26th March 2016- Wet and Windy Omagh Half Marathon

Good efforts from the Spartans at the Omagh Half Marathon on a wet and windy Easter Saturday…..

A brilliant podium place for Jackie McMonagle, 3rd  a new 89m 21s PB , catching London based Colette Monaghan on the run in to the finish in a terrific run.  Well deserved Jackie and congrats also to team mates Anne Paul,F50 winner and Paula McGilloway as the red vests trio claimed the Women’s team prize.

Gary Slevin narrowly lost a podium place in the men’s race, his 74m 30s clocking just not enough to deny Gary Henderson of Armagh AC who posted 74m 21s to take the final podium place. Still a good effort from ” Slevy ” who came straight from his night shift to line up at 11am in Omagh.

Well done also to Karen Cutliffe, Janeen Leese, Linda Hall and James Crampsey who battled through the difficult conditions in the 27th staging of the Omagh race.

With Catherine Whoriskey posting an 80m 08s PB in a very wet and windy Cardiff Half Marathon this afternoon it was a good day for the Spartans over the challenging 13.1 mile distance. A brilliant run Catherine!

Maybe a good time to mention that our very own and hugely respected Waterside Half Marathon is set for Sunday 4th September this year. Support your local classic and get entered early—-check it out at www.derrystrabane.com


Despite the inclement conditions at both venues the weekend Omagh and Cardiff half marathons proved rewarding for local runners with PB’s for Jackie McMonagle, Catherine Whoriskey and Scott Rankin on the back of focussed efforts.

Starting in Cardiff and the World Half Marathon championship race the persistent wind and rain did the 20,000 field comprising world class, top club runners and the masses no favours whatsoever, but with the top four male finishers all breaking the hour barrier it genuinely was a quality race.

Catherine Whoriskey and Scott Rankin led their respective NI squads in the Home Countries competition and despite the atrocious conditions both produced PB’s with impressive efforts. Catherine placed 10th in the Home Counties section with a really gutsy 80m 09s clocking, a significant improvement on her half marathon debut in the local Waterside race last September and an indication that she could have a big future in distance running.

Scott Rankin posted an excellent 68m 32s, 16th in the men’s Home Countries pecking order and like the female Spartan the Foyle Valley star has decent times from 5K upwards, a good base to take his longer distance racing to a higher level.

For the record Welsh athlete Charlotte Arter and Scotland’s Derek Hawkins led home the Home Countries finishers with 73m 16s and 64m 58s clockings. Defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor

of Kenya won overall with a superb 59m 10s, his countryman Bedhim Muchiri second on 59m 36s,
with Britain’s Mo Farah grabbing third on 59m 59s The hopefully Rio bound Paul Pollock of Annadale Striders led the Irish mens team home, his 62m 46s run placing him an excellent 14th overall and with fellow NI runners Thomas Frazer and Kevin Seaward this was good enough to place the Irish team in 7th spot.

Omagh also had its share of inclement weather but individual winners Laura Graham of Mourne Runners and Gideon Kimosop of the Athletics Africa Project made light of it all with times of 78m 07s and 65m 53s getting them home well clear of their nearest rivals. Gary O’Hanlon finished male runner up on 69m 05s and North Belfast Harrier Louise Smith posted 82m 12s for the second podium spot in the womens race.

The Spartans Gary Slevin was involved in a tight battle for third male, battling Gary Henderson of Armagh AC all the way before losing out by a mere nine seconds, 74m 30s to Henderson’s 74m 21s.
Coming straight from a night shift perhaps was the difference for the unlucky Spartan!

Jackie McMonagle too had a race long battle but a late, late surge got her on the podium as her new PB of 89m 21s pushed just one second clear of the London Heathside runner Colette Monahan’s 89m 22s. It was a sprint to the finish line on the Omagh running track for both with the local athlete just having the better legs in the end!

Jackie was well supported by club mates Anne Paul, the F50 individual winner and her sister Paula McGilloway as the red vests claimed the female team prize with back up from Karen Cutliffe, Janeen Leese and Linda Parke.