Northern Ireland Running

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Ben Reynolds records new NI record at England Athletics Championships:

England Athletics Track & Field Championships (inc IPC T&F Championships) 2015:

Over the course of Saturday 1st August and Sunday 2nd August 2015, hundreds of athletes were in action at the famous Bedford Stadium in England, as part of the England Athletics and IPC Track & Field Championships.


Northern Ireland men Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) and James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners) were amongst the most impressive performers of the weekend.  Ben put himself into qualifying contention for the IAAF World Track & Field Championships by winning the 110m hurdles in a new personal best and Northern Ireland (and Irish) record of 13.48secs (Wind = +0.8m/s).


Ben's time was narrowly outside the aforementioned IAAF World Track & Field Championships qualifying time of 13.47secs but is inside a new selection process for the 2015 IAAF World Championship qualifying marks based on the year-end-rankings list.  It is explained on the Athletics Ireland High Performance website as follows: "The rules are, that if an athlete does not make the standard, the IAAF will select athletes from the year-end-rankings list to fill the quota set for each event (each event has a different quota to fill). After the entries have closed on midnight on the 10th of August the IAAF will notify federations of those athletes who have been selected by their “ranking” to fill the event quota.  Our policy allows Athletics Ireland to consider and confirm those athletes that are invited."  The quota for the 110m hurdles is 40 athletes with Reynolds' time placing him 35th place.  Interestingly, Northern Ireland's Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) is in the same situation, but for the 1500m competition.


In the IPC 1500m event at the England Track & Field Championships, James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners) led the field home in 4:09.75 (1st place). The Ballymena Runners man also performed to his usual high standard in the 400m, picking up a bronze medal after recording 54.35secs (3rd place) for the distance.


Note:  Northern Ireland's Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) will be in action on Day 2 of the event (Sunday 2nd August 2015).  Information in relation to Leon's performances will be added to this race summary.


Full Results:  England Athletics T&F Championships (inc IPC T&F Championships) 2015 Results (Note - Information and Photo above from Athletics Ireland website)

Stephen Morris and Heather Foley secure victory at Tandragee 10k:

Tandragee 10k 2015:

On Saturday 1st August 2015, nearly one hundred runners descended on the home of one of Northern Ireland's most notable buildings, Tayto Castle, in Tandragee, for the annual Tandragee 10k road race.


As expected, reigning Champion and current NI & Ulster 10,000m Champion, Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) played a major part in proceedings.  The humble athlete went through half way nearly a minute ahead of his closest rival and kept up the relentless pace to secure a well-deserved victory in 35:15 (1st place). Unattached athlete Delfim Pimentel sealed the runners up prize in 37:01 (2nd place), before young St Peter's AC man Mark Cornett crossed the line in 37:27 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, triathlete Heather Foley (Unattached) once again proved why she is one of the most respected runners on the local scene; despite being a multi-discipline athlete.  Heather cruised through half way in 19:39 and went on to break the tape in 38:20; this not only sealed the ladies top prize, but saw Heather take 5th place overall.  Outgoing Champion, Louise Smith also ran well, taking 2nd place (and a top ten finish overall) in 39:20.  The always impressive Charlene Abraham (Unattached) completed the podium finishers in 40:40 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) – 35:15, 2nd Delfim Pimentel (Unattached) – 37:01, 3rd Mark Cornett (St Peter's AC) – 37:27


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 38:20, 2nd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 39:20, 3rd Charlene Abraham (Unattached) – 40:40


Full Results:  Tandragee 10k 2015 Results

Joe McAlister and Edel Monaghan win in County Donegal:

Castlefinn 5k road race 2015:

On Friday 31st July 2015, a large number of Northern Ireland based athletes were amongst nearly three hundred runners who took to the start line of the Castlefinn 5k road race, an event hosted by respected Irish club Finn Valley AC in County Donegal, Ireland.


St Malachys AC's Northern Ireland international Joe McAlister put in a quality performance to secure top spot in 15:48 (1st place).  City of Derry AC's Brendan Murphy and Tri Limits athlete Michael Crawley ensured that NI runners dominated the men's podium, with Brendan taking 2nd place in 16:25 and Michael 3rd place in 16:35.  There was also success for local stars in the ladies race, with young Omagh Harriers star Edel Monaghan winning in  19:50 (1st place).


Full Results:  Castlefinn 5k 2015 Results

Neil Weir and Martsje Hell shine at inaugural Giants Trail Race in Belfast:

Hundreds take on Giants Trail Race 2015:

On Friday 31st July 2015, a sell out crowd of over two hundred athletes descended on the Dub Playing Fields in Belfast for the inaugural running of Dub Runners' Giants Trail Race.  


Athletes were faced with a challenging but rewarding 6 mile course which covered a variety of terrain, including forest trails, pastures and the well used Lagan Towpath; all of which provided views of the River Lagan, before climbing through the woodlands of Minnowburn, passing the sculptures and natural art along the way.  Participants then passed through the ancient environs of the Neolithic monument at the Giant’s Ring and returned via Edenderry village and Gilchrist Bridge to Shaw’s bridge, finishing in Dub Playing Fields. 


On a night when torrential rain showers could have dampened proceedings, the atmosphere around the event and the performances of several athletes brightening things up – before the sun eventually came out to play.  


After a close start, it was the in-form Neil Weir (Willowfield Harriers) who impressed most.  The East Antrim Harriers Forest Series winner moved clear of Divis 10k podium finishers Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) and Aaron Woodman (Unattached) as the race progressed.  Before long, Neil was homeward bound, eventually returning to the Dub Playing Fields and breaking the tape in 35:51 (1st place).  Brendan recorded 36:18 for 2nd place, before Aaron crossed the line in 36:25 for 3rd place.

In the ladies race, North Belfast Harriers lady Martsje Hell once again proved her worth. Martsje bettered her runners up finish at last weekend's Blayney 10 mile road race when she led cruised to victory in 41:56 (1st place).  Fellow NBH athlete Helen Weir added to the Belfast club's prize winner list when she clocked 45:08 for 2nd place, while international athlete Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) covered the tough course in 45:21 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Neil Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 35:51, 2nd Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:18, 3rd Aaron Woodman (Unattached) – 36:25


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) – 41:56, 2nd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) – 45:08, 3rd Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 45:21


Full Results:  Gaints Trail Race 2015 Results.  Photos from the Giants Trail Race are now available in our Photo Gallery.

Neil Johnston and Gemma Turley excel at Springwell RC's Milk Run:

Milk Run 2015:

On Friday 31st July 2015, over two hundred athletes turned out for the annual Springwell Running Club 'Milk Run', a 5 mile road race formerly known as the NFU Mutual 5 mile road race.


As expected, the well-organised event attracted a plethora of talent, including the host club's defending Champion Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club).  QUB student Neil looked a class act as he took nearly one minute off his 2014 winning time (26:46), recording a new personal best of 25:55 (1st place) to retain his title.  Fellow Springwell Running Club athlete Conor Christie sealed the runners up prize in a sprint finish win Ballymena Runners' Michael Bennett, with Conor running 27:58 (2nd place) and Michael 27:59 (3rd place).


The ladies race proved to be an epic battle between Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) and Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers).  In the end Gemma broke the tape first, taking top honours in 30:47 (1st place).  Cathy followed in 30:56 (2nd place), while Ballymena Runners' Kerry Bamber completed the top three in 32:54 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) – 25:55, 2nd Conor Christie (Springwell Running Club) – 27:58, 3rd Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) – 27:59


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 30:47, 2nd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 30:56, 3rd Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) – 32:54 


Full Results:  Milk Run 2015 Results and Milk Run Children's Race 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  AAI National HM Championships, Pure Running HM Series...

Weekend Preview:  AAI National HM Championships, Pure Running Half Marathon Series and more...

As the weeks pass relentlessly, it seems a very short time ago since we compiled last weekend's preview!  We must kick off by apologising for a mistake last week – we stated that the GloHealth AAI National Half Marathon Championships were last Sunday; we were a week ahead of ourselves, it is this week!


On a local front, there is an abundance of choice for athletes – Springwell Running Club's 'Milk Run' and Dub Runners' Giants Trail Race kick off three days of exciting competition, which includes races in Tandragee, the North Coast and Cookstown.  There will also be local representation at the famous Tromso Skyrace in Norway, as well as the Danny McDaid 15k and AAI National League in Ireland.  



IMPORTANT NOTICE:  Due to circumstances beyond the organisers control, the Ballinderry Bridge 10k, due to take place this Saturday (1st August 2015), has been POSTPONED.  The new date for the race is Saturday 12th September 2015.  Athletics NI have been informed and the website amended.  Please pass this information on to anyone who you feel may have been considering taking part in this event.


Dub Runners' Giants Trail Race:

The weekend competition will start this evening, Friday 31st July 2015, in Belfast, when Dub Runners will host the inaugural running of their Giants Trail Race, which will start at 7.30pm from the Dub Playing Fields, Dub Lane, Belfast.  The race has sold out and there will be no entries available on the night.  


Athletes will enjoy a challenging 6 mile course on a combination of forest trails, pastures and the Lagan Towpath; all of which will provide views of the River Lagan, before climbing through the woodlands of Minnowburn, passing the sculptures and natural art along the way.  Runners will then pass through the ancient environs of the Neolithic monument at the Giant’s Ring and returning via Edenderry village and Gilchrist Bridge to Shaw’s bridge, finishing at the Dub Playing Fields. 

There will be an interesting battle for the men's title, with Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Gregory Lucy (Willowfield Harriers) and Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers) all set to start.  All four men possess the ability to win on their day.  Brendan Grew claimed the runners up spot at last weekend's Divis 10k, while parkrun regular and impressive performer throughout the East Antrim Harriers Forest Series, Gregory Lucy has also been in good form this year.  Chris Moren clocked 16:56 at Victoria Park parkrun last week and also had an excellent run at the Lisburn 10k last month, recording a new personal best of 34:47. 


Although having had a quiet enough year by his standards, David McNeilly will pose a threat – the talented mountain-trail runner sealed a top ten spot at the recent Comber 10k.  Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers), Brian Young (Lagan Valley AC), Lee Magennis (Newry AC) and Divis 10k podium finisher Aaron Woodman (Unattached) will all be hoping for top ten finishes.


In the ladies race, it's hard to look past the ever improving Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) as a potential winner.  The humble athlete looked strong as she took second place at the Blayney 10 mile road race last week; her finishing time of 1:04:34 was impressive.  This added to several good runs over the summer, which included a win at St Benedict's 10k.  


However, Martsje will face two experienced trail runners – Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers).  Northern Ireland mountain running international Sam McNeilly will race and never fails to impress and the versatile athlete has also shown her speed on the flatter surfaces, with a 5k personal best of 20:15.  Helen is just back from an excellent run in Iceland, where she covered a tough 24k course in 2:22:54.  Trish McClintock (Springwell Running Club), Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners) and Verity Cornford (Orangegrove AC) will also be worth watching.


Milk Run 5 mile Road Race:

Also tonight (Friday 31st July 2015), Springwell Running Club will welcome athletes from around the province to their annual 'Milk Run', a popular and well-organised 5 mile road race which starts and finishes at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre in Ballymoney.


The host club will be well represented, as will Ballymena Runners and it's likely that it will be men from these two clubs who dominate proceedings. Reigning Champion Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club), Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Running Club), Richard Johnston (Ballymena Runners), James Turtle (Ballymena Runners) and Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners) should all play a part – However, North Belfast Harriers' Mark McKinstry, second place finisher at last week's O'Brien Challenge, may upset the proverbial 'apple cart' should he make use of the on the night entry system.  Neil Johnston and Luke Dinsmore have both been in good form on the track recently and that speed could prove valuable on what is a course with personal best potential.

Richard Johnston, James Turtle and Noel Connor all ran well at the recent Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k, as did their former team mates, Kevin O'Boyle (Unattached) and Matt Wray (Unattached), both of whom should finish well up the field here.


Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) will hope to follow up her good run and podium place at the Kennedy Kane McArthur 10k two weeks ago with something similar here.  The consistent athlete has a 5 mile personal best of 30:42 and will secure top spot if she gets anywhere close to that.  Ballymena Runners' Kerry Bamber should play a part at the front, while Larne AC's Kirsty Sharratt, a podium finisher at the Portaferry 10 miler, will also contest a prize-winning place.  Nicola Swinson (PACE Running Club), who ran well at the Jengana 10k, will be there or there abouts, as will Ruth Wilson (Larne AC), Ruth Aiken (Ballymena Runners) and Catherine Pinkerton (Springwell Running Club).


Tandragee 10k:

On Saturday 1st August 2015, a sizeable crowd are expected to descend on the home of Tayto Castle, Tandragee, for the Tandragee 10k road race.  The event, which attracted nearly one hundred competitors in 2014 starts on Cargans Road and completes a relatively flat and fast lap before finishing on the Tandragee Road.


Organisers will be happy to see that both the male and female Champions from 2014 will return.  Both Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) and Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) will hope to retain their crowns.  NI & Ulster 10,000m Champion Stephen may have a harder task on his hands than his counterpart Louise, with Armagh AC's Gary Henderson likely to compete.  There will also be competition in the form of experienced athlete Delfim Pimentel (Unattached) and another Armagh AC man, Lorcan Vallely.  Ballymena Runners' Ryan Armstrong will compete competitively for the first time since breaking his club's 24 hour record two week's ago at the Energia 24 hour race in Belfast.  Jonathan Irvine (Lagan Valley AC) will also run well.


Despite the fact that there are quite a few talented runners in the ladies field, it's unlikely that any will out pace Louise Smith for the title.  Louise recorded 39:23 for the win twelve months ago but the NBH lady smashed that with a 36:56 finish at the Titanic 10k in April this year.  County Armagh athlete Ruth Hill (Unattached) will challenge for honours, while Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) should finish well up the pecking order.


Oakland Insurance Causeway Marathon (and Relay Event):

Also on Saturday 1st August 2015, a large number of competitors will take part in the first ever Oakland Insurance Causeway Marathon, an event organised and funded by Oakland Insurance for the benefit of 'Headway' Charity.  Competitors will cover a 26.2 mile route along the scenic Causeway Coast from Portrush to Ballycastle and all money raised will go to the worthwhile charity.  Full details of the event can be found HERE.

Cookstown Half Marathon:

On Sunday 2nd August 2015, hundreds of athletes will bring the County Tyrone town of Cookstown to a standstill as they take on the Cookstown Half Marathon.  The event, which is the eighth race of the 2015 Pure Running Half Marathon Series, boasts a new course.


Newry City Marathon and Castleward Challenge Half Marathon winner Don Travers (Newry City Runners) will start as pre-race favourite should he decide to compete.  The Northern Ireland international has been in good form this term, with podium places at the Great Rossa Half Marathon and the Ards Half Marathon adding to the aforementioned wins.  Desi Foley (Unattached), a second place finisher here in 2014, may also compete, but will face competition from the likes of Gerard Heaney (St Peter's AC), Mark Walker (Unattached), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) and Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) for a podium place.  Series regulars David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers), Michael McKeown (East Down AC), Bryan Edgar (Springwell Running Club) and Nigel Grier (Dromore AC) will also perform to their usual high standards.


Classy 2014 winner Heather Foley (Unattached) recorded 18:26 at the Victoria Park parkrun last weekend, showing that she is in good shape.  It's unknown as to weather the established triathlete will compete, but if she does, Heather will contest top spot.  North Belfast Harriers' Cathy McCourt could be another potential starter and contender, while Larne AC's Gillian Logan and City of Lisburn AC's Diane Watson will both be hoping to follow on from their good start to the Series.  Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers), Irene Clements (Enniskillen Running Club) and Eimear McCracken (Newry City Runners) will be out to cement their places in the overall Series standings.

Rock N’Roll Dublin City HM including GloHealth AAI National Half Marathon Championships (Ireland):

In Ireland on Sunday 2nd August 2015, some of Northern Ireland’s top endurance athletes will toe the line of the Rock N’Roll Dublin City Half Marathon, which incorporates the GloHealth AAI National Half Marathon Championships. 


The atmospheric event will take participants around some of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks.  World Championship marathoner and Northern Ireland Half Marathon record holder Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) will head the local challenge for honours and the well-respected A&E Doctor will be joined at the front by training partner Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC).  Simon Murray (Annadale Striders), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Gary Connolly (Seapark AC), Shirley Smith (Dromore AC) and Christy McMonagle (City of Derry AC) are just some of the other familiar faces who take part.


AAI National League Track & Field:

This Sunday (2nd August 2015) will also see the final fixture of the GloHealth AAI National League at the Tullamore Stadium in Ireland.  Throughout the competition, there have been some excellent performances by local athletes, with clubs from Northern Ireland being well represented.  As with previous National League fixtures, we would expect strong representation from Lagan Valley AC, North Down AC, Ballymena & Antrim AC, City of Lisburn AC and City of Derry AC, amongst others.


Danny McDaid 15k Road Race:

In Letterkenny (Ireland) on Sunday 2nd August 2015, Northern Ireland based clubs will be well represented at the 10th annual Danny McDaid 15k road race.  Foyle Valley AC and City of Derry AC athletes have enjoyed success at the increasingly popular event, which starts and finishes at the impressive Aura Sports Centre.  Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC), Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC), Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) and Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC) may all take to the start line.


Tromso Skyrace:

Further afield on Sunday 2nd August 2015, Northern Ireland man Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) will compete in one of the world's most famous races, the Tromso Skyrace, an event organised by well-known athletes Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg.  Shane claimed a top ten place at the 45k race, which includes 4,400m of ascent, last year and will be hopeful of achieving something similar this time around.  Irish international and friend of several Northern Ireland based athletes, Dan Doherty (Scott Running), will also be in action at the event.


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.

Brendan Teer and Catherine O'Connor win Downpatrick RGU 10k:

Downpatrick RGU 10k:

On Wednesday 29th July 2015, nearly one hundred runners from across Northern Ireland took to the start line of the annual Downpatrick RGU 10k road race in Downpatrick, County Down.


In truth, despite fine performances by Newcastle AC men Martin Melville and Brendan Quail, it was East Down AC's Brendan Teer who stole the show.  After winning in 2013 and missing last years event, the speedy local athlete ensured that his name went back on the trophy with an impressive display of front running to win in 32:24 (1st place). 


Interestingly, this was almost one minute quicker than his winning time two years ago (33:17).  The ever improving Martin Melville followed in 35:10 (2nd place), before Brendan Quail completed the podium finishers in 36:57 (3rd place).


Northern Ireland mountain running international Catherine O'Connor looked strong as she completed an excellent double for the co-hosting East Down AC; Catherine completed the 6.2 mile route in 38:10 (1st place), which not only secured top spot in the ladies race, but a notable 8th place overall.  Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) recorded 40:56 for 2nd place, while half marathon specialist Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) took 3rd place in 41:41.


Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 32:24, 2nd Martin Melville (Newcastle AC) – 35:10, 3rd Brendan Quail (Newcastle AC) – 36:57


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 38:10, 2nd Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) – 40:56, 3rd Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) – 41:41


Full Results:  RGU Downpatrick 10k 2015 Results (Photo by Mags Mathieson)

Impressive performances by NI athletes in Ireland and Australia:

Local runners continue to impress outside NI:

The weekend just past (Friday 24th to Sunday 26th July 2015) saw a plethora of notable performances by Northern Ireland based runners outside the province.  


After highlighting races in England, Wales and Iceland as part of our 'outside Northern Ireland round-up' we are pleased to  bring further impressive outings to the fore.


Blayney Rockets 10 mile road race (Ireland):

On Saturday 25th July 2015, several local athletes enjoyed success at the annual Blayney Rockets 10 mile road race in Castleblayney, Ireland.  The popular event covers a scenic and relatively flat loop of Lough Muckno.


NI & Ulster 10k and 5,000m Champion Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) was dominant force at the front.  The unassuming and talented athlete cruised to victory in 53:56 (1st place).  Armagh AC's Gary Henderson narrowly missed a podium place when he recorded 57:06 for 4th place.  His team mate, Shane Brady (Armagh AC), also claimed a top ten spot, taking 6th place in 57:53.  In the ladies race, North Belfast Harriers' Martsje Hell secured the runners up spot behind race winner Anne Linden (Club Unknown) – Anne was victorious in 1:03:41 (1st place), with Martsje crossing the line in 1:04:34 (2nd place).  Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) took 5th place in 1:09:02, while Enniskillen Running Club lady Irene Clements recorded 1:12:18 for 8th place.


Sole Motive Age Run 10k (Australia):

On Sunday 26th July 2015, North Down AC athlete Stephen Wylie was in action on the other side of the globe, at the Sole Motive Age Run 10k in Australia.  The Northern Ireland man described racing in Australia as a “great experience”, and he performed well to take 6th place in 33:49.  The race was won by Timothy Lefroy (Australia) in 31:08 (1st place).


Full Results:  Blayney 10 mile Road Race 2015 Results and Sole Motive Age Run 10k 2015 Results

Athletes from Northern Ireland compete in England, Wales and Iceland:

Local runners impress outside NI:

Over the course of this weekend (Friday 24th to Sunday 26th July 2015), runners from Northern Ireland have been in action at events outside Northern Ireland, namely the Lakeland 100 Ultra, the Snowdonia Trail Marathon (and associated events) and the Hengill Trail Race in Iceland.


Lakeland 100 Ultra (England):

On Friday 24th July 2014, at least three runners from Northern Ireland took to the start line of the infamous and notoriously difficult Lakeland 105 mile Ultra in England, an event which includes 6,300m of ascent.  


Experienced Northern Ireland mountain running international and endurance specialist Dale Mathers (Mourne Runners) once again showed his ability at the highest level, when he secured an excellent 9th place in 24:21:52.  Former Larne AC man Mervyn McCollam (Unattached) followed in 47th place, after clocking 28:48:06.  Phil Hodge (Newcastle AC) crossed the line in 30:02:28 for 66th place.  The race was won by Irish international athlete Paul Tierney (Ambleside AC) in 20:42.07 (1st place).


Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon and Marathon (Wales):

On Saturday 25th July 2015, a group of Orangegrove AC athletes took on the scenic Snowdonia Half Marathon and Marathon events in Wales.  In the Half Marathon, Darren Marshall was he first of the NI runners to cross the line in 2:41:26 (42nd place).  Sharon Dickenson completed the route in 3:27:25, taking 67th place in the ladies race.  Irish international Dan Doherty (Scott Trail Running Team) led the field home in 1:48:38 (1st place), while Enid Gruffudd (Aberystwyth AC) claimed top honours in the ladies race in 2:20:36 (1st place).  In the marathon, Thomas Leitch ran well to finish in 4:50:54 (15th place); the race was won by Stuart Walker (Unattached) in 4:04:04 (1st place).


Hengill 24k Trail Race (Iceland):

Further afield on Saturday 25th July 2015, North Belfast Harriers athlete Helen Weir and her husband, Mourne Skyline MTR finisher, Brian Weir (Unattached) completed the the Hengill 24k trail race (incorporating 850 metres of ascent) in the village of Hveragerði, approximately 40k from Reykjavik in Iceland.  The off-road enthusiasts put in strong performances, crossing the line together in 2:22:54.  Official results for the event are currently unavailable.


Full Results:  Lakeland 100 Ultra 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable) - Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon and Marathon 2015 Results - Hengill 24k Trail Race 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable)

Local runners secure impressive medal haul at AAI Masters Championships:

GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships 2015:

On Sunday 26th July 2015, a large number of athletes from across Northern Ireland travelled south to Tullamore in County Offaly (Ireland) for the GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships, which took place in Tullamore Stadium.


The local athlete performed well, bringing home an impressive medal haul, and age category titles!  Amongst the most impressive performers, was Derry City Track Club's Cathal McLaughlin – the always impressive athlete secured the Vet45 800m and 1500m double, clocking 2:09.28 (1st place) for 800m and 4:33.70 for 1500m.  Well respected NIMAA lady Anne Maguire (St Anne's AC) also celebrated double gold, taking the Vet65 100m title in 18.29secs (1st place) and the 200m equivalent in 39.55secs (1st place).  City of Derry AC's Mary Devlin won the Vet35 100m race in 13.17secs (1st place), while Beechmount Harriers' Gerrie Short recorded 5:01.45 for 1st place in the Vet40 1500m.  In the Vet35 1500m, there was a gold medal for another Beechmount Harriers athlete, with Catherine Diver winning in 4:59.10 (1st place); Orangegrove AC's Jenny Black took 2nd place 5:00.88.


City of Lisburn AC lady and star performer from Friday night's Morton Games, Kelly Neely added the National Vet 35 800m title to her huge list of career achievements when she crossed the line in 2:20.28 (1st place).  Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC) was also in top form as she claimed victory in the Vet55 3,000m, leading the field home in 11:41.11 (1st place).  Joy McAleer (Orangegrove AC) picked up two bronze medals in her Vet50 age category, after recording 2:52.66 (3rd place) and 1:20.66 (3rd place) in the 800m and 400m respectively.  

Clonliffe Harriers' Geraldine Reilly won both events, running 2:29.82 (1st place) in the 800m and 1:20.06 (1st place) in the 400m.  Robert Bigger added to Derry City Track Club's medal list when he finished in 2nd place in both the Vet55 800m and 1500m – in the 800m,  won by Clonliffe Harriers' Philip O'Doherty (1st place – 2:17.41), Robert ran 2:17.70.  In the 1500m, he ran 4:48.99, finishing just 0.25secs behind the aforementioned Philip O'Doherty, who won in 4:48.74 (1st place).


East Coast AC pair Mark McManus and Allyson O'Toole were also awarded silver medals for their performances over 400m.  In the Vet40 category, Mark ran 54.27secs (2nd place) to finish just behind Lios Tuathail AC's Kevin Lynch (1st place – 53.63secs).  Meanwhile, the fast improving Allyson clocked 1:06.09 for 2nd place in the Vet35 ladies event won by Maria Murphy (Raheny Shamrock AC) in 1:05.16 (1st place). Jackie McGinley lined up in the Vet45 3,000m – Carmel Crawley (Bandon AC) won in 10:42.73 (1st place), with Jackie crossing the line in 11:11.45 for 2nd place.  Father of NI & Ulster 10,000m Champion Stephen Morris, Barry Morris added to the family trophy cabinet when he sealed 2nd place in the Vet65 800m in a time of 2:41.01; the race was won by Patrick Timmons (Raheny Shamrock AC) in 2:34.13 (1st place).


Larne AC's Rhonda Brady put in a strong performance to take 3rd place in the Vet40 200m, completing the distance in 31.00secs; the race was won by Brid Stack (Gneeveguilla AC) in 29.62secs (1st place).  Well respected journalist and coach Malcolm McCausland (Derry City Track Club) ran well in the Vet60 1500m, securing 3rd place in 5:17.78 (3rd place).  In the 4x400m relay event, Larne based club East Coast AC claimed 3rd place – Allyson O'Toole, Jenny Magill, Gillian Leetch-Armstrong and Glenda Girvin finished in 5:28.14 (3rd place); the race was won by Lucan Harriers AC in 4:44.17 (1st place).


Full Results:  GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships 2015 Results (Photo by Drogheda AC)

Jan Troeng and Paula McAllister secure top honours at Divis 10k:

Action for Hearing Loss NI Divis 10k:

On Sunday 26th July 2015, running enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland descended on a very dull and wet Belfast for the 3rd annual running of the Divis 10k.  The event, which is primarily organised to raise much needed funds for Action on Hearing Loss NI, covered a tough but scenic 10k route on the Belfast Hills. 


Established mountain-trail runner and orienteer Jan Troeng (OK Linne Orienteering Club) put in a strong performance. The Swedish athlete stole the headlines as he cruised home two minutes clear of his nearest rival in 38:06 (1st place).  North Belfast Harriers' Brendan Grew, who won the event in 2014, secured 2nd place in 40:08 (2nd place), while Aaron Woodman (Club Unknown) crossed the line in 41:05 for 3rd place.


Ballymena Runners' Paula McAllister matched the dominant display of her winning male counterpart as she led the ladies field home.  Paula's power on the ascents was obvious as she moved clear of the field to take top spot in 48:01 (1st place).  The ever improving Sarah-Jane McFadden (North Belfast Harriers) recorded 49:11 for 2nd place, before Linnea Troeng (Unattached) sealed a podium place in 49:50 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Jan Troeng (OK Linne Orienteering Club) – 38:06, 2nd Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) – 40:08, 3rd Aaron Woodman (Club Unknown) – 41:05


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) – 48:01, 2nd Sarah-Jane McFadden (North Belfast Harriers) – 49:11, 3rd Linnea Troeng (OK Linne Orienteering Club) – 49:50


Full Results:  Action on Hearing Loss NI Divis 10k 2015 Results (Photo by Mark Alexander)

Daniel Girvin and Ciara McLoughlin win as athletes support Sunrise Run:

Sunrise Run 2015:

On Sunday 26th July 2015, nearly fifty competitors took to the start line of the 2nd annual Sunrise Run 5k in Larne, an event hosted by East Coast AC in memory of late club mate Paddy Campbell.


Although the main focus of the event was on celebrating the life and achievements of local runner Paddy, there was of course a competitive edge to proceedings.  After a dominant run, it was the host club's Daniel Girvin (East Coast AC) who led the field home, completing the challenging two lap course in 19:23 (1st place).  Fellow East Coast AC members Chris Davis and Drew Girvin followed 20:39 (2nd place) and 21:37 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, Larne based athlete Ciara McLoughlin (Unattached) impressed with a strong performance.  Ciara crossed the line in 23:41 to seal 1st place ahead of Larne AC's Bernie Regan, who clocked 25:03 (2nd place).  Up and coming junior athlete Hannah Clements (East Coast AC) completed the top three in 25:17 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Daniel Girvin (East Coast AC) – 19:23, 2nd Chris Davis (East Coast AC) – 20:39, 3rd Drew Girvin (East Coast AC) – 21:37


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ciara McLoughlin (Unattached) – 23:41, 2nd Bernie Regan (Larne AC) – 25:03, 3rd Hannah Clements (East Coast AC) – 25:17


Full Results:  Sunrise Run 2015 Results

Don Travers and Janice White secure O'Brien Challenge victories:

O'Brien Challenge 2015:

On Saturday 25th July 2015, forty seven hardy athletes from across the province descended on Davagh Forest, close to Cookstown, for the annual O'Brien Challenge, an event co-hosted by Sperrin Harriers.


The tough 26.2k course took in the impressive Davagh Forest trails and proved popular with competitors.  In the early stages of the race, North Belfast Harriers' Mark McKinstry led the way, however, as the athletes descended off the course's highest point, experienced international trail runner Don Travers (Newry City Runners) moved to the front.  Despite a valiant effort by Mark, on what was his return from injury, he was unable to reduce the distance and Don went on to win in 1:40:49 (1st place).  Mark followed in 1:41:47 (2nd place), before Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) crossed the line in 1:47:31 (3rd place).


The ever consistent Janice White (Ballymena Runners) stole the headlines in the ladies race.  Running alongside friend Andy Leathem (Unattached), Janice secured the ladies title in 2:10:21 (1st place).  Newry City Runners' Anne Havern took the runners up spot in 2:21:46 (2nd place), while Stephanie Henry (Sperrin Harriers) completed the route in 2:44:04 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:40:49, 2nd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:41:47, 3rd Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) – 1:47:31


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Janice White (Ballymena Runners) – 2:10:21, 2nd Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) – 2:21:46, 3rd Stephanie Henry (Sperrin Harriers) – 2:44:04


Full Results:  O'Brien Challenge 2015 Results

Kelly Neely & Ciara Mageean excel as NI athletes impress at Morton Games:

Morton Games 2015:

On Friday 24th July 2015, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland were in action at the prestigious Morton Games International Track & Field Meeting in Santry, Dublin.  The event, which attracted several global stars, including Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, also included a number of Irish Milers Club (IMC) races.


Northern Ireland ladies Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) and Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) used their international experience as they produced outstanding performances in the packed stadium.  Kelly has shown excellent form since retuning to the track and bettered her own Irish Vet35 800m record as she stormed to victory in 2:09.61 (1st place) in the 800m 'A' race; fellow NI lady Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) also claimed a podium place in 2:10.09 (3rd place).  Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) followed in 2:11.34 (4th place) and 2:12.52 (6th place) respectively.


In the ladies Mile, Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) looked a class act as she recorded 4:30.64 (1st place) to lead the field home.  World Championship and Olympic Steeplechase qualifier Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) also performed well, crossing the line in 4:40.95 (9th place).  There was also success for Annadale Striders' Stephen Prentice in the 800m 'D' race, when he broke the beam in 1:57.01 (1st place).


In the 800m 'A' race, NiRunning Mile record holder Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) narrowly missed a podium place when he finished in 4th place in 1:50.73.  North Down AC's Michael Dyer took 7th place in 1:53.47; the race was won by Zak Curran in 1:49.09 (1st place).  Denise Toner (Clones AC) and Jane Matthews (Lagan Valley AC) lined up in the ladies 800m 'B' race – Denise clocked 2:16.46 for 4th place, while Jane ran 2:25.51 for 7th place.  The race was won by Andrea Bickerdike (Leevale AC) in 2:15.95 (1st place).


There were no less than four NI finishers in the men's Mile, with James O'Hare (Annadale Striders) leading the local contingent home in 4:04.12 (2nd place).  Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) and Neil McCartan (East Down AC) followed in 4:11.39 (10th place) and 4:15.50 (14th place) respectively, before Ballymena & Antrim AC's Gareth Hill crossed the line in 4:17.96 (15th place).  Interestingly, in the International Morton Mile, nine athletes broke the infamous 4 minute mile barrier, with Australian athlete Jeff Riseley winning in 3:59.09 (1st place).


Full Results:  Morton Games 2015 Results (Photo by @Bohemians7)

Record numbers turn out for atmospheric Dalriada 5k and 10k races:

Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k 2015:

On Friday 24th July 2015, a record number of athletes turned out for the annual Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k races in the coastal village of Glenarm.  The well-organised event, which is part of a week-long festival attracted athletes from the length and breath of the province, and beyond.


The 10k competitors were faced with a challenging but scenic two lap route, while the 5k athlete completed one lap of the same course.  In perfect running conditions, the field set off uphill into Glenarm Forest – Almost immediately, pre-race favourite Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) moved to the head of the pack, and this is where the former NI & Ulster XC Champion would remain throughout.  


Despite an excellent performance by North Belfast Harriers' in-form John Black, Brian secured a well-deserved victory in 34:29 (1st place).  John followed in 35:44 (2nd place), before Ryan Moore (Unattached) completed the top three in 36:39 (3rd place).


In the ladies 10k, it was Dromore AC's Geraldine Branagh who collected the custom made winners medal, which was produced by the famous Steensons Jewellers.  Geraldine led through 5k and further increased her lead, eventually breaking the tape in 42:18 (1st place).  Penny Lindsay (North Belfast Harriers) took the runners up spot in 43:42 (2nd place), while 2014 winner Clare MacAuley (Ballyhouston Harriers) was forced to settle for 3rd place, after clocking 45:36.

The 5k race proved just as popular as the 10k, and like it's 'bigger brother' attracted a plethora of talent.  The battle for podium spots was intense, with Ballymena Runners athlete dominating the men's race.  


Richard Johnston (Ballymena Runners) performed well to take top honours in 17:03 (1st place).  Glenarm man Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) followed in 17:21 (2nd place), before Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) edged out Larne AC's Martin Agnew for 3rd place, crossing the line in 17:28.


Recognised marathoner Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) continued to build on her training for the Rio 2016 Olympics with an impressive performance. Breege negotiated the tough course in 18:26 (1st place), which was enough to win by almost two minutes.  Ballymena Runners' NI XC international Geraldine Quigley (20:11) ran well for 2nd place, while Glasgow based NI lady Joanna Patterson (Unattached) completed the top three in 21:10 (3rd place).


Podium Places – 10k:

Top 3 Men:  1st Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) – 34:29, 2nd John Black (North Belfast Harriers) – 35:44, 3rd Ryan Moore (Unattached) – 36:39


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Geraldine Branagh (Dromore AC) – 42:18, 2nd Penny Lindsay (North Belfast Harriers) – 43:42, 3rd Clare MacAuley (Ballyhouston Harriers) – 45:36


Podium Places – 5k:

Top 3 Men:  1st Richard Johnston (Ballymena Runners) – 17:03, 2nd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 17:21, 3rd Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) – 17:28


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) – 18:26, 2nd Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners) – 20:11, 3rd Joanna Patterson (Unattached) – 21:10


Full Results:  Dalriada 5k 2015 Results and Dalriada 10k 2015 Results.  Photos from the Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k races will be added to our Photo Gallery in the coming days.

Weekend Preview:  100 metres to 100 miles... a busy weekend ahead!

Weekend Preview:  100 metres to 100 miles!

Although the poor weather would have you thinking otherwise, we are now reaching the height of summer, and with it, comes an abundance of races and options for the local running fraternity.  This week has seen several well-established races take place, including the Portaferry 10 mile road race and the Firmus Energy Super 6 Series, but now it’s time to look forward to what the weekend has to offer.


Action wise, it’s another three day weekend, with the Dalriada 5k and 10k starting things off; there is also the O’Brien Kilomarathon Challenge, Divis 10k, Sunrise Run, Ballykinlar 10k and Active Financial Newry & Mourne Mini-Marathon taking place locally, while runners from Northern Ireland will compete at events in Ireland, England, Wales and Iceland.


Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k:

The action kicks off tonight (Friday 24th July 2015) at 6.30pm, when a large crowd is expected in the coastal village of Glenarm for the annual Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k races.  The popular and well organised event is part of a week-long community festival and offers participants a fairly challenging but scenic course around the village and through the grounds of picturesque Glenarm Castle.  Although online registration is now closed, entries will be available on the night.


Last year’s winner, Nat Glenn (North Belfast Harriers) should return, however, the Larne based athlete will have a tough job on his hands if he wants to collect the custom made Steensons medal for a second consecutive year.  Another Larne native, Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), will go into the 10k as pre-race favourite, especially considering his recent performances, which includes wins at the Ards Half Marathon and Dervock Half Marathon.  Bernard Brady (Larne AC), Conor Shiels (North Belfast Harriers) and David Clarke (North Belfast Harriers) will all finish in the top ten, while Lance Breen (North Belfast Harriers) and Andrew Muir (North Down AC) should also perform well.


In the ladies race, it’s hard to look past 2014 winner and always impressive athlete Clare MacAuley (Ballyhouston Harriers) as a potential Champion. Clare, who is based in Scotland, put in a classy performance to take the title twelve months ago and will achieve a podium place, if not top honours again this year.  Dromore AC’s Irish Masters international Geraldine Branagh will also toe the line, while 2014 runner up Ruth Wilson (Larne AC) and training partner Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) will also be amongst the front runners should they make use of the late entry system.  Ballymena Runners’ Lorna Sibbett, Ruth Aiken and Paula Arthur McCarthy will also finish well up the field, as will Larne AC’s Gillian Logan and East Coast AC’s Connie Hodge.


In the associated 5k race, Ballymena Runners duo Ben Morrow and Noel Curran will have high hopes of achieving a prize-winning position – with Ben being from the coastal village (Glenarm), he will prove to be a popular winner should he top the podium.  Larne AC’s Martin Agnew will also be there or there abouts, while in the ladies race, Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners), Kirsten Montgomery (Larne AC) and Bernadette Campbell (North Belfast Harriers) will be considered as contenders for a highly placed finish.

Morton Games (Ireland):

Also on Friday 24th July 2015, a number of Northern Ireland’s top track stars will be in action at the prestigious Morton Games, which will be held at the Morton Stadium in Santry, just outside Dublin (Ireland).  


The line-up for the event is littered with top stars, with Yohan Blake, Andy Vernon, Dai Green and Alexandra Bell just a few of those set to compete.  As part of the Irish Milers Club (IMC) schedule, local stars Katie Kirk (QUB AC), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), James O’Hare (Annadale Striders), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), Oisin O’Callaghan (Newry AC), Michael Quinn (Annadale Striders), Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Jane Matthews (Lagan Valley AC), Jake Harbinson (City of Lisburn AC), Matt Doherty (Derry City Track Club), Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders) and Johnny Foster (Annadale Striders) will all take to the start line.


Lakeland 100 mile Ultra (England):

Further afield on Friday 24th July 2015, well-known Northern Ireland endurance specialists Dale Mathers (Mourne Runners) and Phil Hodge (Newcastle AC) will be in action at the notoriously gruelling Lakeland 100 mile Ultra in England.  The event, which includes 6,300 metres of ascent, starts in the stunning Lake District at 6pm.


O’Brien Kilomarathon Challenge:

On Saturday 25th July 2015, athletes from across the province will descend on Davagh Forest in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains for the annual O’Brien Kilomarathon Challenge, held in association with Sperrin Harriers.  The course will see competitors cover 26.2 kilometres, most of which will be set on the impressive trails within the scenic Davagh Forest, located close to Cookstown, County Tyrone.


Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and David Simpson (Unattached) are two men who would go well here if they opt to compete – however, Mark is just on the comeback from injury and David hasn't really been racing recently; so it's hard to say if either will turn out.  Omagh Harriers' Paul Barbour could well be the man to watch and following his impressive outings throughout the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series, there's no reason why he couldn't take top honours.  Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers), Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club) and Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) should all go well.


In the ladies race, Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) will prove hard to beat if she decides to race.  The Acorns AC athlete claimed a second place finish at the Killarney Half Marathon last week, so will go into this event high in confidence.  Natalie Hall (Sperrin Harriers), Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers), Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners) and Cheryl Cardwell (Sperrin Harriers) will all perform to their usual high standard.


Snowdonia Trail Marathon and Half Marathon (Wales):

Also on Saturday 25th July 2015, at least four familiar faces will  take on the Snowdonia Trail Marathon and Half Marathon in Wales.  The route explores the stunning trails, spectacular panoramic views, and tough climbs that make the Snowdonia National Park such a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.  Visiting Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert, Nant Gwynant, Pen y Pass and Snowdon itself, athletes will deal with 1,685 metres of ascent in the marathon, and slightly less in the Half Marathon.  Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC) and Darren Marshall (Orangegrove AC) are all set to compete.

Divis 10k Trail Race:

On Sunday 26th July 2015, Action on Hearing Loss NI will hold the 3rd annual running of their Divis 10k trail race in Belfast.  This race has proved popular with participants in its first two years and should become even more attractive given that it’s scenic route was revised last year to include the newly opened Ridge Trail, which offers even more stunning views across the city and a good running surface.


Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) was the star performer here last year, claiming victory by approximately two minutes.  It's likely that the Belfast man will return to defend his title.  The man who finished behind him twelve months ago, Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers), should also race and will hope to replicate the performance that saw him and club mate Roisin Hughes secure top spot at the Portaferry 2 x 5 mile Relay during the week. Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), James Trainor (Dub Runners) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) will all place well.


Lagan Valley AC's Catriona Donaldson should play a prominent part at the front of the ladies field and will be hoping to match the performance that saw her win here in 2014.  She (Catriona) has been racing sparingly this year, but never fails to impress whenever she does lace up the racers. Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC), Claire Withers (Mourne Runners), Julie McKimm (Orangegrove AC) and Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) will all contest the podium places.


Active Financial Newry & Mourne Women’s Mini-Marathon:

On the same day (Sunday 26th July 2015), the 26extreme organised Newry and Mourne Women’s Mini-Marathon, sponsored by Active Financial, will take place in the Mourne Mountains, in the area of Rostrevor (County Down).  The 10k race will start at Leitrim Lodge and follow the scenic trails towards the finish area in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor. 


It is expected that this ladies only event will attract athletes from the length and breadth of Northern Ireland.  Although information on potential starters is sparse, we would expect 2013 and 2014 winners Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC) to toe the line. However, it could be the in-form Laura Graham (Unattached) who steals the headlines – the talented Killkeel lady only started taking her running seriously a short time ago and has burst onto the scene with podium places at the Mourne Way Events, the infamous Titanic Half Marathon and the prestigious Lisburn Half Marathon.

Sunrise Run 5k:

Also on Sunday 26th July 2015, Larne based club East Coast AC will host the 2nd annual running of their Sunrise Run 5k.  The event, which attracted well over one hundred entrants in its inaugural year, is run in memory of East Coast AC member Paddy Campbell, who sadly passed away in 2014; all proceeds from the race go to Chest Heart & Stroke.


The two lap 5k course covers the trails and paths within the confines of Carnfunnock Country Park, starting and finishing at Dixon Hall in Drainsbay, just outside Larne. Reigning Champions Murray Deller (East Coast AC) and Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC) will be notable absentees as they travel south for the AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships in Tullamore.  The host club's Andy Guy (East Coast AC) will be one to watch; the respected marathon pacer will be amongst the front runners, as will North Belfast Harriers' Nat Glenn and David Clarke should they opt to race for the second time in 72 hours.


As previously mentioned, the Sunrise Run is held in memory of late East Coast AC member Paddy Campbell, and it could very well be Paddy's daughters, Bernadette and Trisha Campbell who contest top spot.  The North Belfast Harriers ladies may be joined on the start line by club mates Penny Lindsay and Janice Plumb.  County Antrim Harriers' Natasha Henderson could also be in the mix.


Ballykinlar 10k:

In County Down on Sunday 26th July 2015, athletes and exercise enthusiasts alike will be out in force to enjoy the annual Ballykinlar 10k, otherwise known at the BK10k.  Last year (2014), the event was run on the same day as another County Down based event, the Burrendale 10k, which no doubt split the potential support for both events; thankfully, that is not the case this time around and the event should attract even higher numbers.


Local man David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) took top honours at the Born 2 Run 'Sea 2 Sky' event last week, adding to a number of quality performances over the last few months.  The Newcastle AC man may be joined on the start line by fast improving club mate Marty Melville.  If you throw Portaferry 10 mile road race winner Brendan Teer (East Down AC) into the mix, it makes for an excellent race at the front.  Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC), David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Alan Johnston (Murlough AC) will also run well.


Over the last number of months, Newcastle AC ladies Sinead Murtagh, Paulette Thomson and Sam McNeilly have all shown their talent and will be at the forefront here if they make use of the on the day entries.  Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) and Mari Troeng (Unattached) could also add depth to the field; Mary Mackin (Dromore AC) and Virginia Ervine (Mourne Runners) will also be worth watching.

GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships (Ireland):

On Sunday 26th July 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will travel south to Tullamore for the GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships.  The local competitors will be hoping to show the same kind of form that they did at the well-supported and highly competitive NIMAA Track & Field Championships in Belfast last month, as they aim for National titles and the associated medals.


There is no doubt that NIMAA treble gold medallist Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) is one of Northern Ireland’s top medal hopes, and the exceptionally talented Commonwealth Games athlete will be joined at the event by Tim Shiels (Derry City Track Club), Stuart Kennedy (Beechmount Harriers), Adrian Boyle (Derry City Track Club), Dermot McElhinney (City of Derry AC), Mark McManus (East Coast AC), Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers), Marie Devlin (City of Derry AC), Emma Smith (Orangegrove AC), Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers), Allyson O'Toole (East Coast AC), Rhonda Brady (Larne AC), Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) and Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC), amongst others.


Rock N’Roll Dublin City Half Marathon including GloHealth AAI National Half Marathon Championships (Ireland):

Also in Ireland on Sunday 26th July 2015, some of Northern Ireland’s top endurance athletes will toe the line of the Rock N’Roll Dublin City Half Marathon, which incorporates the GloHealth AAI National Half Marathon Championships.  The atmospheric event will take participants around some of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks.  World Championship marathoner and Northern Ireland Half Marathon record holder Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) will head the local challenge for honours and the well-respected A&E Doctor will be joined at the front by training partner Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC).


Hengill 15 mile Trail Race:

In Iceland, on Sunday 26th July 2015, North Belfast Harriers athlete Helen Weir and husband Brian Weir (Unattached) will lace up their trail shoes for the famous Hengill 15 mile trail race (incorporating 850 metres of ascent), which starts and finishes in the village of Hveragerði, approximately 40k from Reykjavik.


Pakrun:

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.

Northern Ireland men help Carnethy HRC to relay podium place:

Self Transcendence 3x1 mile Relay:

On Thursday 23rd July 2015, two Scotland based Northern Ireland runners were in action for their club, Carnethy HRC, at the Self Transcedence 3 x 1 mile road relay in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Eoin Lennon and Iain Whiteside, both better known for their mountain running exploits, looked in good shape as they guided Carnethy HRC to 2nd place with club mate James Waldie.  Eoin covered his 1 mile leg in, 4:47, with James following in 4:40.  Iain took the anchor leg and covered the distance in 4:55, therefore giving the team an overall time of 14:22.  This was enough to secure the runners up spot behind winners HBT, who recorded 14:04 (1st place).


Full Results:  Self Transcedence  3 x 1 mile Relay 2015 Results

North Belfast Harriers launch Pure Running Laganside 10k 2015:

North Belfast Harriers launch Pure Running Laganside 10k:

This week saw the official launch of the Pure Running Laganside 10k 2015, which takes place on Sunday 6th September 2015 (2pm) at Ormeau Park, Belfast.


David Seaton (Athletics NI), Catriona McCorkell-Donaldson (Pure Running) and Ronan McKenna (Better) all joined Breege Connolly, Luke Kelly and Lauren Cox (North Belfast Harriers) at the official launch.


The Laganside 10k is known for being a top-class event organised by experienced volunteers North Belfast Harriers.  David Seaton, Chairman of Athletics Northern Ireland, had this to say about the event:


“Athletics Northern Ireland is delighted to give its full support to the North Belfast Harriers organised Laganside 10k.  This popular and professionally organised event has long been a favourite with club athletes and fun runners alike.  In the past it has attracted some of the Province's top road runners, both male and female, who look forward to competing over a fast, flat and accurately measured course.  I have no doubt the 2015 event will be another success for the organisers and their generous sponsors.”


It is also the ideal “tune up” race for those considering running in the Belfast City Half Marathon on Sunday 20th September 2015.  It's flat course always produces a number of personal best times. 


Commenting on this year’s event, race director Matt Shields of North Belfast Harriers said:  “There’s something for everyone at the Laganside 10k – including those trying out the distance for the first time, experienced runners looking for a personal best, workplace teams, charity runners, and kids. Every year the race is great day out and a real celebration of running in the city of Belfast.” 


As in 2014, this year the race doubles as the Northern Ireland & Ulster 10k (Road) Championships, with individual and team titles up for grabs and as usual, North Belfast Harriers and Pure Running are providing generous goody bags and category prizes in the Open and Masters categories (35+). There will also be chip timing, provided by ChampionChip Ireland.  Entry fees are a reasonable £12 for Athletics Northern Ireland affiliated runners and £14 for unaffiliated runners. Those participating in the 10k will receive a bespoke medal featuring the “Ring of Thanksgiving” statue on the Laganside, known colloquially as “Nuala with the Hula.” - Entries are capped at 1,000 and those who enter before 31st July 2015 will also have their name printed on their number. 


1 mile kids race:

Youngsters can take part in the 1 Mile Children’s Fun Run for boys and girls 6-15 years old.  This event will start at 1.15 pm and is contested on a safe, marshalled and flat route within Ormeau Park.  Entrance fees are only £3 and goody bags and medals will be provided for all children, the mile race represents great value for money.  Special medals will also be presented to first and second placed children in the following categories: Under 7; Under 9; Under 11; Under 13 and Under 15.  Times for all children will be recorded but the focus of the 1 mile event is on fun and participation so adults will be allowed to run alongside younger competitors if they wish.


Further information:

Runners for both the 10k and 1 mile events can now enter online at www.laganside10k.com. Online entries close 31 August 2015.  Any queries about entries, the races, fund raising or prizes should be posted on the official Laganside 10k facebook page or to the North Belfast Harriers twitter account (@nbharriers).  The official race website is www.laganside10k.com and the event is supported by BETTER. 

Brendan Teer and Collette McCourt secure Portaferry 10 mile titles:

Portaferry 10 mile road race 2015:

On Tuesday 21st July 2015, hundreds of athletes and spectators descended on the County Down town of Portaferry for the annual Portaferry 10 mile road race (and 2 x 5 mile Relay), which is part of a week-long Gala in the town.  


The undulating course, set on the banks of Strangford Lough, provides participants with the opportunity of a personal best and this would have been in the minds of the front runners as they covered the route, which was made up of picturesque coastal and rural sections, before an atmospheric finish in the town square. 


At the head of the pack, it was the always impressive Brendan Teer (East Down AC) who took charge.  Brendan gradually moved clear of the field and in-turn, increased the gap between himself and the chasing duo of Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) and Thomas Simmons (North Belfast Harriers).  


In the end, Brendan’s pace was just too much and the Northern Ireland international cross country star secured victory in 53:28 (1st place).  The in-form Neill Weir followed in 56:20 (2nd place), just ahead of the fast improving Thomas Simmons who recorded 56:32 for 3rd place.


In the ladies race, established distance runner Collette McCourt (Dub Runners) once again showed her talent as she dominated proceedings in the ladies race.  The podium regular, who excelled during the Walled City Marathon Series, broke the tape in 1:07:33 (1st place).  Another lady who has been producing good performances of late, Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC), claimed the runners up prize in 1:08:16 (2nd place), before Larne AC’s Kirsty Sharratt took a well-deserved 3rd place in 1:09:29.


In the well supported 2 x 5 mile Relay event, North Belfast Harriers duo Kent Swann and Roisin Hughes topped the overall standings and therefore won the ‘mixed’ category in 1:01:32 (1st place).  Willowfield Harriers men Matthew Canes and Jamie Anthony won their category in 1:03:01 (1st place), while County Antrim Harriers’ Claire Oliphant and Julie Young claimed the ladies title in 1:17:40 (1st place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 53:28, 2nd Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 56:20, 3rd Thomas Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) – 56:32


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Collette McCourt (Dub Runners) – 1:07:33, 2nd Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) – 1:08:16, Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) – 1:09:29


Relay Winners (2 x 5 miles):  Mixed:  Kent Swann and Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:01:32, Men’s:  Matthew Canes and Jamie Anthony (Willowfield Harriers) – 1:03:01, Ladies:  Claire Oliphant and Julie Young (County Antrim Harriers) – 1:17:40


Full Results:  Portaferry 10 mile road race 2015 Results

Top ten places for NI runners at Burtonport 5k:

Burtonport 5k road race 2015:

Also on Tuesday 21st July 2015, Northern Ireland ladies Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC) and Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) secured podium places at the Burtonport 5k race in County Donegal, Ireland.  


Natasha clocked 16:26 for 2nd place, while Catherine followed in a new personal best of 17:08 (3rd place).  The race was won by NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion Teresa Doherty (Finn Valley AC) in 16:16 (1st place).  Up and coming North Belfast Harriers athlete Conal McCambridge also claimed a top ten place, taking 7th place in 16:48.  The race was won by Barry Harron (Finn Valley AC) in 15:22 (1st place).


Full Results:  Burtonport 5k road race 2015 Results

Local athletes compete at events in Ireland, England, Italy and America:

Athletes from Northern Ireland impress in Italy, USA, England and Ireland:

Over the course of the weekend (Friday 17th to Sunday 19th July 2015), athletes from Northern Ireland have been in action at events all over the world.  The races ranged from 2.4k (with 1,000m of ascent) to 100k and covered a variety of terrain.


Dolomites Vertical Kilometre – VK (Italy):

On Friday 17th July 2015, Mourne Runners athletes Gary Bailey and Damien Cunningham took on the short, but notoriously tough Dolomites Vertical Kilometre (VK) in Italy.   Competitors cover a 2.4k route, which saw them climb just over 1,000m from Alba di Canazei to the finish line at Spiz Creipa Neigra at 2,465 metres above sea level.  Gary crossed the line in 52:59 (152nd place), with Damien following in 1:09:05 (228th place).  The race was won by Philip Goetsch (Bogn Da Nia) in 32:38 (1st place).


Vermont 100k (USA):

In America, on Saturday 18th July 2015, BARF's Joanne Curran lined up with a sell out field at the world famous Vermont 100k; part of the infamous Vermont 100 weekender.  Joanne performed to her usual high standard, showing grit and determination as she completed the course in an excellent 11:53:10, securing 5th place in the ladies race.  Incidentally, it was a lady who led the field home – Emily Le Van (USA) in 10:08:52 (1st place).


Killarney 10k and Half Marathon (Ireland):

Closer to home, in Ireland, on Saturday 18th July 2015, at least twenty two athletes from Acorns AC lined up alongside fellow running enthusiasts at the Killarney 10k and Half Marathon in Killarney, County Kerry.


The contingent, who were well supported by family and friends, celebrated at least twelve personal bests, with leading lady Karen Alexander excelling.  The Northern Ireland international sealed 2nd place in the Half Marathon, after recording 1:21:44 to finish behind race winner Aoife Cooke (Ireland), who broke the tape in 1:20:26 (1st place).  Club mate Aidan O'Hagan was the highest placed NI finisher in the 13.1 mile event, having clocked 1:18:51 for 4th place; the race was won by Chris Murnone (Ireland) in 1:17:04 (1st place).  Glenn Donnelly (Acorns AC) replicated Aidan's finishing position in the 10k, claiming 4th place in a personal best of 34:20.  The 10k was won by Donal O'Callaghan (Ireland) in 33:33 (1st place).


Fingal 10k (Ireland):

Also in Ireland, on Sunday 19th July 2015, North Belfast Harriers' John Black claimed a top ten finish at the Fingal 10k road race, the second race of the 2015 Dublin Marathon Series.  John was amongst the front runners of the three thousand strong field throughout, before crossing the line in a massive new personal best of 33:36 (9th place).  NBH club mates John McGuigan and Stephen Walker recorded 36:51 (51st place) and 38:57 (121st place) respectively.


Great Newham 10k (England):

On Sunday 19th July 2015, Willowfield Harriers man Chris Moren was amongst thousands of athletes who participated in the inaugural Great Newham 10k, which finished in the most stunning of settings, the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.  Spurred on by the occasion, Chris recorded a new personal best of 34:47 for a very respectable 30th place.  The race was won by John Beattie (Newham & Essex Beagles AC) in 29:28 (1st place).


Full Results:  Dolomites Vertical Kilometre (VK) 2015 Results - Vermont 100k 2015 Results - Killarney 10k and Half Marathon 2015 Results - Fingal 10k 2015 Results - Great Newham 10k 2015 Results

Eoin Keith and Susan McCartney win Energia 24 hour Race:

Energia 24 hour race (inc AAI National 24 hour Championships):

On Friday 17th July 2015, a record number of competitors turned out at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast for the 6th annual running of the Energia 24 hour race, which once again doubled up as the AAI National 24 hour Championships.  


The event also included a 12 hour race and a four person 24 hour relay; on top of that, there was also a 100k race.  The day brought many twists and turns, but this made for an excellent 24 hours for spectators who were treated to some quality displays of ultra-distance running in what was arguably, the most exciting year for the fast growing event.


Almost as soon as the starting horn sounded, Billy Holden set off at a blistering pace and went through marathon distance in 3:11:30.  However, despite his efforts, Billy would later pay for his over enthusiastic start.  In the early hours of Saturday morning, Eoin Keith was feeling so bad that he was about to give up.  It was 2am and eight hours into this most demanding ultra test of mind and body. The decision he made to continue changed the course of the race as Eoin, a Cork native living in Dublin, gradually reeled in the early leaders - he had went through 100k 50 minutes slower than the leader, Billy Holden - to win with a total of 142 miles (228k) and regain the title he last won two years ago.


In a race of swinging fortunes, defending joint event Champion Eddie Gallen came through strongly to claim 2nd place 138 miles/222k in his thirty first 24 hour race.  Melbourne-based Malcolm Gamble completed the top three, having notched up 136 miles/219k for 3rd place.  England based Belfast woman Susan McCartney comfortably took the women’s Irish title for the first time after  running 117 miles/189k to finish ninth overall. Behind her Dublin's Brenda Miere took 2nd place with 106 miles/171k.  Early leader and MDS 2015 finisher Gillian Cordner battled well to take 3rd place and the associated bronze medal with 101 miles/163k.  

On a day when records tumbled, 35 athletes passed the 100-mile mark and seven went over 200k, which puts the race within the scope of a IAAF Silver label event (a notable achievement for a Northern Ireland event).  Blarney based Jerry Forde, aged 64, became the first wheelchair athlete to complete the race, finishing 48th place with a total of 55 miles/89k. In the 100k race, Roz Glover was the only athlete to see out the distance, therefore winning in 11:50:50 (1st place).


In the 12 hour Race, American Amy Masner claimed the title with a new record of 73 miles/117k, but in-truth, the story of the day was the remarkable run by blind athlete Sinead Kane from Cork.  Guided by experienced international John O’Regan - a past Irish Champion - Sinead covered 68 miles/110k to finish an emotional 2nd place.  Dubliner and event regular, Aine Gallagher, the previous record holder, finished third.


In the men's 12 hour event, Dublin based athlete Alan Gorski won with a total of 75 miles/121k; Navan’s Darren Sheridan took 2nd place with 73.2 miles/118k.  Dubliner Gary Cullinan finished having completed 62.3 miles/101k, which secured 3rd place.


In the 24-hour team Relay race, Dublin Bay Runners’ ‘A’ team came out on top.  After excelling from early on, the three man, one woman outfit led by Ger Copeland covered 192 miles/309k and comfortably broke the record set by Donadea two years ago.  Orangegrove AC took 2nd place with 165 miles/226k, while Dublin Bay Runners' 'B' team came through late on to edge the 'Sole Sisters' for 3rd place, with 163 miles/263k.


Podium Places:

24hr Race – Top 3 Men:  1st Eoin Keith - 141.9 miles, 2nd Eddie Gallen - 138.2 miles, 3rd Malcolm Gamble - 136.2 miles


24hr Race – Top 3 Ladies:  1st Susan McCartney - 117.3 miles, 2nd Brenda Miere - 106.4 miles, 3rd Gillian Cordner - 101.2 miles


24hr Team Relay – Top 3 Teams:  1st Dublin Bay Runners A - 192.1 miles, 2nd Orangegrove AC - 165.4 miles, 3rd Dublin Bay Runners B - 163.8 miles


12hr Race – Top 3 Men:  1st Alan Gorsky - 75.4 miles, 2nd Darren Sheridan - 73.2 miles, 3rd Gary Cullinan - 62.3 miles


12hr Race – Top 3 Ladies:  1st Amy Masner - 73.0 miles, 2nd Sinead Kane - 68.3 miles, 3rd Aine Gallagher - 67.3 miles


100k Race – Finishers:  1st Roz Glover in 11:50:50


Full Results:  Energia 24 hour Race 2015 Results - Photos from the Energia 24 hour Race are now available within our Photo Gallery.

Northern Ireland athletes perform well at Snowdon International:

Snowdon International Mountain Race 2015:

On Saturday 18th July 2015, a strong Northern Ireland team joined a plethora of talent from around the world as they took on the prestigious Snowdon International Mountain race in Wales.  The extremely challenging route will see competitors cover 10 miles, with 1,085 metres of ascent.


In the men's event, the ever impressive Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC) led the local contingent home in an excellent 1:15:29 (11th place), which saw him narrowly miss a top ten place.  Newcastle AC's Seamus Lynch and North Belfast Harriers man Andrew Annett (representing Ireland) followed in 1:18:14 (22nd place) and 1:18:54 (27th place) respectively.  Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) crossed the line in 1:20:04 (31st place), while Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) recorded 1:22:40 for 36th place.  The race was won by Italian athlete Emanuele Manzi in 1:10:18 (1st place).


In the ladies race, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) secured a top ten place when she crossed the line in 1:33:47 (10th place).  Fellow experienced international Shileen O'Kane followed in 1:36:01 (13th place), before Jackie Toal (BARF) completed the Northern Ireland team in 1:40:57 (17th place).  The race was won by Mourne Skyline GTR 2014 winner Sarah McCormack (Ireland) in 1:20:56 (1st place).


Full Results:  Snowdon International Mountain Race 2015 Results

Campbell, Turner, Johnston and Black excel at KKMcA Festival of Running:

Kennedy Kane McArthur Festival of Running 2015:
On Saturday 18th July 2015, nearly three hundred athletes descended on the County Antrim village of Dervock for the annual Kennedy Kane McArthur Festival of Running, an event which offered runners the opportunity of racing over 10k and Half Marathon distances.  The latter was also part of the Pure Running Half Marathon Series.

In the Half Marathon, Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), continued to show that he is getting back to the same form that has saw him represent Northern Ireland and Ireland on several levels, when he added to his prize winning haul over the last few months.  Brian looked strong as he cruised to victory in 1:15:10 (1st place).  Another pre-race favourite, Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) followed in 1:16:59, before Springwell Running Clubs Paul Thompson completed the top three in 1:21:02 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, the classy Elspeth Turner (Horsham Blue Star AC), showed her worth; the veteran athlete, who has a 13.1 mile best of 1:14:07, led the field home in 1:27:28 (1st place).  Roisin Hughes also ran well, taking 2nd place in 1:30:49, while Unattached athlete Anne Fitzpatrick (1:32:40) just saw off Dub Runners' Collette McCourt (4th place – 1:32:54) for 3rd place.

The host club's Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) topped the 10k podium, after taking his recent track speed onto the tough course and clocking 35:43 for 1st place.  Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) sealed the runners up spot just over a minute later in 36:48 (2nd place), before Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) crossed the line in 37:05 (3rd place).

Orangegrove AC's Jenny Black, a medallist at the NI & Ulster Masters Track & Field Championships, put in a top quality performance to secure the ladies title.  Up against quality athlete such as Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) and Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), Jenny edged clear to seal victory in 39:53 (1st place).  Louise followed thirteen seconds later in 40:06 (2nd place), with Gemma completing the podium places in 40:40 (3rd place).

Half Marathon - Podium Places:
Top 3 Men:  1st Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) – 1:15:10, 2nd Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) – 1:16:59, 3rd Paul Thompson (Springwell Running Club) – 1:21:02

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Elspeth Turner (Horsham Blue Star) – 1:27:28, 2nd Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:30:49, 3rd Anne Fitzpatrick (Unattached) – 1:32:40

10k – Podium Places:
Top 3 Men:  1st Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) – 35:40, 2nd Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) – 36:48, 3rd Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) – 37:05

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jenny Black (Orangegrove AC) – 39:53, 2nd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 40:06, 3rd Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 40:40

Full Results:  KKMcA 10k 2015 Results and KKMcA HM 2015 Results (Photo by Richard from Springwell Running Club)

David O'Flaherty and Laura Graham win Born 2 Run 'Sea 2 Sky' 10k:

Born 2 Run Sea 2 Sky 10k 2015:

On Friday 17th July 2015, over seven hundred athletes turned out for the annual Born 2 Run 'Sea 2 Sky' 10k race in the seaside town of Newcastle in County Down.  


In windy conditions, participants covered a trail and road based course, which in places, offered excellent views over Newcastle and the surrounding area.  In-form local man David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) lived up to his pre-race favourite status as he led the field home in 35:07 (1st place).  Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers), who won the recent East Antrim Harriers Forest Series, took 2nd place in 35:47, before Marty Melville (Newcastle AC) completed the top three in 36:17 (3rd place).


The ladies race brought an excellent dual between the Laura Graham (Unattached) and always impressive mountain-trail runner Mari Troeng (Unattached).  In the end, it was Mourne Way and Lisburn Half Marathon podium finisher Laura who secured the title, crossing the line in 41:30 (1st place).  Mari followed in 42:22 (2nd place), while Dromore AC's Gillian Burns recorded 43:21 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 35:07, 2nd Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 35:47, 3rd Marty Melville (Newcastle AC) – 36:17


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Laura Graham (Unattached) – 41:30, 2nd Mari Troeng (Unattached) – 42:22, 3rd Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) – 43:21


Full Results:  Born 2 Run Sea 2 Sky 10k 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  Pure Running HM Series, AAI National 24hrs and more...

Weekend Preview:  Pure Running HM Series and AAI National 24hr Championships head exciting weekend line-up...

After a week that has seen the local running scene highlighted on a number news programmes for all the wrong reasons, this weekend should be one where we take stock of all the good things that happen on a weekly basis, leave behind the bad, and move forward – hopefully the local media sources will be as quick to report on positive stories!


Looking ahead, the next few days will provide an excellent choice of events for the local running community.  There will be races of various distances, over a variety of terrain.  Runners from Northern Ireland will also compete at events all over the world.


On a local level, the main highlights will be next round of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series which will also take place in Dervock and the Athletics Ireland National 24 hour Championships, which will be held at the Mary Peters Track, Belfast; this is where we will start our preview.


Energia 24 hour Race – AAI National 24 hour Championships:

The weekend action will kick off tonight (Friday 17th July 2015), with the annual Energia 24 hour race at Mary Peters Track in Belfast.  Now in its 6th year, the event has again been awarded Championship status and continues to rise in popularity, with entries being sold out within two weeks. The race starts at 6.45pm and participants from across Europe and as far afield as Australia and the Philippines will run through the night and into Saturday 19th July, finishing at 6.45pm in the evening.  Amongst those taking part are many familiar faces, as well as plenty of new ones, all eager to try this mental and physical challenge.

Irish 24 hour record holder Eion Keith (Boards AC) will return and attempt to regain the Irish title that he lost in 2014.  Eion had to withdraw from the event last year due to injury.  The knee injury gave the well known endurance athlete some trouble in the early part of 2015 but he has since went on to take an impressive second place at a six day race in Hungry (May 2015), covering 507 miles over the 144 hours.


In 2014, after Eion's withdrawal, Madrid based teacher Eddie Gallen and international team-mate John O'Regan (Le-Chiele AC) shared the Irish title; the pair took joint second place overall, completing 141.6 miles each to finish behind winner Jan Uzik (146.6 miles).  Both Eddie and John will start at Mary Paters Track this weekend, although John will be on guide duties in the associated 12 hour event, for Dublin based visually impaired athlete Sinead O'Kane.  Interestingly, this will be Eddie's 31st 24 Hour race.


Thomas Kilmas (Unattached) a Polish native now residing in County Limerick will be one to watch.  Thomas won the Portuma 100k race in 2014 with a time of 7:57:17, took the honours in the Vartry 100 mile event, with a fantastic time of 15:02:00 and finished second in the 127k Wicklow Way Solo event in June (2015).


Andrew Greaney (Dublin Bay Running Club), Brian Ankers (Dublin Bay Running Club) and Don Hannon (Trailheads) will compete well.  Andrew (Greaney) is the 2015 winner of Portuma 100k (8:08:01) - Brian (Ankers) will compete in the Energia 24 race for the first time but recently ran 199km in the Open race at the 24 hour World Championships in Turin (Italy), taking 5th place.  He (Brian) is a previous winner of the Connemara 100 mile race (15:48:10), while Don (Hannon) ran 186km for twelfth place in the same event and also won the tough Art O'Neill Challenge in the Wicklow Mountains in January (2015).


Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC) will take part in the 24 hour event for the first time.  The Northern Ireland and Ireland international ultra-trail runner has an abundance of ultra running experience, but mainly over undulating mountain terrain, so it will be interesting to see how he copes with the track.  Justin recently finished fourth in the West Highland Way 95 mile race (Scotland) in 17:58:31 and has been eager to try the Energia 24 hour event.  Kilkenny man Billy Holden, Australian Malcolm Gamble and Kildare's Anthony Lee will be other athletes in contention.

In the ladies 24 hour Irish Championship race, Irish international Susan McCartney (BARF) looks to be the favourite.  Susan recently Irish debut at the 24 hour World Championships in Turin (Italy), where she covered 197k for an impressive forty third place.  She (Susan) ran the same distance (197k) in this event in 2013, which gave her fifth place overall and top spot in the ladies race.


Other athletes to watch are marathoners Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) and Brenda Miere (Dublin Bay Running Club).  Both ladies have the experience of multiple marathons and multi-stage events behind them and will compete well. 100 Marathon Club member Gillian (Cordner) recently won the Newry Marathon in 3:24:22 and Brenda (Miere) took second place (25:36:00) at the 100 mile Vartry race in Ireland. Marathon Club of Ireland member Elle O'Neill has an array of ultra running experience but has never ran over 50 miles.  If her training has been good, Elle will be another worth watching.


Aside from the main Energia 24 hour race, there will also be 12 hour event.  Runners competing in this will have a choice of a 6.45pm (17th July 2015) or 6.45am (18th July 2015) start time.  Dublin based duo Alan Gorsksi and Paulo Margelino are likely to be at the head of the men's competition and in the ladies category, the aforementioned Sinead Kane and local lady Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Running Club) will be the participants to keep an eye on.


The exciting programme of events will start at 6.45pm on Friday 17th July 2015, with the 24 hour individual, 24 hour Relay and some 12 hour runners setting off.  At 7.45pm, four 100k runners will start their journey.  At 6.45am on Saturday 18th July 2015, the remaining 12 hour participants will start, then at 3pm there will be a fun Under 5's 24 second race.  This will be followed at 3.15pm by an Under 12's 2.4 minute race.  The prize-giving ceremony will commence at 7.30pm on Saturday (18th July 2015) evening.

Born 2 Run – Sea 2 Sky 10k:

Also on Friday 18th July 2015, events management company Born 2 Run Events will welcome athletes from across the province to their annual 'Sea 2 Sky 10k' race, which will take place in Newcastle, County Down.


The participants will start and finish on the picturesque promenade in the seaside town; in-between, they will negotiate a 6.2 mile course set on a mixture of road and trails.  At the head of the pack, it's likely to by Newcastle AC's David O'Flaherty and Newry City Runners' Don Travers who battle it out for top honours.  So far this year, David has secured podium places at the Rollercoaster 5k, Les Jones Memorial 10k and Ballynahinch Lions 10k, as well dropping well below the 16 minute mark for 5k.  Meanwhile, just last week, Don recorded 1:15:52 to seal the runners up spot at the Great Rossa 5k.  Marty Melville (Newcastle AC), Dermot Winters (Slieve Gullion Runners) and East Down AC pair Michael Cultra and Michael McKeown will also run well.


In the ladies race, it's hard to look past the 'new kid on the block', Laura Graham (Unattached) – Laura has been impressing at various events of late, but really caught the attention of the local running enthusiasts when she secured a podium spot at the Lisburn Half Marathon last month.  Last week, Laura won the controversial Titanic 12.6 mile race.  Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) will provide stiff opposition for Laura, while Catherine Pinkerton (Springwell Running Club), Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers), Gillian Logan (Larne AC), Louise Browne (Orangegove AC) and Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) will all be hoping to finish well up the field.

Kennedy Kane McArthur Dervock Half Marathon & 10k:

On Saturday 18th July 2015, hundreds of athletes from across Northern Ireland (and beyond) will bring the County Antrim village of Dervock to a standstill as they take on the annual Kennedy Kane McArthur Dervock Half Marathon and 10k; the Half Marathon is part of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series.


Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) has impressed throughout the Series so far, with excellent outings at the Larne, Lisburn and Ards Half Marathons – in Ards he led the field home and is likely to be there or there abouts here, should he enter on the day.  Brian's main competition may come in the form of Armagh AC's ex-footballer Gary Henderson.  Gary has a 13.1 mile personal best of 1:14:34, but a 1:14:29 saw him secure the title her in 2014.  


Foyle Valley AC's Chris McGuinness looked in good shape as he clocked 8:59 for 3k at the Letterkenny AC International last week, and if he transfers that speed onto the road, Chris will also be well worth watching.  Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Mark Walker (Unattached), David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) and Stephen Joyce (Springwell Running Club) should all compete for places in the top ten.


In the ladies Half Marathon, Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) may well make use of the late entry system.  The international athlete has enjoyed an excellent 2015, with numerous race wins, podium places and an NI & Ulster Master XC medal all on her list of achievements.  After stepping up to the 13.1 mile event, Cathy has performed well at the Omagh Half Marathon and the Lisburn Half Marathon.  Accomplished distance runner Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) will continue her return to competition and is more than capable of taking a podium place, although she will have to see off the likes of Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club), Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Irene Clements (Enniskillen Running Club), Janice White (Ballymena Runners), Paula Owens (Dub Runners) and Collette McCourt (Dub Runners).


In the associated 10k event, Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers), Kevin O'Boyle (Unattached), Matt Wray (Unattached), Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) and Oliver Cook (PACE Running Club) will lead the charge for the men's title, while Ballymena Runners' Geraldine Quigley and Springwell Running Club trio Gemma Turley, Sonia Knox and Ciara Toner will contest the ladies podium places.

Snowdon International Mountain Race:

On Saturday 18th July 2015, a strong Northern Ireland team will join some of the world's top mountain runners at the prestigious Snowdon International Mountain race in Wales.  The extremely challenging route will see competitors cover 10 miles, with 1,085 metres of ascent.


The NI men's team includes NIMRA Champion elect Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and the in-form trio of Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC), Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) and England based athlete Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC).  The ladies team is made up of reigning NIMRA Champion and podium finisher at the Mourne Skyline MTR, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), Flagstaff-Carlingford winner Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and the returning Jacqueline Toal (BARF).


Killarney Half Marathon and 10k:

Closer to home, in Ireland on Saturday 18th July 2015, a large number of athletes from Acorns AC will join hundreds of fellow running enthusiasts on the start line of the annual Killarney Half Marathon and 10k road races in County Kerry.  Amongst those likely to finish well up the field will be Glenn Donnelly and Karen Alexander.


Local athletes set for... Eiger 101k Ultra – Vermont 100k Ultra – Lake Tahoe 100 mile Ultra – Dolomites VK (Skyrunning World Series):

Over the course of the weekend, some of Northern Ireland's best known ultra-distance and mountain-trail athletes will be in action at events all over the world.  This includes the Eiger 101k Ultra – Vermont 100k Ultra – Lake Tahoe 100 mile Ultra and the Dolomites VK (Skyrunning World Series).


The weekend action will commence early on Friday 17th July 2015, in the Italian town of Canazei.  Mourne Runners Gary Bailey and Damien Cunningham will race the Dolomites Vertical Kilometre (VK), an event which is part of the Skyrunning World Series.  Gary and Damien will be amongst a three hundred and fifty strong field, who will negotiate the 1,015 metre uphill only race.  The 2.4k route will see athletes climb from Alba di Canazei to the finish line at Spiz Creipa Neigra at 2,465 metres above sea level.  Damien will set off at 10.05am local time, with club mate Gary starting at 10.10am. The Mourne Runners men will be strong over this course and will compete well.  Also included in the weekend of events in Italy, is the famous 22k Dolomites Skyrace.  At time of writing, there is no start list available, but we would like to offer our best wishes to anyone taking part.


On Saturday 18th July 2015, Dave Evans (BARF) will take on the E101 race at the Eiger Ultra Trail event in Switzerland.  Dave will be joined on the Grindelwald starting line with a plethora of international talent.  The 101k race, which incorporates a massive 6700 metres of ascent/descent, kicks off at 04.30am and offers a fantastic and unforgettable alpine challenge, with runners traversing the base of the iconic mountain.

On the same day (Saturday 18th July 2015), but on a different continent, another of BARF's collection of Ultra Trail Running enthusiasts, Joanne Curran, will take part in one of the worlds most legendary long distance races, in the American state of Vermont.  Joanne will take on the tough Vermont 100k race, with only 75 individuals selected for the event, the always impressive BARF athlete will be amongst an experienced, as well as talented field. Interestingly, the Vermont 100 mile race, which is part of the same event programme, is one of four races in the Grand Slam of Ultra Running Series and is viewed as one of the most challenging, with 15,000ft of elevation change.  


Also in America on Saturday 18th July 2015 (5am or 1pm GMT), well known Northern Ireland ultra runner Nicki McPeak (Springwell Running Club) will celebrate his recent marriage (congratulations!) by taking on The Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile Endurance Run in America.  The popular race takes place on high elevation alpine forest trails and dirt roads in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, on the North East side of Lake Tahoe.  Nicki will start and finish his journey at the Spooner Lake State Park, which is at 7,000 feet.  The highest point of the event is just below the 9,214 foot tall Snow Valley Peak (which also provides one of the best views on the course). The low point is at the bottom of the now "infamous" Red House Loop at approximately 6,800 feet. 


GloHealth National Juvenile Relay Championships and AAI National League Round 2:

On Saturday 18th July and Sunday 19th July 2015, a host of local athletes will make the cross border journey to some of Ireland's top track & field venues (Tullamore, Santry and Athlone) for two major competitions, the GloHealth National Juvenile Relay Championships and AAI National League Round 2.  We expect Ballymena & Antrim AC, City of Lisburn AC, Lagan Valley AC, City of Derry AC and North Down AC all to be well represented at the events.


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.

Local runners dominate prize winning places at Lifford 5k road race:

Lifford AC 5k road race 2015:

On Wednesday 15th July 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland were amongst the three hundred and fifty strong field who took on the annual Lifford 5k road race in County Donegal (Ireland), an event hosted by Lifford AC.


In good running conditions, the local athletes dominated the prize winning places; Northern Ireland ladies secured a clean sweep of the podium while no less than nine athletes from local clubs claimed top ten places the men’s race.  City of Derry AC’s Chris McPeake was the first familiar face home, taking 2nd place behind popular race winner Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC).  Pauric recorded 15:44 (1st place), with Chris showing a return to form when crossing the line in 16:09.  Dermot McElhinney (City of Derry AC) completed the top three in 16:13 (3rd place), before Michael Crawley (Tri Limits) and Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) clocked 16:21 (4th place) and 16:22 (5th place) respectively. 


Noel Logan (City of Derry AC) followed nine seconds later in 16:31 (6th place), while Roy McGilloway (Foyle Valley AC) looked strong as he crossed the line in 16:36 (7th place).  Project Africa’s Ciaran Collins ran 16:37 (8th place) to finish just ahead of City of Derry AC duo Kyle Doherty (16:41) and Michael Murphy (16:45), who claimed 9th place and 10th place respectively.  


There was also joy for the Spartan club in the ladies event, with the in-form Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) winning the ladies race in 17:34 (1st place).  Derry City Track Club’s Hannah McGowan picked up the runners up prize in 19:39 (2nd place), while Foyle Valley AC’s Gemma McGinty crossed the line in 20:28 to take a well-deserved 3rd place.


Full Results:  Lifford AC 5k road race 2015 Results

Athletes from NI impress at road and mountain events in Ireland:

Local runners impress on the roads and mountains of Ireland:

Over the Bank Holiday Weekend (Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th July 2015), local athletes have impressed at several events outside Northern Ireland.  Our coverage has already highlighted several notable track performances in Dublin and Letterkenny, but familiar faces have also been in action on the roads and mountains of Ireland.


Mweelrea Mountain race (Ireland):

On Saturday 11th July, three local athletes travelled south to Ireland for the Irish Mountain Running Association’s Mweelrea Mountain Race in County Mayo.  The course covered 10k in distance and incorporated 800 metres of ascent. Irish international and experienced Newcastle AC man Robbie Bryson ran well, taking 7th place and breaking the one hour mark with a time of 59:10.  Eugene McCann (Mourne Runners) continued his run of good form, securing 11th place in an impressive 1:02:10, while BARF member Andy McGibbon completed the course in 1:23:07 (30th place). The popular event was won by Tom Blackburn of Mooreabbey Milers, in a time of 52:52 (1st place).


Dunleer 4 mile Road Race (Ireland):

On Sunday 12th July 2015, athletes from Northern Ireland performed well at the Dunleer 4 mile road race in County Meath, Ireland.  Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers) led the local contingent home, crossing the line in 21:29 (5th place).  Thomas Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) followed just nineteen seconds later in 22:48 (6th place), before Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) also claimed a top ten spot in 22:11 (7th place). The first NI lady to finish was Belfast Running Club’s Joanne McCardle in 29:26; this saw Joanne take 20th place in the ladies race.  The event was won by Dunleer AC’s Thomas Cotter in 19:31 (1st place), while Ciara Rooney (Navan AC) sealed the ladies title in 25:00 (1st place).


Full Results:  Mweelrea Mountain Race 2015 Results and Dunleer 4 mile Road Race 2015 Results

Record numbers turn out for well organised Great Rossa Run:

Great Rossa Run 2015:

On Sunday 12th July 2015, well over four hundred athletes brought the County Tyrone village of Ardboe to a standstill as they took on second annual running of the well organised Great Rossa Run, an event that offered competitors a choice of three distances, namely Half Marathon, 10k and 5k.


In the Half Marathon, it was Clonliffe Harriers man Gary O'Hanlon who stole the headlines.  Gary, a regular competitor in Northern Ireland, looked strong at the head of the pack and despite a valiant effort from Don Travers (Newry City Runners), he secured top spot in 1:14:35.  The ever impressive and consistent Don Travers claimed 2nd place in 1:15:52, while Delfim Pimentel (Unattached) crossed the line in 1:20:53 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, there was an interesting battle between two talented ladies, Charlene Abraham (Unattached) and Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC).  In the end, Charlene broke the tape first, clocking 1:34:07 for 1st place, with Lyndsey sealing 2nd place in 1:34:31.  Enniskillen Running Club's Irene Clements completed the top three in 1:36:42 (3rd place).


In the 10k race, Finn Valley AC's Barry Harron looked a class act as he cruised to victory.  Barry completed the course in 32:49 (1st place), almost two minutes ahead of his nearest rival, Darrell McKee (Acorns AC), who secured 2nd place in 34:40.  Jonathan McKee (Springwell Running Club) followed in 35:29 (3rd place).  Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) added to her impressive list of race victories in 2015; the Termoneeny 10k, Active Antrim 5, Magherafelt Harriers 10k and CAH Mayfair 10k winner led the ladies home in 40:32 (1st place).  City of Lisburn AC's Stephanie Campbell crossed the line in 45:17 (2nd place), before Acorns AC's Sandra Mayne recorded 47:21 (3rd place).


In the associated 5k road race, up and coming young Acorns AC star Cathaoir Purvis continued to impress as he topped the podium after crossing the line in 18:49 (1st place).  Hannah Quinn (Unattached) won the ladies race in 22:36 (1st place).


Half Marathon (Podium Places):

Top 3 Men:  1st Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 1:14:35, 2nd Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:15:52, 3rd Delfim Pimentel (Unattached) – 1:20:53


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Charlene Abraham (Unattached) – 1:34:07, 2nd Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 1:34:31, 3rd Irene Clements (Enniskillen Running Club) – 1:36:42


10k Race (Podium Places):

Top 3 Men:  1st Barry Harron (Finn Valley AC) – 32:49, 2nd Darrell McKee (Acorns AC) – 34:40, 3rd Jonathan McKee (Springwell Running Club) – 35:29


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 40:32, 2nd Stephanie Campbell (City of Lisburn AC) – 45:17, 3rd Sandra Mayne (Acorns AC) – 47:21


Full Results:  Great Rossa Run 2015 Results

Local athletes excel at GV Ryan - IMC Track Meeting in Santry (Dublin):

GV Ryan – Irish Milers Club T & F Meeting (Ireland):

On Saturday 11th July 2015, a host of athletes from Northern Ireland travelled south to Santry, Dublin (Ireland) for the GV Ryan Track & Field Meeting, co-hosted by Crusaders AC and the Irish Milers Club (IMC). The local athletes put in quality performances, with several achieving podium places, and even more improving their personal best and seasons best times.


The performance of the day was arguably that of NiRunning Mile record holder Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC).  Despite missing a podium place in the competitive 800m 'A' race, Mark recorded a new personal best and Finn Valley AC club record of 1:49.78 (5th place).  The race was won by Irish international Eoin Everard in 1:49.19 (1st place).  Another man who missed a podium spot, but will be more than happy with his performance, was City of Lisburn AC's Chris Madden – Chris clocked 8:50.25 (8th place); the race was won by Raheny Shamrock AC's Conor Dooney in 8:25.76 (1st place).


Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC) impressed with 11.39secs (1st place) finish in the 100m 'A' race, while Ballymena Runners' James Hamilton continued his excellent form with a win in the 1500m 'C' race, after running 4:08.69 (1st place).  In the 1500m 'A' race, James O'Hara (Annadale Striders) crossed the line in 3:49.94, taking 3rd place in the race won by BMC's Jack Hallas in 3:46.79 (1st place).  Three Northern Ireland men made the podium in the 1500m 'B' race; Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) won in 3:58.01 (1st place), with East Down AC's Neil McCartan (3:59.22) and Annadale Striders' Stephen Prentice (4:00.05) claiming 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) and Katie Kirk (QUB AC) ran well in the ladies 1500m 'A' race – Emma impressed with a 4:23.64 finish for 2nd place, while Katie, who was stepping up from her favourite 800m, clocked 4:26.06 for 3rd place.  In the 3,000m mixed 'B' race, North Down AC's Dennis Scott secured 2nd place in 9:16.52; meanwhile, NI international Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) led the ladies home in 1:00.53 (1st place).  The overall winner was Neil O'Rourke (Civil Service AC) in 9:00.85 (1st place).  


There was a large Northern Ireland representation in the 800m events.  Over and above Mark Hoy's aforementioned performance, there was also podium places for six other familiar faces over the distance. Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) took 2nd place in the ladies 800m 'A' race, running 2:10.35 to finish less than a second behind winner Fiona Kehoe (Kilmore AC), who won in 2:10.01 (1st place).  Clones AC's Denise Toner won the ladies 800m 'B' race in 2:17.51 91st place).  In the 800m 'C' race, Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers) and Michael Quinn (Annadale Striders) sealed 2nd place and 3rd place respectively – Andrew ran a seasons best of 1:54.46, with Michael following in an excellent 1:55.14.  


Johnny Foster (Annadale Striders) dipped under the two minute barrier once again as he crossed the line in 1:59.10 to take 3rd place in the 800m 'D' race won by Drogheda AC's Mark O'Shea in 1:58.80 (1st place).  In the 800m 'F' race, John Gordon (Springwell Running Club), ran 2:03.27 to finish in 3rd place; the race was won by Shane O'Reilly (North Cork AC) in 2:02.19 (1st place).


Full Results:  GV Ryan – Irish Milers Club T & F Meeting 2015 Results

Leon Reid and Jonathan Browning impress at Euro U-23 Championships:

European Under 23 Track & Field Championships 2015:

On Saturday 11th July 2015, Team Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games star Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) showed once again why he is considered one of the most respected young sprinters in Europe as he represented Great Britain & Northern Ireland at the European Under 23 Championships in Tallin, Estonia.


Competing in the 200m, Leon attracted plenty of media attention as he cruised through his heat and semi-final with ease, clocking 20.78secs and 20.65secs respectively.  In the final, the talented athlete secured 2nd place and the associated silver medal in 20.63secs.  The race was won by Poland's Karol Zalewski in 20.49secs (1st place).


Fellow Northern Ireland man, Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC), was also in action at the prestigious Championships.  Representing Ireland in the 4x100m on Sunday 12th July 2015, Jonathan and his team mates (Eanna Madden, Kieran Elliot and Marcus Lawler) clocked a new national record of 40.11secs to secure 3rd place and a place in the final.  In the final, the men bettered the national record again, recording 39.89secs for 5th place.  The race was won by France in 39.36secs (1st place).


Full Results:  European Under 23 Track & Field Championships 2015 Results (Photo above by British Athletics)

Neil Weir and Jodi Smith secure Greyabbey 10k titles:

Greyabbey 10k & 5k 2015:

On Friday 10th July 2015, over three hundred athletes turned out for the annual Greyabbey 10k road race in County Down, a well organised event hosted by the Northern Ireland Civil Service Athletic Club (NISAC).


Willowfield Harriers man Neil Weir, who won the recent East Antrim Harriers Forest Series, took to the front early on and in truth, looked a class apart as he cruised to victory.  In windy conditions, Neil clocked 34:29 for 1st place, before Dub Runners' James Trainor and North Belfast Harriers' Nat Glenn claimed 2nd place and 3rd place respectively; James ran 35:55, while Nat recorded 36:12.


In the ladies event, Jodie Smith (North Down AC) continued what has been a superb year when she secured top spot; the North Down AC lady completed the course in 41:40 (1st place).  Valerie McDonough (North Down AC) took 2nd place in 42:48, before Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) crossed the line in 43:32 (3rd place).


In the associated 5k race, North Belfast Harriers athletes took the top prizes in both the men's and ladies event.  Kent Swann led the men home in 17:05 (1st place), while the always impressive Roisin Hughes clocked 19:43 (1st place) for the ladies title.


Top 3 Men:  1st Neil Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 34:29, 2nd James Trainor (Dub Runners) – 35:55, 3rd Nat Glenn (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:12


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jodie Smith (North Down AC) – 41:40, 2nd Valerie McDonough (North Down AC) – 42:48, 3rd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) - 43:32


Full Results:  Greyabbey 10k and 5k 2015 Results (Photo by North Down AC)

NI record, Olympic and World Championships standards for Kerry O'Flaherty:

Letterkenny Sub 4 minute Mile Challenge 2015:

On Friday 10th July 2015, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland were in action at one of Ireland's most prestigious events, the Letterkenny Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge Event, which took place at the Danny McDaid Track in the popular County Donegal town.


Although the title would lead you to believe that it was all about the classic mile race, the well organised event offers an impressive programme of races.  Infact, the race of the night was not the aforementioned mile, it was the Ladies 3,000m Steeplechase.


During which, Northern Ireland's Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) continued what has been an excellent year when she produced the performance of her life to record a new Northern Ireland record of 9:41.61.  This not only secured 2nd place in the event, but also saw the Commonwealth Games star achieve qualification standards for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Beijing World Championships.   


Fellow NI lady, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) performed well in her first ever appearance over the barriers, crossing the line in 10:37.16 for 11th place.  Irish internationals Michelle Finn (3rd place – 9:43.34) and Sara Treacy (4th place – 9:44.14) also achieved the Rio 2016 standard in the race, which was won by Jamie Cheever (USA) in 9:40.99 (1st place).  


North Down AC's Rachel Gibson ended an good week with a new personal best in the 400m – after dipping under the sixty seconds mark for the first time at the North Down AC Track & Field Meeting earlier this week, Rachel broke the beam in 59.50secs for 3rd place.  The race was won by Sinead Denny (DSD AC) in 55.45secs (1st place).  In the closely contested men's equivalent (400m), Lagan Valley AC's Ben Maze missed top spot by 0.01secs when he claimed 2nd place in 49.54secs; the race was won by Armand Van Zyl (South Africa) in 49.53secs (1st place).


In the men's 3,000m event, which was won by USA's Carl Stones in 8:27.28 (1st place), Northern Ireland men John-Paul Williamson (City of Derry AC) and Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) also took podium places.  John-Paul celebrated his return from America with a superb outing, crossing the line in 8:35.16 (2nd place) for the runners up spot.  NI & Ulster 5,000m and 10k Champion Conor followed in 8:38.52 (3rd place).  


Despite the efforts of the athletes involved, there was no sub four minute time in the classic mile event.  Northern Ireland's Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) ran 4:08.89 for 6th place; the race was won by Jon Peterson (USA) in 4:00.01 (1st place).


Full Results:  Letterkenny Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge Event 2015 Results - Photo above by Teresa McDaid.

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

Weekend Preview:  Summer Bank Holiday weekend…

A welcome Summer Bank Holiday weekend lies ahead and although the weather we spoke of last week seems to have sneaked off into the background, there are plenty of local, national and international fixtures to heat things up on the competition front in the coming days.  


The local running fraternity will have events in Greyabbey, Belfast and Ardboe to look forward to, while athletes from Northern Ireland will also be in action at events in Ireland and Estonia


Greyabbey 10k:

The weekend action will kick off in County Down later today, when the Northern Ireland Civil Service Athletic Club host their annual Greyabbey 10k road race, an event which year on year attracts some of the provinces most respected athletes.


Brendan Teer (East Down AC) looked in top form as he cruised to victory at last weekend's inaugural Comber Potato 10k Race.  The always impressive Northern Ireland international recorded 33:33 on what has been described as a tough, hilly course by many.  


Brendan could be joined on the start line by fellow East Down AC man and 2014 Champion Barrie Atkinson, as well as Willowfield Harriers' Neil Weir and Gregory Lucy.  James Trainor (Dub Runners), Bryan Edgar (Springwell Running Club) and Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers) could also take to the start line.


In the ladies race, Maeve Lavery (Dub Runners) may be the one to watch.  Over the last twelve months, Maeve has really cemented her place amongst the leading ladies in the local scene – just two weeks ago, she secured fourth place at the Ards Half Marathon, after mixing it up with the front three throughout.  Comber Potato 10k winner Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) will also be there or there about if she races, as will Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers), Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers), Natasha Henderson (County Antrim Harriers) and Verity Cornford (Orangegove AC).

Letterkenny Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge Event (Ireland):

In Letterkenny, County Donegal (Ireland), on Friday 10th July 2015, a large contingent of athletes from Northern Ireland will line up against athletes from around the globe at the annual Letterkenny Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge Event, which is held at the Danny McDaid Track in the popular town.


A lot of the pre-race talk surrounds the ladies 3,000m Steeplechase event, which includes Northern Ireland's top Steeplechaser Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and fellow Northern Ireland and Ireland international Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC), who will be making her debut over the jumps.  Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) will compete in the classic mile event, while the men's 3,000m is dominated by familiar faces; of which, Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers), Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), JP Williamson (City of Derry AC), Ciaran Doherty (Letterkenny AC), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), Conor Doherty (City of Derry AC), Darragh Crossan (Derry City Track Club), Aaron Doherty (City of Derry AC) and Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) will all be hoping for high placings and personal bests.  Ben Maze (Lagan Valley AC), Laura Frey (Lagan Valley AC), Tim Shiels (Derry City Track Club) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) should also impress.


European Under 23 Track & Field Championships (Estonia):

Also today, Friday 10th July 2015, Northern Ireland man Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) will represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland at the European Under 23 Track & Field Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.  Round 1 of Leon's 200m competition takes place this afternoon (3.10pm), and should he progress, both the semi-final and final will be run tomorrow (Saturday 11th July 2015).  Ballymena & Antrim AC man Jonathan Browning will be in action for Ireland at the event, competing as part of the 4x100m relay team.  The men will start their campaign on Sunday 12th July 2015.

Irish Milers Club GV Ryan Meet (Ireland):

On Saturday 11th July 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will travel to Santry, Dublin (Ireland) for the Irish Milers Club (IMC) GV Ryan Track Meet in the Morton Stadium.


Katie Kirk (QUB AC),  Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), Michael Dyer (North Down AC), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC), Neil McCartan (East Down AC), Callum Crawford-Walker (Lagan Valley AC), James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners), Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club), Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), Katie Moore (North Down AC), James O'Hare (Annadale Striders), Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Johnny Foster (Annadale Striders) and Jane Matthews (Lagan Valley AC) are some of the local stars who will toe the line.  A full start list is available HERE.


Great Rossa Run 5k, 10k and Half Marathon:

On Sunday 12th July 2015, hundreds of athletes from across the province will descend on the County Tyrone village of Ardboe for the 2nd annual running of the Great Rossa 5k, 10k and 13.1 mile road races.


In 2014, this event received praise from across the athletics community and no doubt, this year will be even better.  At the head of the pack, Martin Cox (Project Africa), Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners), Aidan O'Hagan (Acorns AC), Delfim Pimintel (Unattached) and Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC) are expected to contest the podium places in the main event.  Enniskillen Running Club's Oonagh Fitzpatrick, Orangegrove AC's Lyndsey Pronger and Carmen Runners' Sinead Kerr will play a major part at the front of the ladies race.  


Titanic Half Marathon (and 10k):

In Belfast, on Sunday 12th July 2015, events management company Endurance Junkie will host their Half Marathon and 10k road races in the popular Titanic Quarter; this event is not to be mistaken for Athletics NI's Titanic events.


The event, which starts at 9am, covers a flat and fast course around the Belfast Harbour Estate.  Pack collection is available from SS Moore Sports in Belfast City Centre between 10am-4pm on Saturday 11th July 2015 and from 8am at Titanic Dock on race day.


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.

Conor Bradley and Natasha Adams win Rathmullan 5k road race:

Rathmullan 5k 2015:

On Thursday 9th July 2015, over four hundred athletes turned out for the Rathmullan 5k road race, a popular and always well attended event, which is part of the local Rathmullan Community Festival in County Donegal, Ireland.


There was an abundance of quality performances by Northern Ireland athletes, none more so than former NI & Ulster 10k (Road) Champion Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), who broke the tape in 14:58 to secure 1st place. Conor's City of Derry AC team mates Kyle Doherty and Michael Murphy also made the top ten, after crossing the line in 16:20 (8th place) and 16:25 (10th place) respectively.


In the ladies race, there was another excellent outing by Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC).  After recording a new personal best of 16:29 to win the Termon 5k outright last week, Natasha once again clocked 16:29 (1st place) to secure victory.  Another NI lady, Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC), took 2nd place in 17:36, before fellow Spartan Jackie McGinley (City of Derry AC) ran 18:45 for 4th place.  City of Derry AC's Janeen Leese also claimed a top ten finish when she finished in 21:05 (9th place).


Full Results:  Rathmullan 5k 2015 Results (Photo by Teresa McDaid)

Sarah Kivelehan claims two wins as local athletes compete in Ireland:

Athletes from NI impress at midweek events:

On Tuesday 7th July 2015, local athletes were in action at events outside Northern Ireland, namely the Raphoe 5k road race and the Cork City Sports International Track & Field Meeting, both in Ireland.  There were several notable outings amongst the numerous quality performances.


In County Donegal, City of Derry AC lady Sarah Kivelehan continued to cement herself as one of the province's most consistent and impressive athletes, when she secured her second race win in 48 hours, whilst in competition at the Raphoe 5k road race.  After winning the hilly Newtowncunningham 5k on Sunday 5th July 2015 in 20:00, Sarah recorded 19:36 to secure 1st place at the Lifford AC event, which has always proved popular with Northern Ireland based athletes.


Meanwhile, at the Cork City Sports International Track & Field Meeting, Team Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games stars Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) and Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) faced athletes from around the globe as they lined up at the Cork City Sports International Track & Field Meeting in County Cork.


In the 400m hurdles, which was won by Bahamas based athlete Jeffrey Gibson in 49.65secs (1st place), Jason crossed the line in 53.26secs to secure 7th place.  In the classic Mile race, NI's 1500m specialist Danny Mooney clocked 4:07.33 (10th place) – USA's Will Geoghegan ran a sub 4 minute mile to win in 3:59.09 (1st place).


Full Results:  Raphoe 5k Road Race 2015 Results and Cork City Sports International T&F Meeting 2015 Results

Local athletes secure podium places at events outside Northern Ireland:

Athletes from NI impress in Ireland, England, Scotland and Belgium:

Over the course of this weekend (Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July 2015), athletes from Northern Ireland have not only impressed at local events, but also at events outside the province.  Most notably, there were podium places for familiar faces at races in Ireland, England, Scotland and Belgium.


Clontarf Half Marathon (Ireland):

On Saturday 4th July 2015, Acorns AC star Karen Alexander followed on from her podium place at last week’s Ards Half Marathon with another excellent performance, this time at the Clontarf Half Marathon in Ireland.  After getting back to competition following injury, Karen looked in good shape as she took top spot, covering the course in 1:27:29 (1st place).


Harris Half Marathon (Scotland):

On the same day (Saturday 4th July 2015), off the coast of Scotland, at least two local athletes were in action at the Harris Half Marathon, on the isle of Harris.  Amongst the familiar faces was John McManus (Garscube Harriers); John, now based in Scotland, covered the challenging route in 1:24:20, which was enough to secure a 3rd place finish. Peter McManus (East Coast AC) completed what was his first ever attempt at the distance in 2:06:25 (108th place).  The race was won by Alastair Hay (Central AC) in 1:12:08 (1st place).


Stortford Bishop's 10 mile Race (England):

On Sunday 5th July 2015, City of Derry AC's Northern Ireland international produced an excellent performance at the 32nd annual running of the Stortford Bishop's Running Club 10 mile race in England.  In wet conditions, Allan covered the tough multi-terrain course in 59:43 (1st place); this was enough to see the talented athlete lead the field home.


Brussels Grand Prix (Belgium):

Also on Sunday 5th July 2015, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes enjoyed excellent performances at the Brussels Track & Field Grand Prix in Belgium, an event which attracted competitors from all over the world.  In the 100m (Heat 2), North Down AC's Andrew Mellon clocked an impressive 10.97secs to take 1st place.  Andrew followed this up with an excellent run in the 400m, where he recorded 47.92secs to take 5th place in Heat 2.  Fellow NI man Adam McCombe (North Down AC) ran 47.96secs to secure 6th place in the same race, which was won by David Pecceu (Belgium) in 46:21 (1st place).


In Heat 3 of the 400m, which was won by Belgium's Michael Bultheel (1st place – 50.51secs), Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) broke the beam in 51.99secs (6th place).  Lagan Valley AC's Ben Maze recorded his second fastest 400m time of the year in Heat 1, when he crossed the line in 49.39secs (5th place); the race was won by Christian Iguacel (AVKA) in 46.63secs (1st place).  Team NI Commonwealth Games athlete Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrm AC) secured a podium place in her 400m hurdles event, after taking 2nd place in 58.41secs; the race was won by Axelle Dauwens (ACME) in 56.56secs (1st place).


Full Results:  Clontarf Half Marathon 2015 ResultsHarris Half Marathon 2015 Results – Stortford Bishop's 10m Race 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable) – Brussels Grand Prix 2015 Results

Pure Running Half Marathon Series final positions starting to take shape:

Pure Running HM Series update (by ChampionChip Ireland):

Six of the ten races in the Pure Running Half Marathon Series have taken place and a record number of athletes are vying for the valuable prizes across all the male and female categories.


A total of seventeen hardy runners, of which three are ladies, have completed all six to date and are on target for the special garment if they get round all ten this year.  Meanwhile, Angus McCready has maintained his record of never having missed one of the 53 races so far in the seven years of the Series.


The ladies aforementioned ladies, who have completed all six races to date, are: Gillian Strudwick, Amanda Jackson and Eileen Jack.


Apart from Angus, the men are Jim Larkin, Daniel Jack, Steven and Declan Ormsby, Barry O’Reilly, David McIvor, John Nelson, John Mulhern, Eamon Sheehan, James Sheridan, Brian McDonald, Ronan O’Flaherty and Graeme McGowan.


In the age groups there are clear leaders in almost all the male and female divisions but we have some exciting tussles to come in the Female 55+ where Mary Mackin and Patricia Brown are contesting top spot, Brian Young and Garry Morrow are only a few minutes apart in the Male Open and Paul McCullagh and Robert Wilson hold 2nd and 3rd in the Male 55+ with only 3 seconds between them.


Total entries to the Series races to date are just shy of 7,000 and the DUNE Half Marathon, Larne Half Marathon, Lisburn Half Marathon and Ards Half Marathon were all up on last year so the aim of over 8,000 entrants again should be achievable in 2015.


The next races are as follows:

Saturday 18th July 2015 - Kennedy Jane McArthur Dervock Half Marathon

Sunday 2nd August 2015 – Cookstown Half Marathon

Saturday 15th August 2015 – Groomsport Half Marathon

Saturday 22nd August 2015 - Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon


An up to date version of the current overall Pure Running Half Marathon Series rankings can be found HERE.

Juvenile, Junior & Under 23 athletes impress at AAI National Championships:

GloHealth AAI Nation Juvenile, Junior and Under 23 Track & Field Championships:

On Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland were in competition at the prestigious GloHealth AAI National Juvenile and Under 23 Track & Field Championships in Tullamore, Ireland.  


The juvenile athletes took centre stage on Day 1 (Saturday 4th July 2015), while the Under 23 competition took place on Day 2 (Sunday 5th July 2015) and there were several noteworthy performances from the Northern Ireland based athletes, with several bringing home silverware.


On Day 1, there were gold medals for Northern Ireland duo Toni Moore (Omagh Harriers) and Katie O'Connor (Newry AC) in the 2,000m Steeplechase and 800m respectively.  Under 17 athlete Toni powered to a seven second victory after crossing the line in 7:35.49 (1st place), while the always impressive Katie recorded 2:18.39 for 1st place in the Under 16 (800m) event.


Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC) continued his rise through the ranks with an excellent outing in the 800m - the talented youngster went well under the infamous two minute barrier when he won the Under 18 event in 1;57.68 (1st place).  In the Under 18 110m hurdles, City of Lisburn AC's Ben Fisher claimed 2nd place after covering the distance in 14.75secs; the race was won by Leevale AC's Jack Murphy in 14.47secs (1st place).  In the closely contested Under 13 60m hurdles, NI men Ryan O'Kane (Mid Ulster AC) and Zac Moraghan (North Down AC) secured medals – Ryan took 2nd place in 9.68secs, with Zac following in 9.69secs (3rd place).  Leevale AC's Hugh Collins topped the podium after running 9.65secs (1st place).


Undoubtedly the star of Day 2 was Banbridge AC's Emma Mitchell – the ever improving athletes picked up gold in the Under 23 1500m and 5,000m events.  In the 1500m, Emma broke the beam in 4:33.98 (1st place), while in the 5,000m, she led the ladies home in 18:06.41 (1st place).  Lagan Valley AC's Jane Matthews aslo ran well in the Junior Ladies 800m race, taking 3rd place in 2:26.26; the race was won by Leevale AC's Louise Shanahan in 2:12:21 (1st place).  


Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC) added to the local medal haul with a silver medal in the Under 23 100m, running 10.73secs (2nd place) to finish behind well known fellow Irish international Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O'Toole), who won in 10.54secs (1st place).  In the Junior Men's 400m, City of Lisburn AC's Ciaran Barnes secured 2nd place in 55.00secs; the race was won by Armand Van Zyl (RSA) in 54.76secs (1st place).


Full Results:  GloHealth AAI National Juvenile T&F Championships (Day 1) 2015 Results and GloHealth AAI National Junior and Under 23 T&F Championships (Day 2) 2015 Results

Clive Bailey and Shileen O'Kane secure Spelga Skyline titles:

Spelga Skyline Mountain Race 2015:

On Saturday 4th July 2015, mountain runners from across the province descended on Spelga Dam for the sixth race of the ongoing Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship, the Spelga Skyline – for the first time, the race was run officially in memory of Denis Rankin with the winner being awarded a special trophy in memory of the late mountain running star.


The event, hosted by BARF saw competitors cover a tough 21k course, which incorporated 1,400m of ascent. 


In misty conditions, the athletes set off uphill from Spelga Dam and negotiated the summits of Butter Mountain, Slieve Meelbeg, Slieve Loughshannagh, Slieve Muck, before crossing Deers Meadow to Slieve Moughanmore and onwards to Pierces Castle, Rocky, Hen and finally Cock Mountain before the technical descent back to the Spelga Dam finish line. 

As the athletes came off Slieve Muck and made their way across Deers Meadow, it was Mourne Runners men Clive and Gary Bailey who led the way.  In the ladies race, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) was a dominant figure at the front, with Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Paulette Thomson (Newcastle AC) contesting the runners up prize.


The weather improved as the race progressed and at the front, the always consistent Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners) edged clear of Gary Bailey.  He increased his lead in the final stages to secure victory by just over five minutes, recording an excellent 2:49:04 (1st place) in what were tough conditions.  Gary followed in 2:54:22 (2nd place), before Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) continued what has been an excellent year to cross the line in 2:59:43 (3rd place).


Ladies NIMRA Championship 'Champion' elect Shileen O'Kane was a worthy winner, as she showed the same kind of form that saw her win the EAH Forest Series recently, to claim top spot in 3:13:34 (1st place) – interestingly, the was also enough to see Shileen take 7th place overall.  Shileen's club and international team mate Anne Sandford clocked 3:56:25 for 2nd place, while Paulette Thomson complete the top thee in 3:56:31 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Clive Bailey (Mourne Runners) – 2:49:04, 2nd Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners) – 2:54:22, 3rd Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) – 2:59:43


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 3:13:34, 2nd Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) – 3:56:25, 3rd Paulette Thomson (Newcastle AC) – 3:56:31


Full Results:  Spelga Skyline Mountain Race 2015 Results.  Photos above by BARF.

Brendan Teer and Amanda Perry win inaugural Comber Potato 10k:

Comber Potato 10k 2015:

On Saturday 4th July 2015, well over two hundred athletes turned out for the inaugural Comber Potato 10k race in the County Down town of Comber.  The event was part of the Comber Potato Festival and interestingly is the first official 10k race in the town for over thirty years.


In windy conditions, the athletes negotiated a challenging undulating route.  At the head of the pack, it was East Down AC athlete Brendan Teer who impressed most.  The former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion set his stall out from the off, moving to the front – behind, veteran athlete Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers), Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners), Neil Weir (Willowfield Harriers) and Thomas Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) contested the remaining podium places. 


Meanwhile, in the ladies event, the host club's Amanda Perry looked strong from the outset; pre-race favourites Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) and Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC) battled it out for the runners up spot.


Despite the efforts of the front runners, there was no stopping Brendan Teer as he gradually increased his lead at the front before breaking the tape in 33:33 (1st place).  Paul Rowan saw off the challenge of Ballymena Runners man Ben Morrow to take 2nd place in 34:39, while Ben completed the top three in 34:55 (3rd place).


It was a similar story in the ladies race, with Amanda Perry leading the field home with approximately one minute to spare – Amanda was a popular winner in 41:45 (1st place) and was followed across the line by the ever improving Lyndsey Pronger and British Masters Champion Ruth Perioli in 42:35 (2nd place) and 42:57 (3rd place) respectively.


Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 33:33, 2nd Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) – 34:39, 3rd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 34:55


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) – 41:45, 2nd Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 42:35, 3rd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 34:55


Full Results:  Comber Potato 10k 2015 Results


Ballyhegan Park N'Stride 10k:

Less than 24 hours earlier, on Friday 3rd July 2015, there were impressive victories for up and coming St Peter's AC athlete Mark Cornett and Sperrin Harriers' Natalie Hall at the Ballyhegan 10k in County Armagh.  Mark led the men home in 38:40 (1st place), while Natalie took the ladies title in 43:01 (1st place).  Full results are available HERE.

Weekend Preview:  Road, mountain, track and mmm... Potatoes!

Weekend Preview:  Road, track, mountains and mmm... potatoes! 

After enjoying a week of pleasant weather, local running enthusiasts will go into the weekend hoping that their performances match the hot, hot, hot temperatures which we have enjoyed during all the training miles clocked over the last few days.  


Last night’s North Coast 10k seemed to go down well (although we're still waiting on results!) and has wetted the appetite for the weekend events, which include the Ballyhegan Park & Stride 10k, Lisbellaw 10k, Comber Potato 10k and the next round of the NIMRA Championships, the Spelga Skyline Mountain Race.  Local athletes will also travel to Tullamore (Ireland) for the GloHealth AAI National Juvenile and Under 23 Track & Field Championships.


Ballyhegan Park & Stride 10k road race:

The weekend action will kick off later tonight, Friday 3rd July 2015, when athletes and exercise enthusiasts alike will take on the second annual running of the Ballyhegan Park & Stride 10k road race, a community based event in County Armagh. 


At the front of the field, we expect St Peter’s AC men Gerard Heaney, Jamie Tomaselli and Barry Shanks to play a prominent part in proceedings. Gerard and Jamie enjoyed excellent outings at the Ards Half Marathon last week and should go into the event high in confidence.  Their club mate, Barry, is a consistent and always impressive performer, and although specialising at marathon distance, is more than capable of claiming a podium spot here.  Stuart Paulin (Unattached) will be another man to watch out for if he enters on the night, while it is likely that Sharon Williamson (Kernan Running Club) and Anne Killen (Unattached) will be amongst those who contest the ladies top prize.  Nuala Lemon (St Peter’s AC) and Joanne McCauley (St Peter’s AC) will also run well.

Comber Potato 10k road race:

On Saturday 4th July 2015, Ballydrain Harriers will welcome athletes from all over the province to one of the most anticipated events of the weekend, the inaugural Comber Potato 10k road race, which will be held in the County Down town of Comber as part of the ‘Comber Potato Festival’. Interestingly, this the first 10k event in the town for 30 years, when Ballydrain Harriers used to organise an event.  The course will cover a challenging but interesting route.


The host club, Ballydrain Harriers will field nearly one hundred athletes at the event, an incredible achievement given that the historic club’s membership had reduced to pretty much single figures a few years ago.  Endurance specialist Richard Coey is likely to lead the Ballydrain Harriers contingent and will be backed up well by the in-form trio of Gareth Lyons, Curtis McCaw and Scott McKeag.  Newcastle AC duo David O’Flaherty and David McNeilly could also play a part – David O’Flaherty is running well and looking back to his best after a couple of years of niggling injuries; the talented and versatile athlete went well under 16 minutes at a recent 5k in Ireland and has also claimed a podium place at the recent Les Jones 10k, after running 34:05 over a tough course.  His name-sake and club mate, David McNeilly ran 17:56 at the Comber parkrun two weeks ago.  


Veteran athlete Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) will also be there or there abouts – the Willowfield Harriers man never fails to impress and if he gets anywhere near his 33:25 finish time at this year’s Titanic 10k, he’ll hard to push off top spot.  The in-form Neil Weir (Willowfield Harriers) and Ballymena Runners men Ben Morrow and Noel Connor will be hoping for top ten finishes, as Matt Wray (Unattached) and Kevin O’Boyle (Unattached).


In the ladies race, mountain running international Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) will be considered as one of the pre-race favourites if she enters on the day.  Catherine returned to the roads last week with a 34:01 clocking to win the Loughinisland 5.05 mile road race and will be eager to put in a similar performance here.  Given her strength on the hills, this course could suit Catherine very well.  Another lady who likes the off-road, Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers), will also be amongst the front runners.  The same could be said for the always impressive Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC), Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC) and Gillian Logan (Larne AC).  Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Fiona Prue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) will also finish well up the field if they enter on the day.

Spelga Skyline Mountain Race:

On the same day, in the heart of the Mourne Mountains, popular Belfast club BARF (Belfast Association of Rock Climbers & Fell Runners) will host the sixth fixture of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship, the Spelga Skyline mountain race. 


Spelga Dam will be the setting as participants take on the tough Spelga Skyline course, with the winner taking the new 'Denis Rankin Memorial' trophy home (pictured right).


After starting uphill from Spelga Dam, the 20k route, which incorporates 1,400 metres of ascent will see participants travel to the summits of Butter Mountain, Slieve Meelbeg, Slieve Loughshannagh, Slieve Muck, across Deers Meadow to Slieve Moughanmore, onwards to Pierces Castle, Rocky, Hen and finally Cock Mountain before the technical descent back to the Spelga Dam finish line.


Given the expected absence of 2014 winner Jonny Steede (Unattached), initial expectations would be that the new, soon to be crowned 2015 NIMRA Champion Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) will take to the front of the field early and run on to be victorious, should he (Seamus) decide to race.  After winning the first five Championship events, at Glenariff, Donard-Commedagh, Annalong Horseshoe, Slieve Loughshannagh and Flagstaff to Carlingford, the Newcastle man would be forgiven for sitting this one out, having put himself in an un-catchable position.  However, the likelihood is, Seamus will race! Another possible absentee may be the in-form Sam Herron (Mourne Runners), having successfully completed the iconic Marathon Du Mont Blanc less than a week ago. 


Newcastle AC pair Deon McNeilly and David Steele, along with North Belfast Harriers' Neil Carty and Ballymena Runners' Alex Brennan will be amongst those chasing podium places.  David Steele hasn't featured much in the Championship since the Donard-Commedagh event back in April, but ran well here in 2014, taking third place behind current Champion Jonny Steede and the aforementioned Seamus Lynch.  Other men who excel in the longer events, such as Mourne Runners' Clive Bailey and Dale Mathers, as well as Phil Hodge (Newcastle AC), will be pushing for high placings.


In the ladies event, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) should race and will be considered as favourite; especially after winning four of the five previous Championship events and taking into consideration her performance of the longer distance at Flagstaff to Carlingford earlier this month. Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) is returning to form and has shown some of the class that secured the NIMRA Championship title in 2014 over the shorter events such as Loughshannagh, where she (Diane) took second place ahead of Shileen.  However, over the longer races at Annalong Horseshoe and Flagstaff to Carlingford, Shileen has got the edge over her friend and international team mate.  Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Jacque Toal, from the host club (BARF) are likely absentees after having competed in long distance events in France and Italy last weekend, which leaves last years winner Denise Mathers (Mourne Runners) and Paulette Thompson (Newcastle AC) as two athletes likely to make an impact over this tough and at times technical course.  Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Taryn McCoy (BARF) are others who cannot be discounted.


Important Note:  Participants are reminded that this event starts at 11am and there are strict kit requirements in place. Everyone must carry the following items - Whistle, Compass, a Map covering the whole course, Full Waterproof body cover, Emergency food, Hat and Gloves.


Lisbellaw 10k road race (and associated 7.5k run):

In County Fermanagh, on Saturday 4th July 2015, a large number of athletes are expected to take part in the Lisbellaw 10k road race, an event which always seems to attract a good mixture of athletes, including some high profile names.


The chances are that the top two men from the Lisnaskea 10k two weeks ago will toe the line here; Stephen Cassidy (Enniskillen Running Club) and Shane Brady (Clones AC) will be the men to beat should they participate.  Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) and Craig Phair (Unattached) may also be amongst the the top ten finishers, while in the ladies race, Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club) will take charge if she makes use of the on the day entry system.  Tara's club mate Karen Dolan (Enniskillen Running Club) and recent Omagh Youth Sport 10k winner Paula Donnelly (Unattached) will also play a major part at the head of the pack, as will the always impressive Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC).

GloHealth AAI National Juvenile and Under 23 Track & Field Championships:

On Saturday 4th July and Sunday 5th July 2015, a host of Northern Ireland's best up and coming talent will travel south to Tullamore (Ireland) for the GloHealth AAI National Juvenile and Under 23 Track & Field Championships.


Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Roseanna McGuckian (City of Lisburn AC) and Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC) will lead the local medal charge.  However, there is a plethora of local talent just waiting to step up to the mark, including Adam Hill (City of Lisburn AC), Craig Newell (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Karl McClean (City of Lisburn AC), Gareth Thompson (City of Lisburn AC), Ciaran Burns (City of Lisburn AC), Connor McCann (St Malachy's AC) and Naomi Morgan (City of Derry AC).


Parkrun:

Nineteen of Northern Ireland’s twenty parkrun events will take place this weekend as normal, however, the Comber parkrun has been cancelled for one week due to the Comber Potato 10k and the related parking issues.  For more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.

Remember - If you would like to catch up on our 'News' from June 2015, you can use the navigation banner at the top of the screen (and scroll to June 2015) or click HERE.