Emma Mitchell Records New NI 5000m Record
15 May 2017
Queen’s University AC runner Emma Mitchell (Coach: Eamonn Christie) and Crusaders AC long jumper Adam McMullen (Coach: Alan Kennedy) excelled during a weekend of quality performances by Northern Ireland athletes.
Emma smashed the long standing Northern Ireland 5,000m record at the British Milers Club Meeting in England, while Adam recorded a personal best and Commonwealth Games consideration standard in America.
NI & Ulster 10k (Road) Champion Emma clocked a personal best of 15:50.55 to secure 3rd place in the ladies 5,000m race won by Louise Small (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) in 15:42.27 (1st place). The time was a mere eleven seconds outside of the Commonwealth Games 2018 consideration standard; a time that Emma will almost certainly go on to achieve. The previous NI record for the distance was held by multiple record holder Teresa Duffy since June 1996, when she ran 15:53.47 in France.
After the race, Emma told Athletics NI: “I'm delighted with my performance last night. To come away with a huge PB and a Northern Ireland record for my first 5000m of the season is fantastic! It gives me more confidence in working towards achieving the Commonwealth standards.”
Emma’s coach, Eamonn Christie, add: “I’m delighted that such a great and long standing record has been broken. Theresa has been a lifelong friend of mine and was one of the first people to contact myself to congratulate both Emma and I.”
Newcastle AC’s Kerry O’Flaherty (Coach: Richard Rodgers) recorded 16:32.56 (7th place) in the same race. Kerry was in the same pack as Emma until 3500m when she dropped back with 4 laps to go due to a calf cramp.
There was further Northern Ireland representation at the BMC Meet – In the 1500m races, up and coming athletes Fintan Stewart (City of Derry AC) and Jonathan Whan (City of Lisburn AC) narrowly missed sub 4 minute finishes, running 4:00.55 and 4:00.90 respectively. Ballymena Runners’ James Hamilton also showed some early season form with a 4:03.32 clocking, while Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) missed a personal best by just over one second when running 4:30.23.
In the 5,000m event, Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) recorded a new personal best of 14:16.79. Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) ran 14:38.71 and Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC) covered the distance in 15:03.61.
Adam jumps to Commonwealth Games standard in America
In America, Adam McMullen secured a Commonwealth Games consideration standard whilst competing at the Pure Athletics Elite Track & Field Meeting in Clermont, Florida.
Adam jumped 7.85m (0.4) to claim 1st place. He spoke to Athletics NI after the event, explaining: “I’m really happy to have achieved the qualifying mark this early in the season, it's taken a lot of pressure off me now for the summer competitions. I've invested a lot into myself to get to Florida and compete and I'm really happy it's paid off.”
In other news…
In Waterford (Ireland), a host of Northern Ireland sprinting talent were in action at the Ton Le Goaithe Sprints Meeting. Commonwealth Games star Leon Reid (Menepians AC) picked up the athlete of the meet award after running 10.26 (4.0) and 10.27 (2.9) for 100m. Despite torrential rain, Leon, who is coached by James Hillier, then ran an impressive 21.08 (1.5) for 200m.
Also in the 100m, Aaron Sexton (North Down AC) clocked 10.78 (2.9) and 10.80 (4.0), while City of Lisburn AC pair Christian Robinson and Gareth Thompson were similarly impressive, running 10.66 (2.9) and 10.92 (3.7) respectively.
Crusaders AC man Ben Maze ran 10.91 (3.8) for 100m and 22.25 (3.9) for 200m. In the 110m hurdles, Grabhan McKenna (Shercock AC) broke the beam in 15.14 (2.5). City of Lisburn AC star Lauren Roy was in action over 100m and performed well, clocking 12.20 (3.6), while Laura Frey (Lagan Valley AC) took on the 100m and the 100m hurdles, running 13.22 (1.5) on the flat and 16.66 (3.9) over the jumps.
At the Avon County Track & Field Championships, Northern Ireland’s Mollie Courtney (Coach: David Warner) won the 100m in 13.48 (2.0); this was just 0.03 off the Commonwealth Games Standard.
Also this weekend, a team of mountain runners from NI represented the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) at the Inter Counties Mountain Running Championships, which took place at Broughton Heights Hill Race in Scotland.
Both the male and female athletes covered the same course, which measured 9.6km in distance and incorporated 600m of ascent.
Larne man Ryan Stewart (Shettleston Harriers) was the quickest NI athlete over the route, taking a very credible 28th place in 45:12. Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley FR) crossed the line in 45:50 (30th place), with Team Captain Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) following just behind in 46:20 (33rd place). Mourne Runners man Timothy Johnston completed the NIMRA men’s team in 46:46 (36th place). The Northern Ireland team took 8th place in the final standings.
The Northern Ireland ladies claimed 6th place in the team competition, with Megan Wilson (Dark Peak Fell Runners) leading the way in 53:05 (16th place). Esther Dickson (Newry AC) celebrated her international debut with an excellent performance, taking 17th place in 53:27. North Belfast Harriers’ Martsje Hell crossed the line in 55:21 (23rd place), before Team Captain Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) joined her in the finish area just twenty seconds later – Shileen took 25th place in 55:41.
In the overall race, Andrew Douglas (Inverclyde AC) won the men’s event in 40:24 (1st place), while Lizzie Browne (Black Combe Runners) took the ladies title in 47:41 (1st place).
Closer to home, Belfast City Marathon winner Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) made a winning return to action at the Downpatrick Lions 3 Lakes Challenge. Laura led the field for much of the race, but in the latter stages, Aaron McGrady (Unattached) battled well to come through and win in 54:52 (1st place). AAI National Marathon and Half Marathon Champion Laura took 2nd place overall and 1st place in the ladies race in 55:06.
In the mountains, William McKee (Mourne Runners) continued his dominance of the NIMRA Championship with a comfortable win at the Annalong Horseshoe Mountain Race. William completed the 13.1 mile course, which incorporated 1,550m of ascent, in 2:06:50 (1st place). Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) won the ladies race in 2:29:31 (1st place).
At the Jengana 10k in Antrim, Northern Ireland an Ireland international Stephen Scullion (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) showed his class to win in 32:07 (1st place). PACE Running Club’s Nicola Swinson enjoyed a similarly comfortable win in the ladies race, breaking the tape in 44:40 (1st place).
At the Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon, Project Africa Athletics’ Dan Tanui won in 1:06:16 (1st place), while Northern Ireland international Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry AC) topped the ladies podium with a 1:18:32 finish for 1st place.