Sport Northern Ireland’s ambassador for Sport in Business Jason Smyth was delighted to win two gold medals at the European Para Athletics Champions during the summer in Berlin and he is hoping to add to his collect at next year’s World Championships and at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.
“I was grateful things went as well as they did and even just looking back from Rio I find each year is just building on the next and that sets me up to be in a good place over the next couple of years, the reality is heading into the Paralympics you want to be upping your game,” said Smyth.
“I feel I’m in a good place and hopefully I can stay injury free and keep pushing forward.”
“The next two years are incredibly important, for me just not just being successful I’m 31 what happens over the next two years if I improve and continue to move forward it will have a massive impact on the longevity of my career.”
Unbeaten in 13 years the Eglinton sprinter is determined to keep winning.
“I think when I look back there have been times when my motivation has been higher than others, I think as a base level my motivation is always high, 9I think that whatever do I want to be the best and just not be the best once I want to continue to be the best and I think that is the mind set that drives me to want more.”
“This carer as an athlete is going to last for ever and it is obviously coming to an end in the next number of years, for me I want to continue to be successful and when I finish I’ll look back and I realise what Jason Smyth did everything he possibly could throughout his career to be the best he could and so far I feel I sit in that position and that is where I want to end.”
“Cometh the day and cometh the hour” and DTC’s ladies responded. After months of preparation, the club’s women responded with their best performance of the season to date by lifting team silver medals at the Ulster Novice Cross Country Championships in Scotstown, Co. Monaghan.
It was a very nervous trio who lined up for the four kilometre race with the weight of expectation lying heavily on all their shoulders. The race usually goes off fast but on this occasion seemed hyper quick and the girls in green were struggling to a get a foothold in the opening
Derry Track Club
St. Peter’s AC
Foyle Valley AC
Derry Track Club
Foyle Valley AC
Finn Valley AC
Foyle Valley AC
Derry Track Club
It soon became apparent that work had to be done by the DTC girls if they were to get among the team medals but they responded admirably. Kendra worked her way through to dispute the individual bronze medal losing out on the sprint for home to track international Amy Hamill.
Elaine bit the bullet after an illness in the weeks leading up to race and produced her best ever performance at this level to take tenth. Despite being relatively new to DTC, Kelly O’Neill showed that she will be a huge asset hopefully in the months and years to come with an impressive 17th spot.
TOP 20 FINISHERS
1 Niamh Kelly Letterkenny AC 00:17:19
2 Helen McCready Rosses AC 00:17:41
3 Amy Hamill Glaslough Harriers 00:18:07
4 Kendra McMullan Semple Derry Track Club 00:18:21
5 Emer Magee Rosses AC 00:18:29
6 Niamh Donnelly Armagh AC 00:18:32
7 Kate Mulholland St. Peter’s AC 00:18:36
8 Deirdre Shiels Foyle Valley AC 00:18:39
9 Amanda Perry Ballydrain Harriers 00:18:52
10 Elaine Connor Derry Track Club 00:18:53
11 Claire Ingram Ballydrain Harriers 00:18:59
12 Marie Boyle Letterkenny AC 00:19:04
13 Hayley Ballard Omagh Harriers 00:19:08
14 Gemma Mahon Foyle Valley AC 00:19:09
15 Joanne Mc Nabb Finn Valley AC 00:19:17
16 Emily McLaughlin Foyle Valley AC 00:19:19
17 Kelly O’Neill Derry Track Club 00:19:24
18 Aileen Devlin Inishowen AC 00:19:27
19 Michelle Ferguson Rosses AC 00:19:32
20 Ciara Largey Omagh Harriers 00:19:41
1 Rosses AC 26
2 Derry Track Club 31
3 Foyle Valley AC 38
4 Glaslough Harriers 49
5 Letterkenny AC 50
6 Omagh Harriers 62
7 Ballydrain Harriers 78
8 Carmen AC 86
9 Armagh AC 87
10 Finn Valley AC 88
11 Glaslough Harriers 89
12 Rosses AC 106
13 Foyle Valley AC 121
14 North Belfast Harriers 137
15 Lifford Strabane AC 142
Ben Mellon and Lara Smailes competed creditably in the respective U17 races while John McQuade flew the flag for the club in the men’s Novice race.
“Donegal athletes dominated the NI & Ulster Novice Cross Country Championships in ideal weather conditions at Scotstown, Co. Monaghan. Runners from the Tirconnell county claimed all four titles on offer with Letterkenny AC contributing three of those winners while the emerging Rosses club filled the remaining gap.
Nineteen-year-old Eoin Hughes showed the maturity of a veteran with a very impressive victory in the men’s six kilometre race. The Letterkenny IT student put his cards on the table from the gun and was already in the lead at end of the first lap of six. That lead increased as the race progressed and was 32 seconds ahead of his nearest pursuer by the time he reached the line where he was greeted by his proud father.
Lifford-Strabane’s Alan McGinley put his track speed to good use on the short final straight to take the individual silver from Inishowen’s David McMenamin. Letterkenny scored an emphatic team victory placing all four scorers in the top 15 finishers. Foyle Valley and another Donegal club, Milford, took the minor medals.
Helen McCready looked as though she was literally going to run away with the women’s title after opening what looked like a healthy lead on the first lap of the women’s four-kilometre contest. However, the Rosses athlete had failed to reckon with the calm and collected Niamh Kelly who slowly ate into that lead before taking complete charge over the second half of the race.
The Letterkenny athlete’s effortless style saw her to a convincing win by 22 seconds with McCready holding on for second spot. Glaslough Harrier Amy Hamill saw off the challenge of Derry Track Club’s former NI ladies football captain Kendra McMullan Semple to lift the bronze medal. There was consolation for McCready, if she needed it, with her west Donegal squad taking the team title from Derry Track Club with Foyle Valley squeezing into third spot.
There were a number of standout performers in the uneven age-group championships. Springwell’s Niamh Carr took the girls’ U19 gold while City of Derry’s Cara Laverty ruled supreme in the U17 race. St. Malachy’s Conall McClean was a runaway winner of the boys’ U19 finishing almost a minute ahead of the field. Another St. Malachy’s athlete Adam Ferris made light of the opposition in the U17 race as his school lifted a hat-trick of team titles in the U15, U17 and U19 age categories.” Irish New report Monday, November 12.
Nakita Burke ended Teresa Doherty’s ten year reign at yesterday’s Donegal Senior Cross Country Championships held in perfect autumnal weather at Stranorlar. There was no evidence of the acrimony that had blighted previous editions of the event with both races run off without incident in front of an appreciative attendance.
Doherty went to the front immediately from the gun in the women’s five kilometres run over three laps of rough pasture land. Burke immediately took up pursuit and dogged her Finn Valley rival’s every step. At times the defending champion, who was going for an eleventh straight win in the race, opened up an advantage of up to ten metres but Burke clawed her way back on every occasion.
And when the pair entered the final 500m shoulder to shoulder it was the younger Letterkenny athlete who proved stronger as she snatched a narrow victory by less than a stride. Despite being isolated for most of the race Lifford-Strabane’s Claire McGuigan put in a workmanlike performance to take third. The was some consolation for Doherty when the team scores were counted with victory going to her Finn Valley squad.
Kenyan Gideon Kimosop was allowed to compete as a guest in men’s race and the Derry Track Club professional quickly distance himself from the opposition. Behind him a similar dual to that in the women’s race was fought out with a similar result. Finn Valley’s Gerard Gallagher went to the front of the ten kilometre trip around halfway and quickly made it obvious that he wanted to be alone.
Unfortunately for him Karol Duggan was having none of that and hung on tenaciously before taking off in the final lap for a convincing win. The game Gallagher finished alone in second with Ciaran Doherty making it two Letterkenny men on the medal podium after a late charge that saw him pass three or four rivals. Letterkenny scored a narrow victory over their east Donegal rivals to take the team gold medals.
DTC’s women put in commendable performances with Marina Murphy (7th), Olivia McCullagh (14th) and Lara Smailes (25th) all coping well with the difficult underfoot conditions.
Gideon was DTC’s first finisher in the men’s race in what was probably the best performance of his stay. Keith Sheils looked strong, as did track specialist Cathal McLaughlin, with both of them making light of the difficult going.
Perhaps the outstanding run of the day came from Eamon Kerrigan who impressed on his debut. There is obviously much more to come from the Ardmore man.
We are back into the dark evenings and low temperatures again. The temptation is stay indoors and get on the treadmill. Whilst almost all runners prefer exercising out of doors, running on a treadmill can mean getting in a session when it may not be possible to run the roads for one reason or another. It may also be a safer option for females than running alone in the darkness.
Opinion on the benefits on running indoors and out is split with both having their pros and cons. Some old school runners prefer to venture on to the roads regardless of the conditions seeing the treadmill as being for softies. However it is acknowledged that either can make you stronger and faster whether you are training for a race or just looking for a cardio session to supplement your strength work.
One athlete who used the treadmill frequently was former world 10,000m and half marathon champion Liz McColgan Nuttall. The Dundee woman did many of her sessions indoors even in fine weather as she felt she benefitted from the strict parameters such as setting fixed pace, time and distance targets.
“For me – yes – running on a treadmill is easier but I used so often I could design sessions to be exactly comparative to my outdoor running,” said Liz. “All my tempo work was done on treadmills and I could set the pace and work towards my goal easier as there was no wind, rain, hills etc. Treadmills were definitely instrumental in me running fast.”
On the other hand, for some runners, the treadmill can never match the pleasure of lacing up the trainers and hitting the roads or trails on a good day. It is a fact that you will be expending more energy than you would on a machine because you are getting more muscle activation outside with your feet being forced to employ a greater range of biomechanics. You do not have to do that to such an extent with the treadmill moving the belt toward you.
Furthermore, pounding the roads is actually good for your bones because running on a harder surface like asphalt or tarmac is going to provide stronger reaction forces which can strengthen your bones a little more than a treadmill. Although treadmills can be adjusted in terms of angle up and down, they do not reproduce the gradients of outdoors. And do not forget the benefits of that winter sun on your skin in terms of acquiring some vitamin D.
On the positive side of treadmill running, there are days when you cannot run outside on account of the weather conditions. Jumping on the belt gives you the opportunity to get in a few miles or kilometres. There is research that suggests that setting the treadmill to a one percent gradient more accurately simulates outdoor running whilst others reckon two percent.
Another study found that your VO2 max (how much oxygen your body can use during physical activity) is the same when running on a treadmill compared to outside. It is also a great means of getting back into full training after an injury. There are pros and cons to both running outside and using a treadmill. The important thing is to keep on running during our winter as best you can.
St. Malachy’s athletes caught the eye at the NI & Ulster Juvenile (Even Age Groups) Cross Country Championships held in perfect running conditions at the CAFRE grounds outside Antrim. The boys from the north Belfast college lifted a hat-trick of team titles winning the U14, U16 and U18 age categories.
But the icing on the cake for coach Joe McAlister was Conall McClean leading Adam Ferris and Tony McCambridge to a cleansweep of the individual podium places in the U18 age group.
Tirconnaill’s Mia McCalmont followed up her runner-up spot in the Autumn Classic the previous weekend with a runaway win in the girls’ U18 contest. Rebecca Wallace chased the Donegal Town lass all the way and had the consolation of leading her Lagan Valley squad to team gold.
Derry clubs supplied the winners of both U16 races. Olympian Youth’s Sean McGinley prevailed over Willowfield’s Dylan McBride in the boys’ contest while City of Derry’s Cara Laverty was out on her own in the girls’ competition where North Down were top team.
The U14 boys’ event provided the closest finish of the afternoon with Shercock’s Gearoid Lynch getting the nod over City of Lisburn’s Jack McCausland after both shared the same time. Lauren Madine had a double reason to celebrate after lifting the U14 individual crown and leading her East Down to a win in the team competition.
Both U10 and U12 races were won by runners from the Cranford club in north Donegal as Miah Fletcher and Cliodhna McBride outpaced their respective rivals. Annalee’s Fionn McNamara and Henry Curley from Mid Ulster were the boys’ U12 and U10 winners. All the leading individuals, clubs and counties can now look forward to their national finals at the National Sports Campus in Dublin on November 25.
DTC athletes Ben Mellon (29th), who had his best ever cross country race, and Dylan Doherty (34th) contributed to Derry taking third in the inter-county competition.
Lara Smailes was possibly the pick of the DTC athletes with a fighting performance in the girls’ U18 race. The Kilfennan 16-year-old who was running up an age-group passed runner after runner to finish a fine 29th in her first NI & Ulster championship.
Sé Heaney was not at his best in the U16 boys’ race but battled bravely to finish 36th. The talented youngster will be looking to make amends at the U17 championship in a couple of weeks.
The African domination of the SSE Airtricity Dublin City Marathon continued with Ethiopians taking both titles in ideal running conditions. Asefa Bekele moved clear in the later stages to win the men’s race in 2:13:24 with the Kenyan pair of David Manja and Joel Kiptoo filling the minor podium positions in 2:13:33 and 2:13:42 respectively.
Mesera Dubiso was the first woman across the finish line in 2:33:49, and followed by her compatriot Motu Gedefa 33 seconds later. Leevale’s Lizzie Lee took third spot and with it the her first national marathon title in 2:35:05.
“It’s so good to win in Dublin,” said a delighted Lee. “It’s a brilliant course with brilliant support all the way around. I really wanted to win the national title.”
Letterkenny’s Caitriona Jennings ran strongly for the national silver medal in 2:41:17 with Leevale’s Jill Hodgins third in 2:47:53.
It was also a first national marathon title for Mick Clohisey who finished sixth overall in 2:15:58. The Raheny Shamrock runner showed impatience by taking the lead early on and, although dropped by the leading pack around seven miles, hung on well in the later stages.
“I didn’t know what to do at the start,” said Clohisey “I looked around and tried to keep a reasonable pace waiting for the others to come up to me,” continued the Dubliner who has a personal best of 2:14:55.
Defending Irish champion Gary O’Hanlon finished second in the national race with the Dundalk man setting a personal best of 2:17:11 at a mature 44 years of age. Sergiu Ciobanu took the bronze in 2:17:28 in what was the strongest national championship for many a year. Britain’s John Boy Smith won the wheelchair race in 1:36:13.
An unexpectedly good attendance was treated to an excellent afternoon of cross country at the Bobby Rea meeting held in the grounds of Cafre, Antrim. As ever class told in the eponymous feature event as track ace Conor Bradley showed a clean pair of heels to a field of almost 180 runners.
The City of Derry Spartan bided his time until about halfway of the eight kilometre race before moving away to cross the finish line 19 seconds ahead of North Down’s national Junior champion Craig McMeechan. Another Spartan Declan Reed took third denying fourth placer John Black his second podium place in as many weekends.
If Bradley turned the men’s race into a procession, the same could not be said of the women’s contest as Sinead Sweeney and Shalane McMurray fought out a bitter duel until close to the finish of the testing six kilometres. In the end the QUB AC athlete prevailed by ten seconds over McMurray who was provincial champion in 2016. Sarah Grant took third to lead North Down to a convincing team win.
Earlier the weekend had kicked off in fine style with 1200 runners lining up for the spectacular Spook 5K in the town centre of Enniskillen. Kenyan Gideon Kimosop was first across the line in a respectable 15:05 with Scott Rankin and Paddy Hamilton filling the minor places.
Heather Foley was first woman holding off DTC’s Marina Murphy by a mere four seconds. Other DTC athletes among the prizes were Elaine Connor (1st F40) and Mal McCausland (3rd M60). Conor McIlveen and David Mellon also impressed (no detailed results to hand).