2nd March 2016- Champions Return for the 2016 SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon

With just over 13 weeks to go to the Sunday 5th June SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon in Derry, both 2015 winners Pauline Curley and Freddy Sittuk have confirmed their intentions to defend their crowns!

freddy walled city marathon 2016

Tullamore Harrier and former Irish Olympian over the classic 26.2 mile distance, Pauline ran a new female WCM course record 2hrs 47m 29s last year and also has two Waterside Half Marathon wins from previous trips to the North West in 2007 and 2009. Her 2007 77m 18s clocking was the quickest.

pauline walled city marathon 2016 2


pauline walled city marathon 2016






Part time Irish resident Freddy Sittuk will be chasing three WCM wins on the spin in June, the affable Kenyan posting winning times of 2hrs 25m 44s in 2014 and a new male course record of 2hrs 22m 34s last year.

This is great news for the WCM organisers who have built the iconic WCM into a top class event since it was inaugurated back in 2013 during the City’s City of Culture celebrations.

The online closing date is looming, it is Sunday 13th March next so interested participants should move quickly and get on board asap.

Full information is on www.thewalledcitymarathon.com

28th February 2016- Morgan and Stewart Impress and Success in Stormont

An action packed weekend of athletics from Athlone to the Ness Woods, via Stormont, and the Foyle riverbank on a beautiful bright sunny Sunday morning provided plenty of race opportunities for locals and they took full advantage.


A significant showing by Foyle Valley on Saturday as they confirmed their crowning as NI XC League champions at Stormont, their men led by Chris McGuinness and the Martina McMullan led females, doing the business at the Civil Service races to complete the nine race 2015-16 League programme and claim both the Male and Female overall League team titles.

Well done indeed to the purple vests who targeted the League from the Comber Cup victory back in October and threw both quantity and quality at all the subsequent races to deservedly claim the honours on Saturday.

Derry City Track Club’s Chris Miller took the Valley AC’s 5K Challenge series opening race honours at Ness Woods on Saturday with Eglinton Road Runners teenager,Anya Hockley the leading female finisher. Young star Fintan Stewart of the local Spartans led home club mates Luke McCarron and Mark Mullan at the front of the NW Tri Club’s 5K along the riverbank course with Springwell’s Katherine Woods an impressive female winner. Stewart continues to shine and is a big talent for the future.

In Athlone over the weekend Scott Rankin, fresh from supporting his Foyle Valley team mates at Stormont on Saturday finished in eighth spot over 3000m in the National Indoors championships at Athlone on Sunday with an 8m 27s clocking. The Spartans Naomi Morgan saw action on both days with a big PB today . Naomi smashed the 9 sec barrier with a best of 8.87 to take a well deserved 5th spot in the sprint hurdles, adding to yesterday’s PB of 9.40m in the Shot. Congratulations:)
Thank you to Stephanie, Marty & Paddy of Peak Physio Clinic who looked after her during the Championships.

peak physio

From the wider North West Mark English won the Mens 800m comfortably, Anne Marie McGlynn was 4th in the 1500m and 5th in the 3000m, Newcastle’s Kerry O’Flatherty taking 3000m gold and 1500m silver on a good weekend for the county Down woman.



As expected Foyle Valley runners did the business at Stormont on Saturday clinching their NI XC League male and female team titles with competent performances on the testing East Belfast terrain. In third place overall Chris McGuinness led the Valley men to a team win ahead on North Down, Newcastle and Acorns while Martina McMullan also claimed a third place individual podium finish to spur the Foyle women to the runners up spot behind Ballydrain Harriers, bur more than enough to clinch the overall League title.

McGuinness was ably supported by Roy McGilloway 8th, Marty Gallagher 8th and Darren Wallace 21st in the four to score team format and for the females it was McMullan 3rd, Sarah Lindsay 5th, Gemma Mahon 19th and Grainne Neill 24th who fronted the Valley win.


The Male 60+ runners ran in the Womens 3.2mile race and the City of Derry Masters duo Peter Lilburn, third M60 finisher and Gerry Lynch, top M70 home showed well. Clubmate Una Given was third F55 behind Ruth Magill and Foyle Valley’s inform Catherine Moran, significant runs from both local women as they stayed on track to take podium places in the NI Masters ongoing age group League competition.


20th February 2016- Determined Doherty Delivers NI& Ulster Senior Mens XC Title in Style!

City of Derry Spartans Aaron Doherty strode to a very impressive victory at Saturday’s NI&Ulster senior men’s cross country championships in Lurgan, replicating his injured team mate Declan Reed’s 2015 success. A terrific surge at the 8K mark broke the challenge of nearest rivals Mark McKinstry and Seamus Lynch, and he moved away for a famous victory in the strength sapping 12K race.


aaron doherty ni and ulster mens champion 2016

Neither the North Belfast nor Newcastle athletes could respond and had to settle in the end for the minor podium places as the man in the red vest glided smoothly through the last two laps for his most significant ever success. Disappointing runs in this race in recent years were finally wiped away by Saturday’s magnificent effort and it was a smiling Doherty who crossed the finish line, arms aloft, to claim a well deserved Provincial senior cross country title, to make the trip back home from his teaching job in Madrid a richly rewarding one!

Arnie as he is known, knew he was in good shape, his performances in his Spanish training group and races all pointed to something significant and he duly delivered on Saturday.


” It was a long time coming ” he said post race, ” and I am delighted that all the hard work finally paid off ” He added that he was ” really looking forward to some decent road and track competition in spring and summer ”


There was disappointment too however as a badly depleted Spartans squad surrendered their team title to impressive new champions Newcastle AC. North Belfast took team silver for the second successive year and the Spartans settled for bronze as their hopes of a historic three in a row was never a goer with several key men missing from their line up.

Allan Bogle 11th, Colin Roberts 23rd, Dermot McElhinney 28th, John Lenehan 32nd and Kieran Hurley 41st, completed the City of Derry scorers and in 10th spot was Scott Rankin, individual bronze medallist last year, leading his Foyle Valley squad to a battling fourth team finish. Roy McGilloway, Jonathan Canning, Martin Gallagher, Aidan McGowan and Matthew McLaughlin were the other Valley scorers.

They too were below full strength but their gritty performance looks good enough to keep them clear at the top of the ANI XC League despite Newcastle clawing back some points with their win. Another notable run came from the National M50 Masters champion Pauric McKinney of Inishowen AC, his 7th place finish a great effort indeed!

In the Women’s championship 6K there was a runaway win for Newcastle’s Shalene McMurray and the female Foyle Valley squad did well for fourth place behind Beechmount Harriers, Dromore AC and Lagan Valley. That was good enough to consolidate their lead in the Women’s League standings as closest rivals Acorns AC and North Down both performed poorly on the day.

The Valley scoring quartet were Martina McMullan, Gemma Mahon, Sarah Lindsay and Denise Ward, good packing delivering important League points. With the final League race this weekend in Stormont it looks like a well deserved Foyle Valley double is on the cards.

Pictures courtesy of Keith McClure

8th February 2016- McGahey’s Magherafelt Indoors Full House Weekend Highlight

Decent results from Athlone, Antrim and Magherafelt where local athletes were to the fore, Scott Rankin and Allan Bogle taking podium places at the first two venues and Stephen McGahey’s full house of gold, silver and bronze, the highlight of the Provincial Under age Indoor championships at Magherafelt, where his City of Derry team mates garnered an impressive medal haul.

Scott Rankin ran a tasty 8m 28s for third place in the 3000m at the AAI Indoors meeting in Athlone on Saturday to continue his current hot streak and in Antrim the same day Allan Bogle also had a third place finish at the Run Forest Run 10k in the grounds of Antrim Castle.

Stephen McGahey grabbed three podium spots over the weekend in Magherafelt claiming U19 60m gold, 200m silver and 400m bronze at the two day NI&Ulster Under Age Indoor championships, an excellent effort from the Spartans sprinter who clearly has wintered well.

Grainne O’Hara won the U 15 High Jump, Eoin McParland the U18 Shot Putt, Shea McDevitt the U19 60m Hurdles and in the U12 600m it was another impressive outing for Oisin Colhoun who saw off a classy field for the win. the young St Patricks PS pupil wiil travel to Mallusk tomorrow Wednesday, with confidence high for a result in the NI Flavahen’s Primary Schools XC finals.

At U18 level Aaron Sweidan impressed with a silver medal double in the 400m and Shot Putt, Hannah Surman claimed a U17 Shot Putt silver with silvers also for Thomas O’Hagan U19 60m, Jessica’Hare U18 200m and Liam George U17 800m.

Bronze medals went to Eimear Kelly in the U15 60m Hurdles, Alea Stewart in the U15 800m and Blaise Acton in the U17 Shot Putt and there were several up close fourth place finishes from others in the large local contingent who competed over the weekend.

10th February 2016- Oisin Stars Again as Local Schools make their Mark in Mallusk

The highly competitive Ulster Secondary Schools cross country championships and the NI finals of the Flavahan’s Primary Schools League were staged at Mallusk on Wednesday last and yielded some excellent results for the local runners involved.

oisin mallusk indoors 2016

Pride of place must go to St Patricks Pennyburn’s Oisin Colhoun who romped to an easy win in the Boys Primary Schools race and led his team to the runners up medals. Thornhill’s Cara Laverty also produced a big run to take second spot in the Mini Girls Secondary Schools race and in the Minor Girls race St Cecelia’s Lily Toorish had a good one for an excellent third place finish.

That bronze was matched in the Senior Boys race by Lumen Christi’s Fintan Stewart and his younger sister Aela running in Lumen colours in the Minor Girls did well for fifth spot. The two former Broadbridge PS pupils had earlier watched the current Broadbridge girls squad grab team bronze in the Primary Schools race as they and the St Patrick’s Boys team opened the proceedings in fine style for the local runners in the comprehensive twelve race programme.

The Thornhill Senior Girls squad led home by 9th placed Aoife Laverty were the only local school team to medal with a fine second in their age group race. Aoife was supported by Ciara Boyle, Eva Spence and Kristen Wallace.

Other good runs came from Sam McKeever 9th in the Mini Boys for St Columbs; May Cait Byrne 13th in the Inter Girls for Thornhill; Darren Smyth 16th in the Inter Boys for St Columbs and Oonagh Payne 19th for Lumen in the Mini Girls race.

31st January 2016- Big Run From Rankin in Dublin

Away from Saturday 30ths clinging Coleraine mud, Sunday’s Raheny 5 Mile road race saw another great run from Scott Rankin, the Foyle Valley man clocking an impressive 24m 23s for the runners up spot behind the host club’s Mick Clohisey–the 2015 Waterside Half Marathon winner —-who posted a winning 24m 05s.

A terrific effort by Scott and the placings of a few other of his more regular Northern opponents put it into perspective—–clocking 24m 59s  in 4th was Paddy Hamilton, the 2015 Dessies Run winner, in 6th Connor Duffy of Glaslough Harriers posted 25m15s and in 11th NBH’s Mark McKinstry posted 25m 57s. Duffy won last year’s NI&Ulster Intermediate XC and McKinstry was runner up behind Declan Reed in last year’s Senior XC championships.

Also of note to local athletics followers was the 28m 33s run for fifth female finisher by Marie Hyland of Crusaders AC who beat Catherine Whoriskey the previous Sunday to win the National Intermediate XC championship. Interesting!

30th January 2016- Local Athletes Prominent in Coleraine XC Mudbath

coleraine xc 2016 womens silver medalists
North West clubs were prominent at Saturday’s NI&Ulster Masters and Intermediate cross country championships, staged on a muddy mess of a course at the UU Coleraine campus, with athletes from City of Derry Spartans, Derry City Track Club, Foyle Valley and their Donegal neighbours Finn Valley and Inishowen, defying the testing conditions to secure several significant individual and team podium positions.Inishowen’s teak tough M50 Pauric McKinney set the scene with an impressive win in the opening Male Masters race, hauling in the front running Spartan Allan Bogle midway through the 8K to go on and post a terrific victory as Bogle battled to the line to claim his first ever Masters championship medal.The Finn Valley quartet dug in brilliantly to take the team title from the defending champions North Belfast Harriers, the margin only a mere one point and a great effort from the Inishowen squad saw them pipped by Newcastle  for the team bronze medals, the margin once again a single point.

Next up was the combined Female Intermediate&Masters and Male 65 plus race, the revised course extending the original 4K somewhat and once again North West runners were to the fore. The Spartans and Finn Valley Masters took the silver and bronze team medals behind winners North Belfast Harriers with Valley’s Catriona Devine edging out Omagh Harrier Julie Butler for the Masters individual gold and silver.

A strong collective  performance from Jackie McMonagle 5th, Hannah Shields 8th and top F50 finisher to boot, Anne Paul 11th, and continuing her competitive return, Shelagh Murray in 31st clinched the runners up medals for the female red vests. Another big championship run from a female Spartans masters squad consolidating the efforts at the Nationals in Dundalk the previous Sunday!

Another to build on his Dundalk national gold was M70 Gerry Lynch who added the M65+ Provincial title to his achievements this season, the Spartan working hard in the mud to comfortably see off the opposition. Springwell claimed the Intermediate Women’s team title ahead of North Belfast and Acorns AC with the Martina McMullan led Foyle Valley squad in fifth place. The top class Master runner competed in the Intermediate grade and showed well for 6th with good support from Gemma Mahon 13th, Denise Ward 25th and in 36th Jacqueline McCann.

Finally it was the Men’s Intermediate 10K and with the last minute course changes the field had to brace themselves for a seven lap slog through the Coleraine mud. An intense upfront battle developed during the second lap with Derry City TC’s recent recruit Conan McCaughey involved alongside Springwell’s Neil Johnston and NBH man Connor McCambridge.
allan bogle coleraine xc 2016In the early stages NBH, Acorns, Springwell, Foyle Valley with Pius McIntyre in the chasing group and City of Derry fronted by Noel Logan and Dermot McElhinney, were disputing the team honours but as the laps unfolded Springwell’s  challenge receeded and the Spartans lost Logan, one of his shoes literally disintegrated with just two laps remaining.Late in the final lap Johnston made the decisive move to get away from McCaughey, the pair having shaken off McCambridge some time earlier, and in the closing stages Johnston went on to take the individual gold ahead of the valiant McCaughey who in the Enniskillen RC colours had also taken the runners up spot last year. McCambridge claimed individual bronze and led his NBH squad to a successful defence of their team title, with would you believe it only a point to spare over the consistent Acorns squad.

Meanwhile Foyle Valley with Pius McIntyre’s excellent 5th overall finish and with late surges from Roy McGilloway 9th and Martin Gallagher 10th came good to grab team bronze. Matt McLaughlin 25th, Darren Wallace 34th and Terry Murphy 35th completed the purple vests scorers for a thoroughly deserved podium place. NBH took the honours on 101 points, Acorns runners up to the same opposition last year scored 102 points , like Conan McCaughey bridesmaids yet again and the Foyle boys were on 118 points for bronze.

A disappointing outing for the Spartans who had decent runs from Dermot McElhinney 11th, Kyle Doherty 15th, Paul McCafferty 21st, Connor McDowell 26th, Mark Mullan 42nd and Mark Melarkey 45th leaving them in fourth place.

Nevertheless local runners showed yet again they can compete well at Provincial level and with the Senior XC championships to come in Lurgan on February 20th we will no doubt see some more mud stained action then.

6th December 2015 and 24th January 2016- North West Triathlon Club Winter Series 5kms- Race 2 and 3

Race Two: A clear and bright Sunday morning made conditions perfect for two female Spartans who charged home in third and fourth place in this quick paced race. Janeen Leese 21:01 and Bridgeen (New PB of 21:05) tore through the ranks of competitive runners and more than made up for the Cross Country race they missed the previous day, Saturday 5th December, due to poor weather conditions. A strong race by both Spartans!

Race Three: On Sunday 24th’s North West Triathlon 5K, two more Spartans toed the line, Paul McCafferty and Micheal Murphy, and had a close ding dong throughout before McCafferty got away for the win late on. In windy conditions both made their intentions clear early on and it was McCafferty who made the break into the wind for the win in 16.33. Paul is currently in training for the London marathon and looks good at this point while Murphy will be pleased to have went quicker than in Raphoe last weekend. Mark Mullan was reliable as ever in 4th. Pauls young son Paul og showed running is in the family with a 20.00 clocking. Karen Cutliffe was 2nd in the ladies race with a good time of 21.53.


paul mccafferty north west triathlon race 3 2016