City of Derry Spartans seek honours in Antrim

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Championship cross country in Antrim and a 5K road race along the banks of the Foyle are the weekend options for local runners.

And the emphasis will clearly be on Antrim and tomorrow’s NI/Ulster senior championships which will have a significant attraction for both City of Derry and Foyle Valley members.

Both local senior clubs will have men’s squads in the 10.8K championship race over the Greenmount College course.

The added attraction is that the race incorporates the latest leg in the IAAF Cross Challenge which guarantees the presence of a significant number of African and other International class athletes.

This will attract the TV cameras and spectators but hopefully will not detract from the expected competitive battle for Provincial individual and team honours among the Ulster club runners.

The Spartans have, on paper, a strong squad and are expected to jockey for team honours with Annadale Striders, St Malachy’s and North Belfast Harriers while Scott Rankin of Foyle Valley will be chasing a decent up front individual finish to match his prowess on the roads.

Declan Reed will lead the Spartans challenge and he too will fancy a high finish among the domestic starters.

The red vests have a well balanced squad and, with a full turnout and bit of luck, could well be in the team medals mix when the serious questions are asked in the final stages of the race.

Unfortunately the local female challenge has been seriously diluted with the Spartans minus top performers, Catherine Whoriskey, Anne Paul and Marina Campbell. The realistic task tomorrow will be to field enough numbers to maximise the points necessary to keep in the hunt for the NI Winter League title.

The City of Derry girls currently sit on top of the table but are expected to fall behind close rivals North Down after tomorrow’s action.

The Bangor squad and North Belfast are expected to fight out the team championship honours with the North West flag likely to be fronted by the emerging Springwell squad.

Connor Doherty goes in the U20 championship with a top 10 finish the target. Clodagh Laverty and older sister Aoife, go in the U13 and U17 races and will also chase decent runs.

Triathlon Winter Series

Back home on Sunday, the latest in the NW Tri club’s Winter 5K series is set for a 10 a.m. start on the Cycle Path beside Sainsburys.

This series, which marks the 30th anniversary of the club, has proved very popular and entries will be taken in the Sainsburys car park pre-race between 9 a.m. and 9.45 a.m.

The race will leave from the Coffee Shop at Foyle Marina and the scenic run route will follow the riverside path through Bay Road Park towards Foyle Bridge and return to the finish line at Foyle Marina.

Runners of all abilities and walkers are welcome to take part in the event. A great way to start your Sunday, so why not give it a shot?

The last of the four race series will be held in February. The entrance fee is £6 and £3 for children. All children taking part must be supervised by an adult.

Meanwhile, the City of Culture Triathlon entry is now open on the Triathlon Ireland’s website.

The race will take place on June 23rd at 9 a.m. and involve a 750m river swim, 20k bike around the two road bridges and a 5k run taking in Queens Quay, the Peace Bridge and St Columb’s Park. To enter log on to www.triathlonireland.com

Walled City Marathon

Finally a reminder that the Walled City Marathon entries will definitely close this afternoon Friday, January 11th at 4 p.m.. Still time to get down to the Foyle Hospice on the Culmore road or get online to www.athleticsni.org