A mix of road and track action makes for another hectic weekend but, perhaps, the biggest local news concerns a man just back from Portugal, top Irish sprinter, Jason Smyth, who has been confirmed on the Irish team which leaves for Daegu in Korea on Monday for the World Track & Field Championships.
The Eglinton Flyer nailed the Irish 100m Championships in Dubln last Sunday afternoon and now gets a shot at the world’s best sprinters at the showpiece championships which begin next Saturday, August 27th.
The City of Derry runner left Dublin for the warmer climes of Portugal immediately after his event last weekend and will spend a few days at home before jetting off again to Korea this Monday to prepare for the biggest test of his career to date.
As a current Paralympian champion and world record holder, he makes athletics history in Daegu by contesting a senior mainstream championship. Well done to the unassuming Eglinton man and good luck from all athletics and sports fans in the North West.
Closer to home there is a tasty Irish Milers Club/Athletics N.Ireland track meeting tonight at Belfast’s Mary Peters Track with local runners set to travel for the middle distance dominated spectacle.
The meeting will host a series of 800m and 1500m races, graded according to ability plus 3000m and 400m races. A four by one mile relay adds to the content and several locals will take the opportunity to chase good performances tonight.
On the road, tonight also offers the Milford 5K at 7.30 p.m. while tomorrow it’s back to serious track action in Antrim with the annual Celtic Games featuring the best Under-16 and Under-18 boys and girls from Ulster, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Eight local Spartans have been selected on the Ulster squads - Anna Barr, Claire Dougherty, Amy Jackson, Ciara Armstrong, Mark McGarvey, Shane McGowan, Ryan McParland and Andrew Bolster.
Letterkenny is Sunday’s venue with the annual Danny McDaid 15K road race at 11.30 a.m. and a big entry is guaranteed for this one. Many budding Waterside Half Marathon patrticipants will fancy this particular event as they look ahead to their 11th September day out in Gransha.
Some top men and women will be joined by club runners and joggers for the distance which is just shy of 10 miles and is a great test of stamina and ideal preparation for a upcoming half or full marathon.
‘Jog in the Bog,’
Dessie’s Run on Tuesday, August 30th is another excellent Waterside Half event, the 10K, just eleven days before the half marathon, is an ideal appetiser and pre-entries can now be made to firstname.lastname@example.org
Simply forward your name, age on race day, club if any and T-Shirt size and you can pick-up your race pack on the night from 6pm at race headquarters, the U3A Foyle building in the Gransha Grounds.
Finally a regular on the local scene, the ‘Jog in the Bog,’ is set for Monday evening at 7.00 p.m. out of the Gasyard Centre.
The 5K event has been dedicated to the memory of the late Colm Quigley, a native of the Brandywell area and will be staged over the usual Bogside/Brandywell circuit. Entries will be taken in the Gasyard Centre from 6.00 p.m. and in addition to the usual prize fund there will be T-Shirts for all finishers and post-race refreshments.
With only four weeks now to the 30th Waterside Half Marathon the entries are beginning to mount up.
Around 1,500, including relay runners, are anticipated plus 500 or so for the 10 Mile Challange Walk and the same again for the 2K Family Fun Run, on Sunday, September 11th next.
The Seagate company have become the first local firm to show their hand in the exercise stakes with a total so far of 25 Seagate employees submitting their entry forms. BT are rumoured to be next to declare a bunch of runners as clearly “lean” is more than just economic business terminology.
Check out www.derrycity.gov.uk/halfmarathon for updates and details.