Northern Ireland runners set to compete in top competitions:
This weekend will see Northern Ireland athletes compete over various distances in different parts of the world, with local runners due to participate at events in Derry/Londonderry, Tullamore (Ireland), Manchester (England), Svalbard (Norway), Geneva (Switzerland) and Ooredgem (Belgium). The main local event of the weekend is the Walled City Marathon, but before it takes place on Sunday 2nd June 2013, NI runners will have already been in action elsewhere.
On Saturday 1st June 2013, Mark Patterson (North Down AC), Steven Morrow (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders), Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders), Eoghan Totten (Newcastle AC) and London based Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) take part in the British Milers Club ‘Sport City’ Grand Prix event in Manchester, England. Mark and Steven will race over 800m, while Eddie, Andrew, Eoghan and Stephen will cover 5,000m.
On the same day, but further afield in Ooredgem, Belgium; Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC), Ben Maze (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC), Curtis Woods (Lagan Valley AC), Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) are all set to toe the line at the Flanders International Track & Field Meeting. Kerry Harty will go into her 3000m steeplechase event off the back of brilliant performances at the Loughborough International and the Westminster Mile. Ben Maze and Curtis Woods will take on the 400m; Jason Harvey will race in the 400m hurdles, Conor Bradley will cover 1500m, and Christine McMahon will line up in the 400m hurdles.
Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) and Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will race at the EAP Meeting International de Geneve in Geneva, Switzerland. Ben will take on the high hurdles, while Dean will compete over 100m. Meanwhile, off the 'track', two Orangegrove AC athletes will make the long trip to Svalbard, Norway for the Svalbard Turn Spitbergen Marathon and Half Marathon events. Paul Woodman will complete the 26.2 mile course, while Joy McAleer will cover the 13.1 mile route. The event is well-known because of the fact that participants are guarded by marshalls carrying fire-arms, to protect them from polar bears.
Also on Saturday 25th May 2013, a large number of Northern Ireland based runners are expected to travel south for the Irish Schools Track & Field Championships in Tullamore, County Offaly (Ireland). Conal Kirk (Lagan Valley AC), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers) and Ryan Sharkey (Lagan Valley AC) will all compete; Ballymena & Antrim AC star Gareth Hill will also take on the 1500m at the event.
Special Feature: SSE Renewable Walled City Marathon:
Sunday 2nd June 2013, brings the weekend’s main event, the SSE Renewables Walled City Marathon 2013 in Derry/Londonderry. The 26.2 mile race will return to the 2013 City of Culture after a 28 year absence and will see over 1,500 runners from Ireland, Britain and across the world compete over a stunning course that will take in all the sights and sounds of the city. The challenging route will follow the neighbourhoods of the city, the rural villages, the banks of the River Foyle and the city’s three bridges before returning to the Walled City for a finish in the historic Guildhall Square. In addition to the 26.2 mile race, there will be a one mile mini marathon for children from the local boroughs.
Freddy Sittuk (Kenya), a third place finisher in this years Belfast City Marathon (after running 2:24:39) will head the field. The Kenyan athlete, who has spent the last four weeks in Northern Ireland, has enjoyed several race wins during his visit; including the Culaduff 5k road race (Ireland) and more recently, the Strawberry Half Marathon (Ireland) last weekend, where he crossed the line in 1:09:08.
Despite rumours of a slight injury, local man Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC) should start the race. On ‘home turf’, Greg will be determined to impress; with a marathon personal best of 2:21:18 (Dublin 2010) and a more recent showing of 2:26:05 (Berlin 2012), he is more than capable of challenging training partner Freddie Sittuk on his day. Tommy Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) has won two previous Derry/Londonderry Marathon’s, in 1984 and 1985, and will return in the hope of completing a memorable hat-trick. Tommy finished in 6th place at the Belfast City Marathon (2:32:31), which statistically puts both Freddy and Greg as more likely winners, but the experienced marathoner (Tommy) is well known for his strength and determination; never rule this man out!
Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) has picked up wins at the Connemara, Kildare and Newry City Marathon’s recently, with the most impressive of his times being in Kildare, where he recorded 2:29:44 to finish six minutes ahead of his nearest rival. There is no doubt that Gary will be amongst the front runners here, but the amount of 26.2 mile races he has completed recently could well take it’s toll over this tough course. Pauric McKinney (Letterkenny AC) will feature prominently, as will Foyle Valley AC duo Chris McGuiness and Adrian McGowan; both Chris and Adrian have improved significantly this year and have enjoyed podium places at local races, with Chris taking third place at the Killyclogher 10k; while Adrian also claimed a third place finish at last week’s Wilkies 5 mile road race.
Damien Cox (Omagh Harriers), Aaron Meharg (Sperrin Harriers) and Emmett McAteer (Trafford AC) should all be in or around the top ten, while Barry Dinsmore (Foyle Valley AC), Jonny Graham (Ballymena Runners), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC) and Barry Shanks (St Peter’s AC) will be hoping for the infamous sub three hour finishing time. Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers), Michael Cultra (East Down AC), Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners), Andrew Stevenson (Seapark AC) and French sports writer Bruno Lacroix (France) will also finish well up the field.
The ladies race will also be a close affair, with a host of talented local ladies set to start. Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club), Lisa Sturgeon (North Belfast Harriers), Caroline Miller (Omagh Harriers), Helen Bateson (Unattached) and Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) will battle it out for the podium places. Ciara Toner finished just outside the top ten ladies at the Belfast City Marathon earlier this month after running (3:19:15) and also picked up a podium place at the Inishowen Half Marathon recently. Lisa Sturgeon will be keen to make up for what she will consider to have been a bad run at the Virgin London Marathon, and with a personal best of 3:03:03, the North Belfast Harriers lady has the credentials to take the title. Caroline Miller is a consistent performer and a regular podium finisher on the local circuit, she (Caroline) completed two marathons last year, in 3:29:16 (Dublin) and 3:33:29 (Edinburgh) and will be there or there abouts this time around.
Helen Bateson is somewhat of an unknown athlete, but produced a stunning performance last Friday (24th May 2013) at the Runher Coastal Challenge. Helen covered the tough 10k course in 40:11 and looked strong throughout the race. Helena Dornan has had a brilliant year so far, with excellent runs at the Lost Worlds 25k, where she finished third in 2:13:31 and the Belfast City Marathon, where she finished sixteenth in 3:24:14. Just last week, Helena won the Newry City Marathon in 3:24:57. Ita McCullagh (Omagh Harriers) and City of Derry AC ladies Paula McGilloway, Marina Campbell, Hanna Shields and Miriam Bridge will all finish well up, as will Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners) and Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers).
It’s sure to be a fantastic event and an exciting day of racing, and NiRunning will be there to provide live updates as the race progresses. Our race summary will be online on Sunday (2nd June 2013) night and race photographs will follow on Monday 3rd June 2013.
Also on Sunday 2nd June 2013, Larne AC’s John McManus will take on the notorious Comrades Ultra-Marathon in South Africa, a hilly race which covers the 86.96km journey between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. John has prepared for the gruelling event by completing the Connemara, London, and Belfast Marathon’s.
Northern Ireland’s ten parkrun events will also take place as normal, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.
Hill & Dales Series (Race 7) at Loughshannagh:
On Thursday 30th May 2013, nearly two hundred mountain runners turned out for the seventh race in this years Hill & Dale Series, hosted by Newcastle AC. On this occasion, Loughshannagh was the venue of choice, with the course measuring approximately 5 miles in distance with 1,700ft of ascending.
Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) completed a hat-trick of series race wins, crossing the line first in 40:39. Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), who enjoyed a second place finish at Tollymore (Race 2), replicated that performance, claiming 2nd place in 42:00 (2nd place). Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) has been an almost permanent fixture on the podium throughout the series; he (Neil) continued his excellent run of form, which also included a win at last week’s Belfast Hills 10k, with a 3rd place finish in 42:14.
Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) celebrated her first series race win at Moughanmore two weeks ago; the Dromore AC lady returned from International duty to make it two wins in two H&D outings, recording 48:56 for top spot. Diane was followed by fellow International ladies, Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC), who took 2nd place (51:01) and 3rd place (54:24) respectively.
Top 3 Men: 1st Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) – 40:39, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 42:00, 3rd Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 42:14
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 48:56, 2nd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 51:01, 3rd Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) – 54:24
Full Results: Hill & Dale Series (Race 7) Loughshannagh 2013 Results
City of Lisburn AC star looks to be in good shape for impending track season:
On Thursday 30th May 2013, Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), one Northern Ireland’s top sprinters, was in competition at the EAP Riga Cup Track & Field meeting in Latvia. Amy was competing over the distances for which she holds the Northern Ireland records for, the 100m (joint with Anna Boyle) and 200m.
In the 100m, Amy clocked 11.55secs to take 2nd place behind American Cleo Van Buren (11.50secs). This was the City of Lisburn AC athletes fastest time of the year over the distance. The 200m race was also won by the Cleo Van Buren (USA) in 23.75secs, with Amy taking 2nd place in 23.90secs.
Full Results: EAP Riga Cup 2013 Results
ChampionChip Ireland provide update on Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2013:
After the first three races (Omagh Half Marathon, DUNE Half Marathon and Newry Half Marathon) in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2013 have been completed, the main protagonists are starting to emerge.
Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) is the star performer in the male category, with fast times in all three races to date and first place at both the Dundalk to Newry (DUNE) race and also the Newry City Marathon, where his first half (13.1m) time counts in the Series. Julie Balmer (North Down AC) romped home in sub 1:24:29 in Newry to announce her participation and will be the lady to chase again this year.
By the close of May there will have been 51 entrants eligible for the category prizes with 14 females and 37 males spread amongst the 7 categories. Within that there are 15 hardy souls who have completed in all 3 races so far and have indicated that they will attempt all 10 to claim their highly sought after souvenir garment come the end of September 2013.
The 15 are as follows: Deirdre Conway (Sperrin Harriers), Joe Cooney (Unattached), Catherine Fearon (Up & Runners), Sam Hogg (Lagan Valley AC), Daniel Jack (Unattached), Eunan Magee (Unattached), Zdzislaw Malkinski (Orangegrove AC), John McConnell (Up & Runners), Angus McCready (Up & Runners), Andrew McIntyre (Up & Runners), Michael McKeown (East Down AC), Stephen McStravick (Unattached), Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), Eugene Winters (Unattached), Diane Woods (Unattached).
June is a busy month for the Series and will see the first half completed with races in Larne on the Saturday 8th June, Lisburn on the Wednesday 19th June and Ards on Friday 28th June. All these races have been part of the Series since its inception and will boost the numbers towards the organisers overall target of 10,000 runners. An average of 1,000 per race is required to race this target, with the total after 3 races is at 2,956. Lisburn, Larne and Ards should ensure the 7,000 mark is reached judging by past numbers.
If a runner wishes to be considered for an award as part of the series they need to register their interest free of charge through the Athletics NI website and then post their times on the spreadsheet accessed using the following link (Pure Running Half Marathon Series Spreadsheet). A list of rankings will be produced and posted on the Athletics NI site once the first 5 races are completed.
Furey Insurance 5k Series: Buncrana 5k Road Race (County Donegal, Ireland):
On Wednesday 29th May 2013, City of Derry AC hosted the second race of the Furey Insurance 5k series in Buncrana, County Donegal (Ireland). Excellent running conditions and a flat, fast course set things up for a superb night of racing, with over 260 athletes taking part in the event.
Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC), who ran a 31:15 10k at the Bupa Great Manchester Run (England) on Sunday, recorded a new personal best of 14:34.05 to lead the field home. This was the fastest time ever by an Irish runner on the course. City of Derry AC’s Declan Reed crossed the line in 14:48.31 to claim 2nd place, while Foyle Valley AC’s Scott Rankin just missed a sub 15 minute clocking, when he finished in 15:00.66 (3rd place).
The ladies race was won by Lifford AC’s leading lady Ann-Marie McGlynn in an excellent 16:32.11. Springwell Running Club’s Gemma Turley continued her excellent form, which included a win at the Jengana 10k last Saturday, taking 2nd place in 18:06.08; City of Derry AC starlet Amy McDaid, a second place finisher at the NiRunning Mile in April (2013), completed the top three ladies in 18:37.67.
Top 3 Men: 1st Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC) – 14:34.05, 2nd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 14:48.31, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:00.66
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 16:32.11, 2nd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 18:06.08, 3rd Amy McDaid (City of Derry AC) – 18:37.67
Full Results: Buncrana 5k Road Race 2013 Results
Annadale Striders star selected by Athletics Ireland:
Leading Northern Ireland distance runner, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) has been selected by Athletics Ireland to compete in the upcoming IAAF World Championships, set to take place between the 10th August and 18th August 2013 in Moscow, Russia.
The current AAI National Marathon and Half Marathon Champion will take on the marathon at the prestigious Championships. Paul was understandably delighted by his selection, despite being a little surprised after what he described as a “disappointing” run in the Virgin London Marathon in April 2013, where he recorded 2:17:10.
The down to earth and exceptionally talented Belfast man had this to say, “I’m just glad the selectors have given me the opportunity to represent my country and compete against the best marathon runners on a world stage. My plan had been to do Berlin Marathon at the end of September (2013) but I will now need to sit down with my coach Andy Hobdell and work out a plan for the next twelve weeks. Hopefully I will do myself and Ireland proud.”
Paul, who burst onto the marathon scene with a 2:16:30 clocking to win the AAI National Marathon Championships in the Dublin Marathon in 2012, has ambitions to break the Irish marathon record; the Athletics Ireland record for the 26.2m distance was set by John Treacy (2:09:15) in 1984, while the Athletics Northern Ireland record was set by Greg Hannon (2:13:06) in 1979.
In 2012, the Annadale Striders star won the AAI Half Marathon Championships in Athenry (Ireland) in a personal best time of 1:04:16 and went on to represent Ireland in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Bulgaria, he was also crowned as the Athletics NI 10k Champion after winning the Seeley Cup in 30:40. NiRunning would like to congratulate Paul on this magnificent achievement and we look forward to following his progress in the run up to and during the World Championships. Hopefully, he’ll be joined on the team by several other Northern Ireland based runners.
East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series (Race 2) - Woodburn Forest:
On Tuesday 28th May 2013, East Antrim Harriers welcomed athletes to Woodburn Forest, Carrickfergus for the second race of their annual Forest Trail Series. In good running conditions, the athletes had 2.5 miles of tough forest trails to cover.
David Simpson (Ballydrain Harriers), who enjoyed a comfortable victory in Ballyboley Forest two weeks ago, continued his impressive form; the experienced star sealed a second successive victory in a brilliant 14:34. Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) claimed 2nd place in 15:04, while Ballymena Runners’ Kevin O’Boyle, who is quickly getting back to his best after a spell out through injury, clocked 15:43 to take 3rd place.
The ladies race contained the top three ladies from the Ballyboley event; and in an interesting twist, the final standings read exactly the same as they did two weeks ago. Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) secured another excellent win in 19:08, ahead of Jennifer Bill (North Belfast Harriers) in 2nd place. Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) put in a strong performance to cross the line in 20:25 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st David Simpson (Ballydrain Harriers) – 14:34, 2nd Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 15:04, 3rd Kevin O’Boyle (Ballymena Runners) – 15:43
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) – 19:08, 2nd Jennifer Bill (North Belfast Harriers) – 19:39, 3rd Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC) – 20:25
Karen Alexander shows class in Ballina:
In other news, Sperrin Harriers’ Karen Alexander enjoyed an excellent win at the River Moy Half Marathon in Ballina, County Mayo (Ireland) on Saturday 25th May 2013. Northern Ireland international Karen, who has been in good form of late, having enjoyed wins at the prestigious Cooley Legends Half Marathon and the Lost Worlds 25k within the last month, smashed the course record by three minutes after crossing the line in 1:23:12. The men’s race was won by Alan O’Shea (Bantry AC) in 1:10:48. Full results can be found HERE.
Sean Furey Insurance - Buncrana 5k Road Race (Preview complied by City of Derry AC):
On Wednesday 29th May 2013, City of Derry AC will host the 10th annual Buncrana 5km Road Race and Fun Run. As ever, sponsored by Sean Furey Insurances of Buncrana and Carndonagh, the 2013 edition of the event promises to be popular with club runners and recreational athletes alike. Over the last nine years, the race has become a highlight in the North West racing calendar, due to the proven flat, fast course and the excellent organisation.
This race is the poster event of the Furey Insurances 5k Series, which this year comprises four races held between Derry/Londonderry (Northern Ireland) and Inis Eoghain (Ireland). The series kicked off in April at the Bay Road in Derry/Londonderry, a race that incorporated the Northern Ireland 5k (Road) Championships and was won in fine style by City of Derry AC’s Declan Reed, who just edged Foyle Valley AC’s Scott Rankin; Declan led the Spartans to a comprehensive team victory, where the City of Culture based team filled eight of the top ten placings. The women's race at the Bay Road was also won by Spartan's Catherine Whoriskey with a new Pb (Personal Best) of 18:18, but the female Spartans lost their team crown to a very strong Omagh Harriers trio.
However, that was then and the Buncrana 5k has proven itself to be a much tougher animal in the past with levels of competition usually higher than any of the other Furey Series races. The male team race last year was won by a very strong Foyle Valley AC quartet, who surprised everybody but themselves by lifting the Sean Furey Insurances Perpetual Shield for the first time. Over the previous eight editions of the race, either City of Derry AC or Letterkenny AC had been dominant but in 2012 they were relegated to 2nd and 3rd respectively by the purple vests. The Foyle Valley AC boys have been running very well so far in 2013 and will need to continue this if they are to retain their team title! Other North West clubs who could potentially feature include Inishowen AC, led by the evergreen and former three time winner Pauric McKinney, along with Omagh Harriers, Springwell Running Club, Tir Connall AC and Finn Valley AC.
The City of Derry AC ladies had a comprehensive victory in last year's team race with Foyle Valley AC and Inishowen AC in 2nd and 3rd places. However, this year they will be without the 2012 individual winner Marina Campbell as she is on the injury list but have strength in depth and will be keen to seek revenge on the Omagh Harriers girls after the Bay Road 5k. The race is by no means only between these two though, with potentially strong squads from Finn Valley AC, Springwell Running Club, Inishowen AC, Foyle Valley AC and Letterkenny AC who, if they turn out, will all have something to say about the team title. As in the male event, clubs from further afield often seem to find the midweek journey too far, but if some of the Belfast clubs like St Malachys AC, North Belfast Harriers or Annadale Striders make the trip then you are sure to see some fireworks.
The individual race has always been one of the highest quality in Ulster, with a sub 15 min clocking often required to seal the win. St Malachy’s AC duo of Kevin Seaward (14:44 in 2007) and Joe McAllister (14:40 in 2010), along with Letterkenny AC’s Ciaran Doherty (14:59 in 2011) are members of that elite club and indeed McAllister's record stands as the Irish Record for the course. In 2012 the Buncrana public were treated to a little demonstration of the East African dominance when Kenyan Runner Freddie Keron Sittuk, who was staying with former winner Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC) posted 14:18 to win, some 48 seconds ahead of runner up Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) who was himself very close with 15:06. The organisers have deemed Freddie's time to be an all-comers record for the course and continue to offer €100 bonus to anyone who can break either record. In addition they offer €200 to anyone who can break 14 minutes! So far this year, local runners Scott Rankin, Declan Reed and City of Derry AC’s own Richard Johnston have all ran sub 15 minutes on different courses, so if the weather is decent they may repeat the feat in Buncrana and indeed could challenge McAllister's record. Kenyan Freddie Sittuk is also in the country at the moment and has indicated that he'll be back to have a crack at the all-comers record or indeed at the astounding 14 minute barrier which is worth noting, would mean having to run each mile at 4:30 minute mile pace! Others to watch out for include Foyle Valley AC’s Keith Shields, who seems to be setting Pb’s every time he races, along with City of Derry AC man Connor Bradley who has run sub 15 minutes on many occasions.
The ladies course record is no less impressive. Letterkenny AC's former Olympian Maria McCambridge broke the record in 2010, running an excellent 16:07. Indeed, in that race, three time winner and former record holder, Finn Valley's Therese Mc Gloin was also inside her old record running 16:35 for 2nd place. In addition to McCambridge and Mc Gloin, other likely contenders include Lifford AC's Ann-Marie McGlynn, Letterkenny AC’s Foinnula Diver and City of Derry AC’s Catherine Whoriskey.
Despite all this talk of records and the fleet of foot, the main aim of this race and indeed of the series is to provide competition for all levels of runners and joggers. It doesn't matter if you have just started jogging and have to take walk breaks every so often; you are more than welcome to take on the Buncrana 5k. The only thing that organisers ask is that you do attempt to run/jog the 5k. It doesn’t matter if you have to walk a bit in the middle but this is not a walking event. Also worth noting that due to Athletic Association of Ireland (AAI) rules, no athlete under 16 years of age will be allowed to compete.
In addition to being part of the Furey Insurances 5k series, the race is also race eleven of the Donegal Athletics Board's Summer Grand Prix series, which this year comprises a staggering fifty races. Due to the huge number of events happening in 2013, the organisers of the Furey Insurances Series have decided to reduce the number of races from six to four. Along with the aforementioned Bay Road and Buncrana 5k race, the Lisnagelvin 5k (26/6/13) and the Balliniska (17/7/13) complete the 2013 Furey Insurances 5K Series with competitors needing to complete three out of four races to be eligible for the series prizes.
Wednesday 29th May 2013. Registration from 5.30pm at Scoil Mhuire Secondary School, adjacent to Buncrana Leisure Centre. Entry fee €10/£9stg, chip timing in operation. Race starts at 7.30pm sharp. Refreshments provided after in Scoil Mhuire. Showers available in Buncrana Leisure Centre. Pre-race entries can be emailed to email@example.com (simply state your name, gender, age on race day and club). These must be received by 6pm on Tuesday 28th May 2013. Your race number can be picked up on the night when payment is made. Due to the large numbers expected please help us and yourselves by pre-entering! Any of those who intend to register on the night, please get there early as we will be closing registration at 7.10pm sharp and don't want to have to disappoint you.
The Sean Furey Insurances Buncrana 5k is organised by City of Derry Spartans AC in association with Scoil Mhuire Buncrana, Buncrana Leisure Centre and the help of the local community.
Northern Ireland clubs participate in National League:
On Sunday 26th May 2013, several Northern Ireland running clubs were represented at the opening round of the Woodies DIY National Track & Field League at Santry Stadium, Dublin (Ireland).
North Down AC’s Brendan McConville enjoyed a winning start to the day, he clocked 16.27secs to win the 110m hurdles. In the ladies 100m hurdles, North Down AC’s Clare Robinson (16.03secs) and City of Derry AC’s Emma McCay (17.71secs) finished in 2nd place and 5th place respectively; the race was won by Ferrybank AC’s double National Indoor Champion Kelly Proper in 14.48secs.
David Hynes (Menapions AC) won in the men’s 100m in 10.93secs, with NI man Kenny Elliot (North Down AC) taking 5th place in 11.66secs. Mollie Brett (North Down AC) and Mary Devlin (City of Derry AC) clocked 13.23secs (5th place) and 13.26secs (6th place) respectively in the ladies 100m, which was won by Niamh Whelan (Ferrybank AC) in 12.14secs. In the men’s 200m race, which was won by Menapions AC’s David Hynes (22.19secs), Adam McComb (North Down AC) ran 23.01secs (4th place). Adam then went on to win the 400m race in 48.61secs. Ellie Hull (North Down AC) and Katie Scott (City of Derry AC) were up against strong opposition in the ladies 200m race, but both ran well. Ellie crossed the line in 27.44secs (6th place) and Katie ran 28.42secs (7th place), the race was won by Niamh Whelan (Ferrybank AC) in 24.62secs.
In the ladies 400m race, Jenny O’Brien (City of Derry AC) just missed a sub sixty second finish time, recording 60.22secs (3rd place). North Down AC’s Ellen Robinson ran 64.46secs; Ciara McCallion (Clonliffe Harriers) won in 57.54secs. Michael Dyer (North Down AC) sealed an impressive victory in the men’s 800m race, clocking 1:58.45, while City of Derry AC rising star Amy McDaid (4th place - 2:32.04) just missed out on a podium place in the ladies equivalent. The race was won by Iseult O’Donnell (Raheny Shamrock AC) in 2:21:55. In the men’s 1500m, North Down AC’s Michael Dyer (4:03.63) missed out on what would have been an excellent 800m/1500m double, after finishing in 2nd place behind Clonliffe Harriers’ Ian Guiden (4:00.39). James Budde (North Down AC), regular at road races around the province, claimed a well-deserved 2nd place in the 3,000m steeplechase. James ran 10:04.02, the race was won by Brian Kirwan (SLOT AC) in 10:01.07.
North Down AC celebrated an excellent victory in the 4x400m men’s relay; winning in a brilliant 3:23.88. In the ladies 4x400m, North Down AC (4:40.17) and City of Derry AC (4:40.85) had to settle for 5th place and 6th place respectively. The race will be remembered for the photo finish between Raheny Shamrock AC and Clonliffe Harriers, with the teams being inseparable at the line, both recording 4:05.34. Raheny Shamrock AC were eventually awarded the win. City of Derry AC (52.67secs) finished in 7th place in the ladies 4x100m relay, behind race winners Kilkenny City Harriers (47.25secs), while in the men’s 4x100m relay, North Down AC (45.13sec) had to settle for 6th place. The race was won by Clonliffe Harriers in 42.06secs.
Full Results: Woodies DIY National Track & Field League (Round 1) 2013 Results - Photograph used above was taken from the City of Derry AC facebook page.
EMF Edinburgh Marathon and Half Marathon 2013:
On Sunday 26th May 2013, a number of runners from Northern Ireland took on the EMF Edinburgh Marathon and Half Marathon events in Scotland. The 26.2 mile and 13.1 mile races were held as part of an exciting weekend of racing in the historic Scottish City, other events included a 10k, 5k, Marathon Relay and Junior Races.
Tola Lema (Ethiopia) won the men’s marathon in 2:15:32, while Risper Kimaiyo (Kenya) lifted the ladies title in 2:35:57. Ever improving Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) was the first Northern Ireland runner to finish in 2:54:27, while Andrew Stevenson (Seapark AC) led a large crowd of fellow Seapark AC member’s home in 3:17:26. Experienced marathoner Bobby Irvine (Seapark AC) followed in 3:28:45, before Neil Porter (Seapark AC) recorded 3:32:37. Ballymena Runners’ Sharon Harvey crossed the line in a new personal best of 3:44:21, while Springwell Running Club’s Jean-Claude Bourgeois completed the distance in 3:53:23.
Elizabeth Leitch (Orangegrove AC) and Angela McBrien (Unattached), a Northern Ireland lady now living in Engalnd, covered the course together in 3:55:54. Seapark AC’s Vivien Davidson (4:19:35) was the next recognisable runner to cross the line, just ahead of club mate Julie-Ann Mitchell (4:23:05), who sparked a flurry of NI athletes, with Orangegrove AC’s Rachel Farrell (4:25:08) and Seapark AC duo Karen Poag (4:25:35) and Carrie Brown (4:26:20) all finishing within ninety seconds, before Sarah McPherson (Ballymena Runners) recorded 4:55:32.
The associated Half Marathon was won by Falkirk AC’s Ryan Beattie (1:09:30) and Gala AC’s Dianne Lauder (1:24:50). Sarah Rea (Seapark AC) crossed the line in 2:05:26, just ahead of club mate Andrew Smyth (2:05:38) and Springwell Running Club’s Rebecca Clarke (2:05:45). Karen Waring (Seapark AC) ran 2:07:46, while Seapark AC pair, Helen Boyd (2:08:33) and Emma Wightman (2:08:52) finished just nineteen seconds apart. Jennifer Parkhill (Springwell Running Club) and Barbara Porter (Seapark AC) completed the Northern Ireland interest in the event when they finished in 2:10:47 and 2:14:10 respectively.
Full Results: EMF Edinburgh Marathon and Half Marathon 2013 Results
Newry City Marathon and Newry City Half Marathon 2013:
On Sunday 26th May 2013, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on Newry City Centre and the nearby villages for the annual running of the Newry City Runners organised Newry City Marathon and Half Marathon; the Half Marathon is also part of the Pure Running Half Marathon Series.
In the 26.2 mile race, Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) and local man Don Travers (Newry City Runners) provided the watching crowds with a thrilling battle. The pair ran side by side for the majority of the route before Gary, who has recently won the Connemara and Kildare marathons, opened a small gap in the latter stages; eventually crossing the line in 2:34:15 to win. Two times winner of the event, Don followed closely behind, recording 2:34:54 to take 2nd place before David Griffin (Newry City Runners), another previous podium finisher in the race, took 3rd place in 2:51:59.
Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners), got within one minute of her Belfast City Marathon time (which was 3:24:14) to win the ladies top prize in 3:24:57. Tracy Gillen (Unattached) and Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) contested the runner up spot throughout the race, but it was Tracy (2nd place - 3:34:40) who just edged it in the end. Gillian, a consistent performer, settled for 3rd place in 3:34:59.
In the associated Half Marathon; talented North Belfast Harriers man Andrew Considine, winner of the recent Decathlon 10k, capped a solid display with a 1:17:09 winning performance. James Brown (Larne AC) knocked one minute off his previous personal best to claim 2nd place in 1:17:32, while official Belfast City Marathon pacer Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) completed the top three in 1:20:13.
The ladies Half Marathon brought three of the provinces regular prize-winners together; Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) and Ciara Coffey (Club Pulse) all performed well, but it was the in-form Julie Balmer who came out on top. The leading NI lady at the Belfast Marathon and runner up in Friday’s Runher Coastal Challenge celebrated victory in 1:24:29. Roisin, who was runner up to Julie in Belfast, took 2nd place in 1:27:29. Ciara, who is not overly experienced in the 13.1 mile distance, produced a massive personal best of 1:28:17 to claim the final podium place.
Newry City Marathon:
Top 3 Men: 1st Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 2:34:15, 2nd Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 2:34:54, 3rd David Griffin (Newry City Runners) – 2:51:59
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) – 3:24:57, 2nd Tracy Gillen (Unattached) – 3:34:40, 3rd Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 3:34:59
Newry City Half Marathon:
Top 3 Men: 1st Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:17:09, 2nd James Brown (Larne AC) – 1:17:32, 3rd Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) – 1:20:13
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 1:24:29, 2nd Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:27:29, 3rd Ciara Coffey (Club Pulse) – 1:28:17
Full Results: Newry City Half Marathon and Marathon 2013 Results (Marathon results are below Half Marathon). Picture used above is courtesy of David Balmer.
Harty and Maxwell put in impressive performances against top talent:
On Sunday 26th May 2013, Northern Ireland lady Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC) took on the prestigious Westminster Mile in London, England. Kerry has enjoyed an impressive start to her summer campaign, with the most notable performance being a win in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Loughborough International last weekend.
Up against top quality competition once again, on a course that takes in the infamous Mall, before finishing outside Buckingham Palace, Kerry clocked 4:43.2 for the mile, finishing in 7th place. The race was won by Hannah England (Oxford City AC) in 4:31.00 and included the likes of Lisa Dobriskey (Ashford AC), Steph Twell (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) and Emma Jackson (City of Stoke AC).
Further afield, Larne AC distance runner Justin Maxwell, continued his Skyrunning campaign in Zegama, Spain where he took on the tough and at times dangerous XI Zegama-Aizkorri Mendi Marathon. The event, which attracts the best ultra-runners in the world, covers 42.195km (with 5,472m accumulative ascent) of mountain tracks, forests trails and steep technical rocky terrain. Justin worked his way through the field as the race progressed, completing the course in 5:09:56 to claim a very credible 126th place. The race was won by the unbeatable Kilian Jornet (Salomon Running) in 3:54:38.
Northern Ireland athletes complete Bupa Great Manchester Run 2013:
On Sunday 26th May 2013, several Northern Ireland athletes joined thousands of runners in Manchester, England for the Bupa Great Manchester 10k Run. The quality field included world renowned names such as Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), Wilson Kipsang (Kenya), Mosses Kipsiro (Uganda), Segiu Lebid (Ukraine), Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia), Helen Clitheroe (England) and Gemma Steel (England).
Stephen Scullion, now based in London and listed in the official results as a North Belfast Harriers athlete, despite recent information stating that he is now attached to Clonliffe Harriers (Ireland), led the Northern Ireland contingent home in a 9th place. The in-form Stephen ran extremley well, going through 3k, 5k and 8k in 8:38, 14:46 and 23:59 respectively, before crossing the line to finish in 29:48.
Eric Montgomery (Lagan Valley AC) achieved a sub 40 minute finish, clocking 39:30. Eric’s club mate Andy Edwards finished in 47:18, before another Lagan Valley AC member, Kate Montgomery ran 50:10. Carol Annesley (East Antrim Harriers) finished just behind Kate in 50:43. Marion Hayes (East Antrim Harriers) followed in 57:15, while Fran Wright battled well to complete the 6.2 mile course in 1:14:17. Mosses Kipsiro (Uganda) won the men’s race in 27:50 and Ethiopian lady Tirunesh Dibaba topped the ladies podium, in a new course record of 30:49.
Full Results: Bupa Great Manchester Run 2013 Results
NIMRA teams do Northern Irealnd proud in England:
On Saturday 25th May, a team of Northern Ireland Mountain Runners toed the line at the Skiddaw Uphill Mountain Race, incorporating the UKA Mountain Running Senior Home International (between Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales) and the UKA trials for the upcoming European Mountain Running Championships. The event, held in Keswick, England is also the second of three races in the UKA Mountain Running Challenge.
The men covered an 11.3km uphill course, with a total ascent of 1,080m (and 230m of a descent). It was Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC), a Northern Ireland man based on the mainland who led the team home. Iain completed the course in 1:05:11 (26th place) and was followed by another man living away from his homeland, Chris Striling (Ambleside AC), who crossed the line in 1:09:01 (31st place). Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) was just behind, running 1:10:59 (32nd place). International debutant Emmett McAllister (Ballymena Runners), completed Northern Ireland’s interest in the male race when he finished in 1:19:45 (38th place). The race was won by Steve Vernon (Stockport AC) in 54:18.
The ladies covered an 8.7km course, with 940m climbing (and 80m of a descent); Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) was the first of the strong four women team to finish. Shileen recorded 1:01:45, which was enough to secure third place in the Vet40 category. Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club) was the next NI athlete to cross the line in 1:02:11, while the in-form Diane Wilson covered the distance in 1:02:43. Anne Sanford sealed a good outing for the ladies, when she finished in 1:08:48. The ladies race was won by Emma Clayton (Bingley Harriers) – 50:41.
McDermott excels as Northern Ireland runners perform well at IMC Meet and NAIA Championships:
On Saturday 25th May 2013, a number of Northern Ireland based runners travelled south for the Irish Milers Club (IMC) track event at the Shoreline Sports Park in Greystones, County Wicklow (Ireland); with a number of the athletes putting in personal best performances.
In the men’s 800m ‘A race’ Pajo Hamilton (City of Derry AC) clocked 1:53.98 (3rd place) to secure a podium place, while Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Gareth Hill (1:55.31) and Lagan Valley AC’s Conall Kirk (1:57.44) finished in 5th place and 6th place respectively. The race was won by Letterkenny AC athlete Darren McBrearty in 1:51.10.
In the 800m ‘B race’, young Willowfield Harriers star Andrew Wright claimed silver, after recording a new personal best of 1:54.47 to finish as runner up to winner Harry Purcell (Trim AC) who ran 1:54.04; a mere 0.43secs quicker than the NI man. Neil McCartan (East Down AC) continued his good start to the track season, taking 2nd place in the 800m ‘C Race’ after running 2:01.06. City of Derry AC’s Cathal Logue (2:04.07) finished 4th place in the same race, which was won by Fionn Cleirigh Buttner (DSD AC) in 1:58.17. Ella Davis (Lagan Valley AC) crossed the line in 2:23.80 (5th place) in the ladies 800m, a race won by Ellie Hartnett (UCD AC) in 2:15.09.
Northern Ireland runners impressed in the 1500m, with Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) just being pipped to the post by well-known Irish runner John Coghlan (MSB AC) in the ‘A race’. John ran 3:47.05, while Conor finished just behind in 3:47.60. Annadale Striders man Andrew Agnew ran 3:55.71 (8th place), which was his second quickest time ever over the distance. In the 1500m ‘B race’, Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders) produced one of the performances of the day; fresh from having achieved a brilliant personal best over 5,000m in Solihull last weekend, Ryan smashed his previous 1500m personal best with an excellent 3:59.23 to claim 3rd place. The race was won by Niall McCormack (Clonmel AC) in 3:55.70. Lagan Valley AC ladies Emma Laverty and Emer Magee lined up in the ladies 1500m race, with Emma running a personal best of 4:53.81 (6th place) and Emer finishing in 5:17.35 (8th place). The race was won by Eleanor Alexandra (Clonliffe Harriers) in 4:30:59.
City of Derry AC duo Emmett McGinty and Gary Slevin took on the 5,000m; a race won by Aaron Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers). Emmett recorded 15:33.22 (5th place), while Gary crossed the line in 16:05.41 (6th place).
Further afield, but still on the track; City of Derry AC man JP Williamson, a student at Lindsey Wilson college in America took part in the NAIA National Championships at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, USA. After qualifying for the 5,000m final in 15:03.64, JP went on to clock a new personal best performance of 14:49.61 to finish in a very credible 11th place. The race was won by John Gilbertson (The Masters) in 14:08.07. JP has enjoyed an excellent season, which has seen him continuely improve, achieving personal best after personal best. He will now look forward to a summer of racing in Northern Ireland when he returns home next week.
Athletes descend on Shanes Castle for Jengana 10k:
On Saturday 25th May 2013, Northern Ireland charity ‘Jengana’, hosted the inaugural running of their well organised Jengana 10k. The race, primarily organised to raise much needed funds for the charities work, which on the most part, takes place in Kenya, was held within the confines of the historic Shanes Castle Antrim and attracted an excellent mix of fitness enthusiasts, charity fundraisers and well-known club athletes.
In, dare we say it, summery conditions; Stephen Prentice, a member of Enniskillen Running Club who has really come to the fore this year, sealed an impressive victory in 34:33. Another man who has been amongst the ‘big names’ this year, Dennis Scott (North Down AC), took 2nd place in 34:40, while speedy youngster, Vilius Pakalnaskis (Unattached) claimed the final podium place in 38:22.
Pre-race favourite in the ladies race, Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), delivered in style; the North Coast based lady notched up another race win, her second within a week after a victory at the Maghera 10k last Monday (20th May 2013), crossing the line in 41:44. Janice White (Forge Harriers), completed the scenic course in 42:18 (2nd place), while ever improving Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) clocked 45:54 to secure 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club) – 34:33, 2nd Dennis Scott (North Down AC) – 34:40, 3rd Vilius Pakalnaskis (Unattached) – 38:22
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 41:44, 2nd Janice White (Forge Harriers) – 42:18, 3rd Rhonda Brady (Larne AC) – 45:54
Full Results: Jengana 10k 2013 Results
Young athletes impress at Antrim Stadium:
On Saturday 25th May 2013, the second round of the Northern Ireland Youth Development League took place at Antrim Stadium (Antrim Forum), and major NiRunning contributor John Glover was there to take in the action, and provide us with an update on developments:
“What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours”. OK, I exaggerate - it was a week since the last visit to Antrim but the conditions could not have been more different, with the torrential rain and strong winds replaced by bright sunshine and relatively calm conditions for Round 2 of the Northern Ireland Youth Development League.
Early victories went to four athletes who had overcome the terrible conditions of the previous week to win Ulster School’s titles. North Down’s Ollie Wakefield improved on his winning Long Jump performance by 30 centimetres to win the U15 Boys with 5.85m and Therese Hillman of City of Lisburn AC won her speciality 75 metres Hurdles. City of Lisbun AC’s Anna McAuley turned her attention successfully to High Jump 1.38 and Aaron Sexton moved up in distance to 300 metres, winning in 40.91secs.
Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) lived up to her pre-race expectations win a gun to tape victory in the U15 Girls 1500 metres, winning by over 20 seconds in 5:22.37. Others to take success in the metric mile were Josh Patterson, City of Lisburn AC (U13 Boys - 5:22.12), Fintan Stewart, City of Derry AC (U15 Boys - 4:51.56) and Michael Melarkey, City of Derry AC (U17 Boys - 4:29.30). The Under 13 Girls ran over 1200 metres with City of Lisburn AC’s Kate Gourley racing away on the last lap to break 4 minutes. The hurdlers all had to contend with slight headwinds and Cameron Kelly, the Ulster School’s Silver medalist, looked the most impressive winning the U15 Boys in 12.55secs. Alix Galbraith gave City of Lisburn AC a third victory winning the U15 ‘B’ race in 12.87secs, before rushing across to the High Jump to achieve another ‘B’ string victory alongside her team mate Phoebe Tan, who in equalling her personal best of 1.63 metres, continued the trend of winning School’s Champions.
The opening field event was the Hammer with City of Lisburn AC taking a double through Josh Jordan (41.68m) and Natalja Ritchie (15.47m) with Lagan Valley AC’s Lynsey Glover winning the Senior event with a throw of 36.09m. In the Javelin, Michael Gaffney continued his seasons winning streak with a throw of 45.32 metres. The sprints began with a double for City of Lisburn AC’s Anna McAuley, who added the 75 metres (10.51secs) to her High Jump success, with Shannon McCleary (11.02secs) then giving the club maximum points. North Down AC then produced a string of victories, with Jonny Moore (U13 Boys - 14.57secs), Archie Gilles (U13 Boys - 14.41secs) and Sakia Greer (U15 Girls - 13.42sces) winning consecutive races. Eimear Connor broke the mould for East Down AC, taking the U15 Girls ‘B’ race (14.09secs) with Martin Mellon (Mid Ulster AC) winning he U15 Boys in 12.36secs.
The combination of boys and girls led to very overcrowded fields in the opening stages of the races. Aime Bradley got one up for the girls by winning outright in the Under 13 race in 2:34.32, ahead of the Matthew McGrattan of East Down AC (2:35.82). In the Under 15 race, Regent House’s Josh McFarland won in 2:26.15 with Katlin Harvey (Lagan Valley) finishing very strongly to take victory in the girls race in 2:29.38. City of Derry AC duo Shane McGowan and Matthew Doherty were first across the line in the Under 17 Boys race, clocking 2:02.91 and 2:11.37 respectively, with Aoife Laverty running 2:30.43 to win the Girls race.
Chain Reaction Belfast Hills 10k Race:
On Saturday 25th May 2013, nearly one hundred runners took to the paths and trails of the scenic Cavehill Country Park, Belfast for the Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast Hills 10k race, organised by North Belfast Harriers. The event is the third race in the NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association) Grand Prix Series.
The interesting course takes competitors past Belfast Castle, before they ascended towards the intriguing caves and the summit at McArts Fort; where the perfect weather conditions allowed stunning views over Belfast, Carrickfegus, Strangford Lough and the Mourne Mountains. The tired runners then got some respite in the form of a long gradual downhill section to the finish line.
After a race briefing from course director Matt Shields, the runners were on their way. It wasn’t long before news began to filter through that David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) had moved clear of the chasing pack, which included Christian Nachitigal (Phoenix Cycle Club & Chain Reaction Cycles), Nat Glenn (Larne AC), Peter Morrison (North Belfast Harriers), Andy Gregg (Larne AC) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners).
Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) was heading the ladies field, with Violet Linton (LVO), Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers), Victoria Simms (Holme Pierrepont RC) and Nuala Muldoon (North Belfast Harriers) in pursuit. As the leading men reached the highest point of the race, McArts Fort; experienced mountain runner Neil Carty had forged a gap between himself and David McNeilly, and was looking strong as the men sped towards the gradual long downhill section to the finish.
As the spectators basked in the glorious sunshine, debating who would appear into the finishing stretch first, Matt Shields signalled that the first runner was in sight. As the well organised race officials prepared themselves for duty, it was their club mate, Neil Carty who turned the final bend, covering the remaining metres quickly, Neil crossed the line in 41:19 to secure top spot; an excellent win for a man that is always in or around the podium positions. David McNeilly followed, taking 2nd place in 41:55 before Simon Reeve, looking remarkably fresh despite having completed a parkrun before this race, completed the top three finishers in 43:30 (3rd place). In the ladies race; Hazel McLaughlin, a runner up in Thursday night’s Hill & Dale ‘Millstone’ race, bettered that position on this occasion, securing 1st place in 53:28. Violet Linton (LVO) recorded 54:55 (2nd place) to finish just six seconds ahead of Helen Weir who took 3rd place in 55:01.
Top 3 Men: 1st Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 41:19, 2nd David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 41:55, 3rd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 43:30
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 53:28, 2nd Violet Linton (LVO) – 54:55, 3rd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) – 55:01
Results: Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast Hills 10k 2013 (Partial Results). A full electronic version of the results will be added as soon as possible. As our whole team are unavailable this afternoon and evening, there may be a delay in uploading the full results. Please visit www.northbelfastharriers.com as they may have the results online. A selection of race photographs, by Gareth Heron (around the course) and Ryan Maxwell (Start and Finish area) have now been added to our 'Photo Gallery'.
Thousands turn out for atmospheric Runher Coastal Challenge:
On Friday 24th May 2013, thousands of runners and spectators swarmed two of County Down’s favourite recreational parks; Seapark in Holywood and Crawfordsburn Country Park, Crawfordsburn for the Belfast Telegraph sponsored Runher 10k Coastal Challenge.
On a sunny, warm, but breezy evening, the runners were treated to a lively and fun warm up by the specially selected personal trainer before the ‘challenge’ got under way. Exactly on time, Dame Mary Peters sounded the starting horn and the athletes set off on their 10k journey, which covered a tough but beautiful course.
As the leading ladies went through 5k, Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) had put approximately two minutes between herself and her rivals.
Julie Balmer (North Down AC) was next through the half way point, with Kerry Speers (North Down AC), Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Judith Lonnen – nee Lowry (City of Lisburn AC), Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers), Helen Bateson (Unattached), Ruth Magill (Lagan Valley AC), Lynsey Pronger (Unattached) and Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) following.
In the second half of the race, the pack shuffled a little but that did not include the exceptional leader Breege, who was the first visible runner as the quickly growing crowd at the atmospheric finish line awaited the impending arrival of the athletes. Breege still had a tough climb to negotiate, but covered this with ease and breezed into the finish area, breaking the tape in 36:12 to win; an impressive time considering the course and the headwind.
Julie Balmer (North Down AC), the first Northern Ireland lady to finish the Belfast City Marathon earlier this month, took 2nd place in 39:11. Julie’s North Down AC team mate, Jessica Craig returned to competition with an excellent performance and was rewarded with a 3rd place finish after crossing the line in 39:50. Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners), a lady who enjoyed an extremely successful Junior running career before moving away from the serious side of the sport, returned in fine fashion to secure a 4th place in 40:05. Helen Bateson (Unattached) completed the top five ladies, recording 40:11 (5th place) for the distance.
Top 5 Ladies: 1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:17, 2nd Julie Balmer (North Down AC) – 39:11, 3rd Jessica Craig (North Down AC) – 39:50, 4th Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) – 40:05, 5th Helen Bateson (Unattached) – 40:11
Full Results: Runher Coastal Challenge 2013 Results. A full 'Race/Event Review' is also available with the 'Race Review' section of our website, and a selection of race photographs have been uploaded to our 'Photo Gallery'.
Northern Ireland runners look forward to a busy weekend:
After last weekend’s rain, athletes from Northern Ireland will be hoping for some better weather conditions as they take on events in Bangor, Belfast, Antrim, Greystones, Keswick, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Zegama, amongst other places.
Like last week, the action begins early; with the incredibly popular Belfast Telegraph sponsored Runher Coastal Challenge taking place on Friday 24th May 2013. This is a ladies only 10k event, which will take approximately 1,500 ladies around the scenic coastal path between Seapark, Holywood and Crawfordsburn Country Park close to Bangor, County Down.
Although the Runher ethos is geared more towards participation than prizes, there will be an exciting battle at the head of the field, with Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers), Sarah Baxter (Bath AC), Julie Balmer (North Down AC), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC) all set to toe the line. Breege will lace up her racers for the first time since her memorable performance at the Virgin London Marathon in April, where she achieved a Commonwealth Games qualifying standard after running 2:39:23. Sarah Baxter, a well-known sports and travel writer from England, will be one of the main contenders. Sarah clocked 1:24:06 to take third place at this years prestigious Bath Half Marathon (England). Meanwhile, Julie will hopefully have recovered from her impressive performance at the recent Belfast City Marathon; the North Down AC athlete picked up the newly awarded Moira O’Neill trophy at this week’s prize-giving, after being the first Northern Ireland lady to cross the line (in the Belfast City Marathon).
Cathy McCourt has shown some very positive signs that she is getting back to her best after returning from injury, with a podium place at the Sperrin Harriers 5m Classic and a fifth place finish in the Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships last month. Cathy won this race last year, but considering the plethora of quality in the line-up, the talented North Belfast Harriers athlete will have an almost impossible task on her hands if she aims to defend her title. Jessica Craig (North Down AC) is an ever present figure on the podium whenever she races, and possesses the class to be amongst the front runners here. Having spent the last month working hard in training, Jessica will be eager to race and should play a prominent part in proceedings.
Other top contenders will include, Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached), Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) and Kerry Speers (North Down AC). Natalie was the fourth Northern Ireland lady to finish the Belfast City Marathon, while Amanda, Anthanasia and Kerry are all capable of times in and around 42mins to 44mins. Amanda finished third in the recent Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k; Athanasia was fifth in the Les Jones 10k, while accomplished triathlete Kerry enjoyed a second place finish at Ballygalget earlier this year. Kerry is experienced over this terrain and has won several 26extreme trail races. Tiffany Brien (Unattached) is a regular at the Runher events and placed well in the last race at Stormont in 2012. The 2016 Olympic Sailing hopeful, who also completed this years Belfast City Marathon, will have a high placing in her sights, as will Nikki Heywood (North Down AC) and Catherine Fearon (Up & Runners). The action begins at Seapark, Holywood around 6.30pm (although pack collection is available from 2pm - 6pm), when competitors will have the opportunity to participate in an organised warm-up before setting off on their 10k journey. The atmosphere at both the start and finish will be electric and supporters are encouraged to come out and cheer the runners, joggers, walkers and celebrities as they cross the line. BBC Northern Ireland will also be covering the event.
On Saturday 25th May 2013, North Belfast Harriers will host their Chain Reaction Cycles sponsored Belfast Hills 10k race, in and around Cavehill Country Park, Belfast. The course boasts stunning views of Belfast and as far away as the Mourne Mountains, but that will be the last thing the willing participants will be interested in as they overcome the tough climb to the top.
David Simpson (Ballydrain Harriers), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) will feature at the head of the field should they participate. This terrain seems to suit David, who was a convincing winner at the opening race in the East Antrim Harriers Forest Series at Ballyboley Forest nearly two weeks ago. Neil took fourth place at Thursday’s Hill & Dale ‘Millstone’ race, while Simon just missed a top ten finish in the same event. Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) will be another top finisher; he won this race last year but appears to have been concentrating more on the roads of late, which will shift the power to his aforementioned team mates. Andrew Annett (Mourne Runners) may return after a spell out through injury, and should play a part at the front if he does. Andrew Gregg (Larne AC), Maurice Harte (Team Purple) and Dale Smith (Larne AC) will all hope for a top ten spot.
Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) will be amongst the leading ladies, but the strong running Northern Ireland international will have to fend off the likes of Taryn McCoy (BARF), Joanne Curran (BARF), Violet Linton (LVO) and Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) if she wants to top the podium. Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers), Laura Hamill (Larne AC) and Orla Smyth (City of Lisburn AC) will also run well should they enter on the day.
Also on Saturday 25th May 2013, athletes, fun runners and charity fundraisers will take part in the Jengana 10k race at Shanes Castle, Antrim. The event is primarily organised to raise funds for Jengana (a registered charity) and also to raise awareness of their work, which for the most part, takes place in Kenya. The fast, flat 10k course will take competitors through Lord O'Neill's 'back garden' and will cover tarmac, farm tracks and woodland; it will also cross and re-cross the River Bann before finishing at the historic Shanes Castle.
The race will attract several well-established club runners, with the likes of Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club), Dennis Scott (North Down AC), Greg Lavery (Larne AC) and Vilius Pakalnaskis (Unattached) all likely to make up the lead group. Speedy youngster, Stephen Prentice ran well at the Titanic 10k road race and has featured on the podium in several local races, while Dennis Scott has turned a few heads as he has progressed through the ranks to become a regular top ten finisher. His 1:15:17 clocking at the Omagh Half Marathon was arguably the performance of his life, and well-deserved after his hard work in training. Another man who should be in and around the podium, if he makes use of the late entry system, is the in-form Vilius Pakalnaskis (Unattached). Vilius, a 16 year old student based in the Randelstown area, recently produced impressive performances to win the Maghera 10k and the Randelstown 10k road races. Larne AC’s Greg Lavery should also achieve a high placing and will go into the race in good spirits, following excellent runs at the Albertville 5m road race and Jimmy’s 10k.
Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) is the stand out athlete in the ladies race. After returning to competition, Gemma has enjoyed success at the Decathlon 10k and Sperrin Harriers 5m classic road race, as well as numerous podium places. Earlier this week Gemma won the Maghera 10k, despite having been unwell in the days leading up to the event. Larne AC ladies Geraldine Quigley, Trisha Campbell, Bernadette Campbell and Rhonda Brady will also finish well up the field, as will Janice White (Unattached). On the day entry is available at this event, for further details please visit: www.jengana.com
A number of Northern Ireland based runners will travel to the Irish Milers (IMC) track meet at the Shoreline Sports Park, Greystones, County Wicklow (Ireland) on Saturday 25th May 2013. Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Conall Kirk (Lagan Valley AC), Pajo Hamilton (City of Derry AC), Shane McGowan (City of Derry AC), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), Neil McCartan (East Down AC), Cathal Logue (City of Derry AC), Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders), Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders), Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC), Ella Davis (Lagan Valley AC) and Emma Laverty (Lagan Valley AC) are all named on the event start lists.
Further afield on Saturday 25th May, a team of Northern Ireland Mountain Runners will travel to Keswick, England for the Skiddaw Uphill Mountain Race, which incorporates the UKA Mountain Running Senior Home International (between Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales) and the UKA trials for the upcoming European Mountain Running Championships. The event is also the second of three races in the UKA Mountain Running Challenge.
The men’s team of Emmett McAllister (Ballymena Runners), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners), Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) and Chris Stirling (Ambleside AC) will take on a 11.3km course with 1,080m of climbing (230m descent), while the ladies team, which includes Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) will cover a 8.7km course with 940m climbing (80m descent).
The second round of the Youth Development League will take place at Antrim Stadium on Saturday 25th May 2013. The full day event, which starts at 9.30am, will include a full range of disciplines. City of Lisburn AC's stand out performers Megan Marrs, Kate Farrelly and Ben Fisher have already set up a large lead after the opening round, but is hoped that they will face a stronger challenge this time around from the likes of City of Derry AC, North Down AC and Lagan Valley AC. East Down AC are also in the process of developing a good group of youngsters, including Laura Gardiner who shone through the Rising Stars competition. Mid Ulster AC have made a welcome return to the competition after a short absence.
On Sunday 26th May 2013, Newry City Runners will welcome thousands of competitors to their annual Marathon and Half Marathon events; the Half Marathon is also included in the Pure Running/ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series.
Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), winner of the DUNE Half Marathon may return to the area for this race. If so, Gary will hope to continue his winning streak over the 26.2 mile distance, after winning recent marathons in Kildare (Ireland) and Connemara (Ireland). Local man Don Travers (Newry City Runners) could be another title contender; Don is a two time winner of the Newry City Marathon and has been running well, he recorded a particularly impressive 33:18 to win the hilly Run Armagh 10k last month. Ciaran Canavan (East London AC) possesses the quality to run under 2:45:00, which will put him within reach of a podium place, going by previous results. Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Geoff Smyth (Unattached), Garry Connolly (Seapark AC) and Juan Botella (Playas De Malaga) will also be in or around the top ten places if they take part. The ladies marathon is a tough one to call, with little information available on possible participants. Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners) is definitely due to start, and should lead the charge if her good runs at the 26extreme Causeway Crossing and Belfast City Marathon are to be used as an indicator of form. Lagan Valley AC distance runner Letita Meenan is another entrant, alongside Seapark AC’s Gillian Cordner.
Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) claimed fourth place in last years Newry City Half Marathon, but he will hope to improve on that, should he compete this year. Considering his excellent win in the Newry 10k last week, we expect him to be in the thick of the action. Eamon’s club mate, Alan O’Hara could be a late entrant, as could the in-form Brendan Teer (East Down AC). Julie Balmer (North Down AC) will more than likely participate in the ladies Half Marathon, but may not ‘race’ it, considering that she will have completed the Runer Coastal Challenge just two days prior to the event. This may leave the door open for Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers), Denise Toner (Clones AC) or Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) to claim the title.
Also on Sunday 26th May 2013, popular Belfast based club Orangegrove AC will host a day of ‘track’ races in Victoria Park, Belfast. A variety of distances, from 80m to 3,000m will be included in the event, which is geared towards both Junior and Senior athletes. Entry is available on the day from 10.30am at the Victoria Park Bowling Club, with the first event starting at 11am. Please visit the Orangegrove AC facebook page for full details and a timetable of events.
Further afield on Sunday 26th May 2013, at least seven Northern Ireland based runners will take on the BUPA Great Manchester 10k Run (England). Lagan Valley AC athletes Eric Montgomery, Kate Montgomery, Andy Edwards and Gary Nicholl will be joined by East Antrim Harriers trio Marian Hayes, Carol Annesley and Fran Wright on the City Centre based course. The event will be screened live on BBC 2 on Sunday morning at 10am.
On the same day, but in London; Newcastle AC lady Kerry Harty will race in the prestigious BUPA Westminster Mile, an event organised by the London Marathon and Westminster City Council. The 1,609m race starts on the Mall and finishes outside Buckingham Palace, and will attract many high profile athletes.
An impressive total of twenty nine runners associated with Seapark AC will travel to Scotland for the EMF Edinburgh Marathon Festival this weekend (Saturday 25th May and Sunday 26th May 2013). This will include: Bobbie Irvine, Vivien Davidson, Neil Porter, Karen Poag, Julie-Ann Mitchell, Carrie Brown, Andy Stevenson, who will join Ballymena Runners’ Sharon Harvey in the Marathon. Barbara Porter, Karen Waring, Andy Smyth, Aubrey McCoubrey, Helen Boyd, Sarah Rea, Emma Whightman, Yvonne McIlree, Stacey Coherty will take on the Half Marathon.
Justin Maxwell (Larne AC) will continue his Skyrunning campaign this weekend (Sunday 26th May 2013), on this occasion the Larne AC athlete will travel to Zegama, Spain for the XI Zegama-Aizkorri Mendi Marathon. The race is 42.195km (26.2m) in distance (with 5,472m accumulative ascent) and covers mountain tracks, forests trails and steep technical rocky terrain.
Northern Ireland’s ten parkrun events will also take place as normal, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.
Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) win Wilkies 5m Race:
On Wednesday 23rd May 2013, nearly one hundred athletes took to the fast, flat Foyle Cycle Path in Derry/Londonderry for the Wilkies 5 mile race, hosted by Foyle Valley AC.
Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) showed no signs of tiredness following his excellent podium finish at last weekend’s Letterkenny AC ‘sub 4 minute mile’ challenge event, where he picked up a bronze medal in the 3000m; as he ran out clear winner here. The ever improving Foyle Valley man produced an excellent display of front running to lead the field home in a brilliant new personal best of 24:51. Another man in good form at the moment, City of Derry AC’s James Brown (26:43), claimed 2nd place, just ahead of Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) who took 3rd place in 26:49.
The ladies race was won by Lifford AC’s Natasha Adams in 28:58, while Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) continued what has been a successful week, after having picked up her prize for being the third Northern Ireland lady in the Belfast City Marathon at Tuesday’s prize-giving, Ciara secured a well-deserved 2nd place, completing the 5 mile course in 32:24. Lorraine Carlin (BOLT) crossed the line in 35:56 for 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 24:51, 2nd James Brown (City of Derry AC) – 26:43, 3rd Adrian McGowan (Foyle Valley AC) – 26:49
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) – 28:58, 2nd Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) – 32:24, 3rd Lorraine Carlin (BOLT) – 35:56
Full Results: Wilkies 5 mile Race 2013 Results. Photograph used above was taken from the City of Derry AC facebook page.
Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon Prize-Giving 2013:
On Wednesday 22nd May 2013, organisers of the Belfast City Marathon held their annual prize-giving for the event, which took place on Monday 6th May 2013. Although the top three male and female prizes were handed out on the day, there were many more deserved awards to be presented.
There was also a special presentation of a new award; this was a trophy for the first Northern Ireland lady to finish, presented in memory of the legendary Northern Ireland runner, the late Moira O’Neill who sadly passed away in August 2012. Julie Balmer (North Down AC) had the honour of collecting this prestigious prize, which was presented by Moira’s family.
We (NiRunning) would like to congratulate all prize winners, as well as the Belfast City Marathon organisers and everyone involved in make this years event a success. A selection of photographs from the prize-giving are now available in our ‘Photo Gallery’ and the results from this years event are below.
Athletes turn out for popular Killyclogher 10k:
On Saturday 18th May 2013, well over 200 athletes turned out for the annual Killyclogher 10k road race in County Tyrone. The race has grown since it’s inception and is now regarded by many as the second most popular event in the area behind the coveted Omagh Half Marathon.
On a dull and wet day, local man Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) brightened things up with a brilliant performance. Paul is a regular podium finisher in events around his home county, but on this occasion his hard work was rewarded with a well-deserved victory. Paul broke the tape in 33:24 to win comfortably; Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) took 2nd place in 34:17, while another Foyle Valley AC athlete, Chris McGuiness finished just eight seconds behind him to claim 3rd place in 34:25.
Brilliant Lifford AC athlete Ann-Marie McGlynn, winner of this years Omagh Half Marathon and a fifth place finisher at the recent AAI National 10k Championships, topped the ladies standings, clocking an impressive 35:21 to win by a considerable margin. Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) crossed the line in 38:44 to secure 2nd place, ahead of Clones AC’s Denise Toner (39:17) in 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) – 33:24, 2nd Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) – 34:17, 3rd Chris McGuiness (Foyle Valley AC) – 34:28
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 35:21, 2nd Julie Butler (Omagh Harriers) – 38:44, 3rd Denise Toner (Clones AC) – 39:17
Full Results: Killyclogher 10k Road Race 2013 Results