Nothing trumps speed and track specialist Neil Johnston proved it once again when he was the emphatic winner of the Greencastle 5 Miles road race in Tyrone. The race confirmed its status as the number one holiday fixture with over 700 hardy runners crossing the finish line in damp and windy conditions.
Johnston was making his debut in the race and was in a group
of three, along with Scott Rankin and Mark McKinstry, who broke away from the
field almost from the gun. But Johnston’s track speed told as he took an early
lead on the downhill before going on to break the tape in 24 minutes and 54
seconds. Rankin held on to the runner-up spot a further 24 seconds back with 2018
winner McKinstry having to settle for third on this occasion in 25:34.
“Conditions were pretty tough there but I just went out with
Scott and Mark McKinstry,” said the Coleraine man. “It’s downhill then and I
started getting a bit of a lead and then Scott and myself broke off. I think I
was in the lead from two miles on and built it on. But it’s a tough climb from three
to four miles.”
Matthew Neill was the first U20, taking fourth in 25:50,
while Eoin Hughes (26:16) and Colin Griffin (26:33) rounded off the top half
Emma Mitchell completed her third consecutive victory in the women’s race it could not have been any easier for the Clonliffe Harrier who won by over three minutes in 29:21. Pauline McGurren (32:24) and April Clarke (32:32) completed the women’s podium.
The organisers set new standards in terms of the content of the goody bags both in terms of the quantity of the items included and the quality. No more plastic bottles, replaced by paper cartons and surely a first anywhere …. a pack of four free range eggs!
Many runners may be interested, if they have not seen it already, in a documentary Gamechangers produced by Academy winning director James Cameron and directed by Academy Award winner Louis Psihoyos (2009’s “The Cove” and 2015’s “Racing Extinction”). Currently available on Netflix after being released in June, the film boasts some big hitters in the entertainment and sporting world as executive producers, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Novo Djokovic and Lewis Hamilton.
The documentary may be of benefit
to athletes and runners, indeed anyone who takes part in a sport, as it claims
to highlight the misconceptions around eating meat to support physical prowess
in sport. James Wilks, who instructs
members of the U.S. defence forces, narrates the film, based on his own
personal experiences, that looked at how plant-based diets affected every part
of our bodies.
Vegan diets involve
completely cutting out all animal products including meat, eggs, cheese and
milk. Veganism and vegetarianism have exploded in the last few years, with
millions of people looking to cut out animal products for both ethical and
health reasons. A report by research firm Global Data claims that veganism has
seen a 600 percent increase in the last three years in the US. Research has shown that plant-based diets,
eliminating red meats and at times seafood, can lower blood pressure and risk
The coverage showed the
change plant-based diets had on the quality of athlete’s blood and the
endurance they had on the field or in the gym. Arnold Schwarzenegger also
weighed in on the side of a vegetarian diet, saying in his early days of
bodybuilding he was a big meat eater.
“I ate a lot of meat, I ate
my 10-15 eggs a day and you know had my 250g of protein a day because I weighed
250 pounds,” admitted Schwarzenegger. “But as I got older and read up on it, I
recognised the fact you really don’t have to get your protein from meat or
Readers may find particularly interesting the part of the documentary that focussed on the NFC team Tennessee Titans, featuring their linebacker Derrick Morgan, who had not made the play-offs in almost a decade. Half of the team ditched animal products altogether after Morgan, who is interviewed, started reading research about plant-based food and recovery, and how eating the right foods accelerates the healing process.
Derrick’s wife started cooking him plant-based meals, and eventually the other guys wanted to try the diet as well. Not only did they love the delicious plant-based food but the Titans had their best ever season in 2017 reaching the play-offs and only going out to the New England Patriots, the eventual Superbowl champions.
eggs and dairy products are common sources of protein for most people. anyone
who consumes these foods typically get plenty of protein in their daily diets,
but Vegans need to turn to beans and nuts to get enough. The recommended daily
amount is 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams daily for men. Vegans rely on
tofu, beans and nuts as their sources of protein, a cup of dry beans has about
16 grams of protein, and a 100-gram serving of extra-firm tofu yields just
under 10 grams.
get their iron mostly from meat, particularly red meat, so it is important for Vegans
to consume iron-rich foods as well. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue and
problems with brain function. Females need 18 milligrams of iron daily, but the
requirement jumps to 27 milligrams for pregnant women while surprisingly men
only need 8 milligrams daily. Soya beans, white beans and spinach are good
sources of iron, but Vegans may need a daily iron supplement.
Other Essential Minerals and Vitamins.
In the absence
of dairy products in their diet, Vegans need to look elsewhere to meet their
calcium requirements of 1,000 milligrams per day. Vitamin D assists the body in
absorbing calcium, adults need 600 international units per day. It is almost
inevitable that Vegans need to either take a vitamin D supplement or drink soy
milk fortified with vitamin D. They almost certainly need to take a vitamin B12
supplement as the vitamin is almost exclusively found in animal products.
The Vegan Society of Ireland has been promoting Ve.ganism and Animal Rights in Ireland since 2009. Its website www.vegan.ie contains lots of information for anyone thinking of practising veganism or is already a Vegan. Vegan Runners (www.veganrunners.org.uk) offer membership for just £6 per year and can provide introductions to others in the UK of a like mind.
Well done, Ireland; a country that welcomes immigrants and a nation that has waved good-bye to countless emigrants for centuries while others have stuck out at home through thick and thin. The arrivals, the departures and remainers came together in perfect synchronicity yesterday to help Ireland to its best ever day at the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon. Two individual and two team medals surpassed anything achieved before at a European Cross Country and bridged a four year gap since an Irish athlete trod the presentation podium.
And that welcoming attitude paid dividends when a refugee
from Eritrea won a bronze medal for the country in the Junior Men’s team race. Two
years ago, Efrem Gidey was languishing in the holding camp at Calais in France but
yesterday he declared himself a proud Irish man standing alongside the
all-conquering Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen on the medal podium of a
Gidey was in the leading group from the opening lap and when
the reigning European Senior 1500m/5000m champion Ingebrigtsen applied the
pressure halfway through the 6225m event, the 19-year-old was only one of two
men to respond. The Norwegian pulled away to away to seal his fourth consecutive
by over half a minute while Gidey fought out the minor places with Turkey’s
In the end the Turk won that battle by three seconds with
Gidey seemingly would have been happier with a team medal than his own
achievement but Ireland lost third place on countback after finishing on the
same points as Portugal.
“I’m so happy,” he said. “Ireland is my country and means so
much. I am doing it for Ireland because it is doing it for me. A good
opportunity – I am learning English and I’m going to school.”
Gidey lives in Tyrellstown, a northern suburb of Dublin and is
a member of Clonliffe Harriers. He is current Irish Schools cross country
champion and recently won the Leinster Senior Men’s cross country title. Some thought he was ill-advised in running
the recent National Senior at Abbotstown but finished ninth, helping Clonliffe
regain the team title. He was sick last
week and only got the all-clear to compete on Friday past when Athletics Ireland
managed to secure a visa for him to enter Portugal.
Three young Irish woman who, like so many before them, went
to the United States to further their education and running careers, supplied
medals two and three. Cork’s Stephanie Cotter ran a well-timed race to take the
individual bronze in the U23 race while further down the field the Tyrone twins,
Eilish and Roisin Flanagan, battled hard to claim 9th and 17th
respectively to put Ireland in the silver medal spot behind a strong
All three women attend Adams State University and agreed
that they would not be where they are today were it not for the coaching and
facilities made available to them in Alamosa, Colorado.
“I came off the NCAA season and I was very happy with it and
I knew I was fit coming in here,” said Cotter. “I went out to win it but I knew
Moller was strong, so I said I would go out in the top five and if there were
any moves, I’d cover them. I think about the third lap, she put in a big surge
and I wasn’t able to go with it. This season, I think Adams State has
transformed me completely as a runner.”
For Eilish Flanagan, from the Tyrone hamlet of Gortin, it
was her second European silver medal of the year after finishing runner-up in
the U23 3000m steeplechase in the summer.
“It’s really hard to believe (two medals), it’s been a
really amazing year for myself,” said Eilish Flanagan. “It’s something to bring
home to Gortin, to the country and our small community. We are able to work
well with our coach at Adams State and he has improved us every single year.”
There was almost a fairy-tale ending to the meeting with
Fionnuala McCormack, an athlete who has plied her entire running trade at home,
was narrowly beaten for the bronze medal in the Senior Women’s race. Making a woman’s
record 16th appearance at these championships, the Wicklow woman was
denied third spot by the fast finishing Swede Samrawit Mengsteab by a miserable
Another stay at home advocate Ciara Mageean, in 20th,
had a cracking run on a tough and hilly course to cement a surprise silver team
medal for the Irish colleens. The trio was completed by another leaver Aoibhe
Richardson (17th), a Kilkenny woman studying in the US. All roads now
lead to Dublin for the 2020 championships when the challenge will be to equal
or better the Lisbon medal total. It will need all the arrivals, departed and
remainers to do that.
JUNIOR MEN (6225m): 1 J Ingebrigtsen 18:20, 2 A Aslanhan TUR
18:58, 3 E Gidey IRL 19:01; Team: 1 GBR 25, 2 NOR 38, 3 IRL (3 Efrem Gidey, 12
Darragh McElhinney, 24 Thomas McStay) 39
JUNIOR WOMEN (4225m): N Bacolcatti ITA 13:58, 2 K Lukan 14:01,
3 M Machado POR 14:10; 1 ITA 29, 2 GBR 29, 3 FRA 38, 11 IRL (46 Jodie McCann, 62
A O’Cuill, 77 Sarah Kelly) 185
U23 MEN (8225m): J
Gressier FRA 24:17, 2 E Bibic 24:25, 3 A Oukhelfen ESP 24:34; Team: 1 FRA 17, 2
ITA 29, 3 GER 45, 7 IRL (22 Brian Fay, 25 Jack O’Leary, 26 Peter Lynch) 73
U23 WOMEN (6225m): A E Moller DEN 20:30, 2 J Lau NED 21:09,
3 Stephanie Cotter IRL 21:15; Team: 1 NED 17, 2 IRL (3 Cotter, 9 Eilish
Flanagan, 17 Roisin Flanagan) 29, 3 GBR 47.
UNDER 12 Boys and Girls
60m, 60m Hurdles, 600m, 600m walk, shot, Long Jump, High Jump, 4 x 200m Relay
UNDER 14 Boys and Girls
60m, 60m Hurdles, 800m 1,000m walk shot, Long Jump, High Jump, 4 x 200m Relay
UNDER 16 boys and Girls
60m, 60m Hurdles, 400, 800m, 1,500m, 1,000m Walk, Long Jump, High Jump, 4x 200m
UNDER 18 Men and Women 60m,
60m Hurdles, 400m, 800m, 1,000m Walk, 1,500m, Shot, Long Jump, High jump, Triple
Jump, 4 x 200m Relay
JUNIOR Men and Women 60m,
60m hurdles, 400, 800m, 1,000m Walk, 1,500m, shot, long jump, triple jump, 4 x
Senior Men and Women 60m,
60m hurdles, 400, 800m, 1,000m Walk, 1,500m, shot, long jump, triple jump, 4 x
Masters Men and Women 60m,
60m hurdles, 400, 800m, 1,000m Walk, 1,500m, shot, long jump, triple jump, 4 x
Entry Fees Juveniles €5
per event. Senior/Masters €8 per event. Relays €20 per team
Three athletes per club
ENTRIES ON AAI ON-LINE
SYSTEM CLOSING AT MIDNIGHT ON DECEMBER 14Th 2019. Athletes may step
up one age and compete in a maximum of three events plus a relay. Entry to the
U/12 Sprint Events 60m and 60m Hurdles are confined to athletes from North West
(Donegal Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Sligo, Leitrim)
All track events are
time trials, only three attempts allowed in Long and Triple Jumps and Shot.
All athletes must wear
U/12 athletes MAY use
starting blocks, all other athletes MUST use blocks. IAAF false start rules
Electronic timing will
be in operation for all track events.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
CONTACT Bernie o’ Callaghan, 20 the Waterfront, Killybegs, Co Donegal.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man and sprinter Jason Smyth delivered once again, winning the T13 100m at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai. It was Ireland’s only gold medal of the meeting and Smyth’s eighth world title since he came on the scene in 2006. His time of 10.54 (+0.6 wind reading) seconds was the best time ever run in the category at a World Para Championships.
The Derry Track Club athlete had stretched his legs in the
morning with a comfortable win in his heats but looked nervous as he assumed his
starting position for the eight-man final. Salah Khelaifia was first out of the
blocks, but Smyth was level by 30 metres before the Algerian clutched his thigh
and pulled up before the halfway distance. After that it was all Smyth as he
pulled away to break the tape, well clear of Australia’s Chad Perris, whom many
had thought would give the Irishman a run for his money.
Earlier in the Championships, Smyth had watched Petrucio Ferreira erase his name from the record books when the Brazilian posted the two fastest times in a 100m race of a major Para athletics championships. The Brazilian made his intentions clear in the 100m T47 morning heats blazing to a world record time of 10.42, shading Smyth’s record of 10.46 seconds set at the London Paralympics in 2012. Ten hours later, Ferreira was just two-hundredths of second outside that mark, but it was enough to seal the gold with ease and set up a remarkable cleansweep of all three medals by his countrymen.
It is always sad to witness end of an era as was the case yesterday
as the previously undefeated Michael McKillop finished out of the medals in the
T38 1500m at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai. Defending champion
McKillop fought hard down the final straight but could not get into a podium
place as newcomer Canadian Nate Riech turned in an impressive display of
tactics and power to race away with the title in 4:02.04.
McKillop found a season’s best of 4:09.07 only good enough on
this occasion for fourth. Up until yesterday McKillop had been the dominant
athlete in the event but new classifications and merging of T37 and T38
categories contributed to the end of his reign for the 29-year-old Randalstown
Anders Lagergren sprinted into the lead from the gun and led
the field through the opening lap in a swift 64 seconds. McKillop looked smooth
back in the chasing pack while Ireland’s other representative David Leavy struggled
to maintain contact. The Dane then faded rapidly, ending up 11th, as
the favourite Riech moved to the front with two laps to go and started to open
up a gap on the field.
The Canadian had ten metres to the good as the bell sounded
with only Algeria’s Abdelkrim Krai looking as though he posed any danger to
Riech. McKillop, in fifth, was visibly struggling with the pace. The man from
British Columbia continued his relentless pace at the front to come home the
most impressive of winners some 30 metres ahead of Krai as McKillop mounted a late
surge to snatch fourth from another Canadian Liam Stanley.
The first three finishers were all T38, a lesser form of
disability to McKillop who is a T37, meaning the former North Belfast Harrier
was the leading competitor in the latter category, setting a T37 championship record.
David Leavy stuck manfully to his own pace throughout to register a personal
best 4:23.86 in ninth. Ireland’s other competitor yesterday, Mary Fitzgerald,
finished out of the medals in the F40 shot put.
Unfortunately, there was no medal for Kerry man Jordan Lee who went into the T47 high jump second-ranked but was beaten for the bronze medal on countback after clearing 1.87m at his third attempt. India’s Nishad Kumar was the winner of the event with a 1.94m clearance on his first effort to keep a clean sheet without a failure throughout the competition.
DTC’s Conor McIlveen acquitted himself well in the heats of the T38 400m. With only four days to acclimatise and a severe classification to endure just 48 hours before his heat, McIlveen finished seventh in 58.86 seconds.