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Two DTC Athletes on the Podium in Dublin

22 October 2017

Ethiopian Tiko Tonosa was the winner of the Athletics Ireland’s Autumn Classic Cross Country at Abbotstown, Dublin. Running in the colours of the Dundrum South Dublin club, the 13:31 5000m man made a break on the penultimate lap that was to prove decisive. Derry Track Club’s Kenyan Gideon Kipsang mounted a late challenge but ended up three seconds in arrears at the tape as club colleague Adam Kirk-Smith filled the last place on the podium another four seconds back.

Gideon and Adam on the medal dais.

Slieve Gullion’s Paddy Hamilton was the first Master to finish with City of Derry’s Declan Reed in the runner-up spot. North Down’s Craig McMeechan and Newcastle’s Patrick McNiff were sixth and seventh resepctively in the Junior race won by Bantry’s Darragh McElhinney.

Kerry’s reigning national champion Shona Heaslip was a convincing winner of the women’s event by 20 seconds from Scotland’s Mhairi MacLennan with Leevale’s Olympic steeplechaser Michelle Finn back in third spot. Cathy McCourt, in ninth, was first northern finisher in the Masters’ race.

A day earlier Allan Bogle and Catherine Diver had dominated their respective Northern Ireland Masters’ Cross Country trials at Upper Malone. Over 130 hardy veterans turned up in the hope of gaining a place on NI teams for next month’s British & Irish Cross Country International to be held in Derry.

Bogle struck the front from the gun in ideal running conditions and had already put 40 metres between himself and Chris McGuinness by the end of the first lap. Omagh’s Marty Cox in third was leading the main field.  The City of Derry Spartan kept the pressure on during the second lap and had doubled his advantage by the halfway point with McGuinness equally safe in second as a battle raged for the bronze medal position.

Bogle did not falter over the final two laps of the soft and giving surface to come home in glorious isolation a massive 40 seconds ahead of the Foyle Valley man who in turn had a ten second over Enniskillen’s Stephen Cassidy who finished strongly for third.  North Belfast Harrier Eamon White, in fifth overall, was the leading M45 while clubmate Andrew Considine, in tenth, was the first M40.  Willowfield’s Duncan Bell was the leading M50 with another North man David Clarke taking the M55 accolade and English visitor Peter Gray the M60 top spot.

Catherine Diver was equally impressive in the women’s race, holding off the reigning provincial Masters’ champion Amy Bulman to seize a narrow but emphatic victory by six seconds. The Willowfield Harrier in turn had a six second buffer over Gerrie Short who continued a rich vein off form to ensure two of the three podium places went to Beechmount Harriers ladies.

Diver was the first F40 while Bulman had the consolation of being leading F35. Ballydrain Harrier was the top F45 just ahead of clubmate Amanda Perry who led home the F50s. City of Derry’s Anne Paul was top of the F55s and Lagan Valley’s Kate Montgomery won the F60 category.

Newcastle’s Jim Patterson warmed up for a defence of his M70 title in Derry with a solid win in the M65 and above race where Terry Eakin made a welcome comeback to win the M65 age group. Springwell’s Jim Platt was first home in a surprisingly competitive M75 race.



15 October 2017
Derry Track Club’s Conan McCaughey impressed today with a podium finish at the Carrera de San Fulgencia 10k in Spain.

Conán turns up the heat in Spain.

The Enniskillen man bounced back to form after the Laganside 10K where he was disappointed with his fourth place by finishing in runner-up spot for a testing and hilly route.
Conán’s time of 32:27 was excellent given the severity of the difficult two-lap course and the scorching temperatures.
“I’m delighted with second place in the Carrera de San Fulgencio 10k today! It’s been a while since I’ve been happy after a race but 32:27 over a hilly 2 loop course on a scorching Sunday morning, I’ll take that! The hospitality of the locals was incredible.
“It is a good confidence boost after disappointment of Laganside. I find always I run well in warm conditions, I can gauge and stay on the limit whilst others go over theirs, overheat and slow dramatically.”

Gideon Completes Weekend Double

30 September/1 October 2017

Gideon Kipsang and Laura Graham were the impressive winners of the George Best City Airport-sponsored Bangor 10K hosted by North Down AC on Saturday. Held in sunny but breezy conditions, the race attracted a record entry of almost 1200 runners.

Gideon breasts the tape in Bangor.

Kipsang followed the early leader Paddy Hamilton for the first kilometer through Bangor town centre before taking charge at the front. After that it was just a question of how much the Derry-based Kenyon would win by as he passed the halfway point in 15:05.  The man from the Rift Valley forged on over the hilly country roads around Groomsport before returning to Bangor’s Ward park where he broke the tape in a new course record and personal best of 30 minutes and three seconds.

Some minute and a half in arrears, Paddy Hamilton took the runner-up prize in 31:30 with Chris Madden having arguably his best run of the year to take the bronze medal spot in 32:04. Laganside winner Mark McKinstry had to settle for fourth on this occasion in 32:35, ahead of Craig McMeechan (32:51) and Emmett McGinty (33:01).

Laura Graham make a quick return to action in the women’s race just six days after her phenomenal to 3:37:05 clocking in the Berlin Marathon. They Kilkeel mother of four wasted little time in showing a clean pair of heels to her female opposition as she flew to a 34:37 timing for 15th place overall.

The host club’s Jessica Craig took second in 36:09, well clear of Cathy McCourt who returned to competition after injury with a 38:06 timing.  Amanda Perry (39:11), Rachel Gibson (39:20) and Ann Terek (39:34) completed the top half dozen ladies.

Gideon Kipsang completed a weekend double when he was first past the post in yesterday’s Marty’s Run 5K held in cold and wet conditions in Derry. The Kenyan got caught up at the start in the congestion of the 600 strong field and allowed Scott Rankin to open a 100 metres in the first kilometer.  Kipsang did not panic and had hauled in the Foyle Valley athlete by the third kilometer marker before going on to win from Rankin by seven seconds in a nippy 15:05. Adrian McGowan was a strong third in 16:26. Catherine Whoriskey was a class apart in the women’s race winning in 18:07.

The cross country season made an early start with the Donegal Masters’ and Even Age Group Championships in a windy Carndonagh. There was a shock in the opening race, the women Masters’ race, when Marina Murphy defeated reigning Irish champion Fionnuala Diver from the Letterkenny club.  The Derry Track Club woman stalked her rival until the last 400m of the three kilometer event before unleashing an impressive sprint that carried her to the gold medal.

Acorns AC runner Natalie Hall filled the final place on the podium ahead of DTC’s Elaine Connor who continues to improve with every race.  Finn Valley ladies took the team award.

Marina’s Rich Vein of Form Continues

There was another tight tussle in the men’s race before Letterkenny’s Karl Duggan got away from the persistent Chris McGuinness of the Foyle Valley club to win by 16 seconds. City of Derry’s Archie McElhinney was good value for the bronze medal after a strong performance.  Letterkenny packed well to take the team title.

Andrew Maguire was the first DTC finisher in 26th (17:41) followed by 40th Robert Bigger (18:52) and 52nd David Mellon (20:22).  The DTC juveniles also kicked off their cross country season impressively with Sean McIntyre taking 6th in the U16 race.  Behind him, newcomer Dylan Doherty caught the eye with a 14th spot on his debut in the green vest.  Ben Mellon also worked hard in the U16 race to end up 11th.


Adam Easy Winner of National Senior Title

12 August 2017

Adam Kirk-Smith

Adam Kirk-Smith became the second Derry Track Club athlete to lift a national senior title when he was the comfortable winner of the 3000m steeplechase at Morton Stadium in Dublin (21 July 2017).

Jason Smyth was the winner of the national 100m crown in 2016 while JP Williamson is reigning national Novice cross country champion.

In the Masters’, Richie Kelly currently holds the M75 indoor 200m/400m titles while outdoor Cathal McLaughlin (M50 – 800m/1500m) and Martin Cox (M35 – 1500m) are the current Irish champions.

Adam Kirk-Smith overcame the challenge of Irish internationals Rory Chesser (subsequently disqualified) and Jayme Rossiter to win in 8:55.72.  It was Adam’s first experience of an Irish championship and he now heads into a well-earned rest before directing his attention to the European Cross Country and Commonwealth Games.

Marina Murphy also wound up this phase of her competition with a win in the Acorns AC Blue Bells 5-Miler in Magherafelt and a runner-up spot in the Owen Roe’s 5K in Glenmornan.

DTC’s promising youngsters Sean McIntyre and Ben Mellon also shone in the Tyrone village with personal bests on a difficult course which, although downhill overall, had difficult descents and ascents.  Certainly not a route you would choose for a personal best but the boys clocked 17:02 and 18:47 respectively.

There were no medals but huge credit for Cathal McLaughlin at the European Masters’ Athletics Championships in Aarhus, Denmark (

Both the 800m and 1500m were tactical affairs with  Cathal just 0.3 seconds off a podium place in the two-lap event and less than a second from the silver medal in the metric mile.

Marty Cox showed he is going to be a force this winter with a 15:30 clocking in the Carlingford 5K.



18 July 2017

Ice cool Jason Smyth took his second and Ireland’s third gold medal last night at the IPC Para Athletics World Championships in London.  The medal brought the Eglinton man’s World Para Championships personal gold medal tally to seven to go along with his five Paralympic golds.

Jason Smyth in gold medal form.

Smyth was drawn in four giving him an advantage over his main rivals Johannes Nambali and Mateusz Michalski who were in the lanes on his immediate outside. Nambali from Namibia was the defending champion while the Pole Michalski was the relative new kid on the block.

But if there were any doubts about an Irish victory these were quickly dispelled as Smyth blasted out of blocks and had eaten up the stagger on his rivals by the crown of the bend.

The Derry Track Club athlete kept up his phenomenal cadence until well into the homestraight when Nambali and Michalski, in waging war for the silver medal, closed down his advantage approaching the finish line.

Smyth’s winning time of 21.40 was his fastest for the distance since 2013 with Nambali grabbing the runner-up spot in 21.81 while Michalski set a new personal best of 21.86 in the bronze medal position.

It was third time he has done the double at the IPC Worlds starting in Holland back in 2006.  He missed the Worlds in New Zealand in 2011 through injury but recovered to win two medals in Lyon two years later.  He confined himself to just the 100m in Doha two years ago when he had to dash home early to be present at the birth of his daughter.

Smyth’s ability was spotted at Limavady Grammar School by PE teacher Liz Maguire and she referred him to coach Stephen Maguire who now heads up British Athletics Sprints, Hurdles and Relays.

Although now coached by Clarence Callendar, it was the Strabane man who moulded Smyth into the world class performer we now see dominating the Paralympic sprints.  Not that his success in confined to disabled sport, he has also represented Ireland in mainstream athletics, especially memorable being the European Championships in 2010 when he reached the semi-final of the 100 metres.

He competed for Northern Ireland at 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and was only a blink of an eye from qualifying for the 100m at the London Olympics in 2012 when his still personal best clocking of 10.22 seconds was just two-hundredths outside the required standard.


These are some suggestions for Novice runners on how to improve their 5K times before tackling the longer distances.  


Include short repetitions (Intervals of 200/300/400/500m) at speeds faster than the desired pace of your 5K.


To improve your running speed, it is important that you make yourself more flexible and stronger.  In this way you can increase your stride length without impairing your running efficiency. You have to be strong to run fast.


Training intensity is greater for 5K races than say for 10Ks and longer distances. This means you need to take longer recoveries between reps.


Notwithstanding the need for speed, the 5K is still a largely aerobic event.  For this reason attention should still be paid to underlying fitness.  Long runs should still be included in a typical week’s training although these do not need to be longer than 60 minutes in duration but run a a brisker tempo than for marathon training.

  1. HILLS

Running hill sessions strengthen the legs and help prepare for the sensation of fatigue felt during the final kilometres of a race. Hills also improve running efficiency on the flat and help increase the stride length through improved leg strength.

  1. WARM-UP

A good wam-up routine is needed if you want to run fast either in race or before a speed session.  This should not be seen as a prelude to training but instead an integral part of the session.  Start off with easy running for 10 minutes followed by some dynamic stretching and a few easy strides before you get down to the serious business.


The following is suggested as a typical week for someone wishing to break 20 minutes for 5K.

Tuesday: 6 x 1000m on the road in 3:50-4:00 with 3 minutes jog recovery;

Wednesday: 45 minutes recovery run at 5:30 per kilometre pace.

Thursday: 8 x 200m on track/road/grass starting easy and then trying to run each rep a second faster – recovery 3 mins jogging.
10 x 150m hills with jog back recovery.

Saturday: parkrun at 4:20 per kilometre pace.

Sunday: 60 minutes run at 5:00 per kilometre pace.

Malcolm McCausland
UK Athletics Level IV Performance Coach


Two Derry Track Club members are among the nine leading Irish Para athletes and key support staff are participating in warm weather training camps ahead of the London 2017 World Para Athletics  Championships.

Jason Smyth takes gold in Rio (Photo: BBC)

DTC duo Jason Smyth and Conor McIlveen are along with Orla Comerford, Paul Keogan, Greta Streimikyte and Patrick Monahan  in Tenerife.

Conor (Big Dog) McIlveen is burning up the track in Tenerife.

Elsewhere four of the throwers; Noelle Lenihan, Niamh McCarthy, Orla Barry and Deirdre Mongan are in their way to Gran Canaria with coaches Dave Sweeney, Jim Lenihan and physio support.

Michael McKillop is also headed for a training stint abroad as he flies out to an altitude camp in Font-Romeu in the Pyrenees with an Athletics Ireland group.

These 11 day camps are essential preparation as the athletes prepare for an exciting season ahead with the centrepiece the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships between 14-23 July.


27 February 2017

Derry Track Club helped the Limavady parkrun celebrate its 100th edition by providing the first three men home and the first woman.

Shane McGowan cruised to a 17:55 clocking at Limavady parkrun

Shane McGowan cruised around an early morning training run to lead the pack home in first place with a time of 17:55. Cathal McLaughlin and Adrian Boyle followed him hom in 18:16 with Marina Murphy setting a new VW35-39 record of 19:06 in an incredible sixth place overall. 

Limavady parkrun Results

Derry Track Club’s Conan McCaughey helped the Central club to defend their team title at the Scottish Senior Cross Country Championships. The current NI & Ulster Intermediate champion finished 19th and sixth scorer for the Stirling-based club.

Adam and Conán had impressive performances across channel.

London-based Derry Track Club athlete Alex Kirk-Smith was 43rd in the English National Cross Country won by recent Armagh 5K victor Ben Connor.




14 NOVEMBER 2016

Marina Murphy turned in another storming performance to grab a podium place at the Donegal Senior Cross Country Championships in Stranorlar, Co. Donegal.


Marina battled through the mud to finish third behind Olympic marathon runner Catriona Jennings and only losing out on the silver medal on the homestraight to newly-crowned Ulster Novice champion Nakita Burke.

The Waterside woman had earlier taken runner-up spot in the Donegal Novice on her winter season debut.   Amy McDaid also took the opportunity for a run out and after a strong start ended up in a top ten place.

DTC Chairman David Mellon with Marina and Amy.
DTC Chairman David Mellon with Marina and Amy.

Further down the card, Ben Bradley, Ben Mellon, Sean McIntyre and Dean Quigley combined well to take second spot in the U16 4 x 500m relay to a very good Inishowen squad.

Boys U16 Quartet (Ben Mellon, Ben Bradley, Dean Quigley and Sean McIntyre.
Boys U16 Quartet (Ben Mellon, Ben Bradley, Dean Quigley and Sean McIntyre.

Cathal McLaughlin brought a long season on the international scene to an end with a solid run at the British & Irish Masters’ Cross Country International in Glasgow.

Cathal on his way to a team bronze at the M40 Cross Country in Ancona, Italy.
Cathal on his way to a team bronze at the M40 Cross Country in Ancona, Italy.

It has been quite a year for company director with British and Irish titles (outdoor and indoors) as well bronze medals at both European Cross Country and Non Stadia championships.

Elsewhere Shane McGowan, Chris Millar and Marty Cox all had impressive outings at various parkrun events while Paul Barbour showed he is getting back to form with a runner-up spot on the roads.

Great Fourth Place for Tim at World Masters

28 October 2016

A spirited final sprint on the homestraight failed to land Tim Shiels a medal at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Perth, Western Australia.

Running in the M40 800m, Shiels finished fourth in two minutes and two seconds and just an agonising 11/100ths of a second outside the medals.

Tim Shiels after his heat in Perth.

The Omagh pastor had qualified comfortably for the 12-man final finishing third in his heat on Tuesday.  That made him the third fastest qualifier.

He was caught on the inside at the bell in the final and got himself boxed on the backstraight for the final time.

“I was tactically poor, got boxed in and my sprint didn’t kick in until it was too late,” said Tim afterwards.  “I just wasn’t sharp enough on the day. All the components are there, I just need to put them together.”

Tim’s Final On Youtube

WMA M40 800m

1 Chevaux, Christophe M41 France 2:00.45
2 Howard, Gary M42 Australia 2:01.40
3 Crowley, Nathan M43 Australia 2:01.89
4 Shiels, Timothy M41 Ireland 2:02.00
5 Khyr, Bronislav M41 Czech Republic 2:02.13
6 Rhodes, Jason M44 United State 2:03.05
7 De Marni, Nicola M43 Italy 2:04.61
8 Little, Aaron M40 Australia 2:04.80
9 McLennan, Campbell M44 Australia 2:05.70
10 Brecher, Jay M42 Canada 2:07.10
11 Wells, Bill M42 Canada 2:08.56
12 Pattileamonia, Edwin M40 Indonesia 2:09.80