Another big weekend of cross country action will see local athletes at the Jordanstown campus for tomorrow’s NI & Ulster Even Age Group championships and the second round of the NI Winter League for Seniors and Masters.
This combination guarantees that the annual Bobby Rea Memorial meeting will attract big numbers with red hot competition on the cards as under age Provincial honours and access to the All Irelands is a major carrot for the Juveniles, while the popular NI Winter League points at stake will pull in the seniors/masters from many clubs.
The local Spartans are expected to field strong Men’s and Women’s squads to further their League credentials and they should be joined by runners from Foyle Valley and Derry City Track club in what should be very competitive Women’s three miles and Men’s five miles races.
Local Masters will also be out in force in both races as early season form is tested.
At Juvenile level all three clubs plus Olympian should have runners in action as the Provincial championships are also a passport to the upcoming All Irelands and getting to the Nationals is a big ambition for many runners and their clubs.
A very busy programme starts at 11.30 a.m. and concludes with the Women/Male Masters 60+ race at 2.40 p.m. and the Senior Men/Masters 35-55 race at 3.10 p.m. rounds up the day’s action.
On Sunday it’s back to road race action with the first in the North West Tri club’s new Winter 5K series. Staged from the Foyle Marina it has a 10.30 a.m. start with entries taken at the start line.
Staying on the road, Monday brings the Dublin Marathon and there is as always a significant local interest.
Declan Reed leads the local challenge and the talented City of Derry man is hoping to run significantly sub 2hrs 30mins after devoting much time and energy in recent months towards producing a big effort on the streets of Dublin.
He will be joined by in-form clubmates Gary Slevin and Paul McCafferty as the red vests target a club team podium finish.
Inishowen AC’s vastly experienced Pauric McKinney has been training with the Spartans trio recently and the Buncrana based teacher is also hopeful of getting close to the 2hrs 30mins barrier.
Foyle Valley’s Chris McGuinness is another local expected to line up in search of a decent time and here’s hoping the weather is kind to all of them come Monday.