Race summaries

Race reports provided by NIRunning.co.uk

Dan Tanui and Judith Lonnen take top honours at Les Jones Memorial 10k:

Athletics NI welcomed over 300 hundred competitors to this year’s ChampionChip Ireland sponsored Les Jones Memorial 10k this weekend (Friday 12th May 2017).  The event is part of the ongoing Novosco 10k Grand Prix 2017. Despite the wet conditions, the atmosphere proved a fitting tribute to the late Athlete, Team Manager and Athletics NI Chairman who passed away in 1992.

Kenyan athlete Dan Tanui (Project Africa Athletics) did enough to edge out friend and training partner Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) in the men’s race, while Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) dominated the ladies event.

The tough course took competitors from the start line at Mary Peters Track, out onto the Upper Malone Road an onwards to the Lagan Towpath and Shaws Bridge, before guiding them back towards the finish line on the Mary Peters Track, via the infamous climb in Barnetts Demesne.

At the half way mark, nothing separated the lead group, with Dan Tanui, Ben Morrow, Gareth Lyons (Ballydrain Harriers) and Stephen O’Gorman (Dromore AC) running side by side.   Little changed in the second half, until the men descended towards the finish inside MPT – moving quickly downhill, Dan turned onto the track and lengthened his stride, surging clear of Ben to seal victory in 34:20 (1st place).  Ben followed in 34:27 (2nd place), with Gareth taking the final podium place in 34:35 (3rd place).

In the ladies race, pre-race favourite Judith Lonnen lived up to expectation.  The international triathlete led through half way, with Natalie Hall (Acorns AC), Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) and Sarah Lavery (Beechmount Harriers) in tow.  As the race progressed, Judith increased her lead, before taking top honours in 39:02 (1st place).  Natalie continued her recent good form with a runners up place in 39:34 (2nd place), while Denise narrowly missed a sub-40 minute finish when claiming 3rd place in 40:02.

Prior to the Les Jones Memorial 10k taking place, junior and senior athletes enjoyed the newest addition to the evening’s event programme, a 1k Fun Run within the confines of the Mary Peters Track.  Joel Chambers (Ballydrain Harriers) and Ava Diver (Beechmount Harriers) impressed with front running performances.

Top 3 Men:  1st Dan Tanui (Project Africa Athletics) – 34:20, 2nd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 34:27, 3rd Gareth Lyons (Ballydrain Harriers) – 34:35

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) – 39:02, 2nd Natalie Hall (Acorns AC) – 39:34, 3rd Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) – 40:02

 

Titanic 10k 2017:

Thousands of athletes took to the roads of the famous Titanic Quarter of Belfast for the annual TQ10K (Sunday 9th April 2017), an event hosted by Athletics NI and this year sponsored by Dale Farm Protein Milk.

 

In warm and blustery conditions, it was Team NI Commonwealth Games star Russell White (Dromore AC) and Northern Ireland and Ireland international Emma Mitchell (QUB AC) who secured top honours.

 

Elite triathlete Russell White, who boasts a 10k personal best of 31:00, was always going to be a contender, but it was the manner of his victory which caught the eye.  Almost immediately after the seemingly endless field set off from the new Titanic Building start line, Russell moved to the head of the pack and pushed the pace – despite battling a notable headwind at times, he held firm, claiming victory in 31:45 (1st place).  Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) tried his upmost to close the gap in the final yards and despite being unable to do so, he was rewarded with 2nd place in 31:49.  Former TQ10K winner Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) completed the men’s podium in 31:52 (3rd place).

 

In the ladies race, a late entry from NI & Ulster 10k Champion Emma Mitchell (QUB AC) added to an already strong field, which included AAI National Marathon and Half Marathon Champion Laura Graham (Mourne Runners).  Nothing separated the headlining duo until the final stages, when Queen’s University student Emma moved clear to take the win in 34:12 (1st place).  Laura narrowly missed a personal best when crossing the line in 34:30 (2nd place), before Amy Bulman (Willowfield Harriers) covered the distance in 37:28 for 3rd place.

After the race, Banbridge native Russell White, who will now travel to Banyoles in Spain for the Summer, could not hide his delight at winning on home soil – he told Athletics NI, “it was great to come away with the win today and I’m so happy that today’s race coincided with the short window I have had at home. Today was mainly about getting a good hard hit out and a check of my fitness before I start my triathlon racing for the season.”

 

Russell added, “I just wanted a good time and wasn’t focused by going for the win today, that’s why I went off and ran my own pace and didn’t care that nobody came with me, it was apparent after the first turn around that a fast time wasn’t on the cards today due to the strong winds and nobody to use for shelter at any point, so I just kept my head down and tried not to get caught.  It started to get close on the last straight but I was super happy to have done enough to hold everyone off and to have done it on my own.”

 

Ladies Champion Emma was just as happy, explaining that she was “delighted to win today.  The only plan was to win so to do that was great!”

 

The family focused event also included a 1 mile Run, with Dylan McBride (Willowfield Harriers) and Eimear McBrien (Lagan Valley AC) leading winning in 5:21 and 5:56 respectively.

 

Top 3 Men:  1st Russell White (Dromore AC) – 31:45, 2nd Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) – 31:49, 3rd Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) – 31:52

 

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Emma Mitchell (QUB AC) – 34:12, 2nd Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) – 34:30, 3rd Amy Bulman (Willowfield Harriers) – 37:28

 

Full Results:  Titanic Quarter 10k 2017 Results and Titanic Quarter 1 mile Race 2017 Results

 

SPAR Craic 10k:

Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) and Maeve Lavery (City of Lisburn AC) excelled as thousands of runners took to the streets of Belfast for the 3rd annual SPAR Craic 10k earlier today (Friday 17th March 2017).

 

In wet and blustery conditions, the record breaking field made their way from Belfast City Hall to the picturesque Titanic Slipways, covering a truly urban course – the race kicked off a day of St Patrick’s Day events in the Capital City.

 

Pre-race favourite Ben Branagh, winner of Jimmy’s 10k last weekend, once again lived up to expectation.  After taking charge early on, Ben cruised through 5k in 15:06, eight seconds clear of Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC), the man who took second place behind him in Downpatrick.

 

The St Malachy’s AC athlete then stretched his lead in the second half and despite the adverse weather conditions, recorded an impressive 30:50 for 1st place.  Chris Madden claimed 2nd place in a personal best of 31:07, while Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) saw off some noteworthy opposition to take 3rd place in 32:45.

 

In the ladies race, Maeve Lavery put in a strong performance to secure a impressive win.  The ever-improving City of Lisburn AC lady went through 5k in 18:21 before completing a gun-to-tape victory in 37:39 (1st place); this was just seventeen seconds outside her personal best for the distance. Beechmount Harriers athlete and Northern Ireland masters international Gerrie Short clocked 38:28 for 2nd place, before Dromore AC’s Susan Smyth (39:45) edged out Lagan Valley AC’s Julie Murphy (4th place – 39:51) for 3rd place, with both ladies going under forty minutes for the course.

 

Top 3 Men:  1st Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) – 30:50, 2nd Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) – 31:07, 3rd Chris McGuinness (Foyle Valley AC) – 32:45

 

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Maeve Lavery (City of Lisburn AC) – 37:39, 2nd Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) – 38:28, 3rd Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) – 39:45

 

Full Results are on NIRunning.co.uk:  SPAR Craic 10k 2017 Results

Jimmy’s 10k 2017:

Record numbers of close to one thousand took to the start line of the annual Jimmy’s 10k road race in Downpatrick on Sunday 12th March 2017 and it was pre-race favourites Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) who stole the headlines with strong front running performances.

 

The East Down AC organised event was the first race in the 2nd annual ‘age graded’ Novosco 10k Grand Prix.

 

At the front, Ben Branagh led the way early on, moving through half way in 15:52, almost twenty seconds ahead of City of Lisburn AC’s Chris Madden (16:11), who in-turn had seven seconds on Newcastle AC’s David O’Flaherty (16:18) and Willowfield Harriers’ Neill Weir (16:18) who were running shoulder to shoulder. In the ladies race, London Marathon bound Laura Graham cruised through 5k in 17:49, with Willowfield Harriers’ Amy Bulman (18:33), North Down AC’s Rachel Gibson (18:55) and Ballydrain Harriers’ Denise Logue (19:17) in pursuit.

 

Despite a heroic effort from Chris Madden in the second half, the always impressive Ben Branagh proved unstoppable as he powered to victory in 31:33 (1st place). Chris followed in 31:47 (2nd place), before David O’Flaherty (32:03) saw off Neill Weir (4th place – 32:10) for 3rd place.

 

Laura Graham continued her relentless pace in the second half and slashed 72 seconds off her time on this course in 2016 to win in 34:59 (1st place). NI & Ulster Masters XC Champion Amy Bulman crossed the line in 36:50 (2nd place), while Rachel Gibson clocked 37:46 for 3rd place.

 

Top 3 Men:  1st Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) – 31:33, 2nd Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) – 31:47, 3rd David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 32:10

 

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) – 34:59, 2nd Amy Bulman (Willowfield Harriers) – 36:50, 3rd Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) – 37:46

 

Full Results are available on the NI Running website:  Jimmy’s 10k 2017 Results

 

View images from the race here.