), Derek Somerville (Omagh Harriers), Adam Cooke (Enniskillen Running Club), Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers), Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) and Denise Toner (Clones AC).
On the same day (Saturday 13th September 2014), the 5th annual Loughshore 10k and associated 5k fun run (also known as the Maghery 10k), will take place in Maghery, Craigavon. The increasingly popular race, which starts in Maghery Country Park, County Armagh covers a flat and fast scenic course and attracts runners of all abilities.
Unfortunately, last years winner and course record holder Connor Magill (North Belfast Harriers) is not expected to toe the line; however, his club mate, another previous winner of the event, Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) may well turn out for the event. If Adam wants to reclaim his title, he may have to fend off the likes of Brian Young (Unattached), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC), Paul Nesbitt (Unattached) and Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners).
The ladies title will also be up for grabs, given the fact that 2013 winner Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers), is set to race at the Belfast City Half Marathon. Acorns AC lady Karen Alexander may race, having impressed at the World Masters Mountain Running Association Championships last week. Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Anne Killen (Unattached) and Orangegrove AC ladies Lyndsey Pronger and Louise Lemon may well compete and will challenge for a podium spot should they do so.
On Sunday 14th September 2014, around 3,800 people will bring Northern Ireland's capital city, Belfast, to a standstill as they take on the newly established Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon.
The event starts and finishes at the King’s Hall Pavilion at 9am, with the route taking in all major landmarks around the City Centre including Queen’s University, Botanic Gardens Titanic Quarter, City Hall and many more. The organisers are urging all family members, friends and work colleagues to come along and support the runners.
A host of top local runners will be compete for the prestigious title; one of these will be Annadale Striders' newly crowned Athletics NI 10k (Road) Champion Eddie McGinley. After making his 13.1 mile debut here last year, when he clocked 1:08:21 for the runners up spot. Information on the event is limited, but organisers suggest that Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) and Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) will be amongst the challengers. We suspect that Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) and Francis Marsh (North Down AC) may also play a part.
The ladies competition is also wide open with none of the top three winners from 2013 due to compete. Commonwealth Games hero and Athletics NI 10k (Road) individual silver medallist Gladys Ganiel O'Neill will be one of the ladies chasing Aileen Reid's course record of 1:19:32. If Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) has recovered sufficiently from her impressive outing at the great North Run in England last weekend, she will also be worth watching. Heather Foley (Unattached), one of the most consistent performers in the province over the last year, will also start and should challenge for a podium place alongside the likes of Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) and Lauren Quee (Glasgow University AC).
Also on Sunday 14th September 2014, decent weather conditions are expected as a record number of 1,900 competitors line-up for the 34th annual edition of Northern Ireland's longest running 13.1 mile event, the Waterside Half Marathon,
The Gransha Park grounds, home of the event in recent years, will host the race for the last time, as in 2015 it moves back to its original home in St Columbs Park, with a new course expected to embrace both sides of the River Foyle. That however is music of the future as the focus now is on Sunday's action. The clash with the relatively new Belfast City Half Marathon has by no means impinged on the popularity of the Waterside Half Marathon, as the record entry demonstrates.
Indeed the response from runners of all abilities from right across the North West and beyond has been phenomenal and the race organisers had to close the entry process over two weeks ago! The magnificent input from the new breed community based running groups has been significant with groups such as Reach, Blast, Born to Run, Bolt and Eglinton Road Runners all entering in big numbers. The athletics clubs continue their support to ensure the high level of competitive action and this should lead to some serious upfront competition among the faster men and women.
The men's race looks like it could be a real battle with Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) all having entered. However, defending Champion Keith Shiels has been absent from competition recently so is a doubt; in saying that, he showed his class at a local 5k last week, when he ran somewhere in the region of 15:30. Last year's runner up Declan Reed has next month's Airtricity Dublin Marathon on his mind and will definitely line up, as will Athletics NI 10k (Road) silver medallist Scott Rankin, who recorded 31:52 at the Laganside 10k last weekend.
Gary Murray of St Malachy's AC, could be the big threat at the head of the pack. Despite the fact that he (Gary) hasn't raced much over the distance, he is a class act and worth watching. Local men Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) and Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) are also in the field, and will battle for the major prize money and local bragging.
Anne Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) is back to defend her 2014 title and will face the 2012 winner Fiona Stack (Raheny Shamrock's AC). The Lifford AC lady is a real talent with an impressive range of ability from 800m to Half Marathon and will be difficult to dethrone. Top prospect, Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC) and local City of Derry AC athletes Anne Paul, Jackie McGinley, Miriam Bridge and Catherine Whoriskey should be prominent figures at the front, as will Sarah Marie Doherty of Inishowen AC. Please Note – Waterside Half Marathon preview compiled with the assistance of City of Derry AC.
Further afield on Sunday 14th September 2014, Northern Ireland men Iain Whiteside and Eoin Lennon will represent Carnethy HRC at the 'Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay' in Perthshire, Scotland. The gruelling event will see teams of 5 runners complete a 42k route which incorporates 2,110 metres of ascent.
Northern Ireland’s nineteen parkrun events will also take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.
Run N' the Bann 5k 2014:
On Thursday 11th September 2014, nearly two hundred and fifty athletes turned out for the annual Run N' the Bann 5k road race in Portglenone, close to Ballymena, in County Antrim.
After starting on Main Street, Portglenone the athletes made their way out onto a rural section of the course, before finishing at the local Community Centre. In perfect running conditions, it was the in-form North Belfast Harriers athlete Mark McKinstry who impressed most. Mark showed no signs of fatigue after leading his North Belfast Harriers team to the Athletics NI title at the Laganside 10k on Sunday (7th September 2014), after breaking the tape in 15:46 (1st place). New Ballymena Runners recruit Richard Johnston followed in 15:53 (2nd place), before Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) crossed the line in 16:19 (3rd place).
Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers), Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) and Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners) produced excellent performances to ensure an exciting ladies event. However, it was Claire Connor who secured the win in 19:29 (1st place) and therefore making sure that North Belfast Harriers collected top spot in both the men's and ladies races. Larne AC's Geraldine Quigley completed the course in 19:49 (2nd place), while NIMAA T&F Championships gold medallist Lorna Sibbett took 3rd place in 19:52.
Top 3 Men: 1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 15:46, 2nd Richard Johnston (Ballymena Runners) – 15:53, 3rd Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) – 16:19
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) – 19:29, 2nd Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC) – 19:49, 3rd Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners) – 19:52
Full Results: Run N' the Bann 5k 2014 Results (Photo by Mark Alexander)
Nissan Coleraine 5m Road Race 2014:
On Wednesday 10th September 2014, road racing returned to the streets of Coleraine in County Derry/Londonderry, with the inaugural Nissan sponsored Coleraine 5 mile road race, which started at the towns Leisure Centre and finished on the Main Street.
In fairly decent running conditions, it was Lifford AC's Sean Dudgeon who led the 164 strong field home in 28:44 (1st place). Ballymena Runners' Alex Brennan, who has picked up several prizes recently, secured 2nd place in 28:57, before Tommy Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) continued his return to competition with a podium spot, taking 3rd place in 29:06.
In the ladies race, there was an interesting battle between Springwell Running Club duo Sonia Knox and Gemma Turley, and North Down AC's Rachel Gibson. In the end, it was Sonia Knox, winner of the Purple Ladies 5k earlier this summer, who claimed top honours after crossing the line in 31:27 (1st place). Gemma Turley followed just four seconds later in 31:31 (2nd place), while Rachel Gibson completed the ladies top three in 32:25 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Sean Dudgeon (Lifford AC) – 28:44, 2nd Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) – 28:57, 3rd Tommy Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) – 29:06
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club) – 31:27, 2nd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 31:31, 3rd Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) – 32:25
Full Results: Nissan Coleraine 5m Road Race 2014 Results (Photo by Mags Mathieson)
Athletics NI (Road) Relay Championships 2014:
This year the Orangegrove AC 'Festival of Running' incorporating Athletics NI 2014 Road Relay Championships and Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Association (NIMAA) 2014 Relay Championships will take place on Saturday 4th October 2014, following a slightly different format.
PRIMARY AND JUNIOR RACES:
Primary school individual races (£1 entry) are the only races with entry on race day. Junior individual races (£2) will require PRIOR ENTRY online (HERE). Registrations open at 10am and it would help if you could register as early as possible. The line-up for Primary and Junior races is below:
Primary boys race (P4 to P7), 800m - Registration closes 11am. Race starts 11:10am
Primary girls race (P4 to P7), 800m - Registration closes 11am. Race starts 11:20am
U-13 boys and U-13 girls, 1689m - Registration closes 11:15. Race starts 11:30
U-15 boys and U-15 girls, 1689m - Registration closes 11:30. Race starts 11:45
U-17 boys and U-17 girls, 3380m - Registration closes 11:45. Race starts 12:00
Medals will be presented immediately after each race at the finish area.
SENIORS AND MASTERS TEAM RACES:
Relay races for Seniors and Masters can ONLY be entered using the on-line form - Available HERE – and you will NOT be able to enter a team on the day. A new form needs to be completed for each team and before proceeding with online entry, you need the following information;
- Names of runners for male, 4 runners + 2 reserves
- or names of runners for female races, 3 runners + 2 reserves
- Date of Birth's
- Athletics NI registration numbers
- Payment (in advance by Paypal, credit or debit card before close of entries).
Entries will CLOSE at midnight on Friday 26th September 2014 and there is NO facility for paying on the day. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ENTRY UNTIL THE LAST DAY. A timetable for the Senior and Masters races are available below:
12:30pm - Masters Women, 3 x 3380m - £30 team entry
1:30pm - Masters Men 4 x 3380m - £40 team entry
2:45pm - Senior Women 3 x 3380m - £30 team entry
3:45pm - Senior Men, 4 x 3380m - £40 team entry
Presentations for Senior and Masters races will take place after the each race at the start/finish area. Masters (over 35 on race day) can run in Senior teams but obviously not the other way around. Please ensure you read the full event rules, which are located HERE.
Bupa Great North Run 2014:
On Sunday 7th September 2014, hundreds of athletes from across Northern Ireland toed the line of the world's most popular Half Marathon events, the Great North Run in Newcastle (England). The local athletes were accompanied by approximately 57,000 fellow competitors at the race, which will be remembered for being the first ever running race to have attracted over one million finishers during it's history (it started in 1981).
In very warm and humid conditions, it was Ballymena Runners' Neil Douglas who led the local contingent into the atmospheric South Shields finish area, having covered the course in 1:19:37. Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers), who was part of the elites women's field, recorded 1:19:52, which saw her claim an excellent 15th place finish. Club Pulse AC athlete Michael Campbell ran 1:21:23 and Ballymena Runners' Seamus Kelly clocked 1:24:43, before Larne AC's David Noble ran a personal best of 1:24:44, finishing just ahead of Omagh Harriers' Terry Canning (1:26:10), Club Pulse AC's Conor O'Donovan (1:26:22) and Magherafelt Harriers men Alvin Taylor (1:28:00) and Niall Higgins (1:29:59).
The experienced Karl Dines (Willowfield Harriers) crossed the line in 1:30:57, with Eugene O'Callaghan (Newry AC), Paul McErlain (Magherafelt Harriers) and Martin McGirr (Sperrin Harriers) finishing in 1:31:09, 1:32:19 and 1:33:06 respectively. Francis Stewart (Magherafelt Harriers) followed just four seconds later in 1:33:10, before North Down AC's Nick Irvine joined the men in the finish area in 1:34:56. Rodney Livingstone (Ballymena Runners) ran 1:37:12, while Club Pulse AC's Mairead Hughes negotiated the course in 1:38:16. East Coast AC's Chris Davis smashed his 13.1 mile personal best after running 1:38:38, and Newry City Runners' Kealan Curran joined the Larne based man as the clock struck 1:38:50. Ballymena Runners' Eleanor Forrest (1:39:05) dipped under 1:40 barrier, while Larne AC's Ian Brennan narrowly missed the same feat when he crossed the line in 1:40:15; Springwell Running Club's Ryan Kennedy followed fifty nine seconds later in 1:41:14. Orangegrove AC's Louise Lemon impressed with a 1:41:43 finish, which saw her just pip club mate Ian Grant (1:42:07) to the finish line.
Mourne Runners' Damien Cunningham ensured that the Newcastle (County Down) club were represented on the roads as well as Ben Nevis, and ran well to reach South Shields in 1:42:37. Russell Bell (Sperrin Harriers) ran 1:44:46, before Nigel McNeill (Springwell Running Club) looked strong as he reached the packed finishing area in 1:46:01; Club Pulse AC's Mark Canavan (1:47:06) and City of Derry AC's Rathlin Run category prize-winner Una Gavin (1:47:55) also put in good performances. Foyle Valley AC trio Denise McElhone (1:48:06), Trish McClintock (1:48:15) and Mark McClintock (1:48:15), Dromore AC's Russell Kennedy (1:49:48) and Ballydrain Harriers' Stephen Wilson (1:49:59) all finished in and around the same time, while Orangegrove AC's Sharon Dickenson ran 1:52:49. East Coast AC members and friends Iain Bailie and Paul Clements clocked 1:53:31 and 1:53:32 respectively, with Seapark AC's Karen Waring joining them shortly after in 1:55:28. Murlough AC's Nicola Mathers (1:55:53) negotiated the long run in just ahead of NiRunning's Catherine Maxwell (East Coast AC), who completed her first attempt at the distance in 1:56:57. Another Larne based athlete, Bernie Regan (Larne AC) achieved her sub two hour aim when she finished in 1:57:07 - Briege Grant (Club Pulse AC) also broke the infamous barrier in 1:58:17.
Newry City Runners' Attracta Magennis narrowly missed the aforementioned iconic two hour finish when she covered the course in 2:01:34. John McGarvey (North Down AC) was the next familiar face to finish in 2:03:11, with Ballymena Runners' pair Andrea Wylie (2:06:11) and Helen McCormack (2:06:56), and Springwell Running Club's Rebecca Clarke (2:10:17), Club Pulse AC's Milena Krysminska (2:11:04) and Newry City Runners' Dermot Winters (2:11:04) all following. After a short break in local athletes, Thomas McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and Hannah Soar (Ballymena Runners) both crossed the line in 2:15:38. Murlough AC's ever consistent Paula McKibbin ran 2:17:34, which was enough to see her finish just ahead of Sandy Plumb (East Coast AC), who braved a recent injury to record 2:19:45. Orangegrove AC pair Melinda Wilkinson and Martin Doherty both appeared to cope well with the tough conditions, and crossed the line in 2:20:16 and 2:23:14 respectively. Club Pulse AC's Collette King (2:24:03), Liz King (2:25:11) and Sonia McNeice (2:40:00) also enjoyed the memorable event.
The Great North Run 2014 was won by Mo Farah (Team GB) in 1:00:00 (1st place), while Kenya's Mary Keitany took top honours in the ladies race, after breaking the tape in a new course record of 1:05:39 (1st place)
Full Results: Great North Run 2014 Results
Ben Nevis Mountain Race 2014:
Over the weekend (Saturday 6th September 2014) an array of local mountain running talent travelled to the Scottish Highlands for the annual Ben Nevis race. This Classic mountain event takes competitors to the highest summit in the British Isles, standing at 1,344 metres and back to Fortwilliam.
Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) followed up his recent race win at Slieve Bearnagh with a top performance against tough competition. Sam led the Northern Ireland runners home, finishing in 11th place, with an impressive time of 1:45:36. Another man who has been in excellent form this season was next to the line, Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), taking 35th place in 1:52:15. Clive Bailey of Mourne Runners (37th place - 1:52:28) and Ballymena Runners' Emmet McAlister (46th place - 1:54:59) broke the two hour target, before Northern Ireland's leading lady, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) crossed the Fortwilliam finish line in 2:01:38, taking 7th place in the ladies race. Newcastle AC's Barry Wells took 96th place (2:03:23), before the Mourne Runners quartet of Richard Bell (103rd place - 2:03:58), Ricky Hanna (120th place - 2:06:20) , Roy Donaldson (130th place - 2:08:15) and recent TDS finisher William Marks (142nd place - 2:10:22) returned.
Shortly over a minute later, Garth McGimpsey (152nd place - 2:11:28), led another batch of Mourne Runners home. Garth was followed by David Newell (168th place – 2:13:58) and Mike Barton (184th place - 2:17:05). Newcastle AC's Brian Wilson (2:21:18) took 168th place, whilst club mate Brian McBurney (2:22:22) finished in 226th place. David Bell (Mourne Runners) finished his lap of the Lochaber football pitch to cross the finish line in 2:22:55 for 229th place. Eamon Campbell of Newcastle AC took 343rd place (in 2:40:27), before Northern Ireland's second lady, the ever improving Paulette Thompson (Newcastle AC) crossed the line in 2:41:25 (37th place). NIMRA Chairman and Ben Nevis veteran Ricky Cowan (Mourne Runners) took 389th place in 2:47:27, while Debbie Kendall (Newcastle AC) reached the finish in an impressive 2:51:58 (52nd place). Darren Herron (Mourne Runners) ended the 2014 Northern Ireland representation at this iconic competition, taking 467th place in 3:09:49.
2013 race winner Findlay Wild (Lochaber AC) was again victorious in the 2014 event, covering the course in a speedy 1:34:43 (1st place), whilst in the ladies race, Lindsay Brindle (Horwich RMI AC) took 1st place (1:56:36).
Full Results: Ben Nevis Mountain Race 2014 Results
26extreme Titanic 102k, 50k and 25k 2014:
On Sunday 7th September 2014; popular events team 26extreme held the second addition of their Titanic Series of events, a day of racing, which offers competitors the choice of 25k, 50k and 102k distances; interestingly, the 102k (increased from 101k in 2013) will be extended by 1k each year to mark the anniversary of the famous ship - Titanic.
The 102k 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 Don Travers (Newry City Runners) and Tim Brownlie (Unattached) setting the pace.
Experienced ultra-runner Tim showed his class, fending off the challenge of the speedy, but tired Don, to secure victory in 9:13:56. Don held on for 2nd place, crossing the line in 9:38:49. A strong Sean Nickell (Unattached) finished in a well deserved 10:16:19 (3rd place). The ladies race, albeit hard fought, was not just as exciting. Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) a lady who continually makes the podium in this type of event, led the ladies home in 10:36:11. Katarzyna Skowron (Unattached) was the only other female finisher in this event, recording 12:49:44 for 2nd place.
The 50k race started close to Ballywalter and guided the competitors back towards Belfast via the scenic coastal path and some road sections. Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers), on his return from injury, ran well, dominating proceedings to claim the title in a quick 3:37:11. Mark Walker (Unattached) looked good as he covered the course in 3:41:21 (2nd place). Peter Donnelly (Unattached) was the third male athlete home in 3:57:52 (3rd place). BARF’s Joanne Curran, bettered her 3rd place from 2013, taking 1st prize in 4:25:17. New Zealander Col Conway finished well, to secure 2nd place in 4:32:25. Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club), last years winner, was the third female competitor to reach the Titanic finish area in 4:33:25 (3rd place).
Distance runner Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) was rewarded for his efforts in the 25k; the North Coast based runner led for most of the race, eventually winning in a record time of 1:40:48. Unattached athlete Patrick McGarrity reached the scenic and atmospheric finishing area, crossing the line in 1:48:57 (2nd place). Patrick McShane (North Belfast Harriers) made his way onto the finishing straight and covered the remaining yards to record 1:59:54 (3rd place). The ladies top prize was contested by Alison McClenaghan (Unattached) and Kathryn Walls (Dromore AC). In the end it was Alison who won, holding off a strong finish from Kathryn to win in a record 2:03:15. Kathryn ran 2:06:35 for 2nd place. American visitor Anne Strasma secured a 3rd place finish, when she stepped over the line in 2:15:25.
Top 3 Men: 1st Tim Brownlie (Unattached) – 9:13:56, 2nd Don Travers (Newry City Runners) - 9:38:49, 3rd Sean Nickell (Unattached) – 10:16:19
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) – 10:36:11, 2nd Katarzyna Skowron (Unattached) - 12:49:44
Top 3 Men: 1st Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:37:11, 2nd Mark Walker (Unattached) – 3:41:21, 3rd Peter Donnelly (Unattached) – 3:57:52
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Joanne Curran (BARF) – 4:25:17, 2nd Col Conway (Unknown) – 4:32:25, 3rd Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) – 4:33:25
Top 3 Men: 1st Chris Denton (Springwell Runnnig Club) – 1:40:48, 2nd Patrick McGarrity (Unattached) – 1:48:57, 3rd Patrick McShane (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:59:54
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Alison McClenaghan (Unattached) – 2:03:15, 2nd Kathryn Walls (Dromore AC) – 2:06:35, 3rd Anne Strasme (Unknown) - 2:15:25
Full Results: 26extreme Titanic Series 2014 Results
Thousands enjoy Pure Running Laganside 10k:
On Sunday 7th September 2014, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on a sun soaked Ormeau Park, Belfast for the annual Pure Running Laganside 10k (and associated children's one mile race), organised by North Belfast Harriers. This year, the prestigious event doubled up as the Northern Ireland 10k Road Running Championships.
In almost perfect conditions, athletes set off on the two loop course, which would take them towards the City Centre and onto the Lagan tow-path, before returning to the Ormeau Embankment, where they would then cover a second, shorter lap prior to finishing back at the Ozone Centre.
Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) made his intentions known from the off, moving clear quickly and reaching the 5k mark ahead of Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley) and the chasing pack, which included Paul Barbour (Omagh Harrier), Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), Eamon White and Mark McKinstry (both North Belfast Harriers), to name a few.
At the 5k point in the ladies race, the intriguing dual between Commonwealth Games competitors Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast Harriers) was going in favour of the County Down Steeplechase athlete Kerry. Behind the lead duo, Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) was holding off a determined Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) and the ever improving Jennifer Black (Orangegrove AC).
In the second half, Eddie McGinley increased his lead on the impressive Scott Rankin and the chasing pack. The Belfast man was the first to appear into the finishing straight, crossing the line in 31:23, to take the win and with it the Northern Ireland 10k Championship title. Behind McGinley, a strong Scott Rankin claimed 2nd place in 31:52. Paul Barbour fought off a speedy Brian Campbell (4th place - 32:26) to secure a well-deserved 3rd place in 32:24.
Kerry O'Flaherty continued to go from strength to strength in the ladies category, eventually breaking the tape in an excellent 34:17 (1st place); this was enough to see Kerry take an impressive 13th place overall. International marathoner Gladys Ganiel looked comfortable in taking the runners up spot in 36:18 (2nd place). Louise Smith produced an excellent second half to take 3rd place in 37:16. In the prestigious team competition, the host club, North Belfast Harriers impressed most, claiming both the male and female titles.
Top 3 Men: 1st Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 31:23, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 31:52, 3rd Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) - 32:24
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 34:17, 2nd Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:18, 3rd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 37:16
Full Results: Pure Running Laganside 10k Results
Great City Games 2014:
On Saturday 6th September 2014, whilst hundreds of Northern Ireland based athletes descended on Newcastle (England) for this weekends Great North Run, another local runner, Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) lined up in the ladies 1 mile race at the Great City Games, which took place as part of an extremley atmospheric day of athletics along the Quayside of the City.
Ciara, who returned to competition recently after some time away from the spotlight, showed that she still possess the same potential that saw her claim numerous junior titles. Up against a plethora of talent, the UCD AC athlete claimed the runners up spot behind Scotland's Laura Muir. As the ladies set off from the Newcastle side of the Quay, Ciara look comfortable in the chase group behind Laura Muir.
On crossing the bridge into Gateshead Quay, Laura Muir and Helen Obiri (Kenya) were battling for the lead, while Ciara stamped her authority in third place; however, as the ladies entered the final 150m, the Irish international (Ciara) caught and passed the tiring Helen Obiri to claim an excellent 2nd place in 4:35. Laura Muir (Scotland) won in 4:34 (1st place).
Full Results: Great City Games 2014 Results
Local athletes perform well in Austria and Norway:
On Saturday 6th September 2014, a large contingent of mountain runners from Northern Ireland were in action at the prestigious Masters World Mountain Running Championships in Austria. On the day, there were two uphill only courses; the Vet35 to Vet50 men covered an 11.5k course with 1,100m of ascent, while the ladies and Vet55+ men covered a 7.9k route, incorporating 760m of ascent.
Over the 11.5k course, East Down AC's Paul Burns crossed the line in 1:22:23, taking 48th place in his Vet40 category. The category was won by Italian Daniele De Colo in 1:02:38 (1st place). Eugene McCann (Mourne Runners) took 72nd place (1:34:23) in the Vet50 race, which was won by Italian, Franco Torresoni in 1:04:49 (1st place).
In the female Vet35 category Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) covered the 7.9k route in 48:45, securing an impressive 6th place. Lurig Challenge winner, Gillian Wasson of Springwell Running Club crossed the line in 10th position, after recording 52:26. The race was won by Austrian Petra Summer in 44:48 (1st place).
Lagan Valley AC pair Shileen O'Kane and Anne Sandford both performed well in the Vet45 event. Shileen took 8th place with a time of 51:32 and Anne, finishing in 1:01:43 took 22nd place. The Vet45 category was won by Italian athlete Simonetta Menestrina in 47:38 (1st place). In the competitive Vet55 race, a strong Dominic McGreevy (Newcastle AC) took clocked 47:19 (19th place); the race was won by German Wihelm Dengler in 42.46 (1st place).
Recent Pikes Peak finisher Peter Bell (Pegasus AC) took 46th place in the Vet60 category, just breaking the one hour mark, with a time of 59:18. Peter was followed home by Mourne Runners' Willie John Brown, who ironically, took 60th place (1:06:52) in the same Vet60 category, which was won by Milos Smrcka from the Czech Republic in 44:27 (1st place).
Full Results: WMRA Masters Championships 2014 Results
Tromso Skyace (Norway):
Also on Saturday 6th September 2014, Acorns AC athlete Shane Donnelly was in action at the inaugural running of the Tromso Skyrace, an event organised by well-known runner Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg. The tough course covered 42k with 4,300m of ascent; Shane performed well, covering the route in 9:53:31, which was enough to secure 14th place. The race was won by Norwegian athlete Eirik Haugsnes in 6:38:30 (1st place).
Full Results: Tromso Skyrace 2014 Results
Kerry Way Ultra 2014:
Over the course of Friday 5th and Saturday 6th September 2014, two Northern Ireland men performed brilliantly at the gruelling Kerry Way Ultra in Ireland. The 200k race, which started in Killarney at 6am on Friday (5th September 2014) morning, took in Killarney National Park, the infamous Black Valley, Bridia Valley, Glencar and the Iveragh Peninsula, with runners facing challenging ancient mountain tracks, coastal cliff faces, beautiful lakelands, country lanes, midnight forest tracks.
Throughout the race, deemed by some as 'the toughest Ultra in the World', respected local athletes Kevin Murdock (Team Purple) and Noel Brick (Unattached) looked strong. Kevin battled well to claim a well-deserved podium place in 28:33:00 (3rd place), with fellow Northern Ireland athlete Noel Brick following in 33:45:00 (8th place). The race was won by Stefan D'Espallier (Belgium) in 23:47:00 (1st place).
Full Results: Kerry Way Ultra 2014 Results
Diamond Dental host 5k road race in Cookstown:
On Saturday 6th September 2014, well over one hundred athletes turned out for the Diamond Dental 5k road race in Cookstown, an event organised to to celebrate the Diamond Dental's fifth anniversary and raise money for charitable causes.
At the head of the pack, there were several interesting battles, but ultimately, not for top spot, which Omagh Harriers' Paul Barbour claimed with relative ease. Paul led from early on, breaking the tape in 16:04 (1st place). Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) followed in 16:45 (2nd place), while his club mate, Erin McDaid (Sperrin Harriers) completed the top three in 16:59 (3rd place).
North Belfast Harriers lady Claire Connor produced one of the day's top performances, securing the ladies title in 18:41 (1st place); this was enough to see the talented athlete take 6th place overall. Michelle Johnston (Acorns AC) crossed the line in 21:32 for 2nd place, with Leann Whittle (Sperrin Harriers) taking 3rd place in 23:27.
Full Results: Diamond Dental 5k 2014 Results
Weekend Preview: Athletes prepare for events in NI, Scotland, England, Ireland, Norway, Austria...
It is almost customary that we claim a busy and exciting weekend is ahead whilst compiling our Weekend Preview, and despite the fact that that does always seem to be the case... this upcoming weekend will prove to be one of the busiest of the year so far, with local faces set to toe the line in no less than thirteen events.
This will include local events in Dungannon, Cookstown, Ballyclare and Belfast. Athletes from Northern Ireland will also race over various distances and terrain in Ireland, England, Scotland, Norway and Austria.
It is impossible to provide an in-depth preview of this many events, but we'll endeavour to provide as much detail as possible. The action has already kicked off; yesterday (Thursday 4th September 2014), local athletes Gary Connolly and Gillian Cordner, both of Seapark AC, commenced the 'The Great Burrow Challenge' in England, a four day event (from Thursday 4th September to Sunday 7th September 2014) which see's athletes complete 6 mile, 10 mile 15 mile and 26.2 mile courses in the East Anglian countryside on consecutive days. The gruelling event attracts competitors from all over the world and should suit both Gillian and Gary, given their experience over long distances and multi-day events.
Closer to home, the weekend fixtures will kick off tonight (Friday 5th September 2014) in Monaghan (Ireland), where it is expected that a fairly sizeable crowd from Northern Ireland will take on the popular Streets of Monaghan 5k road race, an event promoted by Monaghan Phoenix AC. In the past, a number of the provinces top athletes have made the short border crossing for the race. This year, we would expect several local clubs to be represented, this could include Armagh AC, Enniskillen Running Club and City of Derry AC. Northern Ireland ladies Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) and Denise Toner (Clones AC) will challenge for podium places if they decide to compete.
On Saturday 6th September 2014, the annual Keith Reid Memorial 10k road race will take place in Draperstown, County Derry/Londonderry. The race should attract a number of recognisable faces; 2013 Champion Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) and podium finisher Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) could be amongst those who attend. The in-form duo of Cheryl Cardwell (Sperrin Harriers) and Alison Rankin (Springwell Running Club) will also be contenders, should they compete. The race starts at 12.30pm and entries are available on the day.
On the same day (Saturday 6th September 2014), Cookstown based company Diamond Dental will celebrate their 5th anniversary with a 5k race, which will start and finish at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown (County Tyrone). The race is aimed at raising funds for charity, but Paul Heron (Unattached), Sean McCloskey (Unattached), Deirdre Conway (Sperrin Harriers), Frances Bell (Acorns AC), Roisin Mullan (Acorns AC), Oisin Brennan (Springwell Running Club) and Molly Brennan (Springwell Running Club) will be aiming for highly placings.
In County Antrim on Saturday 6th September 2014, athletes and spectators will descend on the village of Doagh, close to Ballyclare for the Kilbride 10k road race (and associated 5k). East Antrim Harriers men Sam Crawford, Chris Collins, Jim Finlay, Steven Beggs and Michael Allen will all play their part at the head of the pack, as will Seapark AC's Jonathan Bell. Joanne McAuley (St Peter's AC), Shelley Bell (Seapark AC) and Jane Kinnear (East Antrim Harriers) will challenge for podium places in the ladies race.
Further afield, on Saturday 6th September 2014, a plethora of the provinces mountain running talent will be on show at two prestigious events, the Ben Nevis Mountain Race in Scotland, and the Masters World Mountain Running Championships in Austria.
In the Grampian mountain range, Scotland, local athletes will take on the Ben Nevis Mountain Race. This classic mountain event, which always attracts a good crowd from Northern Ireland, takes competitors to the highest summit in the British Isles, standing at 1,344 metres. Runners will leave the Fort William FC football pitch, take in a one mile road section, before negotiating the steep and at times technical ascent. Once each runner reaches the peak, they will have to take on the challenging descent before finishing back at the football ground.
Last years race winner Findlay Wild (Lochaber AC) is set to race again in 2014, as are top fell runners Rob Jebb (Bingley Harriers) and Sam Tosh (Rossendale Harriers). Sam Herron (Mourne Runners), David Steele (Newcastle AC) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) are expected to lead the Northern Ireland contingent home. All have been in good form recently and have experience on this mountain, meaning that they'll be after a good placings and a personal best for the course. This trio will be followed home by numerous friends from the province, such as Emmet McAllister (Ballymena Runners) and huge Mourne Runners squad of Clive Bailey, William Marks, Roy Donaldson, Ricky Hanna, Richard Bell, Mike Barton, David Bell, Ricky Cowan, Mervyn Donaldson, Darren Herron, Garth McGimpsey and David Newell. In addition to the aforementioned David Steele, Newcastle AC will be represented by Brian McBurney, Barry Wells and Brian Wilson.
In the ladies race, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) is expected to lead the Northern Ireland ladies home. Diane who has been in exceptional form this year should also be considered a challenger in the overall female event. Ciara Largey (Cosmic Hill Bashers), now residing in Scotland, is another who has vast experience in the mountains and will run well. Murlough AC's Debbie Kendall and Paulette Thompson should also perform well on the 'hill'. Interestingly and worth noting for our leading runners, the course records for this event have not been challenged since 1984, whereby the legendary Kenny Stuart (Keswick AC) won the race in 1:25:34 and his club-mate Pauline Howarth took the ladies title in 1:43:25. Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) led the Northern Ireland participants home last year (2013), taking a fantastic 7th place (1:41:35).
Meanwhile, in Austria, international competitors between the ages of 35-79 years will take part in the 2014 Masters World Mountain Running Championships. The event will be held in Telfes im Stubai, a village, which is located near the City of Innsbruck in Austria's state of Tyrol. The younger men (aged between 35-54 years) will run an 11.5k uphill course, beginning in the centre of the Telfes im Stubai village, and taking them along trails, through forested paths and ski areas to finish at the Kreuzjoch cable-car station at 2,100 metres altitude. The route includes approximately 1,100 metres of elevation gain. Men of mature years (aged between 55-79 years) and all of the Women (aged between 35-79 years) will start higher up the course and will run 7.9k, incorporating 760 metres of ascent.
Local interest will come in the form of Karen Alexander (Acorns AC), Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Anne Sanford (Lagan Valley AC), Dominic McGreevy (Newcastle AC), Peter Bell (Pegasus AC), Eugene McCann (Newcastle AC) and Willie John Brown (Mourne Runners), all of whom have international experience. Karen Alexander has raced sparingly this year, but will be well prepared for this event after a recent Half Marathon win in Austria, and should lead the Northern Ireland based runners home. Gillian Wasson has been running well recently and will be pushing for a podium place in her category. Lagan Valley AC ladies Anne Sandford and Shileen O'Kane have both suffered from injury this season but will undoubtedly compete to their usual high standard. The strong Dominic McGreevy is likely to lead the local men, with the experienced and well travelled Peter Bell, who narrowly missed a category prize in the WMRA Long Distance Race at Pikes Peak (USA), in pursuit. Eugene McCann and Willie John Brown will be competitors who are also likely to be pushing for category prizes.
In Norway, on Saturday 6th September 2014, Northern Ireland man Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) will take on the Tromso Skyrace, an event organised and hosted by Skyrunning heroes Killian Jornet and and Emelie Forsberg. The stunning but tough course covers 42k, with 4,300m of ascent. Shane, who performed well at the Mourne Way Ultra back in June (2014), is in good shape and should go well here as he builds up to the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race in October (2014).
Meanwhile, in Scotland on Saturday 6th September 2014, runners from Northern Ireland will compete in the Scottish Half Marathon in Edinburgh. The race, which is well known for it's fast and flat course, which starts at Meadowmill Sports Centre and finishes on the coast in Musselburgh Race Course, attracts a plethora of UK talent. Scotland based athletes Lauren Quee (Unttached), Ryan Stewart (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers/Larne AC) and John McManus (Garscube Harriers/East Coast AC) should start, and will be joined by East Coast AC duo Jacque Craig and Ruth Kelly.
On Sunday 7th September 2014, the streets of Belfast will come to a standstill as North Belfast Harriers host a record breaking Laganside 10k, which this year has attracted close to 1,000 entrants; perhaps a reflection of its newly acquired status as the Northern Ireland 10k Championships
The battles for the Northern Ireland individual and team titles will be an interesting feature of the day but it would appear from the pre-entries that Annadale Striders' Eddie McGinley is the stand out favourite. The NI & Ulster 5,000m and Northern Ireland Half Marathon Champion is in heavy training for his second attempt at the Airtricity Dublin Marathon, but barring a shock or a host of elite entries, he should add the 10k (road) title to his growing trophy cabinet. Foyle Valley AC's Scott Rankin, Willowfield Harriers' Brian Campbell and North Belfast Harriers' very own Eamon White should be in the mix for the remaining podium places, but with the likes of Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Dennis Scott (North Down AC), Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers), James Brown (Larne AC) and Francis Marsh (North Down AC) all in the line-up, nothing can be taken for granted. Ryan Holt (Willowfield Harriers), Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) and Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) should all be looking for high finishing positions and personal bests. In the absence of any notable representation from the North West clubs (Foyle Valley AC and City of Derry AC), the team title is wide open this year. On the face of it, North Belfast Harriers, North Down AC and Willowfield Harriers should all be contenders.
The ladies race might even be a closer affair than the men’s race and will undoubtedly be a head to head between two Commonwealth Games athletes Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers). Track star Kerry, who set a new course record whilst winning the Mill Hill Mile on Wednesday (3rd September 2014), will provide opposition for marathon star Gladys.
The remaining medal should go to one of four ladies, Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) and Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers). Versatile athlete, Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) should finish well up the field, and the same can be said for Nikki Heywood (North Down AC), Maeve Lavery (Dub Runners), Janice Plumb (East Coast AC), Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) and Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers). The team title could be retained by the host club who will field veteran stars Louise Smith, Cathy McCourt and Amanda Perry; however, they will have to stave off competition from North Down AC. The day’s events will start with a kid’s mile race is at 1.30pm. With over 170 competitors pre-entered, the race will be almost twice the size as last year’s inaugural race, which proved very popular.
Also on Sunday 7th September 2014, 26extreme will host the 2nd annual running of their Titanic Series, which will offer participants the choice of three events, 25k, 50k and 102k. The 102k, which has increased by 1k since 2013, marking the 102 years since the Titanic sank, 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, Don Travers (Newry City Runners) will feature prominently in the 102k. After enjoying an excellent win at the Groomsport Half Marathon last week, Northern Ireland international Don appears to be in good shape going into this race. Energia 24hr finisher Tim Brownlie (Unattached) will also take to the start line and will be looking to improve on his runners up spot last year (2013). Sean Nickell (Unattached) will hope to have covered from his four day jaunt (ie the 'Quadrathon') in Ireland last month, and if he has, Sean should play a part at the front of the pack. Martin Lilley (Unattached) and Roland Peacock (Unattached) should also be there or there abouts. Like the aforementioned Sean Nickell (Unattached), Ballycastle Runners' Helena Dornan took part in the Quadrathon; however, as planned, AAI National 24 hour silver medallist Helena only completed on of the 26.2 mile races, which she won. This will give the experienced ultra-runner a lot of confidence going into this race; Unattached athlete Katarzyna Skowron will also claim a podium place.
Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) will be one of the athletes to watch in the 50k event. The always impressive athlete has been racing sparingly this year, quite possibly after the injury sustained on New Years Day, but he will no doubt be ready for this one. He (Simon), will face strong opposition in the form of Mark Walker (Unattached); Mark had an excellent ultra-distance debut earlier this year when he won the 50k race at the Lost World's event in May 2014. His second ultra didn't go so well in Galway, so Mark will be eager to make amends for that. Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC) and Sean McShane (North Belfast Harriers) will also run well. The ladies 50k will be a three way race between Emma-Louise Kirk (Unattached), Brenda Miere (Dublin Bay Runners) and Ali McAllister (Springwell Running Club). Emma-Louise always seems to produce the goods at 26extreme events and is a regular on the podium; however, the Unattached athlete will not just be happy with a prize and will be going for top honours. Another lady after the same prize will be endurance specialist Brenda Miere, who secured second place at this years Energia 12 hour race, will prove a tough athlete to beat.
Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Patrick McShane (North Belfast Harriers), Jiri Dvorak (Unattached), Jacqueline Moore (Acorns AC), Karen Poag (Seapark AC), Kathryn Walls (Dromore AC) and Kyle Johnston (Unattached) are the most recognisable names on the 25k start list. All should run well, over what will be a scenic course.
In County Tyrone, on Sunday 7th September 2014, local runners and fitness enthusiasts will take on the annual Gallybally 10k road race, and event hosted by local sports club Gallyballey Pearses GAC. The location of this race could suit athletes like Delfim Pimentel (Unattached), Ruth Hill (Unattached), Eamonn Sheehan (Sperrin Harriers) and East Coast AC men Matthew Hewitt and Stephen Kennedy. On the day entry is available, with the race starting from the Gallybally Community Centre at 12pm.
Further afield, a large contingent from Northern Ireland will line up alongside 50,000 participants at the world's most famous Half Marathon, the Great North Run in Newcastle (England) on Sunday 7th September 2014. This year marks a very special one for the event which started in 1981, with the one millionth competitor due to cross the line; this is the first time this has ever been achieved by a running event.
North Belfast Harriers' Breege Connolly is likely to be the first local athlete to cross the finish line in South Shields. NiRunning's own Catherine Maxwell (East Coast AC) will also toe the line, and will be joined by club mates Chris Davis, Paul Clements, Sandy Plumb and Iain Bailie. Ian Brennan (Larne AC), David Noble (Larne AC) and Rodney Livingstone (Ballymena Runners) will also be amongst the familiar faces running, while Magherafelt Harriers men Francis Stewart, Alvin Taylor, Paul McErlain, Kevin Murphy, Paddy Quinn and Niall Higgins will complete the race for the fifth year in a row.
Please Note – As the majority of our team are out of the country this weekend, there may be a delay in the uploading of articles and results. However, these will be added as soon as possible. We will attempt to keep our facebook and twitter accounts working as normal, so please keep an eye on these for race updates etc.
Stephen Wylie, Helen Stockdale, Aaron Harrison and Jessica Scott win in Millisle:
On Wednesday 3rd September 2014, over one hundred athletes from all over the province descended on the coastal village of Millisle in County Down for the annual Prison Service College (PSC) 6 mile road race, an event which also included a 3 mile race.
North Down AC's Stephen Wylie was the star of the show; the recent Groomsport 10k and Portaferry 10 mile race winner led the field from start to finish, before breaking the tape in 32:49 (1st place). Northern Ireland Masters Track & Field Championships medallist Mark Weir (North Down AC) was the next finisher in 35:01 (2nd place), while Gareth Lyons led the strong Ballydrain Harriers squad home in 35:19 (3rd place).
In the ladies race, Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) continued what has been an excellent week. After claiming gold medals over 400m, 800m, 1500m and 3,000m at the NIMAA Track & Field Championships on Saturday (30th August 2014), the Northern Ireland international star showed her ability over the longer distance with an impressive win in 37:08 (1st place). Orangegrove AC's Leann Gibson followed in 39:47 (2nd place), before Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) secured 3rd place in 40:36.
In the associated 3 mile race, Ballydrain Harriers junior star Aaron Harrison led the field home in 18:06 (1st place), while Jessica Scott, from North Down AC, completed the course in 20:01 (1st place); this was enough to see her claim top spot in the ladies category.
Top 3 Men: 1st Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) – 32:49, 2nd Mark Weir (North Down AC) – 35:01, 3rd Gareth Lyons (Ballydrain Harriers) – 35:19
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) – 37:08, 2nd Leann Gibson (Orangegrove AC) – 39:47, 3rd Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:36
Full Results: Millisle 6 mile (and 3 mile) Road Race 2014 Results
Mill Hill Mile 2014:
On Wednesday 3rd September 2014, just shy of one hundred athletes turned out for the traditional Mill Hill Mile road race in Castlewellan, County Down. The Newcastle AC hosted event, which raised £800 for local charity 'Shimna Valley Cancer Fund for Children', 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 number of Junior athletes now getting involved.
Fittingly, it was two County Down based athletes who claimed top honours; in the men's event, East Down AC's always impressive Brendan Teer retained the title he won in 2013, after covering the “brutal” course in 5:39 (1st place). He (Brendan) was followed by up and coming star, 16 year old Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC), who clocked an excellent 5:47 (2nd place), which saw him just edge out local Newcastle AC man David O'Flaherty (3rd place – 5:48).
Arguably the performance of the night came from Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games hero Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC). Kerry marked her return to road competition in style, securing victory in a new course record of 6:00; this was enough to take 1st place in the ladies race and 4th place overall. Last years winner, Joanne Mills (Unattached), followed in 6:46 (2nd place), while young East Down AC lady Laura Gardiner, who was also a podium finisher twelve months ago, completed the ladies podium in 7:08 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 5:39, 2nd Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC) – 5:47, 3rd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 5:48
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 6:00, 2nd Joanne Mills (Unattached) – 6:46, 3rd Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) – 7:08
Full Results: Mill Hill Mile 2014 Results
Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014:
After Born 2 Run's Dambusters Half Marathon brought an end to the 2014 Pure Running Half Marathon Series, the category winners have now been revealed. This years ten race Series, which was hosted by ChampionChip Ireland, saw 6,647 athletes complete 13.1 mile races in Newry (DUNE Half Marathon and Newry City Half Marathon), Larne (AES Larne Half Marathon), Omagh (Omagh Half Marathon), Lisburn (Lisburn Half Marathon), Newtownards (Ards Half Marathon), Dervock (Kennedy Kane McArthur Half Marathon), Cookstown (Cookstown Half Marathon) and Kilkeel (Dambusters Half Marathon).
To count in the Series, competitors were required to complete three from five races in the first half of the Series, and a further three from five in the second half, at which point, their six best aggregate times were calculated and final places calculated.
Unattached athlete Heather Foley was one of the most impressive performers throughout the Series. In the seven races Heather completed, the talented triathlete claimed victory in three and took the runners up spot in the other four. This was enough to see Heather take top honours in the Ladies Open category with the fastest ladies aggregate time overall (8:16:25); in the same category, Gym Tech's Liosa McKeown moved into second place ahead of Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) after an excellent run at the Dambusters Half Marathon, where she led the field home in a fairly decent 1:34:40, considering the tough course. In the Men's Open category, North Belfast Harriers' Marc Jennings finished on an aggregate time of 7:54:58, which was enough to see of the consistent Willowfield Harriers' David Proctor (8:08:53)
Even in the early stages of the Series, it was obvious that Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) possessed the qualities to challenge for a category prize and this proved correct, with Anne topping the Ladies Vet35 category. In the Men's equivalent (Vet35), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) not only won the category, but also recorded the fastest aggregate time (7:29:44) out of all the categories. The Ladies Vet40 race provided the most exciting finish out of all the age groups; although North Down AC's Catherine Roberts (9:08:03) won clearly, Ballymena Runners' new girl Janice White pipped the always impressive Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) by a mere seven seconds. Janice took the runners up prize in the category with an aggregate time of 9:22:22, while Diane's overall time was 9:22:29. Michael Fitzpatrick (North Belfast Harriers) won the Men's Vet40 prize, which interestingly, was one of the most popular age groups, with eleven athletes completing six races.
North Belfast Harriers newbies Nat Glenn and Penny Lindsay won their respective Vet45 categories with aggregate times of 8:03:19 and 9:50:49 respectively. In the Vet50 competition, Dromore AC stalwart Nigel Grier was rewarded for his consistent performances, topping the final category standings. Meanwhile, Ita McCambridge added to North Belfast Harriers' achievements, taking the Ladies Vet50 title. Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) won the Ladies Vet55 category by over three hours, with the versatile athlete finishing on an aggregate time of 10:11:21, while in the Men's Vet55 table, Ballydrain Harriers' in-form Norman Mawhinney saw off the challenge of respected North Belfast Harriers athlete Greg McClure, therefore topping the table.
The three fastest men overall were East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson (7:29:44), Up & Runners' Jonathan Bradshaw (7:41:25) and North Belfast Harriers' Marc Jennings (7:54:58).
Looking at the ladies overall aggregate times, Unattached athlete Heather Foley was fastest in 8:16:25, with North Down AC's Catherine Roberts (9:08:03) and Unattached athlete Anne Fitzpatrick (9:10:39) recording the second and third fastest aggregate times.
A total number of eighteen runners completed all ten races in the Series, this included Michael McKeown (East Down AC) and Angus McCready (Orangegrove AC) who have now completed all forty seven races since the Half Marathon Series began in 2009.
Other runners who completed all the races in the 2014 Series include, Diane Woods (Unattached), Edel Dunlop (Unattached), Jim Larkin (Unattached), Darren Prior (Ballymena Runners), Neil Martin (Unattached), Darren Moffett (Orangerove AC), Andrew Johnston (Unattached), Leslie Murray (Unattached), Paul Edgar (Orangegrove AC), Thomas McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Ben Trowell (Unattached), Kieran Duffy (Unattached), Lyle Johnston (Unattached), Daniel Jack (Unattached) and Greame McGowan (Unattached).
The fastest 13.1 mile time of the Series was recorded by Annadale Striders man Eddie McGinley, who won the Omagh Half Marathon in 1:06:37. At the same race, Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC) produced the quickest ladies time of 1:16:41. In a clean sweep of records, Omagh Half Marathon also had the most finishers, with 1.921 competitors crossing the line.
Final standings for the Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014 are available HERE. Details of the prize-giving will be announced in the coming weeks and will be announced on the NiRunning facebook and twitter pages.
Note - August 2014 'News' is available HERE or by following the navigational bar at the top of the page. This includes summaries for races which took place last weekend (Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st August 2014).