ATHLETICS: Gary Slevin wins Paddy’s Day 5k

ST. PATRICK'S 5k RUN. . . .Runners pictured at the start of the St. Patrick's Day 5k Run on Saturday at the Gransha Grounds. DER1016MC020

ST. PATRICK'S 5k RUN. . . .Runners pictured at the start of the St. Patrick's Day 5k Run on Saturday at the Gransha Grounds. DER1016MC020

Gary Slevin out-sprinted Chris McGuinness to win Saturday’s St. Patrick’s 5K in the Gransha grounds.

And North Down AC star Rachel Gibson took the women’s race honours ahead of Jackie McMonagle and Angeline McShane as 135 finishers were recorded at the annual Foyle Hospice fundraiser.

WINNER!. . . .St. Patrick's 5k road race winner on Saturday, Spartans Gary Slevin pictured with Chris McGuinness (2nd right) and Spartans Dermot McElhinney (3rd). DER1016MC032

WINNER!. . . .St. Patrick's 5k road race winner on Saturday, Spartans Gary Slevin pictured with Chris McGuinness (2nd right) and Spartans Dermot McElhinney (3rd). DER1016MC032

Slevin posted 15m 47s, one second clear of McGuinness with Dermot McElhinney coming through late to take early pacemaker Noel Logan, and clock 16m 03s for third.

Logan faded after being dropped by the top two and his 16m 10s was just about enough to hit the line a second clear of fast finishing Spartans clubmate Kyle Doherty.

Gibson made her trip from Bangor worthwhile with a good win in 18m 22s, the North Down star winning comfortably in 18m 22s, from locals Jackie McMonagle and Angeline McShane. McMonagle was rewarded with a 18m 55s PB and McShane clocked a decent 19m 40s for third.

A good turnout of runners and spectators at this traditional opening of the local road running season with the Strathfoyle based Reach Running club making their presence felt with a very large contingent, many dressed in various shades of green for the occasion!

NATIONAL INDOORS MEDAL FOR STEPHEN

Meanwhile in the Athlone Arena local athletes were doing well in the National Juvenile Indoors championships with sprinter Stephen McGahey grabbing an U19 60m bronze medal with a 7.17s PB as a bonus.

A trio of other young Spartans also came close to medals in their events as Fintan Stewart, Liam George and Oisin Colhoun made their event finals with Stewart’s 4th place in Saturday’s U18 1,500 metres the closest to a podium finish.

The Lumen College student was thrown somewhat when his scheduled second heat of the 1,500m was pulled at a late stage and 18 runners were squeezed into a straight final, not ideal on a tight indoor 200m circuit. He battled well and in a frantic finish was only 1.51 of a second off the winning time of 4m 06.42s. His 4m 07.93s was very close indeed.

He also made the 800m final on Sunday, improving from 2m 03.24s in his heat to a 5th place in the final with 2m 02.62s. Very quick up front, the winner posting 1m 58.20s and all three medallists breaking two minutes.

Liam George came through his U17 800m heat and went quicker in the final posting a new PB of 2m 07.18sfor 5th but with the leading group all sub two minutes he was always chasing. Eimear Kelly was the only other local in action and did well in her U15 60m Hurdles heat just missing a final place by a mere 0.03s!

UPHILL FOR BOGLE

Allan Bogle returned to Waterfoot on Saturday for the annual Glenariff Mountain Run, a 5.9 miler involving 370 metres of climbing, an event he has won in the past. He finished second to the in-form Mourne Runners William McKee whose 43m 13s got him home just six seconds in front of the City of Derry man.