Clubs Strike Gold at Record Breaking Relays
09 October 2017
Newcastle AC and Queen’s University AC were crowned NI & Ulster Senior Champions, and Acorns AC and City of Lisburn AC retained their Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Association (NIMAA) titles as record numbers took on the NI & Ulster Road Relay Championships at Victoria Park in Belfast (Saturday 7th October 2017).
On a day of hotly contested racing, NI 10,000m and 5,000m record holder Emma Mitchell lived up to expectation, delivering a classy performance to inspire her QUB AC team to victory in the Senior Ladies 3 x 3,380m contest.
Yasmin Wilson and Sinead Sweeney opened well for the university trio, with Emma taking over in the final leg – at this point, the girls were in third place behind leaders Letterkenny AC and Newcastle AC, who had led early on following a strong performance by Olympian Kerry O’Flaherty. Emma clocked the fastest 3,380m leg of the race (10:31) as she powered through to break the tape in 34:37 (1st place). Letterkenny AC, represented by Nakita Burke, Maria Ni Mhaoilagh and Noeleen Scanlon, claimed a well-deserved 2nd place in 35:15, while the fast finishing Jodi Smith pulled North Down AC through to 3rd place in 36:38.
Springwell Running Club dominated the Senior Men’s 4 x 3,380m until the latter stages following a blistering opening leg from Neil Johnston. Patrick McNiff put Newcastle AC in control during the penultimate leg, leaving Northern Ireland and Ireland mountain running international Zak Hanna in the lead going into the final 3,380m – Matt Doherty (City of Derry AC) and Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) pushed all the way, but Zak sealed the title for the County Down men in 39:46 (1st place); NI & Ulster 10,000m Champion Eoghan Totten and sliver medallist David O’Flaherty had opened for the Newcastle AC team. An exceptional finish from Mark McKinstry helped North Belfast Harriers secure 2nd place in 39:49, while City of Derry AC completed the top three in 40:04.
The City of Lisburn AC winning trio from 2015, Kelly Neely, Ann Terek and Diane Watson performed to their usual high standard as they ensured the Lisburn club completed a hat-trick of victories in the Masters Ladies 3 x 3,380m event. Despite being pushed all the way by Lagan Valley AC, the City of Lisburn AC ladies excelled in the final leg through Kelly Neely to win in 36:24 (1st place). Lagan Valley AC claimed the silver medals in 37:48 (2nd place), while a strong final leg from Beechmount Harriers’ Catherine Diver secured the bronze in 37:58 (3rd place).
Similarly, in the Masters Men’s 4 x 3,380m event, Acorns AC retained their title in impressive fashion. In the early stages, they had East Coast AC, Annadale Striders and Derry Track Club for company. As the race progressed, Simon Taylor put Annadale Striders on the front foot by the narrowest of margins, leaving Simon Murray (Annadale Striders) and Vincent McAlister (Acorns AC) to battle it out in the final leg. In the end, Vincent edged it break the tape in 43:15 (1st place). Annadale Striders followed in 43:22 (2nd place), with Willowfield Harriers coming through to complete the top three in 44:02 (3rd place).
In the earlier junior races, Lauren Ramsey (Lough View), Finn Cross (Willowfield Harriers), Lauren Madine (Eats Down AC), Jack McCausland (City of Lisburn AC), Dylan McBride (Willowfield Harriers), Eimear McBrien (Lagan Valley AC), Conal McClean (St Malachy’s AC) and Rebecca Wallace (North Belfast Harriers) all impressed with wins.
Top 3 Masters Ladies Teams (3 x 3,380m): 1st City of Lisburn AC – 36:24, 2nd 2nd Lagan Valley AC – 37:48, 3rd Beechmount Harriers – 37:58
Top 3 Masters Masters Men’s Teams (4 x 3,380m): 1st Acorns AC – 43:15, 2nd Annadale Striders – 43:22, 3rd Willowfield Harriers – 44:02
Top 3 Senior Ladies Teams (3 x 3,380m): 1st QUB AC – 34:37, 2nd Letterkenny AC – 35:15, 3rd North Down AC – 36:38
Top 3 Senior Men’s teams (4 x 3,380m): 1st Newcastle AC – 39:46, 2nd North Belfast Harriers – 39:49, 3rd City of Derry AC – 40:04
Elsewhere this weekend…
Armagh 10 mile Road Race
NI & Ulster 10,000m Champion Eoghan Totten (Newcastle AC) and in-form Mourne Runners star Laura Graham secured impressive wins and personal bests at the Armagh 10 mile road race yesterday (Sunday 8th October 2017).
Eoghan recorded a speedy 50:30 to lead the field home, while Laura slashed over 90 seconds off her previous best to win the ladies race in 57:18. In the associated 4 mile race, QUB AC’s Emma Mitchell won outright in 21:21.
Donegal Novice XC Championships
In County Donegal, Jessica Roberts (Finn Valley AC) and David McMenamin (Inishowen AC) secured gold medals at the County Donegal Novice XC Championships (Sunday 8th October 2017).
Jessica covered the 3k course in 11:10 for 1st place, which assisted in leading the Finn Valley AC ladies to victory in the team competition. Tara Cannon (Milford AC) followed in 11:17 (2nd place), while Linda Emery (Finn Valley AC) completed the podium in 11:22 (3rd place).
In the men’s 6k, David broke the tape in 20:12 for 1st place. Finn Valley AC’s Brian McCrea clocked 20:27 for the runners up spot, before Martin Lynch (Milford AC) crossed the line in 20:35 for 3rd place. Milford AC won the team competition.