THOUSANDS SET FOR SPAR CRAIC 10K
16 March 2017
Thousands of participants will take to the streets of Belfast tomorrow (Friday 17th March 2017) for the 3rd annual SPAR Craic 10k road race. The St Patrick’s Day event will leave City Hall at 9am, with the impressive urban route taking competitors towards the picturesque finishing area at Titanic Slipways.
Organisers of the event have encouraged families to get involved, kicking off their St Patrick’s Day in a healthy and worthy way, before joining the civic celebrations in the city centre afterwards. This year, the charity partner is Marie Curie, meaning those taking part will not only be doing something that will benefit their own health, but will be helping a very worthy cause. The race also comes at a perfect time for those hoping to take part on the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon on Monday 1st May 2017.
At the head of the pack, St Malachy’s AC star Ben Branagh and City of Lisburn AC athlete Chris Madden will resume battle, following on from their dual at last week’s Jimmy’s 10k in Downpatrick. On that day, Ben dominated proceedings, winning in 31:33 with Chris recording 31:47 for second place after a fast finish. Don Travers (Newry City Runners) and North Belfast Harriers pair Conal McCambridge and Connor Curran will also challenge for a podium place, while James Trainor (Dub Runners) and Kevin O’Boyle (Unattached) add depth to the competitive field. East Down AC’s Brendan Teer may also make a welcome return from injury.
In the ladies race, Lagan Valley AC’s Lauren Quee returns to competitive action and should lead the way. However, the former Glasgow City University runner will have to fend off the continually improving Maeve Lavery (City of Lisburn AC), who with a 10k personal best of 37:22, should be considered as a contender for top honours. Lagan Valley AC duo Suzanne Higgins and Julie Murphy will be aiming for a podium finish, while their former club mate, Ruth Perioli (now of Ballydrain Harriers), will also place well.
Elsewhere this weekend, a capacity field of 2,000 competitors will take on the AES Larne Half Marathon, an event hosted by Larne Athletic Club. The elite field includes former Belfast City Marathon podium finisher Dan Tanui (Project Africa Athletics) and Northern Ireland international Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers). The strongest ladies field in the 25 year history of the event will include Olympian Catriona Jennings (Letterkenny AC), Commonwealth Games star Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) and AAI National Marathon and Half Marathon champion Laura Graham (Mourne Runners).