In a busy period since last Wednesday’s Bay Road 5K there were significant wins for local runners - Allan Bogle and Keith Shields - at Castlewellan Forest last Thursday and Beragh, County Tyrone on Saturday.
Bogle took the honours in Castlewellan at the opening race in the 2013 Hill & Dale Series at the County Down venue, while Shields was an equally comfortable winner at the weekend Beragh 5 miles road race in County Tyrone.
Meanwhile Amy McDaid was a close-up second on Friday evening in Antrim at the Northern Ireland Running sponsored ‘Night of Miles,’ running 5 mins. 42 secs. just falling a few stridest short of winner, Catriona McGloin.
Bogle notched his second win of the mountain-running season with an emphatic run in Castlewellan Forest on Thursday evening to take pole position in the 5.5 mile, 1,080 ft. ascent event, the first of the season’s Hill & Dale Series and this boost to his confidence should keep him well focused on the season ahead.
He clocked 34 mins. 51 secs. to finish 11 seconds ahead of North Belfast’s Neil Carty with David O’Flaherty of Newcastle Athletic Club a further five seconds back.
Shields clocked 26 mins. 13 secs. to dismiss the challenge of runner-up, Fergus McGirr of Enniskillen Running Club, on 28 mins. 10 secs., at the Beragh Knights 5 miler.
Run in blustery conditions and over an undulating course, the Foyle Valley man was never troubled.
Sara Moore of Omagh Harriers who was on her club’s winning women’s team at Wednesday’s Bay Road race, was the leading female finisher on 33 mins. 36 secs.
Bay Road female runner-up, Gemma Turley of Springwell, won a closely contested Magherafelt 5 mile Classic on Friday night. Her 30 mins. 43 secs. clocking just about getting her home ahead of Clones A.C. runner, Denise Toner, on 30 mins. 49 secs. Cathy McCourt of North Belfast, the top F35 at Bay Road last week, finished in third in a time of 31 mins. 19 secs.
Finally, London based Omagh Half Marathon winner, Stephen Scullion, is the new National 10k road champion by virtue of his 30 mins. 15 secs. seventh place finish at Sunday’s Great Ireland Run in Dublin.
The former North Belfast Harrier was the only Irish finisher in the top 10 as Ethopian super star, Kenenisa Bekele, ran 28 mins. 51 secs. in very strong winds, to retain the crown he won last year.
Track, Road Action
The opening meeting in the Lagan Valley Super 5 Track & Field Series is set for this Thursday evening at 7.00 p.m. and should attract some local interest as, indeed, may the Letterkenny 5 mile road race the same night, the Donegal event having a 7.30 p.m. start.
Saturday brings the Gortin 10k, starting at 12.00 noon from Gortin Main Street.
Sunday has a double header with the Inishowen Half Marathon in Buncrana, 12.00 noon, the one for local runners. Many preparing for June’s Walled City Marathon will definitely have it in their itinerary. The Titanic 10k. in Belfast, 2.15 pm start, is the other Sunday option.