Northern Ireland Running

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Neil Carty and Shileen O'Kane claim Belfast Hills titles:

North Belfast Harriers host annual Belfast Hills event:

On Saturday 30th May 2015, nearly one hundred athletes turned out for the 3rd annual Belfast Harriers Belfast Hills 8.8k mountain-trail race; the event is also on the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) calendar.


In the men's race, it was a close battle between the host clubs Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) and Newcastle AC's David McNeilly, a man who has shown good recent form after returning from injury. In the end, it was Neil Carty who edged it, winning in 32:28 (1st place), with David settling for 2nd place in 32:36 (2nd place). Another North Belfast Harriers man, Nat Glenn, secured 3rd place in 33:00.


In the ladies race, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), bettered her third place finish from Thursday's Hill & Dale Series event at Loughshannagh, when she sealed victory in 38:10 (1st place). Club mate, Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) took the runners up spot in 41:32 (2nd place), before Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) crossed the line in 42:55 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men: 1st Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) – 32:28, 2nd David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 32:36, 3rd Nat Glenn (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:00


Top 3 Ladies: 1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 38:10, 2nd Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) – 41:32, 3rd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) – 42:55


Full Results: Belfast Hills 8.8k 2015 Results

Weekend Preview:  Walled City Marathon takes centre stage...

Weekend Preview:  WCM and more...

Another weekend is upon us and unsurprisingly, there is once again plenty of action to look forward to!  Although the official fixture list doesn't look just as packed as the previous two weeks, the quality is most definitely still prevalent, with the 3rd annual running of the rejuvenated Walled City Marathon set to take centre stage.  


There is also the Belfast Hills 8.8k race and the One World 10k in Belfast to look forward to… and Northern Ireland based athletes will be in action at major events in Ireland, Scotland and France.


Belfast Hill 8.8k Mountain-Trail Race:

On Saturday 30th May 2015, mountain running enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland are expected to descend on the (at first glance) urban setting of Belfast for the next fixture on the official Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) calendar, the Belfast Hills 8.8k Mountain-Trail Race, hosted by North Belfast Harriers.  The event starts and finishes close to the Boys Model School and will take competitors on a tough but scenic route through Cavehill Country Park, where on reaching the summit, they will enjoy views over Belfast and as far away as the more familiar Mourne Mountains.


Reigning Champion Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) should return to defend his title.  The Northern Ireland international XC star is in good form and will be in good spirits after his 15:53 clocking for 5k in Buncrana on Wednesday night.  However, the NiRunning Trail podium finisher will need to show the same kind of speedy edge, alongside some strength on the climbs if he wants to see ofF  his club mates Andrew Annett and Neil Carty, who may well enter on the day.  Previous winner of the event, David McNeilly (Newcastle AC) may also return – since coming back from injury, David has enjoyed several impressive runs in the Hill & Dale Series and could toe the line alongside fellow Newcastle AC man David O'Flaherty, who took the runners up spot at the Les Jones Memorial 10k race two weeks ago.  Andy Gregg (Larne AC), Dale Mathers (Mourne Runners), Richard Bell (Mourne Runners), Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) and Ballymena Runners men Alex Brennan and Connor Reid will also finish within the top ten if they turn out on the day.


The ladies race could well see a continuation of the ongoing dual between Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) and Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC).  The pair have taken the top two podium places in pretty much all of the Hill & Dale Series events this season and show they start, it is more than likely that the same will happen here.  Shalene should edge it, with Shileen in close proximity.  That leaves one podium place, which may be contested by Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Rachel Frew (Unattached), Jennifer Black (Orangegrove AC), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) and Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC).

IAU World Ultra Trail Running Championships (France):

Further afield on Saturday 30th May 2015, two Northern Ireland based ultra-runners will represent Ireland at the IAU World Trail Running Championships in Annecy, France.  


Unattached athlete and current NIMRA Champion Jonny Steede and East Coast AC’s Skyrunning World Championships competitor Justin Maxwell will both make their Ireland debut at the event, which has attracted a plethora of talent from around the world, including well-known athletes such as recent Transvulcania winner Luis Alberto Hernando (Spain) and Team Salomon's Tom Owens (Team GB), to name just a few.  The gruelling route will cover 85k in distance and will incorporate 5,550m of ascent.  Jonny and Justin will be joined on the strong Ireland team by Paul Tierney (Ambleside AC), Dan Doherty (Centurion Running) and Barry Hartnett (Tipperary Wheelers & Triathlon Club). 


SSE Walled City Marathon:

On Sunday 31st May 2015, thousands of athletes and spectators will take to the streets of Northern Ireland’s maiden city, Derry/Londonderry, for the 3rd annual running of the SSE Walled City Marathon.  The event, which has sold out every year since it’s return to the race calendar after an eighteen year break, has once again attracted athletes from all over the world.  Infact, one man in particular, has chosen it as his 500th marathon – Richard Holmes has travelled from America for the race.

At the front of the pack, there is an impressive field who will be chasing top honours, this will include five Kenyan men, all of whom will all undoubtedly play a prominent part from the gun; the main local challenge should come from Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC).  


Defending champion Freddy Sittuk, who won in 2:25:47 in 2014, pulled out of the Belfast City Marathon at the start of the month, citing tiredness for the last minute withdrawal.  However, that weekend, the talented athlete won the Limerick marathon 2:26:38.  Based on this and also his winning double at the Belfast City and Walled City Marathons twelve months ago, Freddy will go into the event as favourite.  However, the Omagh based Gideon Kimosop (Project Africa), winner of the Wilkies 5 mile road race last week in 24:49 will also feature; especially when considering his 2:20:32 finish for the runners up slot at Belfast City Marathon earlier this month.  


Factor in three other Irish based Kenyans, namely Vincent Kiprotich-Chepyegon, Peter Somba and Lezan Kimutai, as well as the aforementioned local hero Greg Roberts, who least we forget has a 2:21:18 personal best, and the course record could be a very real possibility.  Other athletes who are worth looking out for are Gary Slevin (City of Derry AC), Paul McCafferty (City of Derry AC), James Crampsey (City of Derry AC), Stephen Connor (Foyle Valley AC) and Gerry Duddy (City of Derry AC), 


Another Kenyan Selinah Kangogo will square up to former Irish Olympic marathoner Pauline Curley of Tullamore Harriers for the ladies top prize – interestingly, Pauline won the Limerick Marathon earlier this month in 2:48:48, a time that may well be enough to win here.  It's unlikely that young Selinah will be able to match that time, especially looking back at her 2:57:25 finish at the Belfast City Marathon four weeks ago.  Last years winner, Anne Curley(Donore Harriers) has unfortunately had to withdraw through injury.  Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club), Collette McCourt (Dub Runners), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) and Helena Crossan (Ballycastle Runners) will contest the final podium place, while Gillian Abraham (Unattached) and Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached) should also finish well up the field.


For both the front runners and the masses, getting the pace right will be key and weather conditions will also be significant. More likely than not the early stages will be cagey with the second half of the race more likely to see a break or two as the mind games unfold. The challenging course is obviously also a factor with some testing climbs capable of making or breaking even the best. 


Important Information re Walled City Marathon - Start, Finish and Traffic: 

The race start time is 8.30am at Prehen with the first finishers expected in Guildhall Square around 10.55am and the final finishers could be on their feet until close to 3pm. The Mini Marathon runners go from the Gasyard Centre at 10am and will also be finishing in Guildhall Square, between 10.05am and 10.30am.  The Mini-Marathon will start in three separate waves, with the youngest in the first wave.  Some road closures and a significant amount of diversions will be in place throughout race day, so please make yourself fully aware of the course (map available HERE) and expect delays.


Belfast One World 10k Run:

Also on Sunday 31st May 2015, runners and fitness enthusiasts will take on the annual Belfast One World 10k, a popular event which takes place in Ormeau Park Belfast.  In the past, despite much of the emphasis being on the fundraising aspect of the race, there has been a competitive edge which has attracted quite a few well established athletes, and this year should prove similar.


Belfast based club Orangegrove AC are always well represented at this event and are likely to dominate the front end of the field once again.  Paul Woodman, Joe Craney and Thomas Leitch may well be the in the thick of the action, although Unattached athlete Gavin Campbell, who has impressed in a few races in Belfast (and also outside of it), could be in the mix.  


The in-form and ever improving Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) will claim a podium place if she races.  North Belfast Harriers' Sarah Jane McFadden will also be there or there abouts if she produces the same kind of performance that has saw here finish at the front end of the pack in the opening two races of the East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series.  Liz Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Sarah Steer (Orangegrove AC), Sharon Dickenson (Orangegrove AC) and Jade Hegarty (Unattached) will also finish well up the field.

Irish Universities Vs Scottish Universities Track & Field Meeting:

Also on Sunday 24th May 2015, students from Universities and Colleges around Ireland will compete aginst their Scotland based counterparts at the Irish Universities Vs Scottish Universities Track & Field Challenge.


The event, which will take place at Mary Peters Track in Belfast, will also feature 'open' runners. Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Conor Doherty (Letterkenny AC), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) and Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) are just some of the athletes who should contest top honours in their respective events.


GloHealth All Ireland Schools Track & Field Championships (Ireland):

Also on Saturday 30th May 2014, a large number of junior athletes from Northern Ireland are expected to make the cross-border journey to Tullamore (Ireland) for the GloHealth AAI Irish Schools Track & Field Championships. A total number of 366 schools will be represented at the event, which will mean in excess of 1,000 competitors taking part in the wide range of events.  A number of Northern Ireland schools will be amongst those represented.


Edinburgh Marathon Festival (Scotland):

In Scotland, a large number of Northern Ireland based athletes are expected to take to the start line at various races which are part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in Scotland over the course of Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st May 2015.  The event has proved popular and successful for local athletes in the past, with Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) and Gladys O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) claiming podium places last year (2014).  The weekend activities kick off on Saturday 30th May 2015 with the EMF 10k, 5k and Junior races, before tens of thousands take to the roads for the 'main' event, the Edinburgh Marathon and the Edinburgh Half Marathon on Sunday 31st May 2015.


Parkrun:

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


IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Please be aware that there will be significant delays in the uploading of results and articles to our website over the weekend, but especially Saturday 30th May 2015.  This is beyond our control and we apologise in advance, but recommend that you check the individual event websites and the Athletics NI website in the meantime.

Declan Reed and Natasha Adams win City of Derry's Buncrana 5k:

City of Derry AC host Buncrana 5k road race:

On Wednesday 28th May 2015, over two hundred athletes took to the start line of the annual Buncrana 5k road race, an event organised by Northern Ireland based club City of Derry AC in Buncrana, County Donegal (Ireland).


City of Derry AC duo Declan Reed and Greg Roberts battled it out at the front of the pack for almost the entire distance; it wasn't until the closing stages that AAI National Masters and NI & Ulster Senior and Masters XC Champion Declan edged clear and eventually secured victory in 15:10 (1st place).  Greg took 2nd place in 15:13, before Finn Valley AC's Barry Harron crossed the line in 15:27 for 3rd place.


The ladies race didn't bring the same excitement at the front – however, that should not take anything away from Natasha Adams' excellent performance.  The in-form Letterkenny AC athlete cruised to victory in 16:37 (1st place).  Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) looked back to her best as she clocked 17:48 for 2nd place, while fellow Spartan Jacqueline McMonagle completed the podium finishers in 18:57 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) – 15:10, 2nd Greg Roberts (City of Derry AC) – 15:13, 3rd Barry Harron (Finn Valley AC) – 15:27


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Natasha Adams (Letterkenny AC) – 16:37, 2nd Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) – 17:48, 3rd Jacqueline McMonagle (City of Derry AC) – 18:57


Full Results:  Buncrana 5k Road Race 2015 Results

Neil Weir and Paula McAllister win closely contested EAH Series Race 2:

East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series:  Race 2 – Tardree:

On Tuesday 26th May 2015, over one hundred and fifty athletes turned out for the second race of this years East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series, which on this occasion, took place in Tardree Forest in Antrim.


The course measure 3.3 miles in distance and covered a challenging route; from the off Willowfield Harriers' Neil Weir, who finished in second place in Race 1, made himself comfortable at the front.  That was until the second hill, when the in-form James Trainor (Dub Runners) joined Neil at the front – a battle ensued, but in the end, it was Neil who held on for the win, breaking the tape in 18:47 (1st place).  James took 2nd place just one second later in 18:48, before Jason Wilson (Ballymena Runners) completed the top three in 19:15 (3rd place).


The ladies race proved to be just as exciting, if not more.  The ever improving Sarah-Jane McFadden (North Belfast Harriers) and Downpatrick Lions 14k winner Rachel Frew (Unattached) tussled for top spot throughout, but it was Ballymena Runners athlete Paula McAllister who had the final say – with Sarah-Jane and Rachel neck and neck as they approached the final hill, Paula passed both with excellent strength and quickly moved clear in the remaining yards to take top honours in 23:08 (1st place).  Rachel (23:17) and Sarah-Jane (23:18) were rewarded for their superb effort, with 2nd place and 3rd place finishes respectively.


Top 3 Men:  1st Neil Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 18:47, 2nd James Trainor (Dub Runners) – 18:48, 3rd Jason Wilson (Ballymena Runners) – 19:15


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) – 23:08, 2nd Rachel Frew (Unattached) – 23:17, 3rd  Sarah-Jane McFadden (North Belfast Harriers) – 23:18


Full Results:  EAH Forest Trail Series (Race 2) - Tardree Forest 2015 Results and EAH Forest Trail Series Current Age Category Standings 2015. Photo above by Jim Finlay.

Northern Ireland men help Ireland to Celtic Challenge podium place in France:

Northern Ireland athletes help Ireland to runners up spot:

Over the weekend (Saturday 23rd May 2015), two Northern Ireland men were part of the Ireland team who secured a place on the Celtic Challenge podium at the Trail de Guerlédan 26k Trail Race in Brittany, France.


Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC) and Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) were in top form as they claimed 7th place and 35th place respectively; Eoin completed the tough course in 2:08:25, while Billy crossed the line in 2:29:28.  


Their performances, alongside that of Irish team mates Richard Nunan, Ian Conroy and Suzanne Kenny were enough to see the Ireland team take 2nd place behind Celtic winners Wales (1st place). The individual race was won by Team GB's Josh Griffiths in 2:00:01 (1st place).


Full Results:  Trail de Guerlédan 26k 2015 Results

Thousands turn out for annual Newry City Marathon/Half Marathon and 10k:

Newry City Marathon/Half Marathon/10k 2015:

On Sunday 24th May 2015, thousands of athletes and spectators took to the streets of Newry for the annual Newry City Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k road races.  The Half Marathon event was also the fourth race of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2015.


In the 26.2 mile race, local hero Don Travers (Newry City Runners) lived up to expectation and took the race on from the off.  By the half way marker, Don had a  ninety second lead over Irish athlete Ronan Hartnett (Unattached), who in-turn, was nearly three minutes ahead of chasers Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Jonathan Godfrey (Unattached), Geoff Smyth (Unattached), Niall Mooney (Unattached) and Don Harte (Unattached).  Meanwhile, in the ladies race, Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) had a significant lead over the following Lillian O'Hanlon (Slieve Gullion Runners), Geraldine Crawley (Unattached) and Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners).


As the race progressed, things started to take shape, with the potential podium placers becoming clear. Unsurprisingly, the exceptionally talented Don Travers, a previous winner of this event, continued to increase the gap at the front, before powering into the finishing straight to win in 2:44:12 (1st place). Ronan Hartnett took the runners up spot in 2:49:30 (2nd place), before Jonathan Godfrey finished well to complete the top three men in 2:51:35 (3rd place).  


In the ladies race, Gillian Cordner, showed no signs of fatigue after her 43:44 and top ten finish at yesterday's CAH Mayfair 10k, as she used her multi-day event experience to take top honours in 3:24:22 (1st place).  It was then the turn of local ladies Lillian O'Hanlon (3:32:33) and Caroline Wade (3:35:36) to take centre stage; the pair proved to be popular prize winners as they crossed the line in 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.


In the 13.1 mile event, which as previously mentioned, was the fourth race of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Half Marathon Series 2015, it was two unfamiliar faces who stole the headlines.

In the men's race, Jonny McKee, a Northern Ireland man who now lives in New Zealand, celebrated an outstanding victory whilst home on holiday.  The Annadale Striders associate looked a class act as he cruised to victory in 1:08:57 (1st place).  Pre-race favourite Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) ran well to secure 2nd place in 1:11:39, while Armagh AC's Gary Henderson recorded 1:15:21 for 3rd place.


Michelle McGee (Club Unknown) was the stand out performer in the ladies race; from the off, Michelle moved clear of the field and progressively built on her lead before running out as comfortable winner in 1:18:28 (1st place).  The in-form Teresa Duffy (Unattached) followed on from here excellent performance at the Les Jones 10k last week, with another prize-winning finish; the veteran athlete secured 2nd place in 1:22:56, before Laura Graham (Unattached) completed the ladies podium in 1:27:25 (3rd place).


The 10k race attracted nearly two hundred competitors and proved to be an exciting affair. Although, in truth, the men's race was always going to be a battle between front runners Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) and Brian McCluskey (North East Runners).  In the end, it was the Northern Ireland man who edged it; Paddy continued his recent good form with another victory, breaking the tape in 31:51 (1st place).  Brian, a regular competitor in NI, took the runners up spot in 32:24 (2nd place), while Slieve Gullion Runners athlete Dermot Mathers clocked 33:57 for 3rd place.


North Belfast Harriers' Trisha Campbell won what was a close ladies 10k race; after fending off the challenge of Cathy Rice (Unattached) and Liosa McKeown (Gym-Tech AC), the Larne based athlete crossed the line in 42:28 (1st place).  Cathy followed thirty seconds later in 42:58 (2nd place) and Liosa, a regular prize-winner at local events, took 3rd place in 43:07.


Marathon – Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 2:44:12, 2nd Ronan Hartnett (Club Unknown) – 2:49:30, 3rd Jonathon Godrey (Unattached) – 2:51:35


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 3:24:22, 2nd Lillian O'Hanlon (Slieve Gullion Runners) – 3:32:23, 3rd Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners) – 3:35:36


Half Marathon – Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st Jonny McKee (Annadale Striders) – 1:08:57, 2nd Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:11:39, 3rd Gary Henderson (Armagh AC) – 1:15:21


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Michelle McGee (Club Unknown) – 1:18:28, 2nd Teresa Duffy (Unattached) – 1:22:56, 3rd Laura Graham (Unattached) – 1:27:25


10k – Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) – 31:51, 2nd Brian McCluskey (North East Runners) – 32:24, 3rd Dermot Mathers (Slieve Gullion Runners) – 33:57


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Trisha Campbell (North Belfast Harriers) – 42:28, 2nd Cathy Rice (Unattached) – 42:28, 3rd Liosa McKeown (Gym-Tech AC) – 43:07


Full Results:  Newry City Marathon/Half Marathon/10k 2015 Provisional Results

Locals stars impress at track events in Belgium and America:

Local athletes impress at track events in Belgium and America:

On Saturday 23rd May 2015, at least seven runners from Northern Ireland have been in action at prestigious track and field events in Belgium and America, namely the IFAM Track & Field Meeting in Oordegem, Belgium and the NAIA National Track & Field Championships in Alabama, America.


IFAM Track & Field Meeting:

In Belgium, Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) enjoyed an excellent start to her outdoor season after narrowly missing a podium place in the 3,000m Steeplechase.  The NI Steeplechase record holder recorded 9:53.05 to take 4th place in the 'stacked' race, which was won by Swiss record holder Fabienne Schlumpf in 9:40.63 (1st place).


Another NI record holder, Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), impressed in his 110m hurdles event, leading the field home in 13.79secs (1st place).  England based Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games star Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) was in action over 100m and 200m, and took 2nd place in both his races.  Leon ran 10.39secs for 100m and 20.83secs for 200m; the races were won by Norway's Jaysuma Ndure (10.28secs) and Kenya's Mike Mrkamba (20.73secs) respectively.  The hard working Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) jumped well in his 400m hurdles event, which secured a podium spot for the local man – he crossed the line in 51.16secs (3rd place) in the race won by fellow Irish international Thomas Barr in 49.50secs (1st place).


NAIA Track & Field Championships:

Meanwhile in America, two of Northern Ireland's brightest prospects, Sara Moore (Omagh Harriers) and John-Paul Williamson (City of Derry AC) represented their respective universities, Oklahoma City University and Lindsey Wilson University at the world renowned NAIA Track & Field Championships.


Both were competing over 1500m, with Sara taking 4th place in 4:33.43; this was enough to secure the NI lady an 'All American' award.  The race was won by Hannah Fields (Oklahoma Baptist) in 4:27.33 (1st place).  In his 1500m, JP also performed well – up against the highest quality of competition, he covered the distance in 4:04.02 (11th place); the race was won by Concordia's Matthew Clowes in 4:00.11 (1st place).


Full Results:  IFAM T&F Meeting 2015 Results and NAIA T&F Championships 2015 Results

Quality performances make IMC-Beechmount Harriers event a success:

IMC-Beechmount Harriers Track Meeting 2015:

On Saturday 23rd May 2015, athletes from all over the UK and Ireland were in action at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast, where the Irish Milers Club (IMC) and Beechmount Harriers hosted the first ever running of their much anticipated track meeting.


The first race of the programme was the men's 3,000m 'A' race, which set the tone for an excellent night of racing. After a closely contested six and half laps, NI & Ulster 10k (Road) Champion Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers), Peter Lynch (Killkenny City Harriers) and James Edgar (City of Lisburn AC) moved clear of the field and went to battle for the final 400m – Conor led the way, then Peter took control, but it was City of Lisburn AC youngster James Edgar who had the final say.  


On the finishing straight, James moved out and power towards the finish, securing a well deserved victory in a new personal best of 8:32.81 (1st place).  In the men's 3,000m 'B' race, there was a similarly impressive finish from NiRunning Mile winner Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC), who won in a massive new personal best of 8:48.44 (1st place).  In the ladies 3,000m, there was much hope that Clonliffe Harriers athlete Hope Saunders would secure a European U-23 qualifying time; unfortunately, despite an outstanding effort, she did not achieve this, but still secured victory in 9:57.85 (1st place).  Jack McCombe (RBAI) completed a 200m and 400m double, taking the 200m win in 23.93secs (1st place) and the 400m top prize in 51.20secs (1st place).  Joan Melonophy (St Peter's AC) won the ladies 200m in 33.95secs (1st place), while Niamh Malone (Monaghan Phoenix AC) was first home in the ladies 400m in 58.43secs (1st place).

NiRunning Mile 2015 winner James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners) produced a top quality performance in the men's 1500m 'B' race, finishing strongly to lead the field home in a new personal best of 4:13.89 (1st place).  However, it was Killkenny City Harriers athlete Eoin Pierce who stole the headline with a 3:47.10 (1st place) finish in the 1500m 'A' race. The ladies 1500m was an exciting affair and came down to sprint finish between Banbridge AC's Emma Mitchell and Emerald AC's Amy O'Donoghue – in the end, it was Amy who edged it, winning in 4:23.30 (1st place).


The 800m races were the most popular of the night and as expected, brought some notable performances; the most impressive of which were wins for Lagan Valley AC star Callum Crawford-Walker (1st place – 1:57.75) in the men's 'C' race and Omagh Harriers' Roisin Flanagan (1st place – 2:14.11) in the ladies 'B' race.   


However, the 'A' races lived up to their high expectation, with classy victories for Niall Tuohy (Ferrybank AC) and Alexandra Bell (BMC).  Niall won in 1:49.37 (1st place), while Alexandra powered clear to open her season with a 2:13.24 clocking (1st place); this was just 0.08secs outside the Leeds based athlete's personal best, which bodes well for the upcoming season.  A special mention must go to young athletes James Edgar (City of Lisburn AC), Aaron McGlynn (Finn Valley AC) and Jake Harbinson (City of Lisburn AC) who all achieved qualifying standards for upcoming European Junior events, and City of Lisburn AC star Kelly Neely - Kelly's 800m time of 2:12.83 was a new Irish Vet35 800m record.


Full Results:  IMC-Beechmount Harriers Track Meeting 2015 Results - Photos from the IMC-Beechmount Harriers Track Meeting will be added to our 'Photo Gallery' in the coming days.  Photo of the Ladies 800m race above by Gareth Heron.

Kevin O'Boyle and Geraldine Quigley take Jengana 10k titles:

Jengana 10k 2015:

On Saturday 23rd May 2015, nearly one hundred athletes turned out for the 3rd annual running of the Jengana 10k, which as always was held within the confines of the stunning and seemingly always sun soaked Shanes Castle Estate in Antrim.


In warm and humid conditions, the field set off on the 6.2 mile course, which would take them on a scenic journey through the picturesque Estate.  Unattached athlete Kevin O'Boyle made his intentions clear from the off, as he moved to the head of the pack immediately.  Despite just returning to action after an injury lay-off, the Northern Ireland XC international looked strong as he increased his lead before running out as comfortable winner in 35:47 (1st place).  


Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners) followed up an excellent performance at the Maghera 10k with another quality outing; on this occasion, Noel secured 2nd place in 37:10.  PACE Running Club's Stephen Nicholson was a surprise but deserving podium finisher after covering the course in 38:37 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, Ballymena Runners' Geraldine Quigley put in a classy performance to seal victory.  The ever improving athlete, who was a podium finisher at the Les Jones 10k last week, broke the tape in 42:12 (1st place).  Nicola Swinson (PACE Running Club) claimed the runners up spot in 44:08 (2nd place), while event regular Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) took 3rd place in 44:25.


Top 3 Men:  1st Kevin O'Boyle (Unattached) – 35:47, 2nd Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners) – 37:10, 3rd Stephen Nicholson (PACE Running Club) – 38:37


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners) – 42:12, 2nd Nicola Swinson (PACE Running Club) – 44:08, 3rd Kirsty Sharratt (Larne AC) – 44:25


Full Results:  Jengana 10k 2015 Results.  Photos from the Jengana 10k will be added to our 'Photo Gallery' in the coming days.

Brian Campbell and Gemma Turley secure victory at inaugural Mayfair 10k:

CAH Mayfair 10k (and 5k) 2015:

On Saturday 23rd May 2015, over three hundred athletes descended on the expansive grounds of Ballyclare Rugby Club in County Antrim for the inaugural running of the County Antrim Harriers Mayfair 10k and associated 5k road races.


The well organised event, which ended a week of community events in the town, took place in almost perfect conditions.  After a silent tribute to County Antrim Harriers legend Greg Hopkins, the athletes set off on the tough course, which would take them towards the atmospheric town centre, before climbing towards a rural section of the route – the race then finished back at Ballyclare Rugby Club.


As predicted, it was Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) and Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) who battled it out at the front.  In the end, it was Maghera 10k winner Brian who edged it – the former international athlete powered towards the finish to cross the line to win in 32:57 (1st place). Mark wasn't far behind, taking 2nd place in 33:13, before Triathlete Desi Foley (Unattached) completed the top three in 34:13 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, it was Springwell Running Club duo Gemma Turley and Sonia Knox who contested the top prize.  Both ladies have been in fine form recently, with Gemma winning the Termoneeny 10k and Sonia excelling in local duathlons, but on this occasion, it was Gemma who impressed most, sealing victory in 40:01 (1st place).  Sonia followed in 40:43 (2nd place), while Ballymena Runners' Lorna Sibbett was rewarded for an excellent run with a podium spot; Lorna recorded 41:00 for 3rd place.


In the associated 5k race, which also covered a challenging course, Larne AC's Martin Agnew showed that he is getting back to his best, with an 18:46 finish for 1st place.  Seapark AC's Alanah McCombe led the ladies home in 22:33 (1st place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) – 32:57, 2nd Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:13, 3rd Desi Foley (Unattached) – 34:13


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 40:01, 2nd Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club) – 40:43, 3rd Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners) – 41:00


Full Results:  Mayfair 10k and 5k 2015 Results

Cathy McCourt smashes course record at Runher Coastal 10k:

Runher Coastal 10k (and 5k) 2015:

On Friday 22nd May 2015, thousands of athletes and spectators descended on the County Down coastline for the annual Runher Coastal Challenge 10k (and associated 5k).  


The almost summer like conditions added to the atmosphere at the Seapark and Rockport starting areas and more importantly, the finish area at Crawfordsburn Country Park, just outside Bangor.


Pre-race favourite Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) lived up to expectation with an outstanding performance, the North Belfast Harriers lady looked a class act from the off and eventually sealed victory in a course record of 36:21 (1st place).  


Dub Runners' Maeve Lavery, another of the notable entrants, took the runners up spot in 36:58 (2nd place), approximately ninety seconds ahead of the ever impressive Denise Logue.  The Ballydrain Harriers star crossed the line in 38:15 (3rd place), before Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) and Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) completed the top five in 39:49 (4th place) and 40:06 (5th place) respectively. 


In the associated 5k event, North Down AC's Jodie Smith, daughter of well-known North Down AC member and current Athletics NI Chairman David Seaton, claimed a well-deserved victory in 20:10 (1st place).


Top 5 Ladies (10k):  1st Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:21, 2nd Maeve Lavery (Dub Runners) – 36:58, 3rd Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 38:15, 4th Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 39:49, 5th Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) – 40:06


Full Results:  Runher Coastal 10k and 5k 2015 ResultsPhoto used above by Declan Roughan.

Weekend Preview:  Bumper Bank Holiday weekend of action ahead...

Weekend Preview:  Bumper Bank Holiday weekend ahead...

After an exceptionally busy weekend last week, one that brought a lot of top quality performances both inside and outside Northern Ireland, athletes continued their performances throughout the week, with events on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night.  


Based on this, a few days to re-charge the batteries would be perfectly acceptable, but no... there is no time for rest as the competition train rolls on.  Over the coming Bank Holiday weekend, there will be three days of fixtures, including the always popular Runher Coastal 10k (and 5k), the County Antrim Harriers Mayfair 10k, the Lost World's Causeway Crossing, the IMC Track Meeting and of course, the next instalment of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series.  That's not all, as well as other local events, Northern Ireland athletes will race in Scotland, France and Belgium.


Runher Coastal 10k (and 5k):

The weekend action kicks off tonight (Friday 22nd May 2015) with the Runher Coastal 10k and 5k races on the shores of Belfast Lough.  Both races will finish in the scenic and always atmospheric Crawfordsburn Country Park, just outside Bangor, with the 5k starting at Rockport and the 10k at Seapark.


At the competitive end of the pack, North Belfast Harriers' Cathy McCourt looks like a potential contender for the top prize.  Cathy has had an excellent year thus far, with her last outing being a win at the Ballymena Belles 5 mile road race last month (April 2015).  She'll return from some warm weather training eager to impress and ready to toe the line.  The always impressive Maeve Lavery (Dub Runners) will also be worth watching, as will another in-form athlete, Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC).  Marathon Des Sables finisher Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) will also start and based on recent performances, including a 3:33:03 finish at the Belfast City Marathon, the long distance specialist should be right in the mix.  Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners) will be a top ten finisher, as will Ballymena Runners ladies Elle Forrest and Paula Arthur-McCarthy, Ballydrain Harriers' Amanda Perry and North Down AC's Cara Hamilton.

County Antrim Harriers Mayfair 10k:

On Saturday 23rd May 2015, Ballyclare based club County Antrim Harriers will host the inaugural running of their much anticipated Mayfair 10k road race, an event which is expected to attract approximately three hundred competitors.


At the front, it will be Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC), Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) and Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) chasing top honours.  The trio have all looked good this year, especially recently.  Both Keith and Brian have suffered a hard time with injuries over the the last 12-18 months, but have looked back to their bests with wins this week – Keith won the Inter-Firms 5k in Letterkenny (Ireland), while Brian sealed an excellent win at the Maghera 10k. Meanwhile, Mark McKinstry has impressed with second place finishes at the NiRunning 5 mile Trail Race and the Magherafelt 5 miler, the latter of which he crossed the line in a brilliant 26:20.


East Antrim Harriers athlete Colin James, a local prize-winner at the Belfast City Marathon, will also race and will be joined on the start line by club mate David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers), who has been excelling in the local duathlon world of late.  Other men to look out for include Larne AC trio Wayne Morrow, Andy Gregg and Brian Heron.  Ballymena Runners' Michael Bennett and Alex Brennan may also compete after quality performances at the Maghera 10k this week.


The ladies race will be a closely contested affair, unless there is a significant late entry.  Ballymena Runners' Geraldine Quigley, Lorna Sibbett and Catherine McQuillan will play a prominent part in proceedings should they enter on the day, while Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers), Mary Mackin (Dromore AC), Patricia Blair (Larne AC), Gillian Logan (Larne AC) and Janice Plumb (North Belfast Harriers) should also feature.

IMC/Beechmount Harriers Track Meeting:

On Saturday 23rd May 2015, local club Beechmount Harriers will join forces with well-established event organiser, the Irish Milers Club (IMC) to host an excellent night of racing at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters Track, Belfast.


A final event timetable is now available HERE, while start lists for the event are available HERE.  The event will feature a host of recognised talented and in conjunction with the race organisers, we have produced the following special preview:


There promises to be an enthralling Ladies 800m 'A' race; the event will feature 2014 800m Irish Champion Katie Kirk (QUB AC), the Irish 2013 Irish Champion Aislinn Crossey (UCD AC), who along with Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), will face a battle royale against two British Milers Club (BMC) athletes.  Scotland’s Katy Brown with a personal best of 2:02.95 and Alexandra Bell (Pb 2:03.16) from England will provide a stern test to the home athletes.  Add in the ever improving Alanna Lalley (Galway City Harriers) and you can see what a race this is turning out to be.


The IMC and Beechmount Harriers will be bringing over BMC athlete Cameron Boyek (Shildon AC) for the 800m 'A' race; Cameron has an impressive 800m personal best of 1:49.50 and a 3:41.13 best for 1500m for the 800m.  He will line up alongside Ireland’s brightest middle distance talent, nineteen year old Robert Tully (Star of the Sea AC), who will be seeking to lower personal best of 1:49.15.  Also entered is Kilkenny City Harriers' Eoin Everad who has a fine 800m pedigree and boasting a best of 1:48.40.  Anthony Leghio from Dublin (Ireland) is also targeted this race. Also in the race will be Liam Hennessy (Togher AC), who is intent on a Euro Junior qualifying time. This will be paced by Kristaps Volters who represented Latvia at the recent Euro Indoors, so a very fast race is in prospect


In the Men’s 1500m we are now joined by Guy Smith from the British Milers Club - Guy has a 2014 personal best of 3:44.00 and will provide a stern challenge to our home based athletes.  Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), fresh from his 3:52.83 at the BMC Trafford event will also feature.  In the ladies 3,000m race, which will be paced by recognised Irish international Maria McCambridge (DSD AC), recent winner at the Greystones Meet Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) again races under the IMC banner and will undoubtedly be challenged by Hope Saunders (Clonliffe Harriers); Emma recorded a new 5,000m personal best of 16:57.14 at the BMC Trafford event last weekend.  A sub 4:30 finish in this (1500m) race looks to be on the cards.  Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) will also be looking to impress in this race.


There are at least five athletes who have entered the meeting in an attempt to record the qualification standards for either the European Junior Athletics Championships (EJ) or the European Youth Olympics (EYOF) standard.  Going for Euro Junior spots will be Amy Hamill (Glaslough Harriers) in the ladies 800m, the aforementioned Liam Hennessey (Togher AC) in the men's 800m and Hope Saunders (Clonliffe Harriers) in the ladies 3,000m.  Also seeking an EYOF standard will be Arlene Crossan (Finn Valley AC) in the 400m, Olivia Nelson (City of Lisburn AC) in the 1500m and Jack Harbinson (City of Lisburn AC), also in the 1500m.


Other notable entries in various events include:  Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers), Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Stephen Gaffney (Rathfarnham WSAF), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) and Katie O'Connor (Newry AC).

Jengana 10k:

Also on Saturday 23rd May 2015, athletes from across the province are expected to descend on Shanes Castle Estate in Antrim for the annual Jengana 10k race, a well-organised event which takes in a stunning course within the confines of the popular County Antrim Estate.


Reigning Champion Dennis Scott (North Down AC) could return to defend the title he won so impressively twelve months ago. Since then, the North Down AC man has went on to produce some excellent performances, most notably a new marathon personal best of 2:35:52 in London last month (April 2015).  


Dennis may well have the man who finished as runner up in 2014, Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), for company.  Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Noel Connor (Ballymena Runners), James Turtle (Ballymena Runners) and Billy Thompson (Larne AC) could also enter on the day.  Like the men's race, ladies Champion Claire Connor (North Belfast Harriers) should also return in an attempt to defend her title.  The talented athlete races wisely and should go into the event in good shape, which will make her hard to beat.  However, Claire may face tough competition in the form of Springwell Running Club's Gemma Turley, who has won the recent Magherafelt Harriers 5 mile road race and Termoneeny 10k.  Larne AC's Kirsty Sharratt and Ruth Wilson may start, while Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) may also use this race as another stepping stone in her return to competition.


Killyclogher 10k:

On the same day, Saturday 23rd May 2015, Killyclogher GAC will host the fifth annual running of their increasingly popular 10k road race and associated 5k race in Killyclogher, County Tyrone.


Last years winner Martin Cox (Project Africa) should race and may well come up against Omagh Harriers' Stephen Duncan.  Martin recorded a new 10k personal best of 33:06 whilst winning the Carmen 10k and this flat and fast course will offer him the opportunity to further improve on that; however, the same could be said for Stephen, who currently has a 10k best of 30:51 – in saying that, Stephen's most recent attempt at 10k was a 31:42 effort last year (2014), so the former team mates may not be too far apart.  Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club), Darrell McKee (Acorns AC), Peter Neill (Omagh Triathlon Club) and Aidan O'Hagan (Acorns AC) will also contest the remaining podium places.


Despite having to settle for second place at this week's Maghera 10k, Sperrin Harriers' Pauline McGurren will start as favourite here.  Like her male counterparts, Pauline will be hoping to improve her 10k personal best, which currently stands at 38:55.  Fellow Sperrin Harriers athlete Natalie Hall and Omagh Harriers' Patricia Campbell should also be there or there abouts.

Lost World's Causeway Crossing (100k, 50k and 25k):

On the North Coast on Saturday 23rd May 2015, newly set up events management company 'Primal Challenges' will welcome athletes from all over the world to Northern Ireland for the Lost World's Causeway Crossing.  


The event will offer participants the opportunity to compete over 100k, 50k and 25k courses, which follow the paths, tracks, beaches and coastline of the Moyle Way and Causeway Coast Way - probably one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world.


Despite the plethora of countries represented, it's likely to be the local talent who come to the fore in their respective events.  Nicki McPeake (Springwell Running Club), Ronald Peacock (Springwell Running Club) and Richard McLernan (Club Unknown) should feature at the front of the men's 100k race, while Joanne Curran (BARF) and Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) are likely to dominate the ladies equivalent.  


In the 50k, it's hard to look past Springwell Running Club's Peter Cromie or Unattached athlete Mark Walker for podium places.  The ladies 50k will be a close race, with Emma-Louise Kirk (Unattached), Jackie Toal (BARF) and Janice White (Ballymena Runners) probable contenders.  Geoff Smyth (Unattached) and Noel Brick (Springwell Running Club) should be in the prizes in the 25k race.


Isle of Jura Fell Race (Scotland):

Further afield on Saturday 23rd May 2015, at least six Northern Ireland based mountain running enthusiasts will take to the start line of the Isle of Jura Fell Race (Scotland).  The classic mountain course will incorporate seven of the islands summits and 2,730m of technical ascent and descent. 


Brian Wilson (BARF) will take on the testing course for the tenth time, accompanied by Clive Coffey (Physio & Co), Neil Bingham (Drumbeg Runners) and Richard Dungan (Ballydrain Harriers), as well as Stephen and Helen Cassidy (Unattached).  In the absence of 2014 winner Hector Haines (HBT), Lochaber AC man Finlay Wild will be the favourite, whilst Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) is likely to be the main contender amongst the ladies. 

IFAM Track & Field Meeting (Belgium):

In Belgium on Saturday 23rd May 2015, a number of Northern Ireland athletes will be in action at the IFAM Track & Field Meeting in Oordegem.  The event is always popular with local runners and has proved a fine hunting ground in the past.


Infact, it was here in 2014 that Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) secured her qualifying time at for the Commonwealth Games and the local athlete will travel from her training base in Font Romeu to race in the 3,000m Steeplechase.  Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers), Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC), Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) will also compete.


Trail De Guerladean (France): 

In France on Saturday 23rd May 2015, Scotland based Northern Ireland man Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC), a podium finisher at the Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 who again impressed with a fourth place finish at the recent 53 mile HOKA Highland Fling will line up alongside the ever consistent East Antrim Harriers athlete Billy Reed as the men make their international debut for the Ireland ultra-trail running team for the Trail De Guerladean in Brittany, France. 


The race will cover 56k in distance with 1,389 metres of accumulative ascent.  Eoin and Billy will be joined in the team by John MacEnri (Unattached), the experienced multi-sport enthusiast Richard Nunan (Boards AC) and Wicklow Way Ultra winner Suzanne Kenny (Clonliffe Harriers). 


Newry City Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k:

On Sunday 24th May 2015, hundreds of athletes are set to take to the streets of Newry for the annual Newry City Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k events; the Half Marathon is also the fourth race of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Half Marathon Series (although half way times in the marathon will also be accepted).


The 13.1 mile event will be by far the most popular, with nearly five hundred expected to take to the start line.  Amongst those will be recent Blackwater 10k winner Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers), an always impressive and ever consistent athlete.  Eamon should take charge, although Lagan Valley AC new boy Brian Young will also feature, as will the improving Gareth Lyons (Ballydrain Harriers).  In the ladies race, the ever green Teresa Duffy (Unattached) will hope to continue her excellent recent form, which included a win at last week's Les Jones 10k.  Teresa will be accompanied by Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers), Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC), Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers), Jade Hegarty (Unattached) and Eileen Stevenson (St Peter's AC).


In the 26.2 mile race, the home crowds will be cheering on local hero and event regular Don Travers (Newry City Runners).  If he is in top form, Don will lead the way, with Brian McCluskey (North East Runners), Chris Denton (Springwell Running Club), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC), Barry Shanks (St Peter's AC) and Mark Walker (Unattached) all likely to make the top ten with sub three hour finish times.  Brenda Miere (Unattached), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) and Caroline Wade (Newry City Runners) should place well in the ladies marathon, while Naoise McLoughlin (Unattached) and Eimear McCracken (Newry City Runners) should finish well up the field in their respective 10k races.


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.

Seamus Lynch and Shalene McMurray claim 'Rocky' victories:

Hill & Dales Series (Race 6) – Rocky 2015:

On Thursday 21st May 2015, over two hundred athletes turned out for the sixth race of this year's Hill & Dale Series, hosted by Newcastle AC.  On this occasion, athletes were faced with 'Rocky', a 4.25 mile course incorporating 1,600ft of ascent, starting at Leitrim Lodge and taking athletes over Altataggart, Pierces Castle, Tornamrock and Rocky.


It was once again a epic battle between Newcastle AC team mates Seamus Lynch and Ian Bailey at the front; in what is fast becoming a weekly re-match, spectators were treated to another good race between the pair.  Following Ian's win and course record at Slieve Donard on Saturday (16th May 2015), Seamus showed his worth by sealing an excellent win in a new 'Rocky' course record of 33:41 (1st place), beating Deon McNeilly's previous record (31:21) by forty seconds.  Ian crossed the line in 31:55 (2nd place), while another in-form athlete, William McKee (Mourne Runners) completed the top three in 33:34 (3rd place).


Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) continued her dominance of the ladies category of this years Series, after winning comfortably in 38:55 (1st place).  Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), fresh from a good performance for Northern Ireland at the Inter-Counties Fell Running Championships at the weekend, covered the tough course in 40:59, taking 2nd place, before Jackie Toal (BARF) warmed up for the upcoming Lost World's Causeway Crossing 50k with a podium place – the BARF lady took 3rd place in 44:03.


Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 30:41, 2nd Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 31:55, 3rd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 33:34


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) – 38:55, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:59, 3rd Jackie Toal (BARF) – 44:03


Provisional Results:  Hill & Dales Series (Race 6) – Rocky 2015 Provisional Results

Andrew Annett and Heather Foley excel at Bann 10k road race:

Bann 10k road race 2015:

On Wednesday 20th May 2015, well over five hundred athletes descended on Havlock Park in Banbridge (County Down) for the annual Bann 10k road race, an event which covers a traditionally undulating and testing route.


Northern Ireland mountain running international Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) swapped his fell running shoes for his racers and once again showed his versatility as he secured an excellent victory, breaking the tape in 33:30 (1st place).  London Marathon finisher Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) claimed 2nd place in 34:41, while Salford Harriers & AC athlete Gerry O'Neill completed the top three in 34:47 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, Heather Foley (Unattached) brought her recent outstanding triathlon/duathlon form onto the roads, cruising to victory in 37:49 (1st place).  The always impressive Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) followed in 39:11 (2nd place), with Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) crossing the line in 40:27 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:30, 2nd Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 34:41, 3rd Gary O'Neill (Salford Harriers & AC) – 34:47


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Heather Foley (Unattached) – 37:49. 2nd Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 39:11, 3rd Gillian Burns (Dromore AC) - 40:27


Full Results:  Bann 10k 2015 Results

Brian Campbell and Martsje Hell win Maghera 10k road race:

Maghera 10k and Inter-Firms 5k 2015:

On Tuesday 19th May 2015, over two hundred athletes braved wet conditions as they took on the annual Maghera 10k road race in County Derry/Londonderry, an event hosted by the local District Council.


At the front, it was Willowfield Harriers man Brian Campbell who impressed most; the multi-title winning athlete looked back to his best as he cruised through half way eleven seconds ahead of the chasing Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) – Aaron was followed by Ballymena Runners contingent Michael Bennett, Alex Brennan, Noel Connor and James Turtle.  In the ladies race, Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) had a slight lead on reigning Champion Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers).


Nothing changed in the final 5k, except the distances between the leading athletes.  Brian moved further ahead of Aaron, before crossing the line in 33:13 (1st place).  Aaron followed in 34:06 (2nd place), while Michael Bennett led his club mates home after taking 3rd place in 34:49.


There was no stopping Martsje Hell as she opened up a gap between herself and Pauline McGurren in the final stages – the former Enniskillen Running Club athlete sealed a well-deserved victory in 38:53 (1st place).  Pauline crossed the line in 39:27 (2nd place), before local lady Cara Suiter completed the top three in 40:49 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) – 33:13, 2nd Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) – 34:06, 3rd Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) – 34:49


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:53, 2nd Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) – 39:27, 3rd Cara Suiter (Unattached) – 40:49


Full Results:  Maghera 10k Road Race 2015 Results


Inter-Firms 5k Road Race (Ireland):

Elsewhere on Tuesday 19th May 2015, Northern Ireland Ireland based athletes secured podium places at the Inter-Firms 5k road race in Letterkenny, County Donegal (Ireland).  Keith Shiels (St Columb's AC) followed on from his win at the Termoneeny 10k just over a week ago with another victory, winning in 15:36 (1st place).  Foyle Valley AC's Chris McGuinness secured the runners up spot in 15:48 (2nd place), while his club mate Gemma McGinty (Foyle Valley AC) took 3rd place in the ladies race in 19:22; Letterkenny AC's Fionnuala Diver won the ladies race in 17:58 (1st place).


Full Results:  Inter-Firms 5k Road Race 2015 Results

Excitement builds ahead of IMC/Beechmount Harriers Track & Field event:

Last call for entries for IMC/Beechmount Harriers event:

Entries for the Beechmount Harriers/Irish Milers Club Track & Field Meeting, set to be held at the Mary Peters Track (MPT), Belfast on Saturday 23rd May 2015 will close tomorrow night, Tuesday 19th May 2015 – Until then, entries are still available HERE


Organisers are keen to encourage athletes of all standards to compete, and will employ pacemakers for each race to ensure the best possible chance of a new personal best for everyone.  At the front end of competition, the event has already attracted some high profile competitors, the following is up to date information from the organisers in relation to entries:


Ladies 800m:

There promises to be an enthralling Ladies 800m 'A' race; the event will feature 2014 800m Irish Champion Katie Kirk (QUB AC), the Irish 2013 Irish Champion Aislinn Crossey (UCD AC), who along with Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), will face a battle royale against two British Milers Club (BMC) athletes.  Scotland’s Katy Brown with a personal best of 2:02.95 and Alexandra Bell (Pb 2:03.16) from England will provide a stern test to the home athletes.  Add in the ever improving Alanna Lalley (Galway City Harriers) and you can see what a race this is turning out to be.


Men’s 800m:

The IMC and Beechmount Harriers will be bringing over BMC athletes for the A race (details soon) to provide a test to Ireland’s brightest middle distance talent. Nineteen year old Robert Tully (Star of the Sea AC) with a personal best of 1:49.15 will be seeking to lower this at this event.  Also entered is Kilkenny City Harriers' Eoin Everad who has a fine 800m pedigree and boasting a best of 1:48.40.  Anthony Leghio from Dublin (Ireland) is also targeted this race.  Meanwhile, the BMC representative is 22 year old Cameron Boyek (Shildon AC), who has an impressive 800m personal best of 1:49.50 and a 3:41.13 best for 1500m. Also in the race will be Liam Hennessy (Togher AC), who is intent on a Euro Junior qualifying time. This will be paced by Kristaps Volters who represented Latvia at the recent Euro Indoors, so a very fast race is in prospect 

Men’s 1500m:

In the Men’s 1500m we are now joined by Guy Smith from the British Milers Club - Guy has a 2014 personal best of 3:44.00 and will provide a stern challenge to our home based athletes.  Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), fresh from his 3:52.83 at the BMC Trafford event will also feature.


Ladies 1500m:

Recent winner at the Greystones Meet Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) again races under the IMC banner and will undoubtedly be challenged by Ellie Hartnet and Rachel Smith; Emma recorded a new 5,000m personal best of 16:57.14 at the BMC Trafford event last weekend.  A sub 4:30 finish in this (1500m) race looks to be on the cards.


Qualifying Standards:

There are five athletes who have entered the meeting in an attempt the qualification standards for either the European Junior Athletics Championships (EJ) or the European Youth Olympics (EYOF) standard.  Going for Euro Junior spots will be Amy Hamill (Glaslough Harriers) in the ladies 800m, the aforementioned Liam Hennessey (Togher AC) in the men's 800m and Hope Saunders (Clonliffe Harriers) in the ladies 3,000m.  Also seeking an EYOF standard will be Arlene Crossan (Finn Valley AC) in the 400m, Olivia Nelson (City of Lisburn AC) in the 1500m and Jack Harbinson (City of Lisburn AC), also in the 1500m.


Other notable entries in various events include:  Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers), Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC), Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Stephen Gaffney (Rathfarnham WSAF), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC), Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Katie O'Connor (Newry AC), 


Events available at the Beechmount Harriers/IMC Track & Field Meeting at MPT are:  800m (men and women), 1500m (men and women), 3,000m (men and women), 200m (men and women) and 400m (men and women).


Further information on the event, including start list and final event details will be published on this website as soon as it's available.

Leon Reid achieves further Euro standard as local athletes excel on the track:

Leon Reid excels as NI athletes compete on the track:

On Sunday 17th May 2015, athletes from Northern Ireland were in action at major track & field events in Italy, Ireland and England; there was also an impressive turnout at the inaugural 'Afternoon of 5,000m personal bests', hosted by North Belfast Harriers at the Boys Model School in Belfast.


International Citta' Di Gavardo Track & Field Meeting (Italy):

Undoubtedly the performance of the day came at the International Citta' Di Gavardo Track & Field Meeting in Italy, where Team Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games athlete Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) achieved his second European Athletics Under 23 Championships qualifying standard in as many weeks.  After securing the 200m standard last week, Leon added the 100m standard - He cruised through his 100m heat in 10.44secs before claiming victory in 'Final 2' in a time of 10.34secs (1st place); this saw the NI man clock the third fastest time of the night, with Richard Kilty (Gateshead AC) being the quickest in 10.09secs.


GloHealth AAI Games (Ireland):

In Ireland, at least five familiar faces were in competition at the GloHealth AAI Games in Santry, Dublin (Ireland). In what is pretty much a outdoor season opener, the local athletes kicked off their season with some impressive performances.


City of Lisburn AC's Adam Hill secured 2nd place in Heat 1 of his 110m hurdles event, clocking 15.98secs to finish just behind race winner Simon Taggart (Donore Harriers), who ran 15.03secs (1st place).  In the ladies 1500m, North Down AC's Jessica Craig, who was runner up at the recent NiRunning Miles, crossed the line in 4:51.05 (4th place); the race was won by St Abbans AC's Maryann Sullivan in 4:30.66 (1st place).  Annadale Striders' Stephen Prentice was also racing over 1500m – the QUB student completed the distance in 4:01.60 to take 5th place in the race won by St Coca's AC man Kevin Kelly in 3:54.39 (1st place).


Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim AC) was in good form in Heat 1 of the 100m, covering the distance in 11,09secs (5th place); Rathfarnham WSAF's Stephen Gaffney won in 10.92secs (1st place).  Another Ballymena & Antrim AC athlete, Johnathan Carelton, was also in action over the classic 100m distance, and he broke the beam in 11.57secs to take 4th place in Heat 2, which was won by Chris Sibanda (Clonliffe Harriers) in 11.35secs (1st place).  Up and coming Newry AC star Oisin O'Callaghan was in competition over 400m and 800m – in the 400m race, which was won by Crusaders AC's Kevin Woods (50.64secs), Oisin clocked 53.44secs for 5th place.  In his 800m event, the junior athlete recorded 1:59.64 (7th place); the race was won by well-known junior athlete Harry Purcell (Trim AC) in 1:52.17 (1st place).


Loughborough International Track & Field Meeting (England):

In England, several Northern Ireland athletes lined up against top quality opposition at the prestigious Loughborough International Track & Field Meeting at the newly renamed Paula Radcliffe Athletics Stadium, which is part of the well known sports University's facilities.  Irish 110m hurdles record holder Ben Reynolds (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow AC) claimed 3rd place in his 110m hurdles event after completing the distance in 13.91secs, just 0.03secs behind race winner David King (City of Plymouth AC), who ran 13.69secs (1st place).  City of Lisburn AC starlet Megan Marrs, who was represented GB & NI Juniors clocked 14.31secs in her 100m hurdles race, which saw her finish in 2nd place behind Beth Close (Brighton & Hove AC), who recorded 14.00secs (1st place).  In the 400m, Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) crossed the line in 52.27secs (4th place); the race was won by Sheffield AC's Jack Houghton in 51.63secs (1st place).  North Down AC's Andrew Mellon also ran well, running 49.29secs for 400m (4th place) - the race was won by Bristol & West AC athlete Freddie Owlsey in 47.99secs (1st place).

NBH 'Afternoon of 5,000m Personal Bests' (Northern Ireland):

In Belfast, local club North Belfast Harriers hosted the first ever running over their 'Afternoon of 5,000m Personal Bests' at the Boys Model School.  The event will consist of a number of races, all of which will be paced by experienced athletes with the aim of guiding participants towards their goal time, or personal best.  In total, there will be six races, divided into ‘estimated time’ fields.


Although the emphasis was geared more towards personal achievement as opposed to competition, their was of course a competitive edge.  


On the day, Acorns AC's Darrell McKee recorded the fastest time of 16:22 (1st place), with St Malachy's AC athlete Eoin Maguire (16:59) and Acorns AC's Glenn Donnelly (17:01) taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.  The fastest lady of the day was Jenny Black (Orangegrove AC) in 18:46 (1st place), with Dromore AC's Geraldine Branagh following in 19:29 (2nd place); Leann Gibson (Orangegrove AC) recorded 19:45 for 3rd place overall. 


Full Results:  International Citta' Di Gavardo Track & Field Meeting 2015 Results - GloHealth AAI Games 2015 Results – Loughborough International T&F Meeting 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable) – NBH 'Afternoon of 5,000m Personal Bests' 2015 Results

Local track stars impress at events in England and America:

Local athletes impress at events in England and America:

On Saturday 16th May 2015, at least thirteen local athletes were in action at track events in England and America, with the British Milers Club (BMC) 'Trafford' Track & Field Meeting taking place in Manchester, the Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m Personal Bests in North London and the PURE Athletics Track & Field Meeting in Clermont, America.


BMC Trafford Track & Field Meeting (England):

In Manchester, there were a number of excellent performances by Northern Ireland runners, with Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC) and Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) recording new personal bests over 5,000m.  


In the Men's 5,000m 'A' race, Kevin lined up alongside fellow NI man Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) – Paul secured 3rd place in 14:11.09, with Kevin following in a massive new personal best of 14:19.05 (7th place).  The race will be remembered for the outstanding performance of Irish junior athlete Kevin Mulcaire, who won in a new Irish National record of 14:02.05 (1st place).  In the ladies 5,000m 'A' race, Emma Mitchell continued her recent good form with a 16:57.14 personal best to claim 3rd place; the race was won by Faye Fullerton (Havering AC) in 16:07.58 (1st place).


In the 1500m 'D' race, young Willowfield Harriers star Andrew Wright once again showed his potential, when he recorded 3:52.83 (2nd place) to take the runners up spot behind race winner Danny Davis (Leeds City AC), who won in 3:49.59 (1st place).   There were four familiar faces in the 800m races – In the 800m 'B' race, Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) clocked 1:50.86 to secure 2nd place; the race was won by Christian Van Eitzen (Vale of Aylesbury AC) in 1:50.45 (1st place).  Ballymena & Antrim AC's Steven Morrow lined up in the 800m 'D' race, won by Woodford Green's Daniel Rowden (1st place – 1:52.01) and crossed the line 1:55.79 (6th place).  Johnny Foster (Annadale Striders) continued his rise through the ranks with a solid season opener of 2:01.05 (7th place) in the 800m 'F' race, which was won by William Gurton (Vale of Aylesbury AC) in 1:53.93 (1st place).  In the Ladies 800m 'B', international star Aislinn Crossey (UCD AC) recorded 2:10.26 (6th place); the race was won by Leah Barrow (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow AC) in 2:06.64 (1st place).

PURE Athletics Track & Field Meeting (America):

In America, Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games star Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) opened up her outdoor season with two excellent performances against top oppoisition.  


Amy cover the 100m in 11.41secs (3rd place); the race was won by Peace Uko (Unattached) in 11.35secs (1st place).  In the 200m, Amy again performed well, recording 23.55secs (4th place) in the race won by Carmelita Jetter (Nike) in 22.84secs (1st place). These performances, both of which are close to Amy's Northern Ireland 100m (11.40secs) and 200m (23.53secs) bode well for the upcoming season.


Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m Personal Bests (England):

In North London (England), four local runners were in competition against some of the best distance runners in the UK at the prestigious Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m Personal Bests, which also incorporated the England 10,000m Championships and the trials for three upcoming major events.


Armagh AC duo Danielle Fegan and Dermot Kerr lined up in the opening race of the event (Race 1), with Danielle taking 2nd place in the ladies race in a time of 36:30.51 – Dermot followed less than a second later in 36:30.72 (8th place).  In Race 3, City of Derry AC's Declan Reed looked strong as he led the field home in 31:27.08 (1st place); Enniskillen Running Club's Conan McCaughey was also running in the same race, and recorded a new personal best of 31:58.90 for 8th place.


Full Results:  BMC Trafford Track & Field Meeting 2015 Results – PURE Athletics Track & Field Meeting 2015 Results (Jpeg Format) 100m and 200m – Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m Personal Bests 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable)

Ian Bailey and Diane Wilson excel at H&D Race 5 - Slieve Donard:

Hill & Dale Series (Race 5) - Slieve Donard:

On Saturday 16th May 2015, Newcastle AC welcomed over two hundred athletes to Race 5 of their ongoing Hill & Dale Series in Newcastle, County Down.  The 'Slieve Donard Classic' measured approximately 5.5 miles in distance and took competitors from Newcastle Main Street to the top of Northern Ireland’s highest mountain (Slieve Donard), which stands at 850 metres.


Aside from the start and finish along the Main Street (via Donard Park), competitors are free to choose their own way to the summit and back, with some opting for the Black Stairs and others, the more runnable Glen River Path.


Unsurprisingly, it was strong climber Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) who reached the summit first; the in-form Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) was next, with Mourne Runners men William McKee and Sam Herron side by side as they turned to descend back towards the Town Centre.  In the ladies race, Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC), a dominant figure in the 2015 Series, had a significant lead as she reached the course's highest point, with Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) and Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) in second and third place respectively. 


On the descent, despite Seamus' efforts, he was unable to catch club mate Ian, who turned onto the Main Street to huge applause from the gathered spectators.  He covered the final metres quickly to cross the line in 53:45 (1st place).  Seamus secured a well-deserved 2nd place in 54:41 (2nd place), while William Mc Kee edged out the fast descending Crusaders AC athlete Jason Kehoe (4th place – 57:17) and Sam Herron (5th place – 57:18) for 3rd place in 57:11.


In the ladies race, Diane Wilson produced the descent of her life!  The returning Dromore AC athlete closed a four minute gap on Shalene McMurray to claim an outstanding victory in 1:09:49 (1st place).  The always brilliant Shalene crossed the line less than a minute later in 1:10:29 (2nd place) in 1:10:29, before Catherine O'Connor recorded 1:12:44 (3rd place) for the course.


Top 3 Men:  1st Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 53:45, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 54:41, 3rd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 57:11


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 1:09:49, 2nd Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) – 1:10:29, 3rd Catherine O'Connor (East Down AC) – 1:12:44


Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series (Race 5 – Slieve Donard) 2015 Results

Mark McKinstry and Karen Alexander win inaugural Davagh Trail Race:

Sperrin Harriers and Magherafelt Harriers host Davagh Forest Trail Race:

On Saturday 16th May 2015, County Derry/Londonderry based clubs Sperrin Harriers and Magherafelt Harriers joined forces to host the inaugural running of their Davagh Forest 10 mile trail race.


In perfect conditions, close to seventy athletes enjoyed the scenic route, but it was North Belfast Harriers man Mark McKinstry who claimed the headlines.  Mark, who took second place at the NiRunning Trail Race last month (April 2015), secured a comprehensive victory, breaking the tape in 1:03:49 (1st place).  International duathlete Gavin Corey ran well done take 2nd place in 1:05:41, while Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) continued his build up to the Tromso Skyrace with a quality performance, crossing the line in 1:06:02 (3rd place).


Acorns AC athlete and recognised Northern Ireland international trail runner Karen Alexander was nothing short of a class act in the ladies race, running out clear winner in 1:10:32 (1st place). Unattached athlete Rachel Burgess sealed 2nd place 1:20:56, before Omagh Harriers' Patricia Campbell completed the ladies top three in 1:26:45 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:03:49, 2nd Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:05:41, 3rd Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) – 1:06:02


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) – 1:10:32, 2nd Rachel Burgess (Unattached) – 1:20:56, 3rd Patricia Campbell (Omagh Harriers) – 1:26:45


Full Results:  Davagh Forest 10 mile Trail Race 2015 Results

NIMRA athletes impress at Inter-Counties Fell Running Championships:

Inter-Counties Fell Running Championships 2015:

On Saturday 16th May 2015, a strong group of local Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) athletes represented Northern Ireland at the Inter Counties Fell Running Championships in North Wales.  The event, which took place over a stunning course in Betws-y-Coed, attracted a top quality field and included teams from England, Scotland and Wales. 


The ladies race, which covered 10.1k in distance, incorporating 472m of ascent, was first off and the Northern Ireland athletes performed well, getting the day off to a perfect start.  Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) continued the form that saw her win the Annalong Horseshoe and EAH Trail Race this week as she secured 20th place in a time of 46:33.  The ever impressive Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) followed in 52:19 (39th place), while international debutant Sam McNeilly marked her first international race with a good run, crossing the line in 55:34 (47th place). The ladies race was won by GB & NI international Emma Clayton in 40:29 (1st place).  In the team competition, the Northern Ireland ladies finished in 10th place; Cumbria claimed the top prize (1st place).


The men's race measured 10.4k, with 488m of ascent, and it was England based NI man Gavin Mulholland who led the local athletes home.  Gavin followed on from his excellent performance at last weeks Stretton Six Summits event with another quality outing, taking 11th place in 48:44. Allan Bogle returned to action after a recent injury niggle and performed well to record 52:10 (30th place), finishing just nine seconds ahead of fellow NI man Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) who clocked 52:19 (34th place); this secured 4th place in the Under 23 race for Andrew. Armagh AC's Paul McAnespie completed a good day for the Northern Ireland squad when he crossed the line in 55:55 (57th place).  The race was won by Scotland's Andrew Douglas in 45:26 (1st place).  In the team standings, Northern Ireland took 6th place, while Yorkshire finished in 1st place.


Provisional Results (Jpeg Format):  Inter-Counties Fell Running Championships 2015 – Men's Results and Ladies Results

McIntyre, McFadden, Crossan & Toner win at B2R Surf N'Turf event:

Born 2 Run Surf N'Turf North Half Marathon and 10k 2015:

On Saturday 16th May 2015, over two hundred athletes took on the latest event hosted by local events management company, Born 2 Run Events.  Surf N'Turf North, held at Benone Beach near Limavady (County Derry/Londonderry), offered competitors the choice of Half Marathon or 10k races.


Both races started and finished with sections of sandy beach, with a tough road route sandwiched in between.  In the Half Marathon race, well-known road runner and Foyle Valley Ac athlete Pius McIntyre stole the headlines, winning in 1:24:42 (1st place).  Pre-race favourite Peter Cromie (Springwell Running Club) settled for 2nd place in 1:26:10, while his club mate Colin Loughery (Springwell Running Club) also secured a podium place in 1:34:32 (3rd place).


There was no upset in the ladies 13.1 mile race, with ultra specialist Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) taking top honours.  Fran, who was racing for the first time since completing the Virgin Money London Marathon, crossed the line in 1:43:32 (1st place).  Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), racing for the second time in as many days, followed in 1:46:49 (2nd place), before Ursula Campbell (Unattached) completed the course in 1:47:29 (3rd place).


A similar pattern followed in the men's 10k race, with pre-race favourites dominating the podium.  Track star Darragh Crossan (Derry City Track Club) impressed with a ten second victory over triathlete Rhodri Jones (Springwell Running Club), with Darragh recording 36:46 (1st place) and Rhodri 36:56 (2nd place).  Derry City Track Club Chairman and classy veteran athlete Cathal McLaughlin completed the top three in 37:10 (3rd place).


Depsite the aforementioned quality performances, the star of the show was the returning Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) – Ciara has recently returned to competitive action and claimed a podium spot at the Purple Ladies 5k in Ballymoney last week, but here, the Springwell RC athlete cruised to victory in 41:37, which not only saw her finish in 1st place in the ladies race, but an outstanding 5th place overall.  Fellow Springwell Running Club ladies Kerri McIlmoyle (47:14) and Catherine Bell-Allen (48:22) took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.


Podium Places – Half Marathon:

Top 3 Men:  1st Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) – 1:24:42, 2nd Peter Cromie (Springwell Running Club) – 1:26:10, 3rd Colin Loughery (Springwell Running Club) – 1:34:32


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) – 1:43:32, 2nd Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) – 1:46:49, 3rd Ursula Campbell (Unattached) – 1:47:29


Podium Places – 10k:

Top 3 Men:  1st Darragh Crossan (Derry City Track Club) – 36:46, 2nd Rhodri Jones (Springwell Running Club) – 36:56, 3rd Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City Track Club) – 37:10


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club) – 41:37, 2nd Kerri McIlmoyle (Springwell Running Club) – 47:14, 3rd Catherine Bell-Allen (Springwell Running Club) – 48:22


Full Results:  Born 2 Run Surf N'Turf North HM & 10k 2015 Results

Brendan Teer and Rachel Frew impress at Downpatrick Lions 3 Lakes 14k:

Downpatrick Lions Club 3 Lakes 14k (and 7k) Road Race 2015:

On Saturday 16th May 2015, athletes from across the province turned out for the annual Downpatrick Lions Club 3 Lakes 14k road race (and associated 7k race) in Downpatrick (County Down), an event co-hosted by East Down AC.


Less than 24 hours after winning the Les Jones Memorial 10k in Belfast, local athlete Brendan Teer (East Down AC) once again excelled.  Brendan showed little signs of fatigue as he powered to victory in an impressive 49:34 (1st place).  Annadale Striders man Paul Carroll followed just over three minutes later in 52:49 (2nd place), with Gareth Lyons (Ballydrain Harriers) completing the top three men in 53:06 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, Unattached athlete Rachel Frew produced the performance of the day. Rachel led from the off and quickly put a considerable distance between herself and the remainder of the ladies; eventually, she cruised to victory in 1:01:52 (1st place).  Elaine Fitzpatrick (Murlough AC) claimed the runners up spot in 1:08:23 (2nd place), while Clare Carson (East Down AC) crossed the line in 1:13:54 for 3rd place.


In the associated 7k race, Larne AC's Craig Hutchinson ran well to lead the field home in 24:58 (1st place), while young Edie Carroll (East Down AC) secured the top prize in the ladies race in 29:30 (1st place).


Podium Places - 14k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 49:34, 2nd Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders) – 52:49, 3rd Gareth Lyons (Balldrain Harriers) – 53:06

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Rachel Frew (Unattached) – 1:01:52, 2nd Elaine Fitzpatrick (Murlough AC) – 1:08:23, 3rd Clare Carson (East Down AC) – 1:13:54


Podium Places – 7k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Craig Hutchinson (Larne AC) – 24:58, 2nd James Smyth (East Down AC) – 25:49, 3rd Callum McCabe (Lagan Valley AC) – 26:04

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Edie Carroll (East Down AC) – 29:30, 2nd Ella Carroll (East Down AC) – 35:44, 3rd Roisin Gaffney (East Down AC) – 37:27


Full Results:  Downpatrick Lions 3 lakes 14k and 7k Road Races 2015 Results

Paul Elliot claims European Masters Athletics 10k silver in Italy:

European Masters Athletics (Road) Championships 2015:

On Friday 15th May 2015, Northern Ireland based athlete Paul Elliot (North Belfast Harriers) added another prestigious accolade to his CV when he secured a European Masters silver medal at the European Masters Athletics (Road) Championships in Italy.


Competing in the 10k road race, Paul, a record breaking veteran athlete, secured 2nd place in his Vet60 category in a time of 36:50.  Italian athlete Antonio Di Noia claimed gold in 36:43 (1st place).


In the competitive Vet45 category, Beechmount Harriers' Stuart Kennedy finished in a very credible 21st place, after crossing the line in 36:45.  His category was won by Italian athlete Michel Ribero in 32:19 (1st place).


Full Results:  European Masters Athletics (Road) Championships 2015 Results

Brendan Teer and Teresa Duffy secure Les Jones 10k titles:

ChampionChip Ireland Les Jones Memorial 10k 2015:

On Friday 15th May 2014, over two hundred athletes descended on the Mary Peters Track in Belfast for the annual Les Jones Memorial 10k, an event hosted by Athletics NI and sponsored by ChampionChip Ireland.


The 6.2 mile course started and finished on the track and took in the roads, paths and trails in close by Minnowburn, Shaws Bridge and Lagan Towpath area.


Straight from the gun, reigning Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) made his intentions clear and as the field came off the track to make their way uphill towards the upper car park and the Upper Malone Road, Brendan had already pushed clear at the front.  


Willowfield Harriers trio Neill Weir, Chris Moren and Gregory Lucy led the seemingly endless chase pack.  Teresa Duffy (Unattached), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers), Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) and Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners) looked like the main contenders for the ladies podium, even this early.

By the 6k marker on the Lagan Towpath, Brendan Teer had opened up a sizeable gap on the chasing David O'Flaherty, who in turn had roughly twenty seconds on Willowfield Harriers men Neill Weir and Chris Moren as they headed towards Shaws Bridge and the impending 'heartbreak hill'.  It was a similar story in the ladies race, with Teresa Duffy dominating things at the front, with Denise Logue and Geraldine Quigley in pursuit.


As the rain poured down, the gathered spectators awaited the arrival of the race leaders and it was Brendan Teer who appeared first; the East Down AC man descended strongly off the upper trail towards the track – he turned onto the mondo surface and covered the remaining 300 metres with ease, breaking the tape in 33:10 (1st place).  David O'Flaherty followed in 34:05 (2nd place), before Neill Weir got the better of club mate Chris Moren (4th place – 35:49) to secure the final podium place in 35:42 (3rd place).  


Long standing Northern Ireland 5k, 10k and Marathon record holder Teresa Duffy looked a class act as she cruised into the finish, claiming victory in 39:29; although quite a bit slower than her 10,000m best of 33:33, the Vet45 athlete showed that she hasn't lost any of her talent.  Denise Logue just missed a sub forty clocking when she finished in 40:02 (2nd place), while the ever improving Geraldine Quigley recorded an impressive 41:03 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Brendan Teer (East Down AC) – 33:10, 2nd David O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 34:05, 3rd Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 35:42


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Teresa Duffy (Unattached) – 39:29, 2nd Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 40:02, 3rd Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners) – 41:03


Full Results:  ChampionChip Ireland Les Jones Memorial 10k 2015 Results – Photos from the Les Jones 10k will be added to our Photo Gallery tomorrow (Saturday 16th May 2015).

Weekend Preview:  A hectic weekend ahead for NI based athletes...

Weekend Preview: ‘Races, races and more races…’

After what was a relatively quiet weekend last week, normal (and some may say an enhanced) service resumes in the coming days, when the local running community will have an abundance of choice in terms of races.  


Over the course of three days, athletes from NI will cover a variety of distances over pretty much every terrain, with events in Belfast (County Antrim), Newcastle (County Down), Cookstown (County Down), Limavady (County Derry/Londonderry), Downpatrick (County Down) and Clogher (County Tyrone).  Local runners will also compete at prestigious events in Ireland, England, Wales and America.


Les Jones Memorial 10k:

The weekend action will kick off tonight, Friday 15th May 2015, at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast, when hundreds of athletes are expected to take on the annual Les Jones Memorial 10k, an event hosted by Athletics NI.  The scenic 6.2 mile route, starts and finishes on the track at MPT and covers the neighbouring paths and trails in and around Minnowburn, Barnett’s Demesne and the Lagan Towpath.


Reigning Champion Brendan Teer (East Down AC) has raced sparingly this year so far, but has impressed pretty much every time he has toed the line.  A 15:47 parkrun (5k) last week shows that he is fit, so the former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion will prove hard to beat if he does enter on the day.  The fast improving Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) narrowly missed a podium spot here in 2014, taking fourth place, but given his recent form, including a 32:38 10k last month (April 2015), the City of Lisburn AC star should claim a prize if he races.  Newcastle AC's David O'Flaherty and Willowfield Harriers' Chris Moren will also feature, while David Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC), Gavin Campbell (Unattached) and Martin Melville (Newcastle AC) will also finish well up the field.


The top two ladies from twelve months ago, Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) and Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) will be noticeable absentees, so it may be down to the returning Jenny Black (Orangegrove AC) to lead the field out.  Jenny returned from injury recently and has shown good form – last Tuesday, she recorded 2:32.73 for 800m at the North Down AC Track & Field Meeting in Bangor.  Teresa Duffy (Unattached) is another athlete to watch out for; the NI 5k, 10k and Marathon record holder will hope to follow on from her performance at the Belfast Marathon with another strong outing here.  Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers), Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners), Fiona Prue (Ballydrain Harriers), Gillian Logan (Larne AC), Rita Devlin (Newcastle AC), Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) and Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) will all play a part at the front.

Davagh 10 mile Trail Race:

On Saturday 16th May 2015, County Derry/Londonderry clubs Sperrin Harriers and Magherafelt Harriers will welcome athletes from across the province to the inaugural running of their Davagh Forest 10 mile trail race.  


The much talked about event has attracted a lot of attention and should prove to be popular, especially given the impressive route that it will cover.  Organisers are keen to promote that despite online entry being closed, entry on the day is available.


North Belfast Harriers' Mark McKinstry will go into the event as pre-race favourite and should perform to his usual high standard.  The Northern Ireland XC international has really made a name for himself in the last 6-12 months, with his silver medal performance at the NI & Ulster Senior XC Championships being arguably the highlight of his running career; well, alongside the NI international call-up that ultimately came as a result of that performance.  The (joint) host club's Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) should also go well, as will Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) if he is fit enough to compete.  Delfim Pimentel (Unattached), Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners), Martin Campbell (Slieve Gullion Runners) and Pascal Hall (Unattached) will all be hoping for highly placed finishes.


In the ladies event, it could well be a tussle between the ever impressive duo of Pauline McGurren and Natalie Hall, both from Sperrin Harriers. Should the ladies compete, Pauline should edge it, but Natalie should join her on the podium.  Fellow Sperrin Harriers athlete Ursala Kelly will make the top ten, as will Carmen Runners' Ciara Coyle.


Born 2 Run – Surf N’Turf (Benone Beach) 10k and Half Marathon:

Also on Saturday 16th May 2015, a large number of competitors will descend on the Benone Tourist Complex in Limavady for the Born 2 Run Surf N’Turf North 10k and Half Marathon events.  Both the 10k and Half Marathon start on Benone Beach, before moving inland onto a tough rural section.  After the final descent, competitors will be directed back onto the beach where they will finish on the sand.  


26extreme Tollymore Trail Ultra Marathon winner Peter Cromie (Springwell Running Club) looks like the pick of the bunch in the men's half marathon event; other athletes to look out for include Bobbie Irvine (Seapark AC), Billy Thompson (Larne AC) and David Noble (Larne AC), while in the ladies 13.1 mile race, 3:18:59 marathoner Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) should head the pack. MDS finisher Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Cara Hamilton (North Down AC) and Andrea Kennedy (Enniskillen Running Club) may also prove to be podium contenders.


In the associated 10k race, Derry City Track Club stars Cathal McLaughlin and Darragh Crossan are interesting additions to the line up.  Despite their focus on the impending outdoor track season, the pair will feature prominently at the front.  Rhodri Jones (Springwell Running Club) will also be worth watching, while in the ladies race, it's hard to look past Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club), who made an excellent return to competition last week with a podium place at the Purple Ladies 5k.

Hill & Dale Series (Race 5) – Slieve Donard:

On the same day (Saturday 16th May 2015), Newcastle AC will host Race 5 of their ongoing Hill & Dale Series in Newcastle, County Down.  The Series, which usually takes place on a Thursday night has proved as popular as always, and therefore a large turnout is expected for this race.  The Slieve Donard race measures approximately 5.5 miles in distance and takes competitors from Newcastle Main Street to the top of Northern Ireland’s highest mountain (Slieve Donard), which stands at 850 metres.


Aside from the start and finish along the Main Street (via Donard Park), competitors are free to choose their own way to the summit and back, with some opting for the Black Stairs and others, the more runnable Glen River Path.  Two men who will be the first to make their decision will be potential leaders/winners Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC). 


Seamus has won three of the four Hill & Dale Races so far, while Ian secured victory at the most recent one (Slieve Binnian).  Seamus has also impressed outside the Hill & Dale Series, with wins at the opening three races of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship.  Mourne Runners duo Sam Herron and William McKee will also be aiming to continue their recent form in both the H&D Series and NIMRA Championship as the strive for the podium.  However, they will have to see off the challenge of David Steele (Newcastle AC), Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners), Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners) and Emmet McAllister (Unattached).


The ladies race could well be a battle between Hill & Dale Series leader Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) and the returning Diane Wilson (Dromore AC).  Shalene has been in regular action this year following an excellent year opener at the Race Over the Glens on New Years Day, where she won. Since then, the Newcastle AC new girl has been in blistering form in the Hill & Dale Series.  However, current NIMRA Champion Diane returned from injury last week to seal second place in Annalong.  Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) will all be absentees as they represent Northern Ireland in Wales.  Jackie Toal (BARF), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) and Denise Mathers (Mourne Runners) should contest the remaining podium places.


Downpatrick Lions ‘3 Lakes’ Challenge:

Also in County Down on Saturday 16th May 2015, East Down AC will assist the local Downpatrick Lions Club in the organisation of their annual Lions ‘3 Lakes’ Challenge, an event which offers participants the choice of either a 14k race or a 7k race, both of which are set on an impressive undulating rural course, starting and finishing at the Lakeside Inn, Downpatrick.


Local man Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) may return to competitive action (he did run 16:40 at parkrun last week) after his excellent outing at the Virgin Money London Marathon, where he recorded 2:36:09. Another London Marathon finisher, Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) could also return after taking the runners up spot behind Brendan Teer (East Down AC) twelve months ago.  The aforementioned men could be joined on the start line by Francis Tumelty (East Down AC), Norman Mawhinney (Ballydrain Harriers) and James Savage (East Down AC).


It's likely that East Down AC lady and Northern Ireland international mountain runner Catherine O'Connor will claim the ladies top prize should she decide to compete.  Catherine produced an outstanding performance at Jimmy's 10k back in March, when she ran a new personal best of 38:28. Fellow East Down AC athletes Lisa Milligan and Laura Gardiner should also feature at the front if they turn out on the day.


Clogher 10k:

Adding to the plethora of choice on Saturday 16th May 2015 will be the Clogher 10k in County Tyrone.  The community orientated event has attracted several high profile athletes in the past and this year should prove no different; this will bring together a mixture of athletes, all with their own hopes and expectations.


Martin Cox (Project Africa) is due to pace at the NBH 5,000m event on Sunday 17th May 2015 (details included in this weekend preview), but given the fact that he won't necessarily be racing in Belfast, he may compete here.  Fergus McGirr (Enniskillen Running Club) and Acorns AC man Aidan O'Hagan may also contest the prize winning place, while in the ladies race, Omagh Harriers ladies Patricia Campbell, Mairead McCann and Rosaleen McCartan should battle it out for top honours in the ladies race.

Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m Personal Bests (England):

Further afield on Saturday 16th May 2015, a number of local runners will be in action at the prestigious Highgate Harriers ‘Night of 10,000m Personal Bests’ in England.  The event, which is well known for attracting some of the UK’s best athletes will also incorporate the England 10,000m Championships as well as act as the GB & NI trials for upcoming major events.


City of Derry AC's AAI Masters, NI & Ulster Masters and NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion Declan Reed will race, as will Armagh AC's exceptionally talented AAI Intermediate XC Champion Danielle Fegan.  They will be joined by Scotland based Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), who won the Ballyshannon 5k in 15:01 last week, and event regular Dermot Kerr (Armagh AC).


BMC Trafford Grand Prix Track & Field Meeting (England):

Also in England on Saturday 16th May 2015, at least ten athletes from Northern Ireland will be in competition at the British Milers Club (BMC) Trafford Grand  Prix.


Team NI Commonwealth Games athletes Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Katie Kirk (QUB AC) will be joined by Aislinn Crossey (UCD AC), Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC), Johnny Foster (Annadale Striders), Steven Morrow (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC), Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) and Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC).


PURE Athletics Elite Track & Field Meeting (USA):

Meanwhile, in America on Saturday 16th May 2015, Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) will line up against a world class field at the PURE Athletics Elite Track & Field Meeting in Clermont, America.  Interestingly, Amy secured the Northern Ireland 100m record (of 11.40secs) at this event a year ago, so the City of Lisburn AC and team Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games star will be aiming high as she takes to the start line.


Inter Counties Fell Running Championships (Wales):

In Wales on Saturday 16th May 2015, a group of local athletes will swap their club vests for the green and white of Northern Ireland as they compete at the Inter Counties Fell Running Championships in North Wales.  The event, which will take place in Betws-y-Coed, will attract a top quality field including teams from England, Scotland and Wales.  The men will cover a 10.4k course with 488m of ascent, while the ladies will negotiate a 10.1k course with 472m of ascent.  Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC), Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC), Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), Chris Stirling (Ambleside AC), Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) will all be in competition.


North Belfast Harriers Afternoon of 5,000m Personal Bests:

On Sunday 17th May 2015, North Belfast Harriers will host an afternoon of 5,000m personal bests at the Boys Model School in Belfast.  The event will consist of a number of races, all of which will be paced by experienced athletes with the aim of guiding participants towards their goal time, or personal best.  In total, there will be six races, divided into ‘estimated time’ fields:  Race 1: 2.30pm (sub 17mins), Race 2: 3.00pm (18 – 20mins), Race 2: 3.30pm (18 – 20mins), Race 4: 4.00pm (21 – 23mins), Race 5: 4.30pm (24 – 26mins), Race 6: 5.05pm (27 – 30mins).  Please note that there will be NO entry on the day as all races are FULL.

GloHealth AAI Games (Ireland):

Also on Sunday 17th May 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will travel south for the annual GloHealth AAI Games, which will be held at the Morton Stadium, Santry (Ireland).


Amongst those set to race are Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC), Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim), Johnathan Carleton (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Adam Hill (City of Lisburn AC), Stephen Prentice (Annadale Striders), Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC), Jessica Craig (North Down AC) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC).


Loughborough International Track & Field Meeting (England):

In England on Sunday 17th May 2015, several athletes from Northern Ireland will be in competition at the Loughborough International Track & Field Meeting, which will be held at the top sporting University in the UK, Loughborough University.  Well established Northern Ireland internationals Jason Harvey (Crusaders), Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Ben Reynolds (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) will be joined by up and coming City of Lisburn AC star Megan Marrs at the event; Megan has been selected to represent the Great Britain & Northern Ireland Under 20 team.


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.

New flatter and faster course for Lisburn Half Marathon 2015:

Flatter, Faster Lisburn Half Marathon for 2015:

There are a number of changes to the Lisburn Half Marathon in 2015, with the Half Marathon, 10k and Fun Run starting from the same point on Warren Park, closer to the finish line - the finish line itself, remains unchanged in the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex Park.


The 10k and and Fun Run routes are the same as in the last few years but there is a big change in the Half Marathon course which is flatter, safer and faster than before. The opening 3 miles is the same before the runners take down Lurganure Road and past the Maze area to Culcavy and back home via the Blaris Road . This innovation makes the half marathon one of the flattest in Ireland and ideal for breaking Personal Best times.


The Mary Peters Trust is the Official Charity of the 2015 Run Lisburn Half Marathon, 10k Road Race and 3k Fun Run, which will take place at 6.45pm on Wednesday 17th June 2015.


Entries are still open and participants can register online at www.lisburnhalfmarathon.com for any of the three races.  Alderman Paul Porter, Chairman of the Council’s Leisure & Community Development Committee, said: “The entries are coming in at a fast pace for this annual event, which remains one of Northern Ireland’s largest sporting participation events. It is the first year Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council will manage the event and it is fitting that this milestone coincides with the new Half Marathon route. I would like to say thank you to event sponsor Coca-Cola for their headline sponsorship and Coca Cola Zone at the finish line. The support of Lagan Valley LeisurePlex is invaluable as it hosts the entrant bag collection, the finish line and medal collection area."


"The Mary Peters Trust, will benefit from each entry and I would ask those participating to raise funds for the charity, if they do not already have one in mind. This local charity provides support to young and talented athletes across Northern Ireland by creating opportunities and developing their existing skills as they train, through both financial assistance and in an advisory capacity."


To register for any of the three races simply log on to www.lisburnhalfmarathon.com and complete the online application form. The website also has a downloadable training schedule geared towards beginners interested in running the Half Marathon.  Printed application forms will be available from Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council leisure facilities, local sports shops, Sport NI and various outlets displaying the Coca-Cola Run Lisburn Half Marathon poster.

Michael Crawley and Shileen O'Kane win EAH Forest Series Race 1:

East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series 2015:  Race 1 – Woodburn Forest:

On Tuesday 12th May 2015, Ballyclare based club East Antrim Harriers welcomed close to two hundred runners to the first race of their well established annual Forest Trail Series.  


The opening race of the 2015 Series took place over a 3 mile course within the confines of Woodburn Forest, just outside Carrickfergus.  In excellent conditions, Michael Crawley (Tri-Limits) set the pace at the front, and the former Sperrin Harriers athlete showed his strength to hold on for an impressive victory, breaking the tape in  17:09 (1st place).  Willowfield Harriers' Neil Weir, who has been performing well at the ongoing Hill & Dale Series, claimed 2nd place in 17:22, before James Trainor (Dub Runners) took 3rd place in 17:34.


In the ladies race, it was the in-form mountain runner Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) who once again proved her worth.  Fresh from an excellent win at the Annalong Horseshoe last weekend, Shileen sealed victory in 19:53 (1st place).  Trisha Campbell (North Belfast Harriers) followed in 20:27 (2nd place), while Ballymena Runners' Paula McAllister (20:35) continued her return to competition with a good run for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Michael Crawley (Tri-Limits) – 17:09, 2nd Neil Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 17:22, 3rd James Trainor (Dub Runners) – 17:34


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 19:53, 2nd Trisha Campbell (North Belfast Harriers) – 20:27, 3rd Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) – 20:35


Full Results:  East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series (Race 1 – Woodburn Forest) 2015 Results

Category Standings:  EAH Forest Trail Series 2015 Overall Category Standings

Leon Reid records Euro U-23 qualifying time as NI trio impress in England:

Northern Ireland men impress on the track:

A trio of Glasgow 2014 Team NI Commonwealth Games members opened up their 2015 outdoor seasons at the British Athletics League matches in Sheffield and Eton over the weekend (Saturday 9th May 2015). 


Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) won the Premiership 200m 'A race' coming very close to his personal best with an extremely impressive 20.67secs (1st place), which betters the British Athletics U-23 standard of 20.75secs. The England based athlete backed up this impressive display taking 0.01secs off his 100m best of 10.44secs when clocking 10.43secs to finish in 2nd place to Ojie Edoburun (Shaftesbury Barnet), who won in 10.34secs (1st place).


Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) had his first outing over the 400m hurdles since the European Athletics Championships in Zurich last year (2014). His win for Liverpool Harriers, in an encouraging time of 51.73secs (1st place) betters his 2014 performances in both the Commonwealth Games and European Athletics Championships.


Ben Reynolds (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) had a battle with World Junior medallist David Omoregie for the win in the 110m hurdles and eventually came through over the final two flights to seal victory in 13.81secs (1st place).  Ben and Jason will be hoping to improve on these good starting points at the Loughborough international this coming Sunday (17th May 2015).


Note:  Article compiled with assistance from Athletics NI.

Keith Shiels and Gemma Turley win Termoneeny 10k road race:

Termoneeny 10k Road Race 2015:

On Sunday 10th May 2015, athletes from all over Northern Ireland turned out for the annual Termonenny 10k road race in County Derry/Londonderry, an event hosted by Termonenny Running Club over an undulating rural route.


Former Foyle Valley AC athlete Keith Shiels (St Columb's AC) showed that he is getting back to top form following a period of continual injury woes as he put in a classy display of front running to seal an impressive victory in 32:32 (1st place).  Virgin Money London Marathon finisher Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) returned to the start line for the first time following his new 26.2 mile personal best and claimed 2nd place in 34:41, before Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) completed the top three finishers in 36:26 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) replicated the stand out nature of her male counterpart Keith Shiels' performance, when she cruised to victory, breaking the tape in 40:22 (1st place). Ballymena Runners' always impressive Lorna Sibbett claimed the runners up spot in 41:28 (2nd place). Arguably the most popular prize-winner of the day was the host club's Catriona Murphy, who took  3rd place in 43:40.


Top 3 Men:  1st Keith Shiels (St Columb's AC) – 32:32, 2nd Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) – 34:41, 3rd Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners) – 36:26


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma Turley (Springwell Running Club) – 40:22, 2nd Lorna Sibbett (Ballymena Runners) – 41:28, 3rd Catriona Murphy (Termoneeny Running Club) – 43:40


Full Results:  Termoneeny 10k 2015 Results

Kevin Seaward clocks PB as NI athletes complete Great Manchester 10k:

Great Manchester 10k 2015:

On Sunday 10th May 2015, a number of runners from Northern Ireland lined up alongside a world class field at the Great Manchester 10k in Manchester, England.  Despite the blustery conditions, the local athletes performed well.


The course took in several of Manchesters' most notable areas and sights, passing Old Trafford Football Stadium close to halfway, before heading out towards the redeveloped Salford Quays and 'Media City', were the athletes turned and made their way back towards the City Centre and the atmospheric finish outside the well-known Deansgate.


The elite ladies race was the first off and featured Letterkenny AC's Strabane based Ann-Marie McGlynn.  After an excellent start to 2015, which has seen Ann-Marie claim both the NI & Ulster 5k and 10k (Road) titles, much was expected of the Northern Ireland and Ireland international and she delivered – despite the aforementioned windy conditions, Ann-Marie finished just outside her 10k personal best in a time of 34:52.  


Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC and Cardiff AC) set off with the elite men and the masses and produced a top class performance to secure a new personal best of 29:54; interestingly, this was Kevin's first sub thirty minute 10k outing, showing that his training is going well as he gears towards Olympic qualification.  Current NI & Ulster 10,000m (Track) Champion Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) crossed the line in 35:43, a mere one second slower than his personal best, while husband and wife duo Eric Montgomery and Kate Montgomery, both of Lagan Valley AC, recorded 39:53 and 57:53 respectively.


The race was by Kenyan athlete Stephen Sambu in 27:30 (1st place), while the ladies title went to another Kenyan athlete, Betsy Saina in a time of 31:49 (1st place).


Full Results:  Great Manchester 10k 2015 Results

Iain Whiteside, Sharon Trimble-Bird and Gavin Mulholland impress outside NI:

Ben Lomond Hill Race 2015:

On Saturday 9th May 2015, Northern Ireland athletes Iain Whiteside and Sharon Trimble-Bird, both representing Scottish club Carnethy HRC, were in action in the Scotland Highlands, at the Ben Lomond Hill Race, close to Loch Lomond. 


The event took almost two hundred participants from Rowardennan, on the shores of Great Britian's largest in-land stretch of water to the summit of Ben Lomond, one of the most popular Scottish Munro's; with almost 1,000 metres of ascent and descent in the 12.6k race, competitors' uphill and downhill skills were put to the test on the out and back route.  The local pair impressed, with both securing top ten places against a high calibre of competition.  Iain crossed the line in 1:12:31 for 9th place, while Sharon ran well to claim 8th place in the ladies race in 1:29:06.  


Salomon International runner Tom Owens won the race in 1:06:52 (1st place), with Catriona Buchanan (Ochil Hill Runners) picking up the ladies title in 1:20:08 (1st place).


Provisional Results:  Ben Lomond Hill Race 2015 Results (Jpeg Format)


Stretton Six Summits Mountain Race:

Also on Saturday 9th May 2015, Northern Ireland international mountain runner Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC) was in competition at the Stretton Six Summits Mountain Race in Shropshire, England.  The event covered 10.1k in distance with 990m of ascent and Gavin once again showed his quality, securing a top ten place in 1:01:04 (9th place).  The race was won by Tom Addison (Helm Hill Runners) in 59:01 (1st place).


Full Results:  Stretton Six Summits Mountain Race 2015 Results

Seamus Lynch and Shileen O'Kane win BARF's Annalong Horseshoe:

Annalong Horseshoe (NIMRA Championships Series – Race 3):

On Saturday 9th May 2015, Northern Ireland's mountain running fraternity descended on 'Dunnywater', close to Annalong (Couty Down), for race three of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship Series. 


The race, organised by Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners (BARF), is considered a long distance route, for the purposes of the Championship and covered 21k in distance, with approximately 1,550 metres of accumulative ascent.


After starting in Dunnywater, athletes made their way towards the wet open mountains along a stoney track, in the direction of Chimney Rock and onto Slieve Commedagh via the Brandy Pad; from the summit cairn of Northern Ireland's second tallest mountain, the competitors then negotiated a steep descent before climbing to the summits of Cove and Slieve Lamagan.   The rough descent from Slieve Lamagan was followed by the ascent to the final summit of Slieve Binnian (the location of Thursday's Hill & Dale event) – from here, participants followed  the Mourne Wall before turning towards Carrick Little car park and a one mile section of undulating road to the finish line.


After an interesting dual at the front with current NIMRA Champion Jonny Steede (Unattached), it was pre-race favourite and winner of the opening NIMRA Championship races at Glenariff and Donard-Commedagh, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), who secured an excellent win.  Seamus led the athletes home in 2:06:38 (1st place); interestingly, this was an incredible thirteen minutes quicker than Seamus' time from 2014.  Jonny Steede also ran quicker than his winning time from twelve months ago, recording 2:07:17 for 2nd place, before Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) took 3rd place in 3:11:56.


In the ladies race, there was a welcome return to action for current NIMRA Champion Diane Wilson (Dromore AC).  However, it was her friend and international team mate, Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) who stole the headlines with an excellent performance.  Shileen showed no real signs of fatigue from Thursday's tough Hill & Dale event at Slieve Binnian, as she broke the tape in 2:34:36 (1st place).  Diane claimed the runners up spot and her first NIMRA Championship 2015 finish in 2:45:22 (2nd place), while Jackie Toal (BARF) replicated her finishing position at the Slieve Donard-Commedagh event as she crossed the line in 2:57:52 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 2:06:38, 2nd Jonny Steede (Unattached) – 2:07:17, 3rd Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) – 3:11:56


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 2:34:36, 2nd Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 2:45:22, 3rd Jackie Toal (BARF) – 2:57:52


Full Results:  Annalong Horseshoe Mountain Race 2015 Results - Photo above by Mark Alexander - Photos from the Annalong Horseshoe Mountain Race (by Jayne Bell) can be found HERE.

Conan McCaughey secure victory as NI athletes impress in Ballyshannon:

Ballyshannon 5k Road Race 2015:

On Friday 8th May 2015, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes produced impressive performances at the Ballyshannon 5k road race in County Donegal (Ireland), an event hosted by Tir Chonaill AC.


At the head of the pack, it was Northern Ireland men who dominated, with Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club), Martin Cox (Project Africa) and Gerard Gallagher (Finn Valley AC) picking up the three main prizes.  Young Conan secured victory in an outstanding new personal best of 15:01 (1st place), before Martin and Gerard followed in 15:13 (2nd place) and 15:25 (3rd place) respectively.


There were also notable outings for Project Africa leader Ciaran Collins (5th place – 16:02) and City of Derry AC's James Brown (6th place – 16:08), while Karen Dolan (Enniskillen Running Club) was the first NI lady home in 20:02.  This was enough to see Karen take 4th place in the ladies race won by Finn Valley AC's Catriona Devine in 17:43 (1st place).


Full Results:  Ballyshannon 5k Road Race 2015 Results

Beechmount Harriers/Irish Milers Club event attracting major attention:

Beechmount Harriers/IMC Track & Field Meeting attracting top stars:

Entries for the Beechmount Harriers/Irish Milers Club Track & Filed Meeting, set to be held at the Mary Peters Track (MPT), Belfast on Saturday 23rd May 2015 are now open and available HERE.


Organisers are keen to encourage athletes of all standards to compete, and will employ pacemakers for each race to ensure the best possible chance of a new personal best for everyone.  The event has already attracted some high profile competitors, the following is up to date information from the organisers in relation to entries.


Ladies 800m:

There promises to be an enthralling Ladies 800m 'A' race; the event will feature 2014 800m Irish Champion Katie Kirk (QUB AC), the Irish 2013 Irish Champion Aislinn Crossey (UCD AC), who along with  Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), will face a battle royale against two British Milers Club (BMC) athletes.   Scotland’s Katy Brown with a personal best of 2:02.95 and Alexandra Bell (Pb 2:03.16) from England will provide a stern test to the home athletes.  Add in the ever improving Alanna Lalley (Galway City Harriers) and you can see what a race this is turning out to be. 


Men’s 800m:

The IMC and Beechmount Harriers will be bringing over BMC athletes for the A race (details soon) to provide a test to Ireland’s brightest middle distance talent. Nineteen year old Robert Tully (Star of the Sea AC) with a personal best of 1:49.15 will be seeking to lower this at this event.  Also entered is Kilkenny City Harriers' Eoin Everad who has a fine 800m pedigree and boasting a best of 1:48.40.  Anthony Leghio from Dublin (Ireland) is also targeted this race.


Men’s 1500m:

In the Men’s 1500m we are now joined by Guy Smith from the British Milers Club - Guy has a 2014 personal best of 3:44 and will provide a stern challenge to our home based athletes.


Ladies 1500m:

Recent winner at our Greystones Meet Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC) again races under the IMC banner and will undoubtedly be challenged by Ellie Hartnet and Rachel Smith.  A sub 4:30 finish looks to be on the cards in this race.


Qualifying Standards:

There are five athletes who have entered the meeting in an attempt the qualification standards for either the European Junior Athletics Championships (EJ) or the European Youth Olympics (EYOF) standard.  Going for Euro Junior spots will be Amy Hamill (Glaslough Harriers) in the ladies 800m, Liam Hennessey (Togher AC) in the men's 800m and Hope Saunders (Clonliffe Harriers) in the ladies 3,000m.  Also seeking an EYOF standard will be Arlene Crossan (Finn Valley AC) in the 400m, Olivia Nelson (City of Lisburn AC) in the 1500m and Jack Harbinson (City of Lisburn AC), also in the 1500m.


Other notable entries in various events include:  Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers), Paul Barbour (Omagh Harriers), Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Oisin O'Callaghan (Newry AC), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Katie O'Connor (Newry AC), 


Events available at the Beechmount Harriers/IMC Track & Field Meeting at MPT are:  800m (men and women), 1500m (men and women), 3000m (men and women), 200m (men and women) and 400m (men and women).


Further information on the event will be published on this website as soon as it's available.

Weekend Preview:  Annalong Horseshoe, Termoneeny 10k and more...

Weekend Preview:  NIMRA Championship returns...

After an excellent and very busy Bank Holiday weekend, which brought our own record breaking Active Financial NiRunning-BMC Mile, as well as the ever popular Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, amongst other events, this upcoming weekend should feel more relaxed – that’s from a personal perspective though, as there is still some good race options for those wanting to lace up their racers.


Most notably, the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship will return with the Annalong Horseshoe, while for the road runners, there is the Termoneeny 10k road race to look forward too.  Outside Northern Ireland, local runners will take on the Great Manchester 10k in England.


Annalong Horseshoe Mountain Race:

On Saturday 9th May 2015, many of Northern Ireland's mountain running enthusiasts will reconvene for race three of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship Series.  


This time the location will be Dunnywater, near Annalong, where the eager participants will take on the challenging Annalong Horseshoe course.  The race, organised by Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners (BARF), is considered a long distance route, for the purposes of the Championship and will be of 21k in distance with approximately 1,380 metres of ascent/descent. 


Runners leave the aforementioned Dunnywater on the main road, make their way towards the wet open mountains along a stoney track, in the direction of Chimney Rock and onto Slieve Commedagh via the Brandy Pad; from the summit cairn of Northern Ireland's second tallest mountain, athletes will make a steep descent before climbing to the summits of Cove and Slieve Lamagan.  The rough descent from Slieve Lamagan will be followed by the ascent to the final summit of Slieve Binnian.  Having reached Slieve Binnian, participants will follow the Mourne Wall before turning towards Carrick Little car park and a one mile section of undulating road to the finish line.


After sitting out last nights Hill & Dale race at Slieve Binnian, current Championship leader Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) will be hoping to make it three wins in as many races after sealing victories at the NIMRA Championships Series openers at Glenariff and Donard-Commedagh.  The Newcastle AC star will be joined on the start line by 2014 NIMRA Championship winner Jonny Steede (Unattached) as well as Sam Heron (Mourne Runners) and Newcastle AC pair David Steele and Deon McNeilly.  Jonny, Deon and Sam took the podium places at this race last year and will be hoping to replicate that this time around.  Others for consideration will be Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC), as well as the age-less Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers) and Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners).  Neil (Carty), despite a ninth place finish last year has run well over this course on numerous occasions and has already shown enough early season form to suggest he could challenge for the podium again.  Emmet McAllister (Unattached) should make a return to competitive action following a good spell of training.


In the ladies race, it is likely that current NIMRA Champion Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), will again miss out, as she recovers from injury.  Recent Donard–Commedagh winner and experienced Northern Ireland international mountain runner Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) is likely to dominate at the front.  After recovering from a broken wrist, Shileen has gained confidence as the racing season progresses and is showing the kind of form that led her to the NIMRA Championship wins in the past.  Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) and Denise Mathers (Mourne Runners) will again do battle, with both ladies exchanging places in recent races, most prominently at the Slieve Donard-Commedagh and Castlewellan Hill & Dale events.  Jacque Toal of the host club BARF has shown good form over longer distances this year and will be in the running, while Anne Sanford (Lagan Valley AC) will be another lady who is capable of taking a podium place.  Newcastle AC trio Patricia McKibben, Sam McNeilly and Paulette Thompson will all be worth watching.


Registration for this event will be from 09.30am to 10.30am, with the race starting at 11am.  All runners are reminded that full body cover, as well as a hat, gloves, map, compass, whistle and emergency food will be required.  A Kit Check will take place before the race starts.

Termoneeny 10k:

On Sunday 10th May 2015, athletes from across Northern Ireland are expected to descend on the Gulladuff area of County Derry/Londonderry for the annual Termoneeny 10k road race, hosted by Termoneeny Running Club.  The rural course starts close to the Termoneeny Community Centre and finishes even closer to it (at the main entrance door!).  


Reigning Champion Jarlath Falls (Ballymena & Antrim AC) may well return to defend the crown he won so impressively twelve months ago, but this time around, the talented athlete could face tough opposition in the form of two in-form athletes, Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC).   Mark's performances throughout the back end of 2014 and the start of 2015 has earned the Ballyboley based athlete a senior Northern Ireland international debut at the IAAF Antrim International XC, while Aaaron will be hoping to show the same kind of pace that has saw him record new 5k (16:04), 10k (33:34), Half Marathon (1:14:40) and Marathon (2:43:38) personal bests as he looks to improve on his tenth place finish here in 2014.  


Mark and Aaron could well be joined on the start line by NiRunning Mile winner James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners) and Acorns AC men Aidan O'Hagan, Darrell McKee and Bliadhan Glass.  Matt Wray (Ballymena Runners), Bryan Edgar (Springwell Running Club) and Desi Foley (Unattached) may also feature and will perform well if they do.


It is unlikely that the top two ladies from 2014, Heather Foley (Unattached) and Patricia O'Hagan (St Peter's AC) will compete, so the remaining podium finisher from last year (2014), Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) will more than likely control things at the front – Pauline is pretty much a prize-winner at every race she enters and has already enjoyed victory at the Omagh CBS 10k and the Carmen 10k in 2015 – if she (Pauline) runs close the the 38:55 that sealed victory at the Carmen 10k, she should win her.


However, the Sperrin Harriers athlete may have to fend off the challenge of Purple Ladies 5k winner Gemmma Turley (Springwell Running Club) and Ballymena Runners' ever improving Geraldine Quigley.  Ciara Coyle (Carmen Runners),  Catherine Pinkerton-Moore (Springwell Running Club), Eileen Stewart (St Peter's AC) and Ballymena Runners pair Lorna Sibbett and Ruth Aiken should also place well if they turn out on the day.


Great Manchester 10k (England):

At least four Northern Ireland based runners will join tens of thousands of athletes and spectators on the streets of Manchester for the Morrisons Great Manchester 10k road race, touted as one of the best road events in Europe.


The always impressive Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC/Cardiff AC) and the in-form NI & Ulster 5k and 10k Champion, Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) will both be looking for high places in their respective races, while Lagan Valley AC duo Eric Montgomery and Kate Montgomery will be aiming for quality outings as they line up alongside the likes of former Olympic Champions Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) and Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) at the event, which will be televised live on BBC2 at 11am.


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.

Ian Bailey and Shalene McMurray win H&D Race 4 - Binnian to the Top:

Hill & Dale Series 2015 - Race 4 (Binnian to the Top):

On Thursday 7th May 2015, well over two hundred athletes turned out for the fourth race of the ongoing Hill & Dale Series, a well organised and popular set of trail and mountain races hosted by Newcastle AC.


On this occasion, Slieve Binnian was the location of choice, with competitors faced with a short but tough challenge, a 2 mile uphill only route, which incorporated 2,000ft of ascent.


Local athlete and recognised Northern Ireland international, Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC), a man well known for his strength in the climb, once again proved his worth.  Ian looked powerful from the off and helf off the challenge of Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), William McKee (Mourne Runners) and Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) to seal victory in 22:11 (1st place).  Andrew followed in  eleven seconds later in 22:22 (2nd place), with William securing 3rd place in 22:57 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, Shalene McMurray, a recent addition to the impressive Newcastle AC squad, continued her dominance of the Series when she recorded another top spot.  Shalene completed a hat-trick of wins in the Series when she crossed the line in 26:33 (1st place).  Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) added to her one win and two runners up places when she clocked 28:13 for 2nd place, while BARF's Jackie Toal completed the top three ladies in 31:17 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 22:11, 2nd Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) – 22:22, 3rd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 22:57


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC) – 26:33, 2nd Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 28:13, 3rd Jackie Toal (BARF)- 31:17


Full Results:  Hill & Dale Series – Race 4 (Binnian to the Top) 2015 Results

Podium places for Danny Mooney and Natasha Adams at North West 10k:

North West 10k 2015:

Over the Bank Holiday weekend (Sunday 2nd May 2015), much of the attention was focused on the Deep River Rock Belfast City Marathon.  However, athletes from Northern Ireland have been in action elsewhere.  On top of the excellent performances that we have already featured (scroll down for related summaries), three local athletes secured podium places at the North West 10k in Letterkenny, Ireland.


Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) followed up his podium place at the Ballymote Elite Mile less than 24 hours earlier, where he recorded 4:10 for third place, with another prize-winning performance.  The Team Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games athlete stepped up in distance and looked strong as he completed the course in 33:56, securing 3rd place in the men’s race won by Eoghan McGinley (Rathfarnham WSAF) in 33:06 (1st place).


In the ladies race, the in-form Natasha Adams produced an excellent performance to seal victory in 35:21 (1st place; not only did this time see Natasha lead the ladies home, but it was enough to take an impressive 10th place overall.  City of Derry AC’s Catherine Whoriskey looked back to her best as she crossed the line in 38:43 for 3rd place.


Full Results:  North West 10k 2015 Results

Sharon Trimble-Bird claims top ten finish in Scotland:

Stuc a'Chroin 5000 Mountain Race:

On Saturday 2nd May 2015, Northern Ireland lady Sharon Trimble-Bird (Carnethy HRC/North Belfast Harriers) made a return to competitive racing at the well supported Stuc a'Chroin 5000 Mountain Race, in the southern part of the scenic but testing Scottish Highlands.


The 22k race which includes 1,500 metres of ascent and descent attracted nearly one hundred and fifty participants who negotiated forest tracks before moving onto some rougher ground prior to a descent into Glen Ample.  A steep heathery climb up Beinn Each took competitors onto a fantastic undulating ridge to Stuc a`Chroin Summit. Runners then made their way back to the Start/Finish area at the Strathyre recreation grounds, using a similar route. 


In wintry conditions, the Irish International Mountain runner ran well against quality opposition, finishing in an impressive 8th place with a time of 3:21:48.  Hector Haines (Hunters Bog Trotters) won the race in 2:08:33, with the ever consistent Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) winning the female event, in a time of 2:40:43.


Full Results:  Stuc a 'Chroin 5000 Mountain Race 2015 Results

Joel Kositany & Berhan Gebremichael secure Belfast City Marathon titles:

Belfast City Marathon 2015:

On Monday 4th May 2015, tens of thousands of runners and spectators took to the streets of Northern Ireland's capital city, Belfast for the 34th annual running of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and the associated Relay event.


In bright but breezy conditions, the seemingly endless field set off on the undulating course that would see them make their way from City Hall to the finish line in Ormeau Park, via East, North, West and South Belfast, as well as a section in Newtownabbey. 


The lead pack of Joel Kositany (Kenya) and Project Africa athletes Gideon Kimosop (Kenya) and Vincent Kiprotich-Chepyegon (Kenya) went through 10k in approximately 33:34, with American marathon debutant Andy Wacker (USA) just behind.  


Mostofa Channi (Morocco) followed, with Tamas Janos Nagy (Hungary) and leading Northern Ireland man Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) running side by side as they passed the 10k marker in 35:10.  In the ladies race, Berhan Gebremichael (Ethiopia) and Khadja Elaatiba (Morocco) looked classy at the head of the field. Behind, Northern Ireland ladies marathon record holder Teresa McCluskey (nee Duffy) and Hungarian athlete Katalin Garami (Hungary) had a small lead on Selinah Kangogo (Project Africa), Northern Ireland XC international Sharon Barlow (Ripon Runners) and Ballydrain Harriers new girl Shona Fletcher.


As the men negotiated the gradual uphill of the Antrim Road, Joel Kositany and Gideon Kimosop were inseparable, but the man who had kept them company early on, Vincent Kiprotich-Chepyegon had dropped off the pace and had been passed by Andy Wacker.  Tamas Janos Nagy, Mostafa Channi and Eddie McGinley followed approximately ninety seconds after, all within sight of each other – the gap to the rest of the field was now approximately six minutes.  Meanwhile, in the ladies race, Behran Gebremichael had opened up a good lead on the chasing Khadja Elaatiba, with Katalin Garami, Teresa McCluskey, Sharon Barlow, and now Hannah Oldroyd (England) all contesting the final podium place.

The field descended quickly towards Newtownabbey, through Gideons Green and onto the infamous toe-path and as they made their way into Duncrue Industrial Estate, Joel Kositany had the slightest of leads on Gideon Kimosop, with Andy Wacker and the seemingly refreshed Vincent Kiprotich-Chepyegon in pursuit.  Tamas Janos Nagy and Eddie McGinley were also looking strong and appeared to have closed the gap on the leading men, making for an exciting finale towards the City Centre and Ormeau Park.


By now, Berhan Gebremicahel was now in full control of the ladies race; although now further behind, Khadja Elaatiba still looked powerful as she made her way up the climb and across the road into Duncrue Industrial Estate.  Katlina Garami had now moved clear of Northern Ireland ladies Sharon Barlow and Teresa McCluskey, who in-turn, seemed to be leaving the tiring Selinah Kangogo in their wake.


As the atmosphere was building in the sunny Ormeau Park, Joel Kositany was drawing closer to the finish and as he made short work of the Ormeau Road, he opened up a lead of approximately 150 metres on Gideon Kimosop; as Joel descended towards the Embankment, he further increased this lead and made his way relentlessly towards the final turn into Ormeau Park.  The spectators watched as he  cruised along the Embankment and to loud cheers, the Kenyan, a two time winner of the event, made his way along the finishing straight to break the tape in 2:19:39 (1st place).  Gideon Kimosop took a well-deserved 2nd place in 2:20:32, before the fast finishing Tamas Janos Nagy, who had picked off several tiring athletes in the final miles, completed the top three in 2:24:22 (3rd place).

Local star Eddie McGinley set out his targets before the race; stating that he would like a highly placed finish, and he did just that after an exceptionally strong final few miles.  Despite the blustery conditions and the tough course, Eddie clocked an excellent 2:24:55, a mere three seconds outside his personal best (of 2:24:52) to secure 4th place and the honour of being the first Northern Ireland athlete home.  Ballymena Runners' Ben Morrow and Annadale Striders' Keith Purdy were the next local athletes home in 2:44:29 and 2:45:49 respectively.


In the ladies race, it was the outstanding Berhan Gebremichael who secured the title.  In the final stages, Berhan opened up a huge lead on the chasing ladies, showing no signs of tiredness as she powered into Ormeau Park to cross the line in 2:41:00 (1st place).  


Just over ten minutes later, Khadja Elaatiba took 2nd place in 2:51:01, before a smiling Katalin Garami claimed the final place on the podium, after running 2:55:43 for 3rd place.  Northern Ireland international Sharon Barlow sealed 5th place, clocking 2:57:01 in what was her first ever marathon. Despite claiming that this was “the first and last” attempt at the distance, the Scotland based athlete was very happy to be the first Northern Ireland lady home.  The evergreen Teresa McCluskey crossed the line just nineteen seconds later in 2:57:20, before Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) completed the top three local finishers in 3:01:14.


In the well supported relay competition, it was St Malachy's AC who led the charge.  Their top quality team were the first of the relay teams to reach Ormeau Park, clocking 2:24:12 (1st place) to win the men's category.  Ballymena based Fit N' Running took the 'mixed' title in 2:34:43 (1st place), while North Belfast Harriers won the ladies relay in 2:52:06 (1st place). 


Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st Joel Kositany (Kenya) – 2:19:39, 2nd Gideon Kimosop (Kenya) – 2:20:32, 3rd Tamsa Janos Nagy (Hungary) – 2:24:22


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Berhan Gebremichael (Ethiopia) – 2:41:00, 2nd Khadja Elaatiba (Morocco) – 2:51:01, 3rd Katalin Garami (Hungary) – 2:55:43


Northern Ireland finishers:

Top 3 Northern Ireland Men:  1st Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – 2:24:55, 2nd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 2:44:29, 3rd Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) – 2:45:49


Top 3 Northern Ireland Ladies:  1st Sharon Barlow (Ripon Runners) – 2:57:01, 2nd Teresa McCluskey (Beechmount Harriers) – 2:57:20, 3rd Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) – 3:01:14


Full Results:  Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon 2015 Results - Photos from the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon will be added to our Photo Gallery in the coming days.

Cathal McGreevy and Gavin Mulholland perform well in USA and England:

Miwok 100k (USA):

On Saturday 2nd May 2015, Warrenpoint man Cathal McGreevy (Team Purple) took on the iconic Miwok 100k ultra marathon in the Marin County, California (USA).  


Starting at Stinson Beach the course covers 62.2 miles of trail with approximately 12,000ft.  Cathal paced himself well, reaching the 30.2 mile mark in 96th place in an impressive 5:18:00.  He (Cathal) had a strong second half, arriving back at Stinson Beach to cross the finish line in 12:29:00 for 83rd place.  There were almost five hundred starters and the race was won by Benjamin Stern (USA) in 8:50:00 (1st place). 


The Cake Race (England):

Also on Saturday 2nd May 2015, Northern Ireland international Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC) secured a podium finish at Saddleworth Runners' Cake Race, a popular mountain race in England.  The course covered 10 miles in distance and incorporated 1,700ft of ascent, which Gavin completed in an impressive 1:03:30 (2nd place).  The race was won by Ben Mounsey (Calder Valley AC) in 1:01:04 (1st place).

Local athletes compete at events in Ireland, England, USA and the Bahamas:

Athletes from NI compete at events in Ireland, England, America and the Bahamas:

This weekend (Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May 2015), athletes from Northern Ireland have been in action at events across the world, with major competitions taking place in Ireland, England, America and the Bahamas.  As always, the local stars have produced outstanding performances, whilst competing against top class opposition.


IMC Greystones Track & Field Meeting (Ireland):

On Saturday 2nd May 2015, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelled south to Greystones in County Wicklow for the Irish Milers Club (IMC) Greystones Track & Field Meeting, hosted by Greystones AC.


Competitors braved wet and blustery conditions as they pursued their ambitions of a solid start to the outdoor season and there were several excellent performances.  The most notable came from Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), who followed up her impressive nineteen second personal best over 3,000m last weekend with another quality showing – Emma led the field home in the 1500m, breaking the beam in 4:29.87 (1st place).


There were three familiar faces in the 5,000m race won by Irish star Kevin Mulcaire (Ennis Track Club) in 14:08.65 (1st place).  Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) recorded 14:43.96 (7th place), finishing just ahead of NI & Ulster Intermediate XC and 10k (Road) Champion Conor Duffy, who ran 14:55.20 (8th place).  Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) followed in 15:14.70 (11th place), while Martin Cox (Project Africa) crossed the line in 15:27.64 (12th place).


In the 800m, Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Running Club) clocked 2:06.72 for 5th place; the race was won by Conor Dunan (Ratoath AC) in 1:57.82 (1st place).  North Down AC's Rachel Gibson and Springwell Running Club's Aife McSheffrey both ran well in the ladies 800m, with Rachel running 2:16.50 (5th place) and Aife 2:20.45 (9th place).


Payton Jordan ‘Stanford’ Invitational Track & Field Meeting (America): 

On Saturday 2nd May 2015, Northern Ireland and Ireland international Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) lined up alongside some of the world’s top athletes at the prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational Track & Field Meeting in Stanford, America.  Competing in the 'stacked' 10,000m event, Paul covered the distance in 29:15.51 (15th place).  After the race, Paul, a man who expects the highest of standards from himself, described his performance in the race as one of his worst to date.  The race was won by Team GB's Andy Vernon in 27:42.62 (1st place).


British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Outdoor Championships (England):

In England on Saturday 2nd May 2015, Ballymena & Antrim AC duo Christine McMahon and Jonathan Browning represented Queen's University at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Track & Field Championships at the famous Bedford Stadium in England.  Up against tough opposition, both Christine and Jonathan managed to secure their places in upcoming finals.


In 400m hurdles, Commonwealth Games athlete Christine recorded 60.02secs (1st place) to win Heat 2; this was the second fastest qualifying time of the day. Meanwhile, in the 100m, Jonathan covered the distance in 11.08secs (1st place) to secure victory in Heat 3 - Jonathan's time was the fifth fastest qualification time of the day.  The talented pairing will now look forward to finals on Monday 4th May 2015.


Ballymote 1 mile Race (Ireland):

Also on Saturday 2nd May 2015, Northern Ireland's Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) travelled to Ballymote (Ireland) for the Corran AC Sub 4 mile Challenge, which was part of the Corran AC Ballymote 5k Team Challenge event.  Commonwealth Games competitor Danny recorded 4:10 for the classic distance, which was enough to secure 3rd place in the race won by Ireland international John Travers (Donore Harriers) in 4:04 (1st place).


IAAF World Relay Championships (Bahamas): 

In the early hours of Sunday 3rd May 2015, City of Lisburn AC star Amy Foster was in action for Ireland at the prestigious IAAF World Relay Championships in the Bahamas.  Amy and her team mates Sarah Lavin (UCD AC), Steph Creaner (Celtic DCH) and Phil Healy (Bandon AC) claimed 5th place in the 4x200m event in a new Irish national record of 1:36.90.  The race was won by Nigeria in 1:30.42 (1st place).


The ladies will now look forward to there 4x100m competition and will have an added incentive, knowing that a top eight finish in their event will automatically secure qualification for both the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August 2015 and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.  Amy will again be joined by fellow Irish 4x100m record holders Sarah Lavin (UCD AC) and Phil Healy (Bandon AC), while the always impressive Celtic DCH duo Catherine McManus and Steph Creaner will add further talent to the team. 


Full Results:  IMC Greystones T&F Meeting 2015 Results – Jordan Payton (Stanford) Invitational T&F Meeting 2015 Results (Currently Unavailable) – BUCS Track & Field Championships 2015 (Heats) ResultsBallymote 1 mile 2015 Results IAAF World Relay Championships (4x200m) 2015 Results

James Hamilton and Kelly Neely impress at Active Financial NiRunning Mile:

Active Financial NiRunning - BMC Mile 2015:

On Friday 1st May 2015, NiRunning hosted our increasingly popular 'NiRunning Mile' event, which this year, was sponsored by Northern Ireland based company Active Financial and organised once again in conjunction with the British Milers Club (BMC).


In perfect running conditions, a record number of over one hundred and fifty participants turned out at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters Track (Belfast) for the 4th annual running of the event.  Although the sub four minute barrier was not broken on this occasion, the gathered spectators were treated to an exciting night of racing, which ended with Ballymena Runners' fast improving James Hamilton recording the fastest time of the night.


Competing in Race 7A, James held off strong challenges from junior stars Craig McMeechan (North Down AC) and Daniel Dawson (Dromore AC) as he claimed a well-deserved victory in 4:33.61 – the race was so close that both Craig and Daniel's performances were enough to ensure that they secured 2nd place and 3rd place in the overall standings, with Craig clocking 4:34.56 and Daniel 4:35.24; not bad for a man running his fourth race in six days!


The quickest lady of the night was Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games star Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC).  Kelly lined up alongside 2013 NiRunning Mile runner up Jessica Craig (North Down AC) in the 'mixed' Race 7B and smashed Rachel Gibson's event record of 5:13.49 (2014) when she led the ladies home in an excellent 4:58.93 (1st place).  Jessica slashed eight seconds off her time from last year when she secured the second fastest ladies time of the night in 5:08.58 (2nd place).  Race 7B was won by the ever improving James Trainor (Dub Runners) in 4:47.42.


The honour of taking the final place on the ladies 'overall' podium went to Orangrove AC's Lyndsey Pronger.  However, it was a fiercely contested affair, with less than one second splitting three ladies – Lyndsey ran 5:45.77 in Race 6B, while Natalie Connolly (Dub Runners) and Leann Gibson (Orangegrove AC) crossed the line in 5:46.18 and 5:46.70 respectively in Race 6C.  This meant that Lyndsey just about edged 3rd place in the ladies overall standings.

Despite the hype surrounding the prizes for the top three fastest male and female athletes of the night, there were numerous notable performances throughout the programme, with many athletes setting out to achieve their own goals, all with personal bests in mind.  


Emma Kelly, from sponsors Active Financial, was the first winner of the night when she won Race 1 in 8:32.65.  Junior athletes Harry Moore (Unattached) and Ben Mellon (Derry City Track Club) claimed victories in Race 2 and Race 3 respectively, with Harry running 7:16.06 and Ben 6:37.40; 8 year old Hannah O'Toole (East Coast AC) turned a few heads in the same race when she ran 7:08.90 to lead the ladies home.  Toirleach Gourley (Sperrin Harriers) recorded 6:22.41 for the classic distance in Race 4; Belfast Running Club's Abi Savage also impressed with a 6:43.07 finish.  In one of the most popular miles of the night, the 6-7 minute mile (Races 5A, 5B and 5C), Gerard McAleenan (Club Pulse Runners) won Race 5A in 5:38.56, while Jonathan Davis (Unattached) and Ciaran Johnston (Unattached) sealed victory in Race 5B and 5C when running 5:37.61 and 5:55.51 respectively.  East Coast AC's Allyson O'Toole (5:50.12) and Newcastle AC's Sam McNeilly (5:55.53) also ran well in Race 5B and Race 5C.


In a close Race 6A, Mark McManus (East Coast AC) left it until the final 800m before moving clear to win in 5:04.37.  North Down AC's Craig McDermaid impressed with a 5:06.66 finish in Race 6B, while his young North Down AC team mate Jamie McMeechan cruised to victory in Race 6C, clocking 5:11.04.


Overall Podium Places:

Top 3 Men:  1st James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners) – 4:33.61, 2nd Craig McMeechan (North Down AC) - 4:34.56, 3rd Daniel Dawson (Dromore AC) – 4:35.24


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) – 4:58.93, 2nd Jessica Craig (North Down AC) – 5:08.58, 3rd Lyndsey Pronger (Orangegrove AC) – 5:45.77


Full Results:  Active Financial NiRunning - BMC Mile 2015 Results (Photo's from the event will be added to our Photo Gallery as soon as possible... more than likely Saturday 2nd May 2015)


Note – We (NiRunning) would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported our event; we would also like to extend a special thank you to all the volunteers and officials who made the event possible.  Your continued support is very much appreciated.

Weekend Preview: Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and more... 

Weekend Preview:  Belfast City Marathon and more…

The May Day Bank Holiday means only one thing, the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon!  It’s that time of the year again, when tens of thousands of athletes take to the streets of Belfast (and Newtownabbey) for Northern Ireland’s biggest running event.  


Although it will be the main focus of the upcoming long weekend, there are other events taking place – this includes our own Active Financial NiRunning Mile.  Athletes from Northern Ireland will also race in Ireland, America and the Bahamas.


Active Financial NiRunning Mile (in association with BMC):

The weekend action kicks off tonight (Friday 1st May 2015), when runners from across Northern Ireland will descend on the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters Track in Belfast, for the 'Active Financial' NiRunning Mile in association with the British Milers Club.


Now in its fourth year, the NiRunning Mile has grown in stature and with a programme of races to suit athletes of all abilities, a record turnout is expected. NiRunning's Ryan Maxwell explained, “for me, the NiRunning Mile is something that we have grown from our website's first days. To watch it grow in popularity and prestige, whilst attracting the continued support of the BMC makes me extremely proud. I would love to see runners of all abilities come along and make the night one to remember. After all, everyone needs a mile time!”


Finn Valley AC's Mark Hoy currently holds the men's record, which currently stands at 4:19.03; North Down AC's Rachel Gibson's 5:13.49 is the ladies record. Proceedings will kick off at 7pm and entry is available on night, priced at £3. Full details can be found at www.nirunning.co.uk/nirunning-mile


The timetable is as follows 7pm: 10 minute plus Mile, 7.15pm: 9-10 minute Mile, 7.30pm: 8-9 minute Mile,7.45pm: 7-8 minute Mile, 8pm: 6-7 minute Mile, 8.15pm: 5-6 minute Mile, 8.30pm: Sub 5 minute Mile, 8.45pm: Elite Women’s Mile, 9pm: Elite Men’s Mile.  Entry for each race will close 15 minutes prior to its scheduled start time.

Payton Jordan ‘Stanford’ Invitational Track & Field Meeting (America):

On Saturday 2nd May 2015, Northern Ireland and Ireland international Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) will compete alongside some of the world’s top athletes at the prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational Track & Field Meeting in Stanford, America.


The event has proved success for local athletes in the past; just last year (2014), Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) claimed a podium place in the 3,000m Steeplechase.  This year, Northern Ireland Half Marathon record holder Paul Pollock will compete in the 10,000m event, which includes respected Team GB athlete Andy Vernon, amongst others.


IMC Greystones Track & Field Meeting (Ireland):

On Saturday 2nd May 2015, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will line-up in one of the season's first outdoor track and field meets, the ever popular Irish Milers Club (IMC) Greystones Track & Filed Meeting in Ireland.


NI & Ulster 10k Champion Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) and Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), a silver medallist at the same competition, will compete at the event alongside multi-award winning City of Derry AC star Declan Reed, Martin Cox (Omagh Harriers), Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC), Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club), Oisin Donnelly (Omagh Harriers), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), James O'Hare (Annadale Striders), Emma Mitchell (Banbridge AC), Christy Conlon (Beechmount Harriers), Aife McSheffrey (Springwell Running Club), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Jake Harbinson (City of Lisburn AC), Luke Dinsmore (Springwell Running Club), Callum Crawford-Walker (Lagan Valley AC), Adam McComb (North Down AC) and Ryan Henry (Willowfield Harriers).  A full start list for the event is available HERE.


Slieve Gullion 10k Trail Race:

On Sunday 3rd May 2015, Slieve Gullion Runners will host their Slieve Gullion 10k trail race in County Armagh.  The event will take place within the confines of the scenic Slieve Gullion Country Park close to Newry.  Although pre-registration is closed, entries will also be accepted on the day.  The race will start at 12pm.


IAAF World Relay Championships (Bahamas):

On Sunday 3rd May 2015, Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) will represent Ireland at the IAAF World Relay Championships in the Bahamas.  Both Ireland’s 4x400m men’s and 4x100m ladies teams will have the added incentive going into the classy competition, knowing that a top eight finish in their events will automatically secure qualification for both the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August 2015 and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.  Amy will be joined in the strong 4x100m line up by fellow Irish 4x100m record holders Sarah Lavin (UCD AC) and Phil Healy (Bandon AC), while the always impressive Celtic DCH duo Catherine McManus and Steph Creaner will add further talent to the team.

Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon:

Bank Holiday Monday, Monday 4th May 2015, will bring the 34th annual Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon. The popular and always well attended event will attract approximately fifteen thousand competitors and even more spectators to the streets of Belfast and the neighbouring Newtownabbey, as athletes from all over the world cover an undulating 26.2 mile route in search of top honours, personal bests and personal achievements.


At the head of the pack, there has been much talk of the Kenyan contingent, with Linus Maiyo, Gideon Kimosop, Vincent Kiprotich-Chepyegon and 2013 winner Joel Kositany all named as starters, it does indeed make for an interesting battle.  Interestingly, 2014 Champion Freddy Sittuk is a late withdrawal.


A man who has stayed out of the spotlight (until now) could well be the one to upset the proverbial apple-cart and become the first ever American winner of the Belfast City Marathon.  Team USA’s Andy Wacker, arguably better known for his reputation as a mountain-trail runner, forged a good friendship with Northern Ireland athletes at the WMRA Long-Distance Challenge in Pikes Peak (America) last year and will make is marathon debut in Belfast.  Andy has never raced competitively outside the US before but in his own words, “there was no way I could turn down an offer to represent the US and travel to such a beautiful and historic place.”


His Half Marathon personal best currently stands at 1:03:26 (2013), with his most recent effort of 1:05:36 in Texas being part of his nine month build up to his first attempt at the 26.2 mile race. The humble and down to earth athlete will go into the race with no time expectations, but with a personal goal of testing himself against the other world class athletes who toe the line; Andy adds, “being my first marathon, I’d like to keep the pressure off and my expectations vague.  Instead of a specific time goal, my goal is to compete to the best of my ability, against the other world class runners.  I would love to win the race, and I think if I place top three, the time will take care of itself.”

Despite not having tested himself over the classic distance before, Andy has been training specifically for it with fellow American Jeffrey Eggleston (a 2:10:52 marathoner) under the guidance of Coach Mike Aish and the highly respected Renta Canova, so there is no doubting that he is ready for the race.  Andy told us, “I have run several runs over 20 miles, and worked on endurance building repeats like 10 x 1 mile and 12 x 1k.  Last fall, I also ran several half marathons to build strength and gain long distance road racing experience.”


To win, Andy (pictured right - photo by www.coloradorunnermag.com) will have to use the off-road strength that saw him claim third place at the infamous Pikes Peak Ascent at the back end of 2014, alongside his speedy edge, to outpace the aforementioned Kenyan line-up, of which, two will know the course very well.  


As mentioned above, Freddy Sittuk is a late withdrawal - according to respected journalist Malcolm McCausland, this is due to tiredness and poor recent form.  However, Joel Kositany, a winner here in 2013, after running 2:19:28, will start.  Of all the men listed, Joel boasts the quickest personal best of 2:09:50, which was set in 2012 – his most recent effort was a 2:12:35 at the Tiberias Marathon at this year (2015).  Linus Maiyo clocked a personal best of 2:11:34 at the Barcelona Marathon in 2013, which saw him claim third place, while County Tyrone based Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich-Chepyegon hold 26.2 mile bests of 2:16:44 and 2:18:32 respectively.


Local hopes will rest on the exceptionally talented Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) – despite facing world class opposition, the 32 year old has indicated to the media that he will be concentrating on his own race and instead, focusing on improving his own personal best of 2:24:52 and getting somewhere close to the fourth place finish which fellow NI man Thomas Frazer (St Malachy’s AC) achieved two years ago.  The much talked about Belfast City Marathon course, albeit not perfect for personal bests holds its own benefits, some of which Eddie pointed out in a quote on the Athletics NI website, "I work and train in the Duncrue area.  I will also be running with some of my training mates which should help, along with the tremendous crowd support, which is always there for a local runner".  Given the strong line-up, it is fair to say that the current course record of 2:13:41, set by two time winner of the event Urga Negewo (Ethiopia) 3 years go, will be under threat.


Keith Purdy (Annadale Striders) was due to run the Virgin Money London Marathon last week; unfortunately, the Belfast City Half Marathon podium finisher was unable to compete, so he’ll be hoping to impress on home turf, especially having run so well in the associated Half Marathon. Willowfield Harriers’ Brian Campbell is another local athlete who should secure a top ten place if he shows the same kind of form that saw him 1:11:17 at the Larne Half Marathon in March 2015.  Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Tommy Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) and Stephen Wylie (North Down AC) could also be there or there abouts.  Accomplished marathoner Ben Morrow will perform to his usual high standard, as will the ever consistent Phil Wood (Unattached), Phelim McAllister (Larne AC), Barry Shanks (St Peter’s AC), Michael Cultra (East Down AC) and Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers).  Delfim Pimentel (Unattached), Garry Morrow (Orangegrove AC), Paul Nesbitt (Unattached) and Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) all possess the ability to finish well within the infamous three hour barrier.

In the ladies race, Ethiopian runner Berhane Gebremichael looks like the one to watch – Berhane is better known for her achievements on the track but enjoyed a winning marathon debut in Ahmedabad Marathon (India), where she ran 2:39:11.  This will be Berhane’s first outing over the marathon distance in the UK and she’ll be hoping to celebrate that with victory and an improvement on her aforementioned personal best, which she is more than capable of achieving.  


Although Burton AC’s Shona Crombie, a runner up here in 2014, boasts a similar personal best to Berhane, this was set way back in 2005. Since running 2:53:54 in Belfast last year, Shona has recorded 31:00 for 5 miles, 1:26:09 for 13.1 miles and 2:16:04 for 20 miles, which would suggest a finish time just over the 2:50:00 mark here.


Another England based athlete, Shona Fletcher, who is a very recent addition to the Ballydrain Harriers squad, won the York Marathon last year in an impressive 2:43:38, which will no doubt put her in contention for a podium spot – quality performances at the Spen 20 mile race and the Snake Lane 10 mile race, where she won in 2:06:26 and 1:00:28 respectively, further back up Shona's CV.  Kenya’s Selinah Kangogo has been residing in Northern Ireland as part of the Project Africa scheme (alongside the previously mentioned Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich) operated by NI man Ciaran Collins; during this time, she (Selinah) has claimed numerous victories, but probably the most impressive was a win at Jimmy’s 10k, where she recorded 36:13.  Selinah also finished in second place behind Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) at the Larne Half Marathon in March (2015), after running 1:20:13.


Local lady Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) will also finish well up the field and will be hoping to improve on her excellent outing here twelve months ago when she crossed the line in 3:07:57 for 4th place.  North Belfast Harriers’ Roisin Hughes, a 3:01:10 marathoner, will make a return to the 26.2 mile distance and should claim a top ten place; Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers), Ann-Marie Larkin (Club Unknown), Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC) and Athanasia Sevastaki (North Belfast Harriers) should also run well.  Other Northern Ireland based athletes to look for include Anne Killen (Unattached), Claire Duffield (Unattached), Sharon Williamson (Kernan RC), Natalie Bowbanks (Unattached), Cara Hamilton (North Down AC), Helena Dornan (Ballycastle Runners), Gillian Abraham (Unattached) and Paula McKibbin (Murlough AC).


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.

Remember - If you would like to catch up on our 'News' from April 2015, including the latest Hill & Dale Series event (Race 3 - Slieve Martin), you can use the navigation banner at the top of the screen (and scroll to April 2015) or click HERE.