Stars set for NI & Ulster Senior Track & Field Championships
08 June 2017
This weekend will see Northern Ireland and Ulster’s top track and field stars descend on the Mary Peters Track in Belfast for the NI & Ulster Senior Track & Field Championships; the meeting will also incorporate the Under 20 and Under 18 Track & Field Championships.
Four hundred participants will compete, including in-form athletes Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), Emma Mitchell (QUB AC), Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley AC), Adam Kirk-Smith (Derry Track Club), Adam McMullan (Crusaders AC) and Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), all of whom have reached the Commonwealth Games 2018 nomination standard.
European Athletics Championships 1500m bronze medallist Ciara Mageean (UCD AC), who just last night bettered both the IAAF World Championships and Commonwealth Games standards with a 4:04.49 for 1500m at the Golden Gala Diamond League Meeting in Rome, will line up in the 800m.
Olympian Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) and multiple Paralympic Champions Jason Smyth (Derry Track Club) and Michael McKillop (North Belfast Harriers) will also be in action at MPT.
Add to this a plethora of junior talent who have achieved the required standard for major upcoming competitions and it’s almost certain that a great day of athletics lies ahead.
Ben Reynolds will line up in his favourite 110m hurdles event, while Emma Mitchell, who recently broke the NI 10,000m and 5,000m records will go in the 1500m. Sommer Lecky will headline in the High Jump and Adam McMullan will compete in the Long Jump. Adam Kirk-Smith will be in action over 1500m and Amy Foster will compete in the 200m.
One of many battles which could bring further Gold Coast qualifying standards is the 100m and 200m races involving decorated Paralympic athlete Jason Smyth (Derry Track Club) and Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games star Leon Reid (Menapians AC). Last weekend Leon missed the Commonwealth Games standard by the narrowest of margins when he ran 20.79 for the same distance. Whilst also last week, Leon reduced his 100m best to 10.33; Jason’s personal best over the 100m is 10.22. Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will also be in action over 100m.
The ladies 100m will feature Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) and Irish international Catherine McManus (Dublin City Harriers AC); both ladies will also compete in the 100m hurdles alongside Kate O’Connor (St Gerard’s AC) and Mollie Courtney (Cheltenham AC). City of Lisburn AC’s Lauren Roy and Anna McCauley will be worth watching in their respective 100m and 110m hurdles age group events - Lauren will also race the 200m.
In the 200m, the previously mentioned Amy Foster will line up alongside Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Christine McMahon, Lagan Valley AC’s Mandy Gault and Stephanie Creaner (Dublin City Harriers AC) – Mandy will also race in the 400m, where she will face Erin McIlveen (City of Lisburn AC) who has recorded 57.23 for 400m indoors this year, and emerging star Davicia Patterson (Beechmount Harriers). Davicia is also scheduled to race the 200m age group event.
Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC) will compete in the 400m hurdles and will he hoping to build on some good early season form, which includes a 51.22 outing at the prestigious IFAM International in Belgium.
Following on from his personal best of 47.87 over 400m in Belgium last week, Craig Newell (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will line-up over the same distance here on home soil. Like the entire event programme, the 800m races are littered with talent, including James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners), who just yesterday (Wednesday 7th June 2017) was named on the Great Britain & NI Para World Championships 2017 squad – James will be up against some strong opposition, including Finn Valley AC’s Mark Hoy, who recorded 1:52.76 for 800m in Tullamore two weeks ago.
Reigning NI & Ulster 800m Champion Ciara Mageean will be out to defend the ladies title and possibly have an eye on her own NI record for the distance, which stands at 2:00.79. Erin McIlveen should also be in the medals over 800m.
Letterkenny AC’s Danny Mooney clocked 3:42.74 for 1500m at the IFAM International at the end of last month, narrowly missing the Commonwealth Games standard of 3:41.10; having experienced the Commonwealth Games previously, Danny will be keen to hit the required standard and put himself up for Gold Coast selection. Paralympic hero Michael McKillop will also race over the metric mile. Kerry O’Flaherty, Emma Mitchell and Letterkenny AC’s Ann-Marie McGlynn will contest the ladies 1500m.
Ann-Marie, who led 33,000 participants home at the VHI Women’s Mini-Marathon 10k (in 33:55) earlier this week, will also have one eye on the 5,000m – in that event, she’ll meet QUB AC pair Sinead Sweeney and Rebecca Henderson. Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) and Conan McCaughey (Derry Track Club) will be chasing gold in the men’s 5,000m.
Claire Wilkinson (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will be up against Sale Harriers pair Sarah McKeever and Georgia Pickles in the senior ladies Pole Vault. Team NI Commonwealth Games competitor Peter Glass (Letterkenny AC) will be in action in the Pole Vault and Discuss events.
Age group athletes Jade Williams (Shercock AC), Enya Haigney (Derry Track Club), Aaron Sexton (North Down AC), Victoria Lightbody (City of Lisburn AC), Toni Moore (Carmen Runners), Dylan McBride (Willowfield Harriers), James Edgar (City of Lisburn AC), Fintan Stewart (City of Derry AC) and Sean Corry (Omagh Harriers) will all challenge for gold in their respective events.
A provisional timetable and link to live streaming on race day are available HERE