North Belfast Harrier Mark McKinstry was rewarded for the long journey to Derry from Glenwherry with an impressive six seconds win in 16 minutes and seven seconds. In-form Marty Cox from the host club Derry Track Club took second with Michael Crawley showing good speed to take third in 16:58.
The women’s race, which was run separately resulted in a convincing victory for Foyle Valley’s Martina McMullen in 19:46. Ulster Novice cross country champion Natalie Hall, from the Acorns club, looked strong in taking second in 20:06 with the host club’s Amy McDaid lifting the bronze medal in 20:45.
Chris Millar sealed the overall victory in the Valley Trail 5K Series with a win in the final event at Ballykelly Forest. It was the Derry Track Club athlete’s third win in the four fixtures.
The Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro are within touching distance for Conor McIlveen after another outstanding run by the Derry Track Club athlete at Morton Stadium in Dublin.
McIlveen recorded 4:41 to move to within a second of the “A” qualifying mark for Brazil. More impressive still given the cold and windy conditions. It will almost certainly ensure his selection for the European Paralympic Championships at Grosseto, Italy in June.
Conor wishes to thank Enda Fitzpatrick for setting up the race and organising the pacemakers.
For the third time in as many years Cathal McLaughlin has gone to a major Masters’ international championships and returned with a medal. On this occasion it was the European Masters’ Indoor Championships in Ancona, Italy.
Two years ago it was a bronze medal at the World Indoors in Budapest; last year it was a silver medal in Torun, Poland at the European Indoors. Both of those were over 1500m but this year it was a bronze in the 5K Cross Country.
With only one M40 available for selection, team manager Ann Gormley decided to drop Cathal and Beechmount Harrier Stuart Kennedy down an age group. Her gamble proved successful with Paul Fleming leading the team home in ninth spot followed shortly by Cathal (11th) and Stuart (14th).
Whilst well beaten by Italy and Spain, Ireland easily saw off the challenge of the Czech Republic for the final podium position. Interesting to note that if the northern pair had been allowed to stay in their age group and Paul Cowhie moved down from the M50, it would have resulted in silver medals.
The two other Derry Track Club athletes at the championships also turned in credible performances. Adrian Boyle ran well for 4:26.02 in his heat of the M35 1500m but unfortunately just outside qualification.
Malcolm McCausland was int he first (and slower) series race of the M60 1500m where he finished seventh in 5:25.73.
Meanwhile there was a promising start to the track season for Derry Track Club athletes at the North Down Open Meeting in Bangor held in cold conditions.
And it was that man Marty Cox who caught the eye with a well-judged race to win the top 3000m in 9:01.75. Learning from his experience in Letterkenny (see previous post), the 34-year-old allowed North Belfast Harrier Conal McCambridge to make most of the pacemaking before swooping late on for victory.
Behind him, Conor Doherty also showed he is making rapid steps forward by taking third in 9:12.06. Amy McDaid probably started her 3000m a little too fast but held on well for an 11:28.90 timing.
Chris Millar made a successful switch from trail running to record a respectable 10:05.67 and Kevin Connolly also showed new-found fleet of foot for a 10:48.02 clocking.
Sixteen-year-old Brandon Connolly rivalled Marty Cox for DTC Athlete of the Meeting by winning both his 300m and 600m (40.66/1:33.74). Matt Doherty (1:32.36/41.09) doubled up over the same distances as did Conor McIlveen (44.49/1:39.61) and Robert Bigger (46.31/1:41.68).
Lucy Appleton also impressed in her first race since joining the club by registering a good early season 48.20 timing in the 300m and Marty Cox capped the evening by putting in a fast 43.72 mark in the 300m.
Across in Scotland Conan McCaughey was fourth in the Grangemouth 10K in a personal best 31:06 (15:22/15:44). Winner of the race was Dromore’s Russell White in 31:03.
And our US-based star JP Williamson is currently taking a break having already registered 1:56.32/3:59.77/8:32.21i. He will be home in mid-May and ready for action from the start of June, possibly the Mile Meeting on June 3 or the Acorns Night of 3000m one week later.
Derry Track Club athletes took the opportunity to get a bit of speed in their legs in advance of the upcoming track season with a run in the Letterkenny 3K on Easter Sunday.
However, cold and dreary conditions failed to enthuse anyone although promising performances were turned in by all the DTC squad members on duty.
Marty Cox may regret his decision to take on pacemaking duties as Eoghan McGinley came through to take the initiative in the last kilometre. Nevertheless the Omagh man finished strongly for an impressive 9:02 clocking in poor conditions.
Hannah McGowan was first woman home in 11:15 aided perhaps by the vocal exhortations of her brother Zak who paced her the entire distance.
Amy McDaid continued to show improvement despite running the previous day in the parkrun and following a hectic work schedule in the weeks leading up to the race.
Details: 1 Eoghan Mc Ginley Rathfarnham W.S.A.F. 09:02, 2 Martin Cox Derry Track Club 09:07 3 Conal Mc Cambridge JM North Belfast Harriers 09:10 4 Conor Doherty Derry Track Club 09:19 19 Brandon Connolly JM Derry Track Club 10:42 23 Kevin Connolly M40 Derry Track Club 10:53 26 Conor Mc Ilveen Derry Track Club 11:07 29 Zachary Mc Gowan Derry Track Club 11:14 30 Hannah Mc Gowan Derry Track Club 11:15 (1st Woman) 35 Amy Mc Daid Derry Track Club 11:51