News

The Belfast International is Back for 2016!

26 January 2016

Mary Peters Track to Host Belfast International in conjunction with the Irish Milers Club & Beechmount Harriers

Athletes from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland and further afield will be in the running for the Belfast International Athletics Meet at the Mary Peters Track on Saturday 7th May 2016. 

Organised jointly by Athletics Northern Ireland, Beechmount Harriers and the Irish Milers Club. The regular sporting fixture, which was cancelled last year, will now be hosting middle distance races in conjunction with the Irish Milers Club. After the success of the 2014 event, 2016 aims to collaborate many of Northern Ireland’s top competing athletes, who are considering a standard for the Rio Olympics. The £3m refurbished track is a regular fixture for many of Northern Ireland’s prestige racing events and there is no better place than that of the Mary Peters Track, which opened its lanes in 2013.

It is hoped that this prestigious International event, which is serving as a great warm up for those looking to gain standards for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, will succeed in continuing to attract thousands to the stadium on its Upper Malone Road site by showcasing international and local talent.

Newcastle AC athlete Kerry O’Flaherty joined Gary Keenan, President of Athletics Northern Ireland, Councillor Arder Carson, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Eamonn Christie Beechmount Harriers and Co-Founder of the Irish Milers Club Brendan Hackett to launch the 2016 event at the City Hall, Belfast. 34 year old Kerry of Newcastle AC is enjoying an extremely successful year with a 11th place and representing Northern Ireland in the IAAF Antrim International Cross Country, two weeks prior as well as 2nd place victory in the 2015 Seeley Cup 10k. Irish European Cross Country team member and four times Seeley Cup 10K winner, Kerry has shown fine form of late setting a PB time of 9:42:51 in the 3000m Steeplechase event set at the Letterkenny International Track & Field Meet in July, which is a qualifying time for RIO selection and is already setting standards for the 2016 year.

General Secretary of Athletics Northern Ireland, John Allen, said: “This is a fantastic event for everyone involved and provides an opportunity to showcase one of the Country’s top athletics arenas. Taking place at the start of the track & field season the Belfast International Athletics Meet will offer fans an opportunity see world-class athletes compete at the home of Athletics in Northern Ireland ahead of the Games. John Allen continued “The Mary Peters Track is a world class standard venue that is open to the whole athletics community, catering to all levels of the sport from school children and club athletes to those training to compete at an international level.” Councillor Arder Carson, Lord Mayor of Belfast reiterated John’s point “I am overjoyed that Belfast has a truly world-class facility that serves both current and future generations of athletes. The presence of a world class venue ensures a legacy of athletics development for the City for many years to come”.

Following last year’s successful event at the track, Paul Magee from Beechmount Harriers said “We are very delighted to be part of this event. After the success of last year’s event with over 210 entries over all races, we are pleased that this event is staging to be a regular fixture on the racing calendar. We hope to enhance this event again for 2016 and teaming up with Athletics Northern Ireland for this will boost the International athlete field.”

Irish Milers co-founder, Brendan Hackett concluded this by stating “The Irish Milers Club was set up to improve the standard of middle distance running in line with the great tradition of middle distance running in Ireland. Our main focus is on staging fast pace races and this event at the Mary Peters Track, Belfast. It is marvellous example of team work and action for the benefit of athletes and the Irish Milers Club are delighted to be part of this and working again with Beechmount Harriers and the Athletics Northern Ireland team.”