Northern Ireland Running

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Local athletes impress at infamous Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc events:

Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc Events (France):

At the end of last week (Wednesday 26th August 2015, Friday 28th August 2015 and into Saturday 29th August 2015), some of Northern Ireland's most respected ultra-runners were in action at arguably one of the most prestigious running events in the world, the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France.  The world famous event, which includes four individual races (the OCC, TDS, CCC and UTMB) as well as a team event (PTL).


As expected,  attracted thousands of participants, including the best long distance runners from across the globe, making for an epic few days of competition.


The TDS race was the start of the individual competitions (Wednesday 26th August 2015), with experienced endurance athlete Martin Mullan (BARF) completing the 119k route (incorporating 7,250 metres of positive altitude change) in 28:15:00.  The Northern Ireland man was amongst 1,600 competitors to leave Courmayeur (Italy) and make their way to the finish line in Chamonix (France).  The TDS is considered to be one of the more technical routes and Martin showed his ability over this type of terrain, working his way through the field to take 610th place overall.  Unfortunately another BARF athlete, Donal O'Kane withdrew from the event at 37k (9:29:00), having passed the highest summit on the course.  Donal had been suffering with stomach issues and made the sensible decision at Col du Petit St Bernard.  Pau Bartolo (BUFF Headwear) won the race in 14:26:40 (1st place).


Early on Friday 28th August 2015, three Northern Ireland men lined up on the atmospheric streets of Courmayeur (Italy) for the CCC® event.  CCC which is a semi-tour of the Mont-Blanc masif, starting from Courmayeur with 101k and 5,950 metres of positive height gain before the finish in Chamonix (France).  Larne man Mervyn McCollam (Unattached) added another strong run to a fantastic summer of racing, progressing well through the race to take 414th place in 20:44:40.  Aaron Shimmons (BARF) was the next familiar face home.  Despite a back injury hampering his build up to the event, Aaron impressed with a time of 23:59:17, for 928th place.  Carnethy HRC mountain man Eoin Lennon started well, reaching the first summit Tete de la Tronche in 38th place.  Eoin began to feel the scorching temperatures take their toll; unable to eat Eoin eventually withdrew at La Fouly (40k) after 5:27:26.  American Ultra runner Zach Miller (Nike Trail Team) became the first American to win any of the UTMB associated events, taking 1st place in 11:53:32.


Later in the day (Friday 28th August 2015), the UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc), a complete tour of Mont Blanc, passing through three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy, started from Chamonix, covering 168k with over 9,600 metres of positive height gain.  At 5.30pm local time, well known East Antrim Harriers athlete Billy Reed and Unattached long distance enthusiast Ivan Sadlier started their journey.  Billy started conservatively and constantly progressed through the highly competitive field, moving from 557th at the first check-point to 133rd place at the finish line in Chamonix's Church Square.  Billy completed the 168k in 31:08:46, finishing in a fantastic 5th place in his category.  Unfortunately Ivan Sadlier had to withdraw early on Saturday morning, having completed 67k in 12:42:28.  Frenchman Xavier Thevenard (Asics) won the UTMB event for the second time, in 21:09:15


Full Results:  Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc 2015 Results

Brendan Grew and Maeve Lavery lead the charge to Carrickfergus Castle:

Storming the Castle 10k:

On Sunday 30th August 2015, well over three hundred athletes turned out for the inaugural running of the Storming the Castle 10k road race in Carrickfergus. The event saw competitors cover a relatively flat and fast course, starting at the Carrickfergus Ampitheatre and finishing at Carrickfergus Castle.


In the men's race, Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) always looked like he was in control, but behind, there was an excellent battle for the remaining podium places, with Mark Diamond (Invictus Triathlon Club), Garry Marrow (Orangegrove AC), John Neill (Larne AC) and Chris Hutchinson (Monkstown Spartans) looking the most likely candidates.  There was no stopping the consistent Brendan Grew as he charged to victory in 34:52 (1st place) and in the end, it was Mark Diamond (36:40) and Garry Morrow (37:26) who completed the top three in 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.


Maeve Lavery (Dub Runners) was a class act in the ladies race.  The always impressive athlete led from the off and progressively built a commanding lead, before breaking the tape in an excellent 38:14 (1st place).  Crusaders AC's Yvonne McAuley took 2nd place in 42:09, while local long distance specialist Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) showed her strength over the shorter distance with a 44:53 finish for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) – 34:52, 2nd Mark Diamond (Invictus Triathlon Club) – 36:40, 3rd Garry Morrow (Orangegrove AC) – 37:26


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Maeve Lavery (Dub Runners) – 38:14, 2nd Yvonne McAuley (Crusaders AC) – 42:09, 3rd Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 44:53


Full Results:  Storming the Castle 10k 2015 Results

Brendan Teer and Cathy McCourt take top honours at Strangford Festival 10k:

Strangford Festival 10k:

On Saturday 29th August 2015, nearly one hundred athletes took on the annual Strangford 10k road race, which is part of the popular and well-supported Strangford Festival.


It was a day of headline making for the winners, with both Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) producing top quality performances to claim comprehensive victories in their respective races.  Brendan won by well over three minutes as he led the field home in 33:48 (1st place).  Club mate Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) followed in 37:04 (2nd place), before Cathy McCourt took 3rd place overall and the ladies title in 40:21 (1st place).


Marc Butler (Unattached) completed the top three men in 40:48 (3rd place), while the in-form Niamh Kellet (East Down AC) claimed the ladies runners up prize in 42:26 (2nd place). Ballydrain Harriers' Heather Kelly crossed the line in 45:29 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 33:48, 2nd Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 37:04, 3rd Marc Butler (Unattached) – 40:48


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 40:21, 2nd Niamh Kellet (East Down AC) – 42:26, 3rd Heather Kelly (Ballydrain Harriers) – 45:29


Full Results:  Strangford Festival 10k 2015 Results

Barry McConville and Diane Wilson win penultimate NIMRA Championship race:

Slieve Bearnagh Race 2015:

On Saturday 29th August 2015, Mourne Runners hosted the Slieve Bearnagh mountain race, which is the penultimate event in the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championships.  


This classic race takes on the unholy trinity of hills: Slieve Meelbeg, Slieve Bearnagh and Slieve Meelmore.  In the short distance of 3.9 miles (with a total ascent of 2,680ft), runners encounter every conceivable mountain terrain from grassy peaty climbs and descents to technical rocky paths and steep vertigo inducing boulder strewn descents.


At the sharp end, it was 2014 winner Sam Heron (Mourne Runners) and Newcastle AC duo Barry McConville and Colm Murtagh who contested top spot.  In the end, it was the ever improving Barry who secured victory, after crossing the line in 49:02 (1st place).  Sam followed twenty seconds later in 49:22 (2nd place), while Colm completed the route in 49:36 (3rd place).


Northern Ireland international and Mourne Skyline MTR podium finisher Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) once again showed her class as she ran out victorious in the ladies race.  Diane looked strong as she cruised to victory in 57:12 (1st place).  Jackie Toal (BARF) took 2nd place in 1:01:52, while Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) crossed the line in 1:07:21 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Barry McConville (Newcastle AC) – 49:02, 2nd Sam Heron (Mourne Runners) – 49:22, 3rd Colm Murtagh (Newcastle AC) – 49:36


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 57:12, 2nd Jackie Toal (BARF) – 1:01:52, 3rd Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:07:21


Full Results:  Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Race 2015 Results (Photo of Diane Wilson taken from Newcastle AC website)


Belfast Mountain 10k:

In the hills above Belfast on Saturday 29th August 2015, athletes gathered for the Belfast Mountain 10k race.  In what was a good race, Ballydrain Harriers' Richard Coey claimed top honours in 40:12 (1st place), while Anna Grigorian (Unattached) led the ladies home in 50:45 (1st place).


Full Results:  Belfast Mountain 10k 2015 Results

Conor Carson, Martsje Hell, Michael Kelly & Gemma Turley excel at Rathlin Run:

Rathlin Run 2015:

On Saturday 29th August 2015, hundreds of athletes and spectators descended on Rathlin Island, approximately 6 miles off the coast of Ballycastle, for the annual Rathlin Run.  The event offers participants the choice of a 10 mile race, or a 5k race.  Like last year, NiRunning co-hosted the event alongside respected Belfast based charity Belfast Activity Centre (BAC).


In good running conditions, albeit slightly warm, the runners set off on the tough undulating 10 mile route, which would see them reach the island's west light house and RSPB Centre, before making their way back to the atmospheric start/finish area at Church Bay.


England based Conor Carson (Kenilworth Harriers) produced an epic display of front running – from the off, the Irish athlete moved clear of the field and quickly put a sizeable gap between himself and the chasing men, which included David Noble (Larne AC), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC) and Patrick Higgins (Newcastle AC).  There was no stopping Conor as he covered the tough undulating route at a relentless rate, before descending towards the shoreline finish and crossing the line in 1:01:32 (1st place).  Larne AC's half marathon specialist David Noble continued his build up to the Galway Marathon, taking 2nd place in 1:06:43.  The battle for the final podium spot went right to the wire, with Patrick Higgins just pipping 2014 podium finisher Thomas Leitch to the finish; Patrick ran 1:07:21 (3rd place), with Thomas following in 1:07:23 (4th place).


In the ladies race, pre-event favourites Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) and Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) played a major part in proceedings and looked at home on the challenging route.  Martsje, a winner of the Giants Trail Race last month, dominated from the off and went on to seal an excellent win in 1:11:03 (1st place); this not only saw Martsje take top spot in the ladies race, but a brilliant 5th place overall.  Mari followed on from her Northern Ireland international debut last week, with another notable achievement, taking 2nd place in 1:13:24.  Jade Hegarty (Unattached), a podium finisher at the Rathin Run 5k in 2014, stepped up in distance and delivered an excellent performance to take 3rd place in 1:16:32.

In the associated 5k event, athletes started in Church Bay and made their way towards the south side of the island, before turning at a designated point and making their way back towards the start/finish area along the incredibly scenic coastline. 


Armagh AC man Michael Kelly was in good form at the head of the pack and powered clear of the field. After taking in the sights of along the coastal finish, Michael turned into the finishing straight and broke the tape in 18:32 (1st place).  Well respected veteran athlete Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers) followed in 18:46 (2nd place).


Reigning Champion Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) retained her title in impressive fashion, dipping below the nineteen minute mark to finish in 18:57, which saw her (Gemma) take 1st place in the ladies race and 3rd place overall.  Michael Magee (Beechmount Harriers) completed the top three men in 19:01, while his club mates Catherine Diver (19:48) and Rioghnach Catney (22:45) secured 2nd place and 3rd place in the ladies race respectively.


Podium Finishers – 10 mile Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Conor Carson (Kenilworth Harriers) – 1:01:32, 2nd David Noble (Larne AC) – 1:06:43, 3rd Patrick Higgins (Newcastle AC) – 1:07:21


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:11:03, 2nd Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) – 1:13:24, 3rd Jade Hegarty (Unattached) – 1:16:43


Podium Finishers – 5k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Michael Kelly (Armagh AC) – 18:32, 2nd Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers) – 18:46, 3rd Michael Magee (Beechmount Harriers) – 19:01


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 18:57, 2nd Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers) – 19:48, 3rd Rioghnach Catney (Beechmount Harriers) – 22:45


Full Results:  Rathlin Run 10 mile Race 2015 Results and Rathlin Run 5k Race 2015 Results - Photos from the Rathlin Run 2015 will be added to our website on Monday 31st August 2015.


NiRunning would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to everyone who supported the Rathlin Run 2015, be that by running, volunteering, helping out before, during, or after race day.  We would also like to say thank you to Belfast Activity Centre (BAC) and the Rathlin Island Community.

Scott Rankin and Sarah-Jane Guiney win inaugural Mighty Oaks 5k:

Acorns AC host successful 'Mighty Oaks 5k':

On Friday 26th August 2015, nearly three hundred athletes turned out for the inaugural running of the Mighty Oaks 5k road race in Magherafelt, an event hosted by Acorns AC.


Pre-race favourite Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) lived up to the hype as he secured his second podium finish in three days – after finishing in third place at Dessies 10k, Scott bettered that performance with an impressive victory, clocking  15:22 (1st place) for a solo effort.  In a close battle for the remaining podium places, Paralympic Champion Michael McKillop (Brooks UK) edged out Acorns AC's Darrell McKee and City of Derry AC man Noel Logan to secure the runners up spot in 16:21 (2nd place); Darrell followed two seconds later in 16:23 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) showed the class that once made her one of the provinces top up and coming junior athletes as she sealed victory in 19:40 (1st place).  Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) took 2nd place in 19:50 (2nd place), before Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners) completed what has been an excellent week for Ballymena Runners when she crossed the line in 20:04 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 15:22, 2nd Michael McKillop (Brooks UK) – 16:21, 3rd Darrell McKee (Acorns AC) – 16:23


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) – 19:40, 2nd Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) – 19:50, 3rd Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners) – 20:04


Full Results:  Mighty Oaks 5k Road Race 2015 Results


Killyleagh 5 mile Road Race:

Elsewhere on Friday 28th August 2015, Newcastle AC's Martin Melville continued his excellent recent form with a win at the Killyleagh 5 mile road race.  Martin led the field home in 27:39 (1st place), while Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) took the ladies title in 30:26 (1st place).


Full Results:  Killyleagh 5 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  A busy Bank Holiday weekend ahead...

Weekend Preview:  A busy Bank Holiday weekend ahead...

It seems like no time since we last stepped onto the shaky Rathlin Island ferry for last years Rathlin Run; the first time we had been involved in the organisation of the event.  Well, it's that time again – it's the August Bank Holiday weekend!


Not only will it bring our very own Rathlin Run (in association with Belfast Activity Centre), but there is also events in Killyleagh, Magherafelt, Newcastle, Belfast, Strangford, Carrickfergus and Moneymore. Athletes from Northern Ireland will also compete in France and Ireland.


Mighty Oaks 5k Road Race:

The weekend action will kick off later tonight (Friday 28th August 2015) in Magherafelt, where Acorns AC will host the first ever running of their Mighty Oaks 5k road race.  The event will start and finish at the Meadowbank Sports Arena and despite online entries now being closed, entries will be available on the night.


As long as he has recovered from Tuesday night's Dessies 10k, talented Foyle Valley AC man Scott Rankin will go into the race as pre-race favourite. In Derry/Londonderry, Scott recorded 31:31 for third place – should he get close to his fastest recorded 5k time of 14:29, that will be enough for victory.  There will be a large representation from the host club (Acorns AC), with Aaron Meharg, Glenn Donnelly, Aidan O'Hagan and Cathaoir Purvis all likely to be amongst the front runners.  Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) and Karl Dines (Willowfield Harriers) should also be in or around the prize-winning places.


In the ladies race, Masters World Championship medallist Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) could well toe the line.  Cathy will play a major part in proceedings, as will the in-form Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) if she makes use of the on the night entry.  Lorna Sibbett, a member of Ballymena Runners' Inter-Club winning ladies team this week and Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) will also be worth watching; the same could be said for Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC).

Killyleagh 5 mile Road Race:

Also tonight (Friday 28th August 2015), East Down AC will welcome athletes from across the province to their annual Killyleagh 5 mile road race in County Down.  The popular and well-organised event always attracts several high profile athletes and this year will be no different.


Local athlete Brendan Teer (East Down AC) should start and will prove hard to beat if he does.  The Northern Ireland international has topped the podium no less than twelve times this year, with wins at the Les Jones 10k, Comber Potato 10k, Downpatrick 10k and Portaferry 10 mile road race being amongst the most notable.  Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) may also compete, and all should make the top ten should they do so.


NIMRA international Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) will more than likely opt for this race ahead of tomorrow's NIMRA Championship event at Slieve Bearnagh given her recent performances on the roads.  This has included a 38:47 clocking at the Darragh Cross 10k two weeks ago.  Ballydrain Harriers duo Denise Logue and Fiona Prue may also race, as could Laura Graham (Unattached), Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) and Laura Gardiner (East Down AC).


Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc Events (France):

Further afield, today (Friday 28th August 2015) and into tomorrow (Saturday 29th August 2015), a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will be in action at the infamous Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France.  The world famous event, which includes four individual races (the OCC, TDS, CCC and UTMB) as well as a team event (PTL) will attract the best long distance runners from across the globe and when you couple this with the incredibly scenic courses, it makes for an epic few days of competition.


The TDS race has already taken place, with experienced endurance athlete Martin Mullan (BARF) having completed the 119k route (incorporating 7,250 metres of positive altitude change) in 28:15:00.  The Northern Ireland man was amongst 1,600 competitors to leave Courmayeur (Italy) and make their way to the finish line in Chamonix (France).  The CCC an UTMB races will start today (Friday 28th August 2015). Created in 2006, the CCC (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix) has become as popular as its big sister (45 nationalities represented in 2010), the UTMB. The CCC® is considered by many runners to be "the little one" nevertheless it too, constitutes one of the most difficult challenges in ultra-running.  


The CCC® should not be taken lightly; more than one runner has 'burnt' their thighs there.  A semi-tour of Mont-Blanc, starting from Courmayeur with 101k and 5,950 metres of positive height gain and in semi-autonomy. Starting in the centre of Courmayeur at 9am will be: Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC), Mervyn McCollam (Unattached), Aaron Shimmons (BARF) and Susan McCartney (BARF).


Later in the day (Friday 28th August 2015), the UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc; the original Queen of the races!) will take place.  The UTMB is a complete tour of the Mont Blanc and passes through three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy, making it a race that every Ultra Trail enthusiast should finish at least once in their life.  Le tour of Mont-Blanc, starts from Chamonix and covers 168k with 9,600 metres of positive height gain. Starting in the centre of Chamonix at 5.30pm will be: Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Ivan Sadlier (Unattached).

Rathlin Run 2015:

On Saturday 29th August 2015, hundreds of athletes and spectators will descend on Rathlin Island for the annual Rathlin Run, an event organised by NiRunning alongside Belfast based charity Belfast Activity Centre.  The unique race offers competitors the option of a tough, undulating and incredibly scenic 10 mile course as well as a scenic and less hilly 5k.


In the 10 mile race, Annadale Striders athlete Keith Purdy looks like a potential favourite.  The Northern Ireland international XC star recorded 1:14:50 for third place at the Groomsport Half Marathon two weeks ago and will be looking to break the hour barrier on this challenging course.  Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Murray Deller (East Coast AC), David Noble (Larne AC) and Billy Orr (Foyle Valley AC) will be amongst those who contest the remaining podium places.


The ladies 10 mile race will see Commonwealth Games star Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) make a welcome return to competition having taken a break to start a family.  The 2:39:26 marathoner will prove extremely difficult to beat and should not only win the ladies race, but may also finish well up the overall rankings.  In saying that, Gladys will have to be on form as a plethora of talented athletes will join her on the start-line. Northern Ireland international mountain runner Mari Troeng (Unattached) will go well over the tough course, as will North Belfast Harriers' Martsje Hell.  Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers), Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers), Melanie Minshull (City of Lisburn AC) and 2014 5k podium finisher Jade Hegarty (Unattached) will all secure top ten finishes.


In the 5k race, Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers), Thomas Reid (North Belfast Harriers), Peter Fleming (Ballymena Runners) and Malcolm McCausland (Derry City Track Club) should head the pack, while 2014 Champion Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), Madison Bowyer (City of Lisburn AC) and Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers) will contest the ladies top prize.

Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Race:

Also on Saturday 29th August 2015, the provinces top mountain runners will take on the eighth race of this year’s Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship in Newcastle, County Down. 


The Slieve Bearnagh mountain race, which will cover approximately 3.8 miles in distance, incorporating 2,680ft of ascent, will see athletes complete a circuit of Slieve Meelmore, Slieve Bearnagh and Slieve Meelbeg, in that order, before finishing at Trassey Road (where they started).


Despite having practically wrapped up the Championship, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) should still compete.  After his outstanding performances throughout the Series, it's hard to look past the Newcastle AC man as a pre-race favourite here.  Seamus who (like numerous NIMRA members) has one eye on next weekend’s Ben Nevis race, will look at this as a good test, having missed the recent Seven Sevens British Championship race.


Last years winner, Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) and the in-form duo of William McKee (Mourne Runners) and Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) will also challenge at the front.  Like Sam, both William and Ian had impressive runs at the aforementioned Seven Sevens British Championship event. Mourne Runners brothers Clive and Gary Bailey will also be there or there abouts having shown good form recently.  Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Pete Grant (Team Purple), Ricky Hanna (Mourne Runners) and Richard Bell (Mourne Runners) will all perform well.


The ladies event should prove to be an interesting spectacle, with 2014 winner and current NIMRA Champion Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) and Lagan Valley AC's Shileen O’Kane both set to race.  Shileen has impressed throughout the season, taking enough victories to pretty much secure the 2015 Championship.  In recent months, Diane has shown the fantastic form of 2014, particularly in the most recent Championship event (Seven Sevens), against top competition.  Last year's second place finisher Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) is unlikely to race, that may leave Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), if she doesn't race in Killyleagh, to compete for the final podium position.


Belfast Mountain 10k:

In Belfast on Saturday 29th August 2015, popular local website 'Belfast Running' will host the inaugural running of their Belfast Mountain 10k.  The event is open to all levels and ability of runners with the main focus being put on a sociable, friendly and well organised event in one of the most beautiful and scenic places in Belfast. 


Competitors will cover an interesting multi-terrain route, which absorbs the panoramic views of Belfast and as far as the Mourne Mountains. Although it is likely that the field will be made up mostly of new runners and exercise enthusiasts, several well-known athletes may compete – this could include North Belfast Harriers duo Simon Reeve and Brendan Grew.

Strangford 10k:

Another event happening on Saturday 29th August 2015 is the Stangford Festival 10k in County Down.  The race, which is the second in as many days for the busy and well-organised East Down AC race team headed by Joe Quinn, will no doubt attract some of the athletes who took on the Killyleagh 5 mile road race less than 24 hours earlier.


East Down AC men Brendan Teer and Barrie Atkinson may well compete in Killyleagh and Strangford, and if they do, they'll no doubt be joined by the evergreen Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers) and North Belfast Harriers duo Kent Swann and Martin Cox.  Declan Magee (Newcastle AC), Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC) and Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) should go well, while in the ladies race, Heather Kelly (Ballydrain Harriers), Jeanette Bailie (Dromore AC) and Monica McCrickard (Leitrim Ladies) will all be in the mix.


Achill Island Half Marathon, Marathon and Ultra:

Further afield on Saturday 29th August 2015, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland will take to the start line of the Achill Island Half Marathon, Marathon and 39.3 Ultra Marathon off the West Coast of Ireland.  Newry City Runners Conor McCracken will compete over the 13.1 mile distance, while Eamon Murphy (Slieve Gullion Runners) will aim to complete the classic marathon distance.  Steeping up to the Ultra will be Kieran Rice (Slieve Gullion Runners) and Newry City Runners athletes Eimear McCracken, Michael Englishby and Declan Carvhill.


Moneymore 10k:

On Sunday 30th August 2015, athletes from across Northern Ireland will compete in the annual Moneymore 10k road race in the Mid Ulster village of Moneymore.  The popular event is described by organisers as a race “that will cater for the both the seasoned runner and for those less competitive runners, it will be a relaxed atmosphere where participants can accomplish personal goals and enjoy a day out with friends and family running the 10k course or the 5k circuit around the beautiful Springhill area of Moneymore.”


Reigning Champion Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) recently returned to action following an injury set back.  He marked that return, at the Groomsport 10k, with a well-deserved victory in 33:49.  That time should secure Adam at least a podium finish, if not better!  Bliadhan Glass (Acorns AC) and Stephen Kennedy (East Coast AC) should also race, while the always impressive Heather Foley (Unattached) may take control of the ladies field.  Donaghmore 5 mile road race winner Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) could also return to defend her title.

Storming the Castle 10k:

Also on Sunday 30th August 2015, hundreds of athletes are expected to turn out for the Storming the Castle 10k road race in Carrickfergus.  The new event will start at Carrickfergus Leisure Centre and cover a relatively flat and fast course, before finishing at Carrickfergus Castle.


Newtownabbey based athlete and recently confirmed winner of the Vet35 category at the Pure Running Half Marathon Series, Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) may compete and could well be joined by North Belfast Harriers' Mark McKinstry.  Both men have been running well of late and should contest top honours alongside Mallusk 5 mile road race winner Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), should he race. Sam Crawford (East Antrim Harriers), John Black (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) and Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers) will also play a part at the front.


The ladies race could see a fairly close battle between a number of ladies, including Geraldine Branagh (Dromore AC), Sharon Leetch (Ballymena Runners), Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) and Patricia Blair (Larne AC).  Should North Belfast Harriers athlete Claire Connor compete, she will more than likely head the field.


Parkrun:

As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty parkrun events will take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.


IMPORTANT NOTE:

Please be aware that there may be significant delays in the uploading of race results and/or summaries this weekend, this is because our entire team will be dealing with the Rathlin Run 2015 between Friday 28th and Monday 31st August 2015.  We would expect to have all summaries, or at least results online by Monday 31st August 2015.

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2015 draws to a close:

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2015:

Local race timing specialists ChampionChip Ireland have revealed the final standings for the Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2015.  


The increasingly popular and well-supported ten race Series kicked off back in March with the DUNE Half Marathon, a cross border event which this year took competitors from Newry (Northern Ireland) to Dundalk (Ireland) – on the day, Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) and Mary Laverty (Dub Runners) ran out winners, however, neither went on to complete the 5 races required to participate in the Series.


The two most popular races in Series followed, the Larne Half Marathon and the Omagh Half Marathon.  Larne attracted 1,504 participants whilst Omagh tempted an outstanding 2,154 athletes.  Over the course of the ten races, a total of 7,938 athletes crossed the finish line, with Gideon Kimosop (Project Africa) clocking the fastest men's time of 1:05:15 in Omagh, and Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) running out the fastest lady after clocking a new course record of 1:16:15 at the Larne Half Marathon.


Despite being a midweek event, the Lisburn Half Marathon brought 1,453 athletes to the start line.  On that warm and sunny evening, Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC) and Olympian Catriona Jennings (Unattached) led their respective fields home. The Ards Half Marathon, which was won by Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers)  and Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), kicked off the second half of the Series.  Events followed in Dervock, Cookstown and Groomsport before the Series came to a scenic end in the heart of the Mourne Mountains, with Born 2 Run's Dambusters Half Marathon.  Camron Burns (Team Runwell) and off-road specialist Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) topped the podium having run 1:21:09 and 1:25:52 respectively.


A total of 17 athletes (14 men and 3 ladies) completed all ten races in the Series and will receive a special commemorative garment at the prize-giving in late October 2015; the Male Open category had the highest representation amongst these, a total of five.  However, Vet40 athlete Angus McCready (Up and Runners) can now boast that he is the only man to complete all 57 races in the Series' seven year history.

Category Winners:

A total number of ten Male Open competitors completed the required 5 races, with Brian Young (Lagan Valley AC) seeing off St Peter's AC man Gerard Heaney for the top prize. Belfast Running Club's Helen Perry won the Ladies Open category.  The Vet35 category was won by Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) – Brian won three of the five races he participated in, however it was in his hometown of Larne, where he finished fourth, that he recorded his quickest time of 1:11:17.  Unattached athlete Anne Fitzpatrick took the ladies Vet35 title.


The ever consistent Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), a regular in the Series since it's inception in 2009, won the ladies Vet40 category, while Northern Ireland international athlete Don Travers (Newry City Runners) topped the men's final standings.  In the Vet45 category, Roisin Byrne (Dub Runners) and Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) picked up top honours.  Enniskillen Running Club's Irene Clements has enjoyed an excellent year, and winning the Vet50 ladies category will top that off.  Another athlete who has had a memorable year, Brian Edgar (Springwell Running Club), will collect the men's Vet50 prize.


AAI National Masters Half Marathon medallist David Clarke (North Belfast Harriers), a podium finisher at the Series finale, tops the men's Vet55 table, with Patricia Brown (Newry City Runners) winning the ladies top prize.  Vet60 athletes Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) and Brian Todd (Orangegrove AC) are no strangers to picking up category wins, but they will enjoy their Series wins having performed well throughout.  North Down AC blogger Pat O'Driscoll will take home the Vet65 prize, while evergreen North Belfast Harriers man Jack Carberry deservedly claims the honours in the Vet70 category.


The final Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2015 standings are now available HERE.

Ben Reynolds represents Ireland at IAAF World Athletics Championships:

Ben Reynolds represents Ireland at IAAF World Championships:

In the early hours of Wednesday 26th August 2015, Northern Ireland man Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) was in action in the 110 metre hurdles event at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing.


The Northern Ireland 110m hurdles record holder put in a strong performance against top opposition, clocking 13.72secs for the distance.  This saw Ben take 7th place in his heat (Heat 4).  


Unfortunately, after an agonising wait, this proved to be a mere 0.11secs outside what Ben needed to advance to the next stage.  Heat 4 was won by Jamaican athlete Hansle Parchment, who ran 13.33secs (1st place).  


Recognised Irish sports journalist Will Downing interviewed Ben after the event.  The interview can be heard HERE, while results for the IAAF World Championships can be found HERE.  Photo above by Belfast Telegraph.

Paddy Hamilton and Catherine Whoriskey win Dessies Run 10k:

Dessies Run 10k 2015:

On Tuesday 25th August 2015, nearly four hundred athletes descended on Gransha Grounds in the Maiden City of Derry/Londonderry for the annual Dessies Run 10k road race, hosted by City of Derry AC.


As expected, the event attracted a plethora of talent, which made for an excellent race at the front. Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) all looked like potential winners, but in the end, it was former Annadale Striders marathoner Paddy Hamilton who broke the tape, clocking 31:13 (1st place).  Declan Reed followed in 31:20 (2nd place), while Scott Rankin sealed the final podium spot in 31:31 (3rd place).


The ladies race wasn't such a close affair, but that takes nothing away from several excellent performances.  Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) once again stamped her authority on the North West scene as she secured victory in an excellent 36:37 (1st place).  In-form Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) crossed the line in 39:14 (2nd place).  Jackie McMonagle (City of Derry AC) ran 40:49 to claim 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) – 31:13, 2nd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 31:20, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 31:31


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) – 36:37, 2nd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 39:14, 3rd Jackie McMonagle (City of Derry AC) – 40:49


Provisional Results:  Dessies Run 2015 Provisional Results

Ballymena Runners complete clean sweep at East Antrim Inter-Club Race:

East Antrim Inter-Club Race 2015:

On Tuesday 25th August 2015, over 250 athletes turned out for the East Antrim Inter-Club Race, which was held in Cairncastle, just outside Larne.  


The annual event brings clubs located within the East Antrim area together and this year saw hosts Larne AC battle it out with Ballymena Runners, East Coast AC, East Antrim Harriers, County Antrim Harriers and Seapark AC for the prestigious team prizes and associated bragging rights.


The race requires men to complete a 5 mile ‘out and back’ course, with six athletes to count in the team standings; meanwhile, the ladies cover a 4 mile ‘out and back’ route, and each team needs four runners to count.


Although the main focus of the race is based around the team competition as well as the charitable aspect of the event, there are of course, prizes for the individual winners.  In wet and blustery conditions, the athletes set off on the long gradual downhill start to loud cheers from the assembled spectators.  It wasn't long before the podium chaser began to take there place at the front, with James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners), Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners), Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners), Jack Neeson (Ballymena Runners) and Jason Wilson (Ballymena Runners) amongst the leaders in the men's race.  It was a similar story in the ladies race, with Ballymena Runners dominating at the sharp end – Sharon Leetch was looking strong, with club mates Kerry Bamber, Catherine McQuillan and Lorna Sibbett also in contention - East Coast AC's Allyson O'Toole and Larne AC's Patricia Blair were also well placed.

As the race progressed and the field began to split, it was track star James Hamilton and Michael Bennett who moved clear.  The pair ran side by side until approximately 50 metres from the finish, when a sprint finish ensued.  


In the end, it was James' 1500m 'kick' that gave him the edge and he secured top spot in 28:41 (1st place).  Michael followed two seconds later in 28:43 (2nd place), before Ben Morrow completed the top three in 28:55 (3rd place).  In the men's team prize, Ballymena Runners took 1st place, with hosts Larne AC claiming 2nd place and Larne based East Coast AC taking 3rd place.


Sharon Leetch was rewarded for her excellent display of front running in the ladies race; despite a fast finish from club mate Kerry Bamber, Sharon held on to complete the 4 mile course in 26:10 (1st place).  Kerry sealed the runners up spot in 26:12 (2nd place), while their club mate Geraldine Quigley finished strongly to take 3rd place in 26:27 (3rd place).  


Ballymena Runners (1st place) topped the final standings in the ladies team competition with Larne AC and County Antrim Harriers securing 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.


Individual Podium Places:

Top 3 Men (5 miles):  1st James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners) – 28:41, 2nd Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) – 28:43, 3rd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 28:55


Top 3 Ladies (4 miles):  1st Sharon Leetch (Ballymena Runners) – 26:10, 2nd Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) – 26:12, 3rd Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners) – 26:27


Team Competition Podium Places:

Top 3 Men's Teams:  1st Ballymena Runners, 2nd Larne AC, 3rd East Coast AC


Top 3 Ladies Teams:  1st Ballymena Runners, 2nd Larne AC, 3rd County Antrim Harriers


Full Results:  East Antrim Inter-Club Race 2015 Results

Success for NI athletes at major events in Donegal and Sligo:

Donegal Marathon & HM and Warriors Run:

Over the course of the weekend (Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd August 2015) a host of runners from Northern Ireland took on popular events in Ireland, namely the Donegal Marathon and Half Marathon in County Donegal and the Warriors Run in County Sligo.


There was a large number of quality performances, but it was the prize-winning outings by the local athletes that stole the headlines.


Donegal Marathon and Half Marathon:

Arguably one of the performances of the weekend was that of the ever improving and always impressive Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC).  Natasha lined up in the Donegal Half Marathon, where she secured a massive new personal best of 1:16:19 (1st place) to not only claim the ladies title, but take 2nd place over all.  The race was won by Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC) in 1:09:38 (1st place).


There were further prizes for NI based athletes when Natasha's training partners Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) and Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) both recorded 1:16:21 to seal 2nd place and 3rd place in the men's event respectively.  East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson also took a top ten place, when he crossed the line in 1:18:31 for 7th place.


In the 26.2 mile race, Northern Ireland man Mark Walker (Unattached) dipped under the three hour mark, recording 2:57:57 to take 3rd place – Mark Doyle (Unattached) won in 2:38:29 (1st place).  Just seven seconds split Dara McNulty (Foyle Valley AC) and Tony Canning (Omagh Harriers), but between them was the aforementioned 3:00:00 mark – Dara ran 2:59:57 for 5th place, while Tony finished in 3:00:04 for 6th place.  Ballydrain Harriers' Drew Fowler also claimed a top ten finish when he crossed the line in 3:12:08 (10th place).

Warriors 15k Multi-Terrain Race:

Local athletes also celebrated success at the popular Warriors 15k race in County Sligo, Ireland.  The event, which includes a tough 700ft ascent over fields, loose gravel and heather paths, always attracts a local contingent and this year was no different.


Infact, it was a Northern Ireland lady who stole the show.  Talented triathlete and runner Heather Foley (Unattached) showed no signs of fatigue following her triathlon victory last weekend as she climbed strongly to lead the ladies home in 1:07:26 (1st place) - this was after a number of other familiar faces had sealed top twenty spots.  Larne AC's John Neill claimed 11th place in 1:02:54, before Enniskillen Running Club's Fergus McGirr (1:03:23) and Greencastle AC's Connor McCullagh (1:03:39) finished in 13th place and 15th place respectively.  


Martan Keane (Larne AC) completed the course in 1:04:15, taking 16th place.  The men's race was won by Mourne Skyline MTR 2015 entrant Ian Conroy (Raheny Shamrock AC) in 53:32 (1st place).


Full Results:  Donegal Marathon and Half Marathon 2015 Results and Warrior 15k Run 2105 Results

NI lady Kerry O'Flaherty makes World Championships debut in Beijing:

Kerry O'Flaherty represents Ireland at IAAF World Championships:

In the early hours of Monday 24th August 2015, local Steeplechase star Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) was in action at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing.


Up against a top class field in Heat 3 of the 3,000m Steeplechase event, Kerry battled well to finish in 10:05.10, which was enough to see the Northern Ireland record holder claim 13th place. Unfortunately this was not enough to see Kerry progress to the next stage of the competition but it was a solid outing for the local lady on her debut at the World Championships.  Heat 3 was won by Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi (Kenya) in 9:26.19 (1st place).  Full results for the IAAF World Championships can be found HERE.


New records for Ciara Mageean and Kelly Neely...

Kerry's performance ends what has been an excellent week for Northern Ireland runners on the track, with Ciara Mageean clocking a new Northern Ireland 1500m record of 4:07.31 (1st place) whilst winning the 1500m 'A' race at the BMC Grand Prix in Solihull England – Emma Mitchell ran a new personal best of 4:20.76 (16th place) in the same race.  Also, closer to home in Belfast, World Masters Vet35 Champion Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) ended an excellent season with a new Irish Vet35 record of 2:08.93 (1st place) at the Firmus Energy Super 6 Series finale.

Local ladies secure bronze as NIMRA teams impress in Wales:

Northern Ireland ladies claim bronze in Wales:

On Saturday 22nd August 2015, two teams from the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) represented Northern Ireland at the Inter-Countries Mountain Running Championships in Wales.


Undoubtedly the highlight of the event (from a local perspective) was a bronze medal for the ladies team, captained by experienced international Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC).  


Leading by example, Shileen was the quickest of the local ladies to complete the 8.3k course, which incorporated 445 metres of ascent, crossing the line in 44:29 (26th place).  In-form athlete Mari Troeng (Unattached) followed in 47:13 (29th place), before Penny Lindsay (North Belfast Harriers) and Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) completed a good day for NI in 49:24 (30th place) and 50:34 (31st place) respectively.  The ladies race was won by Kendall AAC's Sarah Tunstall in 36:33 (1st place).


The Northern Ireland men also ran well over their 12.3k course(which incorporated 660 metres of ascent), with North Belfast Harriers man Andrew Annett leading the team home in 56:21 (30th place).  Team Captain David McNeilly clocked 1:01:30 for 40th place, while Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) followed just twenty five seconds later in 1:01:55 (42nd place) – Brendan Donnelly (Newcastle AC) completed the team in 1:07:25 (44th place).  The men's race was won by Robbie Simpson (Scotland) in 48:37 (1st place).


Full Results:  Inter-Countries International Mountain Running Championships – Men's Race and Ladies Race (Note:  Jpeg Images)

Neil Johnston and Ciara Toner secure victory at Downhill Demesne Trail Race:

Athletes enjoy scenic Downhill Demesne 5m Trail Race 2015:

On Saturday 22nd August 2015, Springwell Running Club welcomed almost one hundred athletes to their annual Downhill Demesne Trail Race, an event which takes place within the stunning Downhill Estate close to Castlerock on the North Coast of Northern Ireland.  The 5 mile undulating and at times slightly technical course covers two laps and leads runners through the ruins of the estate’s house, providing an excellent backdrop for photographs.


At the head of the field, it was the host club's Neil Johnston who proved his worth.  The QUB student looked in good form as he sealed victory by nearly two minutes.  Neil crossed the line in 32:38 (1st place), before club mate Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Running Club) claimed 2nd place in 34:15.  Ballymena Runners' Jason Wilson showed that he is getting back to his best with a well-deserved podium place having clocked 35:03 (3rd place).


Podium regular Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) looked in good form as she led the ladies home in 38:08 (1st place).  Fellow Springwell Running Club athlete Bernadette O'Kane secured the runners up spot in 40:41 (2nd place), while Nicola Swinson (PACE Running Club)  saw off the challenge of Judith Worthington (Ballymena Runners) to take 3rd place in 43:39.


Top 3 Men:  1st Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) – 32:38, 2nd Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Running Club) – 34:15, 3rd Jason Wilson (Ballymena Runners) – 35:03


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) – 38:08, 2nd Bernadette O'Kane (Springwell Running Club) – 40:41, 3rd Nicola Swinson (PACE Running Club) – 43:39


Full Results:  Downhill Demesne 5 mile Trail Race 2015 Results

Burns, Alexander, Wilcox and Hughes win at Dambusters HM and 10k:

Born 2 Run Dambusters 10k and Half Marathon 2015:

On Saturday 22nd August 2015, nearly six hundred athletes descended on Silent Valley Country Park in the heart of the Mourne Mountains for the annual Dambusters Half Marathon and 10k, hosted by events management company Born 2 Run.


The 13.1 mile event was the final race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015.  Team Runwell's Camron Burns secured victory in 1:21:09 (1st place), before in-form St Peter's AC man Gerard Heaney clocked 1:21:59 for 2nd place.  David Clarke (North Belfast Harriers) completed the top three in 1:24:01 (3rd place).


Northern Ireland international Karen Alexander looked strong as she produced the performance of the day.  Karen crossed the line in 1:25:52, which not only secured 1st place in the ladies race, but 6th place overall.  Unattached athlete Laura Graham sealed the runners up spot in 1:30:37 (2nd place). Ursula Campbell (Unattached) recorded 1:36:49 for 3rd place.


In the 10k, Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) cruised to victory in 36:40 (1st place), with Dub Runners' James Trainor (37:17) and Dromore AC's Wesley McDowell (38:19) taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.  North Belfast Harriers' Roisin Hughes took the ladies title in 41:22 (1st place), with Joanne Foster (Unattached) taking 2nd place in 45:22.  Janette Bailie (Dromore AC) ran well to take 3rd place in 46:42.


Podium Places - Half Marathon:

Top 3 Men:  1st Camron Burns (Team Runwell) – 1:21:09, 2nd Gerard Heaney (St Peter's AC) – 1:21:59, 3rd David Clarke (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:24:01


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 1:25:52, 2nd Laura Graham (Unattached) – 1:30:37, 3rd Ursula Campbell (Unattached) – 1:36:49


Podium Places - 10k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) – 36:40, 2nd James Trainor (Dub Runners) – 37:17, 3rd Wesley McDowell (Dromore AC) – 38:19


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) – 41:22, 2nd Joanne Foster (Unattached) – 45:22, 3rd Janette Bailie (Dromore AC) – 46:42


Full Results:  Dambusters 10k 2015 Results and Dambusters Half Marathon 2015 Results

Local athletes impress as over five thousand take on Frank Duffy 10:

Frank Duffy 10 mile Road Race 2015:

On Saturday 22nd August 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland joined in excess of five thousand competitors who took to the start line of the Frank Duffy 10 mile road race, which took place within the confines of Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland.


The local contingent produced notable performances, with several finishing will up the field.  East Down AC's Brendan Teer recorded an excellent new personal best of 53:03 to secure 5th place.  The ever improving John  Black (North Belfast Harriers) also claimed a new personal best, when he crossed the line in 55:18 for 17th place.  Armagh AC man Gary Henderson dipped inside the top twenty finishers when he ran 55:32 (19th place), while North Belfast Harriers' Conor Curran finished just eight seconds later in 55:40 (22nd place).  


Another North Belfast Harriers man, Thomas Simmons ran 57:04 for 36th place.  The race was won in a sprint finish by by Sergui Coibanu (Clonliffe Harriers) in 49:18 (1st place), while Maria McCambridge secured the ladies title in 55:28 (1st place).


Full Results:  Frank Duffy 10 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Joe McAlister and Geraldine Branagh win Mallusk Harriers 5 mile road race:

Mallusk 5 mile Road Race 2015:

On Friday 21st August 2015, over two hundred athletes took to the roads of Mallusk village in Newtownabbey for the 2nd annual running of the Mallusk Harriers 5 mile road race.  


As predicted, 2014 race winner Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) played a major part at the front.  However, the Newtownabbey based man was joined at the head of the pack by Lurig Challenge winner Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC).  After excellent runs by both men, it was Joe who eventually stole the headlines, claiming victory in a new course record of 26:37 (1st place).  Brian also bettered his previous best on the course when he clocked 26:43 for 2nd place.  In-form Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) completed the top three in 27:38 (3rd place).


Dalriada 10k winner Geraldine Branagh (Dromore AC) produced a dominant performance to lead the ladies home in 33:57 (1st place).  Crusaders AC athlete Yvonne MacAuley followed in 34:16 (2nd place), before Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) crossed the line in 34:44 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 26:37, 2nd Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) – 26:43, 3rd Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 27:38


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Geraldine Branagh (Dromore AC) – 33:57, 2nd Yvonne MacAuley (Crusaders AC) – 34:16, 3rd Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) – 34:44


Full Results:  Mallusk 5 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  Pure Running Half Marathon Series finale and more...

Weekend Preview: Pure Running - ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series finale and more...

Another weekend is upon us and it brings with it a number of exciting local fixtures, including the finale of the 2015 Pure Running – ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the Dambusters Half Marathon.  


There is also events taking place Mallusk, Castlerock and Bangor, while athletes from Northern Ireland will continue their preparation for IAAF World Championships, which kicks off in Beijing this weekend.  On top of this, familiar faces will also be in action in Scotland and Ireland.


Mallusk 5 mile Road Race:

The local action kicks off later tonight (Friday 21st August 2015) in Mallusk, where hundreds of athletes are expected to take on the Mallusk 5 mile road race.  Despite the tough (but rewarding) course, this race proved to be extremely popular with competitors in it’s inaugural running (2014) – this was down to the organisation and hospitality delivered by hosts Mallusk Harriers (and friends).


It is likely that four of the top five men from 2014 will again take to the start line, with reigning Champion Brian Campbell starting as pre-race favourite.  Arguably, it was Brian's win at this race that kicked off his return to competition on the local scene – the Newtownabbey man has went on to win at least five high profile races.  Brian won in 27:00 twelve months ago but should significantly reduce that time, especially if he has last years runner up Mark McKinstry and North Belfast Harriers team mate Andrew Considine, the third place finisher last time, in pursuit.  Another North Belfast Harriers athlete, Conal McCambridge, will perform well and will be in or around the top five.  The same can be said for James Trainor (Dub Runners), Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) and Brian Young (Lagan Valley AC).

The ladies race could also see the return of a Champion, with 2014 winner Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) a potential starter.  Cathy returned from a podium finish at the World Masters Athletics Championships to claim another prize at the Monaghan 10 mile road race last week.  She (Cathy) will prove hard to beat if she races, however, Albertville Harriers' Sarah-Jane Guiney and Orangegrove AC's Sarah Steer will battle all the way.  Both Sarah-Jane and Sarah will be considered as podium contenders, as will the fast improving Natasha Henderson (County Antrim Harriers) and Paula Arthur-McCarthy (Ballymena Runners).


Mellons Hyundai Calumbanus 5k:

Also tonight (Friday 21st August 2015), a large number of competitors will turn out in support of the Mellons Hyundai Calumbanus 5k race in Bangor, County Down.  The inaugural running of the event should attract a diverse range of participants, ranging from fitness enthusiasts right through to top quality athletes.  


Amongst those who could toe the line is well-known North Down AC athlete Dennis Scott, who won the Hadlow Donaghadee 5k two weeks ago. Dennis will claim a prize if he decides to enter on the day.  Young Ballydrain Harriers man Scott McKeag will be hopeful of replicating the performance that saw him finish behind Dennis in Donaghadee, while Curtis McCaw (Ballydrain Harriers), Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers) and Gregory Lucy (Willowfield Harriers) should also be there or there abouts.


Another North Down AC athlete could lead the way in the ladies race, with Nikki Gardiner in good form at the moment.  Nikki, a consistent performer, ran well to take second place at the aforementioned Hadlow Donaghadee 5k and will have her sights on bettering that here.  Aoibhinn Clinton (Ballydrain Harriers) will be worth watching, as will Jodi Smith (North Down AC) and Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers).

Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon and 10k:

On Saturday 22nd August 2015, hundreds of athletes will take to the closed roads in and around the stunning Silent Valley and Ben Crom Dam area of the Mourne Mountains for the annual Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon and 10k events.  The Half Marathon, which we will focus on, is the final race of the popular Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015.  


Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) and in-form Laura Graham (Unattached) will once again go head to head – the pair looked a class apart as they took first and second place respectively at last week's Groomsport Half Marathon.  On that occasion, Karen took the spoils, and in-truth, despite Laura's obvious talent, the outcome is likely to be the same.  This will leave Laura to take second place, with third place up for grabs between a number of ladies:  Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC) and Gillian Logan (Larne AC) are all possible contenders.  Eileen Jack (Beechmount Harriers) and Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) should also finish well up the field. 


Richard Coey (Balldrain Harriers) will start and will be looking to continue his return to competition.  Following good runs at the Darragh Cross 10k and Kilmore 5 mile road race, Richard will be considered as a possible front runner.  Another athlete who will be in the mix will be NI & Ulster 10,000m Champion and winner of the recent Tandragee 10k, Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC).  Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) and Bobbie Irvine (Seapark AC) will be hoping for top ten placings.


Downhill Demesne 5 mile Trail Race:

Also on Saturday 22nd August 2015, Springwell Running Club will welcome athletes from around the province to their well-organised Downhill Demesne 5 mile trail race in Downhill, close to Castlerock on the scenic North Coast.


Last year's winner, Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) has enjoyed success at the event over the last few years and will no doubt be in the mix this time around.  He (Allan) may face last years runner up Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), a man who continually impresses over a variety of terrain. Foyle Valley AC men Pius McIntyre and Chris McGuinness may race, while Springwell Running Club and Ballymena Runners are expected to be well represented.


In the ladies event, there could be an excellent three way battle between Springwell Running Club members Gemma Turley and Gillian Wasson, and North Down AC's Rachel Gibson, who took top honours last year.  Rachel has enjoyed an excellent season on the track, while Gemma has been in superb form on the roads – meanwhile, club mate Gillian very rarely fails to impress when she laces up the racers! Ciara Toner, Karen McLaughlin, Kerrie McIlmoyle and Caroline Irwin may add to the strong Springwell Running Club team.  PACE Running Club's Nicola Swinson, a podium finisher at the Jengana 10k, will also be worth watching.

Glencoe Skyline Mountain Race – Skyrunning UK Series (Scotland):

In Scotland on Saturday 22nd August 2015, at least three athletes from Northern Ireland will line up against some of the world's top athletes at the Glenoce Skyline Mountain Race in Scotland.


The event, which is the third race in the 2015 Skyrunning UK Series, which also includes the Mourne Skyline MTR, has attracted a lot of attention because of it's 'extreme' course.  The route will measure 53k in distance with 4,256m of ascent.  Local competitors Sharon Trimble (Carnethy HRC), Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) and Dawson Stelfox (BARF) should all perform to their usual high standard.


Frank Duffy 10 mile Road Race (Ireland):

On Saturday 22nd August 2015, a host of athletes from Northern Ireland are expected to travel south to Dublin and one of Europe's largest urban park's, the Phoenix Park, for the Frank Duffy 10 mile road race.


The race, which is the third race of the ongoing Dublin Marathon Race Series 2015, has always proved popular with local competitors, whether aiming for the main Dublin Marathon or not.  Local athletes could include the likes of Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners), Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) and John Black (North Belfast Harriers), amongst others.


IAAF World Athletics Championships (Beijing):

This weekend (Saturday 22nd August 2015) will bring the start of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing.  The strong Ireland includes two runners from Northern Ireland, namely Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and Ben Reynolds (North Down AC).


Ulster man Mark English (UCD AC) will kick off the Ireland team's medal hunt on Day 1 when he races over his specialist 800m, while Kerry and Ben will race on Monday 24th August and Wednesday 26th August 2015 respectively.  The full timetable for the Ireland team is available within our 'Interesting Articles' section HERE (please scroll down the Interesting Articles page to locate it).


Donegal Marathon (Ireland):

On Sunday 23rd August 2015, Unattached athlete Mark Walker will be one of a number of familiar faces who will line up in the Donegal Marathon in Letterkenny, Ireland.  The event, which attracts athletes from Northern Ireland every year, will start and finish close to the Aura Leisure Centre in the County Donegal Town of Letterkenny.  Mark will be setting off with the aim of achieving a sub three hour finish.


Parkrun:

As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty parkrun events will take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.

Martin Wilcox and Niamh Kellet collect prizes at Bright Run 10k:

Bright Run 10k and Benburb 10k:

On Sunday 16th August 2015, athletes from across the province took on the annual Bright Run 10k in County Down.  The well-organised event, which is co-hosted by East Down AC, took place in perfect running conditions.


In the men's race, East Down AC dominated, or rather, filled the podium.  After a close race between club mates Martin Wilcox and Barrie Atkinson, it was Martin who sealed victory.  He (Martin) crossed the line in 36:20 (1st place), with Barrie clocking 36:47 (2nd place) for the runners up spot.  Andrew Telford (East Down AC) completed the top three in 40:11 (3rd place).


A regular on the podium at local races, Niamh Kellet (East Down AC), bettered her recent performances when she broke the tape in 43:08 (1st place). Behind, Orangegrove AC's Lyndsey Pronger, showed great strength to claim 2nd place whilst completed the race as part of a longer session; Lyndsey ran 45:02.  Gemma Toner (Unattached) crossed the line in 46:56 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) – 36:20, 2nd Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 36:47, 3rd Andrew Telford (East Down AC) – 40:11


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Niamh Kellet (East Down AC) – 43:08, 2nd Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 45:02, 3rd Gemma Toner (Unattached) – 46:56


Benburb 10k Road Race:

Elsewhere on Sunday 16th August 2015, a small but enthusiastic crowd turned out for the Benburb 10k and 5k road races in County Tyrone.  Up and coming St Peter's AC man Gerard Heaney led the field home in 35:43 (1st place), while Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) secured the ladies title in 39:35 (1st place).


Full Results:  Bright Run 10k 2015 Results and Benburb 10k 2015 Results (Photo by Mags Mathieson)

Local athletes impress at events in Scotland, Ireland and Switzerland:

Local athletes compete in Scotland, Ireland and Switzerland:
Over the course of this weekend (Friday 14th to Sunday 16th August 2015), a number of local athletes have produced excellent performances outside Northern Ireland, at events in Scotland, Ireland and Switzerland.

Tarbert 10k (Scotland):
On Saturday 15th August 2015, North Belfast Harriers' ever consistent Mark McKinstry was one of a number of familiar faces in action at the Tarbert 10k race close to Campbelltown in Scotland. The Northern Ireland XC international sealed an impressive victory, covering the tough multi-terrain route in 35:37 (1st place).  Ballymena Runners' Colin Hoey and Larne AC's Janine Rainey also ran well, finishing in 47:23 (14th place) and 57:07 (56th place) respectively.

Swiss Iron Trail T121 Ultra (Switzerland):
On Friday 14th August 2015, Northern Ireland international mountain runner Jacque Toal (BARF) took on the notoriously difficult Swiss Iron Trail T121 race, a 124.7k alpine trail race which incorporates 6,990m of accumulative ascent, starting and finishing in the town of Davos.  The hardy BARF member crossed the line in 27:34:07, taking 4th place in the ladies race.  Lada Zrzavecka (Czech Republic) sealed victory in the ladies race in 23:31:10 (1st place).

Monaghan 10 mile Road Race:
On Sunday 16th August 2015, a host of athletes from Northern Ireland made the short border crossing to Monaghan (Ireland) for the annual Monaghan 10 mile road race, an event which has always proved popular, and successful for local competitors.

This year proved no different, with six local athletes making the top ten of the men's race and at least three in the ladies race.  The always impressive Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) led the local contingent home in 51:56, securing 2nd place, just six seconds behind race winner Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC), who recorded 51:50 (1st place).  The in-form Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) followed in 52:52 (3rd place), before North Belfast Harriers duo Conor Curran (56:24) and John Black (56:53) took 5th place and 6th place respectively.

Foyle Valley AC's Stephen Connor crossed the line in 57:56 (7th place), while Slieve Gullion Runners man David Griffin completed the top ten in 59:32 (10th place).  In the ladies race, World Masters 5,000m medallist Cathy McCourt clocked 1:04:45 to claim 3rd place in the ladies race and was was followed across the line by Enniskillen Running Club's Tara Malone, who ran 1:06:01 for 4th place.  Sperrin Harriers' Natalie Hall narrowly missed a sub 70 minute finish when she recorded 1:10:14 for 5th place.  The ladies race was won by Michelle McGee (Brothers Pearse AC) in 59:43 (1st place).

Full Results:  Tarbert 10k 2015 Results – Swiss Iron Trail Ultra 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable) – Monaghan 10 mile Road Race 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable)

Kim Collison and Jasmin Paris claim classy victories at Seven Sevens:

Seven Sevens Mountain Race – British Fell Running Championship Series 2015:

On Saturday 15th August 2015, a plethora of mountain running talent from across the UK and Ireland descended on the seaside town of Newcastle in County Down for the British Fell Running Championship Series finale, the Seven Sevens Mountain Race. 


The conditions were significantly better than the 'white out' that was 2014, with the beauty of the sun-soaked Mourne Mountains in full view for the classy field.  The route, classed as a long race in terms of both the British Championships and the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championships, saw athletes summit the seven highest peaks in the scenic Mourne Mountains.  


At 30.5k in distance, with 2,675 metres of ascent, the race covered Slieve Donard, Slieve Commedagh, Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Meelmore, Slieve Meelbeg, before crossing Ben Crom Dam and onwards to Slieve Binnian and Slievelamagan - from Slievelamagan, participants made their way towards the 'Brandy Pad', following the well trodden path to Donard/Commedagh Saddle, before descending all the way to the finish in Donard Park at sea level. 


The stage was set for a top quality event and the athletes duly delivered, with Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 winner Kim Collison (Borrowdale Fell Runners) and Dragon's Back Ultra winner Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) deservedly stealing the headlines with course record victories.  However, it didn't come easy!  Both Kim and Jasmin led their respective fields as the athletes passed through the official cut off point at Ben Crom Dam and headed into the second half of the race, which started with a long, steep climb towards the summit of Slieve Binnian.


Kim had three men within a minute of him at this stage, including Scotland based Northern Ireland international Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC), Pete Vale (Mercia Fell Runners) and Morgan Donnelly (Borrowdale Fell Runners).  Local man Iain Bailey (Newcastle AC) was amongst the chasing pack, two minutes back, with Michael Fanning (Borrowdale Fell Runners) for company.

In the ladies race, Jasmin had a commanding lead as she crossed the Ben Crom Dam - Shettleston Harriers' Shona Robertson was in pursuit, although approximately thirteen minutes behind.  Helen Berry (Holmfirth Harriers) was in third, with Mel Price (Mercia Fell Runners) and local lady Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) just two minutes behind. Scotland based NI athlete Ciara Largey (Louchaber AC) and Astrid Gibbs (Ambleside AC), although a further three minutes behind, still looked as if they could get themselves amongst the podium contenders.


As the race progressed, Kim Collison and late entrant Morgan Donnelly edged clear of the leading pack; despite his best efforts, experienced and respected athlete Morgan could not hold the relentless pace being set by the in-form Kim, who opened up what proved to be a winning lead as the athletes moved closer to the Donard Park finish.  


The Barrowdale AC and Team GB runner cruised into Donard Park, covering the final metres quickly to win in a new course record of 3:30:34 (1st place).  Morgan Donnelly crossed the line just over thirty seconds later in 3:31:06 (2nd place), just over two minutes ahead of the final podium placed athlete, Pete Vale, who clocked 3:33:07 (3rd place).  NI international Iain Whiteside took 4th place in 3:37:36, while Ian Bailey was the first locally based athlete to finish in 3:38:01 (5th place).


Meanwhile, in the ladies race, the classy Jasmin Paris continued to increase the gap between herself and her competitors and eventually sealed an impressive and well-deserved victory in 3:49:34 (1st place); this not only sealed the ladies title in a new course record, but saw Jasmin claim a noteworthy 9th place overall.  Shona Robertson was rewarded for an excellent effort when she took the runners up prize in 4:15:15 (2nd place), before Helen Berry completes the ladies top three in 4:21:40 (3rd place).  Northern Ireland lady Diane Wilson secured 4th place in 4:24:30; interestingly, this was well within Diane's previous best on the course (4:33:32).


Top 3 Men:  1st Kim Collison (Borrowdale Fell Runners) – 3:30:34, 2nd Morgan Donnelly (Borrowdale Fell Runners) – 3:31:06, 3rd Pete Vale (Mercia Fell Runners) – 3:33:07


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) – 3:49:34, 2nd Shona Robertson (Shettleston Harriers) – 4:15:15, 3rd Helen Berry (Holmfirth Harriers) – 4:21:40


Provisional Results:  Seven Sevens Mountain Race 2015 Results - Photos from the Seven Sevens Mountain Race are now available within our Photo Gallery.

Brian Campbell, Karen Alexander, Adam Boyd & Denise Logue win in Groomsport:

Groomsport Half Marathon and 10k 2015:

On Saturday 15th August 2015, nearly three hundred athletes turned out for the Run Groomsport 10k and Half Marathon road races in the County Down town of Groomsport, on the North Down coastline.


The 13.1 mile event was the penultimate race of the 2015 Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series and therefore attracted quite a number of familiar faces.  This included Series regular and winner of the recent Ards Half Marathon and Dalriada 10k, Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), who secured top spot in 1:13:39.  Behind, there was an excellent dual between Armagh AC's Gary Henderson and Annadale Striders man Keith Purdy, with Gary eventually taking 2nd place in 1:14:39; the always impressive Keith recorded 1:14:50 for 3rd place


In the ladies Half Marathon, Acorns AC's Northern Ireland international Karen Alexander continued her return to fitness with another excellent outing. Following an excellent run at the Ards Half Marathon, Karen secured 1st place in 1:24:09 (1st place).  In-form Laura Graham (Unattached) crossed the line in 1:26:59 (2nd place), with endurance specialist Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) taking 3rd place in 1:29:11.


In the 10k race, North Belfast Harriers man Adam Boyd showed that he is getting back to full fitness with an notable outing.  Adam saw off the challenge of another man getting back to competition, Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders), to win in 33:49 (1st place).  Andrew followed in 34:08 (2nd place), with John Craig (Orangegrove AC) completing the top three in 34:58 (3rd place).  Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) was the well-deserved winner of the ladies 10k race, sealing victory by well over two minutes; Denise recorded 40:26 for 1st place.  There was an interesting battle between Larne based ladies Sarah-Jane McFadden (North Belfast Harriers) and Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC), with Sarah-Jane edging it in 42:52 (2nd place) - Kirsty took 3rd place in 43:06.


Half Marathon – Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) – 1:13:39, 2nd Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) – 1:14:39, 3rd Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) – 1:14:50


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 1:24:09, 2nd Laura Graham (Unattached) – 1:26:59, 3rd Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) – 1:29:11


10k Race – Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:49, 2nd Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders) – 34:08, 3rd John Craig (Orangegrove AC) – 34:58


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Denise Logue (North Belfast Harriers) – 40:26, 2nd Sarah-Jane McFadden (North Belfast Harriers) – 42:52, 3rd Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) – 43:06


Full Results:  Groomsport Half Marathon and 10k 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  British Fell Running Championships come to NI...

Weekend Preview:  British Championships come to Northern Ireland!

Another weekend is upon us, which means only one thing, it's race time (and of course training time too!). This weekend, the eyes of the UK and Ireland will be on the Mourne Mountains with the Northern Ireland race of the British Fell Running Championships taking place; given it's status, this will form the basis of this week's weekend preview. 


However, the road running fraternity will also be well catered for with the latest race in the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the Groomsport Half Marathon, taking place.  

There will also be local events in Belfast (County Antrim), Benburb (County Armagh) and Ballynoe (County Down).  Local athletes will also compete in County Monaghan, Ireland.


Seven Sevens Mountain Race (British Fell Running Championship race):

On Saturday 15th August 2015, NIMRA and BARF will host the Northern Ireland race of the ongoing British Fell Running Championships in Newcastle, County Down.  The annual Seven Sevens Mountain Race is the final race of the Series and will see some of the UK and Ireland's top fell runners descend on the seaside town.


The route, classed as a long race in terms of both the British Championships and the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championships takes in the seven highest peaks in the scenic Mourne Mountains.  At 19 miles in distance, with over 8,700 feet of climbing the race will cover Slieve Donard, Slieve Commedagh, Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Meelmore, Slieve Meelbeg, before crossing Ben Crom Dam and onwards to Slieve Binnian and Slievelamagan - from Slievelamagan, participants will make their way towards the 'Brandy Pad', following the well trodden path to Donard/Commedagh Saddle, before descending all the way to the finish in Donard Park at sea level. This should make every competitors journey well worthwhile and satisfy the most discerning fell runner.

The Ladies:

The ladies race will see top mountain stars Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) and Annie Conway (Ambleside AC) battle it out.  Other top ladies set to start include Mel Price (Mercia FRC), Shona Robertson (Shettleton Harriers), Helen Berry (Homfirth), Judith Jepson (Dark Peak Fell Runners) and Northern Ireland athletes Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and Ciara Largey (Lochaber AC) will ensure that Jasmin Paris and Annie Conway don’t get it their own way.


Jasmin Paris (pictured right - photo by Paul Dobson) has shown exceptional form in 2015, competing strongly against both male and female competition.  Jasmin won the 60 mile Fellsman Ultra event in the Yorkshire dales in April (2015), finishing fourth overall and completing the course in a record time.  Also in April, the flying Scot won the shorter (16.9k) Ras Y Moelyn race in Wales, again beating quality opposition. In May (2015), Jasmin again proved her quality over the longer distance, winning the classic Isle of Jura race, finishing sixth overall and again smashing a course record (previously held by Angela Mudge) - the Carnethy HRC star also won the gruelling Dragon's Back 200 mile/5 day Ultra in June!  Ambleside Athletic Club's Annie Conway, broke onto the fell running scene in 2014 with several wins.  So far in 2015, the 36 minute 10k runner impressed, with a win at the Flower Scar 9k Fell race, beating Internationals Sarah McCormick, Victoria Wilkinson and Sharon Taylor.  Also in March, Annie excelled at the longer Exe to Axe 32.4k Fell race, winning impressively.  Based on her form, Annie was selected to represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland at the European Mountain Running Championships in July (2015), finishing in a very credible eleventh place.


Mercia Fell runner Mel Price has taken numerous Vet 40 Category wins in 2015, but her competitiveness in the open female category makes her worthy of mention.  Mel currently lies third in the English Fell Running Championships and having won the welsh Ras Yr Aran Fell race in March (2015) and the 4.8k Beacon Batch race in Shorpshire in May (2015), she will be a podium contender.  Likewise, Jude Jepson (Dark Peak Fell Runners), who won the tough Ennerdale Hourseshoe 36.8k race in June, as well as two impressive second place finishes at the Coniston Mountain Race (May) and the (29k) Duddon English Championship Fell Race recently in Cumbria, will be one to watch.  Helen Berry (Homfirth) has raced sparingly in 2015, but took victory at the short, but steep, Midgey Moor race in February.  Helen will be ready for this course.


As the event is part of the Northern Ireland Championship, local eyes will be on the well known and respected Lagan Valley AC pair of Shileen O’Kane and Hazel McLaughlin, as well as former Lagan Valley Orienteers (LVO) star Ciara Largey, now running for Scottish club Lochaber AC. Shileen has impressed in 2015, having returned from injury, the local favourite has proved hard to beat and has pretty much sewn up the NIMRA title.  Club mate Hazel has also impressed this season, showing fantastic form in the mountains, over long and short distances.  Hazel finished in second place at this event in 2014, behind Denise Mathers (Mourne Runners).

The Men:

Although the 2015 Northern Ireland leg of the British Championship start list doesn't boast regular names such as Scottish International Mountain Runner Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC), Pudsey and Bramley AC brothers Rob and Danny Hope, former British Champion Robb Jebb (Bingley Harriers), nor the former English Fell Running Champion Lloyd Taggart of Manx Fell Runners, it does contain an outstanding crop of international fell running talent.


The main contenders are likely to come from Joe Symonds (Shettleston Harriers), Andrew Fallas (Carnethy HRC), Adam Perry (Helm Hill) and Borrowdale's Kim Collison.  Newcastle AC pair Seamus Lynch and Iain Bailie will also be at the speedy end of the field.  Scotland based Northern Ireland Iain Whiteside will also feature at the front.


Salomon athlete and former British Champion Joe Symonds has made a welcome return to the mountain running scene in recent months.  The Inverness based doctor spent much of 2013 targeting Commonwealth Marathon selection, having ran 2:20:52 at Rotterdam Marathon.  In 2014 he returned to the Scottish mountain running scene, taking eight podium places, with at least five victories.  In April 2015, Joe completed the Classic 3 Peaks race in Yorkshire, having been part of the lead pack for a long time the Scottish international dropped off the pace to finish in twelfth place. Since then, he (Joe) has went on to win the Beinn Dubh and Whangie Whizz Fell races in April and May, then most recently the Cort-ma Law Hill Race and Arrochar Alps event in Scotland. Joe's experience and speed will ensure he is there or there abouts. 


Three times winner of the gruelling Fellsman Ultra Adam Perry and former British Trail Running Champion Kim Collison, who finished joint winner of the aforementioned Fells man in 2014 (with Adam) are another two experienced fell runners.  Inov-8 athlete Adam's talent over the long distance speaks for itself, he can climb, but will need an turn of speed to stay with the likes of Joe, Kim and Andrew.  Team GB athlete Kim Collison is no stranger to the Mourne Mountains, having won our very own (NiRunning) Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race back in October (2014).  This year the former adventure racer won the Hardmoors 55 mile trail race in a new course record and then went on to represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland at the IAU Ultra Trail World Championships (Annecy, France) in May, finishing in twentieth place and helping the GB & NI Team to a superb bronze medal.  Kim's knowledge of the area will be invaluable and should help him to a podium place.  


Andrew Fallas kicked off 2015 with a win at the 'Feel the Burn' Fell race and a fantastic second place finish at the very competitive Carnethy 5 Hill Race in Scotland (February).  The Scottish International runner went on to take third place at the 23 mile 3 Peaks race in the Yorkshire dales, before taking a credible second place at the Ben Lomond Hill Race in May.  Andrew again showed his pacey side, taking ninth in the Inverness Half Marathon in 1:13:54, before securing victory at Slioch Horseshoe 20k event (1,180 metres ascent/descent).  Northern Ireland International Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) recently took third place at the 24k Inns Mountain Race (Scotland) and will be eager to impress prior to the Inter-Country International Championships.  Calder Valley Fell Runners' Tim Ellis and the ever green Pete Vale will have their eye's on the podium and will undoubtedly be close by.   


NIMRA Championship leader Seamus Lynch won here last year and has shown the form in 2015 to put him in contention amongst the top class opposition.  Seamus has won a variety of mountain races, both in the Championship and the local Hill & Dale Series, proving his mountain prowess but it was on the roads of Carlingford that he impressed most recently, running 15:56 in a 5k event last Friday night (7th August 2015).  Northern Ireland International Team Captain Ian Bailey impressed at the Slieve Donard race in May (2015), beating the aforementioned Seamus on that occasion.  Ian raced the Snowdon International event in July, taking thirty first place in a world class field, he (Ian) knows the Mourne Mountains well and if he has focussed on this event, Ian will run well.   Mourne Runners men Sam Herron (2nd in 2014), Clive Bailey and Dale Mathers are also worthy of note.  All three regularly compete well in this race.

Groomsport Half Marathon (and 10k):

Also on Saturday 15th August 2015, hundreds of athletes from across Northern Ireland will take on the penultimate race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the Groomsport Half Marathon; the race programme will also include a 10k race.


Both races will start close in Groomsport and make their way into rural parts of the coastal village before finishing just off the scenic coastal path close to the Groomsport Marina. Willowfield Harriers' Brian Campbell will go into the event as pre-race favourite should he enter.  The recent Dalriada Festival 10k winner has been a regular in the Series this year, with his best time being a 1:11:17 at the Larne Half Marathon back in March.  


Despite having concentrated on several track fixtures for much of the summer, North Down AC man Dennis Scott may take to the start line – earlier this year, whilst training for the London Marathon, Dennis recorded an excellent 1:13:44 for fifth place place behind the aforementioned Brian Campbell at the Larne Half Marathon.  Last year's winner David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) should return, as may Series regulars Don Travers (Newry City Runners), Mark Walker (Unattached), Brian Young (Unattached) and Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club).


Should 2014 ladies Champion Heather Foley (Unattached) return, it is hard to look past her as potential winner.  Heather sealed an excellent victory at the Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile road race last Friday night, clocking 30:19 for top spot.  Isle of Man marathon podium finisher Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) may miss out given the fact that she'll be recovering from an excellent outing last weekend, which will leave Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Gillian Logan (Larne AC) and Eimear McCracken (Newry City Runners), amongst others, to battle it out for the podium places.


Youth Development League Final 2015:

In Belfast on Saturday 15th August 2015, junior athletes from across the province will be in action at the final event of the Northern Ireland Youth Development League 2015.  The event will also include the NI & Ulster Age-Group Track Relay Championships.  Although no specific information is available in relation to the participants, we would expect City of Lisburn AC, North Down AC, City of Derry AC, Ballymena & Antrim AC, Lagan Valley AC and Willowfield Harriers to be well represented.

The Bright Run 10k:

On Sunday 16th August 2015, a large turnout is expected for the 2nd annual Bright Run 10k, which will take place in Ballynoe, Downpatrick (County Down).  The event, which will be co-hosted by East Down AC, should attract a variety of athletes, ranging from those with the goal of completing the course to some well-known local faces.


Reigning Champion James Savage (East Down AC), a podium finisher at last night's Darragh Cross 10k should return to defend his title, however, the in-form athlete may face stiff competition in the former of always impressive club mate Brendan Teer (East Down AC).  In truth, Brendan should secure top honours if he races – David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Marty Melville (Newcastle AC), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), Aaron Harrison (Ballydrain Harriers) and Curtis McCaw (Ballydrain Harriers) will all be worth watching, while In the ladies race, two time Darragh Cross 10k winner, Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) should be amongst the leaders in the ladies race, should she lace up the racers for the second time in three days.  Fellow East Down AC athletes Laura Gardiner and Cheryl Denvir won’t be far off the pace either, but will have to fend off the challenge of the likes of Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners), Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) and Niamh McKellett (East Down AC) should they want prizes.


Benburb 10k:

Also on Sunday 16th August 2015, athletes in County Tyrone will support the inaugural running of the Benburb 10k road race, an event organised to raise funds for local Northern Ireland registered charity “The Molly & Mia Foundation”.  The race should attract several high profile athletes, which may include the likes of Delfim Pimentel (Unattached) and Karen Alexander (Acorns AC), amongst others.


Monaghan 10 mile Road Race (Ireland):

Further afield on Sunday 17th August 2015, a large number of runners from Northern Ireland will make the short boarder crossing to County Monaghan (Ireland), for the popular Monaghan 10 mile road race.  In 2014, Armagh AC's Leroy Brady took third place in a time of 54:44.  Leroy should be joined by club mates Gary Henderson and Dermot Kerr, while Omagh Harriers' Paul Barbour may also return.  Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC), Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) and Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC) could also toe the line.


Parkrun:

As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty parkrun events will take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.

Scott McKeag and Catherine O'Connor win at Darragh Cross 10k:

Darragh Cross 10k 2015:

On Thursday 13th August 2015, nearly one hundred runners turned out for the Darragh Cross 10k road race, an event hosted by popular County Down based club East Down AC. 


In good running conditions, an excellent race ensued at the front. Up and coming Ballydrain Harriers athlete Scott McKeag and club mate Richard Coey could barely be separated.  However, in the end it was Scott who edged it, securing top spot in 36:43 (1st place), with Richard finishing ten seconds later in 36:53 (2nd place).  James Savage (East Down AC) continued his recent prize-winning ways when he completed the top three in 37:14 (3rd place).


Two of the provinces most in-form ladies, Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) and Laura Graham (Unattached) went head to head in a battle which equalled that of their male counterparts.  Both ladies have won an event within the last seven days, with Catherine winning the Glenmore 5k and Laura the Leitrim 5 mile race.  In the end, it was Northern Ireland international Catherine O'Connor who was victorious, winning in 38:47 (1st place). Laura crossed the line in 39:39 (2nd place), with Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) taking 3rd place 40:56 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Scott McKeag (Ballydrain Harriers) – 36:43, 2nd Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) – 36:53, 3rd James Savage (East Down AC) – 37:14


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 38:47, 2nd Laura Graham (Unattached) – 39:39, 3rd Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) – 40:56


Full Results:  Darragh Cross 10k 2015 Results (Photo by Max McRoberts)

Freddy Sittuk and Gemma Turley claim victory at annual Coleraine 5:

Coleraine 5 mile Road Race 2015:

On Wednesday 12th August 2015, nearly three hundred athletes took to the streets of Coleraine 5 mile road race, an annual event sponsored by local business Edwin May Nissan.


The event attracted a quality field, which at the competitive end was headed by former Belfast Marathon Champion Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC) and established local hero Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC). Freddy continued his recent good run of form as he sealed an impressive victory, crossing the line in 24:36 (1st place), to just edge out Scott.  The Foyle Valley AC man followed just seven seconds later in 24:43 (2nd place), before Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) clocked 26:16 for 3rd place.


In the ladies race, Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), a winner at the recent Milk Run and a podium finisher at the Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile road race and Dervock 10k, added another victory to her fast growing CV. However, the talented athlete didn't have it easy, and was forced to battle all the way with Orangegrove AC's Jenny Black.  The exciting dual ensured that both ladies recorded quality times, with Gemma dipping under the thirty minute barrier for the first time (on record), with a personal best of 29:54 (1st place).  Jenny ran 30:02 for 2nd place, while Springwell Running Club athlete Ciara Toner claimed 3rd place in 30:31.


Top 3 Men:  1st Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC) – 24:36, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 24:43, 3rd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:16


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 29:54, 2nd Jenny Black (Orangegrove AC) – 30:02, 3rd Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) – 30:31


Full Results:  Coleraine 5 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Kelly Neely crowned World Champion as local athletes impress in Lyon:

World Masters Athletics Championships 2015:

Over the last seven days (Tuesday 4th to Tuesday 11th August 2015), a number of local athletes have been in action at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Lyon.  Representing Ireland, the familiar faces performed well and amongst the podium places and personal bests was a World Championship winning performance by City of Lisburn AC star Kelly Neely.


Following an impressive outing at the recent Morton Games IMC races, where she recorded an Irish Vet35 800m record of 2:09.61, Kelly went into the Championships with the mindset that if she performed to her best it may be enough to secure a podium place – but the hard working mother and personal trainer exceeded her own expectations when she secured gold.  Kelly won the Vet35 800m event in 2:10.04 (1st place).  The humble multi-award winning athlete told NiRunning that she was “over the moon” and will now look at finishing her season on a high at the Lagan Valley Super 6 Series finale, before deciding on future goals.


Interestingly, Kelly was followed across the line in the Vet35 race by fellow Northern Ireland athlete Denis Toner – an “absolutely delighted” Denise completed what has been an excellent year when she sealed silver in 2:14.59 (2nd place).  North Belfast Harriers athlete Cathy McCourt put six weeks of injury woes behind her as she also picked up a medal at the prestigious and highly competitive Championships.  Cathy collected a bronze medal in the Vet40 5,000m after covering the distance in 19:35.59 (3rd place).  The race was won by Finland's Paula Tukiainen in 18:43.37 (1st place).  Cathy was also agonisingly close to a podium spot in the 10,000m, where she finished in 4th place having recorded 39:15.28.


There were also quality performances by a number of other Northern Ireland athletes, including Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC), Jacqui McGinley (City of Derry AC), Barry Morris (City of Lisburn AC), Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers) and Ronald Gardiner (City of Lisburn AC).  All available results for the World Masters Athletics Championships can be found HERE.

Dan Doherty adds to star-studded Mourne Skyline MTR line-up:

Dan Doherty adds to star-studded Mourne Skyline MTR field:

Following last week’s announcement that Dragon’s Back 200 mile Ultra podium finisher and current Team GB star Lizzie Wraith will race the Mourne Skyline MTR in October (2015), organisers of the tough 35k (with 3,370m of ascent) mountain-trail event, NiRunning, are pleased to announce further additions to the line-up.  


Irish international Dan Doherty (Scott Trail Running Team), a 17th place finisher at this year’s IAU Trail World Championships in Annecy (France) and winner of the recent Snowdonia Half Marathon will also compete.  The England based star is excited by the prospect of racing at the event and explained, “this is my first season racing Skyrunning events and I am super excited to be finishing the season off in Ireland.  I can’t wait for fellow athletes to see the beautifully technical terrain that County Down has to offer.  It will certainly be a challenge, even for the more experienced runner!” 


Dan’s IAU Trail World Championships team mate Barry Hartnett will also race,  which means that the entire Ireland team who ran in France earlier this summer will be present at the event - Jonny Steede, Paul Tierney and Robbie Williams, a member of the management/support team, have all been named in the line-up, while Justin Maxwell will again assume his invaluable role as Course Director.  


Lakeland 50 winner Jayson Cavhill, Northern Ireland man and 2014 Mourne Skyline MTR podium finisher Eoin Lennon, and Ireland based ultra-runner Ian Conroy, amongst others, add depth to a field that will include no less than twenty five international athletes and an abundance of local talent.  In the ladies race, Team GB’s Lizzie Wraith will face stiff opposition in the form of recognised fell runner Helen Brown (nee Fines), World Mountain Running Championships team medallist Sharon Trimble and Northern Ireland internationals Shileen O’Kane and Diane Wilson.  Scotland based Aisling Allum and local ladies Jacqui Toal, Taryn McCoy, Fran McFadden, Sonia Knox, Joanne Curran, Hazel McLaughlin, Denise Mathers and Jolene Mellon make the ladies race an exceptionally interesting event.


The ‘GTR’ (Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race) will also provide an excellent spectacle, with a plethora of international talent set to take to the start line for the 2 mile uphill only night time race.  Reigning Champion and winner of the recent Snowdon International, Sarah McCormack, will return to defend the title she won so impressively in 2014.  IAAF World 24 hour medallist Robbie Britton and Mont Blanc ‘Cross’ 10k Champion Paul Navesey will also contest the unique event.


Alongside athletes, local, national and global businesses have also been showing their support for the event, with Manor Healthcare, Apex Clinic, The Steensons and ProParamedics renewing their sponsorship, and The Ultra-Runner Store and Clif Bar joining the team, following an immensely successful 2014.  Race Director Ryan Maxwell is excited about the 2015 event, “We made a promise after the successful 2014 event that we would not rest on our laurels and would strive to improve the event on a year-on-year basis, and this is what are trying to do.  We have big plans for the future of the Mourne Skyline MTR and ‘GTR’, but I would like to emphasise our appreciation in relation to the support shown by both athletes and businesses who believe in what we are trying to do – without this support, the event would not be possible.”


Full details of the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race can be found on the official race website at www.mourneskylinemtr.com.

Podium places for NI runners at Isle of Man Marathon and HM:

Isle of Man Marathon and Half Marathon:

On Sunday 9th August 2015, two runners from Northern Ireland enjoyed success at the annual Isle of Man Marathon and Half Marathon event.  The popular event offers competitors a scenic but challenging course, which is actually the same route used for the famous Isle of Man TT motorcycle race, starting and finishing in Ramsey.


North Belfast Harriers man Andrew Considine was in action in the 13.1 mile event and ran well to secure a 2nd place finish,  Andrew crossed the line in 1:15:15. The race was won by Mark Dooley (Herne Hill Harriers) in 1:11:20 (1st place).  In the two lap marathon, Unattached athlete Natalie Bowbanks put in a quality performance to claim 2nd place.  Natalie covered the distance in 3:43:08; the race was won by Hephzibah Toby (Uckfield Runners) in 3:37:05 (1st place).


Full Results:  Isle of Man Marathon and Half Marathon 2015 Results

Local athletes claim impressive medal haul at AAI National T&F Championships:

GloHealth AAI National Track & Field Championships:

On Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th August 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland were in action at the famous Morton Stadium in Santry, Dublin (Ireland) as part of the GloHealth AAI National Track & Field Championships.


Amongst a large number of top quality outings, there were at least ten medal winning performances by Northern Ireland runners of the two days of excellent competition. Ballymena & Antrim AC athlete Christine McMahon looked in good form as she powered to victory in her specialist 400m hurdles event; the Commonwealth Games star clocked 59.19secs for 1st place.  There was also a gold medal for recent Northern Ireland's mile record holder Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) – the exceptionally talented athlete continued her return from injury with a win in the 800m after recording 2:02.98 (1st place).  Another recent NI record break, Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) added to the local gold medal haul when he led the field home in the 110m hurdles, having completed the jumps in 15.84secs (1st place).  In the ladies 100m hurdles, there were two familiar faces on the podium, with North Down AC's Sarah Connolly (15.40secs) and Lagan Valley AC's Laura Frey (17.83secs) securing 1st place and 2nd place respectively.  


There was also a double celebration in the ladies 1500m event, with local ladies Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) climbing the podium.  Kerry took 2nd place in 4:19.10, with Emma following in 4:22.51 for 3rd place.  The race was won by Dunboyne AC's Sara Treacy in 4:18.62 (1st place).  Sara Treacy also won the 3,000m Steeplechase in 9:58.92 (1st place), with Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) sealing a silver medal in 10:37.27 (2nd place).  Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder Amy Foster crossed the line in 11.86secs, taking 2nd place in the 100m behind winner Kelly Proper (Ferrybank AC), who ran 11.75secs (1st place).  Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) showed his class over 5,000m – the Spartan athlete ran a new personal best of 14:21.79 to claim 2nd place behind race winner, DSD AC's Kevin Batt (1st place – 14:20.97).  Ballymena & Antrim AC's Jonathan Browning added to the local medal haul when he sealed 2nd place in the 100m event won by Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O'Toole AC) in 10.68secs (1st place); Jonathan crossed the line in 10.79secs.


Full Results:  GloHealth AAI National Track & Field Championships 2015 Results

Iain Whiteside claims podium spot at Scottish Mountain Running Championships:

Two Inns Mountain Race (inc Scottish Mountain Running Championships):

On Saturday 8th August 2015, Scotland based Northern Ireland mountain running international Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC) was in action at the Two Inns Mountain Race in the infamous Glencoe region of Scotland.


The race covered a tough 24k course, which incorporated 1,770m of accumulative ascent and attracted a highly competitive field.  Iain added to a plethora of excellent performances this year with arguably his best, when he secured 3rd place in a time of 2:46:02 (3rd place).  The race was won by Salomon International and Shettleston AC athlete Tom Owens in 2:36:07 (1st place).


Ian, who was this week named in the Northern Ireland team for the upcoming Home Countries International in Wales, told NiRunning that he was "happy" with the performance, which followed an injury hit early summer.  Iain will now set his sights on next weekend's Seven Sevens Mountain Race in Northern Ireland, which is included in the British Mountain Running Championship Series.

Brendan Teer and Laura Graham secure Leitrim 5 mile road race titles:

Leitrim 5 mile Road Race:

On Saturday 8th August 2015, Liatroim Fontenoys GAC, in association with Newcastle AC welcomed a small but enthusiastic group of athletes to the 5th annual running of their Leitrim 5 Mile Road Race.  


Nestled in stunning surroundings between Castlewellan Forest Park and the Dromara Mountains, the well-established race, which was part of the village festival offered elite athletes, age group competitors and general fitness runners a different, challenging course in a unique, scenic and small village setting.


There was much talk pre-race about whether East Down AC athlete Brendan Teer would return in an attempt to continue his excellent run of success at the event, having won it for the previous three years.  Brendan did race and despite having been in competition less than 24 hours earlier in Carlingford, where he recorded 15:24 for 5k, the Northern Ireland international still found the stamina to seal an impressive victory.  


Brendan recorded 26:53 for 1st place – Newcastle AC duo David O'Flaherty and Martin Melville completed the podium places, with in-form David clocking 27:47 (2nd place) and the ever improving Martin following in 28:29 (3rd place).


Laura Graham (Unattached) is arguably one of the provinces in-form athletes; after beginning to take her running seriously earlier this year, the Killkeel based lady has clocked up numerous race wins and podium places, including a podium place at the highly competitive Lisburn Half Marathon.  Laura was in good form here as she eased her way to victory, crossing the line in 31:39 (1st place); this was enough to see her (Laura) finish in 6th place overall.  Previous winner of the event, Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) claimed 2nd place just under a minute later in 32:38, while East Down AC's Cheryl Denvir completed the top three ladies in 36:31 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 26:53, 2nd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 27:47, 3rd Martin Melville (Newcastle AC) – 28:29


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Laura Graham (Unattached) – 31:39, 2nd Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) – 32:38, 3rd Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) – 36:31


Full Results:  Leitrim 5 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Drew Fowler and Gillian Cordner impress at Kells & Connor Half Marathon:

Kells & Connor Half Marathon:

On Saturday 8th August 2015, athletes from across Northern Ireland turned out for the inaugural running of the Kells & Connor Half Marathon, an event organised by several members of Ballymena Runners alongside friends from the Kells and Connor area.  Nearly one hundred athletes took on what was described as a tough, scenic and rewarding rural route.


At the head of the field, there was a close battle between Billy Thompson (Larne AC), Drew Fowler (Ballydrain Harriers) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers). Billy looked as if he would run out as winner until a late effort from Drew, who finished well to seal top spot in 1:25:08 (1st place).  Billy followed in 1:25:23 (2nd place), while consistent performer Simon Reeve crossed the line in 1:25:43 for 3rd place.


In the ladies race, endurance specialist and AAI National 24 hour medallist Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) stole the headlines with an excellent performance.  Gillian cruised to victory in 1:40:55 (1st place).  Anne Corbett (Club Unknown) and Heather Baxter (Larne AC) ran well to claim the remaining podium places, with Anne recording 1:42:10 (2nd place) and Heather 1:51:38 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Drew Fowler (Ballydrain Harriers) – 1:25:08, 2nd Billy Thompson (Larne AC) – 1:25:23, 3rd Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:25:43


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 1:40:55, 2nd Anne Corbett (Club Unknown) – 1:42:10, 3rd Heather Baxter (Larne AC) – 1:51:38


Full Results:  Kells & Connor Half Marathon 2015 Results

Joe McAlister and Shileen O'Kane crowned Lurig Challenge Champions:

Lurig Challenge Mountain Race:

On Saturday 8th August 2015, a record number of nearly four hundred athletes descended on the seaside village of Cushendall for the annual Lurig Challenge Mountain Race, hosted by local club Glens Runners. 


The event, which is approximately 3.5 miles in distance, with 375 metres of ascent is part of a week long festival in the area and will see a mix of mountain, road and fun runners convene for a classic 'to the top and back' course.  Participants will start in the centre of the atmospheric village, making their way through the assembled crowds and up a series of steps onto a gradually ascending farm lane, before reaching the open mountain. Once onto the grassy slopes, runners will climb the steep north face of Lurgethan, before descending from the summit and making their way back to the village finish line.


Previous winner of the event, but a man better known for his achievements on the road, Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), followed on from his winning return to action at the Castlefinn 5k last week, when he secured an impressive victory.  However, Joe didn't have it all his own way, with North Belfast Harriers men Tommy Simmons and Andrew Annett proving hard to beat.  After a number of athletes played their part en-route to the summit, the aforementioned trio took charge, with Joe eventually leading the field back to the village and crossing the line in 28:34 (1st place). Tommy Simmons continued his rise through the ranks with an excellent run, taking 2nd place four seconds later in 28:37.  His club mate, Andrew, a top ten finisher at last nights Glenmore 5k, completed the top three in 29:06 (3rd place).


NIMRA Champion elect Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) lived up to her pre-race favourite status as she dominated proceedings in the ladies race. Shileen led the way from the gun and gradually left the chasing ladies in her wake as she power up the ascent and descended just as strongly to break the tape in 34:16 (1st place).  Fellow Northern Ireland international and Lagan Valley AC member Hazel McLaughlin took 2nd place in 38:15, while event regular Elizabeth Wheeler (IMRA) sealed 3rd place in 38:36.


In the battle for the 'first local' prize and the associated bragging rights, Unattached athlete Kevin O'Boyle celebrated victory after securing 13th place overall in 32:43.  Meanwhile, the always well represented Ballymena Runners claimed top spot in both the men's and ladies team competition.


Top 3 Men:  1st Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 28:34, 2nd Tommy Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) – 28:37, 3rd Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) – 29:06


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 34:16, 2nd Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 38:15, 3rd Elizabeth Wheeler (IMRA) – 38:36


Full Results:  Lurig Challenge Mountain Race 2015 Results

Chris McPeake and Heather Foley secure victory at Stanley Reid 5:

Sperrin Harriers Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile Road Race:

On Friday 7th August 2015, Sperrin Harriers welcomed hundreds of athletes and spectators to their annual Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile road race in Cookstown, County Tyrone.


As predicted, athletes from local clubs Sperrin Harriers and Acorns AC played a major part in proceedings, but it was a former Sperrin Harriers athlete, Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC), who stole the headlines.  Chris saw off the challenge of Darrell McKee (Acorns AC), Glenn Donnelly (Acorns AC) and Michael Crawley (Tri Limits) to secure victory in 27:22 (1st place).  Darrell followed just seven seconds later in 27:29 (2nd place), while club mate Glenn clocked 27:40 to take 3rd place.


The ladies race lived up to the pre-race hype; infact, it probably exceeded expectations with late entrant Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) adding to the plethora of talent, which included reigning Champion Heather Foley (Unattached) and podium regular Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers).  It was indeed a three way battle between the trio, which resulted in the classy Heather Foley retaining her title in 30:19 (1st place).  Milk Run 2015 winner Gemma Turley claimed the runners up spot in 31:20 (2nd place), while Pauline McGurren proved to be a popular finisher as she crossed the line in 31:32 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) – 27:22, 2nd Darrell McKee (Acorns AC) – 27:29, 3rd Glenn Donnelly (Acorns AC) – 27:40


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 30:19, 2nd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 31:20, 3rd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 31:32


Full Results:  Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Dennis Scott and Aoibhinn Clinton win inaugural Hadlow Donaghadee 5k:

Hadlow Donaghadee 5k:

On Friday 7th August 2015, well over one hundred runners turned out for the inaugural Hadlow Donaghadee 5k race.  The race is part of the town’s Community Festival and offered participants an interesting course, which took them from Donaghadee Pier along an old railway line to the town’s Water Tower.  


As expected, local club North Down AC were out in force, as where Ballydrain Harriers, Peninsula Tri Club and Belfast Running Club.  At the competitive end of the field, North Down AC's Dennis Scott impressed with a 16:57 finish for 1st place.  He was followed across the line by two of Ballydrain Harriers' top prospects, Scott McKeag and Aaron Harrison who recorded 17:34 (2nd place) and 17:40 (3rd place) respectively.


In the ladies race, Ballydrain Harriers athlete Aoibhinn Clinton won in 21:31.  Nikki Gardiner (North Down AC) ran well to take a well-deserved 2nd place in 21:57, before Pamela Phillips (Unattached) completed the podium finishers in 22:51 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Dennis Scott (North Down AC) – 16:57, 2nd Scott McKeag (Ballydrain Harriers) – 17:34, 3rd Aaron Harrison (Ballydrain Harriers) – 17:40


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Aoibhinn Clinton (Ballydrain Harriers) – 21:31, 2nd Nikki Gardiner (North Down AC) – 21:57, 3rd Pamela Phillips (Unattached) – 22:51


Full Results:  Hadlow Donaghadee 5k 2015 Results

Paddy Hamilton and Catherine O'Connor excel as NI runners impress:

Glenmore 5k (Ireland):

On Friday 7th August 2015, a large number of runners from Northern Ireland took on the popular Glenmore 5k road race in Carlingford, County Louth, an event well known for it's flat and fast course. 


Competitors started along the Coast Road before turning in-land and making their way back to the atmospheric town centre finish.  It proved to be a successful night for the local contingent – Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) led the familiar faces home in 15:09, which was enough to see the former Annadale Striders man take 3rd place.  


The in-form Brendan Teer (East Down AC) followed in 15:24 (6th place), before Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) celebrated his Northern Ireland international call up with an excellent outing, clocking 15:47 for 7th place.


Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) crossed the line two seconds later in 15:49 (8th place) and Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), a man better known for his mountain running exploits, completed the top ten in 15:56 (10th place).  North Belfast Harriers men Conor Curran (11th place -16:02) and John Black (13th place - 16:10) just missed out on top ten spots, but their impressive runs ensured that North Belfast Harriers claimed the senior men's team prize.  The men's race was won by Raheny Shamrock AC's Freddy Sittuk in 14:46 (1st place).


Arguably the performance of the night came from East Down AC's Catherine O'Connor; the talented athlete smashed her 5k personal best when she claimed top honours in the ladies race in 17:55 (1st place).  Gillian Burns, who was part of a large Dromore AC contingent, took 4th place in 18:48, while Ballydrain Harriers' Debbie Matchett and another Dromore AC athlete, Geraldine Branagh also secured top ten places.  Debbie ran 19:22 for 7th place and Geraldine recorded 19:24 for 8th place.


Full Results:  Glenmore 5k 2015 Results - Photo above by Nigel McKibbin.

NIMRA announce Home Countries Mountain Running teams:

NIMRA announce teams for Home Countries International:

This week, the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) selection committee announced teams for the upcoming Home Countries Mountain Running Championships, which will take place in Wales on Saturday 22nd August 2015.


The men's team is led by team captain David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and includes Iain Whiteside (Carnethy HRC), Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners).  The ladies team will be captained by experienced international Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), with Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Mari Troeng (Unattached) and Penny Lindsay (North Belfast Harriers) also named in the line up.


At the event, which is part of the British Athletics Mountain Running Championships, the men will cover a 12.3k course with 660 metres of accumulative ascent, while the ladies will complete 8.3k with 445 metres of accumulative ascent.

Weekend Preview: Lurig Challenge, AAI National T&F Championships and more!

Weekend Preview:  Lurig Challenge, AAI National T&F Championships and more!

Following on from another busy week in the local running calendar, it is once again time to look ahead to the weekend.  Like most over the summer months, it’s going to be a busy one, with local events set to take place in Cushendall,  Cookstown, Donaghadee, Kells & Connor and Leitrim (County Down).  


Local athletes will also be in action in Ireland, with the GloHealth AAI National Track & Field Championships and the Glenmore 5k likely to attract a significant number of familiar faces – the World Masters Athletics Championships are also ongoing in Lyon, France.


Sperrin Harriers Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile Road Race:

The weekend action will kick off tonight (Friday 7th August 2015) in Cookstown, where hundreds of athletes are expected to take on the annual Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile road race, hosted by Sperrin Harriers.  Race HQ, including the start and finish will be within Loughry College.  The course itself covers a 5 mile loop and is reasonably fast barring an early hill, and therefore boasts personal best potential.


A host of County Tyrone men will contest top spot, with local clubs Sperrin Harriers and Acorns AC likely to be well represented.  Acorns AC men Aaron Meharg and Glenn Donnelly have both been in excellent form this year, recording personal bests over various distances.  The pair will play a major part in proceedings, as will Omagh Harriers man Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers) if he picks this race for a return to competition since his recent wedding and honeymoon!  Michael Crawley (Tri Limits) clocked an impressive 16:35 last week at the Castlefinn 5k and if he shows the same speedy edge here, he'll claim a podium spot.  James Turtle (Ballymena Runners), Stephen Kennedy (East Coast AC) and James Reid (North Belfast Harriers) should also run well.

The ladies race looks as if it's going to be an excellent encounter – reigning Champion Heather Foley (Unattached) will go into the event as pre-race favourite an in-truth, will prove exceptionally hard to beat.  However, Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) will be waiting for any mistake from Heather as she returns to the race where she first burst onto the scene 3-4 years ago with a podium finish.  Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) has also been in the prizes recently and will be there or there abouts again here, while Patricia Blair (Larne AC), Irene Clements (Enniskillen Running Club) and Stephanie Henry (Sperrin Harriers) will all make the top ten.


Hadlow Donaghadee 5k:

Also tonight (Friday 7th August 2015), local runner and former Mayor of Bangor, Andrew Muir (North Down AC) will be amongst a team of volunteers who will welcome athletes and exercise enthusiasts to the inaugural Hadlow Donaghadee 5k race.  The race is part of the town’s Community Festival and will offer participants an interesting course, which will take them from Donaghadee Pier along an old railway line to the town’s Water Tower.  


The yellow and blue vests of North Down AC will feature prominently, with Crawfordsburn 5k podium finisher James Budde (North Down AC) likely to be a front runner if he starts.  Fellow North Down AC men Mark Weir and Ben Caughers should run well, as will Jodi Smith (North Down AC) if she runs.


Glenmore 5k (Ireland):

In Ireland tonight (Friday 7th August 2015), a number of familiar faces will take to the start line of the popular Glenmore 5k road race in Carlingford, County Louth.  The race, which attracts a large contingent from Northern Ireland on an annual based covers a flat, fast and scenic route.  Competitors start along the Coast Road before turning in-land and making their way back to the atmospheric town centre.  


North Belfast Harriers man Mark McKinstry should be in the mix as he aims for a time in the low 15:00's.  Dromore AC enjoyed success at the event in 2014 and will return en-mass in the hope of replicating their performances, in particular the well deserved team title picked up by their ladies. Former age-group Champion Laura Bickerstaff will join Gillian Burns, Geraldine Branagh, Diane Wilson and Diane McKee on the start line, while Northern Ireland international Nigel McKibbin will head the Dromore AC men alongside Ethan Dunn, Daniel Dawson, Michael Stewart, Colin Armstrong, Andrew Johnston, Ernest Hall and David Allen, amongst others.  

World Masters Athletics Championships (France):

In Lyon, France, athletes from Northern Ireland have been in action at the World Masters Athletics Championships, which are taking place between Tuesday 4th August until Sunday 16th August 2015.  

Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers) is just one of the local competitors who has already impressed, having taken sixth place in his Vet60 cross country race.  Information from the Championships has been difficult to locate due to constant technical problems with the event website.  Paul will more than likely race again and will be joined by a host of well-known local runners, such as the always impressive Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC), Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC), Barry Morris (City of Lisburn AC), Denise Toner (Clones AC) and Ronald Gardiner (City of Lisburn AC).


Lurig Challenge Mountain Race:

On Saturday 8th August 2015, athletes from across Northern Ireland (and beyond) will descend on the seaside village of Cushendall for the annual Lurig Mountain Race, hosted by local club Glens Runners. 


The event, which is approximately 3.5 miles in distance, with 375 metres of ascent is part of a week long festival in the area and will see a mix of mountain, road and fun runners convene for a classic 'to the top and back' competition.  Participants will start in the centre of the atmospheric village, making their way up the steps and onto a gradually ascending farming lane, before reaching the open mountain.  Once onto the grassy slopes, runners will climb the steep north face of Lurgethan, before descending from the summit and making their way back to the village finish line.


In the men's race, it is likely that the top five from 2014 will participate.  This includes winner Allan Bogle (City of Derry), runner up Jonny Steede (Unattached), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), Tommy Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) and first local runner (in 2014) Emmet McAlister (Unattached).  The start list is likely to boast a plethora of mountain running talent including the soon to be crowned Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Champion Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Northern Ireland and Ireland international Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers).  Previous winner of the event Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) may also be a surprise starter following his return to competition last week at the Castlefinn 5k.  These men are likely to battle it out for the podium positions and should be pursued by Kevin O’Boyle (Unattached), Connor Reid (Ballymena Runners) and Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC).  Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and East Coast AC man Corey Urwin will all be chasing category prizes. 

In the ladies event, 2012 and 2013 winner and current leader of the NIMRA Championship Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) is likely to be at the head of the field.  Reigning Champion Gillian Wasson (Springwell Running Club), Clare MacAuley (Ballyhouston Harriers), a podium finisher at the recent Dalriada 10k, and Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) are likely to be the main chasers.  


Another lady likely to be a contender is Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners). Paula knows this course well and has been ‘on form’ lately, with a win, in tough conditions, at the recent Divis 10k Trail Race.  Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Ballymena Runners pair Lorna Sibbett and Ruth Aiken will also be worth watching.


Registration for the event opens at midday, in the Courtyard off Main Street in Cushendall.  The race start time is 1pm, with the leading runners expected back in the village before 1.30pm.


Leitrim 5 mile Road Race:

On Saturday 8th August 2015, Liatroim Fontenoys GAC, in association with Newcastle AC will welcome athletes to the 5th annual running of their Leitrim 5 Mile Road Race.  Nestled in stunning surroundings between Castlewellan Forest Park and the Dromara Mountains, this well-established race offers elite athletes, age group competitors and general fitness runners a different, challenging course in a unique, scenic and small village setting.


This year the race is part of the village’s annual festival and is set to build on the growing numbers in recent years, especially in light of the huge numbers actively running in the East Down Area as evidenced by the noticeable growth in membership of all the running clubs in the district. Three time winner Brendan Teer (East Down AC) will be keen to defend his title and in light of his stunning performance in the recent Portaferry 10, he will be the firm favourite to retain the McGrady Financial Services Perpetual Trophy.  Brendan’s stiffest competition will most likely come from Newcastle AC’s David O’Flaherty, fresh from his emphatic triumph in the recent Sea2Sky 10k.  However, international fell runners, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) have both indicated that they may compete (if they don't race the Lurig Challenge) and despite a lack of road racing in recent times, have the ability to threaten and beat the best.  Seamus and Ian are training hard as demonstrated by their selection for the recent Snowdon International Mountain Race in Wales.


The Leitrim 5 is certainly a race that will favour those with a penchant for the hills! Murlough AC’s Alan Johnston is perennially in good shape and in another capable of a podium finish, as is Brendan Teer’s club mate Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – an athlete in the form of his life.  Mourne Runners’ finest have been seen out training – surely they are not contemplating competing on the tarmac – we will have to wait and see! Dromore AC ladies have been very successful in this event in the past and could once again provide a winner from those who choose not to compete in Carlingford on later tonight (Friday 7th August 2015).  Local hopes rest with Newcastle AC’s Sinead Murtagh, the defending Champion.  The in-form Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) will also be amongst the front runners, as will her club mate Cheryl Denvir, should she toe the line.


The 2 mile fun walk/run (ideal for families) starts at 12 noon with the main event, the 5 mile road race at 1pm.  Both events start at Fontenoy Park on the Backaderry Road (detailed directions and additional race information can be found on the Newcastle AC website – www.newcastleac.org). This is the perfect race for anyone in marathon preparation, 5k/10k road race mode or simply enjoying running for fitness. The minimum age for the 5 mile race is 15 years old.  Entries will be taken on race day: 5 mile road race: Athletics NI Registered Athletes £7 Unregistered Athletes £8 – Fun Run £3 (Under 7s are Free). Entrants can look forward to competing for Hugh McCann' sponsored meal voucher among the many prizes, age category prizes and other spot prizes on offer.  Note:  Summary compiled with the assistance of Joe McCann.

Kells & Connor Half Marathon:

Also on Saturday 8th August 2015, athletes from the Country Antrim area are expected to turn out for the Kells & Connor Half Marathon.  The event, which is close to Ballymena, boasts a scenic rural course and will prove popular with competitors.  Although the Lurig Mountain Race will undoubtedly reduce what could potentially have been a sizeable crowd, large numbers should still turn out.


Ballymena Runners men Ryan Armstrong and Neil Ramsey will feature and will have an eye on a podium spot, as will North Belfast Harriers' Simon Reeve.  Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) and Billy Thompson (Larne AC) will finish well up the field, while AAI National 24 hour medallist Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) will prove hard to beat in the ladies race.  Amanda Peoples (Unattached) and Heather Baxter (Larne AC) should also perform well.


GloHealth AAI National Track & Field Championships:

On Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th August 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will travel south to Santry, Dublin (Ireland) and the Morton Stadium, for the GloHealth AAI National Track & Field Championships.


NI & Ulster 10k and 5,000m Champion Conor Duffy (Glaslough AC) will be in competition at the event, as will Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), who will be looking to further improve his NI 110mH record and seal a place at the IAAF World Championships.  Other men who will have medal hopes include Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), John-Paul Williamson (City of Derry AC), Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC), Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC), James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners), Michael Quinn (Annadale Striders), James O'Hare (Annadale Striders), Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City Track Club), Tom Reynolds (North Down AC) and Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club).


Several of Northern Ireland's most high profile ladies will also be amongst the medal contenders, with Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Ciara Mageean (UCD AC), Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC), Aislinn Crossey (UCD AC) and Laura Frey (Lagan Valley AC) all set to race.


Parkrun:

As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty parkrun events will take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.

Neill Weir and Jessica Craig win North Down AC's Crawfordsburn Trail Race:

North Down AC host annual Crawfordsburn Trail Race:

On Wednesday 5th August 2015, North Down AC welcomed almost two hundred athletes to their ever popular Crawfordsburn Trail Race, a 5k race around the scenic Crawfordsburn Country Park, just outside Bangor in County Down.


In wet and blustery conditions, the field set off and it wasn't long before things started to take shape, with Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC) playing a prominent part at the front of their respective fields.  In the men's race, Neill had the company of James Budde (North Down AC) and David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), but in the end, the Giants Trail Race winner (Neil) once again came out on top. Neill crossed the line in 17:03 (1st place) and was closely followed by the aforementioned James and David, with James clocking 17:12 (2nd place) and David 17:18 (3rd place).


The ladies race wasn't just as close, but still boasted some excellent performances.  None more so than winner, track star Jessica Craig, who broke the tape in an impressive 19:01 (1st place).  Ballydrain Harriers' Denise Logue followed in 19:56 (2nd place), before Jodi Smith (North Down AC) completed the top three in 20:34 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 17:03, 2nd James Budde (North Down AC) – 17:12, 3rd David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 17:18


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jessica Craig (North Down AC) – 19:01, 2nd Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 19:56, 3rd Jodi Smith (North Down AC) – 20:34


Full Results:  Crawfordsburn 5k Trail Race 2015 Results

Team GB's Lizzie Wraith to race Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race:

GB & NI international Lizzie Wraith to race NiRunning's Mourne Skyline MTR:

Today (Tuesday 4th August 2015), NiRunning and Mourne Skyline MTR are pleased to announce that current Great Britain & Northern Ireland international and podium finisher at the recent Dragons Back 200 mile Ultra, Lizzie Wraith, will race this year’s Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race (Saturday 24th October 2015).


Lizzie, a previous winner of the Lakeland 100 Ultra, will join this year’s Lakeland 100 and Lakeland 50 winners Paul Tierney and Jayson Cavhill on the start line, as well as a plethora of talent from around the globe.  The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail podium finisher is enthusiastic about taking on another event in the Skyrunning UK Series after victory at last year’s 3X3 Ultra in Keswick.  


Speaking about the Mourne Skyline MTR, Lizzie said: “I'm really looking forward to running the Mourne Skyline MTR as I've never been to Ireland and it’s been on my bucket list for a long time. The terrain looks really beautiful and technical which is what I love, however 35km is a bit of a sprint for me, I'd better start doing some speed-work!”


Mourne Skyline MTR Race Director Ryan Maxwell added, “To have an athlete of Lizzie’s stature compete at the event is a huge bonus for everyone.  Lizzie has performed well at some of the world’s toughest events – look at her performance at the recent Dragons Back Race – going into that off the back of being ill and not only finishing, but claiming a top three finish, was incredible.  


Again this year, the entry list reads like a ‘who’s who’ of mountain-trail running in the UK and Ireland which not only excites me, but makes me appreciate the support we have received from everyone.   There will be athletes from fourteen countries coming to Northern Ireland to take part in the Mourne Skyline MTR (and ‘GTR’), which as the Race Director makes me extremely proud. We hope to add further additions to the line-up in the coming weeks and will do our utmost to ensure that the race exceeds expectations."


Although the Mourne Skyline MTR is now full (except for elite entry applications), you can still be part of an excellent weekend of racing by taking on the Mourne Skyline ‘Granite Trail Race’, a 2 mile uphill only night time race, which will take place on Friday 23rd October 2015 (7.30pm). World 24 hour medallist Robbie Britton, Mont Blanc Cross (10k) Champion Paul Navesey and Snowdon International winner Sarah McCormack are just some of the names on the 'GTR' line-up!


More information is available on the official race website HERE.

James Savage and Catherine O'Connor win Kilmore 5 mile road race:

Kilmore 5 mile Road Race 2015:

On Monday 3rd August 2015, a large number of athletes and spectators turned out for the annual Kilmore 5 mile road race in Crossgar, County Down.  The well-organised event was co-hosted by East Down AC.


Nearly one hundred competitors took to the start line, but it was the fast improving East Down AC man James Savage who came out on top. Following on from several good performances in recent weeks, James raised his profile further after securing victory in 29:14 (1st place).  Ballydrain Harriers duo Richard Coey and Aaron Harrison were split by a mere six seconds, with Richard taking 2nd place in 29:25 and Aaron 3rd place in 29:31.


The ladies race was dominated by East Down AC athletes – although it was Downpatrick RGU 10k winner Catherine O'Connor who beat her club mates to the performance of the night award.  The versatile athlete looked a class act as she secured top spot in 31:19 (1st place); this was enough to see Catherine finish in 7th place overall.  Up and coming athlete Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) followed in 34:13 (2nd place), just two second ahead of Niamh Kellet (East Down AC) who clocked 34:15 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st James Savage (East Down AC) – 29:14, 2nd Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) – 29:25, 3rd Aaron Harrison (Ballydrain Harriers) – 29:31


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 31:19, 2nd Laura Gardiner (East Down AC) – 34:13, 3rd Niamh Kellet (East Down AC) – 34:15


Full Results:  Kilmore 5 mile Road Race 2015

Paul Pollock secures AAI National HM title as NI athletes impress:

Rock N'Roll Dublin Half Marathon (inc AAI National HM Championships) 2015:

On Sunday 2nd August 2015, Northern Ireland man Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) secured an impressive victory at the Rock N'Roll Dublin Half Marathon, which incorporated the GloHealth AAI National Half Marathon Championships.


There was also a bronze medal for fellow Northern Ireland man Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC at the event.  In a close race, Paul left it late, in-fact until the final mile, before he surged clear to claim victory in 1:05:06 (1st place).  Kevin, who like Paul, works under the guidance of respected coach Andrew Hobdell, impressed with a 1:05:48 finish for 3rd place.


A large number of Northern Ireland athletes were amongst the 5,000 strong field at the event.  This included two further category medallists from Northern Ireland, with North Belfast Harriers' David Clarke and City of Derry AC's Christy McGonagle winning their respective Vet55 and Vet70 categories.  Full results for the race are now available HERE (Photo above by @Bohemians7 via twitter).

Chris McGuinness and Natasha Adams secure impressive wins in Letterkenny:

Danny McDaid 15k Road Race (Ireland):

On Sunday 2nd August 2015, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland enjoyed successful outings at the annual Danny McDaid 15k road race hosted by Letterkenny AC in Letterkenny, County Donegal (Ireland).


At the front end of the pack, Foyle Valley AC's Chris McGuinness followed on from his recent 3k personal best of 8:59 at the Letterkenny International with another notable run; Chris broke the tape in 51:42 (1st place).  Another in-form athlete, Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC), followed in 53:33, taking 1st place in the ladies race and 3rd place overall in what was a new ladies course record.  


NI man Gavin Campbell (24/7 Triathlon Club) also claimed a top ten spot, taking 5th place in 53:52.  Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC) crossed the line in 1:05:22 for 2nd place in the ladies race.


Full Results:  Danny McDaid 15k Road Race 2015 Results

Gary Henderson and Diane Watson win Cookstown Half Marathon:

Cookstown Half Marathon 2015:

On Sunday 2nd August 2015, nearly three hundred athletes descended on the County Tyrone town of Cookstown for the Cookstown Half Marathon, which was the eighth race of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015.


The revised course, albeit relatively undulating, proved popular with competitors and will definitely have impressed Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) - the former football star once again proved his worth as a runner when he negotiated the route in 1:14:53 (1st place), sealing a well-deserved victory.  The always impressive Don Travers (Newry City Runners) continued his recent form with another podium finish in 1:16:19 (2nd place), before Desi Foley (Unattached) completed the top three in 1:16:41 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, Half Marathon regular and a fan of the popular Series, Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) put in a strong performance to lead the ladies home in 1:32:03 (1st place).  This was enough to see off the challenge of recent Millbrook Monster Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers); Natalie took 2nd place just seventeen seconds later in 1:32:20.  Sharon Duffy (Unattached) crossed the line in 1:36:11 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) – 1:14:53, 2nd Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:16:19, 3rd Desi Foley (Unattached) – 1:16:41


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) – 1:32:20, 2nd Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:32:20, 3rd Sharon Duffy (Unattached) – 1:36:11


Full Results:  Cookstown Half Marathon 2015 Results

Remember - If you would like to catch up on our 'News' from July 2015, including summaries from the Giants Trail Race and Springwell Running Club's Milk Run, you can use the navigation banner at the top of the screen (and scroll to July 2015) or click HERE.