Dublin’s Morton Stadium hosts the National Senior Track & Field championships this weekend with a significant number of local and North West athletes named in the starting lists for the two day championship meeting.
Local distance runners will be well represented in the Men’s 5,000m with the in-form Declan Reed lining up alongside his City of Derry Spartans clubmates, Greg Roberts, Noel Logan and Connor Doherty.
Gary Murray is another contender and could well lead the North West contingent home in what should be a very competitive race with PB’s hopefully coming from an honestly paced race.
Letterkenny man Mark English has the fastest time of the 800m entries, his superb recent 1m 45.03s clocking in fact making him Europe’s fourth fastest of the season and he starts as firm favourite for the championship gold.
In the 1,500m Danny Mooney will face a quality field but as he finalises his preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, a podium finish is a possibility.
In the Women’s Long Jump the Spartans teenage star, Naomi Morgan will make her senior championship debut and will seek a PB rather than a medal. Hopefully conditions will be favourable for both her and clubmate Mary Devlin who returns to action after injury to contest the Triple Jump.
Anne Marie McGlynn of Lifford AC and Finn Valley’s Teresa McGloin will face the fancied Fionnuala Britton among others in the Women’s 5,000m while Valley’s Tori Pena takes on new Irish record holder Zoe Brown in the Pole Vault.
Derry City Track Club’s experienced Aaron Carlyle goes in the 400m with a big improvement needed to make the one lap final and in the 200m a spot in the final will be a real target for Strabane athlete, Connor McLaughlin.
Ciaran Doherty of Letterkenny AC will line up in the 3,000m steeplechase with a medal an outside prospect and an interesting entry in the 10,000m will be Kenyan Freddy Sittuk, who since his recent Walled City Marathon win seems to have based himself in Dublin and this weekend will run in the colours of Raheny Shamrock AC.
Sunday is the final date to qualify for the Zurich European championships and adds a little spice to the weekend action with a number of Irish athletes still chasing that elusive qualifying time, could make for some do or die performances in Santry!
Major Local Road Races
Moving to the road race action and mention of two big annual local classics, Dessie’s 10k Run on Tuesday, August 26th and the Waterside Half Marathon on Sunday, September 14th.
There is a palpable local buzz about both these races and big entries are expected in Gransha in August and again in September.
The annual Dessie’s Run has its usual 7.15 p.m. start and will be staged out of the U3A Foyle premises using the traditional fast, flat three lap Gransha circuit.
Entries will be taken on the night from 5.45 p.m. at the U3A Foyle building and from next week online pre-entry will also be available, check www.derry-spartans.com for details.
It’s all systems go then to September 14th and the 33rd staging of the Waterside Half Marathon, also out of Gransha and using the revised course introduced last year.
The online entry to date sits around the 500 mark and the race has a 1,600 limit, plus 100 Relay teams.
Hard copy entry forms are available at all Derry City Council Leisure Centres and online entry is at www.derrycity.gov.uk/halfmarathon Information can be obtained at Lisnagelvin Leisure Centre, phone 02871 347695 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Intending participants should note that, as last year there will be absolutely no entries on the day and in fact the increased late entry fee will kick in from 22nd August this year.
No excuses then, just get your entry in now!