Sperrin Harrier’s 5 Mile Classice and National Track and Field 8th & 9th Dublin- August 2015


11222579_1056124354412576_1168876260732285112_n conor bradley finished conor bradley conor declan finish national track and field dublin1 national track and field dublin2

Connor Bradley stormed back to National prominence with a terrific 5000m silver medal performance at the National senior T&F championships in Dublin over the weekend, his 14m 21.79s run less than a full second adrift of the god medallist Kevin Batt of DSD who posted a winning 14m 20.97s.

The talented City of Derry Spartan took pre race favourite Batt all the way in an enthralling 5000m final, and while he will no doubt be disappointed to miss out on the title, this superb performance has certainly shown he is back in the big time in Irish middle distance running circles. A series of niggling injuries over the past two years restricted his training quality but hopefully he can build on this now and look forward to a good autumn / winter and the 2016 season.

Club mate JP Williamson also impressed in the championship 5000m race, a good 6th place finish in 14m 39.96s, confirming the USA College based Waterside athlete is definitely on an upward curve. JP had NI&Ulster Intermediate XC champion Connor Duffy of Glasslough and Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin behind him, Duff 9th on 14m 43.65s and Rankin 11th on 14m 49.79s.

In Saturday’s 10,000m final Declan Reed led home the second chasing group with an encouraging 31m 25s clocking, the Spartan another who has been hindered by niggles recently, but is hopeful he can move on in his preparations for the Berlin Marathon in September. Mullingar Harrier Mark Christie took the gold medal with an impressive 29m 52.84 winning time, the silver and bronze medallists posting low 30m times.

Inishowen athlete Pauric McKinney was another Berlin bound runner in the field, 12th on 32m 16.98s, as he and the Spartan flew the flag for the Masters runners in the race.

Letterkenny’s Mark English pipped defending champion Declan Murray to take the 80m title, 1m 50.94s to 1m 51.04s but young Shane McGowan failed to get out of the heats. Connor Doherty was run out of the 1500m heats as was DCTC’s 400m man Aaron Carlyle.

Strabne Track Club’s Sean McBride grabbed Javelin gold with a 63m plus throw, Tirconail AC’s Mary McLone took double gold in the Long and Triple Jumps an there was 3000m Steeplechase silver for Anne Marie McGlynn o Letterkenny AC.


Back on the road there was success for City of Derry’s Chris McPeake at Friday night’s Sperrin Harriers 5 mile Classic in Cookstown. The Magherafelt man posted a winning 27m 22s to eke out a narrow six second margin over Darryl McKee of Acorns AC with another Acorns man Glenn Donnelly third on 7m 40s.


chris mcpeak cookstown


UPCOMING Local Classics- Dessie’s Run and Waterside Half Marathon-6th August 2015



Looking a bit further ahead the annual Dessies Run is coming up fast. Its on Tuesday 25th August at 7 15pm out of the Gransha Park site. The new 10K course will be ANI certified next week and pre entry can be made at dessierun@gmail.com

Simply forward your Name, Gender, Age on race day, Club if any and T Shirt size and pick up your race pack between 5 45pm and 7pm on race night at race HQ in the U3A Foyle building. On the night entry can also be made at the same venue between 5 45pm and 7pm, the entry fee is £10 and there are T Shirts for the first 150 entrants.




Friday 21st August is the closing date for the 34th staging of the local Classic, the Waterside Half Marathon which is all set to go—on its new course–on Sunday 6th September. The Foyle Arena in St Columbs Park will welcome the Waterside back to its original home and runners will take on a new course covering both sides of the river Foyle, for the first time ever! Make sure you are part of it by entering now—online at www.WHM15.com or download an entry form and enter in person at either the Foyle Arena or Templemore Sports Complex.

Email inquiries to halfmarathon@derrycityandstrabanedistrict.com

Locals Make Tracks to National T&F Championships in Dublin- 5th August 2015

Athletes from local clubs City of Derry Spartans, Derry City Track Club and Foyle Valley will be in Dublin this weekend for the National Senior T&F championships at Santry’s Morton Stadium and while podium places may well be at a premium, big performances from all nine athletes are expected.

The Spartans JP Williamson and Connor Bradley are joined in the Mens 5,000m line up by Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin and this talented trio will hope to make an impression in what looks like a high quality line up. Given the big entry there are two races scheduled for the Sunday showdown and if all three are drawn together the battle for local bragging rights will be all the more intense.

DCTC star Master Cathal McLaughlin is in the 800m heats on Saturday alongside the teenage Spartan Shane McGowan. Getting out of the heats will be a big ask, the classy Mark English from Letterkenny heads a formidable line up, but Seasonal Bests if not PB’s, will be the local boys targets.

Another red vest Connor Doherty runs in the 1500m heats tomorrow and here again a strong run with a PB target will be sought. DCTC 400m specialist Aaron Carlyle has the pedigree to produce a big one in his heats, also on Saturday and the Spartans Declan Reed takes on a strong field over 10,000m mid afternoon tomorrow as part of his build up for September’s Berlin Marathon. Inishowen AC stalwarth Pauric McKinney is also in the 10,000m start list and is a Berlin Marathon hopeful as well—be interesting to see how he goes tomorrow just six days after his M50 National Half Marathon gold medal run.

The only local female athlete listed for action is the Spartans Naomi Morgan who will go in the straight final of the 100m Hurdles on Sunday afternoon. She will target a possible podium finish.

Back on the roads there is Friday’s Sperrin Harriers 5 Miler out of the Loughrey College Campus with a 7 30pm start and on Sunday at 10am closer to home is the Riverine 10K in Lifford, a popular race set to pull a big entry.

Wednesday next 12th August brings the Nissan Coleraine 5 mile Classic out of the Coleraine Leisure Centre at 7 30pm while on Tuesday 11th the North Down Open T&F meeting will cater for that clientele at the Bangor track.

Castlefin, Letterkenny and Dublin-2nd August 2015



Una Gavin F55 Category Bronze in an awesome time of 1:42 Dublin Half Marathon!

Una Gavin F55 Category Bronze in an awesome time of 1:42 Dublin Half Marathon!



Christie 2015

North West runners brought home championship medals from Sunday the 2nds National Half Marathon in Dublin with age group golds for City of Derry Spartans Christy McMonagle in the M70 category and Pauric McKinney of Inishowen AC who claimed the M50 honours, and Una Gavin did very well to grab F55 bronze in a challenging day in Dublin.

Meanwhile in Letterkenny there was another local success as Chris McGuinness of Foyle Valley clocked a winning 51m 42s at Sunday’s annual Danny McDaid 15k road race. His clubmate Gemma McGinty ran 65m 22s to take the runners up spot in the Women’s race behind an outstanding 53m 38s effort from the brilliant Natsha Adams of Letterkenny AC—–third overall in the 220 strong field!

Defending champion Paul Pollock of Annadale Striders retained his men’s individual title in Dublin posting a useful 65m 09s and Leevale’s Lizzie Lee ran 73m 29s for an emphatic victory in the women’s championship.

McMonagle racked up his seventh successive age group success over the 13.1 mile championship distance with a good 93m 45s clocking and Gavin in her first year at F55 posted a 1hr 42m finish time for her podium place. McKinney who trains with the Colin Roberts group locally has just turned 50 and banked another National championship distance medal with a 72m 26s finishing time.

Wrapping up the weekend action Brendan Murphy was another red vest on the podium with his second place finish in 16m 25s behind St Malachys star Joe McAlister’s 15m 48s at Friday night’s Castlefin 5K. Joe McCarthy ran 19m 44s for second in the M50 age group.


A small group of local athletes travel today to Lyon, France, for the World Masters T&F championships among them Jackie McMonagle and Danea Herron of City of Derry Spartans and the Derry City Track club duo Cathal McLaughlin and Robert Bigger.

McMonagle goes in the F45 5000m and 10,000m ; Herron in the F55 Heptathlon,; M45 McLaughlin and M55 Bigger will most likely  tackle the 800m/ 1500m combination in their respective age groups.

Good Luck to them!

Castlefinn 5km- 1st August 2015

Continued Success Despite Challenging Conditions


castlefinn 5k 2015

Over the last number of days Spartans have enjoyed success in all age groups from junior to veteran, highlighting a plethora of talent in all disciplines and often under arduous conditions. Saturday the 1st August was no exception. Spartans Brendan Murphy and Joe Mc Carthy disregarded the atrocious weather conditions encountered right up until 5.00pm and travelled to Castlefinn to take part in their annual 5km which is part of the Donegal Gran Prix series and was run over a new and challenging course this year.

The pair enjoyed much- deserved success with Brendan finishing an excellent second overall on 16mins 25 secs behind Saint Malachy’s quality act Joe Mc Allister on 15mins 48 secs. Finishing in third place after an earlier challenge came Michael Crumley on 16mins 35 secs.

Joe Mc Carthy peeled some 10 secs off his Malin 5km time finishing second in the V50 category on 19mins 44 secs, despite his late arrival with no warm up.

Patsy Mc Gonagle , Irish Team Manager and Finn Valley stalwart, was official time keeper and the large field of almost 300 runners was testimony to his hard work. Full credit to Castlefinn AC for an excellent event and the surprise presentation to the much-respected Gloria Donaghey (Finn Valley AC) for both her charitable work for the Foyle Hospice and total dedication to Donegal athletics was well received by the large crowd attending the prize giving. Next up this weekend is the classic Danny Mc Daid 15km hosted by Letterkenny AC and no doubt City of Derry Spartans will once again be challenging for honours in all categories, irrespective of weather conditions.

Locals Eye National Half Marathon Honours-30th July 2015



Road races once again dominate the weekend action with events with two Donegal Athletics Board 5K’s in Castlefin Friday 31st July and in Cranford Saturday 1st August and on Sunday its the annual Danny McDaid 15k which should attract a big entry to Letterkenny for the 11 30am start.
There is also the Milk Run 5 miler in Ballymoney Friday 31stJuly, the Cookstown Half Marathon at 12 noon on Sunday and then its the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Dublin on Monday the 3rd. The latter once again hosts the National Half Marathon championships and should see local Spartans Christy McMonagle and Una Gavan and Inishowen AC star Pauric McKinney chase honours in their respective Masters age group categories.
McMonagle will attempt to continue his long streak of National Half Marathon age group wins and is expected to go well in the M70 group while McKinney too has a long history of success and will chase his first M50 individual title over the distance, having recently reached the half century. Gavan is new to the F55 age group and would be delighted with a podium finish.
Among the huge entry is the double Walled City Marathon winner Freddy Sittu who will run as part of a strong Raheny Shamrock squad while Annadale Strider Paul Pollock may start as favoutite to defend his title.


whm banner 2015
The Danny McDaid 15K on Sunday will pull out many local and NW distance runners with many of them looking ahead to the Donegal Marathon in three weeks time and of course the 34th staging of the Waterside Half Marathon a few weeks later on Sunday 6th September.
At just five weeks away now the Waterside’s return to its origins in St Columbs Park and boasting a brand new course, taking in both sides of the River Foyle, is expected to have 1500 runners on the road on race day and entries are pouring in. Online entry is at www.WHM15.com or you can download an entry form and register in person at either the Foyle Arena or Templemore Sports Complex
Early entry is advised as the 21st August closing date is fast approaching so get on the ball now! Email enquiries can be made to halfmarathon@derrycityandstrabanedistrict.com


For those not quite up to the full 13.1 mile distance there is the ” bite size chunks ” option of entering the 3 Person team Relay format. Each runner will complete a 4miles plus leg of the course, making it very accessible indeed while soaking up the whole Half Marathon experience. Up to 100 Relay teams are expected on race day—-why not join them —-just follow the entry process indicated above!


The annual Dessies Run will be staged in Gransha on Tuesday 25th August with the usual 7 15pm start time and pre entry can be made now by emailingdessierun@gmail.com
Simply send your Name, Gender, Age on race day, Club if any and T Shirt size and you can then collect your race pack on race day between 5 45pm and 7pm at race HQ the U3A Foyle building in the Gransha Park grounds.
Entries will also be taken in person at U3A Foyle between the above times on race day but with T Shirts guaranteed only to the first  150 entrants the email option is advised.

National Masters Tullamore and Multievent in Hexham-26th July2015




Masters Track Tullamore July 2015 -2 Masters Track Tullamore July 2015




The National Masters T&F championships in Tullamore on Sunday provided rich pickings for the contingent of talented local athletes  with both City of Derry Spartans and Derry City Track Club in the medals.



Pride of place has to go to the Spartans Frank Stewart who took double gold in the M75 age group with wins in the 200m and Javelin. Coached by Danea and Jim Herron the Oak Leaf High Jump star of the 1960′s returned to competition last year and looks like he never really went away. Well done Frank!

Jackie McMonagle took double silver in the F45, 1500m and 3000m behind Bandon AC star Carmel Crowley and will renew that rivalry next week in Lyons at the World Masters; City of Derry newcomer Dermot McElhinney made his first National level appearance a big one with 5000m silver in the M45 category and Discus thrower Paul Herron did very well to snatch a M55 bronze.

DCTC athletes were also very prominent with star man Cathal McLaughlin once again top of the pile in the M45 800m and 1500m, double gold his reward with impressive efforts. M55 Robert Bigger was also in the frame with double silver in the same distances, M35 Adrian Boyle took 800m bronze as did Malcolm McCausland in the M60 1500m and the DCTC Relay squad did very well to close the meeting with bronze in the 400m Relay with a battling collective effort.

A number of these athletes plus the Spartans Danea Herron will travel next week to Lyon in France for the World Masters championships, a big step up in class certainly but one that can be bridged by some of them. Watch this space!



Meanwhile in Hexham Naomi Morgan improved her Heptathlon PB score to a decent 4449 points as she represented NI in the UK Combined Events championships and the teenage Spartan looks to have found her niche in the demanding multi event challenge.

Busy weekend to come-24th, 25th, 26th July

As the summer sun struggles to impose itself there is another mix of road, trail and track&field action on this weekend’s competitive agenda with Dublin, Belfast, Davagh Forest, Malin, Tullamore and Hexham venues likely to see local and North West athletes in action.
The annual Morton Games gets the action under way this evening–Friday–in Dublin with the second fastest man in the world Yohan Blake the star attraction in the Men’s Invitational 100m.  The Morton Mile is another big attraction, worth recalling that Spatra star Bobby Farren won that one back in 1992, and Letterkenny man mark English is thought to be in the 800m field.
Tullamore hosts the National Masters T&F championships on Sunday with the usual significant local  contingent travelling in search of medals. Athletes from Olympian, City of Derry Spartans and Derry City Track Club will make the trip with Martin O’Donnell, Mary Devlin, Frank Stewart, Jim and Paul Herron, Jackie McMonagle, Dermot McElhinney, Robert Bigger, Malcolm McCausland, Tim Shields and Adrian Boyle among them.
Sunday also sees the Malin Festival of road races with the programme covering both the Mile and 5K distances. First race is at 11am and entries will be taken on the day.
Saturday ‘s action is at the Mary Peters track where round 3 of the NI Young Athletes League should see more competition for the Juvenile Spartans and at Davagh Forest where the latest in the O’Brien Challenge races takes place at 12 noon.
Finally the City of Derry Spartans all rounder Naomi Morgan will be representing NI at the Home Countries Combined Events championships on both weekend days in Hexham. A tough two days for the promising combined eventer who did well in Grangemouth a fortnight ago in the Scottish championships, when she picked up an U20 silver medal despite failing to finish her 1500m race due to a foot injury. An improved points total is the target for the Spartan.