10 April 2017


Northern Ireland’s Commonwealth Games and Olympic hero Kerry O’Flaherty (Coach: Richard Rodgers) added another prestigious title to her already impressive running career after securing National gold in Dublin this weekend (Sunday 9th April 2017).

Competing at the Great Ireland Run, which also incorporated the Athletics Ireland National 10k Championships, the Newcastle AC Steeplechaser recorded 34:38 for 3rd place overall – this was enough to see Kerry finish as 1st place Irish lady and therefore top the National podium.  England’s Gemma Steel sealed overall victory in the ladies race in 34:15.

Kerry’s strong performance also assisted in ensuring that Ireland retained the Sean Kyle Cup in the international competition against England.  City of Derry AC’s Catherine Whoriskey made her debut for Ireland and claimed an excellent 6th place overall in 35:55.

In the men’s race, Irish international Mark Christie (Mullingar Harriers) provided the home cheer by winning the Great Ireland Run and National title in 29:30 (1st place).  Team NI Commonwealth Games athlete Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) was the first local finisher home in 12th place overall, crossing the line in 31:35.

In other news…

Local athletes also secured National titles on a University level this weekend, whilst competing at the Irish Universities Athletics Association (IUAA) Track & Field Championships in Cork.

Both Queen’s University and the University of Ulster were well represented, while Northern Ireland based athletes also turned out for their Irish universities. 

QUB AC trio Ben Maze, Christian Robinson and Neil Johnston produced the most impressive performances, with all three collecting gold medals.  In the 400m, Ben clocked a QUB record when running 47.61 for victory, while in the 100m, his team mate Christian Robinson sprinted to gold in 11.13. In a tactical 1500m race, Neil topped off an excellent weekend for the local universities with a 4:12.98 for 1st place.

Closer to home, the eyes of the UK and Ireland mountain running fraternity were on Northern Ireland as the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) hosted the Round 1 of the British Fell Running Championships, the Donard Challenge Fell Race (Saturday 8th April 2017).

The course measured approximately 10k in distance and incorporated 900m of ascent, and it was English pair Tom Addison (Helm Hill Runners) and Kelli Roberts (Ambleside AC) who came out on top.  Tom led the men home in 58:03, with Kelli leading the ladies across the line in 1:11:39. 

Northern Ireland international Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley AC) and mountain running newcomer Esther Dickson (Newry AC) were the first local finishers, with Gavin claiming 22nd place in 1:02:18 and Esther 11th place lady in 1:17:57.