Race reports provided by NIRunning.co.uk
North Belfast Harriers pair John Black and Gladys Ganiel O’Neill crowned NI & Ulster HM Champions
Run Lisburn Half Marathon, 10k and 3k 2017:
On Wednesday 21st June 2017, Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC), Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers), James Edgar (City of Lisburn AC) and Donna Mone (Monaghan Town Runners) led the way as scorching conditions greeted a record number of over 6,000 athletes at the annual Run Lisburn Half Marathon, 10k and 3k races.
The 13.1 mile event also incorporated the prestigious NI & Ulster Half Marathon Championships and is part of the ongoing Pure Running Half Marathon Series, while the 10k is part of the Novosco 10k Grand Prix.
North Belfast Harriers pair John Black and Gladys Ganiel O’Neill crowned NI & Ulster HM Champions:
Raheny Shamrock AC’s Freddy Sittuk led the half marathon field home in 1:11:35 (1st place) but in truth, it was North Belfast Harriers duo John Black and Gladys Ganiel O’Neill who will deservedly claim the half marathon headlines – John took 2nd place overall, securing the NI & Ulster Half Marathon title in 1:12:19, while Gladys won the ladies race outright in 1:20:15 and with it, picked up Championship gold.
Belfast based John battled well from the off – for much of the race he was in pursuit of club mate Mark McKinstry, who in turn, was chasing leader Freddy. However, when Mark withdrew from the race close to the 10 mile mark, the ever improving John rose to the challenge, pushing the pace to cement his status as NI & Ulster Half Marathon Champion. He crossed the line exhausted, crumbling to his knees, but having achieved his place in the history books with an excellent performance. Victoria Park & Connswater AC athlete John Craig produced the run of his life to take 3rd place and NI & Ulster silver in 1:14:04. Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers) crossed the line in 1:14:13 for 4th place overall and 3rd place on the local podium.
Commonwealth Games star Gladys looked a class act in the ladies race, leading through half way and further increasing her lead in the second half, before breaking the tape in 1:20:15 (1st place). Willowfield Harriers’ Amy Bulman was rewarded for her efforts with a Championship silver medal after clocking 1:22:12 for 2nd place, before Scotland North District 10k Champion Jenny Bannerman (Inverness AC) completed the podium in 1:25:25. Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) was the next local athlete to finish, crossing the line in 1:26:04 for 4th place overall and 3rd place in the NI & Ulster Championship race.
In the men’s team competition, North Belfast Harriers took 1st place, with Victoria Park & Connswater AC claiming 2nd place. Willowfield Harriers completed the top three teams in 3rd place.
North Belfast Harriers (1st place) achieved an impressive double with gold medals in the ladies team competition, with Willowfield Harriers and Orangegrove AC taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.
James Edgar and Donna Mone impress with 10k wins:
In the associated 10k race, recently crowned NI & Ulster Senior 5,000m Champion James Edgar (City of Lisburn AC) celebrated his first competitive outing over 10k with a win; James broke the tape in 32:49 (1st place). Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) and Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) recorded 32:54 (2nd place) and 33:03 (3rd place) respectively.
Monaghan Town Runners’ Donna Mone led the ladies home in 38:57 (1st place), while Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) continued her recent good form with a 39:14 finish for 2nd place. Another in-form athlete, Sarahjane Guiney (Unattached) completed the top three in 39:24 (3rd place).
Full Results: Run Lisburn HM & 10K 2017 Results
David O’Flaherty and Amy Bulman win record breaking Comber 10k road race
On Friday 16th June 2017, Ballydrain Harriers welcomed a record number of nearly 700 athletes to the 3rd annual running of their Comber 10k road race in County Down. This was the second year of the new flat and fast course, which athletes enjoyed. The race was also the eight round of the ongoing Novosco 10k Grand Prix.
At the head of the pack, Newcastle AC’s David O’Flaherty and North Belfast Harriers’ Lindsay Gordon battled their way through the two lap route and ultimately, tested Ben Branagh’s course record of 32:16. In the end, it was David who emerged victorious, breaking the tape in 32:30 (1st place), with Lindsay following in 32:35 for 2nd place. In a close finish, Ben Morrow of Ballymena Runners saw off Paul Rowan (Willowfield Harriers) and Paul Carroll (Anadalde Striders) to secured 3rd place in 34:10.
As expected, Amy Bulman (Willowfield Harriers) was the most impressive performer in the ladies race. The Northern Ireland international cross country runner led the way in 37:07 (1st place). East Down AC’s Catherine O’Connor crossed the line in 39:14 for 2nd place, while in-form Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) recorded 39:26 for 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) – 32:30, 2nd Lindsay Gordon (North Belfast Harriers) – 32:35, 3rd Ben Morrow (Ballymena Runners) – 34:10
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Amy Bulman (Willowfield Harriers) – 37:07, 2nd Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) – 39:14, 3rd Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) – 39:26
Full Results: Comber 10k Road Race 2017 Results
Seamus Lynch and Susan Smyth excel at annual Bann 10K
On Wednesday 24th May 2017, well over four hundred athletes took on the annual Bann 10k road race in Banbridge. The popular event was also the sixth race of the ongoing Novosco 10k Grand Prix.
At the head of the pack, Newcastle AC’s international runner Seamus Lynch showed his class as he cruised to victory in impressive fashion. Despite running solo, Seamus clocked an excellent 33:36 for 1st place. Dromore AC duo Stephen O’Gorman and Nigel McKibbin followed in 2nd place and 3rd place respectively, with Stephen running 35:21 and Nigel 36:17.
There was further success for Dromore AC in the ladies race, with Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) topping the ladies podium. The consistent athlete cover the course in 41:05 for 1st place. Lagan Valley AC’s Julie Murphy clocked 42:25 for 2nd place, while Newcastle AC’s Patricia McKibbin ran 43:11 for 3rd place.
Top 3 Men: 1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 33:36, 2nd Stephen O’Gorman (Dromore AC) – 35:21, 3rd Nigel McKibbin (Dromore AC) – 36:17
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Susan Smyth (Dromore AC) – 41:05, 2nd Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) – 42:25, 3rd Patricia McKibbin (Newcastle AC) – 43:11
Full Results: Bann 10k Road Race 2017 Results
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
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
View images from the race here.