Victory IN Letterkenny’s North West 10K for Gregory Roberts and an Irish Universities 1,500 metres bronze for Connor Bradley in Antrim, were the local weekend athletics highlights as once again City of Derry Spartans mixed it with the best on road and track.
Running in Sunday’s hot and surprisingly windy conditions, Roberts was a clear winner of the Letterkenny 10K, his 31m 54s clocking giving him a 40 second cushion over runner-up, Patrick Brennan of Letterkenny AC with another Letterkenny man, Ciaran Doherty third on 33m 2s.
The Spartans’ Declan Reed suffered badly in the heat but claimed fourth place with 33m 43s as the event attracted an amazing 2,600 plus runners, joggers and walkers.
Finn Valley’s Teresa McGloin clocked 38m 25s to claim the women’s crown ahead of Inishowen AC’s Helena Crossan on 39m 22s.
A close battle for third saw Finn Valley’s Noleen McGettigan out-last the Spartans’ Marina Campbell, just back after a short sojourn in Australia and working hard to regain full race fitness.
In the massive field and demanding conditions there were also good runs from local Masters stars, Peter Lilburn and Christy McMonagle.
Twenty four hours earlier in Antrim, Connor Bradley lined-up for the Irish Universities 1,500 metres final after successfully negotiating the Friday night heats.
A slow, tactical race ensued, the field going through 800m in a pedestrian 2m 20s or so and, after being boxed in, the Derry man had too much to do in the frantic dash to the line, taking bronze behind winner, Joe Warne whose 4m 2.6s gave him gold ahead of Phelhim Kelly on 4m 3s with the UU Jordanstown graduate on 4m 4.2s grabbing bronze.
A useful track outing for the Spartan so early in the season, one he will learn from and take the experience into the bigger races yet to come.
Young Athletes League
Round one of the 2011 Young Athletes League will be staged in Antrim this Saturday with defending champions, City of Derry Spartans all set to try for four in a row in the U13, U15 and U17 summer long event.
The second round will go ahead at the Sports Complex on Saturday, May 28th and all competing clubs must field two competitors in each of the three Boys and Girls age groups across the full range of Track & Field events.
There will also be a selection of Open events on offer this weekend and the local Senior and Masters athletes will be travelling in numbers to test their early season form.
There is also a Graded Meeting at the Mary Peters Track on Wednesday, May 11th of interest to the Track & Field specialists while, of course, on the same night Lisnagelvin hosts the second of the Furey Insurances 5K road races, starting at 7.30 p.m. You can enter now for this one by emailing your name/age on race day and club to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ballyshannon 5K is this Friday night at 7.30 p.m. This is the second in the Donegal Road Race series which kicked off in Letterkenny on Sunday last and alongside the Furey Series offers a wide choice of events between now and September.