NORTH DOWN AC SET TO HOST NI & ULSTER 10K (ROAD) CHAMPIONSHIPS 2018
28 September 2018
North Down AC will host the Northern Ireland & Ulster 10k (Road) Championships this coming weekend (Saturday 29th September 2018).
The event, which is supported by the George Best City Airport, will attract over 1,000 competitors to County Down, with an abundance of athletic talent set to compete.
Northern Ireland’s Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC), a fourth-place finisher in the Commonwealth Games marathon earlier this year, will take on Kenyan star Gideon Kipsang (Derry Track Club), who eased to victory at last week’s Belfast City Half Marathon.
Reigning Champion Gideon clocked 30:02 for victory twelve months ago and will need to show the same form if he is to compete with local star Kevin, who has a personal best of 29:36 over the distance.
The battle for top honours will be fierce, as will the charge for the final podium place. Contesting this will be current NI & Ulster 10k and 10,000m Champion Scott Rankin, last year’s Bangor 10k runner up Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners), recent Storming the Castle 10k and Laganside 10k winner Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) and North Belfast Harriers trio Mark McKinstry, Conan McCaughey and Andrew Annett.
Like the above mentioned chasing pack, decorated City of Derry AC man Declan Reed should finish in the low 31 minute region, which will also make him a contender. Current NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion Craig McMeechan (North Down AC) will lead the way for the host club and should be in the mix for a medal.
Recently crowned NI & Ulster 5,000m Champion Jessica Craig (North Down AC) was so close to providing a home town winner at this event in 2017. After taking the runners up spot on that occasion, Jessica will return as pre-race favourite with a personal best of 35:51 and should add the 10k gold to her 5,000m title.
However, like the men’s race, the ladies competition will be a closely contested race, with highly respected athletes Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) and Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) likely to lead the chasing pack.
Gladys has enjoyed an excellent year, with the highlight being a strong performance over marathon distance at the European Athletics Championships. More recently, the North Belfast Harriers athlete won the Laganside 10k in 37:00. Meanwhile, track star Rachel reduced her 10k best at the TQ10K in the Spring, clocking 36:57.
Laura Bickerstaff (Dromore AC), Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers), Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers) and winner of last week’s Belfast City Half Marathon, Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) will all play a part at the front.
Other ladies to look out for include Sarah Lavery (Beechmount Harriers), Sarah Grant (North Down AC), Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) and Jodi Smith (North Down AC).