Northern Ireland Running

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North Down AC host successful Track & Field season opener:

North Down AC T&F Meet (Meet 1):

On Tuesday 15th April 2014, North Down AC hosted the first of the their 2014 'Open' Track & Field Meets, a popular annual Series, held at Bangor Sportsplex in County Down.

The event offered athletes the opportunity to compete over 150m, 300m, 600m, 800m and 3,000m, and there were several notable performances.  The host clubs very own Holly Brannigan looked strong as she won Race 1 in the 150m competition in 20.98secs, nearly two seconds quicker than her nearest rival; however, the quickest lady over 150m was City of Lisburn AC star Megan Marrs, who ran 19.15secs to win Race 2.  Arguably the top performance in the Men's 150m races was that of Unattached athlete David Agnew (18:04secs), after the U-17 athlete clocked the second quickest time of the evening behind North Down AC's Andrew Mellon, who ran 17.30secs.

U-15 athlete Aaron Sexton (North Down AC), who had run 18.51secs in the 150m, covered the 300m in an excellent 38.54secs; the honour of being the quickest man over 300m on the night went to another athlete who had impressed over 150m, Andrew Mellon (North Down AC), who broke the beam in 36.83secs to win Race 3.  There were also good runs by North Belfast Harriers' Rhys Clelland (37.26secs), North Down AC's Tom Reynolds (37.64secs) and Ballymena & Antrim AC's Ryan McIlroy (37.88secs).

Sarah Ferris (City of Lisburn AC) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) won Race 1 and Race 2 of the ladies 600m event respectively, with Sarah running 1:47.16 and Rachel a new personal best of 1:39.13.  Willowfield Harriers youngsters Nathan McBride (1:57.53) and Dylan McBride (1:58.10) ran sub 2 minutes in Race 1 of the Men's 600m, while local man Andrew Mellon completed a superb night, showing his class once again as he claimed the fastest 600m time of the night in 1:23.71. In the Men's 800m, up and coming Ballydrain Harriers star Ryan Andrews stole the show with a dominant win; he covered the distance in 2:13.83, and was followed by a trio of his club mates, Under 15's Scot McKeag (2nd place - 2:20.81), Andrew Adams (3rd place – 2:26.34) and Aaron Harrison (4th place – 2:34.01).

North Down AC's Stephen Wylie led the field home in the 3,000m race; he (Stephen) crossed the line in 9:18.33 (1st place).  Brian Barron (North Down AC) followed in 9:21.03 (2nd place), while East Down AC's Barrie Atkinson showed that his recent outings over 13.1 miles haven't caused any lose in speed, the versatile athlete took 3rd place in 9:22.78.

Full Results:  North Down AC T&F Meet (Meet 1) 2014 Results

Glenn Phair and Pauline McGurren claim victory at Gortin 10k:

Hundreds turn out for annual Gortin 10k:

Over the weekend (Saturday 12th April 2014), well over three hundred athletes turned out for the Gortin 10k road race (and associated 5k), which took place in the rural village of Gortin, close to Omagh, in County Tyrone.

Recently crowned Athletics NI 5k (Road) Champion Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) once again showed his class.  The Belfast based athlete covered the undulating course in 33:46 (1st place); this was almost one minute ahead of City of Derry AC's James Brown, who crossed the line in 34:41 for 2nd place.  Another City of Derry Spartan, Michael Murphy completed the men's top three in 36:43 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) followed up her impressive performance at the Altamuskin 5 last month (March 2014), where she won, with another victory.  The fast improving athlete led the ladies home in 39:56 (1st place); this also seen Pauline finish in the top ten overall.  Omagh Harriers' Ita Kelly recorded 44:27 (2nd place) before Marie McNulty (Club Unknown) finished in 45:58 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Glenn Phair (Annadalde Striders) – 33:46, 2nd James Brown (City of Derry AC) – 34:41, 3rd Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC) – 36:43

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 39:56, 2nd Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers) – 44:27, 3rd Marie McNulty (Club Unknown) – 45:58

Full Results:  Gortin 10k Road Race 2014 Results

Mark Hoy secures Irish Universities title in Waterford: 

Irish Universities Athletics Association Track & Field Championships 2014:

Over the weekend (Friday 11th April and Saturday 12th April 2014), several athletes from Northern Ireland swapped their club vests for those of their respective Universities to take part in the Irish Universities Athletics Association Track & Field Championships in Waterford (Ireland).

The performance of the weekend came from Mark Hoy (University of Ulster), after the Finn Valley AC star, who will race at the NiRunning/BMC 'Festival of Miles' next month (May 2014), secured a gold medal in the 1500m; he (Mark) ran 3:53.90 for the distance.  In the same race, Neil Johnston (Queen's University) claimed 5th place in 4:02:40.  There was also a podium place for Jonathan Browning (Queen's University) in the 100m, where he broke the beam in 11.41secs (3rd place).  The race was won by Carlow IT's Marcus Lawler in 11.21secs.  Jonathan (22.88secs) narrowly missed another medal in the 200m, after finishing in 4th place; Carlow IT's Marcus Lawler won this race in 22:00secs.

Enniskillen man, Stephen Prentice lined up in the 5,000m final, where he ran well to finish in 15:53.20 (8th place).  The race was won by well known Irish athlete John Travers (AIT) in 14:54.70.  In the ladies 3,000m, Rachel Gibson (Ulster University) ran a new personal best of 10:08.40, this was enough to take 4th place in the race won by Maria O'Sullivan (Trinity College Dublin) in 9:48.40.

Also this weekend...

A team from Derry City Track Club were in action at the Woodies DIY AAI National Road Relay Championships in Raheny, Ireland.  The team, which consisted of Adrian Boyle, Cathal McLaughlin and Tim Shiels, completed the three leg (1 mile, 2 mile, 1mile) relay in 20:17, this sealed a very credible 7th place finish in the fiercely contested event, which was won by Raheny Shamrocks AC in 19:46.

Full Results:  IUAA Track & Field Championships 2014 Results and Woodies DIY AAI National Road Relay Championships 2014 Results

Roberts, McGuinness and Campbell claim podium places in Inishowen:

Inishowen Half Marathon 2014:

On Sunday 13th April 2014, Northern Ireland was well represented on the podium at the Inishowen Half Marathon in County Donegal (Ireland). The race, which is popular with local athletes, is run over a tough undulating course and was made all the more difficult because of the windy conditions.

City of Derry AC's Greg Roberts looked strong as chased eventual winner Joe Sweeney (DSD AC) in the early stages; behind, two other Northern Ireland based stars, Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) and David Graham (Unattached) were battling it out for the final podium spot.  In the end, Greg achieved the 2nd place finish he deserved, crossing the line in 1:15:37.  Chris McGuinness got the better of triathlete David Graham, securing 3rd place in 1:16:18.  David, who won the Carlingford Half Marathon last month, followed in 1:16:45 (4th place).

Mark Mullan (City of Derry AC) finished in 1:19:34 (6th place), before former Irish Olympian and winner of the Titanic 10k in 2013, Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) won the ladies race in 1:20:13.  Foyle Valley AC's Andrew Wallace covered the 13.1 mile route in 1:26:39, and finished just over two minutes ahead of Marina Campbell (City of Derry AC), who took 3rd place in the ladies race, after running 1:28:46.  

Springwell Running Club duo Thomas Moore (1:29:04) and Gerard Mullan (1:29:32) claimed 21st place and 23rd place respectively, with Aisling Allum (Olympian Triathlon Club) crossing the line in 1:30:53 (4th place lady).  Omagh Harriers' Richard Shannon recorded 1:33:05 (42nd place) and Foyle Valley AC's Richard Gallagher ran 1:34:01 (45th place), while Sperrin Harriers' Stephen Kerr (1:38:40), and Foyle Valley AC pair Sean Molloy (1:40:06) and David Wylie (1:40:33) also claimed top one hundred placings.

Full Results:  Inishowen Half Marathon 2014 Results

Northern Ireland runners enjoy ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon:

ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon 2014:

On Sunday 13th April 2014, at least eight athletes from Northern Ireland completed the ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon in Holland; the event is well known for it's excellent atmosphere, which is created by a touted 950,000 spectators.

Regular visitor and competitor in Northern Ireland, Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) had an excellent run.  The current Irish 50k Champion crossed the line in 2:22:52.  The Northern Ireland runners were led home by experienced marathon man Sam Crawford, who completed the fast and flat course in 2:48:56.  His club mate, Billy Reed, a respected endurance athlete, followed in 2:58:51, while Orangegrove AC's Joe Craney recorded a new personal best of 3:12:59.

Larne based East Antrim Harriers man, Phillip McNeill, finished in 3:15:00, ahead of Michael Allen (East Antrim Harriers), Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers) and Andy Liddle (East Antrim Harriers), who clocked 3:15:48, 3:23:21 and 3:27:23 respectively.  Another East Antrim Harriers member, Jennifer Ashby enjoyed an excellent outing, and ran a new personal best of 3:29:06.  Martin McMillan completed the East Antrim Harriers' marathon performances when he crossed the line in 3:55:48.  The race was won by Eluid Kipchoge (Kenya) in 2:05:00, with Ethiopian Abebech Afework secure victory in the ladies race in 2:27:50.  In the associated 10k race, East Antrim Harriers' Joe McBride narrowly missed a sub 40 minute finish time when he completed the 6.2 mile loop in 40:08.  Dutch athletes Seb Klooster (33:20) and Sonne Broeksma (38:17) claimed top honours in the 10k.

Full Results:  ABN AMBRO Rotterdam Marathon 2014 Results

Local athletes perform well at Virgin Money London Marathon 2014:

Virgin Money London Marathon 2014:

On Sunday 13th April 2014, hundreds of runners from Northern Ireland were part of a huge 35,000 strong crowd taking part in the 34th annual running of the Virgin Money London Marathon in England.  Much of the pre-race talk was based around the 26.2 mile debut of Team GB's double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, who ended up recording 2:08:21 (8th place).  The race was won by Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) in a new course record of 2:04:27, while Kenya's Edna Kiplagat (2:20:20) claimed the ladies title in what was a closely contested event.

On the local front, there were several notable performances and personal bests from the Northern Ireland contingent. Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC), Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers) and Paul Thompson (Springwell Running Club) were the early pace setters; in the end, it was Andrew Considine who led the local athletes across the famous 'Mall' finish line in 2:40:53.  Francis Marsh, who was representing Herne Hill Harriers,  followed just over a minute later in 2:41:56, before Newcastle AC's Mark Kendall battled well to finish under the 2:45:00 mark, recording 2:44:56 for the distance.  Jim Benson looked to be back to his best as he clocked 2:47:37 to finish just ahead of City of Lisburn AC's Peter Donnelly (2:49:11) and Newcastle AC's Alan Strachan (2:49:56).

After a short break in Northern Ireland finishers, David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers), Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), Damian Grant (Beechmount Harriers) all crossed the line in the space of eleven seconds, with David running 2:55:22, Richard 2:55:24 and Damian 2:55:33.  A tired but happy Paul Thompson (Springwell Running Club) completed the course in 2:57:31, while Sperrin Harriers' Paul McLaughlin (2:58:59), Magherafelt Harriers' Darren Church (2:59:00) and Ballymena Runners' Gary Davison (2:59:25) also dipped under the 3:00:00 mark.  Mark Carey (Beechmount Harriers) narrowly missed the aforementioned barrier, finishing in 3:00:49.  Norman Smyth (Newcastle AC) was the next familiar face home in 3:01:12, just before North Down AC's Nicklas Arkensparr (3:01:24) and Newry City Runners' leading man Michael Dillon (3:01:42).  Orangegrove AC's Thomas Leitch ran well to finish in 3:02:11, while St Peters AC's Connor Mulholland (3:03:08), Foyle Valley AC's Barry Smith (3:03:45) and Newcastle AC's Jerome McCrickard (3:04:04) all crossed the line in quick succession.

Larne AC man, David Noble, continued his excellent form with a 3:04:54 clocking, this was enough to finish just before endurance enthusiast Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers), who ran 3:05:39.  Newry City Runners' Sean Goodman (3:07:19), Springwell Running Clubs Ali Shaw (3:07:36) and Magherafelt Harriers Niall Higgins (3:07:44) finished within a minute of each other, while Paul Gaskell (Larne AC) covered the scenic course in 3:11:57.  The fast improving Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners) led a 'train' of familiar faces home; Ryan ran 3:12:37 and was joined in the finish area by North Belfast Harriers' Stephen Walker (3:12:10), Lagan Valley AC's Jonny Irvine (3:12:38), Springwell Running Clubs Eddie Clyde (3:13:29), St Peters AC's Barry Shanks (3:14:10) and North Belfast Harriers men Colin Simpson (3:14:05) and Gerry Gribbon (3:14:21).

Just one second split Frankie McKay (St Peter's AC) and Rodney Agnew (Ballymena Runners), who recorded 3:16:02 and 3:16:03 respectively.  Magherafelt Harriers' Francis Stewart (3:17:06) followed just over a minute later.  Enniskillen Running Clubs Tara Malone was rewarded for her efforts with a new personal best of 3:18:24, which saw her finish just ahead of fellow NI lady Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), who ran 3:18:33.  

Mark Shields was another North Belfast Harriers representative, and looked strong as he came down the Mall to finish in 3:21:42.  Foyle Valley AC duo Hugo Hegarty (3:22:01) and Teague Whoriskey (3:22:59) also ran well, as did Ballymena Runners' Jonny Graham (3:23:20), who finished just ahead of one of the days top performers, Orangegrove AC's Lyndsey Pronger, who ran an excellent 3:24:35; interestingly, this is a new Orangegrove AC club record. Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) crossed the line as the clock read 3:26:27; she (Athanasia) was followed closely by club mate Michael McCormick (3:26:49) and the ever consistent Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), who finished in 3:27:27.  Andrew Acheson (Orangegrove AC) and Fiona Johnston (Unattached) then claimed sub 3:30:00 finishes, running 3:29:12 and 3:29:47 respectively.

There were numerous other top performances from Northern Ireland based athletes, these included:  Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC) – 3:00:21, Linda Gillan (Springwell Running Club) – 3:35:08, Scott Galbraith (City of Derry AC) – 3:35:57, Ciaran Bradley (Foyle Valley AC) – 3:36:48, Peter Doherty (City of Derry AC) – 3:37:11, Tina Davies (Dromore AC) – 3:38:55, Sharon Harvey (Ballymena Runners) – 3:39:46, James Tomaselli (Unattached) – 3:41:11, Cathal McFeely (Springwell Running Club) – 3:41:37, Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners) – 3:44:14, Eddie Blaney (East Antrim Harriers) – 3:45:36, Aine Fegan (Newry City Runners) - 3:47:26, David Balmer (North Down AC) – 3:48:32, Roisin Rocks (Newry City Runners) – 3:51:46, Ian Brennan (Larne AC) – 3:52:14, Paul Connolly (City of Derry AC) – 3:52:35, Patrick McShane (North Belfast Harriers) – 3:53:07, John Kelly (Newcastle AC) – 3:56:24, Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) – 3:56:33, Barry McCluskey (Springwell Running Club) – 3:56:38, Joseph McVey (Magherafelt Harriers) – 3:56:54, Thomas Doherty (Magherafelt Harriers) – 3:58:02, Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) – 4:00:43, Michael O'Donoghue (Orangegrove AC) – 4:01:33, Noel McMonagle (City of Derry AC) – 4:04:06, Sarah Benton (North Down AC) - 4:06:06, Sinead O'Hanlon (Newry City Runners) – 4:10:36, Letitia Meenan (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:10:50, Gerard McNamara (North Belfast Harriers) – 4:12:56, Muir Clarke (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:17:29, Amanda Kenny (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:17:30, Louise Gault (Lagan Valley AC) – 4:23:04, Damian Keenan (Ballymena Runners) – 4:26:54, Paula Lorimer (Ballymena Runners) – 4:44:19, Lisa Fleming (Orangegrove AC) – 4:46:27, Eleanor Acheson (Orangegrove AC) – 4:50:18, Marie Devine (North Down AC) - 4:59:05.

Junior athletes from Northern Ireland were also in action at the world famous event, with a strong squad of up and coming stars taking on the Virgin Money London Mini-Marathon; during the 3 mile race, the local runners faced tough competition in the form of teams from England, Scotland and Wales.  The entire Northern Ireland team done themselves and the province proud.

In the U-13 category, Kian Bittles (Club Unknown) and Olivia Nelson (Club Unknown) led the NI runners home in 17:02 and 18:09 respectively; Omagh Harriers' Niamh Heaney also ran well, finishing in 19:05.  James Edgar (City of Lisburn AC) and Christy Conlon (Beechmount Harriers) produced top class performances in the U-15 race, with James running 15:10 for 4th place and Christy 15:13 for 5th place. Madison Bowyer (City of Lisburn AC) was the first (U-15) local lady to finish in 18:48.  In the U-17 race, Paddy Robb (St Malachy's AC) continued his good form with a 15:32 finish, while Catriona McGloin (Balmoral Harriers) recorded 18:38 for the distance.

Full Results:  Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 Results and Virgin Money London Mini-Marathon 2014 Results

Please Note – As part of our coverage of the Virgin Money London Marathon we have tried our best to include as many Northern Ireland based athletes as possible, but we are sure that you will appreciate that it is impossible to find and include everyone.  If we have missed a particular athlete and you would like them added to the above summary, please email us their name, club (if applicable) and exact finish time (HH:MM:SS) to before 5pm on Monday 14th April 2014.

Ann-Marie McGlynn smashes course record to win Patsy Kelly 5k:

North East Runners host annual Patsy Kelly 5k:

On Saturday 12th April 2014, a number of runners from Northern Ireland travelled south to Dundalk (Ireland) for the Patsy Kelly 5k road race, an event hosted by North East Runners.

Strabane based Irish international athlete, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) showed the quality that has saw her pick up wins at the Queen's 5k and the Titanic 10k in the last few weeks.  The talented lady smashed the course record as she claimed victory in 16:38 (1st place); this was enough to secure an eighth place finish overall.  Newry AC's track star Oisin O'Callaghan followed in 16:42 (9th place), before Eoghan O'Callaghan (Newry AC) crossed the line in 19:01 (47th place).

Paul Lyons (Newry City Runners) completed the 3.1 mile route in 19:37, while Club Pulse AC's Mairead Hughes (20:46) and Newry City Runners' Lauren Hutchinson (21:20) claimed 106th place and 120th place overall, in a field of over eight hundred runners.  The race was won by Peter Brandon (Unattached) in 14:46.

Full Results:  Patsy Kelly 5k Road Race 2014 Results

Aaron Meharg and Lorna Sibbett win Shanes Castle 10k:

Athletes enjoy scenic Shanes Castle 10k:

On Saturday 12th April 2014, runners from across Northern Ireland turned out to support the Shanes Castle 10k, an event hosted by Randalstown based school St Benedict's College within the confines of the scenic Shanes Castle Estate in County Antrim.

It was last years winner Aaron Meharg (Unattached) who once again stole the headlines; having finished as runner up at the recent Magherafelt 10k, it was clear that Aaron was in top form, he once again showed this to lead the field home in 34:22 (1st place).  Shane Donnelly (Unattached) followed in a new personal best of 35:55 (2nd place), before the fast improving Bliadhan Glass (Unattached) completed the course in 36:36 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Lorna Sibbett (Sperrin Harriers), a top ten finisher a the Magherafelt Harriers 10k, looked strong as she broke the tape to win in 43:23 (1st place).  Laura McErlain (Sperrin Harriers) took the runners up spot in 43:39 (2nd place), while Linda Petticrew (Ballymen Runners) secured the final podium place in 45:03 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Aaron Meharg (Unattached) – 34:22, 2nd Shane Donnelly (Unattached) – 35:55, 3rd Bliadhan Glass (Unattached) – 36:36

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Lorna Sibbett (Sperrin Harriers) – 43:23, 2nd Laura McErlain (Sperrin Harriers) – 43:39, 3rd Linda Petticrew (Ballymena Runners) – 45:03

Full results will be added as soon as they are available.

McKinstry, Murphy, Savage and McCourt win at Castleward Challenge:

Hundreds turn out for Born 2 Run's Castleward Challenge:

On Saturday 12th April 2014, hundreds of athletes descended on the stunning Castleward Estate in County Down, where the Born 2 Run Events roadshow rolled in for the 3rd annual running of their Castleward Challenge, an event that offers competitors two distances, a Half Marathon and a 10k.

North Belfast Harriers' Mark McKinstry produced an excellent performance in the Half Marathon. The consistently impressive athlete looked a class above the rest from the off; he gradually built on his lead as the race progressed, before claiming victory in 1:22:34 (1st place).  Ryan Moore (Unattached) followed just over four minutes later in 1:26:59 (2nd place), while Stuart Paulin (Unattached) continued his good run of podium places at Born 2 Run events, taking 3rd place in 1:27:10.

Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), lived up to her 'contender' billing prior to the event; the versatile athlete bettered her runners up placing in 2013 with an emphatic victory in the ladies race.  Julie crossed the line in 1:42:35 (1st place), winning by nearly ten minutes.  Dromore AC's Janice Reid secured 2nd place in 1:51:58, before Emma Moley (Unattached) covered the 13.1 mile distance in 1:52:07 (3rd place).

In the 10k race, James Savage (East Down AC), who narrowly missed a podium place at this event last year (2013), led the field home in 39:12 (1st place), thus sealing a well-deserved win.  Paul Burns (East Down AC) took 2nd place in 40:54, before North Belfast Harriers' Cathy McCourt completed one of the days most notable performances; having returned from injury to win the Ballymena Belles 5 mile road race earlier this week, Cathy (1st place - 43:38) crossed the line in third place overall, she was therefore crowned ladies Champion.

John McConnell (North Belfast Harriers) completed the men's podium two seconds later in 43:40 (3rd place), while local lady Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) showed that she is getting back to her best after clocking 44:10 (2nd place).  Orangegrove AC's Louise Lemon added another good run to her recent outings at the Titanic 10k and the Queen's 5k, with a solid 46:46 clocking for 3rd place.

Half Marathon:

Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:22:34, 2nd Ryan Moore (Unattached) – 1:26:59, 3rd Stuart Paulin (Unattached) – 1:27:10

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:42:35, 2nd Janice Reid (Dromore AC) – 1:51:58, 3rd Emma Moley (Unattached) – 1:52:07

10k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st James Savage (East Down AC) – 39:12, 2nd Paul Burns (East Down AC) – 40:54, 3rd John McConnell (North Belfast Harriers) – 43:40

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 43:38, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 44:10, 3rd Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC) – 46:46

Full Results:  Castleward Challenge 2014 Results (Photograph from Castleward Challenge courtesy of Mark Ramsey)

Pure Running Half Marathon Series 2014 update:

Pure Running HM Series 2014 update by ChampionChip Ireland:

The 2014 Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series is now in full flow, with three races complete, and interestingly, different winners in the male and female races at each event.  The DUNE Half Marathon kicked off proceedings on the Saturday 16th March 2014, with the route reversed from last year (2013) starting in Newry and finishing outside the Courthouse in Dundalk (Ireland).

Local man Don Travers (Newry City Runners) romped home in 1:17:05 and the first lady was Heather Foley (Unattached), showing her prowess in running as well as being an excellent duathlete.  Heather clocked 1:22:03 and was in the top ten overall. Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) was second female.

The AES Larne Half Marathon (Saturday 22nd March 2014) was next and with the usual big field, the runners battled the headwinds on the rugged Coast Road. Joe McAllister (St Malachy's AC) took top honours with a sub 1:10:00 clocking of 1:09:44 ahead of a torrid battle between North Belfast Harriers and North Down AC athletes.  Fiona Stack (1:19:44) from Raheny Shamrocks AC in Dublin was top lady and Heather Foley (Unattached) came home in second to maintain her promising start to the Series.

The Spar Omagh Half Marathon (Saturday 29th March 2014) was celebrating its 25th running and had a massive field in both the Half Marathon and the Fun Run.  Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) broke away from Gary Murray (St Malachy's AC) to finish in the fastest time in the Series to date, this was 1:06:37. DSD AC's Maria McCambridge (1:16:41) was comfortably the top lady with Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders), racing in her second race of the Series, finishing in fifth place.

The two intrepid runners Angus McCready (Up & Runners) and Michael McKeown (East Down AC), have kept up their incredible record and completed the 3 races to date and thus have now done all 40 races since the Series started in 2009.

Next for the runners will be the Newry Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday 25th May 2014, over a new faster flatter course towards Warrenpoint and back, with some personal bests expected.  The first section of the Series then concludes with the Lisburn Half Marathon on Wednesday 19th June 2014. Anyone taking part in the Series who wants their times to be registered for the special garment and the category prizes can visit the Athletics NI website fixtures page where there is a link to the registration form.  Full results from the races mentioned above can be found on the NiRunning 'Results' page.

Weekend Preview:  Castleward Challenge, Gortin 10k, VLM and more...

Weekend Preview:  NI athletes prepare for events at home and abroad....

This coming weekend not only offers several exciting local races, but it brings an end to months of hard and focused training for many, with a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelling to the Virgin London Marathon (England) and the ABN AMBRO Rotterdam Marathon (Holland).  Local athletes will also compete at the Woodies DIY AAI National Road Relay Championships in Raheny (Ireland), the North East Runners 5k in Dundalk (Ireland) and the Inishowen Half Marathon in County Donegal (Ireland), amongst other events.

On Saturday 12th April 2014, Born 2 Run events will host the third annual running of their Castleward Challenge; an event held within the confines of the stunning Castleward Estate in County Down.  Competitors are offered a choice of distances, namely a 10k and a Half Marathon.  Although online entries are now closed, organisers will accept entries on the day, at a slightly increased rate.  Please visit for full details.

Last years Half Marathon Champion, Don Travers (Newry City Runners), should return to defend his title.  The international endurance runner returned to competition at the Hilltown 10k last weekend, where he narrowly missed a podium spot, after securing fourth place.  This followed an excellent outing a month earlier, when the multiple WPFG medallist won the DUNE Half Marathon in 1:17:05.  At this race last year, Don cruised to victory, with a gap of almost six minutes between himself and the runner up, Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers).  However, the fast improving Ballydrain Harriers man, who should return this year, will not be shrugged aside just as easy this time around.  Despite having had a quiet start to 2014, he (Richard) showed that he is still one to watch with a 1:20:35 finish at the Omagh Half Marathon two weeks ago.  

The aforementioned duo may well be joined on the start line by local hero Brendan Teer (East Down AC).  Brendan is a regular at events run by Born 2 Run, and should go into this as pre-race favourite if he does turn out on the day.  Especially when taking into consideration his performances at the Albertville 5, Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k, Rollercoaster Races and the high profile Armagh International 5k, where he recorded a personal best of 15:20.  Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Stuart Paulin and Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) should be amongst the front runners as well.  Although pretty sharp on the tarmac, Simon Reeve is an off-road specialist; the North Belfast Harriers athlete had an excellent run at the Titanic 10k last week, but his best performance of this year came at the Roe Valley Trail Race where he finished in second place.  Stuart Paulin has climbed the podium at three of the last four Born 2 Run races, and won their Tollymore 10k.  He will be in the thick of the action once again, as will Mark McKinstry.  Ballymena based Mark, who represents North Belfast Harriers, has worked his way through the 'ranks' over the last twelve to eighteen months and is now a regular prize-winner.  In particular, Mark impressed at the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series, but his most recent outing was at the Queen's 5k, where he crossed the line in a new personal best of 16:10.  Richard Watt (Unattached), Colin McCluskey (Hi Elbow Tri Club) and NiRunning contributor and friend John Glover (Lagan Valley AC) will also race the Half Marathon.

In the ladies race, Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers) should return to defend the Half Marathon title she won so impressively last year; the international athlete won all of the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Series races, adding to victories at the Moira XC and the Enniskillen XC, so will prove hard to beat if she brings that form to the party.  However, Karen won't have it all her own way, with several other notable entries, including Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) and Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners).  Lagan Valley AC's Julie Murphy was a runner up in 2013 and will return, probably hoping to better her finishing position last time. The talented triathlete kicked off 2014 with a fantastic run at the NI & Ulster Masters XC in Lurgan, she then followed that up with a brilliant win at Born 2 Run's Minnowburn 10k in Belfast; She (Julie) should  therefore go into this race high in confidence.

Maeve Lavery is a very consistent performer and is a regular in the top three finishers at the Queen's parkrun; Maeve also clocked 6:02 at the last NiRunning Mile at Antrim Stadium (2013).  Karen Poag (Seapark AC), Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC), Wendy Fleming (Dromore AC), Cara Hamilton (Unattached) and Nuala Lemon (St Peter's AC) will all finish well up the field.

In-form Newcastle AC man, David O'Flaherty could be a late entrant in the 10k race.  If so, the Moria XC and Comber Cup XC winner will hope to produce the same level of performance that saw him seal a new personal best of 33:31 over 10k at Jimmys 10k last month (March 2014).  He (David) has also claimed prizes at the Castlewellan Spring Lakes and Downpatrick Rollercoaster Races.  Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), James Savage (Unattached) and Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) may also challenge for high places.  

The ladies 10k will see a potentially close dual between Orangegrove AC's Louise Lemon and East Down AC's Catherine O'Connor.  Both ladies have enjoyed good runs recently, with Louise running new personal bests for 5k (20:26) and 10k (43:04) last week, at the Queen's 5k and Titanic 10k respectively. Meanwhile, Catherine finished in second place at the Leitrim 5m road race last week, after running 33:49.  Ally Bennett (County Antrim Harriers) will be another lady who will have a podium place in her sights.

Also on Saturday 12th April 2014, athletes from the County Tyrone and Fermanagh areas will descend on the village of Gortin (County Tyrone), close to Omagh, for the annual Gortin 10k road race (and associated 5k).

Unfortunately, last years winner, Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) will not make the start line.  That should leave the path clear for Omagh Harriers star and current NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion, Stephen Duncan to reclaim the title he won in 2012.  Stephen has been in top form since returning from injury; in the last few months, he has won the Carmen 10k, Altamuskin 5 and the Enniskillen XC.  Stephen Prentice (Enniskillen Running Club) may also race, the Minnowburn 10k winner, who ran 15:36 at the Armagh International 5k, will go well, if he makes use of the on the day entry.  Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club), Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Damien Cox (Omagh Harriers) and Derek Somerville (Omagh Harriers) will also finish well up.

The ladies title will also go to a new home this year, as reigning Champion Sara Moore is currently at University in America.  If her club mate Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers) starts, she will be considered a strong contender.  Despite being a regular in Cross Country events, Michelle never really features on the roads; however, when she does, the NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion never fails to impress.  Mairead McCann (Omagh Harriers), Ita Kelly (Omagh Harriers) and Claire Maguire (Omagh Triathlon Club) will also be there or there abouts.

In Dundalk (Ireland) on Saturday 12th April 2014, North East Runners, an Irish based club who actively support a variety of events in Northern Ireland, will host their own race; the Patsy Kelly 5k road race.  Entries will be taken on race day, with the race starting at 6.30pm on Ecco Road, Dundalk (Ireland).

Athletes from Northern Ireland will also travel to Inishowen in County Donegal (Ireland) for the Inishowen Half Marathon on Saturday 12th April 2014.  Last year, Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC) won the ladies race, with Springwell Running Club's Ciara Toner taking the runners up spot.  Although it is unclear as to whether either of the ladies will return, their club's should be well represented, as should Foyle Valley AC and Omagh Harriers.

On Sunday 13th April 2014, several Northern Ireland based clubs should be represented at the Woodies DIY AAI National Road Relay Championships in Raheny (Ireland).  City of Derry AC are expected to field a strong side, which should include the likes of Declan Reed, Greg Roberts, Gary Slevin, Conor Bradley, Emmett McGinty, Pajo Hamilton and Noel Logan, amongst others.  Annadale Striders, St Malachy's AC and North Down AC may also send teams to the prestigious event, which will see Ireland's top clubs battle it out for bragging rights.

Also on Sunday 13th April 2014, hundreds of runners from Northern Ireland will travel to England for the massively popular Virgin London Marathon. The event, which attracts over forty thousand athletes every year is seen as the world's best supported 26.2 mile race, and this year it has a particular prominence to many, with London 2012 Olympic hero Mo Farah making his Marathon debut.

On the local front, we are aware of a large number of athletes who will race, all hoping to achieve their own goals.  This includes, Mark Kendall (Newcastle AC), Paul Woodman (Orangegrove AC), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers), Gerry Gribbon (North Belfast Harriers), Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners) Sharon Harvey (Ballymena Runners) Tara Malone (Enniskillen Running Club), Penny Lindsay (East Coast AC), David Noble (Larne AC), Ian Brennan (Larne AC)....

Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Gary Connolly (Seapark AC), Eddie Blaney (East Antrim Harriers), Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC), Lisa Fleming (Orangegrove AC), Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC), John Kelly (Newcastle AC), Francis Stewart (Magherafelt Harriers), Darren Church (Magherafelt Harriers), Niall Higgins (Magherafelt Harriers), Jonny Graham (Ballymena Runners), Rodney Agnew (Ballymena Runners), Damien Kennan (Ballymena Runners), Michael O'Donoghue (Orangegrove AC), Andrew Acheson (Orangegrove AC), Eleanor Acheson (Orangegrove AC), Paula Lorimer (Ballymena Runners), Anathasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers), Mark Shields (North Belfast Harriers), Thomas Doherty (Magherafelt Harriers), Archie McElhinney (Magherafelt Harriers), Joseph McVeagh (Magherafelt Harriers), Raymond Monaghan (Magherafelt Harriers), Gary Davison (Ballymena Runners), Alan Strachan (Newcastle AC), Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Greg McClure (North Belfast Harriers), Norman Smyth (Newcastle AC), Colin Simpson (North Belfast Harriers), Sean McShane (North Belfast Harriers), Patrick McShane (North Belfast Harriers), Michael McCormick (North Belfast Harriers), Gerard McNamara (North Belfast Harriers) and Stephen Walker (North Belfast Harriers). Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) will once again be the official three hour pacer.  Up and coming stars Conall McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers), Paddy Robb (St Malachy's AC), Conor Christie (Springwell Running Club), Ronan O'Fril (St Malachy's AC), Emma Hutchinson (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Christy Conlon (Beechmount Harriers) Madison Bowyer (City of Lisburn AC), James Smyth (St Malachy's AC), Jonny Whan (City of Lisburn AC), Toni Moore (Omagh Harriers), Zoe Carruthers (City of Lisburn AC), Lois Hagen (Willowfield Harriers) will be amongst a strong Northern Ireland team competing at the Virgin London Mini-Marathon.

In Holland, a group of East Antrim Harriers will compete at the 34th annual running of the ABN AMBRO Rotterdam Marathon on Sunday 13th April 2014. Jennifer Ashby, Sam Crawford, Chris Collins, Michael Allen, Billy Reed, Phillip McNeill, Andy Liddle and Martin McMillan will join regular visitor to Northern Ireland, Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) on the start line of the 26.2 mile race.  Joe McBride (East Antrim Harriers) will take on the 10k event, which is run as part of an excellent day of racing.

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

Glenn Phair and Helen Stockdale secure Athletics NI 5k titles:

City of Derry AC host Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships:

On Wednesday 9th April 2014, City of Derry AC welcomed athletes from across the province to their popular Bay Road 5k Road Race.  The event, which is held on the banks of the River Foyle, once again incorporated the Athletics NI 5k (Road) Championships; it was also the final scoring race of the Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Association (NIMAA) 2013/14 League.

The men's race was a close encounter, with reigning Champion Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Queen's 5k podium finishers Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) all at the front throughout; however, it was the Belfast based athlete Glenn Phair who rose to the occasion.  In a close finish with Scott Rankin, almost replicating their dual from seven days ago (at the Queen's 5k), Glenn just edged it, breaking the tape in 14:47 (1st place).  Scott secured the Silver medal in 14:52 (2nd place), before Declan Reed once again proved his ability with another notable podium place in 15:01 (3rd place).

Northern Ireland Masters XC international Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) continued the good form that has saw her claim the Donegal Masters XC title, the Finn Valley AC lady cruised to victory in 18:12 (1st place).  Another Cross Country star, Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) added to her NI & Ulster Novice XC title, with a Silver medal, after crossing the line in 18:52 (2nd place).  City of Derry AC's endurance specialist Hannah Shields, showed her 'speedy' side, taking 3rd place in 19:09.  In the team competition, City of Derry AC collect Gold medals in both the men's and ladies categories.

Top 3 Men:  1st Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) – 14:47, 2nd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 14:52, 3rd Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 15:01

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Helen Stockdale (Finn Valley AC) – 18:12, 2nd Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC) – 18:52, 3rd Hannah Shields (City of Derry AC) – 19:09

Full Results:  Bay Road 5k 2014 Results (Photograph above courtesy of Malcolm McCausland - 'Inside Track' - Irish News)

Cathy McCourt secures victory at inaugural Ballymena Belles 5m Race:

Ballymena Belles 5m Road Race 2014:

On Tuesday 8th April 2014, popular County Antrim based club Ballymena Runners hosted the first ever running of their Ballymena Belles 5 mile road race; the well-organised 'ladies only' event was run in memory of the late Jean Gould, a runner from Ballymena, with the proceeds going to the Northern Ireland Kidney Disease charity.

The atmosphere surrounding the event was fun and friendly; however, that did not take anything away from the quality race at the head of the pack.  Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC), Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club), Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) and Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) were all late entries, and it was this quartet who battled it out for the podium places.

Cathy McCourt, who was racing for the first time since her impressive performance at the IAAF International XC back in January (2014), showed no lack of race sharpness as she led the field home in 31:17 (1st place).  Suzanne Higgins (31:33) looked strong as she secured 2nd place, just ahead of City of Derry Spartan Anne Paul, who crossed the line in 33:46 (3rd place).  Gemma Turley followed in 34:15 (4th place), before the fast improving Jacqueline McIlrath (35:53), from Ballymena Runners, finished to loud cheers from the gathered spectators.

Top 5 Ladies:  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:17, 2nd Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 31:33, 3rd Anne Paul (City of Derry AC) – 33:46, 4th Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 34:15, 5th Jacqueline McIlrath (Ballymena Runners) – 35:53

Full Results:  Ballymena Belles 5m Road Race 2014 Results

Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) claims impressive win in America:

Omagh Harriers star wins in USA:

Over the weekend (Saturday 5th April 2014), Northern Ireland junior international Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) produced a stunning performance in America, whilst represented her University, Oklahoma City University at the Empire State Indoor Relays.

The local star, who is in her first year of University, won the 1500m race in fine fashion.  She (Sara) broke the beam in 4:39.05 to win by nine seconds.  This time was also enough to secure a place at the prestigious NAIA Outdoor Championships in May (2014). Sara was also in competition over 800m, where she claimed 3rd place in 2:21.17.  The race was won by Graceland University's Sara Ruckman in 2:16.36.

Full Results:  Empire State Relays 2014 Results

Local athletes claim podium places and personal bests outside NI:

Local athletes impress outside Northern Ireland:

On Sunday 6th April 2014, a significant number of Northern Ireland athletes were in action outside the province, with major events taking place in Dublin (Ireland), Paris (France), Manchester (England), Connemara (Ireland), Prague (Czech Republic), Montauban (France) and New York (America).

In Manchester (England), at least six familiar faces joined thousands of participants at one of the UK's fastest marathons, the Asics sponsored Greater Manchester Marathon.  Northern Ireland man Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC) put in a top performance to claim 3rd place in 2:18:46; this was a mere forty six seconds outside the Commonwealth Games qualifying standards in what was Kevin's debut at the distance.  Regular competitors in Northern Ireland, Steve Darby (Barnsley AC) and Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) followed in 2:51:52 and 3:05:37 respectively.  

Ballymena Runners' Thomas McMillan followed in a new personal best of 3:12:44, before his club mate Susanna Allen broke the Ballymena Runners ladies club marathon record, with an excellent 3:33:27.  There was also a new personal best for Belfast Running Club new boy, Mark Ramsey, who recorded 4:16:38.  Andi Jones (Stockport AC) won the race in a new course record of 2:16:55, while Emily Wicks (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) claimed the ladies title in 2:38:21.

Prior to the Paris Marathon (France), there was huge hype surrounding the 26.2 mile debut of distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia).  He did not disappoint, after smashing the course record to win in 2:05:03.  The ladies race was won by Flamena Cheyech (Kenya) in 2:22:42.  On the local front, Unattached athlete Chris Downey ran well to finish in 3:37:12.  He (Chris) was joined in the atmospheric finish area by Stuart Mathieson (Unattached), who covered the course in 3:52:47; seven minutes later, Orangegrove AC's Selina Myles celebrated a new personal best of 3:59:18.  East Antrim Harriers man, Ken Beggs (100 Marathon Club) completed the Northern Ireland representation in 4:28:07.  A group of fifteen former Challenge 26.2 members (and friends) who completed the Belfast City Marathon last year (2013) also competed at the event as a 'reunion', they were:  Niall Mooney - 3:14:05, Amanda Ross-Vorke - 3:52:55, Sean O'Neill - 4:16:36, Debbie Mingout - 4:25:40, Damien Herity - 4:27:03, Jonny Lindsay - 4:29:43, Stephen Davey - 4:31:05, Stuart Campbell - 4:31:45, Catherine Mullan - 4:52:35, David Mullan - 4:52:37, Emma Greer - 4:55:13, Darren Lewis - 5:04:40, Adam McCalden - 6:03:14 and James McGuire - 6:05:32.

In Ireland, several Northern Ireland athletes were in competition at the Connemarathon, a well-known and respected Series of endurance events (Half Marathon, Marathon and 39.3 mile Ultra Marathon) held in Maam Cross, just outside Galway.  The performance of the day came from Forge Harriers' Janice White; Janice claimed victory in the marathon, breaking the tape in 3:20:35, an excellent time considering the tough course.  Endurance experts, Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) and Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) recorded 3:36:17 and 3:38:15 in that order, while Peter Grimes (Forge Harriers) covered the distance in 4:05:28.  Marathon Club Ireland's Darren Warnock was also in action, he ran 4:21:35.  The men's marathon was won by Philip Harty (Club Unknown) in 2:29:11.  In the gruelling 39.3 mile Ultra Marathon, Martin Lilley (Unattached) and Darren Houston (Orangegrove AC) both battled through the pain barrier to finish well, with Martin running 6:21:38 and Darren 7:08:22.  The Ultra Marathon was won by Kenyan athlete Lezan Kimutai in 4:08:15, while Irish 24 hour record holder Ruthann Sheahan (Athenry AC), won the ladies category in 5:05:39.

Also in Ireland, Lauren Quee (Glasgow University AC) and James Brown (City of Derry AC) were amongst the elite fields at the Spar Great Ireland Run, which also incorporated the Woodies DIY AAI National 10k (Road) Championships.  

Scotland based Northern Ireland international narrowly missed a top ten finish, taking 11th place in 38:17.  The ladies race was won by Iwona Lewondowka (Poland) in 33:39, while Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) secured the AAI National title in 33:54, after finishing in 4th place overall. In the later men's event, James crossed the line in 34:34 (52nd place).

Orangegrove AC's Zdzislaw Malkinski travelled to the City of Montauban in France for the Montauban Half Marathon, which is part of a three day running festival in the City.  Zdzislaw completed the 13.1 mile course in 1:43:38; the race was won by French triathlete Antony Costes in 1:12:38.

In America, Ballydrain Harriers sisters Rosie Earney and Heather Stanex toed the line with in excess of five thousand fellow runners for the Run in the Parks 4 mile road race in Central Park, New York.  Heather claimed the family bragging rights, with a 31:32 finish time; Rosie followed in 33:09.  The race was won by elite American athletes Jason Lakurtiz (20:33) and Harriot Kelly (23:04).

Meanwhile, the Rosie and Heather's husband's, Mark Earney and Raymond Stanex, also of Ballydrain Harriers, completed the the Prague Half Marathon in the Czech Republic (on Saturday 5th April 2014).  Raymond clocked 1:34:22, while Mark ran 1:39:30.  Kenyan athlete Peter Kirui in 59:22 won the event, and was one of three athletes to run under sixty minutes.

Results:  Greater Manchester Marathon 2014 ResultsParis Marathon 2014 ResultsConnemarathon Ultra Marathon 2014 ResultsConnemara Marathon 2014 ResultsSpar Great Ireland Run 2014 ResultsMontauban Half Marathon 2014 ResultsRun the Parks 4m Road Race 2014 ResultsPrague Half Marathon 2014 Results - Note:  Photograph above of Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC) was taken by Harry Marcus of HM Photography.

Gary O'Hanlon and Linda Meehan win Hilltown 10k:

Hilltown 10k 2014:

On Sunday 6th April 2014, almost two hundred athletes from across the province travelled to County Down for the Hilltown 10k.  The event is primarily organised to raise money for charitable causes but never fails to attract several quality athletes.

This year, it was the turn of Rotterdam Marathon bound Clonliffe Harriers star Gary O'Hanlon to steal the headlines.  Gary, who was recently crowned Irish 50k Champion, broke the tape in 32:47; this was enough to finish just ahead of local athlete and winner of the Leitrim 5m road race just 24 hours earlier, Brendan Teer (East Down AC).  Brendan recorded 32:57 for 2nd place, while David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) took 3rd place in 34:00.

Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC), a podium finisher at the prestigious WPFG last Summer (2013), put in a strong performance to lead the ladies home in 45:44 (1st place).  In what was a close encounter, Newry City Runners' Anne Havern (46:07) and Unattached athlete Irene McShane (46:53) followed in 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.

Top 3 Men:  1st Gary O'Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) – 32:47, 2nd Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 32:57, 3rd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 34:00

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Linda Meehan (Club Pulse AC) – 45:44, 2nd Anne Havern (Newry City Runners) – 46:07, 3rd Irene McShane (Unattached) – 46:53

Full Results:  Hilltown 10k 2014 Results

Paul Pollock and Ann-Marie McGlynn secure Titanic 10k titles:

Titanic Quarter 10k attracts record numbers:

On Sunday 6th April 2014, a record number of athletes descended on Belfast Harbour Estate for the annual running of the Titanic Quarter 10k, an event organised by Athletics Northern Ireland.

After the enthusiastic junior athletes had completed their events, it was then the turn of the adults to take centre stage.  The much talked about windy conditions undoubtedly affected times, but did not take the shine off a number of excellent individual performances.  As the athletes set off on the flat 6.2 mile course, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) were the prominent figures at the front.  By 4k, the names at the front remained the same, but it was Paul Pollock who was looking like the eventual winner, as he had opened up a sizeable gap on the chasing trio of Joe McAlister, Scott Rankin and Conor Duffy, who were in a tight pack.  Behind, a group containing Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers), Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) and Jarlath Falls (Ballymena & Antrim AC) were also looking strong.

Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC), who won the Queen's 5k last week, was showing the same dominance as she did then in the ladies race; the Irish international led the ladies through 4k, with Natasha Adams (Lifford AC), Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers), Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC), Rebecca Murtagh (Dromore AC) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) amongst the podium hopefuls.

As the spectators quickly made their way towards the finishing area, it wasn't long before the well-organised marshals signalled the impending arrival of the leading athlete; this, as expected, turned out to be the in-form and seemingly unbeatable Paul Pollock.  The pre-race favourite and winner of the Queen's 5k road race on Wednesday night (2nd April 2014), powered down the finishing straight, before breaking the tape in 30:39 (1st place).  The talk then turned to which of the chasing trio would take the runners up spot; fittingly, it was previous winner of the event, Joe McAlister who appeared next, sealing 2nd place in 31:58 (2nd place); the ever impressive Scott Rankin followed, completing the men's podium in 32:29 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Ann-Marie McGlynn was rewarded for an excellent performance with her second victory in five day's.  The Lifford AC athlete cruised into the finish, clocking 35:16 (1st place) for the distance.  Ann-Marie's club mate, Natasha Adams (2nd place – 36:22), who finished in second place at the Queen's 5k, replicated that placing, after crossing the line just over a minute later.  Another lady in good form at the moment, Beechmount Harriers' Gerrie Short, claimed 3rd place in 39:49.

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) – 30:39, 2nd Joe McAlister (St Malachy's AC) – 31:58, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 32:29

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 35:16, 2nd Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) – 36:22, 3rd Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) – 39:49

Provisional Results:  Titanic 10k 2014 Results -  Please note that results are PROVISIONAL only and are subject to change.  We will be uploading a selection of photo's from the Titanic Quarter 10k in the coming day's.  These will be added to our Photo Gallery.

Brendan Teer and Sinead Murtagh take top honours at Leitrim 5:

Brendan Teer wins Leitrim 5m Road Race for third time:

On Saturday 5th April 2014, nearly one hundred athletes turned out for the annual Leitrim 5 mile road race, an event co-hosted by popular County Down club Newcastle AC.

In decent conditions, reigning Champion Brendan Teer (Newcastle AC) looked a class above the rest as he retained his title; from the off, the Albertville 5 mile road race winner gradually increased the gap between himself and the remainder of the field, before breaking the tape in 26:21 (1st place).  Newry City Runners' Dermot Mathers followed just over two minutes later in 28:27 (2nd place), while Martin Wilcox (East Down AC), completed the top three in 29:19 (3rd place).

In a close ladies race, Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) continued her rise through the ranks.  The fast improving athlete, who was a podium finisher at last weeks Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k, won in 33:01 (1st place).  Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) looked strong as she claimed 2nd place in 33:19 (2nd place), before Dromore AC's international mountain runner Diane Wilson crossed the line in 33:48 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 26:21, 2nd Dermot Mathers (Newry City Runners) – 28:27, 3rd Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) – 29:19

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) – 33:01, 2nd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 33:19, 3rd Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 33:48

Full Results:  Leitrim 5m Road Race 2014 Results - Leitrim Fun Run 2014 Results

Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) competes at Stanford Invitational:

Northern Ireland athlete competes in USA:

On Friday 4th April 2014, Northern Ireland's Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) kicked off her track campaign in America.  The Commonwealth Games hopeful was in action at the prestigious Stanford Invitational Track & Field Meeting in California, where she raced the 3,000m Steeplechase.

Up against top quality opposition, Kerry put in a solid performance.  In what was the first of several planned events in the USA, the Northern Ireland 3,000m, 5,000m and 3,000m Steeplechase record holder clocked 10:14.33 to take 8th place.  The race was won by Lennie Waite (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) in 9:48.17.

Full Results:  Stanford Invitational T&F Meeting 2014 Results

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

Weekend Preview:  Belfast, Leitrim, Dublin and beyond...

As another weekend approaches, running enthusiasts in Northern Ireland will be gearing themselves up for one of the provinces top running events, the Titanic Quarter 10k in Belfast.  However, this will not be the only race of the weekend, as Newcastle AC will co-host the annual Leitrim 5 mile road race in County Down; athletes from Northern Ireland will also take on events in Connemara (Ireland), Dublin (Ireland) and Paris (France) in the coming days.

The action will kick off on Saturday 5th April 2014 in County Down, where Newcastle AC will co-host the annual Leitrim 5 mile road race alongside Liatroim Fontenoys GAC.

This event could bring another excellent dual between Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC); the talented pair battled it out at last week’s Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k, with Brendan just getting the edge in the end.  This isn't the first time this year that the Northern Ireland XC international has topped the podium.  He (Brendan) won the Albertville 5 mile road race as well as the Rollercoaster Road Races.  Interestingly, David O’Flaherty took the runners up spot behind Brendan at the ‘Rollercoaster’ event; on a winning front, the Newcastle AC star, who turned 30 years old this week, broke the tape at both the Moira and Comber Cup XC races.  He (David) also recorded an excellent 33:31 at the recent Jimmy’s 10k.

Another man who should play a part at the front is the in-form Barrie Atkinson (East Down); the versatile athlete has really came to the fore this year.  In January 2014 he won the Masters race at the IAAF International XC in Antrim, from there, the East Down AC athlete has went on to continually impress.  He (Barrie) won the Addiction NI 10k in a new personal best of 33:50, before absolutely smashing his 13.1m personal best at the AES Larne Half Marathon, where he clocked 1:14:56.  Just last week, he bettered that with a 1:14:41 finish time at the Omagh Half Marathon.  Other athletes to look out for could include David McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Martin Wilcox (East Down AC), Alan Ritchie (North Belfast Harriers), Brian Young (Unattached), Colm Murtagh (Newcastle AC) and Jerome McCrickard (Newcastle AC).

Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC), Cheryl Denvir (East Down AC) and Sinead Murtagh (Castlewellan AC) could be the main contenders in the ladies race. Over the last six months, Catherine and Cheryl haven’t been racing just as much as they had been in the twelve months prior to that, but both possess the ability to claim a podium place.  The East Down AC pair have been in action within the last four weeks, with Catherine running 42:54 at the Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k and Cheryl 45:09 at Jimmy’s 10k.  Sinead Murtagh is a consistent athlete and always finds herself well up the field; the Castlewellan AC lady is no stranger to the podium, last weekend she finished behind Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) and Laura Devine (Garscube Harriers) at the Spring Lakes 10k, after covering the tough course in a fairly swift 41:49.  East Down AC’s up and coming star Laura Gardiner, Amanda Perry (North Belfast Harriers) and Nicola Mathers (Murlough AC) will also be there or there abouts if they race.

For those interested in taking part in this event, entries will be available on the day, at Fontenoy Park, Leitrim, County Down.  The Fun Run will kick off at 11am, with the 5 mile road race starting an hour later at 12pm.

On Sunday 6th April 2014, Athletics Northern Ireland will welcome a record number of entrants to their annual Titanic Quarter 10k road race in Belfast.  The popular event, which is expected to attract close to two thousand competitors is renowned for it's flat and fast course, an important aspect for those chasing new personal bests.

Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Joe McAlister (St Malchy's AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) and Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) should all be amongst those chasing podium places.  Despite the quality of the aforementioned men, it is hard to look past current AAI National XC Champion Paul Pollock when choosing a pre-race favourite.  The newly instated Northern Ireland Half Marathon record holder has stepped up a level since his move to England in the Summer; this was emphasised last weekend when he clocked 1:02:09 at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Denmark.  Even more recently, Paul looked unstoppable as he broke the course record at the Queen's 5k, when he won in 14:21.

Joe McAlister looked a class act at the AES Larne Half Marathon; dominating from the off, the respected athlete covered the coastal course in 1:09:47; a brilliant time, especially considering the almost 'time-trial' like scenario.  Scott Rankin has come off a strong cross country campaign in good form, with a second place finish at the SSE Airtricity 10k, where he recorded 31:59.  This week, the Stormont XC winner took third place at the Queen's 5k race in Belfast, after running 14:53.  Andrew Annett showed well at the AES Larne Half Marathon two weeks ago; in what was his first attempt at the 13.1 mile distance, the versatile international mountain runner crossed the line in 1:11:31.  Based on this, there is a fair chance that Andrew will better his current 10k personal best, which sits at 32:38.  Ever-green duo Eamon White and Paul Rowan are still showing the youngsters how to record fast times, and the talented athletes will no doubt be in the thick of the action here; both looked pretty sharp at Jimmy's 10k, where they ran 33:07 and 33:00 respectively.

Other men to look out for will include the likes of Don Travers (Newry City Runners), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers), David Graham (Unattached), Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), Darryl Blair (North Belfast Harriers), James Brown (East Coast AC), Stephen Wylie (North Down AC), Simon Reeve (North Blefast Harriers), Brian Young (Unattached), Craig Hutchinson (Larne AC), Nat Glenn (East Coast AC), Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), Alan Johnston (Murlough AC), Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club), Jim Benson (North Belfast Harriers) and Duncan Bell (Willowfield Harriers).

Little has been mentioned regarding the elite field for the ladies event, but we would expect to see 2013 winner Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) to turn out to defend her title.  Podium finishers last year, Julie Turley (Dromore AC) and Julie Balmer (North Down AC) will be abesentee's this time around, as will duathlete/triathlete's Heather Foley (Unattached) and Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC), who are both likely to compete at the Irish Duathlon Championships this weekend.  This therefore leaves the remaining podium places wide open; Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) could be possibilities.  Denise has really improved in the last eighteen months and just last month, the Northern Ireland international claimed second place at Jimmy's 10k, having completed the course in 39:51.  Meanwhile, Gillian showed her speed at Wednesday's Queen's 5k, finishing in 18:26, her second quickest 5k time on record.

In recent months, Dromore AC youngster Rebecca Murtagh has really began to show some of the obvious potential that she possess.  Rebecca's 19:16 clocking at the Queen's 5k is the eleventh quickest 5k time by an U-23 athlete in the UK in 2014 (according to Run Britain).  She (Rebecca) has also recorded 10:58 for 3k and 40:03 for 10k this year; the latter time secured a third place finish at Jimmy's 10k, proving that she is one to watch.  Louise Lemon (Orangegrove AC), Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Geraldine Quigley (Larne AC), Maeve Lavery (DUB Runners), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC), Nikki Heywood (North Down AC) and Patricia Blair (Larne AC) will also run well.

Also on Sunday 6th April 2014, at least two well-known Northern Ireland athletes will travel to Dublin (Ireland) for the Spar Great Ireland Run, which incorporates the Woodies DIY AAI National 10k (Road) Championships.  

Northern Ireland international cross country star Lauren Quee (Glasgow University), who claimed a podium place at the Queen's 5k on Wednesday night, will be looking for a new personal best, while City of Derry AC man Conor Bradley will be aiming for a sub four minute mile in the associated Great Ireland Mile event.  Annadale Striders men Andrew Agnew and Glenn Phair are listed amongst the elite entries, but neither are set to toe the line.

On the same day (Sunday 6th April 2014), several local athletes will compete at the infamous Connemarathon events in Maam Cross, close to Galway (Ireland).  The prestigious event offers participants several distance options, namely a Half Marathon, Marathon and 39.3m Ultra Marathon; Martin Lilley (Unattached), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Andy Dowey (Unattached) and Gary Connolly (Seapark AC) will all race.   

Northern Ireland will also be represented at the 38th annual Paris Marathon (France) on Sunday 6th April 2014.  Chris Downey (Unattached) is at least one local runner who will join approximately 50,000 fellow competitors as they make their way around the notoriously scenic route.

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

Paul Pollock and Ann-Marie McGlynn show their class at Queen's 5k:

Queen's 'Race Round the River' 5k 2014:

On Wednesday 2nd April 2014, well over six hundred athletes descended on the Queen's University Physical Education Centre (Belfast) for the annual Queen's 'Race Round the River' 5k.

The conditions may have been damp, but the enthusiasm of the runners was not. On the sound of the gun, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC), Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Andrew Agnew (Annadale Striders), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) moved to the head of the seemingly endless stream of competitors.  It was a similar story in the ladies race, with Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) and Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) taking up prominent positions.  Scottish University XC Champion Lauren Quee (Glasgow University AC), Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) also looked sharp.

As the men went through the 2k marker, Paul Pollock appeared to be stamping his authority on proceedings; the new Northern Ireland Half Marathon record holder had a slight lead on Conor Bradley, who in-turn had a gap on the chasing trio of Scott Rankin, Andrew Agnew and Glenn Phair.  Meanwhile, another Irish International, Ann-Marie McGlynn was gradually moving clear of her club-mate Natasha Adams.

The impressive duo, Paul Pollock and Ann-Marie McGlynn, showed their class as the race moved into the final stages, and it wasn't long before the lead motorcycle appeared onto the finishing straight, signalling the arrival of the leader.  As expected, this was indeed Paul Pollock; the unassuming AAI National XC Champion showed no signs of fatigue following his 1:02:09 Half Marathon, just four days ago, as he cruised across the finish line in a new course record of 14:21 (1st place).  Glenn Phair and Scott Rankin were next into sight, and the pair were inseparable as they approached and crossed the line.  In the end, Glenn was awarded 2nd place in 14:52, with Scott taking 3rd place in 14:53.

The relentless Ann-Marie McGlynn powered home in an excellent 16:15 (1st place), with fellow Lifford AC star, and AAI National Masters 1500m and 3,000m Champion, Natasha Adams claiming the runners up spot in 16:53 (2nd place).  Northern Ireland cross country international Lauren Quee secured the final place on the ladies podium in a new personal best of 17:53 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) – 14:21, 2nd Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) – 14:52, 3rd Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 14:53

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ann-Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) – 16:15, 2nd Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) – 16:53, 3rd Lauren Quee (Glasgow University AC) – 17:53

Full Results:  Queen's 5k 2014 Results.  We also hope to have a selection of photo's from the Queen's 5k available in the coming days, please keep an eye on our 'Photo Gallery' for these.

St Malachy's AC impress at ISF World Schools XC Championships:

St Malachy's College perform well in Israel:

On Tuesday 1st April 2014, a team from St Malachy's College (Belfast) were in action at the ISF World Schools Cross Country Championships in Israel, where they took on the world's top schools and colleges in what proved to be an extremely competitive event.

Despite having to contend with an unfortunate set of circumstances, which included the late arrival of a team member and very hot, dusty conditions, the up and coming stars done themselves and Northern Ireland proud.  Paddy Robb produced an excellent performance, working his way through the field to claim a brilliant 7th place, after completing the 5k course in 16:07.  James Smyth and Ronan O'Fril deployed similar tactics to their club mate, and finished in quick succession, with James crossing the line in 17:46 (21st place) and Ronan 17:49 (23rd place).  

Kieran O'Reilly, who through no fault of his own, only arrived at the team hotel at 4:50am on race day, battled well to finish in 18:38 (42nd place), before Darryl McNicholl recorded 19:26 (69th place).  Unfortunately, Chris Connolly was unable to finish, as the conditions aggravated a chest infection. 

The Northern Ireland based team took 7th place in the very close team competition, and were just eighteen points off a bronze medal position.  Turkish side Adnan Menderes Andol took top honours, while their front man, Oti Omer collected a gold medal after winning the race in 16:07 (1st place).

Full results are unavailable at this time, they will be added should they become available.

Note - March 2014 'News', including this weeks 'Weekend Preview', is available HERE or by following the navigational bar at the top of the page.