CITY OF Derry Spartans Juvenile squad secured a terrific 12 championships medal return at the Scottish National Juvenile Indoors in Glasgow at the weekend.
That medal haul, coupled with even more success at the Provincial Indoors in Jordanstown and podium places at road and trail races in Belfast, Cookstown and Ballybofey on a busy weekend, showcased perfectly the class and strength in depth of local athletics.
The 29 strong City of Derry Juvenile squad in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena brought home an excellent dozen championship medals.
1,500m gold came from Amy Jackson, double silver from Naomi Morgan in the Long Jump and 60m Hurdles, 400m silver and 200m bronze from Jenny O’Brien, silver 60m Hurdles and bronze 60m from Mark McGarvey and Triple Jump silver from Claire Dougherty.
Bronze medals from Michael Surman (Shot), Jack McCloskey (200m), Megan Devine (60m) and Joseph Killen in the 400m completed a rewarding weekend for the young Spartans.
Numerous person bests were set and finals reached by many of the athletes who made the trip and all concerned, athletes and coaches alike , were delighted with their experiences.
The National Indoors await later this month and beyond that the full outdoor season so more success looks on the cards.
Meanwhile back in Jordanstown the provincial 60m and 60m Hurdles championships were staged on Saturday and the Olympian club produced two gold medallists, both in the U18 age group, Christina Logue took the 60m gold and Sarah Hannah Ward the 60m Hurdles title.
Richard Johnston got his racing shoes on again to good effect when he finished second in Saturday’s Albertville 5 mile road race in Belfast.
He ran 25m 44s to claim the runners-up spot behind East Down’s Benny Teer, the runaway Provincial Junior cross country champion who clocked 25m 29s for the win.
Gary Slevin 5th and Chris McPeake 6th also turned out and posted times of 26m 29s and 26m 33s as the red vests featured prominently at a Belfast race for the second weekend in a row.
Foyle Valley’s Adrian McGowan took his first pole position on Sunday at the Finn Valley 5K series race in Ballybofey when he clocked 16m 10s to hold off City of Derry’s Paul McCafferty, 16m 14s and the promoting club’s Kevin Holian on 16m 16s.
Well done to Adrian on this victory. His clubmate Cathal McLaughlin finished just off the lead pack, fourth on 16m 28s and the Spartans’ Zac McGowan ran 17m 40s for the junior mens runners-up award.
Another significant winning run came in the women’s race when Amy McDaid took the tape with a spanking new personal best of 18m 47s for a comfortable victory.
She has been threatening to produce a good one for some time now and this impressive run should see some more P.B’s for the City of Derry athlete on the track as the spring and summer season looms.
The Sperrin Harriers popular Winter trail race series came to an end at Lough Fea on Saturday with a win in the 10 miler for Tommy Hughes.
The ex-Sparta man once again belied his 50+ years to clock 55m 53s for an easy victory. Anne Paul as expected took the women’s race, also easily with a 65m 36s finish time.
Both of course are targeting marathons in the coming months and look to be getting into good shape for their respective 26.2 mile challenges.
In the overall Series awards Anne was the clear women’s open winner, Pierce McCullagh of Sperrin Harriers, third on the day behind Hughes, won the overall men’s open category and his father Oliver, a City of Derry member, was the men’s 60+ champion. Foyle Valley’s Billy Orr took the overall men’s 50+ title.