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Weekend Preview:  NiRunning/BAC Rathlin Run 2016 and more...

Weekend Preview:  Rathlin Run 2016 and more…

It seems like no time since we last hosted the Rathlin Run alongside our friends from Belfast Activity Centre (BAC) – but it is of course one year since we welcomed a capacity field to arguably Northern Ireland’s most unique running event.  


There’s something strangely nice about stepping onto the shaky Rathlin Island ferry knowing that within hours hundreds of runners will follow onto the island for a weekend of running.


Of course, there are numerous other races taking place over this August Bank Holiday weekend - this particular weekend has always been considered busy in terms of events, but this year seems to be exceptionally busy.  Given our team’s commitments over the coming days, this weekend’s preview will focus on the Rathlin Run and some events which information has been provided for… however, we will list all of the races taking place over the weekend, just incase we can tempt you into lacing up those racers!


Rathlin Run 2016:

On Saturday 27th August 2016, hundreds of athletes and spectators will descend on Rathlin Island for the annual Rathlin Run, an event organised by NiRunning alongside Belfast based charity Belfast Activity Centre and sponsored by local company Active Financial.  The unique race offers competitors the option of a tough, undulating and incredibly scenic 10 mile course as well as a scenic and less hilly 5k.


In the 10 mile race, North Belfast Harriers man Philip Goss will continue his return to the competitive scene – after a full year away from racing, the talented athlete returned in January 2016 with a top ten placing at the NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Championships.  He then went on to impress with wins at the Les Jones 10k, where he ran 33:57, and more recently the Feile 10k; there he recorded 35:36 for victory.  Philip is well capable of a finishing time around the one hour mark, which should be enough for top spot.  

In saying this, Philip will face the men who secured second and third place here twelve months ago – Larne AC’s David Noble who claimed second place in 2015 has continued to improve and just last week, secured second place in the men’s race and third overall at the Dambusters Half Marathon.  David ran 1:06:43 last time and should improve on that.  


Meanwhile, the man who finished behind David last August, Patrick Higgins (Newcastle AC), will also take to the start line.  Patrick recently ran 1:01:16 for a top ten finish at the Portaferry 10 mile road race, which means he should be considered here.


Another man to look out for is sub 2:40 marathoner Aaron Woodman (PACE Running Club).  Aaron is a very consistent performer and a regular around the podium places.  At the aforementioned Portaferry 10 mile road race, he secured third place in 57:22 – add two minutes on for the tough course and Aaron will most definitely be in the mix.  If you throw the likes of Billy Orr (Foyle Valley AC), Richard Shannon (Omagh Harriers), Matthew Morrow (Ballymena Runners), Peter McCloskey (Wimbledon Windmilers AC), Drew Girvin (East Coast AC) and respected journalist and coach Malcolm McCausland (Derry City Track Club), it’s clear to see that this will be a closely contested race.

The ladies 10 mile race will see 2015 runner up Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) take to the start line, and this may well be the mountain-trail runner’s year – since August 2015, Mari has continued to improve, picking up an international cap and impressing over various terrain; in truth, it’s hard to see anyone beating Mari.


However, the always impressive Newcastle AC athlete will have to fend off the likes of Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) if she wants to pick up the top prize.  Like Mari, Helen is pretty good over all terrain - she narrowly missed a podium place at the gruelling Trail Alpin du Grand Bec 25k Trail Race (inc 1,500m of ascent) in Champagny-en-Vanoise (France) two weeks ago; Helen took fourth place and a category win on that occasion.


Una Gavin (City of Derry AC) has impressed here before and will return, while Holly Hunniford (Ballydrain Harriers), a useful runner over the half marathon distance, will also start.  Holly’s club mate, the speedy Nicky McKeag will feature prominently at the head of the pack.  Versatile athletes Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) and Joanne McCauley (St Peter’s AC) will place well, as should the likes of Deirdre Bradley (Acorns AC), Helen Byers (North Down AC) and Fiona Herald (Unattached).


In the 5k race, female athletes Sonia Knox (Springwell Running Club) and Roberta Dornan (North Down AC) will not only chase top honours in their ladies race, but should place well overall.  Both are exceptionally talented!  Emma McGinty (Ballycastle AC) and Cassie Brennan (Tir Chonaill AC) will both run well.  Meanwhile, in the men’s event – Nigel Kane (Unattached), looks to be the most recognisable face and should therefore claim a podium place.

Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend:


Friday 26th August 2016:

•           Strangford Festival 10k – Inverbrena Community Centre – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)

•           Portrush 5 mile Road Race – Dunluce Road, Portrush – 7.30pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)


Saturday 27th August 2016:

•           Killyleagh Half Marathon - Bridge Centre, Killyleagh – 10.30am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)

•           Athletics NI Track & Field ‘Team Trophy – Mary Peters Track, Belfast – 10am (Contact Athletics NI for entry information)


Sunday 28th August 2016:

•           Armagh City Marathon – The Mall, Armagh – 8am (Entries are NOT available on the day)

•           Storming the Castle 10k – Carrickfergus Amphitheatre, Carrickfergus – 2pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)

•           Moneymore 10k – Moneymore GAC, Moneymore – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)


Outside Northern Ireland this weekend:


Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc Events (France):

Further afield, today (Friday 26th August 2016) and into tomorrow (Saturday 27th August 2016), a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will be in action at the infamous Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France.  The world famous event, which includes four individual races (the OCC, TDS, CCC and UTMB) as well as a team event (PTL) will attract the best long distance runners from across the globe and when you couple this with the incredibly scenic courses, it makes for an epic few days of competition.

The TDS race has already taken place, with experienced endurance athletes Aaron Shimmons (BARF) and Brian Linton (BARF) having completed the 119k route (incorporating 7,250 metres of positive altitude change) in 25:31:25 (256th place) and 29:32:56 (596th place) respectively.  The Northern Ireland men were amongst nearly 2,000 competitors to leave Courmayeur (Italy) and make their way to the finish line in Chamonix (France).  


In the OCC, which covers 55k and 3,500m of ascent, Mourne Runners athlete Denise Mathers was progressing well as this weekend preview went to press – a summary of Denise’s performance will be included in our event summary; please also check our facebook page for any updates.


The CCC an UTMB races will start today (Friday 26th August 2016). Created in 2006, the CCC (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix) has become as popular as its big sister (45 nationalities represented in 2010), the UTMB. The CCC® is considered by many runners to be "the little one" nevertheless it too, constitutes one of the most difficult challenges in ultra-running. 


The CCC® should not be taken lightly; more than one runner has 'burnt' their thighs there.  A semi-tour of Mont-Blanc, starting from Courmayeur with 101k and 6,100 metres of positive height gain and in semi-autonomy.  Starting in the centre of Courmayeur at 9am will be: Joanne Curran, Mark Malone, greg McCann, Dawson Stelfox and Donal O’Kane.


Later in the day (Friday 26th August 2016), the UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc; the original Queen of the races!) will take place.  The UTMB is a complete tour of the Mont Blanc and passes through three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy, making it a race that every Ultra Trail enthusiast should finish at least once in their life.  Le tour of Mont-Blanc, starts from Chamonix and covers 1700k with 10,000 metres of positive height gain. Starting in the centre of Chamonix at 5.30pm will be: Dale Mathers, Justin Maxwell, Cathal McGreevy, Ron Peacock, Nicki McPeak, Declan Faulkner, Stephen Wallace, Mark King and Dominic McInerney.

World Masters Mountain Running Championships (Italy):

On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August 2016, a number of mountain runners from Northern Ireland will be in action at the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Susa (Italy).  


Up against 700 athletes who have enrolled in the masters races and the associated open race, the local athletes will face tough opposition; to be specific, 27 countries including host’s Italy will be represented. 


In the ladies race, which will take place on Saturday and cover 6.5k and include 772m of ascent, the familiar faces include Lagan Valley AC trio Anne Sandford, Shileen O’Kane and Hazel McLaughlin.  


The men’s event will follow on Sunday and cover11.03k with 1,442m of ascent and the local athletes hoping for honours will include Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners), Eugene McCann (Newcastle AC) and Peter Bell (Pegasus AC) amongst others.


Parkrun:

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


IMPORTANT NOTE:

Please be aware that there may be significant delays in the uploading of race results and/or summaries this weekend, this is because our entire team will be dealing with the Rathlin Run 2016 between Thursday 25th August 2016 and Monday 29th August 2016.  We would expect to have all summaries, or at least results online by Monday 29th August 2016.

Ballymena Runners and East Coast AC secure EA Inter-Club titles:

East Antrim Inter-Club Race 2016:

On Tuesday 23rd August 2016, over two hundred athletes turned out for the East Antrim Inter-Club Race, which was held in Cairncastle, just outside Larne.  


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


The race requires men to complete a 5 mile ‘out and back’ course, with six athletes to count in the team standings; meanwhile, the ladies cover a 4 mile ‘out and back’ route, and each team needs four runners to count.  Although the main focus of the race is based around the team competition as well as the charitable aspect of the event, there are of course, prizes for the individual winners.  Athletes enjoyed much better conditions to the storming conditions they faced twelve months ago, which assisted in creating an excellent atmosphere on the course.


In the men’s race, reigning Champions Ballymena Runners were well represented at the head of the pack during the opening downhill exchange, and with a strong team, they held firm, taking two of the top three spaces.  Michael Bennett led the field home in 28:30 (1st place), with club mate Richard Agnew following in 28:45 (2nd place).  East Antrim Harriers athlete David Turtle completed the top three in 28:51 (3rd place).  In the team standings, Ballymena Runners (1st place) retained their title, with East Antrim Harriers taking 2nd place and East Coast AC in 3rd place.

There was further success for Ballymena Runners in the ladies race, with Paula McAllister putting in a dominant performance to seal victory in 25:51 (1st place).  Seapark AC’s ever improving Elisoa Crawford clocked 26:16 for 2nd place, while East Coast AC’s Allyson O’Toole marked her return to competition with a podium place in 27:04 (3rd place).


Individual Podium Places:

Top 3 Men (5 miles):  1st Michael Bennett (Ballymena Runners) – 28:30, 2nd Richard Agnew (Ballymena Runners) – 28:45, 3rd David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers) – 28:51


Top 3 Ladies (4 miles):  1st Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) – 25:51, 2nd Elisoa Crawford (Seapark AC) – 26:16, 3rd Allyson O’Toole (East Coast AC) – 27:04


Team Competition Podium Places:

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


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


Full Results:  East Antrim Inter-Club Race 2016 Results... Men's (5 mile) Race and Ladies (4 mile) Race

Scott Rankin and Catherine Whoriskey set new course records at Dessie's 10k:

Dessie's Run 10k 2016:

On Tuesday 23rd August 2016, well over two hundred athletes descended on Gransha Grounds in the Maiden City of Derry/Londonderry for the annual Dessie's Run 10k road race, hosted by City of Derry AC.


The flat and fast course has attracted a plethora of talent over the years, and this year was no different – infact, it was arguably one of the strongest fields ever… enough to see both the male and female course records smashed.


The ever impressive Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), a third place finisher here in 2015, took almost one minute off his time from last year as clocked a new course record of 30:39 for 1st place.  Springwell Running Club’s Neil Johnston followed in a new personal best of 32:52 (2nd place), before the host club’s Kyle Doherty (City of Derry AC) crossed the line in 33:11 for 3rd place.


In the ladies race, AAI National Half Marathon medallist Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) once again showed her class as she retained her title in a new course record of 36:32 (1st place).  Judi MacAuley also impressed with a 38:59 finish for 2nd place, while Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) completed the top three in 41:08 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) – 30:39, 2nd Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) – 32:52, 3rd Kyle Doherty (City of Derry AC) – 33:11


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) – 36:32, 2nd Judi MacAuley (North Belfast Harriers) – 38:59, 3rd Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) – 41:08


Full Results:  Dessie's Run 10k 2016 Results

Athletes from NI strike gold at AAI National Masters Championships:

GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships 2016 (Ireland):

On Sunday 21st August 2016, a significant number of familiar faces were in action at the GloHealth AAI National Masters Track and Field Championships in Tullamore, Ireland.  The prestigious ‘All-Ireland’ event rounded off the summer season for many.


In favourable weather conditions, Northern Ireland based athletes brought home an impressive amount of gold.  Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners), Philip Tweedie (Springwell Running Club), Bob Douglas (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Anne Maguire (St Anne’s AC) picked up two gold medals each.  Paddy won the hotly contested Vet35 1500m in 4:09.15, and enjoyed a slightly more comfortable win in the 5,000m in 15:08.53. Philip clocked 2:09.25 to win the Vet50 800m and 4:27.57 to win the 1500m.


There were fantastic 100m / 200m double for Anne and Bob – in the Vet65 100m Anne ran 18.04secs for victory, while in the Vet60 100m Bob recorded 13.44secs for top spot.  Anne then ran 38.52secs to win over 200m, with Bob covering the distance in 27.98secs.


World and European 800m Masters Champion Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) was again in top form on the National stage – the veteran record holder sealed Vet35 gold in 2:22.54.  City of Derry AC’s Declan Reed again showed his class, taking victory in the Vet40 5,000m in 15:27.49.  Decorated masters athlete Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City Track Club) added another title to his ever expanding list of honours when he broke the beam first in the Vet45 1500m in 4:27.20.  European Masters medallist Denise Toner (Clones AC) topped the Vet35 1500m podium after covering the distance in 4:50.93.


Derry City Track Club duo Robert Bigger and Deirdre Haigney impressed in their respective Vet55 800m and Vet40 400m events, with Robert running 2:29.19 for the win and Deirdre adding to the club’s medal haul in 1:06.22.  In the 3,000m event, Cathy McCourt (Unattached) ran well to win in 10:52.28.  Springwell Running Club's Gerry O'Doherty added to the local gold medal haul with a win in the Vet60 800m; Gerry recorded 2:31.48 for top spot.

 

Full Results:  GloHealth AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships 2016 Results

Paul Pollock and Kevin Seaward represent Team Ireland at Rio Olympics:

Rio Olympics 2016:

On Sunday 21st August 2016, Northern Ireland men Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Kevin Seaward (St Malachy's AC) made their Olympic debuts in Rio, Brazil.  Representing Team Ireland alongside Raheny Shamrock AC's Mick Clohisey, the men performed well.


In wet but humid conditions, little separated the training partners, both coached by Andrew Hobdell, as they passed through 10k.  Paul clocked 32:21 (124th place) with Kevin following in 32:41 (130th place).  However, as the race progressed, Paul began to open a gap, moving through the field at a head-turning rate.  At half way, the Hollywood man was in 96th place... then by 30k he was in 74th place - Kevin was also moving well, having working his way up to 98th place at 30k.


In the final stages, Paul continued to pick off the tiring field, before crossing the finish line in 2:16:24 for an excellent 32nd place - this was less than a minute outside Paul's personal best.  It was also eighteen seconds quicker than his performance at the IAAF World Championships in 2013, a performance Paul wanted to build on; he certainly achieved this.


Kevin also finished in impressive fashion, despite struggling with illness, he recorded 2:20:06 for 64th place.  After the race, the school teacher took to social media, saying "First Olympics done.  Bit of illness meant not the performance I wanted, but made it to the finish line in one piece."  


Paul and Kevin's team mate, Mick Clohisey battled well to cross the line in 2:26:34 (103rd place).  The race was won by Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge in 2:08:44 (1st place).  Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia took 2nd place, while Mo Farah's training partner Galen Rupp (USA) claimed 3rd place and the associated bronze medal.

Danny McLaughlin and Laura Graham show their class at Dambusters HM:

Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon and 10k:

On Saturday 20th August 2016, close to five hundred athletes descended on the stunning Silent Valley and Ben Crom Dam area of the Mourne Mountains for the annual Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon and 10k events.  The 13.1 mile race was the final race of the popular Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2016.  


It was very much a day of pre-race favourites showing their strength, with Danny McLaughlin (St Malachy’s AC) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) easing to victory in their respective races.  In wet and windy conditions, Danny, a winner at Born 2 Run’s Sea 2 Sky 10k, secured victory in 1:19:24 (1st place).  Laura followed, slashing seven minutes off her time over the same course in 2015, when she not only won the ladies race, but claimed 2nd place overall in 1:23:30 (1st place).


Larne AC’s David Noble clocked 1:26:16 for 2nd place in the men’s race, with John Robinson (Unattached) completing the tough course in 1:28:58 for 3rd place.  North Belfast Harriers’ Martsje Hell took 2nd place in the ladies race in 1:34:59, just twenty one seconds ahead of Catherine Roberts (North Down AC), who ran 1:35:20 for 3rd place.


In the associated 10k event, Dromore AC’s ever improving Stephen O’Gorman followed up several recent podium places with another excellent outing – Stephen claimed 1st place in 35:51.  Emerging Mourne Runners athlete Joanne Graham broke the tape first in the ladies race, covering the route in 44:16 (1st place).


Full Results:  Dambusters Half Marathon & 10k 2016 Results

William McKee and Megan Wilson win Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Race:

Slieve Bearnagh  Mountain Race (incorporating NIMRA Youth Team Trial):

On Saturday 20th August 2016, the provinces top mountain runners descended upon the Mourne Mountains for the eighth race of this year’s Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship in Newcastle, County Down. 


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


On a day when the weather conditions threatened to dampen spirits, several impressive performances brightened up proceeding.  Richard Bell provided the following report on the NIMRA website.  Photos by Jayne Bell.  


This Saturday saw the annual running of the Bearnagh race. This short course classic starts in Happy Valley taking in the peaks of Meelbeg, Bearnagh and Meelmore before finishing across the stream from where it started; well normally it’s a stream but today it was more of a white water experience. After heavy overnight, and early morning, rain the weather had cleared up a bit for the start. The race took off heading for the peaks shrouded in mist.


As expected Willy McKee and Zak Hanna led the charge with Colly Murtagh sitting somewhere between them and a large group containing Sam Herron, Alex Brennan, Colm Campbell, Deon McNeilly, Thomas Leith, Pete Grant and Richard Bell. Deon led his group over the top of Meelbeg and into the first of the three descents.  The run down to the foot of Bearnagh is technical, or in other words rocky, at the best of times, but the overnight rain had made it reasonably treacherous. Some runners were throwing caution to the wind more than others.

Once again Zak, Willy and Colly led the way up Bearnagh. Next onto the mountain was Colm Campbell, followed by Sam and Alex. A short stretch behind Thomas, Pete and myself were doing our best to embrace the steep and, let’s face it, unpleasant climb. Zak was first over the hill followed closely by McKee then Murtagh. In the chasers Sam ‘I love the steep stuff’ pulled away from Alex and Colm. 


Everyone else was still slogging there way up.  At this point Zak headed for some mythical track which he claims leads you straight to the foot of Meelmore. If I ever see it I will let you all know. It’s safe to say Zak hasn’t seen it either and he went awol in the mist at this point gifting the lead to McKee.  In the chasers Grant was running down Bearnagh like he was on the mythical track and was now in touching distance of Campbell and Brennan.


Willy McKee led the race over Meelmore. Judging by times he was nearly at the bottom of it by the time Colly and Sam, 2nd and 3rd respectively, got to the top.  Brennan, Campbell and Grant were tussling for the next places. After a superman dive by Campbell on the descent Alex was able to run in for 4th closely followed by Colm then Grant.


In the ladies race Megan Wilson led from start to finish. Shileen reports that at the top of Meelmore Megan had a 20 metre gap. Shileen was chasing hard but unfortunately for Mrs O’Kane, Megan disappeared into the mist. Even after climbing and racing for umpteen years Shileen could not engage her inner sat nav and actually climbed back up the hill to wait for someone who could guide her down.  Mari Troeng followed in third place.


Full Results:  Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Race 2016 Results (Photos by Jayne Bell - A full album is available HERE)


Oh... and the much talked about food!

The weather may have been downbeat but once again the Mourne Runner’s put on a good spread in the hillside marquee. All of the team baked and bought the goods, but a special mention should be made for Beverley Herron. Leading up to the event I had talked of making history by demolishing more of Bev’s fine buns than any challenger, but Shileen redeemed herself by coming out the clear winner; of course a man never talks about what a lady eats.

NIMRA Youth Trial (report by Phil Hodge):

Eight hardy young athletes competed in the N.Ireland Youth Mountain Running Trial on Slieve Meelbeg today. They were competing for a place on the team heading to the Junior Home International to be held on the 17th September in Keswick, England.


Starting approximately 10mins after the Senior race from the same location, their course took them up a zig zagged track and out onto the ridge heading for the summit of Meelbeg, a distance of 2.1km with approximately 400m of climbing.


The course was muddy from the previous day’s rain, and covered in a heavy mist, that got progressively thicker as they approached the summit.


Oisin Brennan lead the way, with Scott McKeag close behind. Oisin managed to pull clear as they approached the summit, finishing in a time of 17:44.  I am told this would have placed him in the top 5 of the senior race at that point. Scott appeared out of the mist only 33 seconds later, showing he has lost none of the pace from his excellent placing in the World Cup, back in June. Third home was Jack O’Farrell with Ethan Dunn just behind in times of 19:51 and 19:53 respectively. Aaron Harrison completed the top 5 in a time of 20:53.


Under 20 Results:

1. Oisin Brennan - 17:44

2. Scott McKeag - 18:17

3. Ethan Dunn - 19:53

4. Aaron Harrison - 20:53

5. Eoghan Knight - 23:33


Under 17 Results:

1. Jack O’Farrell - 19:51

2. Dan Campbell - 21:22

3. Joel Harrison - 23:55

Gladys Ganiel O'Neill wins Frank Duffy 10 mile road race in Dublin:

North Belfast Harriers athletes impress in Dublin (Ireland):

On Saturday 20th August 2016, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland were amongst a four thousand strong crowd who braved wet and windy conditions as they took on the annual Frank Duffy 10 mile road race in Dublin, Ireland.


The race, which is the third race of the ongoing Dublin Marathon Race Series 2016, has always proved a successful hunting ground for local competitors and Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games star Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers) continued that tradition with an excellent to win the ladies race in 59:04 (1st place).  


Fellow NBH athlete John Black was the first Northern Ireland based athlete to finish, taking 12th place in 56:03 - Conor Curran also returned to competitive action with a 1:01:57 finish for 82nd place.  Full results for the event are available HERE.


Sparta Havnelob Copenhagen 5k (Denmark):

Also this weekend (Friday 19th August 2016), Northern Ireland's Conan McCaughey (Derry City Track Club) rounded off his summer season with a win at the Sparta Havnelob Copenhagen 5k.  Despite the technical course, Conan recorded a very impressive 15:23 for 1st place!

Jonny Steede and Suzanne Higgins win St Swithins Magherafelt 10k:

St Swithins Magherafelt 10k 2016:

On Friday 20th August 2016, nearly three hundred athletes turned out for the St Swithins 10k and associated 5k in Magherafelt, County Derry/Londonderry.  Just under 140 athletes toed the line of the 10k, while 160 took on the 5k.


At the head of the pack, Glens Runners man Jonny Steede, a third place finisher at last week’s Lurig Challenge Mountain Race, looked a class apart as he cruised to victory in 34:41 (1st place).  Fellow mountain running international Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) followed just over a minute later in 35:46 (2nd place), before Bliadhan Glass (Acorns AC) completed the top three in 38:02 (3rd place).


In a close ladies race, just ten seconds split the leading pair.  Lagan Valley AC’s Suzanne Higgins sealed an impressive win in 40:39 (1st place), with Gemma McDonald (Springwell Running Club) taking 2nd place in 40:49.  Tanya Quinn (Sperrin Harriers) clocked 44:53 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Jonny Steede (Glens Runners) – 34:41, 2nd Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) – 35:46, 3rd Bliadhan Glass (Acorns AC) – 38:02


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 40:39, 2nd Gemma McDonald (Springwell Running Club) – 40:49, 3rd Tanya Quinn (Sperrin Harriers) – 44:53


Full Results:  St Swithins 10k & 5k 2016 Results

Weekend Preview:  Dambusters HM and Slieve Bearnagh take centre stage...

Weekend Preview:  Dambusters HM and Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Race take centre stage…

Stunning performances by familiar faces in Rio have motivated everyone (even non-runners) and it’s off the back of this that we again had some excellent midweek performances on a local level – the Rathfriland 10k and Donaghmore 5 mile road race were just two midweek events which attracted significant number of competitors.


Over five hundred runners are expected to take to the start line of the final installment of this year’s Pure Running Half Marathon Series, the Dambusters Half Marathon (and associated 10k).  Not far away from this event (geographically), the mountain running fraternity will take on the Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Race, which will also include a Junior trial for the Home International in Keswick, England.


The aforementioned races will form the focus of this weekend’s preview, but they aren’t the only races on offer over what will be a busy weekend – we’ll list all of the other advertised races taking place.  Local athletes will also be in action at the Olympic Games in Rio.


Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon and 10k:

On Saturday 20th August 2016, in excess of five hundred athletes will take to the closed roads in and around the stunning Silent Valley and Ben Crom Dam area of the Mourne Mountains for the annual Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon and 10k events.  The Half Marathon, which we will focus on, is the final race of the popular Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series 2016.  

St Malachy’s AC star Danny McLaughlin will continue his return to competitive action here and should add to his victory at the Born 2 Run Sea 2 Sky event last month.  Danny also won the Divis 10k and claimed a second place finish at the Giants Trail Race in Belfast.  David Simpson (Newcastle AC), winner of the Groomsport Half Marathon, may also play a part at the front, while Paul McCullagh (City of Lisburn AC), Charlie McCormick (Seapark AC) and David Noble (Larne AC) should all perform well. 


Recently crowned AAI National Half Marathon Champion Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) should start and following her impressive outing at the National Championship in Dublin, where she won in 1:18:56 despite tough conditions, the Kilkeel lady will be the one to beat.  


Last year’s winner Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) could make use of the on the day entry system, which would add further depth to an impressive ladies field, which also includes the likes of Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers), Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers), Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC), Ann Fitzpatrick (North Belfast Harriers) and Gillian Logan (Orangegrove AC).

Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Race:

Also on Saturday 20th August 2016, the provinces top mountain runners will take on the eighth race of this year’s Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship in Newcastle, County Down. 


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


This year, the event will also incorporate a junior uphill only trial, which will be used to select athletes for the upcoming Home International in Keswick, England. More details on the trial can be found HERE.


Focusing on the senior event, it’s hard to look past the host club’s William McKee (Mourne Runners) when selected potential front runners.  The Northern Ireland international has been in excellent form throughout this season. He won the opening Championship events at Glenariff, The Fallows and Annalong, whilst also excelling in the Hill & Dale Series – however, since then, the Mourne Runners athlete hasn’t been in competition just as much; he did take second place at the Spelga Skyline though! This race would provide the perfect platform for William to prove himself once again. In terms of potential challengers, Seven Seven’s runner up Paul Pruzina (Cambridge University) and Spelga Skyline winner David Hicks (Newcastle AC) may well lead the pack.


Newcastle AC’s Zak Hanna, who won the IMRA World Mountain Running Championship trial in Wicklow last weekend, will play a prominent part at the front should he take to the start line, while Sam Herron (Mourne Runners), Colum Campbell (Newcastle AC), Shane Donnelly (Acrons AC), Paul Hollywood (Armagh AC), Pete Grant (Newcastle AC), Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners) and Richard Bell (Mourne Runners) will all challenge for high placings.


The always impressive Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) will hope to follow on from a stunning victory at last week’s Seven Seven’s as she attempts to add the NIMRA Championship to the IMRA Championship which she has already secured.  Diane finished in third place overall last week and may face up and coming star Megan Wilson (East Down AC) gain - Megan finished second at BARF’s Seven Seven’s behind Diane which further established her status as one of Northern Ireland’s top up and coming stars.  Lurig Challenge Mountain Race winner Gillian Wasson (Ballymena Runners) and the lady who finished just behind her in Cushendall, Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), will also be worth watching.  Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC), Paulette Thomson (Newcastle AC) and Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) will all finish within the top ten.

Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend:


Friday 19th August 2016:

  • Lecale 10k – Cable Bar, Ballyhoran, County Down – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)
  • Magherafelt 5k & 10k – St Swithins Parish Hall, Magherafelt – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)
  • Fivemiletown 10k – Fivemiletown College, Fivemiletown – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)

Saturday 20th August 2016:
  • Northern Ireland Youth Development League Final - Antrim Forum, Antrim - 10am (Timetable available HERE)


Sunday 21st August 2016:

  • Newry & Mourne 10k – Aylesford, Warrenpoint – 10am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)
  • Benburb 5 mile road race – The bottle of Benburb, Benburb, County Armagh - 12pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)
  • Children in Need 5k – Mid Ulster Sports Arena, Cookstown – 1pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day) ** Flyer Left and also HERE **


Outside Northern Ireland this weekend:


Olympic Games (Rio):

Local runners will also be in action outside Northern Ireland this weekend, most notably at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.  Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC) will be in action on the world’s biggest sporting stage when they line up in the marathon on Sunday 21st August 2016 (13:30hrs GMT).

AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships (Ireland):

On Sunday 21st August 2016, a host of Northern Ireland’s top master’s track and field stars will be in action at the AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships in Tullamore, Ireland.  World & European 800m Champion Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) and decorated athlete Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) will lead the local charge for honours.  


Other athletes who will challenge for medals include Francis Marsh (North Down AC), Eoghan Furey (City of Derry AC), Aaron Doherty (City of Derry AC), Stuart Kennedy (Beechmount Harriers), Philip Tweedie (Springwell Running Club) Joe McAleer (City of Lisburn AC), Emma Smith (Orangegrove AC) and Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City Track Club).  A full entry list for the event is available HERE.


SSE Airtricity Frank Duffy 10 mile Road Race (Ireland):

On Saturday 20th August 2016, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland are expected to travel south to Dublin to one of Europe's largest urban parks, the Phoenix Park, for the Frank Duffy 10 mile road race.  The race, which is the third race of the ongoing Dublin Marathon Race Series 2016, has always proved popular with local competitors, whether aiming for the main Dublin Marathon or not.  Local athletes who may take to the start line could include Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), John Black (North Belfast Harriers) and Cathy McCourt (McCFit) amongst others.


Parkrun:

As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty two 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.

Athletes from NI perform well at Manchester International:

Athletes from Northern Ireland impress at Manchester International:

On Wednesday 17th August 2016, a team of local runners represented Athletics Northern Ireland at the Manchester International Athletics Track & Field Meeting in England.  During what proved to be an excellent night of athletes, the familiar faces performed well.  


Athletics NI provided the following summary of the event on their website...


Sprinter Leon Reid, high jumper Sommer Lecky and miler Katie Kirk all impressed at the Manchester International meeting between the four Home Countries. Athletes were favoured by warm windless conditions.


NI Commonwealth Games competitor Leon Reid managed to secure 2nd place in the 200 metres to England's Reece Prescott who won in a time of 20.57secs.  Euro U23 champion Leon who recorded 21.02secs also took 4th place in the red hot 100 metres in a time of 10.56secs.  This race was won by new British sprinting star Joel Fearon who crossed the line in a world class clocking of 10.00secs. This was not a major surprise as his recent amazing 9.96secs run in the England Championships came too late for selection for the Olympics.


European Indoors long jump competitor Adam McMullan secured 2nd place in his event with 7.52 metres behind England's Daniel Gardner who won with 7.74 metres.  QUB's Katie Kirk also snatched the runner up spot in the mile in 4:44.85 (2nd place) which was a season's best.  The Commonwealth Games athlete showed some return to form by beating Scottish international Emily Dudgeon.  The race was won in commanding style by England's Jessica Judd (1st place - 4:39.85) who was disappointed not to secure Rio selection. 


16 year old NI high jumper Sommer Lecky continues to impress with a narrow defeat in the high jump where she equalled her PB with a jump of 1.80 metres. The Irish Junior record holder and All Ireland champion just lost out on count-back to England's Bethan Partridge who recorded the same height.  There were solid 4th place finishes for Adam Kirk-Smith in the steeplechase (5:44.10), John Kelly in the shot (16.26 metres) and Lydia Mills in the long jump (5.52 metres) in a high quality 400 metres Andrew Mellon secured 5th place in 48.05secs.   

Zak Hanna secures top spot at Irish Mountain Running Association trials...

Zak Hanna impresses at National trials:
On Sunday 14th August 2016, several Northern Ireland based mountain-trail runners took on Ireland’s top mountain and trail runners in the Wicklow Mountains as part of the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA) trials for the upcoming World Mountain Running Championships.

Newcastle AC’s Zak Hanna continued his recent good form with an eye-catching display over the 6.25k route, which incorporated 667m of ascent.  Zak powered his way to victory in an impressive 32:44 (1st place).  North Belfast Harriers’ Andrew Annett also ran well, taking 5th place in 35:55. 

The full Irish Mountain Running Association report and provisional results for the event are now available HERE.  Photo by IMRA.

Seven Sevens Mountain Race 2016:
Meanwhile, closer to home, on Saturday 13th August 2016, members of the local mountain running fraternity took on the infamous Seven Sevens Mountain Race, one of Northern Ireland’s toughest and most iconic races.  The event was also part of the ongoing Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship.

The route, classed as a long race in terms of the NIMRA Championship, took in the seven highest peaks in the scenic Mourne Mountains.  At 19 miles in distance, with over 8,700 feet of climbing the race saw competitors negotiate Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh first, followed by Slieve Lamagan, Slieve Binnian, Ben Crom Dam, before moving on towards ‘the Meels’ and Slieve Bernagh.  The start and finish will be at the Pavilion in Donard Park, Newcastle.  Respected international athletes Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) and Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) excelled with excellent wins.  

BARF Race Director Jim Brown provided the following race summary…

Seven Seven's Clockwise Record Breakers:
Ian Bailey went into this race intent on breaking records, and he succeeded for he produced the fastest ever clockwise circuit, beating Steve Cunningham's 2010 time by a few minutes.  His time of 3:36:04 is the fastest ever by a local runner in either direction.  Diane Wilson was also smashing records as she came home in third place overall in a time of 4:19:54, her fastest ever time in either direction and the new clockwise and local based female record.

Sandwiched between them was the fast improving young talent, Paul Pruzina, claiming 2nd place in a very commendable 4:07:35; will he be breaking the records a few years down the trail? Paul Hollywood secured 4th place and finished just ahead of Megan Wilson.  Her time of 4:33:00 was testament to another fantastic effort on the day and ranks her as second only to Diane in terms of brilliant Seven Sevens local performances.

Seventy two runners enjoyed the good conditions as did around 380 walkers, meaning that a record turnout of 450 sampled the Seven Sevens this year.   During the prize-giving, organisers offered special gratitude to the race marshals, in particular Sandra, one of the longest serving marshals in the 24 year history of this event.  The support of the Spartan Red Sox Walking was also highlighted.

Ciara Mageean bows out of Olympics at semi-final stage despite brave run:

Brave run by Ciara Mageean in Rio:

In the early hours of Monday 15th August 2016, Portaferry's CIara Mageean was in action at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.  Competing in Semi-Final 1 of the 1500m, the multiple Northern Ireland record holder bowed out despite a brave effort.


Straight from the gun, Ciara was at the head of the field alongside Australian Zoe Buckman, before they were joined by Team GB's Laura Weightman, who forced the early pace.  Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon (Kenya) and Besu Sado (Ethiopia) came through as they approached the half way mark, but the Northern Ireland based athlete still looked well in contention.


At the bell, Ciara was in fifth place and remained in the lead pack until the final bend when a strong injection of pace saw her lose ground on the leaders and several athletes who had come through from behind.  A brave effort saw Ciara claim 11th place, crossing the line in 4:08.07.  After the race, Ciara told Athletics Ireland, "I'm disappointed but I promise to come back fitter and faster,"  The race was won by  Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon in 4:03.95 (1st place).  


Photo above by Athletics Ireland.

Breege Connolly produces impressive performance in Olympic Marathon:

Breege Connolly impresses at Rio Olympics:

On Sunday 14th August 2016, North Belfast Harriers star Breege Connolly impressed at the Olympic Games in Rio with a strong, well paced performance in what were warm and humid conditions.


Breege moved through the field well as the race progressed, going through 5k in 19:01 in 121st place, the humble athlete gained places as she went through 10k in 37:43 (114th place) and the half way mark in 1:20:02 (98th place).  In the second half of the race, her strong running and good pacing saw Breege pick off the tiring field - she clocked 2:15:27 for 35k (85th place), before finishing in a brilliant 2:44:41 for 76th place; an excellent achievement on the Olympic stage.


Breege's Team Ireland team mates also performed well, with Fionnuala McCormack running 2:31:22 (20th place) and Lizzie Lee 2:39:57 (57th place). After the race, Breege spoke to Athletics Ireland about her Olympic experience, saying that it was "the best running week of my life."  The race was won by Kenyan athlete Jemima Jelagat Sumgong in 2:24:04 (1st place).

Gerard Heaney and Louise Smith excel at Tandragee 10k:

Tandragee 10k Road Race:

On Sunday 14th August 2016, a record number of athletes took on the 4th annual running of the Tandragee 10k.  The well organised event was the ninth race of the ongoing Novosco 10k Grand Prix.  


At the head of the pack, it was very much ‘as expected’, with Gerard Heaney (St Peter’s AC), Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) and North Down AC trio Francis Marsh, Dennis Scott and James Budde all featuring prominently.  Gerard made his intentions clear from the start, moving ahead of the field – he went through 5k in 16:52, nearly thirty seconds on Francis Marsh (17:18) and Stephen O’Gorman (17:18), who in-turn, were ahead of Stephen Morris (17:26), James Budde (17:29) and Dennis Scott (17:29).  In the ladies race, Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) led the way, with Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) and Elisoa Crawford (Seapark AC) in pursuit.


In the second half of the race, things didn’t change at the front – Gerard held off the chasing pack, eventually securing top spot in 33:43 (1st place). Experienced athlete and coach Francis Marsh clocked 34:13 for 2nd place, before Stephen O’Gorman completed the top three in 34:17 (3rd place). Pre-race favourite Louise Smith was a class act in the ladies race, and despite the best efforts of the aforementioned Susan Smyth and Elisoa Crawford, she sealed victory in 39:02 (1st place).  Susan crossed the line in 40:40 (2nd place), with Elisoa covering the route in 41:21 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Gerard Heaney (St Peter’s AC) – 33:43, 2nd Francis Marsh (North Down AC) – 34:13, 3rd Stephen O’Gorman (Dromore AC) – 34:17


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) – 39:02, 2nd Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) – 40:40, 3rd Elisoa Crawford (Seapark AC) – 41:21


Full Results:  Tandragee 10k Road Race 2016 Results

Darragh Cross 10k:

On Sunday 14th August 2016, nearly one hundred runners took to the start line of the Darragh Cross 10k road race in County Down.  Nigel Kelly (Ballydrain Harriers) and Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) ran out comfortable winners.


Nigel recorded 37:17 for 1st place, seeing off club mate Ryan Andrews (Ballydrain Harriers) who crossed the line in 38:20 (2nd place) and East Down AC’s Andrew Telford, who ran 38:59 for 3rd place.  Catherine won the ladies race in 40:50 (1st place), while Ballydrain Harriers’ Ashley Orr (45:31) and Unattached athlete Lisa Quinn (45:56) secured 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.


Full Results:  Darragh Cross 10k 2016 Results (Photo above by Mags Mathieson)

Allan Bogle and Gillian Wasson win atmospheric Lurig Challenge 2016:

Lurig Challenge 2016:

On Saturday 13th August 2016, a record number of close to four hundred athletes descended on the coastal village of Cushendall for the annual Lurig Challenge Mountain Race, hosted by local club Glens Runners. 


The atmospheric event, which is approximately 3.5 miles in distance, with 375 metres of ascent is part of a week-long festival in the area and will see a mix of mountain, road and fun runners convene for a classic 'to the top and back' course.  


Participants started in the centre of the village, making their way through the assembled crowds and up a series of steps onto a gradually ascending farm lane, before reaching the open mountain. Once onto the grassy slopes, runners then climbed the steep north face of Lurgethan, before descending from the summit and making their way back to the village finish line.


Despite the talented field, Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), Tommy Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) and Jonny Steede (Glens Runners) always looked as if they were the men who would contest top honours.  Little separated the men as they reached Lurgethan summit and turned back towards the town, and it was a similar story in the ladies race, with Gillian Wasson (Ballymena Runners) and Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) battling it out for the title.  Behind, Catherine McLaughlin (Glens Runners) and Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) contested the final podium place.

After a relentless descent back towards the village, it was Allan Bogle who led the way.  To huge cheers from the vocal crowd, the Northern Ireland international broke the tape in an impressive 38:10 for 1st place.  Tommy Simmons followed, replicating his 2nd place finish from 2015 in 28:53, before Glens Runners’ own Jonny Steede completed the top three in 29:11 (3rd place).


There was no stopping Gillian Wasson as she made short work of the descent and powered onto the road towards the finishing straight.  Smiling from ear-to-ear, the Ballymena Runners athlete crossed the line in 34:56 (1st place). Shileen O’Kane recorded 35:41 for 2nd place, while Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) claimed 3rd place in a close finish with Catherine McLaughlin (4th place ); both ladies finishing in 38:05.


Top 3 Men:  1st Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) – 28:10, 2nd Tommy Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) – 28:53, 3rd Jonny Steede (Glens Runners) – 29:11


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gillian Wasson (Ballymena Runners) – 34:56, 2nd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 35:41, 3rd Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) – 38:05


Full Results:  Lurig Challenge Mountain Race 2016 Results...  Photos from the Lurig Challenge will be added to our Photo Gallery in the coming days.

Kerry O'Flaherty records season's best at Rio Olympics:

Kerry O'Flaherty records season's best on Olympic debut:

On Saturday 13th August 2016, Northern Ireland's Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) made her Olympic debut at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.  The Newcastle AC athlete was competing in Heat 1 of her favourite 3,000m Steeplechase, and produced a season's best performance.


Up against top quality opposition, including Bahrain's Ruth Jebet, who locked the fastest time of the day to win the heat in 9:12.62 (1st place), Kerry covered the distance in 9:45.35 (14th place). Although this was not enough to see Kerry progress through the heats, she will take encouragement from the fact that she ran a season's best in such warm and humid conditions - Kerry's time was also the fastest of the three Team Ireland Steeplechase athletes.  Michelle Finn clocked 9:49.45 in Heat 2, while Sara Treacy crossed the line in 9:46.24 in Heat 3; Sara was the only one of the talented trio to progress through the heats.


Photo above by Athletics Ireland.

Ciara Mageean progresses through heats in Rio with confident performance:

Northern Ireland's Ciara Mageean progresses at Rio Olympics:

In the early hours of Saturday 13th August 2016, multiple Northern Ireland record holder Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) kicked off her Rio Olympics campaign in impressive fashion.  Representing Team Ireland, Ciara secured automatic qualification to the 1500m semi-final.


Competing in Heat 1, the Portaferry based athlete started well and never dropped outside the first seven athletes - with six to qualify she was always in contention.  As the race progessed through the 1,000m mark, the European Championship bronze medallist moved onto the shoulder of the top two.  


A short time later, with 300m to go, eventual winner Genezebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) surged clear - at this point, Ciara moved into 2nd place and held that position with a confident and controlled finish, crossing the line in 4:11.51.   The winning time, by the aforementioned Genezebe Dibaba, was 4:10.61 (1st place).  The semi-final will take place on Monday 15th August 2016 at 01:30hrs (GMT).


Photo above by Athletics Ireland.

Conal McCambridge and Mary Margaret Meade win Mallusk 5 mile Road Race:

Mallusk 5 mile Road Race 2016:

On Friday 12th August 2016, nearly three hundred athletes descended on Mallusk, within the Newtownabbey area of County Antrim for the 3rd annual Mallusk 5 mile road race, a well-organised event hosted by Mallusk Harriers.


As expected, North Belfast Harriers athlete Conal McCambridge played a major part in proceedings.  The continually improving athlete produced a dominant display of front running to lead the field home in 27:37 (1st place).  Garry Morrow (Willowfield Harriers) followed in 29:11 (2nd place), before East Antrim Harriers’ David Turtle secured 3rd place in 30:02.


In the ladies race, it was another North Belfast Harriers athlete who stole the headlines.  Mary Margaret Meade, a comfortable winner of the Delamont 10k last week, broke the tape in 31:15; this was enough for 1st place in the ladies race and 7th place overall.  Cathy McCourt (McCFit) crossed the line in 31:50 for 2nd place, while Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) recorded 33:44 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) – 27:37, 2nd Garry Morrow (Willowfield Harriers) – 29:11, 3rd David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers) – 30:02


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Mary Margaret Meade (North Belfast Harriers) – 31:15, 2nd Cathy McCourt (McCFit) – 31:50, 3rd Sarah-Jane Guiney (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:44


Full Results:  Mallusk 5 mile Road Race 2016 Results

Weekend Preview:  A plethora of quality events for local athletes...

Weekend Preview: A plethora of choice...

The predictably unpredictable weather may force us to think differently, but at present, we are at the height of the summer racing season, with plenty of tempting treats spanning across 7 days each week.  This week’s highlights were arguably the Coleraine 5 mile Road Race and the Donaghadee 5k – these events attracted nearly 600 competitors, but looking forward to the weekend, there are more excellent events to look forward to!


Both the Pure Running Half Marathon Series and Novosco 10k Grand Prix continue with the Groomsport Half Marathon and the Tandragee 10k taking place.  Other events we will feature in this preview will include the popular Lurig Challenge, Seven Sevens Mountain Race and the Mallusk 5 mile road race, we’ll also list all of the other fixtures taking place this weekend and look at what our Northern Ireland based runners will be getting up to at the Olympic Games in Rio!

Mallusk 5 mile Road Race:

The weekend action kicks off later tonight (Friday 12th August 2016) in Mallusk, where approximately three hundred athletes are expected to take on the 3rd annual Mallusk 5 mile road race.  


Despite the tough (but rewarding) course, this race has proved to be extremely popular with competitors 2013 and 2014 – this must be attributed to the excellent organisation and hospitality delivered by hosts Mallusk Harriers (and friends).


Last year saw an excellent battle between decorated athlete Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s AC) and Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers), with Joe eventually taking the title with six seconds to spare.  It is unlikely that either will return this year having been notable absentees from the competitive scene recently.  However, the final podium finisher twelve months ago, Neil Weir (Willowfield Harriers) could well start.  After securing two runners up places at the Sea 2 Sky 10k and Portaferry 10 mile road race last month, Neil will be keen to go one better here.


North Belfast Harriers’ Conal McCambridge, a 15:52 finisher at the Carlingford 5k last weekend, will also be worth watching at the head of the pack. The same could be said for Garry Morrow (Willowfield Harriers) and David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers), both of whom have shown good form recently with podium places at local events.  Unattached athlete Gavin Campbell, a consistent performer, will also place well.


In the ladies race, former junior champion Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) looks the pick of the pre-entries.  The talented athlete took to the podium here last year after clocking 34:44 for the course – Sarah-Jane is more than capable of improving that time based on recent performances, which included an impressive run to win the Divis 10k less than a month ago.  That day, Sarah-Jane’s Albertville Harriers club mate Tracey Atkinson took second place, and she could very well do the same here.  Although, Nicola Swinson (PACE Running Club), Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) and Patricia Blair (Larne AC) may have other ideas – all three should contest a podium place.

Lurig Challenge Mountain Race:

On Saturday 13th August 2016, approximately four hundred runners will descend on the seaside village of Cushendall for the annual Lurig Mountain Race, hosted by local club Glens Runners. 


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


Prior to last year’s event, much was made of the potential head-to-head between Northern Ireland international’s Jonny Steede (Glens Runners) and Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), but in the end it was St Malachy’s AC star Joe McAlister who secured victory ahead of North Belfast Harriers pair Andrew Annett and Tommy Simmons; Jonny was forced to settle for fourth spot.  However, Jonny and Allan are due to toe the line this year and will battle it out for the honour of being the first athlete to sample the memorable atmosphere on the finishing straight in the heart of the town.


Both men have experienced this before as winner, but who will come out on top this time around?  Jonny has returned to competitive action recently with a win at the LacPatrick Milk Run, a 5 mile road race, where he recorded 26:52 for victory.  Meanwhile, recognised Orienteer Allan claimed a podium place at the tough Tenerife Blue Trail 20k in the Canary Islands last month.  In the absence of his friend Emmet McAlister, Kevin O’Boyle (Unattached) should take home the coveted ‘first local’ prize – based on his recent performances on the road, Kevin should place well here overall, as will experienced mountain runner Richard Bell (Mourne Runners).  Alex Brennan (Ballymena Runners), Wayne Morrow (Larne AC) and Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC) will all finish well up the field.


The ladies race may come down to a battle between two Northern Ireland international mountain runners, Gillian Wasson (Ballymena Runners) and Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC).  Less than a minute split the pair when they represented Northern Ireland at the Home Countries International in Keswick two weeks ago, with Shileen leading the way on that occasion.  Shileen will therefore start as slight favourite, with Gillian likely to take second place – that leaves the final podium place to fill.  Glens Runners athlete Catriona Kerr and Ballymena Runners’ Paula Arthur McCarthy may well be the ones to watch.

Seven Sevens Mountain Race:

Also on Saturday 13th August 2016, Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners (BARF) will host the seventh race of this year’s Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship, the Seven Sevens Mountain Race.


Last year, this event was a British Championship fixture, with Kim Collison and Jasmin Paris leading their respective fields home – this year, the focus will be on local talent and who will come out on top.  


The route, classed as a long race in terms of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship and takes in the seven highest peaks in the scenic Mourne Mountains.  At 19 miles in distance, with over 8,700 feet of climbing the race will cover Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh first, followed by Slieve Lamagan, Slieve Binnian, Ben Crom Dam, before moving on towards ‘the Meels’ and Slieve Bernagh.  The start and finish will be at the Pavilion in Donard Park, Newcastle.  


Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR course record holder and Northern Ireland and Ireland international Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) will be the man to beat here.  Ian, a hardy and exceptionally talented athlete, has posted some excellent times whilst training on the course and will therefore start as favourite. Mourne Runners’ William McKee will provide excellent opposition and should not be ruled out; he has been in superb form throughout this season. Newcastle AC men David Hicks, Colm Murtagh and Deon McNeilly well all feature at the front should they race, but their club mate Zak Hanna may be a notable absentee as he concentrates on the IMRA trials this weekend.  


Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) will be hoping to replicate his performance at the recent Flagstaff-Carlingford Race, where he took the runners up spot. Other men who will play a prominent part in proceedings could include Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners), Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers).


Recently crowned Irish mountain running champion Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) will continue her pursuit of the mountain running double, the IMRA and NIMRA Championships when she takes on this event.  Diane tends to excel over the longer course and the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR champion will prove hard to beat.  As always though, there will be a host of talent which Diane will need to fend off to seal victory, amongst these could be Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), who ran well at the Mont Blanc events in June, and Paulette Thomson (Newcastle AC), a podium finisher at several IMRA races this season.  Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC), Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC) will also place well if they decide to race.

Run Groomsport Half Marathon:

Also on Saturday 13th August 2016, hundreds of athletes from across Northern Ireland will take on the penultimate race of the Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series, the Groomsport Half Marathon; the race programme will also include a 10k race.


Both races will start close in Groomsport and make their way into rural parts of the coastal village before finishing just off the scenic coastal path close to the Groomsport Marina.  East Down AC’s Martin Wilcox may take to the start line, and after his excellent outing at the Delamont Park 10k Trail Race last week, where he won, he should feature at the head of the pack.  Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), who took second place behind Martin at the scenic Delamont event, may also race and should challenge for a prize once again.  Previous winner David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers), Mark Walker (Unattached), Joe Craney (Victoria Park & Connswater AC) and John Craig (Victoria Park & Connswater AC) will also run well if they enter on the day.


Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) was an emphatic winner of the Half Marathon in 2015 and should return to defend her title. Amongst those likely to challenge Karen at the front could be Lyndsey Tyro (Orangegrove AC), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers), Anne Fitzpatrick (North Belfast Harriers), Catherine Roberts (North Down AC) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC).

Tandragee 10k Road Race:

In County Armagh on Sunday 14th August 2016, a record number of athletes are expected to take on the 4th annual running of the Tandragee 10k.  The event, which starts and finishes at the local Tandragee Rovers Football Club facility, is the ninth race of the ongoing Novosco 10k Grand Prix.  


Dennis Scott will head a strong North Down AC squad which will also include James Budde and coach Francis Marsh.  This trio will play a prominent part in proceedings and in-truth, could well fill the podium places.  In saying this, Dennis, James and Francis will toe the line with two of the Provinces’ most improved athletes, namely Gerard Heaney (St Peter’s AC) and Stephen O’Gorman (Dromore AC); Gerard has run 33:36 for 10k this year, while Stephen recorded 16:07 at last week’s Carlingford 5k, which shows real potential going into this event.


The top two ladies from 2015, Heather Foley (Unattached) and Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers), should return.  Heather put in a commanding display to seal victory last time and it’s hard to look past the triathlete for top spot this time around, especially after her title winning performance at the Lisburn Triathlon last weekend, where she not only won the ladies race, but finished in sixth place overall.  Louise will be no push-over and should run somewhere around the 38:00 mark, which will definitely be good enough for a podium place.  Susan Smyth (Dromore AC), Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC) and Charlene Abraham (Unattached) will add depth to the line-up.


Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend:


Saturday 13th August 2016:

- Running Blind 5k & 10k, Stormont Estate, Belfast – 2pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)

- iCARE Purple Run 3k/5k/10k – Gosford Forest, Armagh – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)


Sunday 14th August 2016:

- Darragh Cross 10k – Darragh Cross GAC Clubrooms – 12.30pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)

- Remembering Dermot 5k & 10k – Dungiven Football Club, Dungiven – 1pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)

Outside Northern Ireland this weekend:


Olympic Games (Rio):

Local runners will also be in action outside Northern Ireland this weekend, most notably at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.  Five runners from NI - Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers), Ciara Mageean (UCD AC), Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC) will be in action on the world’s biggest sporting stage, with the athletics events kicking off today (Friday 12th August 2016).  A full timetable for Team Ireland is available HERE.


IMRA Trials for World Championships and British & Irish Mountain Running Championships (Ireland):

On Sunday 14th August 2016, up and coming mountain running star Zak Hanna (Newcastle AC) will test himself against some of Ireland’s most talented mountain runners when he takes on the IMRA Trials for the upcoming World Mountain Running Championships (Uphill) and British & Irish Mountain Running Championships in September 2016.  The race will take place in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, covering 6.25k in distance with 667m of ascent.


Parkrun:

As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty two 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.

Mark McKinstry and Judi MacAuley win Coleraine 5 mile Road Race:

Edwin May Nissan Coleraine 5 mile Road Race:

On Wednesday 10th August 2016, nearly three hundred athletes took to the streets of Coleraine for the annual Coleraine 5 mile road race, an event sponsored by local business Edwin May Nissan and hosted by Springwell Running Club.


North Belfast Harriers man Mark McKinstry followed up his impressive win at the Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile road race last week with another excellent outing.  The Northern Ireland international bettered his third place finish at this event in 2015 when he powered to victory in 25:45 (1st place). Darrell McKee (Acorns AC) followed in 26:13 (2nd place), before Springwell Running Club’s Jonathan McKee completed the top three in 26:30 (3rd place).


In the immensely close ladies race, it was Judi MacAuley (North Belfast Harriers) who emerged victorious.  Judi, Cathy McCourt (McCFit), Pauline Thom (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and reigning Champion Gemma McDonald (Springwell Running Club) all played a part at the front, but Judi broke the tape in 30:13 to claim top spot.  Cathy crossed the line in 30:16 for 2nd place, while Pauline followed in 30:31 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 25:45, 2nd Darrell McKee (Acorns AC) – 26:13, 3rd Jonathan McKee (Springwell Running Club) – 26:30


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Judi MacAuley (North Belfast Harriers) – 30;13, 2nd Cathy McCourt (McCFit) – 30:16, 3rd Pauline Thom (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 30:31


Full Results:  Edwin May Nissan Coleraine 5 mile Road Race 2016 Results


Donaghadee 5k Road Race:

Elsewhere on Wednesday 10th August 2016, over three hundred competitors turned out to support the 2nd annual Donaghadee 5k road race in County Down.  Despite the fact that the event is primarily organised in aid of charitable causes, there is also a competitive edge.


At the head of the pack, it was Jonathan Gibson (Club Unknown) who claimed top honours, leading the field home in 18:17 (1st place), a mere four seconds ahead of Ballydrain Harriers athlete Aaron Harrison, who clocked 18:21 for 2nd place.  Sterling University student Ross Mawhinney crossed the line in 18:32 (3rd place).


North Down AC’s Jodi Smith looked a class act as she covered the route in 19:12, which secured 1st place in the ladies race and 6th place overall.  Catherine Roberts (North Down AC) followed in 20:55 (2nd place), before Heather Kelly (Ballydrain Harriers) just saw off club mate Amanda Jackson (Ballydrain Harriers) to take 3rd place in 21:52.


Full Results:  Donaghadee 5k Road Race 2016 Results

Athletics NI announce annual Coaching Conference line-up:

Athletics NI confirm line-up for Coaching Conference 2016:

This week, Athletics NI confirmed the line-up for their annual Coaching Conference.   The 2016 Athletics Northern Ireland Coaching Conference will take place on Saturday 8th October and will play host to a blend of presentations from key note speakers across the sport of Athletics. It will take place at the University of Ulster Jordanstown, which is situated only 20 minutes from Belfast City Centre and close to both the Belfast International and Belfast City Airports. 


Jonas Dodoo, rugby speed consultant to numerous international players and coach to sub 10.0secs Olympian Chijindu Ujah was announced as the final addition to the line-up earlier this week. In keeping with the 2015 conferences the event will involve a mixture of presentations and practical workshops based around key themes identified as areas of interest in Northern Ireland.


Director of Coaching and Athlete Development Tom Crick said, ‘Since graduating from the British Athletics Apprentice Coach Programme in 2012, Jonas has gone on to prove he is a truly world class coach both in Track and Field and other sports. 


Not only has he coached Chijindu Ujah to 9.96s in the 100m and been involved with the training of Olympic Long Jump champion Greg Rutherford, but as founder and Head Coach at Speedworks he is also developing a group of truly outstanding young athletes. I’m sure his two presentations will be invaluable to all coaches who wish to develop speed in their athletes.”


The high calibre line-up includes Olympic Heptathlon Medallist, turned coach, Kelly Sotherton, Jumps expert Alan Richardson and Endurance guru Andy Hobdell (pictured above) - who steered Northern Irish Marathon Olympians Paul Pollock and Kevin Seaward to Rio. A little closer to home, Northern Ireland’s Performance Coach of the Year Richard Rodgers and Athletics NI’s Tom Reynolds will discuss the preparation of Steeplechase Olympian Kerry O’Flaherty for Rio Olympics.


Tom Crick, Athletics NI Director of Coaching and Athlete Development, said: “With so many of these speakers returning from Rio, the 2016 Northern Ireland Coaching Conference will be an opportunity to reflect on an Olympic year but also look forward to the challenges facing coaches hoping to develop future Olympians in Tokyo and beyond."

How to book your place at the Athletics NI Coaching Conference 2016:

The costs for the conference are £40 (for coaches who are registered coaches and have taken a UKA coaching or leadership qualification) and £55 (for other coaches).  The full conference schedule and online booking is available here: www.athleticsni.org/Coaches/Conference  


This year the conference website is hosted on uLearnAthletics.com and is linked to the UK National Coaching Database, so all registered UK coaches can receive professional development credit for attending. To pay the reduced £40 delegate fee, registered UK coaches will need to know their coach license number and have up to date contact information.


If you are having problems logging on contact the Administration team on 028 9060 2707 or info@athleticsni.org. We will need to know your full name, date of birth and current email address.  Any club secretary wishing to be invoiced for a batch of tickets for club coaches should contact: laura@athleticsni.org.

Antrim Combined Team seal Division 1 victory at National League Final:

Antrim Combined Team seal Division 1 victory:

On Sunday 7th August 2016, the Antrim Combined Men's Team, which comprises of athletes from Ballymena & Antrim AC and City of Lisburn AC, sealed victory at the AAI National Track & Field League Division 1 final. 


The ladies team missed victory by the narrowest of margins, after losing to Kilkenny City Harriers on a count back, after both teams finished on 99 points.  Amongst the most impressive performances of the day, were several individual victories for the Antrim athlete. Dean Adams won the 100m in 11.16secs (1st place), while Gareth Thompson clocked 22.64secs (1st place) to win the 200m.  


Adam Hill and Ciaran Barns excelled over the hurdles, with Adam winning the 100m hurdles in 15.80secs (1st place) and Ciaran leading the way in the 400m hurdles in 57.31secs (1st place).  Kelly Neely was also in good form, winning the ladies 400m in 58.03secs.


Northern Ireland's Mark Hoy helped his Finn Valley AC team to 2nd place in the overall Division 1 standings with superb outings over 800m and 1500m, where he recorded 2:01.60 (1st place) and 4:09.86 (1st place) respectively.  Lagan Valley AC ladies also battled well on the day and finished in 8th place overall.  The Athletics Ireland report and provisional results for the event can be found HERE.

Laura Graham secures AAI National HM gold as local runners impress outside NI:

Laura Graham excels as local runners impress outside Northern Ireland:

On Sunday 7th August 2016, arguably Northern Ireland's most in-form lady, Laura Graham (Mourne Runners), added another notable achievement to her fast growing running CV after claiming victory at the Rock N'Roll Dublin Half Marathon, which doubled up as the AAI National Half Marathon Championships.


Despite the windy conditions, Laura recorded 1:18:56 (1st place) to seal the National gold medal, adding to her AAI National Marathon bronze medal, which she picked up at the Dublin Marathon in October 2016. This is another useful outing for the Kilkeel lady as she focuses on the Dublin Marathon this October.  


Laura wasn't the only local athlete to impress in Dublin, with City of Derry AC star Catherine Whoriskey recording 1:20:33 for take 2nd place and the associated AAI National silver medal.  In the men's race, North Belfast Harriers' Eddie Cooke led the local contingent home in 1:15:02 (11th place).

Carlingford 5k (Ireland):

Early this weekend (Friday 5th August 2016), local runners also impressed at the annual Carlingford 5k road race in Ireland.  The event, which always attracts local interest, boasts a course with personal best potential, and runners from Northern Ireland made full use of that as they dominated at the head of the pack.  


Raheny Shamrock AC's Freddy Sittuk won in 14:45 (1st place), but Northern Ireland runners filled all but one of the remaining top ten places.  AAI National 5,000m Champion Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) took 2nd place in 14:46, while Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) followed just two seconds later in 14:48 (3rd place). St Malachy's AC man Ben Branagh recorded 15:06 (4th place) and Springwell Running Club's Neil Johnston ran 15:18 for 5th place.  Newcastle AC duo Eoghan Totten (15:34) and David O'Flaherty (15:38) secured 5th place and 6th place respectively.  The ever-improving John Black crossed the line in 15:41 (8th place), just ahead of St Peters AC's Gerard Heaney, who ran 15:46 for 10th place.  North Belfast Harriers also secured the team prize.  Full results for the event can be found HERE.


Streets of Galway 8k (Ireland):

On Saturday 6th August 2016, there were several familiar faces on the start line of the Streets of Galway 8k road race in Galway, Ireland.  This event has proved a good hunting ground for Northern Ireland based athletes in the past, and this year was no different.  In an epic finish, Newcastle AC's Seamus Lynch clocked 25:27 to secure 3rd place ahead of North Belfast Harriers' Lyndsay Gordon, who ran 25:28 for 4th place.  Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) also claimed a top ten spot, running 26:03 for 8th place,  The race was won by Clonliffe Harriers' Sergiu Ciobanu in 24:25 (1st place).  Full results for the event can be found HERE.


Riverine 10k (Ireland):

On Sunday 7th August 2016, runners from Northern Ireland dominated the podium at the annual Riverine 10k road race, an event hosted by Lifford-Strabane AC in County Donegal, Ireland.  Northern Ireland international Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) led the field home in 30:47 (1st place), before Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) marked his return to competition with a 2nd place finish in 32:50.  In the ladies race, which was won by Letterkenny AC's Fionnuala Diver (1st place - 37:15), Claire McGuigan (Lifford-Strabane AC) claimed 2nd place in 37:43.  Full results for the event can be found HERE.

Martin Wilcox and Mary Margaret Meade impress at Delamont 10k Trail Race:

Delamont 10k Trail Race:

On Saturday 6th August 2016, local event management group Atlas Running welcomed athletes to the stunning Delamont Park, on the shores of Strangford Lough, for the Delamont Park 10k Trail Race.  The participants were faced with a tough undulating course, but were rewarded with some picturesque views of the lough and as far away as the Mourne Mountains.


Almost as soon as the athletes set off, East Down AC’s Martin Wilcox made his intentions clear, surging to the head of the pack.  Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), Mary Margaret Meade (North Belfast Harriers) and Ronald Simms (Seapark AC) gave chase, but by half way, it was clear that there was no stopping Martin - the battle was now for the runners up spot, with Mary ensuring that it was a similar situation in the ladies race as she battled at the front with the men.  Joanne Foster (East Down AC) and Diane McKeag (Unattached) were the only other ladies who looked like claiming podium places.


In end, it was Martin who led the field home – well clear of the chasing pack, he veered into the finishing straight and broke the tape in 40:11 (1st place).  Richard Coey followed in 41:41 (2nd place) to secure the runners up prize.  Mary Margaret Meade bettered her second place finish at the Crossgar 10k earlier this week when she crossed the line in 42:13 to take 1st place in the ladies race and 3rd place overall.


Ronald Simms clocked 43:17 (3rd place) to complete the men’s podium, before Joanne Foster, who had looked strong on the tough ascents, secured 2nd place in 48:06.  Diane McKeag completed an impressive performance to take 3rd place in 51:18.


Top 3 Men:  1st Martin Wilcox (East Down AC) – 40:11, 2nd Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) – 41:41, 3rd Richard Simms (Seapark AC) – 43:17


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Mary Margaret Meade (North Belfast Harriers) – 42:13, 2nd Joanne Foster (East Down AC) – 48:06, 3rd Diane McKeag (Unattached) – 51:18


Full Results:  Delamont Park 10k 2016 Results (Photos from the Delamont Park 10k will be added to our photo gallery in the coming days)

Don Travers and Lyndsey Tyro excel at Kells & Connor Half Marathon:

Kells & Connor Half Marathon:

On Saturday 6th August 2016, a record number of athletes turned out for the annual Kells & Connor Half Marathon.  The event, which is close to Ballymena, boasts a scenic but tough rural course, proved popular with competitors.  


At the head of the pack, Don Travers (Newry City Runners) and Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC), who both represent NiRunning’s Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR race team, battled it out over the challenging 13.1 mile route.  In the end, less than thirty seconds split the pair, with Don taking top spot in 1:18:10 (1st place) and Matthew claiming 2nd place in 1:18:38.  PACE Running Club’s Aaron Woodman clocked 1:25:16 for 3rd place.


In the ladies race, pre-race favourite Lyndsey Tyro (Orangegrove AC) proved her worth, sealing victory in 1:38:03 (1st place).  Jana Mullerova (Club Unknown) crossed the line in 1:39:24 for 2nd place, before Dalriada 10k podium finisher Judith Worthington (Ballymena Runners) completed the ladies podium in 1:42:45 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:18:10, 2nd Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) – 1:18:38, 3rd Aaron Woodman (PACE Running Club) – 1:25:16


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Lyndsey Tyro (Orangegrove AC) – 1:38:03, 2nd Jana Mullerova (Club Unknown) – 1:39:24, 3rd Judith Worthington (Ballymena Runners) – 1:42:45


Full Results:  Kells & Connor Half Marathon 2016 Results (Photo by Natasha Henderson)

Mark McKinstry and Gemma McDonald win Stanley Reid 5 mile road race:

Sperrin Harriers Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile Road Race:

On Friday 5th August 2016, Sperrin Harriers welcomed nearly three hundred athletes to the 15th annual running of their Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile road race in Cookstown, County Tyrone. The race, which is named after its first ever race director, offered athletes a course with personal best potential.


As predicted, North Belfast Harriers athlete Mark McKinstry made a competitive return to action following a planned summer break, and it was he who stole the headlines with an excellent performance.  After breaking his own Ecos parkrun record last week, the Glenwherry man went up in distance this week and showed his strength as he dominated at the front, eventually breaking the tape in 26:29 (1st place).  The host club’s in-form Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) claimed 2nd place in 28:18, before Richard Agnew (Ballymena Runners), winner of the Broughshane 10k earlier this week, held off unattached athlete Kevin O’Boyle (4th place – 28:37) to take 3rd place in 28:27.


In the ladies race, Gemma McDonald (Springwell Running Club) played a major part in proceedings as expected.  The talented athlete, who finished as runner up here last year, bettered that with a well-deserved win in 32:07 (1st place).  Lagan Valley AC’s Suzanne Higgins looked in good form as she clocked 32:55 for 2nd place, before Acorns AC’s Sandra McKeown crossed the line in 34:27 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) – 26:29, 2nd Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) – 28:18, 3rd Richard Agnew (Ballymena Runners) – 28:27


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Gemma McDonald (Springwell Running Club) – 32:07, 2nd Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 32:55, 3rd Sandra McKeown (Acorns AC) – 34:27


Full Results:  Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile Road Race 2016 Results (Note:  Team and Category Results are available on our RESULTS page)

John Craig and Debbie Matchett seal top hounors at Ards 5 mle road race:

Ards Lions 5 mile Road Race:

On Friday 5th August 2016, Ards Lions Club welcomed over one hundred runners to their annual 5 mile road race in the shadows of Scrabo Tower in Newtownards, County Down.  This event, which starts and finish at Londonderry Park, has never failed to attract a host of quality athletes, and this year was no different.


At the head of the pack, reigning Champion John Craig (Victoria Park & Connswater AC) showed his strength as he dictated proceedings to win in 27:16 (1st place), well over one minute clear of his nearest rival.  Cambridge AC’s Niall Devlin followed in 28:23 for 2nd place, before podium finisher in 2015, Nigel Kelly secured 3rd place in 29:12 (3rd place).


Northern Ireland XC international Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain took the ladies title in 32:52 (1st place).  North Down AC’s Catherine Roberts was the next female finisher in 33:27, while former British Champion Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC) completed the top three female finishers in

33:44 (3rd place)


Top 3 Men:  1st John Craig (Victoria Park & Connswater AC) – 27:16, 2nd Niall Devlin (Cambridge AC) – 28:23, 3rd Nigel Kelly (Unattached) – 39:12


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers) – 32:52, 2nd Catherine Roberts (North Down AC) – 33:27, 3rd Ruth Perioli (Lagan Valley AC) – 33:44 


Full Results:  Ards Lions 5 mile Challenge 2016 Results

Weekend Preview:  Stanley Reid Memorial, Ards 5, Kells & Connor HM...

Weekend Preview:  Stanley Reid Memorial, Ards 5, Kells & Connor HM and more...

This week the most prestigious sporting event on earth, the Olympic Games, will attract the attention and imagination of the world; the opening ceremony takes place this evening (Friday 5th August 2016).  Of course, with five runners from Northern Ireland representing Ireland at the Games in Rio, the event has it’s own significance locally.


However, the local action will continue and there are several excellent events on offer for those looking to lace up their racing shoes – there will be events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  The highlights are undoubtedly Sperrin Harriers’ Stanley Reid Memorial, the Feile 10k and the Kells & Connor Half Marathon.  Local runners will also compete at the Glenmore 5k in Carlingford (Ireland) and the Rock & Roll Half Marathon (inc AAI National Half Marathon Championships) in Dublin (Ireland).


Sperrin Harriers Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile Road Race:

The weekend action will kick off tonight (Friday 5th August 2016) in Cookstown, where hundreds of athletes are expected to take on the 15th annual Stanley Reid Memorial 5 mile road race, hosted by Sperrin Harriers.  


Interestingly, the race was re-named the Stanley Reid Memorial back in 2014 in memory of the first ever race director of the event.  Race HQ, including the start and finish will be within the expansive Loughry College.  The course itself covers a 5 mile loop and is reasonably fast barring an early hill, and therefore boasts excellent personal best potential.


Reigning Champion Chris McPeake (City of Derry AC) has been off the radar of late, but the former Sperrin Harriers man could well return to competitive action for this event. Chris recorded 27:22 for victory twelve months ago and that time should be enough to take a podium place this time around.  However, it may not be enough to retain the title if North Belfast Harriers athlete Mark McKinstry decides to make the journey to Cookstown - Mark has a 5 mile personal best of 25:48 which would surely secure top spot.


Unattached athlete Michael Crawley will also go well if he takes to the start line, as will Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) and Acorns AC duo Darrell McKee and Eoin Hughes – Eoin will be keen to replicate his race winning performance at the Dalriada Festival 10k.  Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) and Brian Taggart (Sperrin Harriers) will also be worth watching.


In the ladies race, 2015 winner Heather Foley (Unattached) will prove hard to beat should she attempt to defend her title.  Twelve months ago edged Gemma McDonald (Springwell Running Club) by just over a minute, clocking 30:19 for the course.  Gemma ran an excellent 31:09 for second, and both may well go head-to-head tonight again.  Acorns AC ladies Karen Alexander and Natalie Hall, and Sperrin Harriers front runner Pauline McGurren could add further class to the field.

Ards Lions 5 mile Road Race:

Also on Friday 5th August 2016, Ards Lions Club will host their annual 5 mile road race in the shadows of Scrabo Tower in Newtownards, County Down.  This event, which starts and finish at Londonderry Park, never fails to attract a host of quality athletes, and this year will be no different.


Ballydrain Harriers will be well represented and it could well be Ryan Andrews (Ballydrain Harriers) who leads the way.  Ryan enjoyed an excellent run to win the Crawfordsburn Trail Race earlier this week and will take that confidence into this event.  However, the up and coming athlete may face tough competition in the form of Willowfield Harriers’ Neill Weir and North Down AC’s Dennis Scott.  Niall Devlin (Cambridge AC), John Craig (Victoria Park & Connswater AC) may feature, while Chris Davis (East Coast AC), Andrew Muir (North Down AC) and Mark Walker (Marathon Club Ireland) will all be hoping for highly placed finishes.


Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) will play a prominent part in proceedings should she make use of the on the night entry system.  The Northern Ireland cross country international won here in 2015 and should place well again this time.  Denise will more than likely be up against Catherine Roberts (North Down AC) and Nicky McKeag (Ballydrain Harriers).  Roisin Devlin (QUB AC) and Sarah Benton (North Down AC) will also run well.


Glenmore 5k (Ireland):

In Ireland tonight (Friday 5th August 2016), a number of familiar faces will take to the start line of the popular Glenmore 5k road race in Carlingford, County Louth.  The race, which attracts a large contingent from Northern Ireland on an annual based covers a flat, fast and scenic route.  Competitors start along the Coast Road before turning in-land and making their way back to the atmospheric town centre. 


Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners) secured a podium place at this event in 2015 and the Northern Ireland international may well return in an attempt to better his third place finish.  Paddy will be joined by a host of familiar faces, with Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) and Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) likely to start.  Dromore AC and North Belfast Harriers will be well represented - Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC), Stephen O'Gorman (Dromore AC), Conor Curran (North Belfast Harriers) and John Black (North Belfast Harriers) may well be amongst those who take to the start line.

Kells & Connor Half Marathon:

On Saturday 6th August 2016, athletes from the Country Antrim area are expected to turn out for the Kells & Connor Half Marathon.  The event, which is close to Ballymena, boasts a scenic rural course and will prove popular with competitors.  


This year, the race is on a different day to the famous Lurig Mountain Race (they were on the same day last year), which alongside the positive attention following last year’s race, has boosted numbers, with nearly one hundred competitors already signed up – entries will still be available on race day.


PACE Running Club pair Aaron Woodman and Oliver Cook should feature at the head of the pack and both men have the potential to pick up a prize. Orangegrove AC’s Paul Tyro will also be worth watching, as will Simon Reeve (North Belfast Harriers), Ryan Armstrong (Ballymena Runners), Rodney Agnew (Ballymena Runners) and Billy Thompson (Larne AC). 


Lyndsey Tyro (Orangegrove AC) will start as pre-race favourite in the ladies event.  The talented athlete has had a busy year so far, with her 3:08:59 marathon personal best in London arguably the highlight – Lyndsey also won the Ho Chi Minh City ‘Conquer The Bridge’ Half Marathon in Asia at the beginning of the year.  Gillian Logan (Orangegrove AC) should challenge for a podium place but will need to be in good form if she wishes to see off Dalriada Festival podium finisher Judith Worthington (Ballymena Runners).


Delamont 10k Trail Race:

On Saturday 6th August 2016, local event management group Atlas Running will welcome athletes to the stunning Delamont Park, on the shores of Strangford Lough, for the Delamont Park 10k Trail Race.  The course will provide a test to competitors, with the reward for some tough climbing being picturesque views.


It’s hard to look past Ballydrain Harriers athlete Richard Coey as a potential pre-race favourite.  Richard enjoyed an excellent battle with Newcastle AC’s Collum Campbell for top spot at the Crossgar 10k earlier this week, but was forced to settle for second place on that occasion.  Andrew Johnston (Marathon Club Ireland) and Ronald Simms (Seapark AC) are amongst the starters.  In the ladies race, Orangegrove AC’s Verity Cornford and Dromore AC’s Janette Bailie should both place well.  Kirsty Meredith (Scrabo Striders) will also take to the start line.

Feile 10k Road Race:

On Sunday 7th August 2016, nearly five hundred athletes are expected to take to the streets of Belfast for the Feile Festival 10k road race, an event organised by events management company Aisling Events.  


Although online entries are now closed, organisers are keen to point out that entry in person (at the Anderstown News Kiosk in the Kennedy Centre and at North Belfast News, Cityside) is still available – there will also be opportunities to enter the event at the Feile Tent on race day.


North Belfast Harriers athlete Philip Goss has returned to competitive action this year after a long spell out of action and produced some excellent performances.  Philip will toe the line here and will hope to achieve the same kind of standard that saw him record 15:34 at the Queen’s 5k back in April – he also ran 33:57 to win the Les Jones Memorial 10k.  Despite these impressive outings, the Belfast man will need to be at the top of his game, with his club mate Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers) another likely starter.  Beechmount Harriers pair Stuart Kennedy and Michael Magee will claim top ten places, while Sean-Paul Hughes and Conor Diiver (Unattached) will be amongst those seeking to finish well up the field.


The outstanding performer in the ladies race should be Northern Ireland 5,000m, 10,000m and Marathon record holder Teresa Duffy (Unattached). The respected athlete has certainly not lost her talent as she moves through the veteran categories, as she has picked up several podium prizes in the last couple of years.  Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers), Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers) and Cathy McCourt (McCFit) could challenge Teresa at the front.

Rock & Roll Half Marathon incorporating AAI National Half Marathon Championships (Ireland):

In Dublin on Sunday 7th August 2016, a large number of athletes from Northern Ireland will take part in the atmospheric and well-supported Rock & Roll Half Marathon, which for the second consecutive year will also play host to the GloHealth AAI National Half Marathon Championships.


Portaferry 10 mile road race winner Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) is likely to be amongst the leading Northern Ireland based athletes to reach the finish line, while Laura Graham (Mourne Runners), Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) and Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) should perform well in the ladies race.  A full entry list for the event is available HERE.


AAI National League Track & Field Final (Ireland):

Also on Sunday 7th August 2016, several Northern Ireland based clubs will be represented at the GloHealth AAI National Track & Field Final in Tullamore, Ireland.  Lagan Valley AC and the County Antrim Combined Team should both travel to the event with confidence following excellent performances in the league over the last few months.


Parkrun:

As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty two 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.

Ryan Andrews and Jessica Craig win North Down AC's Crawfordsburn 5k:

Crawfordsburn 5k Trail Race 2016:

On Wednesday 3rd August 2016, North Down AC welcomed over two hundred and fifty athletes to their ever popular Crawfordsburn Trail Race, a 5k race around the scenic trails and forest paths of Crawfordsburn Country Park, just outside Bangor in County Down.


Ballydrain Harriers athlete Ryan Andrews put in a strong performance at the head of the pack in what was an exceptionally close race.  Ryan just about saw off Willowfield Harriers pair Christopher Dean and Garry Morrow to seal victory, after crossing the line in 18:25 (1st place).  Christopher clocked the same time (18:25) for 2nd place, while Garry ran 18:27 for 3rd place.


The ladies race wasn’t just as close, but was still an exciting affair – the host club’s Jessica Craig (North Down AC) recorded a brilliant18:35 (1st place) to retain her 2015 title.  Cathy McCourt (McCFit) followed on from her win at the Broughshane 5k with a 20:00 finish for 2nd place, before Jodi Smith (North Down AC) recorded 20:20 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Ryan Andrews (Ballydrain Harriers) -18:25, 2nd Christopher Dean (Willowfield Harriers) – 18:25, 3rd Garry Morrow (Willowfield Harriers) – 18:27


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jessica Craig (North Down AC) – 18:35, 2nd Cathy McCourt (McCFit) – 20:00, 3rd Jodi Smith (North Down AC) – 20:20


Full Results:  Crawfordsburn 5k Trail Race 2016 Results (Photo above by Kate/Eric Montgomery)

Collum Campbell and Amy Bulman secure victory at Crossgar 10k:

Crossgar 10k 2016:

On Monday 1st August 2016, nearly two hundred athletes turned out for the Crossgar 10k in County Down, a well-organised event hosted by Crossgar Harriers in association with Atlas Running.


In what proved to be an exciting race, with both the men’s and ladies races being closely contested, it was Newcastle AC’s Collum Campbell and Unattached athlete Amy Bulman who collected the top prizes.  In the men’s race, Collum was forced to work all the way to the finish line by Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers), with a mere one second splitting the pair in the end – Collum clocked 37:18 for 1st place, with Richard following in 37:19 (2nd place).  Thomas O’Gorman (Club Unknown) completed the top three in 37:42 (3rd place).


In the ladies event, just two seconds split the top two ladies, with the aforementioned Amy Bulman battling it out with North Belfast Harriers’ Mary Margaret Meade.  In the end, Amy broke the tape in 39:38 (1st place), with Mary recording 39:40 (2nd place) for the runners up spot.  In-form Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) crossed the line in 40:10 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men:  1st Collum Campbell (Newcastle AC) – 37:18, 2nd Richard Coey (Ballydrain Harriers) – 37:19, 3rd Thomas O’Gorman (Club Unknown) – 37:42


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Amy Bulman (Unattached) – 39:38, 2nd Mary Margaret Meade (North Belfast Harriers) – 39:40, 3rd Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) – 40:10


Full Results:  Crossgar 10k 2016 Results

Richard Agnew and Pauline Thom excel at Broughshane 10k:

Broughshane 10k & 5k 2016:

On Monday 1st August 2016, well over three hundred runners descended on the County Antrim village of Broughshane, close to Ballymena, for the inaugural running of the Broughshane 10k and 5k races; the event was hosted by Ballymena Runners.


Picturesque Broughshane is well-known for its many floral competition wins, but on this occasion, it was the sea of runners which brought the village to bloom.  The host club’s Richard Agnew, a podium finisher at last week’s ‘Milk Run’, led the field home in 35:24 (1st place).  East Antrim Harriers’ ever consistent David Turtle clocked 36:41 for 2nd place, before Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners), who recently launched the second installment of his Wilderbeast Trail Run, completed the top three in 37:10 (3rd place).


Ballymena & Antrim AC star Pauline Thom looked in fine form as she cruised to victory in the ladies race.  Pauline powered home in 39:54 (1st place), ahead of Ballymena Runners’ Catherine McQuillan, who ran 43:51 for 2nd place.  Judith Worthington (Ballymena Runners) followed on from her podium finish at the Dalriada Festival last week with another impressive outing, taking 3rd place in 45:24.


In the associated 5k event, young Joshua Powers (Club Unknown) proved to be a class act, sealing a comprehensive win in 17:19 (1st place), while Cathy McCourt (Unattached) looked back to her best with a 19:44 clocking for 1st place in the ladies race.


Top 3 Men:  1st Richard Agnew (Ballymena Runners) – 35:24, 2nd David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers) – 36:41, 3rd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 37:10


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Pauline Thom (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 39:54, 2nd Catherine McQuillan (Ballymena Runners) – 43:51, 3rd Judith Worthington (Ballymena Runners) – 45:24


Full Results:  Broughshane 10k & 5k 2016 Results (Photo by Robert McGaughey)

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