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.”


15 October 2017

More and more people here run for fun. Quite a number take it a bit further and run competitively. But when running is your livelihood, it is altogether different kettle of fish.

Gideon breasts the tape in Bangor.

Gideon Kipsang is 29 years old, married with two children under four. He is also responsible for three other children, all under 11, left orphaned after the untimely deaths of his brother and sister in law a few years ago.

He owns just over an acre of land in his native Kenya which he shares it with his three brothers. They rent land adjoining their farm to grow maize and beans as well as raising chickens. But Gideon has one outstanding talent – he can run fast and long.

The man from the Rift Valley first came to Ireland two years ago as part of the Project Africa Athletics scheme run by Omagh man Ciaran Collins. The highlights of his stay was a fourth place finish in the Antrim International Cross Country and winning the Omagh Half Marathon. He returned that autumn and won the Belfast Half Marathon.

With the prize money he was able to buy a batch of chicks which he reared to maturity. It proved to be a lucrative line of farming and one he would like to expand if he can raise sufficient funds to invest.

He was back again last year and ran well in finish fifth in the Armagh International 5K and retained his Omagh Half Marathon title. He returned again in the autumn but was less successful and went back to Kenya with little money to show for his exertions. Unfortunately, he had to use wha tsmall earnings he had for the funeral of his father who died unexpectedly.

Gideon pictured with his two daughters.

Not being part of the Project Africa plans in 2017, Gideon thought his opportunities to run outside Kenya were gone. However, while based in Omagh, he had formed a friendship with members of the Derry Track Club. He had trained with them on a number of occasions and after his return to Kenya, he had maintained contact through the social media.

When the Derry club heard that Gideon was not coming to Ireland this year, they decided to help out by offering him the cost of his return airfare and free lodgings with families of the club. In return Gideon would assist with coaching and represent the club in competition.

“It’s very hard to get someone to take you to Europe especially when we are so many. It’s a privilege,” said the man who has lived his entire life in the Rift Valley. “I was especially delighted because I feel Ireland is like my second home and it also gives me a chance to earn money, not just for my own family, but to help out my mother and father as well as brothers and sisters.

“When I’m in a race and I’m suffering I think of them and what the prize money could do to improve their lives. I went to high school in Kenya and could have gone to university but my father did not have the money. That is my ambition to send my two daughters to university because I didn’t get the opportunity myself.”

The popular Kenyan has already kicked off his Irish autumn tour well with impressive wins in the Belfast Half Marathon and Bangor 10K but unlike other years he is racing sparingly. Next up for the amiable Kenyan is the Autumn Cross Country International in Dublin next weekend and the Spooktacular 5K in Enniskillen a few days later. So the next time you see a comment on social media about Kenyans winning all our prizes, remember why they are here.




8 October 2017

New recruit Shay Heaney caught the eye at the Donegal Uneven Age Group Championships held at the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar.

After leading for a good part of the way, the recent recruit to DTC colours held on for a fine fourth place in the U15 race.

Ben Mellon continues to improve with every outing.

Ben Mellon, in 11th, was the first DTC finisher in the U17 race and was well supported by Dylan Doherty and Tom McLaughlin.


7 October 2017

Derry Track Club’s lady masters put in the top performance for the club at the Orangegrove AC-organised NI & Ulster Road Relays in Victoria Park, Belfast.

L-R: Marina Murphy, Elaine Connor and Lisa McLaughlin.

Elaine Connor (12:57) opened brightly with an outstanding sixth place on the opening leg.  Lisa McLaughlin kept DTC in contention on the second leg with a fine 13:48 timing before Marina Murphy (12:03 = 4th fastest overall) moved impressively through the field to finish fifth at the finish line.  That was just 49 seconds off the bronze medal position.

The male Masters’ were also in medal contention for most of the 4 x 3380m contest before having to settle for sixth.  One minute and ten seconds separated the DTC squad from medals after solid running from Michael Murphy (10:55), Cathal McLaughlin (11:04), Adrian Boyle (11:31) and Andy Maguire (11:43).

Adrian Boyle in action on the third leg.

Controversy shrouded our senior men’s squad with disqualification threatened before a racing shoe was donned.  Running as guests* John McQuade (11:07), Sean McIntyre (11:22), Gideon Kipsang (9:27) and Conán McCaughey (9:57) distinguished themselves by crossing the line in seventh spot.

*appeal ungoing.

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.


Big Dawg Closes Season in Style

23 September 2017

Conor (Big Dawg) McIlveen ended his season in the best possible way with a sparkling double at the British Cerebral Palsy Games in Nottingham.

Double gold for Big Dawg.

Conor opened his account with an outright victory in the 100m in a personal best 13.01 seconds into 0.4 breeze.  Despite only taking up sprinting in June, the Big Dawg handed out a thrashing to opponents who boasted superior personal bests.

“I was very pleased with my performance, given that I was competing against two guys who have represented Britain in international paralympic competition,” said Conor after the 100m.

“The condition of the track was poor, very slippy, and acknowledged by all to be running slow in comparison with other tracks in the Nottingham area.”

McIlveen returned to the track just 90 minutes later  in deteriorating conditions to blast his way to victory in the 400m in 58.96 seconds, marginally outside his personal best.

The DTC star finished off the afternoon with another win in  a special 100m clocking 13.14 seconds into a 2.4 metres per second wind.