As expected, some top local runners were prominent over a busy St. Patrick’s weekend with impressive race wins for Scott Rankin in Gransha and Allan Bogle in Waterfoot on Saturday and a runners-up spot for Keith Shields in Tyrone on Sunday.
Bogle and Rankin repeated their 2012 victories, with impressive performances at the St Patrick’s Weekend 5K road race in Gransha and the Glenariff 6 mile Mountain Run in Waterfoot, respectively.
Keith Shields finished second behind winner and defending Altamuskin 5 mile road race champion, Stephen Duncan on Sunday and Richard Johnston also looked good with a sub 15 minute runners-up finish in Gransha as close to 150 turned out in surprisingly benign weather conditions.
Lifford’s former top Irish international performer, Ann Marie McGlynn took the women’s honours with an excellent 16m 52s clocking to win by almost two minutes.
We begin with Allan Bogle’s welcome return to competitive action and the City of Derry Spartan saw off all challengers to retain the Glenariff Mountain run title on Saturday.
Staged in wet and miserable conditions this 6 miler incorporates 1,100 feet of climbing, out of and back to Waterfoot village in the Antrim Glens and kickstarts the N.I. Mountain Runners Association Grand Prix series for 2013.
Bogle was a comfortable winner, was never headed and his 44m 39s clocking saw him home clear of a chasing trio, Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners), 45m 04s; Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC), 45m 06s and North Belfast’s Neil Carthy, 45m 09s.
Last year it all went downhill for the Spartan after his Waterfoot win but hopefully he is now back in the grove and can sustain a competitive summer season on the mountains circuit.
Omagh Harrier Stephen Duncan was another to repeat a 2012 win as he posted 25m 54s to claim another Altamuskin 5 mile road race title.
Foyle Valley’s Keith Shields ran well for second in 26m 25s with the young Enniskillen lad Connor McCaughey third on 26m 53s as over 200 finishers were recorded at the Tyrone event.
Host club athlete, Ruairi Finnegan ran 16m 05s to win Sunday’s Letterkenny 5k road race which also attracted close to 200 runners as Ivan Toner and Michael Black battled out the minor placings, clocking 16m 40s and 16m 44s in the sprint to the line.
No locals made the trip to Downpatrick for the annual Jimmy’s 10K road race, won in 31m 01s by Annadales Eddie McGinley from Clonliffe Harrier Gary O’Hanlon whose 31m 39s just got him home ahead of Annadales’ James O’Hare’s 31m 41s and the 31m 43s of Alan O’Hara from NBH.
Top Rankin at Gransha
Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin impressed yet again with a 14m 49s gun-to-tape win at Saturday’s annual St Patrick’s Weekend 5k in Gransha.
The in-form Valley athlete was always out front and fully deserved his victory, a replica of last year’s impressive front running win.
He was only closed down in the later stages by City of Derry’s Richard Johnston who broke from the chasing pack before the 2k mark and was delighted to post his first ever sub 15m 5K clocking, with a superb 14m 56s behind his flying rival.
Gary Slevin was third on 15m 41s, eight seconds ahead of clubmate Chris McPeake who was breaking 16m for the first time.
Nick Cassidy was next on 15m 59s, just a second clear of Cathal Logue with Foyle Valley’s Adrian McGowan posting a fine 16m 03s, so close to cracking a coveted barrier in 5K racing.
Lifford’s Ann Marie McGlynn showed her ability with a cracking run in the women’s race, posting a brilliant 16m 52s to finish well clear of runner-up, her clubmate Claire McGuigan’s 18m 30s and the 18m 59s of the Spartans Miriam Bridge.
Good runs also from the leading Master, Paul McCafferty, in 8th place with 16m 15s and another M45 James Crampsey who ducked under the 17m barrier with a 16m 59s post as he chased the female winner home.
An excellent turnout of 150 runners including many first timers, enjoyed the favourable Saturday morning conditions and the proceeds raised will be going to local charity, the Foyle Hospice.
The Gransha race always kickstarts the local road race scene and last weekend’s successful event will certainly whet the appetite of local runners for the first of the 2013 Furey Insurances 5K series, set for the Bay Road circuit on Wednesday evening, April 10th next, with a 7.30 p.m. start.
More details to follow soon.