Young Athletes League Final tops weekend agenda

Another BUSY athletics weekend will see locals looking at possible action in Antrim, Tullamore, Dublin, Cranford and Malin Town with further early next week road races in Killybegs and Clonmany to sate the appetite.

The McCains Young Athletes League Final in Antrim tomorrow will feature both city clubs, Olympian and City of Derry Spartans, with the latter going in as defending champions and gunning for an ambitious five in a row in the U13/15/17 team competition.

The Spartans led the league table after the three preliminary rounds with a 300 plus points advantage over nearest rivals Regent House.

The Belfast outfit were ahead of City of Lisburn with Olympian in fourth and the remaining two finalists, Lagan Valley and North Down not too far behind.

The red vests will start as favourites but will need to be at full strength in all three age groups to see off their rivals.

Their earlier rounds performances were impressive and they have enough good quality athletes in their squads to do the business again.

But Finals are a stand alone challenge and any weakness will be exploited with all the other five teams capable of taking advantage.

Podium Finish

Olympian have been steady throughout the three rounds and may not be good enough to challenge for team gold but will certainly target a podium finish tomorrow.

It will be a long day for the young athletes, starting at 9.30 am and going on to 5 pm and the athletes and team managers will need a mix of patience and endurance to see it through.

Spare a thought for the NI YAL secretary, local man Chris Power who has the huge task of ensuring it all runs smoothly. Good Luck to Chris and all the local athletes involved.

Tullamore hosts the National Combined Events championships for Juveniles, Juniors, Seniors and Masters tomorrow and Sunday and the Antrim event unfortunately will deny some young talented multi-eventers a crack at National honours. There may, however, be some locals travelling south for the multi event challenge and possibly also a few heading to Santry Stadium for the latest Dublin Graded meeting, just a week ahead of the National Senior Track & Field Championships at the same venue.

Road Action

Saturday night’s Cranford 5K has a 6.30 pm start and the Donegal venue will attract a big entry. Malin Town on Sunday has its own 5K at 3.30 pm preceeded by a Juvenile one mile at 3 pm.

Staying in Donegal, it’s off to the Killybegs 5K on Monday at 7.30 pm and closer to home on Wednesday night, also at 7.30 pm it’s the Clonmany Festival 5K. A busy few days for the road runners but after all it is holiday time and what else would you be doing!

Waterside Half Marathon

Entry Forms for the historic 30th staging of the Waterside Half Marathon on Sunday, September 11th are now available from all local City Council Leisure facilities and other Fitness Centres.

They can also be picked up at the Council offices on the Strand Road and accessed online at www.derrycity.gov.uk/halfmarathon

Alternatively contact Maureen Allen on 02871347695 for information.

This year, as ever, runners can tackle the full 13.1miles or do it in bite size chunks of around 4.5 miles each as part of a three person Team Relay.

There is also a new 10 mile Walk Challenge this year, using much of the Half Marathon course and also the by now traditional Fun Run - down to 2K this time - which caters for families and younger runners, keeping them occupied while the older runners and walkers do their stuff.

A great day out in the spacious and beautiful Gransha Park grounds is guaranteed, so why not check it out now!