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.
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).
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.
Gideon Kipsang and Laura Graham were the impressive winners of the George Best City Airport-sponsored Bangor 10K hosted by North Down AC on Saturday. Held in sunny but breezy conditions, the race attracted a record entry of almost 1200 runners.
Kipsang followed the early leader Paddy Hamilton for the first kilometer through Bangor town centre before taking charge at the front. After that it was just a question of how much the Derry-based Kenyon would win by as he passed the halfway point in 15:05. The man from the Rift Valley forged on over the hilly country roads around Groomsport before returning to Bangor’s Ward park where he broke the tape in a new course record and personal best of 30 minutes and three seconds.
Some minute and a half in arrears, Paddy Hamilton took the runner-up prize in 31:30 with Chris Madden having arguably his best run of the year to take the bronze medal spot in 32:04. Laganside winner Mark McKinstry had to settle for fourth on this occasion in 32:35, ahead of Craig McMeechan (32:51) and Emmett McGinty (33:01).
Laura Graham make a quick return to action in the women’s race just six days after her phenomenal to 3:37:05 clocking in the Berlin Marathon. They Kilkeel mother of four wasted little time in showing a clean pair of heels to her female opposition as she flew to a 34:37 timing for 15th place overall.
The host club’s Jessica Craig took second in 36:09, well clear of Cathy McCourt who returned to competition after injury with a 38:06 timing. Amanda Perry (39:11), Rachel Gibson (39:20) and Ann Terek (39:34) completed the top half dozen ladies.
Gideon Kipsang completed a weekend double when he was first past the post in yesterday’s Marty’s Run 5K held in cold and wet conditions in Derry. The Kenyan got caught up at the start in the congestion of the 600 strong field and allowed Scott Rankin to open a 100 metres in the first kilometer. Kipsang did not panic and had hauled in the Foyle Valley athlete by the third kilometer marker before going on to win from Rankin by seven seconds in a nippy 15:05. Adrian McGowan was a strong third in 16:26. Catherine Whoriskey was a class apart in the women’s race winning in 18:07.
The cross country season made an early start with the Donegal Masters’ and Even Age Group Championships in a windy Carndonagh. There was a shock in the opening race, the women Masters’ race, when Marina Murphy defeated reigning Irish champion Fionnuala Diver from the Letterkenny club. The Derry Track Club woman stalked her rival until the last 400m of the three kilometer event before unleashing an impressive sprint that carried her to the gold medal.
Acorns AC runner Natalie Hall filled the final place on the podium ahead of DTC’s Elaine Connor who continues to improve with every race. Finn Valley ladies took the team award.
There was another tight tussle in the men’s race before Letterkenny’s Karl Duggan got away from the persistent Chris McGuinness of the Foyle Valley club to win by 16 seconds. City of Derry’s Archie McElhinney was good value for the bronze medal after a strong performance. Letterkenny packed well to take the team title.
Andrew Maguire was the first DTC finisher in 26th (17:41) followed by 40th Robert Bigger (18:52) and 52nd David Mellon (20:22). The DTC juveniles also kicked off their cross country season impressively with Sean McIntyre taking 6th in the U16 race. Behind him, newcomer Dylan Doherty caught the eye with a 14th spot on his debut in the green vest. Ben Mellon also worked hard in the U16 race to end up 11th.
Conor (Big Dawg) McIlveen ended his season in the best possible way with a sparkling double at the British Cerebral Palsy Games in Nottingham.
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.
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.
Derry Track Club’s inaugural Bobby Farren Memorial 5K was an outstanding hit with everyone who took part. Over 160 signed up for the fast, flat course around Eglinton village in rural County Derry. The weather gods smiled on the event with a light drizzle taking the place of the hurricane forecast by the meteorologists.
DTC’s professional Gideon Kipsang made a winning debut in the green and black vest in an impressive 15:20 while Springwell’s Ciara Toner was the leading lady on show clocking a smart 18:15.
DTC would like to thank all club members and others who helped out on the night including Maureen and Alice McLaughlin who were in charge of the catering.
Marina Murphy edged gently back into competition with an impressive win at the Diva Dash 4 Miles in Carrickmore, Co. Tyrone with 24:24 clocking.
Marina had warmed up with a third place (18:59) finish in the Derry City parkrun the previous week and was to the fore from the gun. She moved further away as the race progressed.
At the line she over a minute to spare over Sperrin Harrier Angela O’Neill (25:40) with Lagan Valley’s Suzanne Higgins completing the top three in 25:58. Derry Track Club duo Enya Haigney (26:12) and Elaine Connor (26:51) filled positions fourth and fifth respectively.
Diva Dash 2017
1. Marina Murphy 35-44 Derry Track Club 24:24
2. Angela O’Neill 35-44 25:40
3. Suzanne Higgins 35-44 Lagan Valley AC 25:58
4. Enya Haigney -24 Derry Track Club 26:12
5. Elaine Connor 35-44 Derry City Track Club 26:51
6. Cassie Lagan -24 Omagh Harriers 26:58
7. Morgan Owens -24 Carmen Runners 27:11
8. Olivia Mullin 35-44 Greencastle AC 27:12
9. Sara Broderick -24 Carmen Runners 27:15
10. Leanne Sands 25-34 Acorns AC 27:17
Adam Kirk-Smith became the second Derry Track Club athlete to lift a national senior title when he was the comfortable winner of the 3000m steeplechase at Morton Stadium in Dublin (21 July 2017).
Jason Smyth was the winner of the national 100m crown in 2016 while JP Williamson is reigning national Novice cross country champion.
In the Masters’, Richie Kelly currently holds the M75 indoor 200m/400m titles while outdoor Cathal McLaughlin (M50 – 800m/1500m) and Martin Cox (M35 – 1500m) are the current Irish champions.
Adam Kirk-Smith overcame the challenge of Irish internationals Rory Chesser (subsequently disqualified) and Jayme Rossiter to win in 8:55.72. It was Adam’s first experience of an Irish championship and he now heads into a well-earned rest before directing his attention to the European Cross Country and Commonwealth Games.
Marina Murphy also wound up this phase of her competition with a win in the Acorns AC Blue Bells 5-Miler in Magherafelt and a runner-up spot in the Owen Roe’s 5K in Glenmornan.
DTC’s promising youngsters Sean McIntyre and Ben Mellon also shone in the Tyrone village with personal bests on a difficult course which, although downhill overall, had difficult descents and ascents. Certainly not a route you would choose for a personal best but the boys clocked 17:02 and 18:47 respectively.
There were no medals but huge credit for Cathal McLaughlin at the European Masters’ Athletics Championships in Aarhus, Denmark (http://www.emacs2017.com).
Both the 800m and 1500m were tactical affairs with Cathal just 0.3 seconds off a podium place in the two-lap event and less than a second from the silver medal in the metric mile.
Marty Cox showed he is going to be a force this winter with a 15:30 clocking in the Carlingford 5K.
Ice cool Jason Smyth took his second and Ireland’s third gold medal last night at the IPC Para Athletics World Championships in London. The medal brought the Eglinton man’s World Para Championships personal gold medal tally to seven to go along with his five Paralympic golds.
Smyth was drawn in four giving him an advantage over his main rivals Johannes Nambali and Mateusz Michalski who were in the lanes on his immediate outside. Nambali from Namibia was the defending champion while the Pole Michalski was the relative new kid on the block.
But if there were any doubts about an Irish victory these were quickly dispelled as Smyth blasted out of blocks and had eaten up the stagger on his rivals by the crown of the bend.
The Derry Track Club athlete kept up his phenomenal cadence until well into the homestraight when Nambali and Michalski, in waging war for the silver medal, closed down his advantage approaching the finish line.
Smyth’s winning time of 21.40 was his fastest for the distance since 2013 with Nambali grabbing the runner-up spot in 21.81 while Michalski set a new personal best of 21.86 in the bronze medal position.
It was third time he has done the double at the IPC Worlds starting in Holland back in 2006. He missed the Worlds in New Zealand in 2011 through injury but recovered to win two medals in Lyon two years later. He confined himself to just the 100m in Doha two years ago when he had to dash home early to be present at the birth of his daughter.
Smyth’s ability was spotted at Limavady Grammar School by PE teacher Liz Maguire and she referred him to coach Stephen Maguire who now heads up British Athletics Sprints, Hurdles and Relays.
Although now coached by Clarence Callendar, it was the Strabane man who moulded Smyth into the world class performer we now see dominating the Paralympic sprints. Not that his success in confined to disabled sport, he has also represented Ireland in mainstream athletics, especially memorable being the European Championships in 2010 when he reached the semi-final of the 100 metres.
He competed for Northern Ireland at 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and was only a blink of an eye from qualifying for the 100m at the London Olympics in 2012 when his still personal best clocking of 10.22 seconds was just two-hundredths outside the required standard.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man or in the world of Paralympic athletics, cometh Jason Smyth as the Derry Track Club sprinter served up another scintillating performance at the IPC World Athletics Championships in London.
It brought the Irish medal haul to an impressive two gold and two silver medals for the first weekend of competition.
First Smyth confirmed his status as the fastest Paralympic sprinter on the planet before McKillop rolled out an exhibition of tactical running to make it an Ulster one-two that took the breath away.
Drawn in lane five, Smyth was fastest out of his blocks in the T13 100m final after a false start by his nearest rival Gustavo Araujo of Brazil. After that the Derry Track Club athlete just moved further and further ahead as the race progressed. He crossed the line in 10.63 seconds, his second fastest time of the year and achieved into a slight headwind.
Poland’s Mateus Michalski took advantage of Araujo’s disqualification to snatch the silver medal in 10.95, a mere hundredth of a second ahead of Australia’s Chad Perris.
Michael McKillop made it a second gold for Ireland within a quarter of an hour when he ran a superb tactical race to win the T38 800m. The Glengormley man waited until the final 200m before hitting the front and going on to win in 2:00.92.
Canada’s Liam Stanley looked as though he was going to take the silver medal before falling 30 metres from the line. Australia’s Deon Kenzie came through to fill the runner-up place ahead of Tunisia’s Abbes Saidi.
It was not all good news from the London stadium yesterday as marathon specialist Patrick Monahan was eliminated from the T54 wheelchair 1500m after finishing ninth in his heat.
Earlier on Saturday morning Niamh McCarthy had opened the Irish medal account with a silver in the F41 discus final. The Cork woman’s best throw of 26.17m came in the fifth round and meant she improved on the bronze medal she won at the Worlds in Doha two years ago. The 23-year-old also finished runner-up in the event at last year’s Rio Paralympics.
Orla Barry followed that up with a second silver medal for Ireland when she finished runner-up in the F57 discus with a best throw of 28.89m. Algeria’s Nassima Saifi struck gold with a throw of 34.05, while Mexico’s Floralia Estrada Bernal filled the third spot on the podium. Barry, 26, was also a silver medallist in Rio.
Grete Streimikyte was unlucky to miss out on a medal in the T13 1500m with a fourth place in a season’s best of 4:47.54 behind Morocco’s Samaa Benhama who broke the electronic beam in 4:40.40.