23 December 2017

DTC milers are smilers..L-R: Ben Mellon, Conor McIlveen, Lara Smailes, Tim Shiels and Tom McLaughlin.

It was a busman’s holiday for Derry Track Club athletes at the GOAL Mile in St. Columb’s Park.  Despite enjoying a deserved rest after a hard year, they turned out in their numbers to raise funds for the third world charity Click here for GOAL website.

Fastest on the day were Michael Kerr and Elaine Connor.

Carmen Runner Michael Kerr made the journey down from Carrickmore, Co. Tyrone to spin around the park for the fastest road time.

The fastest track time went to another Tyrone-based athlete Tim Shiels with the Faster Pastor showing a clean pair of heels to the opposition.

Elaine Connor was the fastest woman but the seemingly tireless Lara Smailes impressed with several high energy efforts both on the road and the track.

Paralympic star Conor McIlveen was the busiest man of the day and must have run most, if not all, of the five heats.  The Big Dawg never really could decide whether the clockwise or anti-clockwise route was the faster.

Finally, discretion being the greater part of valour, he withdrew to the coffee shop to ponder the matter further (and lick his wounds!)

Ben Mellon and Tom McLaughlin also put in a solid shift for the good cause that helps improve living conditions for thousands in the third world.

Lee Casey also made a guest appearance to churn out an impressive loop of the park.  The well-known local GP is organising a second GOAL MILE from  Sainsbury’s on Boxing Day (12:00 midday).

The Derry Track Club squad relax after the GOAL MILE.

“They also serve who only stand and wait” and never more true as Cathal McLaughlin, David Mellon, Robert Bigger and Mal McCausland gave up their time to record and cajole in equal measure. 



Gideon Kipsang’s family have benefitted from the generosity of DTC members this year.

Derry Track Club is organising a GOAL MILE at Foyle Arena in Derry-Londonderry’s Waterside for the first time on December 23.

The plan is to hold a timed mile on an internal loop of St. Columb’s Park every 30 minutes starting at 10:30am and concluding with a seventh and final mile at 1:30pm.

Everyone who takes part will get a special certificate showing their time – there is nothing to stop anyone making it a training session and doing more than one mile.  Loads of spot prizes.

There is no entry fee – just contribute what you want.  All contributions go 100% to the GOAL charity.  Click here for GOAL Website.

Somewhere in the world last year, one person was driven from their home every three seconds.

“Every day in GOAL, our staff work with families who have been left with no option but to flee their homes because of violence or hunger.

What was long considered a slowly-building crisis, a rapid escalation in numbers over the past five years has now brought on a displacement catastrophe.

A staggering 66 million people are now part of this global issue.

Somewhere in the world last year, one person was driven from their home every three seconds.

In the past 12 months, the problem has worsened again. And that is simply unacceptable.

GOAL is focusing on this theme of ‘Home’ as part of our 2017 Christmas Campaign.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to discover some of the people, and the stories, behind those who have been forced from their home.

You can also donate to our Christmas Campaign by clicking on the button below,” GOAL Charity website.


Click Here to Donate



DTC’s Gideon Kipsang and Emma Mitchell had waltzed off with the top prizes at the Joe Seeley 10K Road Race that incorporated the NI & Ulster championships for the distance.

Gideon Out On His Own

Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin was the early leader in the men’s race but had been hauled in by the Kenyan before the halfway mark. The pair appeared to run together for a while before Kipsang moved away for an easy victory in 30:40.

Rankin finished 16 seconds in arrears but had the consolation of picking up the provincial title. Springwell’s Neil Johnston continued to impress by prevailing in a tight contest for third in 31:11 with Letterkenny miler Danny Mooney showing new-found endurance to grab fourth spot another five seconds back.The women’s race was a classic speed versus stamina encounter.

Emma Mitchell with her fastest ever 3000m in her legs from the previous Thursday night played the waiting game to perfection before running away from marathon queen Laura Graham in the latter part of the race. The QUB athlete crossed the finish line in 34:00 with Graham also pleased with her 34:21 clocking in second spot.

For many the outstanding performance in the women’s race came from 39-year-old mother of two Kelly Neely. Distinguished as a track runner with appearances at two Commonwealth Games, the City of Lisburn athlete recorded a lifetime best of 35:51 to take the bronze medal. North Belfast Harriers lifted both men’s and women’s team titles.

Seeley Cup 10K Road Race inc. NI & Ulster Championships
Men: 1 Gideon Kipsang Derry Track Club 30:40, 2 Scott Rankin Foyle Valley 30:56, 3 Neil Johnston Springwell 31:06, 4 Danny Mooney Letterkenny 31:11, 5 Declan Reed M40 City of Derry Spartans 31:14, 6 Andrew Annett North Belfast Harriers 31:18, 7 Christopher Madden City of Lisburn 31:19, 8 Mark McKinstry NBH 31:26, 9 Eoghain McGinley Letterkenny 31:28, 10 Lindsay Gordon NBH 31:30;
Women: Emma Mitchell Queens University 34:00, Laura Graham Mourne Runners 34:21, 3 Kelly Neely F35 City of Lisburn 35:51, 4 Gladys Ganiel F40 NBH 36:21, 5 Ciara Toner F35 Springwell 37:06, 6 Caroline O’Hare East Down 37:22, 7 Fionnula Diver F35 Letterkenny 37:38, 8 Denise Toner F35 Clones 38:03, 9 Laura Bickerstaff Dromore 38:11, 10 Kerry Balmer Ballymena Runners 38:20


DTC’s young lions tore trough the opposition at the Derry Schools’ Invitational at Oakgrove College.  Sean McIntyre was the winner of the Senior Boys’ race with Sé Heaney, Ben Mellon and Dylan Doherty all impressing on a wet and cold morning.

Kayla McLaughlin ran well for fourth in the girls’ race behind a very impressive Jane McGinley.  The much-improved Lara Smailes was unfortunate to just miss out on a medal by one place in the third year girls’ race.

“I was very impressed by all our juveniles,” said DTC professional Gideon Kipsang. “They all looked very strong – the training is definitely is beginning to show.”


A gutsy run from Kendra McMullan landed her the runner-up spot while a sensational final lap saw Derry Track Club’s women grab team bronze medals at the NI & Ulster Novice and Uneven Age Group Cross Country Championships in Stranorlar.

Kendra McMullan, Elaine Connor and Lisa McLaughlin with DTC coaches.

Kendra, third in 2016, was intent on going even better this year was toward the front from the gun.  Edel Monaghan soon opened a sizeable gap but that did not prevent the Northern Ireland football captain from plugging away in the heavy conditions.

Down the field Elaine and Lisa McLaughlin were running the race of their lives. DTC was a long way off the medal spots with a lap to run but Elaine was consolidating her 14th spot while Lisa was ploughing through the mud like a hot knife through butter.

The six places gained by Lisa proved crucial as she moved through to 19th for a team score of 35.  That saw the ladies lift bronze medals with just five points separating the top four clubs.  Milford  31, Finn Valley 32, DTC 35, Foyle Valley 37 – 10 teams closed in teams.

The U17 boys’ team was effectively denied the services of Dylan Doherty who had to pull out after losing his shoe on three occasions during the opening lap.  In his absence Sean McIntyre (22), Dan Haigney (28), Ben Mellon (60) and Tom McLaughlin (65) ran manfully for seventh in the team listings.  There are many reasons for optimism regarding the future of this squad.

Sé Heaney impressed with a 30th spot in the boys’ U15 race while Conor McIlveen (69th) and David Mellon (73) showed they are wintering well with strong performances in the Novice Men’s contest.

Tomás Haigney was fifth in the Boys’ U15 helping Derry o victory in the Inter-County event.


Run Through History in this Year’s Greencastle “5”

10 November 2017

A Run Through History is the theme for this year’s Greencastle “5” Mile Road Race on St. Stephen’s Day. It’s the 32nd year of the Tyrone classic that has firmly established itself as the top event of its kind over the Christmas holiday period with well over 1500 runners turning out last year.

Greencastle 5 Organisers Oliver McCullagh (left) and Colm Devlin with Kenyan athlete Gideon Kipsang

This year, race director Oliver McCullagh is laying emphasis on the outstanding depth of history associated with the five mile route on the foothills of the Sperrins.  From the start close by an Ogham stone to the finish along an old coach road once terrorised by a notorious local highwayman, the area is steeped in history and prehistory.

The Aghascrebagh Ogham stone is the only of its kind in Tyrone and is overlooked by Dun Ruadh, a large circular burial cairn constructed 4000 years ago, and clearly visible in the opening mile of the race.

As the course enters the second mile Formil Hill come into view.  According to the Annals of the Four Masters, the Cinel Eoghain (O’Neills) routed the Cinel Conaill (O’Donnells) here in 965 after killing the Donegal men’s leader Maelisa O’Cannon and Moriarty O’Taidhg, heir to the kingdom of Connaught.1 comment awaiting moderation

Historic Sites around Greencastle

The two mile marker sees the field turn on to the Crockanboy Road and head back toward the hamlet of Greencastle, formerly known as Sheskinshule (the moving bog) until the mid-nineteenth century.

The three mile point follows shortly afterwards but it is the right hand turn onto the Mullydoo Road when most runners believe they pass through a portal into another world – of pain and punishment – as they climb the steep 800 metre ascent up to the summit of Crockanboy.

From there it’s all the way downhill to the finish along the road once frequented by the notorious local highwayman and used by Hugh O’Neill as he made his way to Rathmullan for his flight to mainland Europe along with Hugh O’Donnell in 1607.

Most of the roads along the course have been resurfaced in the past 12 months and McCullagh is hopeful that he might see a new race record this year.

“We’re hoping Paul Pollock will be back to go for a four-in-a-row,” said McCullagh.  “He ran well in Leeds last weekend and he could go close to his race record of 24:07 he set three years ago. The road has been fixed and should provide good fast going for everyone looking to improve their times for the race.”

The race will start an hour earlier this year at 12:00 midday but no entries will be accepted on the morning of the race.  Race entry is now open to the 2017 Greencastle “5” at www.greencastle5.com and will close at midnight on December 23.

Gideon Wins 83rd McConnell Shield

4 November 2017

Derry Track Club’s Gideon Kipsang, Laura Bickerstaff and Matt Shields were the outstanding competitors at the 83rd McConnell Shield cross country meeting hosted by East Antrim Harriers at Ballyclare. Despite being dropped from the ANI Cross Country League at the eleventh hour, the fixture still drew a healthy entry from northern clubs.

Gideon Bides His Time.

Kipsang was in a group of five that broke away from the main field as early as the first mile lap of five. Recent Masters’ trial winner Allan Bogle was setting the pace while Conor Duffy, Mark McKinstry and Paralympic star James Hamilton were all looking comfortable in his wake.

Nothing changed until the fourth lap when Kipsang made his move taking Duffy with him. The Kenyan kept the pressure on throughout the last lap but the tenacious Glaslough Harrier stuck to his task and kept the Kenyan’s winning margin down to eight seconds at the finish line. The consistent McKinstry took third ahead of Hamilton, Bogle and a strong finishing John Black.

DTC’s representatives acquitted themselves admirably.  Shane McGowan returned from a long spell of inactivity following injury by taking 14th, followed by 16-year-old Sean McIntyre in 43rd and Conor McIlveen in 82nd.

The DTC juveniles also impressed in the under age races.  New recruit Sé Heaney was 3rd in the Boys’ U16 race followed by Ben Mellon in sixth.   Kayla McLaughlin was fourth in the Girls’ U16 contest.

Dromore’s Laura Bickerstaff was a clear winner of the women’s race with Sarah Lindsay and Paula Worthington filling the other podium places.  Derry Track Club’s Elaine Connor had another impressive performance over the country finishing fourth in the F40 category.

Matt Shields was the winner of the Over 60 and above Master’s Men race and the worthy first recipient of the Bertie Grimason Cup in memory of the host club’s president who passed away earlier this year.  DTC’s Mal McCausland picked up the prize for first M65,


McConnell Shield Cross Country

Senior Men: 1 Gideon Kipsang Derry Track Club 26:40, 2 Conor Duffy Glaslough Hrs 26:48, 3 Mark McKinstry North Belfast Hrs 27:27, 4 James Hamilton Ballymena Runners 28:01, 5 Allan Bogle (M35) City of Derry Spartans 29:16, 6 John Black NBH 28:31; M40: Michael Bennett Ballymena Runners 30:16, M45: Eamon White NBH 28:32, M50: Duncan Bell Willowfield 29:49, M55: Noel Connor Ballymena Runners 30:40; Team: NBH

Senior Women: 1 Laura Bickerstaff Dromore 28:15, 2 Sarah Lindsay North Down 18:34, 3 Paula Worthington Ballymena Runners 19:03, 4 Jodi Smith (F35) North Down 19:07, 5 Catherine O’Connor East Down 19:25, 6 Sarah-Jane Guiney (F35) U/A 19:35; F40: Jenny Black VP & Connswater 20:14, F45: Martina McMullen Foyle Valley 19:41, F50: Debbie Matchett Ballydrain Hrs 19:50, F55: Anne Paul City of Derry Spartans 20:21.

Masters Men: M60: Matt Shields NBH 18:29, M65: M McCausland Derry Track Club 21:12, M70: Jim Patterson Newcastle 20:18, M75: Jim Platt Springwell

Spooktacular Night for DTC in Enniskillen.

27 October 2017

Gideon Kipsang was an impressive winner of the Spooktacular 5K in Enniskillen from a field of 1500 plus runners.  DTC’s adopted Kenyan broke the take in a record 14:32 to add to an impressive list of victories this autumn.

Gideon added another victory in Enniskillen

Conán McCaughey  showed he was also getting back into top shape with a fifth place in 15:26 despite being misdirected by a marshall along the route.

Sean McIntyre was an excellent 12th overall in 17:25 to claim the U18 prize with 15-year-old Ben Mellon continuing to improve with an 18:23.  Conor (Big Dawg) McIlveen also broke new ground with a 15:02 clocking.

New recruit Dylan Doherty impressed with a 19:51 posting.  David Mellon was close to his best mark ever with a 20:22 while Mal McCausland picked up the first M60 prize with a 21:26 timing.  Kayla McLaughlin rounded off an excellent evening for the green and blacks with 22:00 clocking for second U18 girl.


Full Results Spooktacular 5K 2017

29 October 2017

John McQuade

John McQuade was the only DTC senior in action at the Bobby Rea Cross Country in Kilbroney.  The Omagh man opned his season with a fine 31st place.  The Haigneys were involved in the NI & Ulster Even Age Groups championships with Dan (U16 Boys) and Enya (U18 Girls) both finishing 13th in their respective races while Tomás made a welcome comeback to competition after an appendectomy with a 24th spot in the U14 Boys’ contest.

Two DTC Athletes on the Podium in Dublin

22 October 2017

Ethiopian Tiko Tonosa was the winner of the Athletics Ireland’s Autumn Classic Cross Country at Abbotstown, Dublin. Running in the colours of the Dundrum South Dublin club, the 13:31 5000m man made a break on the penultimate lap that was to prove decisive. Derry Track Club’s Kenyan Gideon Kipsang mounted a late challenge but ended up three seconds in arrears at the tape as club colleague Adam Kirk-Smith filled the last place on the podium another four seconds back.

Gideon and Adam on the medal dais.

Slieve Gullion’s Paddy Hamilton was the first Master to finish with City of Derry’s Declan Reed in the runner-up spot. North Down’s Craig McMeechan and Newcastle’s Patrick McNiff were sixth and seventh resepctively in the Junior race won by Bantry’s Darragh McElhinney.

Kerry’s reigning national champion Shona Heaslip was a convincing winner of the women’s event by 20 seconds from Scotland’s Mhairi MacLennan with Leevale’s Olympic steeplechaser Michelle Finn back in third spot. Cathy McCourt, in ninth, was first northern finisher in the Masters’ race.

A day earlier Allan Bogle and Catherine Diver had dominated their respective Northern Ireland Masters’ Cross Country trials at Upper Malone. Over 130 hardy veterans turned up in the hope of gaining a place on NI teams for next month’s British & Irish Cross Country International to be held in Derry.

Bogle struck the front from the gun in ideal running conditions and had already put 40 metres between himself and Chris McGuinness by the end of the first lap. Omagh’s Marty Cox in third was leading the main field.  The City of Derry Spartan kept the pressure on during the second lap and had doubled his advantage by the halfway point with McGuinness equally safe in second as a battle raged for the bronze medal position.

Bogle did not falter over the final two laps of the soft and giving surface to come home in glorious isolation a massive 40 seconds ahead of the Foyle Valley man who in turn had a ten second over Enniskillen’s Stephen Cassidy who finished strongly for third.  North Belfast Harrier Eamon White, in fifth overall, was the leading M45 while clubmate Andrew Considine, in tenth, was the first M40.  Willowfield’s Duncan Bell was the leading M50 with another North man David Clarke taking the M55 accolade and English visitor Peter Gray the M60 top spot.

Catherine Diver was equally impressive in the women’s race, holding off the reigning provincial Masters’ champion Amy Bulman to seize a narrow but emphatic victory by six seconds. The Willowfield Harrier in turn had a six second buffer over Gerrie Short who continued a rich vein off form to ensure two of the three podium places went to Beechmount Harriers ladies.

Diver was the first F40 while Bulman had the consolation of being leading F35. Ballydrain Harrier was the top F45 just ahead of clubmate Amanda Perry who led home the F50s. City of Derry’s Anne Paul was top of the F55s and Lagan Valley’s Kate Montgomery won the F60 category.

Newcastle’s Jim Patterson warmed up for a defence of his M70 title in Derry with a solid win in the M65 and above race where Terry Eakin made a welcome comeback to win the M65 age group. Springwell’s Jim Platt was first home in a surprisingly competitive M75 race.



15 October 2017
Derry Track Club’s Conan McCaughey impressed today with a podium finish at the Carrera de San Fulgencia 10k in Spain.

Conán turns up the heat in Spain.

The Enniskillen man bounced back to form after the Laganside 10K where he was disappointed with his fourth place by finishing in runner-up spot for a testing and hilly route.
Conán’s time of 32:27 was excellent given the severity of the difficult two-lap course and the scorching temperatures.
“I’m delighted with second place in the Carrera de San Fulgencio 10k today! It’s been a while since I’ve been happy after a race but 32:27 over a hilly 2 loop course on a scorching Sunday morning, I’ll take that! The hospitality of the locals was incredible.
“It is a good confidence boost after disappointment of Laganside. I find always I run well in warm conditions, I can gauge and stay on the limit whilst others go over theirs, overheat and slow dramatically.”