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.
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.
MASTERS IN FRAME
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.