12 February 2018




Ciara Mageean (UCD AC / Steve Vernon) and Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley AC / Niall Wilkinson) excelled during another weekend of top performances by Northern Ireland and Ulster based athletes.

Ciara Mageean hits World Indoor standard in America:

Ciara achieved the IAAF World Indoor Championships 1500m standard in America last night (Saturday 11th February 2018).

Competing in a top class 1500m race at the New Balance Games in Boston, the multiple NI recorded holder crossed the line in 4:09.47 (8th place) – the Athletics Ireland standard is 4:11.00.

The IAAF World Indoor Championships are scheduled to take place in Birmingham, England between the 1st and 4th March 2018.

Sommer Lecky equals Irish Under 20 record:

Meanwhile, in Ghent, Belgium, rising star Sommer equalled her High Jump personal best and Irish Under 20 record with a winning leap of 1.86m at the IFAM International (Saturday 10th February 2018).

Interestingly, Sommer took 1st place ahead of some strong opposition, including Bulgarian Demireva, a former European and Olympic silver medallist.

At the same meeting, Adam McMullan (Crusaders AC / Alan Kennedy) continued his excellent recent form with a win in the Men’s Long Jump.  Adam sealed 1st place with a 7.75m effort.

Local athletes in record breaking form at IUAA Indoor Championships:

At the Irish University Athletics Association (IUAA) Indoor Championships in Athlone, NI pair Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC – Ulster University / David Reid) and Emma Mitchell (QUB AC / Eamonn Christie) produced IUAA record breaking performances.

In the 60m, Amy sprinted to victory in 7.33 (1st place), while Emma enjoyed a comfortable win over 3,000m, breaking the beam in 9:15.86 (1st place). 

A number of local athletes also broke their own university records.  Craig Newell (Ballymena & Antrim AC – Ulster University / Ian Neely) produced a new Ulster University 200m record when sealing gold in 21.47 – Andrew Mellon (Crusaders AC – QUB AC / Brendan McConville) won the 400m event in a QUB record of 47.87 (1st place).

Niamh Whelan, representing University of Limerick, won the 200m in a new university record of 24.20 (1st place).  Lydia Mills (QUB AC) set two new Queen’s records when taking 2nd place and 3rd place in the Long Jump and the Triple Jump respectively – Lydia reached 5.55m in the Long Jump and 11.17m in the Triple Jump. 

Mark Burton (QUB AC) and Adam Hill (QUB AC) both set a new QUB records – Mark reached 14.00m in the Triple Jump (2nd place), while Adam recorded a 8.55 finish in the 60m hurdles (5th place).

Paul Pollock leads local contingent home at Barcelona Half Marathon:

Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders / Andrew Hobdell) led the Northern Ireland contingent home at the Barcelona Half Marathon in Spain (Sunday 11th February 2018).

The Rio Olympian recorded 1:05:40 for 28th place - he was closely followed by current NI & Ulster 10,000m Champion Eoghan Totten (Newcastle AC / Richard Rodgers), who ran a new PB of 1:06:14 for 32nd place.  This leaves Paul and Eoghan in sixth and seventh place respectively in the current Athletics Ireland 13.1 mile rankings ahead of the World Half Marathon Championships in Spain next month (March 2018).

Eoghan was understandably happy with his personal best, but is keen to push on and better it.  Speaking to Athletics NI after the race, he said:  "I had a sub 66 minute run in me today but dug a little too deep at 3km and between 7-8km.  Lesson learned. Having read Brendan Foster's biography recently, I take away two things from today: 1) Run smart 2) Be prepared to dig deep, even for marginal gains 3) Be humble"

In the ladies race, Gladys Ganiel O'Neill (North Belfast Harriers / Matt Shields) clocked 1:17:38 for 25th place; Gladys is in 8th place in the AAI rankings with her 1:17:07 at the Dublin HM last year (2017).  Leevale AC's Lizzie Lee had an outstanding run, clocking 1:13:23, a personal best.

Ethiopia’s Mule Wasihun won the race in a course record of 59:44 (1st place), while Bahrain’s Tejitu Daba took the ladies title in 1:08:36 (1st place).

Catriona Jennings claims National 50k title in Donadea:

Letterkenny AC’s Caitriona Jennings impressed with course record and gold medal at the AAI National 50k Trail Championships in Donadea this weekend (Saturday 10th February 2018).

The Championships were held as part of the annual Donadea 50k Trail Race and Caitriona led the ladies home in an excellent 3:24:29 (1st place); this bettered the previous CR by six minutes. 

The men’s race was won by AAI National Marathon Champion Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) in a course record of 2:54:40 (1st place).

Irish Life Intermediate & Masters XC Championships (Galway, Ireland):

At the Irish Life Intermediate & Masters XC Championships in Galway, Ireland (Sunday 11th February 2018), local club North Belfast Harriers picked up a team gold medal in the Vet50+ category, a reward for excellent individual performances from Neil Carty, Lawrence Johnston, Matt Shields and David Clarke.

There were also individual age category gold medals for Finn Valley AC’s Dermot McElcher (Vet40) and Inishowen AC’s Pauric McKinney (Vet50).

In the Intermediate Ladies race, Letterkenny AC’s Nikita Burke picked up a silver medal.  Lorcan Magee of Beechmount Harriers was the first local finisher in the Intermediate Men’s race, securing a top ten finish (7th place).

Shercock AC’s Under 14 Boy’s Relay team finished in 3rd place in the Juvenile Relays, while Amy Greene (Rosses AC) kicked off the day with an excellent performance and win in the Under 15 Girls event.

Full results for the event are available HERE.