Derry Track Club athletes enjoyed what may have been its best ever weekend with a NI relay record, a Commonwealth Games mark, a NI & Ulster Senior title and a clutch of Masters’ medals.
NI Relay Record for Jason Smyth
After the disappointment of failing to hand over the baton at the final changeover in midweek at the Belfast International, the Northern Ireland 4 x 100m squad bounced back with a national record at the Anniversary Games in London.
DTC’s Jason Smyth led off the squad before Christian Robinson, Dean Adams and Leon Reid finished off in 40.35 seconds.
The Eglinton man will be back in action in London later this week when he takes part in the World IPC Championships.
Commonwealth Mark for Adam Kirk-Smith
The Letterkenny International Track & Field Meeting continued to punch well above its weight with a galaxy of stars converging on the Donegal town for an enthralling evening of athletics. And right on cue the fifth edition of the event culminated in yet another sub four minute mile as 22-year-old Texan Robert Domanic just slipped under the once magical figures with a 3:59.98 timing.
Domanic was the only one under four minutes after taking control with 300m remaining. He went on to control the race all the way to the line as the first thee places were filled by US athletes. Clonmel’s Sean Tobin was the first Irish man home in fourth with a 4:01.10 timing.
At least three Northern Ireland athletes came to the meeting in pursuit of a Commonwealth Games consideration mark but only one achieved their goal. It was an emotional night for the one who did as Adam Kirk-Smith was running for the first time in his recently deceased grandmother’s beloved county of birth.
After looking out of it in tenth place with two laps remaining, the London-based Derry Track Club athlete put all that emotion into a sensational final circuit that carried him to within a couple of strides of victory. In the end, he had to settle for fourth spot behind Jordan Mann (8:36.73) as Americans filled the top three spots.
However, he did have the consolation of notching up his second Commonwealth mark in a matter of weeks with an 8:37.41 personal best. That should elevate his standing in the percentage rankings that will determine who represents NI in Australia next April.
Kerry O’Flaherty will have had happy memories of the track where she qualified for the Rio Olympics two years earlier but on this occasion had to settle for fifth place and running 9:59.46; some six seconds outside the mark required to book her flight to the Gold Coast and well behind winner Mel Lawrence of the United States who set an Irish All-Comers’ record of 8:36.65.
It has also been a frustrating season for Christine McMahon as she too struggles to find her best form. That 57.30 mark seemed as far off as ever for the Ballymena & Antrim woman with a second place in 59.00 behind England’s Meghan Beesley (58.32).
Australia’s Michael Konomanyi was disappointed with his 10.88 clocking in winning the 100m but Brazil’s Bruno de Barros had no problem posting a fast 21.41 timing in taking the 200m. England’s Nicholas Atwell put in a strong final straight to win the 400m in 47.86.
American high school indoor mile record holder Drew Hunter was a comfortable victor of the 3000m race in 8:14.95. DTC’s Marty Cox continued to improve with a strong finish to take fifth in a personal best 8:51.74.
Nardhia Kidd-Walker was run all the way to the line by Finn Valley’s Janine Boyle with only two-hundredths of a second separating them on the clock as the English woman prevailed in 25.24 seconds. Kaela Edwards continued the American domination of the middle-distances with a 2:03.38 winning mark in the women’s 800m.
English athletes dominated the field events with Joe Dunderdale winning the javelin with a best throw of 73.41m and Yorkshire man Scott Lincoln reigned supreme in the Shot Putt with a throw of 18.53m. Christina Nick’s 13.10m effort was good enough to land women’s shot putt prize. All threw marks were meeting records.
DTC’s Conor McIlveen continued his pursuit of a place at next year’s Commonwealth Games T38 100m with a 13.14 clocking in the short sprint B race despite a cool headwind. Credit to Sean McIntyre for turning out to support his club colleague and clocking a creditable 13.44 mark.
Marina is Crowned NI & Ulster Senior 10,000m Champion
Marina Murphy put in an inspirational performance to take the NI & Ulster Senior 10,000m title which was run off in conjunction with the provincial Masters’ championships at the Mary Peters Track.
Marina lapped like a metronome in what was essentially a solo run to record an impressive 38:27.68 personal best. It was Marina’s first track title and comes with the demands of holding down a full-time job and being the mother of a young daughter.
DTC’s Masters also excelled with a hat-full of medals at the Masters’ championships. Elaine (400m), Cathal McLaughlin (400m), Adrian Boyle (800m) and Michael Murphy (1500m) all did the green vest proud.
Elsewhere it was an early start on Sunday morning for Ben Mellon and co. who took in the Great Rossa Run at Ardboe, Co. Tyrone. The 14-year-old scorched around a tough course in 19:53 for seventh place.
Dad David Mellon was 12th in 21:07 while Mal McCausland recorded 46:29 in the 10K.