While there was no joy for the small local contingent at last Saturday’s Irish Schools Cross Country Championships in Jordanstown, Amy Jackson’s 10th place finish in the senior girls race was the best local effort of the day.
However, the weekend’s road race action did yield some significant performances from Declan Reed, Emmet McGinty, Keith Shields and Zach McGowan.
Reed and McGinty ran well at the Trafford 10 kms. in Manchester on a blustery Sunday morning and both produced personal bests for the distance as they finished 13th and 24th in the 700 plus field.
Reed ran 30 mins. 44 secs. for a substantial P.B., his first time under the 31 minute barrier to underline his season-long good form and McGinty was equally delighted to finally crack the 32 minutes mark with his 31 mins. 58 secs. clocking.
The lads were chuffed to meet running legend, Ron Hill, after the race and got a picture with the distance running legend as a souvenier. Wonder did he reminice about his visit here back in the early 1980’s when he spoke to a full house in the Templemore Sports Complex in advance of one of the fondly remembered Foyle Festival Marathons?
Keith Shields was another to post a 10 kms. personal best over the weekend. The Foyle Valley man finished runner-up in Saturday’s Carmen 10 kms. in Cookstown behind Clonliffe star, Gary O’Hanlon. The winner clocked 32 mins. 10 secs. with Shields lowering his personal best to 32 mins. 29 secs., a good effort in the difficult cold and windy conditions.
Sunday’s third race in the Finn Valley 5 kms. Series was won by the host club’s Dean Toland in 16 mins. 35 secs. with City of Derry’s Zach McGowan claiming fourth and the top Under-20 award on 17 mins. 56 secs. Another big run from Zach and he had to work hard for the age group win just getting the nod but sharing the time with Finn Valley’s Patrick Penrose as they battled to the finish line.
Sligo A.C.’s Ciara Clark ran 18 mins. 48 secs. to take the women’s race honours.
Big Turnout in Bundoran
Meanwhile, Over 700 runners turned out for Saturday’s Cara Bundoran 10 mile and 10 kms. and the local runners among them featured strongly in the prize lists. The winner in 55m 48s was Richard Gorman of Sligo AC and he just outlasted Inishowen’s super vet Pauric McKinney, second on 55m 53s. The city of Derry trio, Michael Finnegan 8th in 58m 47s, James Crampsey 9th in 58m 50s and 9th placed Damien McGinty with 58m 55s packed well to backbone the Spartans team race runners up finish, behind winners Sligo AC. Patrick Mahon ran 63m 36s to round off the team and McGinty claimed the top M50 prize, ahead of Foyle Valley’s Seamus McCallion on 67m 03s. Christy McMonagle ran 71m 19s to comfortably take the M60 award and showed he is well into his Walled City Marathon training.
Back to the Jordanstown cross country and it was a poor day for the local schools. Amy Jackson was the best placed, 10th in the Senior girls championships, second Ulster finisher in a race dominated by the other provinces, especially Leinster. Clodagh Laverty was 15th in the Minor girls and sister Aoife 16th in the Intermediates, good efforts but probably not as good as expected. None of the St Columbs College Intermediate qualifiers competed and the attention will now turn to the track championships, indoor and outdoors where hopefully the winter training work will lay the basis of some big performances.
Tuesday night March 12th brings the much awaited Walled City Marathon Semminar , 7 30pm in An Culterlann, Great James street.
Four specialist speakers, GP Emmylou Large, acclaimed distance coach Teresa McDaid, Sports Psycologist Dr. Gavin Breslin and Nitrition expert Alison Gallagher will be the platform party for what should be a very well attended and interesting Q&A session.
All intending participants are asked to arrive in good time as seats are likely to be taken very quickly if the interest out there in the WCM community is anything to go by.
Patrick’s Weekend 5kms
The Gransha Grounds will also see a large turnout on Saturday morning March 16th for the annual Saint Patricks Weekend 5k road race which has an 11am start. Race HQ is as usual in the U3A Foyle building in the centre of the Gransha grounds and entries will be taken there from 9 30am on Saturday morning.