Category Archives: News

BELFAST MEET TO BE BIGGER, AND BETTER IN 2020

Bold Prediction from Race Director Eamonn Christie

“Last year’s event was a resounding success but 2020 will be even better,” that is the bold prediction of Eamonn Christie, director of Belfast IMC Meeting. “All my default sponsors are back and a lot more too.  Next year’s meeting will be June 20, 2020 and I’ve already had big interest from across the water and beyond. A large squad of top athletes are coming over from Leeds and Steve Macklin will send a squad again from the Aspire Academy in Doha.”

The overdue arrival of summer meant perfect running conditions at this year’s meeting as records tumbled throughout an action-packed afternoon at the Mary Peters Track. Numerous personal bests and one world best were testimony to a programme expertly put together by meeting director Eamon Christie and his cohorts at Beechmount Harriers, West Coast Coolers and the Irish Milers’ Club.

English visitor Matt Wigelsworth was the impressive winner of the feature event and returned to his Preston home £500 richer as he picked up the £200 bonus, in addition to the winner’s prize of £300, for breaking three minutes and 43 seconds in the men’s 1500m. The ice-cool 22-year-old was well off the pace in third place at the bell but stormed to the front on the final straight before stopping the clock at a personal best 3:42.67.

Gortin Girl Eilish Flanagan went on to take a silver medal at the European U23s after winning in Belfast last year.

Gortin girl Eilish Flanagan, who went on to take a silver medal in the steeplechase at the European U23 championships, was in a class of her own in the women’s 1500m. Further down the field Cavan native Anne Gilshinan took four seconds off her own world F50 best; another European medallist Nadia Power won the women’s 800m races while Cillian Kirwan lifted the prize for the men’s two lap event and Liam Brady was a runaway winner of the men’s 5000m.

It was thought that the men’s 1500m, sponsored by Cathal McLaughlin of E & I Engineering Ltd, might revert to a mile but Christie has decided he will retain the current format.

“I’ve sought the opinions of the athletes and there is a marked consensus that we retain the 1500m distance as many will be looking for qualifying times for that distance next year with the World U20 Championships and Olympics coming up later in the year.”

Other returning sponsors included Andrea Anderson and Greg Campbell while Pure Running, HBM Sportswear, Jason Harvey (GoFyt) and Kinetica have all indicated they will assist next year’s meeting.

HEHIR WINS IN ARMAGH

Marathon man Sean Hehir dominated the Armagh 10 Mile Road Race coming tantalising close to the course record set by Andrew Ledwith and finishing just ten seconds off the 2011 mark with a 50 minutes and ten seconds timing.

Hehir came to the race with impressive credentials having won the Dublin City Marathon on two occasions; the Clare native also represented Ireland at the 2014 European Championships in Zurich in 2014 and the IAAF World Championships in London two years ago as well as picking up national titles at cross country and half marathon.

First three in Armagh L-R: Hughes, Hehir and McElvanna

Hehir lived up to his name by racing away from the opposition straight from the gun before going on to win by almost four minutes from Acorns AC ace Eoin Hughes (53:59) as Armagh AC’s Brian McElvanna closed in on third spot another 18 seconds back.

While Marie McCambridge’s 2008 record of 56:53 was never challenged, the women’s race was notable both for the number of competitors and the overall standard. All the women’s categories were contested for the first time and no less than seven clubs contested the team prize. Nicola Flanagan of Blayney Rockets AC was a worthy winner in 62:57, after a battle almost to the line with North Belfast Harrier Louise Smith (63:15) with Pauline McGurren taking the bronze award in 65:51. The hosts Armagh AC claimed both team titles.

IT’S SPOOKTACULAR TIME IN ENNISKILLEN AGAIN

Stephen Cassidy is favoured to score a hometown victory in next weekend’s Spooktacular 5K

Well over 1,000 runners are set to take to the streets of Enniskillen next Friday night (October 25) for a night of frighteningly good fun as well as some top class race action.  The ninth annual Enniskillen Spooktacular 5k Run will take place on Friday, October 25 at 8pm, and entries have been flying in according to the organisers, Enniskillen Running Club.

 “From fairly humble beginnings, we can’t believe how much the event has grown since it first took to the town’s streets back in 2011,” said ERC’s Michael Walsh. “We had just under 300 that first year but we have averaged well over 1,000 the last few years and online entries this year are ahead of anything we have seen so far.”

The event boasts a carnival family atmosphere, with lots of children out to beat their friends and parents across the line and also a large number of people donning fancy dress. But there also has been plenty of fireworks when it comes to the racing itself with many of the province’s top 5k runners turning out to tackle the fast one lap course which starts and finishes in the town centre.

Last year in the men’s field Gideon Kimosop of Derry Track Club took the honours with a 15.05 timing, ahead of Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin and Paddy Hamilton. But with the top two missing this year, it looks like the 2019 race is wide open with Enniskillen’s Stephen Cassidy, who came fourth last year, in with a shout of taking the home honours and the   £200 top prize.

The women’s race last year saw a titanic tussle between Sligo AC’s Heather Foley, Derry Track Club’s Marina Murphy and Clones masters track star Denise Toner, with only 10 seconds separating them. With both Heather and Denise confirmed to run again this year, another close showdown is in store.

 “It’s a special year for us as a club as we have just celebrated our tenth anniversary,” Michael added. “We’ve also   just had three members selected  for the Northern Ireland masters team for the first time, our junior section is thriving and another great Spook will just be the icing on the cake.”

Online entry is now available through the Athletics NI website or through Enniskillen Running Club’s Facebook page. There will also be limited on-the-night entries available.

DTC Members included in irelAND TEAM FOR WORLD PARA CHAMPS

Four Ulster athletes are included in the 11-strong team to represent Ireland at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai from November 7 – 15. Jason Smyth again is the main hope for success with the Derry Track Club sprinter aiming to continue his incredible winning streak and claim an 8th World Championship medal and his 18th major title. The 32-year-old remains unbeaten in Paralympic competition since he entered the category some dozen years ago.

Jason Smyth will be targeting an eighth world title in the T13 100m

Michael McKillop will make his much anticipated return to a major championships action for the first time since his World Para Athletics Championships gold medal win in London over two years ago. The Paralympic legend suffered a career-threatening groin injury which required an operation as recently as 12 months ago. He will be hoping to recapture the form that made him one of the greatest Paralympians of all time although changes to the classification system mean that the former St. Malachy’s athlete faces tougher competition than ever this time.

“The new classifications might be against me but if you believe in yourself, you can always achieve,” was McKillop’s upbeat assessment of his chances in Dubai.

:L:R – Michael McKillop, Conor McIlveen and David Leavy

There are world championship debuts for both City of Lisburn’s David Leavy (T38/1500m) and Derry Track Club’s Conor McIlveen (T38 400m).  Both are latecomers to Paralympic competition but have made rapid progress in the past two years.  A place in their respective finals would represent success for both men. Elsewhere Galway native, Alex Lee, will make history as he becomes Ireland’s first ever ‘blade runner’ when he competes for Ireland in the 100m and 200m T64 heats. World ranked number two high jumper, Jordan Lee, will also compete at his first world championships, as will shot putter, Mary Fitzgerald.

Cork’s trio of seasoned discus throwers will also compete for world championship glory as Orla Barry, Noelle Lenihan and Niamh McCarthy will all look to repeat their podium success from London 2017. European Champion T13 1500m runner, Greta Streimikyte, will hope to continue her winning streak and target medal success in Dubai.  The added incentive for all is the fact is that a top four finish will automatically secure a slot for Irish athletes at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020.

“We have a great mix of experienced and rookie athletes in the team,” said James Nolan, Head of Para Athletics with Paralympics Ireland. “For five athletes this will be their first world championships and there are also six very experienced athletes that have won medals at major championships. World Para athletics is developing rapidly and standards at world level are tremendously high, but this team is exceptionally talented and will make an impact in Dubai.”

DTC MASTERS LIFT NATIONAL TITLES

18 August 2019 – The three DTC representatives put in a hard day’s graft to come away with three gold and one silver medal from the National Masters’ Track & Field Championships in Tullamore, County Offaly.

Robert Bigger gets ready to apply the coup-de-grace.

Robert Bigger capped an excellent season where he has consistently recorded the fastest times by an M60 for the middle-distance events in the UK and Ireland by winning both the 800m and 1500m.

Cathal takes gold in the 800m amid a monsoon.

Cathal McLaughlin added a third title for the DTC contingent with a masterful display of racing tactics in the M50 age group. Final success of the day came from a newcomer David Stewart who was anything but a newcomer. David was a sub-2 minute 800m runner a number of years ago but also a 1.80m high jumper, achieved on natural ability and without any professional coaching. And it was at that latter event, he took his silver medal that promises to be the first of many. Full results on the website www.athleticsireland.ie

16 August 2019 – BIG DAWG MAKES DEBUT IN NI & ULSTER VEST

Conor McIlveen made his first appearance in NI & Ulster colours when he represented the province at the Manchester International. Dropping down in distance, McIlveen lined up in the Ambulant 100m that included athletes from all disability classes. In blustery conditions, the Derry Track Club ace put in a credible performance to 7th in a strong field with a 13.06 seconds timing to gain 2 points for the team.

2019-manchesterinternationalteam.jpg
Conor is third from the left in the back row.

After such a tremendous effort from the whole team, in somewhat unfavourable conditions, the team placed 7th overall with 96 points in total. Congratulations not only to the athletes, but also to their personal coaches, whose hard work shone through the clouds.

Full results can be found here: https://www.thepowerof10.info/resultsfiles/2019/287413_6002_15082019124951.pdf

27/28 July 2019NATIONAL SENIOR T & F CHAMPS

Ciara Mageean showed that she is progressing nicely toward the world championships in Doha this autumn by picking up her third consecutive 800m title at the Irish Life National Senior Track & Field Championships in Morton Stadium, Dublin. The meeting also decided selections for Ireland’s team at the European League in Norway in two weeks time.

Mageean waited until the final furlong before imposing her authority on the field in what had been a slow race up to that point. The City of Lisburn athlete picked up the pace again on the homestraight to come home clear in a modest 2:07.30 with 2014 champion Katie Kirk continuing an impressive comeback season by taking the runner up spot in 2:07.56.

Letterkenny’s Mark English made it a two-lap double for the northern province with a controlled victory in the men’s race despite coming under pressure from Kildare’s John Fitzsimons on the final straight. English stopped the clock at 1:48.15, looking comfortable, and will now give his full attention to preparations for Doha after completing his medical studies at UCD.

Leon Reid’s decision to concentrate on the 200m, the distance at which he took a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games last year, was rewarded when he claimed the gold medal, narrowly beating arch rival Marcus Lawler from Carlow in 20.62 seconds.

There was a silver lining to the clouds hanging over Santry yesterday for quite a number of Ulster athletes. Jason Harvey was disappointed after losing out by centimetres to Paul Byrne in the 400m hurdles when the destination of the gold medal was not decided until the very finish line. Just five-hundredths separated the pair with the St. Abban’s athlete getting the decision in 51.73 seconds despite Harvey putting in his best performance for some time.

Jason Smyth narrowly missed out on the gold medal in the 100m

It took the camera to separate Paralympic champion Jason Smyth from Travane Morrison in the 100m but the Tralee-based American given the decision by two-hundredths in 10.61 seconds. Tirchonnaill’s Kelly McGrory chased home Nessa Millet in the 400m hurdles and City of Derry’s Conor Bradley was unlucky to lose out to DSD’s Hiko Tonosa in a competitive 5000m where any one of four men could have taken the title in the final sprint for the line.

In the field, Finn Valley’s John Kelly struck silver in the shot with a mighty heave of 17.60m while his club colleague Sommer Lecky suffered a surprise defeat in the high jump to Pippa Rogan who cleared 1.85m to the Castlederg woman’s 1.80m.

On Saturday, Stephen Scullion retained his 10,000m title as he moved away after two-thirds of the distance before going away to win by almost eight seconds from runner-up Mick Clohisey in 29:36.33.  The Belfast man, who is US-based, indicated after the race that he would take up his selection for the marathon at this year’s World Championship marathon in November. City of Lisburn’s Ellen McCartney successfully defended her pole vault title after a quiet season with a best clearance of 3.85m.  Unfortunately, one of the expected stars of the meeting, last season’s European medallist Thomas Barr, pulled out of the 400m hurdles where he was seeking his ninth consecutive title on account of a calf niggle.

FINDING A RACE AT HOME OR ABROAD WILL BE EASIER IN FUTURE

Do you have trouble finding out what events are on at any given time? You have to look at several fixtures lists and social media postings? The solution may be at hand. Let’s Do This is an online marketplace for challenge events, with more than 350,000 people using our innovative digital platform to find events around the globe every month. From 5K fun runs to ultramarathons, as well as cycling sportives and iron mans, Let’s Do This provides all the information and entry details in one place.

Co-founders, Sam Browne and Alex Rose, started the company out of a growing frustration with the endurance events industry.

“Our issue was that there were over 1.5 million endurance events every year, but they existed in a massively disorganized and fragmented mess,” said Sam Browne now CEO of the company. “Our goal has been to create the one-stop shop for participants to find events around the world, with a totally personalised experience designed to match each user’s specific needs.”

Let’s Do This has been in operation since 2016. Admittedly it had a slow start, but was fortunate enough to get early funding, including a massive £1 million funding boost in 2017 from several sports and technology investors. Since then, the company has continued to grow rapidly with offices now in London, San Francisco and Sydney and have been dubbed the “the Netflix of fitness”.

“Our target market is everyone. There is the obvious market, being serious competitors who are well versed in racing, but who want an easier way to find their next big race. Then, there is the whole range of people who are running, riding or swimming in their very first race. Beyond this, it’s the people who haven’t even considered participating in an endurance event – people crave new experiences,” continued Browne.

Let’s Do This currently have over 100,000 races hosted on our website across Ireland, the UK and beyond.  The company hopes within ten years to have every race in every country across the globe.  It already has more events listed than any comparable organisation. Would-be participants quickly learn which are the best events and race organisers are given real feedback on how to improve their events. Training plans and all types of fitness, health and racing related advice will also be available on the company’s blog. Further information is available on-line at www.letsdothis.com

UNBEATEN PARALYMPIAN PONDERS HIS FUTURE IN THE SPORT

Michael McKillop made an impressive opener winning the 1500m in Magherafelt.

Michael McKillop knows the odds are stacked against him adding a tenth IPC Athletics World Championships gold medal when the 2019 edition is held in Dubai this autumn. It is not the two years of persistent and niggling injuries, that he believes have been brought on by his cerebral palsy which become more evident as the years go by, but recent rule changes that pose the biggest threat to his unbeaten record.

McKillop opened his account for the year last weekend when he chose a low-key meeting to get back in the way of racing with a 1500m at the Meadowbank track in Magherafelt. Although the winning time (4:17.62), the 29-year-old Bedford & County athlete came away with a win with both himself and his coach, and father, Paddy McKillop expressing their pleasure at the way things had gone.

“It was just a question of reacquainting his legs with track racing because he has done very little speed training yet and the world championships are still almost four months away,” said Paddy.

However, it is not the usual challenge of getting to a peak with another major event. Coach and athlete are well used to that with four Paralympic and two European as well as the nine world golds nestling safely back in the trophy cabinet. The more imminent threat to his status as number one has come in two rules changes enacted by the International Paralympic Committee.

The first of these was to merge McKillop’s T37 category with the T38 of those whose cerebral palsy is determined to cause less effect in the extremities of the limbs.  McKillop, whose condition comes from his brain being deprived of oxygen for only a few seconds at birth, now will have to go head to head with athletes found in the past to be inherently stronger than him.

The second change is even more profound in that athletes with brain damage are now being classified in the same category as those with cerebral palsy. This has allowed two strong pretenders to McKillop’s crown to enter the competition, one of these is a Canadian who was on an athletics scholarship in the United States when he was hit on the head by a baseball causing brain damage. He recently entered his first Paralympic competition and came away with times of 1:57 for 800m and 3:57 for 1500m – McKillop has not bettered those times for six years.

“There are always challenges in life especially for Paralympic athletes,” said Michael. “I feel I’ve won my first battle in getting back after all the injuries.  When I wake up the morning and I’m able to run, it’s a good day. Obviously, I’m not where I want to be at the moment but I’m getting there but there’s plenty of time.

“I know that it’s going to be difficult in Dubai but it will be championship racing and the gold medal does not always go to the fastest competitor. I have years of racing experience built up over many championships and I should be able to pull something out of the bag.

“I intend carrying on until Tokyo next year but that will definitely be my last Paralympics. That is not to say that if someone offered me a good job with a decent salary after the worlds, I would not take it.

“I have to take a broader view now and be more ambitious.  My wife has made a lot of sacrifices for me in terms of holidays and in many other ways.  I have been in this sport since I was 10 and I won my first world championship at 16 – it’s been a long road. I want to do normal things like weekends instead of Saturdays just sitting around all day recovering from a session in the morning. I have to step up to the plate and look at the bigger picture. Starting a family would be something special,” he reflected.

McKillop returns to competitive action tomorrow when he competes over 1500m at the Drogheda IMC Meeting in the Lourdes Stadium. He will be looking to better the modest 4:45 standard for Dubai but knows sterner hurdles loom just over the horizon. Meantime there is the grind of another arduous preparation and hopefully another gold medal for the cabinet in Randalstown.

Provincial 10,000m Titles for Bamber and Hughes

6 July 2019

Kerry Bamber and Eoin Hughes claimed the respective NI & Ulster 10,000m championships at a sunny Meadowbank track in Magherafelt. Bamber created her own piece of history in becoming the first athlete from the Ballymena Runners’ Club to lift a senior provincial title.  She took up the lead from the gun and quickly distanced herself from last year’s bronze medallist Aisling Murray. The gap increased as the race progressed before the stylish 31-year-old crossed the finish line in 38:00.14.

Kerry in Control.

It was a satisfying day for Bamber’s coach Robert McGaughey who has had to overcome serious health issues in the past number of years without ever giving up his duties at the Ballymena club. Murray, from the Carmen Runners club, went on to take the silver medal, an upgrade from a bronze in 2018, recording a personal best 39:18.2. City of Lisburn’s Eimear McCracken took third in 40:56.2.  

Eoin Hughes

In contrast Eoin Hughes allowed his cousin and Acorns AC clubmate Vincent McKenna to set the early pace before taking command to win comfortably in 32:43.1.  Hughes’s victory emulated that of his father, who was fourth on this occasion, in the same race 30 years earlier. McKenna lapped solidly to hold on to second in 32:52.2 while behind him Letterkenny’s Conor Gallagher claimed his first ever provincial medal with a 33:54.2 timing.

Michael McKillop in the 1500m

Paralympic champion Michael McKillop chose the low-key meeting to make his debut for the season which he hopes will culminate in another gold medal at the World Para Athletics championships in Dubai next November. The North Belfast Harrier made all the running to come home well clear of the field in a credible 4:17.62 mark. (all times per ANI website).

Ben Mellon (right) continued his upward trajectory over the metric mile with a fine fourth place.

https://athleticsni.org/Results

Elsewhere Fionnuala McCormack was the best of the Irish at the European 10,000m Cup at the Parliament Hill track in Northwest London.  The Kilcoole athlete finished an impressive fifth in 32:05.29 behind the winner Stef Twell who was running for her club Aldershot and broke the tape in 31:08.13. Eilish McColgan was third in 31:16.76 and led the British women to team victory. 

Ireland’s other two counters were Letterkenny’s Ann-Marie McGlynn (33:38.50) and Aoibhe Richardson (33:41.15). Other Ulster athletes Emma Mitchell (34:12.24) and Fionnuala Ross (34:25.78) also turned in creditable marks. Newcastle’s Ryan Forsyth (29:01.37) was the best of the Irish representatives in the men’s races as individual victor Yemaneberhan Crippa (27:49.79) also led Italy to the team title. Local athletes Declan Reed (31:15.63), Scott Rankin (31:19.14) and Eoghan Totten (30:21.50) all recorded good marks for the distance. https://results.opentrack.run/x/2019/GBR/not/?fbclid=IwAR1A03sf07MZ-9HiHrldW4vk3tOC0RJSszvjd9MxiydT5MmRa0FCxn3dS00

Kate O’Connor and Ellen McCartney were two of the stars at an exciting National U20 and U23 Championships at Tullamore. O’Connor, who lives in Dundalk but is eligible to represent NI, set a new Junior record with a 48.98m throw in the Javelin. City of Lisburn’s Ellen McCartney added a centimetre to the U23 Pole Vault with a 4.01m clearance. Kenyan Gideon Kimosop (71:24) and Louise Smith (83:21) were the winners of the half marathon at yesterday’s Great Rossa Run. Tommy Hughes (34:14) and Ailsa Small (40:27) claimed top spots in the 10K while Darrell McKee (16:54) and Claire McAtamney (21:03) were the best of category in the 5K race.

Age No Barrier to NI Masters

30 June 2019

Age did not blunt the competitive edge as the province’s older athletes fought for titles at the Northern Ireland Masters’ Championships at the Mary Peters Track. Derry Track Club had three athletes in action bringing home a haul of four gold medals.

Adrian Boyle mounts his challenge in the 800m.

Adrian Boyle showed no sign of rush after two years out of the “ring” as he cruised to a polished outright victory in the men’s 800m.

1167Adrian BoyleDerry Track Club2:07.51
241Ronan KearnsRathfarnham WSAF2:07.80
378Stephen OrrOrangegrove AC 2:08.06
L-R: Adrian Boyle, Robert Bigger and Cathal McLaughlin

Robert Bigger executed his race plans perfectly to land a 800m/1500m double in the M60 age group while Cathal McLaughlin was peerless in the M50 1500m.

Many of the performers on show have continued from successful Senior careers directly to the 35 years and over grade whilst others returned to competition after retiring some years ago.  Former Junior international Ramey Adams was one of the latter breed.  Despite his promising juvenile career, he was forced to retire in his early twenties on account of what he described as “chronic injuries”.

Ramey Adams (left) and Trevor McGlynn.

“I am older, wiser, heavier and much slower but hungry to compete!” he had posted on social media before the meeting. Hope springs eternal but it was with some trepidation that the 37-year-old settled in his blocks for the 400m after an absence of 13 years from competitive track. The nerves were soon dispelled at the Cliftonville FC S&C trainer smoothed his way around the first bend before drawing away for a comfortable win in a respectable 53.98 seconds.

“Today was very humbling and made me appreciate the standard I used to compete at as well as a new respect for all the young athletes through to Masters’ level still training hard. I enjoyed the day, no pressure and a good benchmark,” said Adams.

Many were content to do just one discipline and go home but not Newry woman Geraldine Finegan who won no less than seven of the eight events she entered, including setting a new F55 age group best in the uniquely Irish Weight for Distance.  Strabane’s Trevor McGlynn, a former international hurdler, also had a prolific afternoon with titles both on the track and in the field.

Conor Curran in Command in the 1500m.

The middle-distances were as always competitive with Conor Curran’s gun to tape victory in the 1500m and some impressive front-running by Rhonda Brady in the women’s 800m both catching the eye.

Class Shines Out at Belfast IMC Meeting

22 June 2019

The overdue arrival of summer meant perfect running conditions as records tumbled throughout an action-packed afternoon at the Belfast IMC Meeting at the Mary Peters Track. Numerous personal bests and one world best were testimony to a programme expertly put together by meeting director Eamonn Christie.

Miles ahead – Matt Wigelsworth wins the 1500m.

English visitor Matt Wigelsworth was the impressive winner of the feature event and returned to his Preston home £500 richer as he picked up the £200 bonus, in addition to the winner’s prize of £300, for breaking three minutes and 43 seconds in the men’s 1500m. The ice-cool 22-year-old was well off the pace in third place at the bell but stormed to the front on the final straight before stopping the clock at a personal best 3:42.67.

Dubliner Andrew Coscoran also came through strong to seize second spot in 3:43.96 with Irish Schools champion Darragh McElhinney just pipping long-time leader Shane Fitzsimons for third, also recording personal best figures of 3:45.12.

Eilish Flanagan

Omagh’s Eilish Flanagan in a class of her own in the women’s 1500m. The Carmen Runners club woman, who had only returned home from Arizona on the Wednesday before the race, opened up an unassailable lead on the penultimate circuit before coming home on her own in 4:21.06.

North Down’s Rachel Gibson also notched up a new personal mark of 4:43.89 in second place as Spain’s Claudia Jalon occupied the bronze medal spot in 4:24.83 after a late lunge for the finish line. Further down the field Cavan native Anne Gilsinan who now lives in Wexford took four seconds off her own world F50 best with an outstanding 4:41.46 timing.

Both 800m races were thrilling affairs but with contrasting outcomes. Kieran Kelly took up the running in the men’s race with 300m to go and looked all over the winner as he entered the home straight.

However, his Raheny Shamrock club colleague Cillian Kirwan had other ideas and he overhauled Kelly right on the line to win in 1:50.45. Stephen McKay was rewarded for the long trip down from Inverness with a third spot in 1:50.86.

Nadia Power gets home in the 800m and holds off a late challenge from Louise Shanahan.

Templeogue’s Nadia Power lived up to the favourite’s tag in the women’s two-lapper, striking the front on the final back straight to build up a 20 metre lead.  Although fading slightly on the run in, the Dubliner still had enough in hand to hold on for the victory in 2:04.05.

Cork athlete Louise Shanahan won the mad scramble for second in a personal best 2:04.77 while City of Glasgow’s Phillipa Millage claimed third in 2:05.48. UU’s Katie Kirk had her best run of the season to take sixth while the major surprise was Irish record holder for the event Rose-Anne Galligan ending up back in ninth.

Liam Brady wins the 5000m

Other highlight’s of a memorable afternoon included comprehensive victories in the respective 5000m races by Tullamore Harrier Liam Brady (14:32.80) and Strabane resident Ann-Marie McGlynn (16:09.35);  Finn Valley’s Shane Irwin (47.72) and North Down’s Rachel McCann (56.94) were the winners of the respective 400m races while another Finn Valley athlete Janine Boyle arguably turned in the top sprint performance of the day with a 25.79 clocking in the women’s 200m.

28 June 2019

The plaudits continue to roll in for the Belfast IMC Meeting at the Mary Peters track last weekend. “Amazing! Congrats to all involved!”, “Best athletics meet I’ve been to for a long time” and “Well done Eamon yet again a swift well run event with top class performances” were typical of the comments on social media.

Eamonn Christie

There were exciting contests of high quality throughout the afternoon with a programme that ran on-time throughout its four hour duration. While English visitor Matt Wigelsworth stole most of the headlines with his victory in the men’s 1500m, picking up a generous bonus for his winning time, there were other performances by Irish athletes that may have gone under the radar.

Nadia Power continued her preparations for next month’s European U23 championships with an emphatic win in the women’s 800m.  Further down the field in fifth place Katie Kirk showed glimpses of the form that made her a Commonwealth Games semi-finalist a few years ago, running her fastest time since 2016.

Gortin girl Eilish Flanagan showed no sign of jetlag from a midweek flight back from her Arizona base as she ran away with the 1500m. Further down the field Ann Gilshinan made the long trip from Wexford to break her own world F50 best in the 1500m registering an exceptional 4:41.46 timing.

Ann Gilshinan

The 52-year-old Cavan native gave up the sport at 20 and only returned three years ago. He attributes her ongoing success to a visit to her physio every week and daily foam roller sessions.

Meeting director Eamonn Christie is not resting on his laurels and has already been in touch with the sponsors to garner their continued support for next year.

“I’m happy with the way the meeting went and the positive response I’ve had from everyone,” said Christie. “Planning has started for next year and hopefully we can have another great day with both athletes and spectators going home happy again.”

NEVER MIND THE QUALITY, FEEL THE WIDTH!

14 June 2019

The people at the RunRepeat website (www.runrepeat.com) have been crunching the numbers and has come up with some surprising conclusions about the state of running worldwide.  The statisticians at RunRepeat analysed 107.9 million race results from over 70 thousand events in 209 countries between 1986 and 2018. The key findings were: –

  • Event participation is for the first time in decline – by 13% – since 2016, which peaked with 9.1 million runners crossing the finish line. Growth continues in Asia.
  • Runners have never been slower – male runners in particular. In 1986 the average finish time in the marathon was 3:52:35, whereas today it’s 4:32:49 – a slowdown of 40 minutes and 14 seconds.
  • Runners have never been older aging from 35.2 in 1986 to 39.3 in 2018.
  • Spain has the fastest recreational runners on the marathon distance, Russia on the half marathon, Switzerland on the 10K and Ukraine on the 5K. 
  • For the first time in history, there are more female than male runners. In 2018, 50.24% of runners were female.
  • The motives for participating in running are potentially changing from being achievement-focused to being psychological, health and socially focused, which in part can be proved by more people traveling to race, slower finish times and how milestone-ages (30, 40, 50) now are much less dominant than 15 and 30 years ago.

RunRepeat has shared the UK specific data (no statistics made available for Ireland). The average 5K finish time in the UK is 33:54. That breaks down to 29:08 for male runners and 38:12 for females. Over the 10K distance, the average finish time was 58:08 with males averaging and 53:38 and the females 63:18. Both are relatively faster than the 5K averages.

The data shows that as running became more popular, the world got slower in a manner of speaking.  Between 1986 and 2001, the average marathon finish time went from 3:52:35 to 4:28:56 – an increase of 15.6%. Since 2001, the average marathon finish time has only increased by 1.4%, making it 4:32:49. In the UK, the average marathon finish time was 4:37:09.

In 1986, the average marathon finish time for a male runner was 3:48:15. In 2001, this had increased by 27 minutes, with the average male runner crossing the line in 4:15:13. After this, the average male finish time has increased slightly to 4:22:13. The average male finish time in the UK was 4:23:27.

In comparison, as more women signed up for marathons, the average female marathon time also got slower between 1986 and 2001, increasing by 14.8%, but after 2001, females seem to have got faster, declining on average by 4 minutes. The average marathon female finish time in the UK is 5:00:39.

According to the RunRepeat data, the average pace for a male marathon runner is 6:43 minutes per kilometre, which works out as 10:34 minutes per mile. The average pace for a female runner over 26.2 miles is 7:26 minutes per kilometre, or an 11:55 minute mile.

The data also reveals that the USA and the UK are the slowest marathon nations, possibly due to larger numbers of race runners, while since 2001 Spain has been the fastest marathon nation followed by Germany.