Spartan Bradley strolls home

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Connor Bradley sat out last Wednesday’s record breaking Furey Insurances 5 kms. opener but he confirmed his well being with an impressive 8 mins. 45 secs. unopposed win at Easter Sunday’s Letterkenny 3 kms.

He finished well clear of Letterkenny stalwarth Pauric McKinney on 9m 3s with James Flanagan a further three seconds behind in third place.

The speedy Spartan now moves to the track for this weekends Irish Universities championships in Antrim where he is expected to challange in the 1.500 metres.

Meantime, there was a 400 plus turn out at Saturday’s Ballyliffin 10 Coastal Challenge, a testing multi-terrain circuit in and around the Inishowen village . The winner in a new record time of 56 m. 23 secs. was John Harkin, a native of Carndonagh but now residing in Tullamore and wearing the blue and white Tullamore Harriers strip.

The M40 individual bronze medalist in Februarys National Masters Cross Country Championships finished well clear of 2010 winner Paul Ward of Tir Chonail AC, who despite beating last years winning time by a full minute found his 57m 9s only good enough for the runners-up spot this time. In third place with 58m 41s was Con Doherty and Helena Crossan led home an Inishowen AC clean sweep in the Women’s race with a 65m 4s winning effort. Teresa Doherty and Elizabeth McDaid with 71m 8s and 75m 31s took the minor placings.

Foyle Valley’s Pius McIntyre was a good 4th in 60m 29s and the Spartans Dara Furey ran 64m 52s for 12th in the huge field. The Spartans’ super vet Christy McMonagle clocked 70m 20s for 29th overall and showed once again his panache over the longer racing distances.

Furey Insurances 5 kms

Back to last Wednesday’s Bay Road 5 kms which got the 2011 Furey Insurances Series off to a brilliant start with Paddy Hamilton and Teresa McGloins top quality new course records of 14 m 39s and 17m 6s respectively. A record entry of over 180 produced an excellent racing spectacle on the flat, fast course with the almost perfect conditions and fantastic specator input adding to the mix on the night. Promoting club, City of Derry, retained their N. Ireland Team Championship with good runs from Greg Roberts 2nd; J. P. Williamson 3rd and Paddy Mhor Doherty 5th. The ‘red vests’ were well clear of Letterkenny AC and city rivals Foyle Valley, who had 4th placed Scott Rankin supported by Paddy Nicell 24th and Eamon Doherty 25th for team bronze.

Teresa McGloin was too hot for defending champion Cathy McCourt of North Belfast Harriers who was disappointed with her 17m 53s and third placed Roberta Dornan ran 18m 23s to lead her club to the team championship gold, four points ahead of Finn Valley. Jackie McGinley 8th, Catherine Lilburn 12th and Amy McDaid 13th combined to sive the female Spartans team bronze.

Local runners were to the fore in the battles for the various age category awards. Amy McDaid took the female U20 prize; Rosie O’Brien of Foyle Valley was the top F40 and the Spartans duo, Bridgeen Byrne and Roisin Lynch, topped the F45 and F60 categories. Paddy Doherty led home the M35’s; Declan McCarthy and Peter Lilburn claimed the M45 and M55 prizes, the latter with an impressive 17m 57s clocking.

Next up in the Series is the Lisnagelvin race on Wednesday, May 11th with the usual 7.30 p.m. start time. Another big entry is expected here and full details including how to enter online can be accessed via www.sparta-athletics.co.uk and full results of the Bay Road race are also available on this site.

London Marathon

Thirty one Foyle Valley athletes turned out for the London Marathon on April 17th, many of them running in support of the Foyle Hospice.

The Derry runners gathered on Blackheath both nervous and excited before the big race on what was a glorious Spring morning which got hotter, making conditions tough for all those taking part.

In spite of the heat, the elite male race was won by Emmanuel Matai who smashed the course record in an astonishing time of 2.04.40. Mary Keitany won the ladies race in a powerful 2.19.19.

Nine Foyle Valley athletes were making their marathon debut- Brian McFadden (4.17), father and son duo Liam Clarke (4.17) and Alan Clarke (3.40), Kieran Dalton (3.30), Gemma McGinty (3.57), Rachel Doherty (4.12), Joan McLain (4.51), Sinead Mc Dermott and Claire Harkin (5.35).

Despite the temperatures, seven Foyle Valley athletes achieved personal bests (PBs) Barry Smith 3.00, Barry Dinsmore 3.11, Teague Whoriskey 3.12, Hugo Hegarty 3.14, Mark Linton, 3.18, Martina McMullan 3.44 and Denise Doherty 4.04.

Other notable runs on the day were those of Brian Kelly, 3.04, Ryan Snodgrass 3.07, (who was hot on the heels of Nell McAndrew at the finish line!), Jackie Doherty 3.12, Martin Dunleavy 3.19, John Cartin 3.22, Tom Doherty 3.23, Ciaran Bradley 3.39. Nicholas Mullan, 3.44, Peter Loughery 4.11. Valley Stalwart, Billy Orr, returning from injury, cruised comfortably home in 3.35, enjoying the sights and sounds of the carnival London marathon atmosphere.

Foyle Valley ladies Kate Meehan 4.17, Maura Henry 4.31, Catriona Dunleavy 4.23 all savoured this once in a lifetime experience.

As always the London Marathon atmosphere was electric, with 36,000 running and thousands lining the route all the way encouraging all the runners, especially over those last few hard miles.

Thanks are due both to all family members and friends who travelled to London support the Foyle Valley runners and to Noel McMonagle at the Foyle Hospice who once again skilfully co-ordinated what was a memorable trip.