ATHLETICS: SSE Airtricity 10 Mile race at Ebrington

City of Derry Spartans' Jackie McMonagle.
City of Derry Spartans' Jackie McMonagle.

The Irish Schools cross country championships in Sligo and on the Ebrington Square site the SSE Airtricity 10 mile road race, will both be of significant local interest on Saturday.

Staying local, the Walled City Marathon warm-up race will take the anticipated 300 or so participants around 10 miles of the June 5th WCM route, starting in the Ebrington site at 10.30 a.m. and finishing on the St Columb’s Park running track from around 11.20 a.m. onwards.

There is a very healthy pre-entry of 260 with a fairly even mix of locals and others and with entries also been taken on the day at Ebrington, good numbers and keen competition should be guaranteed.

Entries have come in from all over the country as road runners look ahead to the various Half and full Marathons to come in the early spring and summer months.

Collection of race packs for all those pre-entered will begin tomorrow at 9.15 a.m. in Ebrington, as will late entries and the start gun will go at 10.30 a.m.

The battle for female honours looks intriguing with Natasha Adams of Letterkenny AC, Karen Alexander of Acorns AC and City of Derry’s Jackie McMonagle looking the most likely of the pre entries. However on the day could well bring in a few other contenders for the up-front action and right down the field will see more battles unfold.

Foyle Valley duo Marty Gallagher and Matthew McLaughlin head the local pre-entry with North Belfast’s Andrew Annett and a few of his club mates, at this stage probably the front runners. Again late entries will be a factor with the usual on the day appearances from both locals and visitors alike.

The course has changed from both 2014 and 2015 and should be somewhat faster with the challenging final two miles tweaked significantly by the new finish in St Columb’s Park. If the right athletes turn up and the weather gods are kind then both Paul Barbour’s 52m 51s in 2015 and Claire McGuigan’s 2014 65m 14s marks could go.

There is also a Kids 800m Fun Run on the programme, starting at circa 10.35am. Entry is free and participants can sign on from 9.30am to 10.30am in Ebrington.

SCHOOLS CHAMPIONSHIP

Fintan Stewart of Lumen Christi College looks like the top local challenger for honours at the 100th edition of the Irish Secondary Schools Cross Country championships in Sligo racecourse tomorrow. He has showed well on road, indoors and country already this season at local, provincial and national club and school level and should be among the battle for top places in Sligo.

Good Luck to all the local Schools and all other runners in their endeavours tomorrow.