Weekend Preview - Willowfield Harriers to welcome capacity field at prestigious Seeley Cup 10k
30 November 2018
In-form duo Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) will lead a capacity field of over 1,000 competitors at the annual Podium 4 Sport Seeley 10k road race (Saturday 1st December 2018).
The Willowfield Harriers hosted event will attract a plethora of talent from across the Province – the fact that the race is not the NI & Ulster 10k (Road) Championships this year has taken nothing away from the hype leading up to it.
Recently crowned British & Irish Masters International Champion Mark McKinstry is the one to watch. Quite rightly, there has been a lot of discussion around the Glenwherry man’s form of late, especially in cross country events. This will translate onto the roads and he’ll therefore be considered as a top contender for the prestigious Seeley title; his personal best of 31:15 from Bangor this year backs that up.
Springwell RC’s Neil Johnston, a third place finisher here in 2017, should be within the chasing pack and should again be aiming for a podium spot. Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) has enjoyed a successful year with wins over 10k at Storming the Castle, Laganside and Ballynahinch and will also be in the mix – his best outing was in Carrickfergus (Storming the Castle), where he ran 31:54.
Well-respected competitors Paddy Hamilton (Slieve Gullion Runners), Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) and Conan McCaughey (North Belfast Harriers) will finish around the low-31’s and will be podium contenders. The same could be said for Conall Kirk (Annadale Striders), Mark Long (City of Derry AC), Craig McMeechan (North Down AC) and current NI & Ulster Half Marathon Champion Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers).
Other men to look out for include Noel Logan (City of Derry AC), Jonny Whan (City of Lisburn AC), Barry Harron (Finn Valley AC) and Malcolm Cup XC winner Neil McCartan (East Down AC).
National XC medallist Ann-Marie McGlynn will be the stand out competitor in what is a highly competitive ladies field. The NI & Ulster Half Marathon Champion has had an excellent year, with personal bests over 10k (33:50) and half marathon (1:13:47); this week the Letterkenny AC star has been selected on the strong Ireland Euro XC team.
NI & Ulster 5,000m and 10k Champion Jessica Craig (North Down AC) will also play a prominent part in proceedings. The Northern Ireland international, who was part of North Down AC’s medal winning team at the National XC last weekend, has reduced her 10k best to 36:42 this term.
Double Masters World Champion Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) will step up to 10k, but after an impressive outing over 5k two weeks ago, where she ran 17:28, the international track star will not have a problem with this. Sinead Sweeney (QUB AC), Nikita Burke (Letterkenny AC), Ciara Toner (Springwell RC), Catriona Jennings (Letterkenny AC) and Sarah Grant (North Down AC) are all more than capable of sealing a podium place, which makes for an excellent battle.
Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers), Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers), Jennifer Hamilton (Willowfield Harriers), Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers), Natalie Hall (Armagh AC), Niamh McDaid (Letterkenny AC) and Jana Ross (County Antrim Harriers) should all go well under the famous sub-40 barrier.
The same can be said for Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC), Esther Dickson (Newry AC), Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners), Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle AC) and Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC), who will all swap their fell shoes and international mountain running vests for the firmer road surface and racing flats.
More information on the event, including course map etc is available HERE.