Derry Track Club athletes took a day off training to stretch their legs at the Derry City parkrun.
Chris George cruised to a new personal best of 18:53 for a third place finish while Conn O’Neill also impressed recording new figures of 19:13.
DTC also welcomed back club stalwart David Mellon who had been missing for some time through injury. A 26:15 clocking was more than pleasing. He was helped on his way by Conor McIlveen who moved away on the final kilometre (4:20) to register a 25:57 mark.
4 NOVEMBER 2023 – Derry Track Club athletes performed strongly at the NI & Ulster Novice Cross Country Championships over a tough six kilometre course at Stranorlar. Running over a distance much longer than which they normally tackle, the DTC representatives were well pleased with their ninth team finish out of the 14 teams that managed to complete their scoring four.
L-R: Mark Quigley, Adrian Boyle, Ben Mellon, Chris George and Dylan Doherty.
Adrian Boyle led the team home and was followed shortly by Dylan Doherty and Mark Quigley. Chris George, making his debut at cross country, moved inexorably through the field to complete the scoring quartet. Ben Mellon was a close up fifth DTC after a gritty run,
Maire Ferguson and Catherine Doyle both had good runs in the women’s championship decided over a four-kilometre distance.
Derry Track Club athletes have been on their travels in recent weeks competing in three different countries while others have registered respectable times at home.
Pride of place arguably goes to the Flying Doctor David Stewart who was competing at the European Masters’ Athletics Championships in Pescara, Italy. David opened his account with a time of 61.23 seconds for fifth in his heat of the M55 400m. He followed this up with a solid third leg for the Irish mixed 4 x 400m relay team that took bronze medals behind winners Italy.
Alison Mitchell and Chris George took the trip to the USA for the Chicago Marathon and Alison was rewarded with a 3:33:10 clocking just seconds outside her best set in Seville earlier this year. Husband Chris had a useful run out in the mass 5K recording a comfortable 19:10 mark.
Stephen Logan kept the international theme going with a fine personal half marathon best of 77:49 in Amsterdam. At home Mark Quigley clocked 19:00 at the Derry City parkrun while Conn O’Neill was well pleased with his 19:10 at Marty’s Run 5K where Kendra Semple impressed with a time just outside 20 minutes.
22 September – Derry Track Club opened the autumn season impressively finishing second overall and winners of both open categories at the inaugural Hill of O’Neill 4 x 1 Mile Road Relay in Dungannon.
Ben Mellon (5:32) led off impressively for the Derry A squad coming home third at the end of the first leg. He handed over to Adrian Boyle who ran DTC’s fastest split (5:19) of the evening to bring the boys right into contention for the victory.
Dylan Doherty (5:34) had his best ever run in the DTC vest to hold on to the lead on leg 3. Mark Quigley (5:38) did all that could be asked of him on the final leg to finish second overall behind Mid Ulster and first in the Open category.
The women’s team were equally impressive finishing fourth in the women’s listings. Catherine Doyle (6:20) got the quartet off to an impressive start which Máire Ferguson (6:19) consolidated on the second circuit. Ulster Schools 300m representative Grace Callaghan showed that distance was no obstacle with a 6:48 timing. Newcomer Lucy Bryan (8:33) brought the team home in second spot behind Gallbally Runners but winners of the Open Category.
Conor McIlveen was the star of the men’s B team that finished 36th of the 88 teams that completed the race. The Ireland Paralympic international opened with a fine opening leg of 7:03 and filled in with 9:07 third leg. In between Robert Bigger showed why he is one of the fastest in the M65 age group anywhere with a 6:24 timing.
Guest Lee Maginnis showed he has lost little of the ability that made him a formidable 800m runner not that long ago with a 5:58 timing. Thanks to Fergal O’Donnell, Brendan Woods and all at Galbally Runners for an enjoyable and memorable evening.
Two of the club’s younger members took part in the NI & Ulster U14-U20 Championships at the Mary Peters Track. Over 600 of the province’s young athletes were keen to take advantage of the perfect conditions to produce some fine performances. Unfortunately, the two DTC starlets met with disparate outcomes.
Conor Kelly is a young man with ambitions of competing European Youth Olympic Festival in Slovenia and travelled from London to hand out a defeat to two of the best home-based sprinters in the U17 200m. Kelly (15), both of whose parents are from the North, recently turned down a place in an England development squad, responding in a Bidenesque manner “No thanks – I’m Irish.”
Despite feeling fatigue from the journey, the former rugby starlet stopped the clock at 22.20 (-0.2) seconds to hold off City of Lisburn’s Arnar Brynjarrson by a mere three-hundredths of a second with Loughview’s Rus Veikune timed at 22:31, personal bests by both second and third. The Derry Track Club athlete has run faster this season with a legal 22.02 mark and a wind-assisted 21.96, both at the north London venue of Lee Valley, earlier in the season.
Unfortunately, the day did not end well for Kelly with his flight home cancelled. This meant he and his mother Mary Jo (née Doherty from Derry!) had to spend an extra night in Belfast before catching the 6:30am “red eye” flight in the morning. This was followed a mad rush across London to arrive 45 minutes late for his 9:00am English exam. Thankfully, his school was more than sympathetic to his plight and made special arrangements for him to complete the paper.
Grace Callaghan had been in good form going into the championships and those close to her felt she was in medal-winning shape. What they did not take into account one of the most bizarre decisions by officials seen in any sport for a long.
The Thornhill Grammar looked to have comfortably qualified through her heat of the U17 Girls’ 200m in second place only to be informed by a spectator that she had been disqualified. On contacting the track referee, Grace was informed that the reason for the disqualification that she had run twice on the white line and ended up in the wrong lane.
It was only two days later when video evidence was received that this was not the case. As can be seen quite clearly from the photo below – Grace is in the dark vest on the right. The Ballymena runner from lane 8 can be seen behind her.
Grace is on the right. A Ballymena runner can be seen behind her in the same lane.
In the video below you can see the runner in lane eight moving into seven.
Unbelievably the Ballymena athlete was not disqualified but Grace was for a lane infraction – see above!!
DTC snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at the 2nd annual 6 x1600m track relay against our friends at Tafelta AC (Magherafelt).
Jim Green showed maturity beyond his 17 years to bring DTC home in the lead at the end of the first leg. David Stewart went out hard on leg two but paid the price as Tafelta took a significant lead by the one-third mark of the contest.
Despite both Mark Quigley and Cathal McLaughlin making solid contributions over the next two legs, Tafelta still maintained a healthy advantage.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man and Ben Mellon was that man, contributing the first sub-5 minute clocking to put Adrian Boyle within striking distance at the final changeover.
The former Irish Masters’ 800m champion showed all of his expertise as he quickly closed the gap before sitting in wait at his rival’s shoulder. The laps ticked away without any change before Boyle unleashed a vicious kick with 120m to run.
It was all over with Boyle breaking the tape well clear of his opponent and registering the fastest split of the relay.
Thanks to Francis Purvis and all at Tafelta for an enjoyable morning despite the cold and breezy conditions.
Hundreds of people turned out this week in County Tyrone to bid farewell to the late Oliver McCullagh. The Greencastle man’s cortege from his home to St. Patrick’s Church, Greencastle was led by lone piper Michael Kelly and representatives of clubs from all over Ulster. McCullagh was not only the originator and organiser of the Greencastle 5 Miles road race but also an influential figure in the development of the sport in mid-Ulster.
Fr. Eddie Gallagher led an emotion-charged requiem service with the following extract reading from Ecclesiastes:
There is a time for everything,
And a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die.
Oliver was heavily involved in activity but sadly his time came much too soon. He will not be forgotten and is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Olivia (Mullin), sons Pierce and Connor, their respective partners, and grandsons and granddaughters. May he rest in peace. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
DTC athlete David Stewart set a new M55 record in finishing eighth in the pentathlon event in Barga, Portugal. David set personal bests in all five events. His best individual result came in the 1000m with a 3:20.69 timing which was worth 719 points. (results at https://emaci22.vercel.app/results)
Other DTC athletes were in action at the Buncrana parkrun where they filled the top three positions in windy conditions (four in the top ten).
Adrian Boyle 18:49 (74.76%)
Cathal McLaughlin 18:50 (80.88%)
David Mellon 20:08 (69.37%) …9th Conor McIlveen 23:35
Across the water DTC’s Stephen Logan was second in the Beverley Westwood parkrun in 19:43 (69.23%).