Choice of venues for local road runners

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CHAMPIONSHIP INDOOR action vies with a brace of road races this weekend as local athletes have a choice of Magherafelt, Glasgow, Belfast or Stranorlar as destinations.

Nine top young City of Derry stars will be in Glasgow for the Scottish Indoors Juvenile championships, Magherafelt will be the venue for another bunch of local teenagers as they take in the Ulster Indoors and road runners will be catered for at tomorrow’s Albertville Harriers five miler in Belfast and the second in the Finn Valley 5K series on Sunday in Stranorlar.

The Stranorlar race has a 11 a.m. start on Sunday and should interest local road runners. Saturday’s race in Belfast’s Duncree Industrial Estate has a 2 p.m. start and may also be of local interest as the 2011 road race season begins to click into gear.

Indeed the Finn Valley series has another two races, both on Friday nights, March 24th and April 8th at 7 p.m. The Derry season starts on Saturday, March 12th in Gransha with the Paddy’s Weekend 5K and 1K Fun Run.

This one starts at 10.30 a.m. with the Fun Run and the 5K gets the gun at 11 a.m. Entries will be taken in Gransha on the day.

Ciara Armstrong (right), Roisin Laverty, Claire Dougherty, Anna Barr, Emma Gee, Jamie Herron, Andrew Bolster, Mark McGarvey and Ryan McParland are the Spartans travelling to Glasgow this weekend for what coaches Jim and Danea Herron describe as vital exposure to a higher level of competition.

The group comprises sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers and is full of experienced Provincial and National medallists who should feature strongly in their respective events.

Another batch of young local athletes will meantime be chasing Provincial honours in Magherafelt at the second round of the Ulster Indoor championships. There was an excellent return from the first round in the Odyssey a few weekends ago for the locals and medals are expected again tomorrow right across the various age groups.

NI 5K Road Championship

The opening race of the six strong Furey Insurances 5K race series is on the Bay Road circuit on Wednesday, April 20th next and will incorporate the NI 5K road championships so a top class event is once again guaranteed on the super fast Foyle Walkway/Bay Road course.

Local motor dealership, Donnelly & Taggart are on board as specific race sponsors and together with overall sponsors Furey Insurances, facilitate a £400 plus prize fund which covers all the usual categories from U20s, Seniors and Masters.

Of course the popular series caters not just for the faster club runners, it pulls in fun runners and joggers in huge numbers as well.

Many have begun their running career and/or their road to health and fitness via the Furey series, the six races offering the opportunity to gauge progress over the summer months. Progress can be measured in minutes and seconds but also against the regular opposition as most participants take in several races and for all who complete a minimum of four races in the series there is a top quality commemorative t-shirt waiting.

More details on the series will follow in the next few weeks or visit www.sparta-athletics.co.uk for dates, venues and updates.