Northern Ireland Running

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Ciara Mageean records new Northern Ireland 800m record:

Morton Games 2016:

On Friday 23rd July 2016, Northern Ireland's most inform athlete, Ciara Mageean (UCD AC), who recently picked up a bronze medal at the European Athletics Championships in Holland, added another achievement to her already stunning CV.

Ciara was in action at the Morton Games in Santry, Dublin (Ireland) - before the event, the Portaferry lady made it clear that she was aiming to break the Northern Ireland 800m record, and she did just that! Up against top opposition, including Alexandra Bell (England), Ciara recorded 2:00.53 for 2nd place behind the aforementioned Alexandra Bell (1st place - 2:00.53), therefore bettering the previous record of 2:01.83 - this was set back in 1998 by Amanda Crowe.  This now means that Rio bound Ciara holds four Northern Ireland records (800m, 1500m, Mile and 3,000m).

In an interview with Athletics Ireland, Ciara said “That’s a huge positive before Rio.  I’m a bit disappointed with second place and I was hoping to go a little bit faster than 2:00.7, but it’s all there."  She added “There’s more to come. My disappointment is tinged with knowing I can go a little bit faster.”

There was also a podium for World and European Masters 800m Champion Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) at the event.  Kelly clocked 2:06.80 (2nd place) in the Ladies 800m 'A' race to finish just behind winner Amy O'Donoghue (Emerald AC), who won in 2:06.10 (1st place).

Full Results for the event are now available HERE.

Hughes, Worthington, Swann & Blair excel at Dalriada Festival event:

Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k 2016:

On Friday 22nd July 2016, nearly two hundred and fifty athletes turned out for the annual Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k races in the coastal village of Glenarm.  The well-organised event, which is part of a week-long festival attracted athletes from the length and breadth of the province, and beyond.

The 10k competitors were faced with a challenging but picturesque two lap route, while the 5k athlete completed one lap of the same course.  In humid conditions, the field set off uphill into Glenarm Forest and onwards towards the adjoining Castle Estate.

It wasn’t long before the officials received information from the course that the front runners were on their way out of Glenarm Castle Estate and towards the finishing straight, in the heart of the town.  

It was the Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers), leader of the 5k event, who appeared first – he covered the remaining yards quickly to take victory in 17:17 (1st place).  In a sprint finish, David Clarke (North Belfast Harriers) saw off Matthew Morrow (Ballymena Runners) for the runners up spot, with David clocking 18:00 (2nd place) and Matthew 18:01 (3rd place).

In the ladies 5k, Larne AC’s ever consistent Patricia Blair led the way, breaking the tape in 20:15 (1st place).  Arguably the most impressive performance of the evening came from the ladies runner up, young Bradie Hogg, a junior athlete with Larne based East Coast AC; the 11 year old recorded 21:14 for 2nd place, before Northern Ireland mountain running international Penny Lindsay (North Belfast Harriers) completed the top three in 21:37 (3rd place).

In the 10k race, it was a close affair at the head of the pack, with North Belfast Harriers’ James Brown and Acorns AC man Eoin Hughes battling it out all the way.  Nothing separated the pair until the final straight, when Eoin surged clear to seal the title and the unique hand-crafted medal (by The Steensons) in 36:12 (1st place); James followed just three seconds later in 36:15 (2nd place).  East Antrim Harriers’ David Turtle crossed the line in 36:52 (3rd place).

Ballymena Runners’ Judith Worthington stole the headlines in the ladies 10k race – the fast improving athletes looked in good shape as she claimed a well-deserved win in 48:09 (1st place).  The biggest cheer of the night came for Glenarm lady Vikki Mellon (Unattached), who completed the testing route in 49:03 for 2nd place.  North Belfast Harriers’ Lynn McCullough finished in 50:13 for 3rd place.

Podium Places:

5k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) – 17:17, 2nd David Clarke (North Belfast Harriers) – 18:00, 3rd Matthew Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 18:01

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Patricia Blair (Larne AC) – 20:15, 2nd Bradie Hogg (East Coast AC) – 21:14, 3rd Penny Lindsay (North Belfast Harriers) – 21:37

10k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Eoin Hughes (Acorns AC) – 36:12, 2nd James Brown (North Belfast Harriers) – 36:15, 3rd David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers) – 36:52

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Judith Worthington (Ballymena Runners) – 48:09, 2nd Vikki Mellon (Unattached) – 49:03, 3rd Lynn McCullough (North Belfast Harriers) – 50:13

Full Results:  Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k 2016 Results - Photos from the Dalriada 5k and 10k races will be added to our Photo Gallery in the coming days.

Weekend Preview:  Local athletes prepare for a busy weekend of action...

Weekend Preview:  Local athletes prepare for a busy weekend of action…

Another weekend brings another selection of quality fixtures for local athletes!  There will be three days of action this weekend, with the local highlights including the Dalriada 10k and 5k, the Kennedy Kane McArthur Dervock Half Marathon and 10k, the 26extreme Newry & Mourne Mini-Marathon (10k) and the Divis 10k all taking place.

Outside the province, local mountain runners will take on the Log Na Coille Mountain Race outside Dublin, the Morton Games in Santry, Dublin.  There will be further Northern Ireland representation south of the border at the GloHealth Juvenile Track & Field Championships at Tullamore and the Fingal 10k road race.

Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k:

The action kicks off tonight (Friday 22nd July 2016) at 6.30pm, when record numbers are expected to descend on the coastal village of Glenarm for the annual Dalriada Festival 5k and 10k races.  The popular and well organised event is part of a week-long community festival and offers participants a fairly challenging but scenic course around the village and through the grounds of picturesque Glenarm Castle.  Although online registration is now closed, entries will be available on the night.

Last year’s winner, Brian Campbell (Willowfield Harriers) is unlikely to return to defend his title, which means the unique hand crafted winner’s medal (by The Steensons) will go to a new recipient.  Given the location and the course, North Belfast Harriers’ Mark McKinstry could be tempted by this one – following a few weeks of relative rest, the Glenwherry man will be keen to get his racing shoes back on, and this event would prove the perfect opportunity.  Mark’s club mate, John Black (North Belfast Harriers), originally from Larne, was a second place finisher at this event in 2015 and although he hasn’t been racing of late, could well return.  David Clarke, James Brown, Kent Swann and Conor Shiels may well add to the North Belfast Harriers contingent.  

Ballymena Runners will also be well represented, and it could be home town hero Ben Morrow, the first Northern Ireland based finisher at the Belfast Marathon back in May 2016, who leads the way.  Ben claimed the runners up spot in the 5k here last year and should toe the line for one of the events.  Fellow Ballymena Runners athletes James Turtle, Noel Connor and Richard Agnew will also go well if they start, as will Glenarm man Wayne Morrow (Larne AC).  David Turtle (East Antrim Harriers), Stephen Nicholson (PACE Running Club) and Thomas Craig (Larne AC) will all finish well up the field.

In the ladies competition, regular participant at the event, Clare MacAuley (Ballyhouston Harriers), should play a major part in proceedings.  Clare, who is based in Scotland, has placed well here over the last few years and also at other races in Northern Ireland.  North Belfast Harriers trio Penny Lindsay, Janice Plumb and Carol Clarke should run well, while Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) will prove hard to beat if she decides to make use of the late entry system.  Ballymena Runners’ Geraldine Quigley, Ruth Murphy-Aiken and Paula McAllister will also challenge for overall and category prizes should they race.

Morton Games (Ireland):

Also on Friday 22nd July 2016, a number of Northern Ireland’s top track stars will be in action at the prestigious Morton Games, which will be held at the Morton Stadium in Santry, just outside Dublin (Ireland).  

Athletics Ireland produced the follow extensive preview for the event…

European 1500m bronze medallist Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) headlines Friday night’s Morton Games which promises another action packed night of athletics in Santry.

There are numerous events to look forward to on the night. The Women’s Mile brings as a late addition to the field is Katie Mackey (USA) who won the 2012 800 at the Meet, Mackey has since moved up in distance and only last weekend at the Monaco Diamond League ran a 3000 pb of 8:46.58. At the US trials she finished 6th in the 5000m.  In addition to that she has a 4:27.79 Mile best to her credit.  Also expected to be in the mix in the Mile are Heather Kampf (USA), Sammy Silva (USA) who is a protégé of Clonliffe’s Alistair Cragg and from Poland Monika Halasa.

The Morton Mile brings the sub 4 Men back for what is Ireland’s most prolific producer of the sub 4. The Irish challenge will be mounted by Paul Robinson (St. Cocas).  Another top international field in this event includes 2011 Morton Mile winner Jordan McNamara (USA), Kyle Merber (USA) who comes chasing a PB, Merber won the 2014 Cork City Sports Mile and last year was a key member of the US team that won IAAF world relay 4 x 1500m gold in the Bahamas.  Interestingly enough the Morton Mile features five finalists at the recent US Olympic trials.  Also competing on Friday will be, in his first visit to Santry, Jerry Motsau (RSV) who has a PB of 3.58.84, Craig Huffer (AUS) and Peter Callahan (BEL) – giving the race a true international flavour.  There are 11 sub 4 minute milers in the field.  British duo James West and Tom Marshall, who has done a sterling job in pacing the Morton Mile in both 2014 and 2015 both chase their first sub 4s tomorrow night.  It will be fitting, particularly in the case of Tom Marshall, if those sub 4s come in the Morton Mile.

Eagerly anticipated is the Women’s 800 where Ireland’s bronze medallist at the Europeans Ciara Mageean will face a stiff challenge with athletes of the calibre of the Australian champion Britany McGowan to face, top US athlete Claudia Saunders, Great Britain’s Alex Bell and in addition Ciara faces the challenge of the clock as she races towards the Irish record and that elusive sub 2 minutes. No Irish female athlete has gone sub 2 to date. Will July 22nd be that date?

The sprints action will be watched with huge interest. All of Ireland’s top female sprinters including Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Joan Healy (Bandon), Niamh Whelan (Ferrybank) and Catherine McManus (DCH) will line up. The overseas visitors are Stephanie Kalu of Nigeria and Jamaica’s Shimayra Williams.  The Men’s 100 features a number of Jamaican athletes who have PBs ranging from 10.10 to 10.21. The man to beat may be Joe Morris (USA) with a 10.15 or possibly Canada’s Bismark Boateng. The Irish challenge will be led by the Carlow Cheetah Marcus Lawler (SLOT).

The Men’s 400m will be split into two races such is the quality of athletes taking part. All of Ireland’s top 400m men including Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers) and David Gillick (DSD) will take part. World class opposition includes Rio bound Winston George (GUY), Terence Agard (NED) who competed in last week’s Europeans, the defending champion Jarryd Dunn (GBR), another athlete who competed in the Europeans in Amsterdam and Sadam Koumi (SUD).

Finally there is the 400 hurdles. Regrettably Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) sustained a slight injury midweek and in order to protect himself from further damage in the lead up to the Rio Olympics he has unfortunately had to withdraw from the Meet.  Thomas is extremely disappointed at missing Morton Games and extends his apologies.  The 400 hurdles will feature Jehue Gordon (TTO) the 2013 world champion on his return to Santry.  Also confirmed is Quincy Downing (USA), finalist in the US Olympic Trials, Cameron French (NZD), Nigeria’s Cristian Morton running in the Morton Stadium for the first time and a late addition to the field 2012 European champion and 5th place finisher in the European Championships a week or so ago Rhys Williams (GBR).

As a final taster the Men’s Pole Vault has two world class US athletes – Jake Blankenship (USA) the current NCAA champion with a PB of 5.80m and on this return to Morton Games Jeff Coover (USA). With these two athletes going head to head the stadium record of 5.56m looks in danger.

It will be an excellent night in Santry. Get there early. Tickets at the gate. Ground admission €10 with accompanied U/16 free (Ground only), please note that Stand tickets are €15 adults or children.   For the start lists and live results link click HERE. For the link to the live stream click HERE.

Kennedy Kane McArthur Half Marathon & 10k:

On Saturday 23rd July 2016, hundreds of athletes from across Northern Ireland (and beyond) will bring the County Antrim village of Dervock to a standstill as they take on the annual Kennedy Kane McArthur Dervock Half Marathon and 10k; the Half Marathon is part of the ongoing Pure Running-ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Series.

Foyle Valley AC man Chris McGuinness could well toe the line in the half marathon event.  After impressive wins at the Lifford 5k and Rathmullan 5k, where he clocked 15:36 and 15:20 respectively, it’s obvious that Chris is in good form; he’ll prove hard to beat should he race.  

Armagh AC’s Gary Henderson is a previous prize-winner here and could well return in the hope of bettering his second place finish in 2015,  East Antrim Harriers’ legend Sam Crawford is a regular at the race and should return, as will Mark Walker (Marathon Club Ireland), who took sixth place twelve months ago.  Rodney Agnew (Ballymena Runners) and Oliver Cook (PACE Running Club) will also place well.

The ladies half marathon will prove to be a close affair – North Belfast Harriers’ Louise Smith will start as favourite if she enters on the day, but behind, there will be an excellent battle for the remaining podium places.  Springwell Running Club’s Kerrie McIlmoyle should be there or there abouts, but will have to see off the always consistent Janice White (Unattached) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC).  Other ladies to look out for include Holly Hunniford (Ballydrain Harriers), Tanya Quinn (Sperrin Harriers), Elle Forrest (Ballymena Runners), Gillian Abraham (Unattached) and Gillian Logan (Orangegrove AC).

In the associated 10k race, Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) should return to defend his title, but may well be up against Matt Wray (Unattached) and Kevin O’Boyle (Unattached), both of whom are quality performers.  Kevin recently recorded 16:22 for 5k at the Ford 5k in Newcastle.  Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Pauline Thom will head the challenge for the ladies title, while Gemma McDonald (Springwell Running Club) and Caroline Irwin (Springwell Running Club) should contest podium places.

Log Na Coille Mountain Race (Ireland):

In Ireland on Saturday 23rd July 2016, several local mountain runners will take on the Log Na Coille Mountain Race outside Dublin.  The event, which measures 10.5k with approximately 720m of ascent, is part of the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA) Championship.

Following some impressive performances in the ongoing Championship, which included a win at the Mweelrea Mountain Race two weeks ago, a win here would be enough to secure the overall Championship title for Northern Ireland international and reigning Champion of the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, Diane Wilson (Dromore AC).  Other familiar faces who will be racing include Pete Grant (Newcastle AC), Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC), Eugene McCann (Newcastle AC) and Paulette Thomson (Newcastle AC).

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

Over the course of Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July 2016, a host of Northern Ireland’s top up and coming talent will be in competition at the GloHealth AAI National Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore, Ireland.

The summer season is in full swing and the championships promise to build on what was an exciting first day of the championship competition two weeks ago. The weather gods look more favourable as Ireland’s best juvenile athletes take to the track and field at the Tullamore Harriers stadium. Just some of the local athletes aiming for personal bests and podium places will be Aaron Sexton (North Down AC), Ryan Keenan (City of Lisburn AC), Rioghnach Catney (Beechmount Harriers), Daire McCartan (Beechmount Harriers), Laura Gardiner (East Down AC), Holly Brannigan (North Down AC), Anna McCauley (City of Lisburn AC), Rachel McCann (North Down AC), Daniel Dawson (Dromore AC) and Fintan Stewart (City of Derry AC).

For a live results link of Day 1 click HERE and for Day 2 click HERE. There will also be a live stream on Sunday (July 24th July 2016) with link to watch HERE.

26extreme Newry & Mourne Women’s Mini-Marathon:

On Sunday 24th July 2016, the 26extreme organised Newry and Mourne Women’s Mini-Marathon will attract close to five hundred athletes to the Mourne Mountains, in the area of Rostrevor (County Down).  The 10k race will start at Leitrim Lodge and follow the scenic trails towards the finish area in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor. 

It is expected that this ladies only event will bring athletes from the length and breadth of Northern Ireland.  Previous winner, Eileen Stevenson (St Peter’s AC), will more than likely play a part at the front of the pack – as could the always impressive Niamh O’Connell (Murlough AC) and Patricia Brown (Newry City Runners).  

However, the lady to watch out for, if she races, is Mourne Way Half Marathon Champion Karen Alexander (Acorns AC).  Karen is exceptional over this terrain, and she proved that not only at the recent Mourne Way HM but also in Font Romeu a few weeks ago, where she claimed a podium place against top quality opposition.  Cara Hamilton (North Down AC) and Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) could also be amongst the top finishers.

Divis 10k Trail Race:

On Sunday 24th July 2016, Action on Hearing Loss NI will host the 4th annual running of their Divis 10k trail race in Belfast.  This race has proved popular with participants in its first three years and should become even more attractive given that its scenic route was revised two years ago to include the newly opened Ridge Trail, which offers even more stunning views across the city and a good running surface.

Aaron Woodman (PACE Running Club), a podium finisher at the Portaferry 10 mile road race this week, could well be in the mix here.  Aaron took third place at this race twelve months ago but has improved significantly since then, meaning that he is more than capable of bettering that this time around.  Previous winner, Brendan Grew (North Belfast Harriers), may also return, while Ballymena Runners athlete Conor Reid and East Antrim Harriers man Chris Collins could both feature.  In the ladies race, Newcastle AC’s Mari Troeng may play a part, as could Claire Donnelly (Unattached), Sharon Dickson (Orangegrove AC) and Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC).

Fingal 10k (Ireland):

Also on Sunday 24th July 2016, a number of Northern Ireland based athletes will travel to the Fingal 10k road race just outside Dublin.  The event, which is part of the ongoing Dublin Marathon Series, attracts a top quality field year on year and this year will be no different.

Mourne Runners star Laura Graham will take to the start line as she begins her journey towards the Dublin Marathon at the end of October (2016).  Judging by her impressive new 5k personal best of 16:41 at the Ford 5k two weeks ago, the Kilkeel based athlete should place well.  North Belfast Harriers’ Cathy McCourt may also toe the line as she continues to work her way back to full fitness.


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

Eddie Cooke and Jodi Smith secure Portaferry 10 mile road race titles:

Portaferry 10 mile road race 2016:

On Tuesday 19th July 2016, over three hundred athletes descended on the sun-soaked County Down town of Portaferry for the annual Portaferry 10 mile road race (and 2 x 5 mile Relay), which is part of a week-long Gala in the town.  

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

There was an impressive return to competition for North Belfast Harriers athlete Eddie Cooke. Following on from his 33:30 outing at the Dunshaughlin 10k last month, which was only his fourth race of 2016, Eddie recorded 56:39 (1st place) to lead the field home.  

The talented pairing of Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) claimed second spot overall and 1st place in the 2 x 5 mile Relay in 57:11, before Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers),a podium finisher here last year, clocked 57:19 for 2nd place.  This was after a close contest with Aaron Woodman (PACE Running Club) and Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – Incidentally, it was Aaron who claimed the final podium place, just three seconds later in 57:22 (3rd place).

A team from County Antrim Harriers (2nd place – 1:06:07) and Ballydrain Harriers’ Ryan Andrews and Ashley Orr (3rd place – 1:06:09) completed the top three relay finishers, with a mere two seconds splitting them.  In a relatively close ladies race, North Down AC’s Jodi Smith secured a well-deserved victory in 1:07:07 (1st place).  Newcastle AC club mates Sinead Murtagh and Mari Troeng, two ladies who have enjoyed several excellent battles recently, followed closely – Sinead clocked 1:07:38 for 2nd place with Mari crossing the line in 1:07:58 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Eddie Cooke (North Belfast Harriers) – 56:39, 2nd Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 57:19, 3rd Aaron Woodman (PACE Running Club) – 57:22

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jodi Smith (North Down AC) – 1:07:07, 2nd Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) – 1:07:38, 3rd Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) – 1:07:58

Top 3 Relay Teams:  1st Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) & Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) – 57:11, 2nd County Antrim Harriers – 1:06:07, 3rd Ryan Andrews & Ashley Orr – 1:06:09

Full Results:  Portaferry 10 mile Road Race 2016 Results

Aisling Allum secures podium place as local athletes impress outside NI:

Aisling Allum secures podium place as local runners impress outside Northern Ireland:

Over the course of Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July 2016, local runners not only impressed on home soil, but like many weekends, a number travelled outside Northern Ireland to participate in major events further afield.

Scotland based Aisling Allum (Carnethy HRC), usually better known for her consistent performances off-road, showed that she is getting back to full fitness after a shoulder injury, with an impressive outing at the Dundee Half Marathon.  The Belfast lady secured a podium spot, taking 2nd place in 1:32:41.  The ladies race was won by Charlotte Finch (Club Unknown) in 1:29:51 (1st place).

Meanwhile, in Switzerland, Orangegrove AC athletes Thomas Leitch and Liz Leitch were amongst thousands of competitors who took on the 4th annual running of the Eiger Ultra-Trail Events.  The Eiger and its North Face are synonymous with runners and mountaineers all over the world, which has ensured the field stacked with talent.

Thomas completed the 51k race which included a gruelling 3,100m of ascent, while Liz negotiated the 16k event, which incorporated 960m of ascent.  Thomas recorded an excellent 6:53:46, which saw him finish in 28th place - Liz covered the 16k route in 2:08:53, which was enough to secure 53rd place in the ladies race.

In the French Alps, Ballymena Runners athlete Mark Alexander was in action at the tough Montee du Nid d'Aigle Trail Race, which covers a 20k uphill only course on the lower slopes of Mont Blanc.  In total, athletes climbed 2,000m over the 12.4 mile course - Mark crossed the line in 2:55:32 for a very credible 146th place.

Looking further back...

Also, last weekend (Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th July 2016), local mountain runners claimed prizes at events in Ireland.  Due to the delay in obtaining full results, these achievements have only come to light.  At the Mweelrea Mountain Race, which was included in both the Connaught Championships and Irish Mountain Running Championships, local hero Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) covered the tough 10.7k course, incorporating 766m of ascent, in 58:49.  This was enough to see Diane claim 1st place in the ladies race and 6th place overall.  Newcastle AC's Paulette Thomson also ran well, taking 2nd place in 1:15:06.

Just 24 hours later, both Diane and Paulette were back on the podium once again, this time at the Croagh Patrick Mountain Race.  However, the first familiar face to negotiate the 7k course (incorporating 826m of ascent) was Newcastle AC's David Hicks.  David took 3rd place in the men's race, crossing the line in 58:12.  Diane then followed in 1:06:58 (1st place lady) and Paulette in 1:21:17 (3rd place lady).

Christine McMahon records new personal best in Holland:

Christine McMahon clocks new personal best in Holland:

On Saturday 16th July 2016, Northern Ireland lady Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) produced an inspiring performance at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Holland. 

Christine bettered the 400 hurdles Rio Olympic standard with a personal best of 56.06secs to secure 2nd place behind Australian athlete Lauren Wells (1st place - 55.69secs).  Unfortunately, this may be better sweet for the talented athlete with the deadline for reaching the standard set at 11th July 2016, just five days ago!

Athletics Ireland referred to the IAAF deadline and wished Christine all the best on their social media account, "Unfortunately the IAAF qualification deadline has passed but a superb effort nonetheless. London 2017 awaits. Well done Christine."

However, hopefully this may not be the last we hear about the situation, as something similar happened back in 2004 - Irish hero Maria McCambridge recorded a 5,000m qualifying time after the deadline; ironically, it was at the very same meeting in Holland.  After an appeal to the OCI President at the time, Maria was later included in the Ireland team.

Northern Ireland based athletes perform well at Snowdon International:

Northern Ireland athletes perform well at Snowdon International:

On Saturday 16th July 2016, a strong Northern Ireland squad joined a plethora of talent from around the world as they took on the prestigious Snowdon International Mountain Race in Wales.  The extremely challenging route saw competitors cover approximately 10 miles, with 1,085 metres of ascent.

Northern Ireland based athletes also featured prominently in the Ireland team, who also performed well.  Newcastle AC athlete Zak Hanna (Northern Ireland) was the first familiar face to cross the finish line, clocking an impressive 1:11:00 for 14th place.  Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC & Ireland) followed in 1:12:00 (17th place), with William McKee (Mourne Runners & Northern Ireland) clocking 1:12:54 for 19th place. 

North Belfast Harriers’ Andrew Annett (Ireland) negotiated the course in 1:14:55 (21st place), while the ever improving Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC & Northern Ireland) took 30th place in 1:16:52.  Newcastle AC men David Hicks (Northern Ireland) and Collum Campbell (Northern Ireland) also ran well, with David finishing in 1:19:19 (36th place) and Collum 1:22:07 (53rd place).  The men’s race was won by England’s Chris Smith in 1:05:47 (1st place).

Diane Wilson (Dromore AC & Northern Ireland) led the local ladies home in 1:29:37 (12th place), with Shileen O'Kane (Lagan Valley AC & Northern Ireland) following just over three minutes later in 1:32:39 (16th place).  Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) had an excellent race, taking 33rd place in 1:44:08.  Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC & Northern Ireland) recorded 1:45:30 for 35th place and was followed across the line less than thirty seconds later by Paulette Thomson (Newcastle AC & Northern Ireland), who ran 1:45:54 for 36th place.  The ladies race was won by Ireland’s Sarah Mulligan in 1:20:51 (1st place).

Full Results:  Snowdon International Mountain Race 2016 Results

Danny McLaughlin and Amy Bulman win Born 2 Run's Sea 2 Sky 10k:

Born 2 Run ‘Sea 2 Sky’ 10k 2016:

On Friday 15th July 2016, over eight hundred athletes descended on the County Down town of Newcastle for Born 2 Run’s Sea 2 Sky 10k multi-terrain race.  The 5th annual running of the event was started by Rio Olympics bound Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC).

Athletes started on the picturesque promenade in Newcastle before covering a mixture of road, trail and single track as they headed upwards towards the foothills of the Mourne Mountains. After climbing gradually to the 5k mark, athletes were rewarded with stunning views over Newcastle and beyond before descending to finish on the award winning promenade.

Last year’s winners David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners), did not start, which meant that two new Champions were crowned.  The men’s race brought an excellent battle between St Malachy’s AC athlete Danny McLaughlin and one of our pre-race favourites, Neill Weir of Willowfield Harriers.  In the end, it was Danny who edged, with a mere four seconds splitting the pair.  Danny broke the tape in 36:16 (1st place), with Neill following in 36:20 (2nd place). Gerard Heaney (St Peter’s AC) completed the top three just over a minute later in 37:22 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, Amy Bulman (Unattached) again proved herself as one of the provinces emerging talents with an excellent display of front running. Amy, a podium finisher at the recent Comber 10k and winner of the Active Antrim 5 mile race, recorded 42:28 for 1st place.  Previous winner of the event, Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers), took 2nd place in 43:02, before last year’s runner up Mari Troeng completed the course in 43:15 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Danny McLaughlin (St Malachy’s AC) – 36:16, 2nd Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) – 36:20, 3rd Gerard Heaney (St Peter’s AC) – 37:22

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Amy Bulman (Unattached) – 42:28, 2nd Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) – 43:02, 3rd Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) – 43:15

Full Results:  Born 2 Run Sea 2 Sky 10k 2016 Results

Weekend Preview:  Born 2 Run's Sea 2 Sky 10k takes centre stage...

Weekend Preview:  Born 2 Run’s Sea 2 Sky 10k takes centre stage…

So far, this summer season has brought a relentless stream of quality fixtures for our local running community to enjoy – this week is no different. Although a glance at the official Athletics NI calendar will show just two events in Northern Ireland, these races, Born 2 Run’s Sea 2 Sky 10k and Round 2 of the Athletics Ireland National League, will attract nearly one thousand competitors.  Local runners will also be in action outside the province, with familiar faces set to compete in Georgia and Switzerland.

Born 2 Run ‘Sea 2 Sky’ 10k:

Locally, the mean event of the weekend is Born 2 Run’s Sea 2 Sky 10k, which will take place tonight (Friday 15th July 2016) in Newcastle, County Down. Although online entries are now closed, on the night entry will be available at Newcastle Leisure Centre on Central Promenade, Newcastle.

The 5th annual running of the event, which will be started by Rio Olympics bound Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC), will again see competitors start on the picturesque promenade in Newcastle – they will cover a mixture of road, trail and single track as they head upwards towards the foothills of the Mourne Mountains.  After climbing gradually to the 5k mark, athletes will be rewarded with stunning views over Newcastle and beyond before descending to finish on the award winning promenade.

Reigning Champion David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) should return to defend the title he won so impressively last year.  The Newcastle AC man, who cruised to victory at the Shore 10k through this week, clocked 35:07 to win here in 2015.  By our records, that is the second quickest time ever on the route – Brendan Teer (East Down AC) ran 34:32 in 2014, which is the quickest – David claimed the runners up spot that year.  He also took second place in 2013, behind Newry City Runners’ Don Travers. 

Given David’s recent form, he’ll prove hard to beat.  However, Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers), the man who finished forty seconds behind him last year, will return and will put on his usual quality display.  Another Newcastle AC man, Zak Hanna, has been in superb form over all terrain this year and will perform well should he make use of the on the night entry system.

Martin Melville (Newcastle AC), a podium finisher here in 2015, will also take to the start line, and after his 16:32 for sixth place at the Ford 5k in Newcastle last week, Martin will be high in confidence going into this race.  Young Scott McKeag (Ballydrain Harriers) represented Northern Ireland at the prestigious 11th International Mountain Running Youth Cup in Janske Lazne, Czech Republic, last month, where he claimed a very respectable thirty ninth place – that will stand the up and coming star in good stead for this race!

Jack O’Hare (Newcastle AC) was a top ten finisher here last year and will compete again, as will Orangegrove AC’s Paul Tyro, who has been a consistently high finisher here over the years.  Patrick Higgins (Newcastle AC) and John Kelly (Newcastle AC) will be worth watching, while former NI & Ulster 10,000m Champion Stephen Morris (City of Lisburn AC) and Slieve Gullion Runners man Joe McKevitt should also feature at the head of the pack.

In the ladies race, Mourne Runners star and 2015 winner Laura Graham will miss out – this leaves the proverbial door open for a new Champion.  In the running will be Newcastle AC lady Mari Troeng, who finished behind Laura in second place last year.  

Mari took third place at the Ford 5k last week, where she covered the flat and fast course in 19:23.  Claire Donnelly (Unattached) was a podium finisher at this event back in 2013 and after suffering from injury over the last few years, the classy athlete has returned to form this summer, with impressive performances at the Fairhill 5 and more recently at the final race of the East Antrim Harriers Forest Trail Series, where she led the field home.

Lyndsey Tyro (Orangegrove AC) narrowly missed a podium place here last year, and did pick up a prize in 2014 – the ever improving Orangegrove AC athlete should feature in the top three this time around.  The same could also be said for previous winner, Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers), who picked up the top prize in 2014.  Sarah-Jane Guiney (Albertville Harriers) will also be there or there abouts, while Gillian Cordner (Seapark AC), Zara Baird (St Peter’s AC) and Tracey Atkinson (Albertville Harriers) all have the potential to secure top ten places – Springwell Running Club’s Catherine Pinkerton and Newry Running Club’s Attracta Magennis have the potential to be in the mix as well.

Athletics Ireland National League – Round 2:

On Sunday 17th July 2016, Athletics NI will welcome clubs from Northern Ireland and Ireland to the Mary Peters Track in Belfast for Round 2 of the Athletics Ireland National League.  There will also be a National League fixture in Cork (Ireland) on the same day.

City of Derry AC, North Down AC, Lagan Valley AC and a County Antrim Select team will face a tough line-up of clubs in Belfast, this will include Donegal’s Finn Valley AC and a trio of top Dublin clubs, namely:  DSD AC, Raheny Shamrock AC and Clonliffe Harriers.  

A list of teams competing at each venue can be found HERE, while a timetable can be located HERE.

European Youth Athletics Championships (Tbilisi, Georgia):

The weekend will also see the continuation of the ongoing European Youth Athletics Championships in Tbilisi (Georgia), where local athletes have already been in action from Wednesday 13th July to Sunday 17th July 2016. 

North Down AC's Craig McMeechan clocked an impressive 8:37.46 to take 10th place in the 3,000m yesterday (Thursday 14th July 2016).  Kate O'Connor (St. Vincent's Dundalk) also kicked off her Heptathlon campaign with a 25.59secs personal best over 200m.  North Down AC’s Aaron Sexton will be in competition in the coming days.  Information and LIVE results from the event are available HERE.

Eiger Trail Race (Switzerland):

Outside the province on Saturday 16th July 2016, local Orangegrove AC athletes Thomas Leitch and Liz Leitch will be amongst thousands of competitors who take on the Eiger Ultra-Trail events in Switzerland.  

The Eiger and its North Face is synonymous with runners and mountaineers all over the world, which has ensured a field stacked with talented will take to the start line.  Thomas will take on the 51k (inc 3,100m of ascent), while Liz will complete the 16k (inc 960m of ascent) event.


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

Local athletes included in Athletics Ireland Rio Olympics squad:

Local athletes included in Athletics Ireland’s Rio Olympics squad (by Athletics NI):

European 1,500 metres bronze medallist Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) heads a list of seven Ulster based athletes who have been included in a seventeen strong squad named by Athletics Ireland who will be participating in the Rio Olympics in a month's time (August 2016).  This is the easily the largest number of local participants to compete in track and field at an Olympic Games.

The Ulster total comprises Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) - 1,500 metres, Mark English (UCD AC) - 800 metres, Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) - Marathon, Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC) – Marathon, Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers) - Marathon, Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle AC) - Steeplechase and Tori Pena (Finn Valley AC) - Pole Vault.

The selection of these seven was expected and follows the participation of five of them in last week's European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam where they all proved their current fitness for the greater challenges in Rio.  

The main star was of course Portaferry's Ciara Mageean who became the first ever athlete from Northern Ireland to medal in the European Senior Championships.  Her 1,500 metres race was a typical Championship burn up in the last 600 metres where Ciara's tactics close to the meant that she was able to stay out of trouble.   The 24 year old covered the final 400 metres in under 60 seconds which bodes well for Rio where her current peak form could well translate into a place in the final where the might of Africa will be keen to take advantage of the absence of Russian athletes.

The selection of Paul Pollock and Kevin Seaward for the marathon follows excellent runs at the weekend in the European Half Marathon where they finished 17th and 34th place respectively. (The 3rd Irish marathon representative in Rio is Mick Clohisey who was 32nd in Amsterdam).  While Kevin Seaward is currently the fastest Irish marathon runner with a time of 2:14.52, fellow NI man Paul Pollock was the fourth fastest and some twenty four seconds slower than Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe.  Sergiu has appealed his omission from Rio to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.  However Paul was almost three minutes ahead of Sergiu in Amsterdam. The Holywood man is confident his selection will be upheld at the Court hearing next week.  

Breege Connolly from North Belfast has been picked on the basis of her London Marathon time from last year of 2:37.29.  Steeplechaser Kerry O'Flaherty ran her second fastest ever steeplechase time in Amsterdam of 9:45.83 and is one of a trio of Irish girls competing in Rio.  The seven are completed by Finn Valley AC’s  Tori Pena who has a Pole Vault PB of 4.60 metres and European 800 metres medallist Mark English who is returning from injury and has a time of 1.44.84 to his credit.

The remainder of the Irish team is:  Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) - 400 metres hurdles, Ciara Everard (UCD AC) - 800 metres, Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole AC) - 10,000 metres and Marathon, Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock AC) – Marathon, Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC) – Marathon, Michelle Finn (Leevale AC) – Steeplechase, Sarah Treacy (Dunboyne AC) – Steeplechase, Rob Heffernan (Togher AC) – 50k Walk, Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny AC) – 50k Walk and Alex Wright (Leevale AC) – 50k/20k Walk.

Note:  Above story courtesy of Athletics Northern Ireland.

Chris McGuinness and Claire McGuigan win Lifford 5k road race:

Lifford 5k Road Race 2016:

On Wednesday 13th July 2016, nearly three hundred athletes took to the start line of the Lifford 5k road race in County Donegal, Ireland.  The popular event, hosted by Lifford-Strabane AC, has proved a successful hunting ground for Northern Ireland based athletes in the past, and this year was no different.

Foyle Valley AC’s Chris McGuinness followed on from his impressive win at the Rathmullan 5k at the weekend with another quality outing.  In what was a close encounter, Chris led the field home in 15:36 (1st place) and was followed closely by City of Derry AC’s Gary Slevin and Acorns AC man Darrell McKee.  Gary recorded 15:40 for 2nd place, while Darrell ran 15:44 for 3rd place.

There was further local success in the ladies race, with Strabane based athlete Claire McGuigan (Lifford-Strabane AC) breaking the tape in 18:12 (1st place).  Foyle Valley AC’s Martina McMullan crossed the line in 18:40 for 2nd place, with Letterkenny AC’s Noeleen Scanlan taking 3rd place in 19:02.

Full Results:  Lifford 5k Road Race 2016 Results

Stephen O'Gorman and Rebecca Henderson lead the way at Victoria Park 5k:

NI Duathlon host Victoria Park 5k:

On Tuesday 12th July 2016, nearly one hundred athletes descended on Victoria Park in Belfast for the inaugural running of the Victoria Park 5k, hosted by well-respected event organisers NI Duathlon.

The fast and flat three lap course started and finishes at the famous Sam Thompson Bridge.  At the head of the pack, nothing separated Stephen O’Gorman (Dromore AC) and Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) in the early stages, but as the race progressed Stephen edged clear before sealing victory in 16:17 (1st place).  Kent clocked 16:25 for 2nd place before John Nicholson (PACE Running Club) crossed the line in 17:48 for 3rd place.

Dromore AC’s Rebecca Henderson was the star of the show in the ladies race.  The Northern Ireland international cross country runner led from gun to tape, sealing top spot in 18:08 (1st place).  North Belfast Harriers’ Roisin Hughes showed that she is back to her best with an 18:49 clocking for 2nd place, while club mate Cathy McCourt followed in 18:57 for 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Stephen O’Gorman (Dromore AC) – 16:17, 2nd Kent Swann (North Belfast Harriers) – 16:25, 3rd John Nicholson (PACE Running Club) – 17:48

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Rebecca Henderson (Dromore AC) – 18:08, 2nd Roisin Hughes (North Belfast Harriers) – 18:49, 3rd Cathy McCourt (North Belfast Harriers) – 18:57

Full Results:  Victoria Park 5k 2016 Results

David O'Flaherty and Joanne Mills ease to victory at Shore 10k:

Nearly one hundred athletes turn out for atmospheric Shore 10k:

On Monday 11th July 2016, nearly one hundred athletes turned out for the annual Shore 10k in Killough, County Down.  The well organised and atmospheric event brought the public of Killough onto the streets to support the athletes as they negotiated the scenic 6.2 mile course.

Newcastle AC’s David O’Flaherty, runner up at the recent Ford 5k, put in a dominant performance in what was ultimately a time-trial.  On his own for the entire race, David ran well to secure a comprehensive victory in 33:41 (1st place).  In an excellent battle for the runners up spot, East Down AC’s Ciaran Denvir beat Orangegrove AC man Paul Tyro by just two seconds, with Ciaran running 38:12 (2nd place) and Paul 38:14 (3rd place).

The ladies race brought another convincing victory; Joanne Mills (Newcastle AC) finished just behind the aforementioned Ciaran and Paul to take the title in 38:22 (1st place).  Niamh Kellett (Murlough AC) was the next athlete home in 40:42 (2nd place), while Dromore AC’s Susan Smyth completed the top three ladies in 41:04 (3rd place).  Overall, the ladies ran well, with five female finishers in the top ten.

Top 3 Men:  1st David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 33:41, 2nd Ciaran Denvir (East Down AC) – 38:12, 3rd Paul Tyro (Orangegrove AC) – 38:14

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Joanne Mills (Newcastle AC) – 38:22, 2nd Niamh Kellett (Murlough AC) – 40:42, 3rd Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) – 41:04

Full Results:  Shore 10k 2016 Results

Record turn-out of over 500 enjoy 3rd annual Great Rossa Run events:

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

On Sunday 10th July 2016, a record number of over five hundred athletes from across the province descended on the County Tyrone village of Ardboe for the 3rd annual running of the Great Rossa Run 5k, 10k and 13.1 mile road races. 

This race has built a strong reputation for itself over the last few years, with its quality courses and excellent hospitality often mentioned by those who participate.  The changeable weather conditions took nothing away from a day of exciting action.

In the Half Marathon event, there was an interesting battle between Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers), Rory Hopkins (Runfree) and Don Travers (Newry City Runners).  In the end, it was Pierce who came out on top, sealing victory in 1:16:20 (1st place).  Rory followed in 1:16:43 (2nd place), before Don completed the top three in 1:17:15 (3rd place).

Lagan Valley AC’s always impressive Suzanne Higgins (pictured left) picked up the top prize in the ladies 13.1 mile event, after running 1:33:04 (1st place).  Sperrin Harriers’ Tanya Quinn clocked 1:37:58 for 2nd place, while Charlene Abraham (Unattached) ran 1:40:51 for 3rd place.

In the 10k race, there was a big step up in performance by St Peter’s AC hot-prospect Gerard Heaney.  Gerard recorded a new personal best of 33:36 (1st place) to lead the field home.  Sperrin Harriers’ Gavin Corey crossed the line in 35:18 (2nd place) and was followed exactly thirty seconds later by Carmen Runners athlete Vincent McAllister (3rd place – 35:48).

Helena Quinn (Termoneeny RC) was the most impressive athlete in the ladies 10k, breaking the tape in 41:45 for 1st place.  Acorns AC duo Sandra McKeown and Leanne Sands then completed the ladies 10k podium in 43:29 (2nd place) and 45:21 (3rd place) respectively.

The 5k race attracted well over one hundred and fifty competitors and it was Acorns AC man Darrell McKee who topped the final standings.  Darrell played a prominent part at the front throughout, cruising to victory in 16:37 (1st place).  East Down AC pair Barrie Atkinson and Daniel Atkinson completed the prize-winners, with Barrie running 17:06 for 2nd place and young Daniel 18:22 for 3rd place.

The always improving Emma Rice (Sperrin Harriers) enjoyed a comfortable win in the ladies 5k, taking the title in 21:36 (1st place).  In an excellent battle for the runners up prize, Meadow McCauley (St Peter’s AC), who won the Ballyhegan 5k on Friday night (8th July 2016), edged out Acorns AC’s Evelyn Morgan.  Meadow recorded 23:27 (2nd place), with Evelyn following in 23:33 (3rd place).

Podium Places:

Half Marathon:

Top 3 Men:  1st Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:16:20, 2nd Rory Hopkins (Runfree) – 1:16:43, 3rd Don Travers (Newry City Runners) – 1:17:15

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:33:04, 2nd Tanya Quinn (Sperrin Harriers) – 1:37:58, 3rd Charlene Abraham (Unattached) – 1:40:51

10k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Gerard Heaney (St Peter’s AC) – 33:36, 2nd Gavin Corey (Sperrin Harriers) – 35:18, 3rd Vincent McAllister (Carmen Runners) – 35:48

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Helena Quinn (Termoneeny RC) – 41:45, 2nd Sandra McKeown (Acorns AC) – 43:29, 3rd Leanne Sands (Acorns AC) – 45:21

5k Race:

Top 3 Men:  1st Darrell McKee (Acorns AC) – 16:37, 2nd Barrie Atkinson (East Down AC) – 17:06, 3rd Daniel Atkinson (East Down AC) – 18:22

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Emma Rice (Sperrin Harriers) – 21:23, 2nd Meadow McCauley (St Peter’s AC) – 23:27, 3rd Evelyn Morgan (Acorns AC) – 23:33

Full Results:  Great Rossa Run 2016 Results

Rathmullan 5k Road Race (Ireland):

Elsewhere this weekend, Northern Ireland based athletes picked up prizes at the Rathmullan 5k road race in County Donegal (Ireland) on Friday 8th July 2016.  Foyle Valley AC’s Chris McGuinness was in good form as he led the field home in 15:20 (1st place).  City of Derry AC’s Declan Reed clocked 15:24 for 2nd place.

In the ladies race, won by Letterkenny AC’s Fionnuala Diver in 17:45, there was also local representation on the podium.  City of Derry AC’s Northern Ireland XC international Jackie McMonagle battled to the line to take 2nd place in 19:05.

Full Results:  Rathmullan 5k Road Race 2016 Results

Ciara Mageean secures Euro Championships bronze medal in Holland:

Update from European Athletics Championships 2016:

On the afternoon of Sunday 10th July 2016, Northern Ireland’s Ciara Mageean deservedly stole the headlines as local runners performed well whilst representing Ireland at the European Athletics Championships in Holland.

The Portaferry lady secured a bronze medal over 1500m.  The race started slowly and only really began with 600m remaining.  Ciara found herself blocked by athletes several times but as she moved towards the final straight, the UCD AC athlete moved out around her competitors and surged for the finish line – in the remaining yards, Ciara caught and passed Norway’s Ingvill Makestad to take 3rd place in 4:33.78; this was a mere 0.02 of a second off runner up Sifan Hassan (Holland), who ran 4:33.76 (2nd place).  The race was won by Poland’s Angelika Cichoka in 4:33.00 (1st place).

Newcastle AC’s Kerry O’Flaherty also enjoyed an excellent run in the 3,000m Steeplechase – the Northern Ireland Steeplechase record holder was one of three Irish ladies in the final and left nothing behind as she battled right to the end to take 12th place in 9:45.88!  Michelle Finn was the first of the Irish trio home in a new personal best of 9:43.19 (7th place).  The race was won by German favourite Gesa Krause in 9:18.85 (1st place).

Please visit the Athletics Ireland website HERE for a full round-up on the performances of the entire Ireland team.  Live results from the European Athletics Championships can be located HERE.  Photo above by Athletics Ireland.

Local athletes continue to impress at European Athletics Championships:

Update from European Athletics Championships 2016:

On the morning of Sunday 10th July 2016, Northern Ireland was well represented on the roads of Amsterdam (Holland) as Europe’s elite took on the European Athletics Championships Half Marathon event.

Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC), Gary Murray (Clonliffe Harriers) and Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) were all part of a strong Ireland team who took to the 13.1 mile course.

Despite the hot and humid conditions, the local athletes and their Irish team mates produced excellent performances, none more so than Paul Pollock – Paul, who led the Irish team through 10k in 30:17, worked his way through the field well to secure an impressive 17th place overall after running 1:04:58 for the distance. Fellow Northern Ireland man Kevin Seaward recorded 1:06:20 for 34th place.  This alongside Mick Clohisey’s 1:06:00 (32nd place) saw the Ireland team take 7th place in the team standings.  Unfortunately, Gary Murray was forced to withdraw from the race.

In the ladies race, North Belfast Harriers’ Gladys Ganiel O’Neill ran well in the tough conditions.  The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games star ran a consistent race, moving up the rankings to eventually take 71st place in 1:18:06.  Claire McCarthy was the leading Irish lady in 1:16:02 (48th place).

On the track… update from Saturday 9th July 2016 Evening Session:

Local athletes were also in action at the European Athletics Championships during the evening session last night (Saturday 9th July 2016).  Northern Ireland's Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) secured 5th place in 400mH semi-final after running 56.87secs.  An excellent run and a mere 0.67secs away from Olympic standard but not enough to go through to final!

Ireland's 4x100m relay team, which included two NI men (Jason Smyth and Jonathan Browning) clocked a season's best of 39.52secs to finish 8th place!  Unfortunately this was not enough to make it through to the final - great run though!

Coming up… Sunday 10th July 2016 Evening Session:

This evening (Sunday 10th July 2016) is a busy night for the Ireland team – from a local perspective, we’ll be looking out for Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) in the 3,000m Steeplechase final at 4.15pm and Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) in the 1500m final at 4.55pm.

Please visit the Athletics Ireland website HERE for a full round-up on the performances of the entire Ireland team. A timetable of events for the Ireland team can also be found HERE.  Live results from the European Athletics Championships can be located HERE.  Photo above by Athletics Ireland.

Northern Ireland well represented at BMC Solihull Grand Prix:

BMC Solihull Grand Prix 2016:

On Saturday 9th July 2016, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland travelled to Birmingham (England) for the latest British Milers Club (BMC) event, the Solihull Grand Prix.

In truth, the headlines were rightly taken by 800m specialists Alexandra Bell (Pudsey & Bramley AC) and Ireland’s Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner (DSD AC) after they battled it out for top spot in the 800m ‘A’ race, recording 2:01.29 (1st place) and 2:01.98 (2nd place) respectively; this saw Alexandra, who competed at the Belfast International this Summer, hit the Rio Olympic standard for a second time!

However, from a local perspective, it was Conor Duffy’s performance in the 5,000m ‘A’ race which drew the plaudits.  The Glaslough Harriers man clocked a new personal best of 14:27.54 as he claimed 2nd place behind England’s Shaun Antell (1st place – 14:21.73).  City of Lisburn AC’s Chris Madden ran well in the 5,000m ‘C’ event, clocking 15:12.13 for 9th place.

The fastest man over 800m on the night was Shaftesbury Barnet AC’s Kyle Langford (1:48.53), but Northern Ireland’s 18 year old rising star Callum Crawford-Walker (Annadale Striders) ran 1:53.75 for 6th place in the ‘D’ race.  Conall Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) crossed the line in 2:02.71 (10th place) in the same race.

The 1500m races proved popular on the night and it was Swedish athlete Emil Danielsson who recorded the fastest men’s time of 3:45.42 (1st place). Australian Zoe Buckman was the quickest lady over 1500m, running 4:13.26 (1st place).  Kelly Neely lined up against the aforementioned Zoe and put in another strong performance, breaking the beam in 4:23.68 for 6th place in what was a quality field.

In the ladies ‘B’ race, Katie Kirk (QUB AC) showed some good form to take 3rd place in 4:26.17 – North Down AC’s Rachel Gibson followed in 4:29.37 (6th place).  Fellow North Down AC athlete, Jessica Craig, took to the start line in the 1500m ‘C’ race, where she ran 4:40.26 for 5th place.  The best of the men’s performances over 1500m came from Willowfield Harriers’ Andrew Wright; Andrew clocked 3:50.69 for 6th place in the ‘B’ race.  A season’s best followed for North Down AC’s Michael Dyer, who crossed the line in 3:52.28 (4th place), in the ‘D’ race, while Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) celebrated a personal best of 3:55.26 in the ‘E’ race.  Ballymena Runners star James Hamilton took to the start line of the ‘G’ race, and completed the distance in 4:07.69 (13th place).

Full Results:  BMC Solihill Grand Prix 2016 Results

Andrew Monaghan and Laura Graham win inaugural Ford 5k road race:

Quality field battle it out for inaugural Ford 5k road race:

On Saturday 9th July 2016, nearly one hundred athletes descended on Bryansford GAC, an excellent venue in the shadows of the picturesque Mourne Mountains in Newcastle, County Down, for the inaugural running of the Ford 5k road race.  

In blustery conditions, the quality field set off on flat and fast 5k route incorporating the atmospheric Newcastle Main Street, before finishing on the pitch back at Bryansford GAC.  

Almost immediately, a group of four athlete – Andrew Monaghan (Lagan Valley AC), Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and William McKee (Mourne Runners), took up position at the head of the field.  Behind, Marty Melville (Newcastle AC), Kevin O’Boyle (Unattached) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) started well.  Newcastle AC duo Sinead Murtagh and Mari Troeng chased the aforementioned Laura in the ladies race.

The gathered spectators gathered on the pitch-side stands, and it wasn’t long before the leading athletes entered the pitch area, where they would complete just short of one lap before crossing the line.  Andrew Monaghan was first into sight, with Newcastle AC club mates David O’Flaherty and Seamus Lynch approximately 60-70 metres behind; William McKee was approximately 30 metres behind David and Seamus, who were locked in an excellent battle for the runners up spot.

In the end, Andrew secured an impressive and well-deserved win in 15:09 (1st place).  Behind, the strong finishing David O’Flaherty held off Seamus Lynch to take 2nd place in 15:25, with Seamus following just three seconds later in 15:28 for 3rd place.  The formidable Laura Graham was a class act in the ladies race – after leading from the gun, Laura, who was taking on 5k for the first time, sealed an excellent victory in 16:41 (1st place).  The ever improving Sinead Murtagh took the runners up spot in 18:56 (2nd place), while club mate Mari Troeng completed the top three in 19:23 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Andrew Monaghan (Lagan Valley AC) – 15:09, 2nd David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 15:25, 3rd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 15:28

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) – 16:41, 2nd Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) – 18:56, 3rd Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) – 19:23

Full Results:  Ford 5k Road Race 2016 Results - Photos from the Ford 5k road race are now available within our Photo Gallery.

Ben Caughers and Catherine Roberts win Greyabbey 10k:

Greyabbey 10k & 5k 2016:

On Friday 8th July 2016, well over one hundred athletes turned out for the annual Greyabbey 10k road race in County Down, a well organised event hosted by the Northern Ireland Civil Service Athletic Club (NISAC).

In the absence of reigning Champion Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers), it was North Down AC’s Ben Caughers who emerged victorious.  After an interesting dual with Lagan Valley AC’s Alex Boyd, ever-consistent Ben broke the tape in 35:35 (1st place).  Alex followed in 35:59 for 2nd place, before Victoria Park & Connswater AC’s Joe Craney clocked 36:35 for 3rd place.

There were further prizes for North Down AC in the ladies event, with Catherine Roberts taking top spot in 43:06 (1st place).  Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) improved on her third place finish here twelve months ago when she secured the runners up prize in 43:32 (2nd place); interestingly, this was exactly the same time as Helen recorded on the course in 2015.  Ballydrain Harriers’ Claire Ingram crossed the line in 44:24 for 3rd place.

In the associated 5k race, Willowfield Harriers’ Thomas Carson led the way and recorded 17:07 (1st place) for the win – Ryan Andrews (Ballydrain Harriers) was a close second in 17:10 (2nd place).  In the ladies race, Donna Woods (Albertville Harriers) claimed the top prize in 23:29 (1st place).

Top 3 Men:  1st Ben Caughers (North Down AC) – 35:35, 2nd Alex Boyd (Lagan Valley AC) – 35:59, 3rd Joe Craney (Victoria Park & Connswater AC) – 36:35

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Catherine Roberts (North Down AC) – 43:06, 2nd Helen Weir (North Belfast Harriers) - 43:32, 3rd Claire Ingram (Ballydrain Harriers) – 44:24

Full Results:  Greyabbey 10k 2016 Results

Ballyhegan Park N’ Stride 10k 2016:

Elsewhere on Friday 8th July 2016, nearly two hundred athletes took on the Ballyhegan Park N’Stride 10k (and 5k) in County Armagh.  Pre-race favourite Mark Cornett (St Peter’s AC) claim the title in 37:41 (1st place), with North Belfast Harriers athlete Louise Smith leading the ladies home in 40:39 (1st place); this saw Louise finish in 4th place overall.  In the associated 5k, Newry AC’s Lee Maginnis recorded 20:00 for 1st place, while Meadow MaCauley (Unattached) won the ladies race in 24:59 (1st place).

Full Results:  Ballyhegan Park N’ Stride 10k 2016 Results

Northern Ireland based athletes impress at European Athletics Championships:

Northern Ireland based athletes impress at European Athletics Championships:

Over the last few days, Northern Ireland based athletes have been in action at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam, Holland. Representing Ireland at the prestigious event, Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC), Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) progressed through their heats.

Classy sprinter Amy got things off to a good start yesterday (Thursday 7th July 2016), easing through the heats of her 100m event in 11.57secs, taking 3rd place.  In the semi-final, which took place today (Friday 8th July 2016), Amy broke the beam in 11.62secs (7th place) which unfortunately was not enough to see the Northern Ireland 100m and 200m record holder progress.

North Down AC star Ben Reynolds was first familiar face onto the track this morning and although did not make it through Round 1 of his 110m hurdles event, should be happy with his seasons best outing of 13.87secs for 7th place.

Steeplechaser Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and hurdler Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) both progressed to the next round of their respective competitions - Kerry recorded a 3,000m Steeplechase seasons best of 9:45.53 to take 6th place in her heat, while Christine clocked 57.73secs to secure 4th place in the 400m hurdles.

Next up on a busy Day 3 of the Championships was Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) in the 1500m.  In what as a tactical race, the Portaferry lady worked hard in the final lap to secure automatic qualification in 4:13.61 (3rd place).

Please visit the Athletics Ireland website HERE for a full round-up on the performances of the entire Ireland team. A timetable of events for the Ireland team can also be found HERE.  Live results from the European Athletics Championships can be located HERE.  Photo above by Athletics Ireland.

Weekend Preview:  Euro Championships, Greyabbey 10k, Ford 5k and  more...

Weekend Preview:  Summer Bank Holiday ahead…

Another weekend is upon us and with many people taking advantage of this coming week’s Summer Bank Holiday (Tuesday 12th July 2016) to extent their weekend, it would be forgivable to put the feet up and rest… but no, there are plenty of local, national and international fixtures to heat things up on the competition front in the coming days.  

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


IAAF European Athletics Championships (Holland):

Local athletes have been in action at the IAAF European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam (Holland) over the last few days and the competition will continue into the weekend.  

So far there has been several excellent performances from familiar faces, with Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) progressing through her 100m heat on Thursday (7th July 2016).  Amy’s semi-final will take place later today (6.15pm), while a host of other local runners will also be in action at the prestigious competition.  

Other local athletes in action today include:

- Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) – 110m Hurdles – Round 1 @ 11.15am. 

- Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 3,000m Steeplechase – Round 1 @ 12.30pm.

- Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) – 400m Hurdles – Round 1 @1.15pm.

- Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) – 1500m – Round 1 @ 5.15pm.

Any athlete who progresses through their heat will then have further rounds to look forward to over the course of the weekend.  Then on Sunday 10th July 2016, Northern Ireland athletes Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders), Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC), Gary Murray (Clonliffe Harriers) and Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) will also compete in the Half Marathon event.

A full timetable for the Ireland team is available HERE.

Greyabbey 10k:

Locally, the weekend action will kick off in County Down later today (Friday 8th July 2016), when the Northern Ireland Civil Service Athletic Club (NICS AC) host their annual Greyabbey 10k road race, an event which year on year attracts some of the provinces most respected athletes.

It is unlikely that previous winner and Northern Ireland international, Brendan Teer (East Down AC), will take to the start line.  However, there should be plenty of candidates vying for the title, this includes 2015 winner Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) who has been in good form of late.  Just last week, Neill recorded 34:18 for a top ten finish at the Comber 10k.  He may face the likes of James Trainor (Dub Runners), Martin Wilcox (East Down AC), Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC), Joe Craney (Victoria Park & Connswater AC) and club mate Gregory Lucy (Willowfield Harriers).  Ballydrain Harriers should also be well represented, with Norman Mawhinney, Drew Fowler and Gareth Lyons likely to amongst their top finishers.


In the ladies race, North Down AC’s Northern Ireland international Jodi Smith could well return to defend the title she won so impressively twelve months ago.  Last time, Jodi clocked well over forty one minutes for the course, but this time around, she’ll better that by at least a minute – this will make her difficult to beat.  Ballydrain Harriers’ Denise Logue, Debbie Matchett, Heather Kelly, Nikki McKeag and Amanda Perry should compete, while Orangegrove AC’s Gillian Logan and Unattached athlete Claire Donnelly may also feature.

Ballyhegan Park & Stride:

Also tonight, Friday 8th July 2016, athletes and exercise enthusiasts alike will take on the third annual running of the Ballyhegan Park & Stride 10k road race, a community based event in County Armagh. 

At the front of the field, we expect St Peter’s AC reigning Champion Mark Cornett to play a prominent part at the head of the pack.  His club mates Jamie Tomaselli and Barry Shanks could also go well if they enter on the day. Armagh AC’s Gary Henderson could be a surprise entry and will challenge for honours if he does decide to race.  

Patricia O’Hagan (St Peter’s AC) will prove hard to beat if she turns out on the day, but fellow St Peter’s AC athlete Eileen Stevenson will provide good competition.  As will defending Champion Natalie Hall (Acorns AC) should she take to the start line.  Joanne McAuley (St Peter’s AC) should also claim a high finishing position.

Bryansford 5k:

On Saturday 9th July 2016, Bryansford GAC will host the inaugural running of their Ford 5k road race in Newcastle, County Down.  In the shadows of the Mourne Mountains, the athletes will cover a flat and fast route – this will most certainly attract personal best hunters.

Local club Newcastle AC will assist in the organisation of the event and it’s likely that those chasing the top prizes will be in their distinctive red and yellow kit.  David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) have both been in exceptional form over the shorter distances this season and will head the challenge for honours – last week Seamus represented Ireland and the European Mountain Running Championships in Italy, but he has been mainly focusing on the road and track this season. Earlier this month, he recorded 15:30 for 5,000m to finish in fifth place at the Senior Championships – on the same day, David clocked 15:40 for the same distance.  

Their friend and club mate David Steele should also feature, while podium regular Zak Hanna (Newcastle AC) could also start.  Mountain man William McKee (Mourne Runners) will be worth watching should he make use of the on the day entry system, while veteran star Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC).

Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) will be the one to watch in the ladies race.  The exceptionally talented athlete, who has enjoyed an excellent year thus far, has rarely tested herself over such a short distance but will use this a hard outing before switching her focus back to some longer distances. Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) will also be there or there abouts, as well fellow Newcastle AC ladies Sinead Murtagh and Sam McNeilly.

British Milers Club (BMC) Solihull Grand Prix (England):

Further afield on Saturday 9th July 2016, a number of athletes from Northern Ireland will be in action at the British Milers Club (BMC) Grand Prix in Solihull, Birmingham (England).

Lagan Valley AC’s Conall Kirk will be keen to continue his good recent form, while Callum Crawford-Walker (Annadale Striders) will hope to build on his AAI Senior medal winning performance last week.  

Other local athletes to look out for include Jessica Craig (North Down AC), Andrew Wright (Willowfield Harriers), Erin McIlveen (City of Lisburn AC), Michael Dyer (North Down AC), James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), Rachel Gibson (North Down AC), Katie Kirk (QUB AC), Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC) and Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC).

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

On Sunday 10th July 2016, over five hundred athletes from across the province are expected to descend on the County Tyrone village of Ardboe for the 3rd annual running of the Great Rossa 5k, 10k and 13.1 mile road races. 

This race has built a strong reputation for itself over the last few years, with its quality course and excellent hospitality often mentioned by those who participate.  Amongst those who will be hoping to impress will be Gerard Heaney (St Peter’s AC), Nigel Grier (Dromore AC), Aaron Woodman (PACE Running Club) and Pierce McCullagh (Sperrin Harriers).  Meanwhile, Lagan Valley AC’s in-form Suzanne Higgins should feature at the head of the ladies field, with Lisa Simpson (Acorns AC), Tanya Quinn (Sperrin Harriers) and Stephanie Henry (Sperrin Harriers) all likely to finish well up the field.

Bank Holiday fixtures:

Other events to look forward to over the Bank Holiday include:

Monday 11th July 2016 – Shore 10k, Killough Community Centre – 7.30pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)

Tuesday 12th July 2016 – NI Duathlon 5k, Sam Thompson Bridge, Victoria Park, Belfast – 10am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day)


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

Emmett McGinty secures top spot at Lifford-Strabane AC's Raphoe 5k:

Spartans dominate men's podium at Raphoe 5k 2016:

On Tuesday 5th July 2016, Northern Ireland based athlete Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) claimed an impressive victory at the annual Raphoe 5k road race in County Donegal, Ireland. The event, hosted by Lifford-Strabane AC, attracted nearly two hundred athletes.

Emmett broke the tape in 16:15 (1st place), exactly thirty seconds ahead of Spartan club mate Noel Logan, who recorded 16:45 for 2nd place.  Unattached athlete Brian McNamee completed the top three on 17:38 (3rd place). 

In the ladies event, the top three all finished within twenty seconds of each other.  Finn Valley AC's Noeleen Merritt took top spot in 20:27 (1st place), with Springwell Running Club's Amanda Connell following 20:38 for 2nd place.  Unattached runner Jess Moorehead crossed the line in 20:47 for 3rd place.  

Full Results:  Raphoe 5k Road Race 2016 Results

Local athletes selected for Ireland's European Youth Championships squad:

Four NI athletes selected for inaugural European Youth Championships in Tbilisi (by Athletics NI):

This week a number of athletes from Northern Ireland have been named in the Ireland squad for the upcoming European Youth Athletics Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia later this month (July 2016).

Athletics NI published the following article in relation to the local athletes’ selection and action involving local competitors over the weekend.

Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley AC / Niall Wilkinson) is one of the headline athletes of the Irish team and will be enjoy returning to the City where she won High Jump Bronze at the EYOF last year. Kate O'Connor (St. Vincent's Dundalk / Michael O'Connor) will aiming to improve her own NI U18 record in the Heptathlon and again sail over the 5000 point mark in arguably the most competitive event in the championships. 

North Down AC’s Aaron Sexton (Roger Sexton) has been setting PB's over 100m, 200m and 400m all season long and will be hoping to attack Curtis Woods' NI U18 200m record of 21.79secs in his favoured event.  Aaron’s club mate Craig McMeechan (Francis Marsh) will tackle the 3,000m which will be a tough event given the Georgian heat.

In other news...

Cork City Sports (Ireland):

Adam McMullen (Crusaders AC / Alan Kennedy) won a competitive long jump in 7.59m while Jason Smyth (Derry City Track Club / Clarance Callender) was 4th in a very fast wind aided 100m in 10.52secs (3.3).

Paavo Nurmi Games (Finland):

Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC / Ian Neely) was leading a race won well inside the Olympic qualification mark before fading slightly over the final 50m to finish 4th in her second fastest time of the year, 57.47secs.

AAI National Under 20 and Under 23 Track & Field Championships Tullamore (Ireland):

NI athletes battled wind and rain with titles going to the following athletes: 

U20 Men - 800m Callum Crawford-Walker, U20 Women - PV Ellen McCartney

U23 Men - 100m Christian Robinson, 110mH Garbhan McKenna, SP John Kelly

U23 Women - 100mH Clare Robinson, 1500m Aislinn Crossey

Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth heading to RIO 2016:

It was announced today (Tuesday 5th July 2016) that Northern Ireland based runners Michael McKillop (St Malachy's AC) and Jason Smyth (Derry City Track Club) will be part of the Ireland team travelling to the Paralympic Games in Rio (Brazil) this summer.  Full details of the squad will be released when available.

Seamus Lynch and Karen Aexander impress at major events in Europe:

Seamus Lynch and Karen Alexander impress in Europe:

On Saturday 2nd July 2016, two runners from Northern Ireland were in action at major events in Europe, namely the European Mountain Running Championships in Italy and Kilian's Classik Trail Race in France.

In Italy, Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) was part of an Ireland team who claimed 11th place in the team standings at the European Mountain Running Championships in Arco, Italy. Seamus, who has been focusing more on the roads this season, showed both speed and strength to secure a very credible 55th place against top opposition.  The Newcastle AC man covered the 12.3k route in 1:02:58.  In a sprint finish with his brother Bernard De Matteis (53:34), Italian Martin De Matteis won in 53:33 (1st place).  Full results for the event are available HERE.

Meanwhile, in Font Romeu, France, Northern Ireland lady Karen Alexander (Acorns AC) claimed 2nd place at Kilian's Classik 25k Trail Race.  Team Salomon athlete Melanie Albrecht took 1st place.  At present, only placings for the race are available, with no finish times.  Partial results are available HERE.

Gemma McDonald secures victory at Acorns AC 'Blue Belles' 5k:

Acorns AC Blue Belles 5k Road Race:

On Saturday 2nd July 2016, hundreds of female athletes took to the start line of the Acorns Blue Belles 5k Road Race in Magherafelt.  The race started close to the Meadowbank Sports Arena and finished within the confines of the impressive and well used complex.

Springwell Running Club’s Gemma McDonald and Newry AC’s Esther Dickson led the way as they chased top honours in blustery conditions. In the end, despite the best efforts of the recent Newry AC recruit, Gemma broke the tape in 18:37, with Esther following in 18:47 (2nd place).  Lagan Valley AC athlete Suzanne Higgins secured the final podium place in 19:15 (3rd place), while Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) and Sandra McKeown (Acorns AC) clocked 19:58 (4th place) and 20:15 (5th place) respectively.

Top 5 Ladies:  1st Gemma McDonald (Springwell Running Club) – 18:37, 2nd Esther Dickson (Newry AC) – 18:47, 3rd Suzanne Higgins (Lagan Valley AC) – 19:15, 4th Karen McLaughlin (Springwell Running Club) – 19:58, 5th Sandra McKeown (Acorns AC) – 20:15

Provisional Results:  Acorns AC Blue Belles 5k Road Race 2016 Results

David Hicks and Diane Wilson impress at Spelga Skyline Mountain Race:

Denis Rankin Memorial Spelga Skyline Mountain Race 2016:

On Saturday 2nd July 2016 in the Mourne Mountains, just over sixty hardy mountain runners descended on the Spelga Dam area of the stunning Mourne Mountains for this year’s Denis Rankin Memorial Spelga Skyline Mountain RACE, host by Belfast Association of Rockclimbers and Fellrunners (BARF).  

The popular and well organised event will be the sixth race in this year’s Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championship, with the winner having the honour of picking up the coveting 'Denis Rankin Memorial' trophy, which was first introduced last year.

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

In at times poor conditions, virtually nothing split the leading pair of David Hicks (Newcastle AC) and William McKee (Mourne Runners) as they made their way through checkpoint after checkpoint.  There was no more than five seconds between the pair until they came off Hen Mountain, when David Hicks made some ground on the formidable William, reaching the final ‘dibber’ on Cock Mountain just over two minutes ahead.  There was no stopping the Newcastle AC athlete, who has really made a name for himself this term, as he descended towards the Spelga Dam finish line before winning in 2:38:51 (1st place).  William followed in 2:44:05 (2nd place), before Orangegrove AC’s Thomas Leitch was rewarded for an excellent run when he claimed 3rd place in 2:53:06.

The ladies race wasn’t just as close, but it did not lack quality.  Pre-race favourites Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Jackie Toal (BARF) and Gillian Wasson (Ballymena Runners) all took to the start line, which made for an excellent encounter.  Throughout, Diane looked in full control, with Shileen on her tail – behind, Gillian started well, reaching the first checkpoint ahead of Jackie.  In the end, Diane went on to win comfortably in 2:59:24 (1st place), with Shileen taking the runners up spot in 3:11:04 (2nd place).  Jackie then held off Gillian to claim the final podium spot in 3:32:09 (3rd place).

Top 3 Men:  1st David Hicks (Newcastle AC) – 2:38:51, 2nd William McKee (Mourne Runners) – 2:44:05, 3rd Thomas Leitch (Orangegrove AC) – 2:53:06

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 2:59:24, 2nd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 3:11:04, 3rd Jackie Toal (BARF) – 3:32:09

Full Results:  Denis Rankin Memorial Spelga Skyline Mountain Race 2016 Results

Ben Branagh and Joasia Zakrzewski secure top honours at Comber 10k:

Comber 10k Road Race 2016:

On Saturday 2nd July 2016, popular local running club Ballydrain Harriers will hosted the 2nd annual running of their Comber 10k road race.  The new flat and fast course, as well as the race’s inclusion in the ongoing Novosco 10k Grand Prix attracted a record breaking field of close to five hundred participants.

At the head of the pack, St Malachy’s AC man Ben Branagh looked strong as he dictated proceedings.  The San Jose (America) student produced an excellent display to secure a well-deserved victory in 32:16 (1st place).  The next athlete to experience the atmospheric Town Square finish was North Belfast Harriers’ Lindsay Gordon who recorded 33:01 for 2nd place.  Daniel Dawson (Dromore AC) continued his recent run of good form with a 33:23 clocking for 3rd place.

In the ladies race, pre-race favourite Joasia Zakrzewski (Dumfries RC) lived up to expectation with a comfortable victory.  The IAU World and European 100k medallist crossed the line in 36:53 for 1st place, while ever improving North Down AC athlete Katie Moore claimed a new personal best of 38:42 for 2nd place.  Amy Bulman (Unattached) added another podium spot to her recent good performances when she recorded 39:19 to take 3rd place.

Top 3 Men:  1st Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) – 32:16, 2nd Lindsay Gordon (North Belfast Harriers) – 33:01, 3rd Daniel Dawson (Dromore AC) – 33:23

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Joasia Zakrzewski (Dumfries RC) – 36:53, 2nd Katie Moore (North Down AC) – 38:42, 3rd Amy Bulman (Unattached) – 39:19

Full Results:  Comber 10k Road Race 2016 Results

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