Record Numbers to Chase Medals at Annual Les Jones Memorial 10K
11 May 2017
Over the past 26 years, Athletics Northern Ireland has run the Les Jones Memorial 10k as a remembrance for the late Athlete, Team Manager and Chairman Les Jones who passed away in 1992.
This year’s ChampionChip Ireland sponsored Les Jones 10k will again provide a fitting tribute as it looks to be the most exciting yet, with a record number of nearly 400 participants making use of the online entry system – more will turn up on the night.
For the first time ever, there will be an added incentive to perform, with the first 400 10k runners who cross the finish line receiving a finishers medal. On top of this, a new 1k fun run (within the confines of MPT) will also be introduced, making for an excellent night of running.
The competitive 10k event will cover a tough course, taking competitors onto the Lagan Towpath and towards Shaws Bridge, before tackling the infamous climb on the way back to the finish line on the Mary Peters Track.
At the sharp end, two-time winner of the race, Brendan Teer (East Down AC) will make a welcome return. The former NI & Ulster Junior XC Champion claimed victory in 2014 and 2015 but missed out in 2016 because of injury – following a return to action at the Craic 10k (34:41) in March, Brendan has shown glimpses of his best with a 33:48 for second place at the recent Ballynahinch Lions 10k.
Joining Brendan at the head of the pack will be last year’s third place finisher Stephen O’Gorman (Dromore AC). Since losing in a sprint finish to Marc Jennings (North Belfast Harriers) here twelve months ago, the Dromore man has gone on to become ‘one to watch’, reducing his 10k personal best to 33:22 (Seeley Cup 2016).
Experienced Willowfield Harriers athlete Paul Rowan, winner of the Les Jones Memorial 10k on three occasions (2005, 2006 and 2008) will also take to the start line and could well contest a podium place. Paul’s most recent outing was a 34:57 finish at the Ballynahinch 10k; his best ever on the Les Jones course is 31:39 in 2005. Other athletes who should place well include Chris Moren (Willowfield Harriers), David Noble (Larne AC) and Bryan Edgar (Springwell Running Club).
Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC) and Amy Bulman (Willowfield Harriers) will be the leading contenders in a ladies race that contains six athletes who are capable of going under forty minutes, which makes for an excellent race.
Judith has a 10k personal best of 36:38 – this saw the versatile athlete claim a bronze medal at the NI & Ulster 10k (Road) Championships last year (November 2016), where she only lost out to the in-form pairing of Emma Mitchell (QUB AC) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners). Meanwhile, Amy has a 10k best of 36:50, which she ran at Jimmy’s 10k earlier this year.
Northern Ireland masters cross country international Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) adds further class to the line-up with a 38:04 best for the distance; this came at Jimmy’s 10k this year. Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC) and Natalie Hall (Acorns AC), a podium finisher at last week’s Termoneeny 10k, will also contest a podium place, while Ballymena Runners’ Geraldine Quigley should also be aiming for a sub-40 minute finish.
As ever, all runners will receive a text message to their mobile phones once the race is over with details of their individual position, official times and category position from race sponsors ChampionChip Ireland. An LED screen will display every runner’s name, race position and time once they cross the finish line.
There is a total prize fund of £420, with each 10k entrant receiving a special commemorative t-shirt, medal and a goody bag. Online entry is now closed. However, you will still be able to register for the 10k on the night for a fee of £20 per entry. To register for the 1k fun run on the night, an individual entry fee will cost £7.50 and a family of four will cost £20.