Category Archives: News


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.


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.


15 October 2017

More and more people here run for fun. Quite a number take it a bit further and run competitively. But when running is your livelihood, it is altogether different kettle of fish.

Gideon breasts the tape in Bangor.

Gideon Kipsang is 29 years old, married with two children under four. He is also responsible for three other children, all under 11, left orphaned after the untimely deaths of his brother and sister in law a few years ago.

He owns just over an acre of land in his native Kenya which he shares it with his three brothers. They rent land adjoining their farm to grow maize and beans as well as raising chickens. But Gideon has one outstanding talent – he can run fast and long.

The man from the Rift Valley first came to Ireland two years ago as part of the Project Africa Athletics scheme run by Omagh man Ciaran Collins. The highlights of his stay was a fourth place finish in the Antrim International Cross Country and winning the Omagh Half Marathon. He returned that autumn and won the Belfast Half Marathon.

With the prize money he was able to buy a batch of chicks which he reared to maturity. It proved to be a lucrative line of farming and one he would like to expand if he can raise sufficient funds to invest.

He was back again last year and ran well in finish fifth in the Armagh International 5K and retained his Omagh Half Marathon title. He returned again in the autumn but was less successful and went back to Kenya with little money to show for his exertions. Unfortunately, he had to use wha tsmall earnings he had for the funeral of his father who died unexpectedly.

Gideon pictured with his two daughters.

Not being part of the Project Africa plans in 2017, Gideon thought his opportunities to run outside Kenya were gone. However, while based in Omagh, he had formed a friendship with members of the Derry Track Club. He had trained with them on a number of occasions and after his return to Kenya, he had maintained contact through the social media.

When the Derry club heard that Gideon was not coming to Ireland this year, they decided to help out by offering him the cost of his return airfare and free lodgings with families of the club. In return Gideon would assist with coaching and represent the club in competition.

“It’s very hard to get someone to take you to Europe especially when we are so many. It’s a privilege,” said the man who has lived his entire life in the Rift Valley. “I was especially delighted because I feel Ireland is like my second home and it also gives me a chance to earn money, not just for my own family, but to help out my mother and father as well as brothers and sisters.

“When I’m in a race and I’m suffering I think of them and what the prize money could do to improve their lives. I went to high school in Kenya and could have gone to university but my father did not have the money. That is my ambition to send my two daughters to university because I didn’t get the opportunity myself.”

The popular Kenyan has already kicked off his Irish autumn tour well with impressive wins in the Belfast Half Marathon and Bangor 10K but unlike other years he is racing sparingly. Next up for the amiable Kenyan is the Autumn Cross Country International in Dublin next weekend and the Spooktacular 5K in Enniskillen a few days later. So the next time you see a comment on social media about Kenyans winning all our prizes, remember why they are here.




8 October 2017

New recruit Shay Heaney caught the eye at the Donegal Uneven Age Group Championships held at the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar.

After leading for a good part of the way, the recent recruit to DTC colours held on for a fine fourth place in the U15 race.

Ben Mellon continues to improve with every outing.

Ben Mellon, in 11th, was the first DTC finisher in the U17 race and was well supported by Dylan Doherty and Tom McLaughlin.


7 October 2017

Derry Track Club’s lady masters put in the top performance for the club at the Orangegrove AC-organised NI & Ulster Road Relays in Victoria Park, Belfast.

L-R: Marina Murphy, Elaine Connor and Lisa McLaughlin.

Elaine Connor (12:57) opened brightly with an outstanding sixth place on the opening leg.  Lisa McLaughlin kept DTC in contention on the second leg with a fine 13:48 timing before Marina Murphy (12:03 = 4th fastest overall) moved impressively through the field to finish fifth at the finish line.  That was just 49 seconds off the bronze medal position.

The male Masters’ were also in medal contention for most of the 4 x 3380m contest before having to settle for sixth.  One minute and ten seconds separated the DTC squad from medals after solid running from Michael Murphy (10:55), Cathal McLaughlin (11:04), Adrian Boyle (11:31) and Andy Maguire (11:43).

Adrian Boyle in action on the third leg.

Controversy shrouded our senior men’s squad with disqualification threatened before a racing shoe was donned.  Running as guests* John McQuade (11:07), Sean McIntyre (11:22), Gideon Kipsang (9:27) and Conán McCaughey (9:57) distinguished themselves by crossing the line in seventh spot.

*appeal ungoing.

Big Dawg Closes Season in Style

23 September 2017

Conor (Big Dawg) McIlveen ended his season in the best possible way with a sparkling double at the British Cerebral Palsy Games in Nottingham.

Double gold for Big Dawg.

Conor opened his account with an outright victory in the 100m in a personal best 13.01 seconds into 0.4 breeze.  Despite only taking up sprinting in June, the Big Dawg handed out a thrashing to opponents who boasted superior personal bests.

“I was very pleased with my performance, given that I was competing against two guys who have represented Britain in international paralympic competition,” said Conor after the 100m.

“The condition of the track was poor, very slippy, and acknowledged by all to be running slow in comparison with other tracks in the Nottingham area.”

McIlveen returned to the track just 90 minutes later  in deteriorating conditions to blast his way to victory in the 400m in 58.96 seconds, marginally outside his personal best.

The DTC star finished off the afternoon with another win in  a special 100m clocking 13.14 seconds into a 2.4 metres per second wind.



17 September 2017

Gideon takes in some of Belfast’s murals.

Gideon Kipsang and Catriona Jennings both scored comfortable victories in yesterday’s 5th Deep RiverRock Belfast Marathon held in perfect running conditions.  A record field of 3500 entered the event causing slight congestion problems at the start on Ormeau Embankment.

That did not deter home favourite Stephen Scullion from making a flying start.  The former North Belfast Harrier, now Clonliffe Harrier, soon broke up the field with only Kenyan Gideon Kipsang for company as the leaders returned past Ormeau Park after three and a half miles.

Sixty metres behind the leading pair, another Kenyan and 2016 winner Freddy Sittuk appeared to have decided that discretion was the greater part of valour in settling for third spot. Some distance behind the local posse headed by John Black, Pierce McCullagh and Kyle Doherty fought for top ten places.

Letterkenny’s marathon Olympian Catriona Jennings already had a massive lead in the women’s race with provincial Masters’ cross country champion Amy Bulman in second enjoying an equally decisive advantage over Sarah-Jane Guiney in the bronze spot.

Little was changed in the men’s race at the seven mile mark except Kipsang (34:43) had now eked out a 20 seconds lead over Scullion with Sittuk a further minute back in third and Black still working hard in fourth.

Although Jennings was still out in front in the women’s race, it was all change behind her with Bulman pulling out after complaining of not feeling well. Meanwhile Judith Lonnen and Ciara Toner were making visible improvement further down the field as Guiney started to slip back.

As an expectant crowd awaited the arrival of the winner back in Ormeau Park, it was wheelchair athlete Jim Corbett who was first to appear with a Kipsang hot on his heels. The Derry Track Club runner broke the tape in 64:38, that was 14 seconds outside his own race record set two years earlier when it took a photo to split himself and compatriot Dan Tanui.

“We went through 10K in 30minutes and I went away after that,” said Kipsang. “I was looking at my watch after that to make sure I didn’t go too fast. It’s a great course and a great race.”

Scullion occupied the runner-up spot in 66:12 ahead of Sittuk (70:06) who returns to Kenya today but will come back to Ireland for next month’s Dublin City Marathon. Northern Ireland champion at the distance John Black (71:52) took fourth ahead of Kyle Doherty (72:02) with Pierce McCullagh (73:25) completing the top half dozen.

Catriona Jennings had an untroubled passage back to the park to win the women’s race in a new course record of 75:38. Judith Lonnen showed extensive reserves of energy to come through to snatch second in 83:25, ahead of Ciara Toner (83:33) with the brave Sarah-Jane Guiney (84:11) deserving better than fourth.

“It was comfortable all the way,” said Dublin-based Jennings. “There was no pressure at any time which is why I’m surprised to have run so fast.”

15 September 2017

Memorial 5K – Gransha

The small contingent of DTC athletes made their presence felt at the well organised Memorial 5K.  The club’s professional Gideon Kipsang scored a comfortable victory in 15:33.  Lisa McLaughlin had an excellent result to finish second female overall while Sean McIntyre was top Junior man.  Ben Mellon also showed good form in another improving performance.