Busy weekend in store for local athletes

Lots of competitive action opportunities are available again this weekend with road, multi terrain and indoor competition on offer at Belfast, Stranorlar, Cookstown, Magherafelt and Glasgow venues over the next two days.

Local athletes are likely to see action at most if not all of them as Juveniles, Seniors and Masters are all catered for in a busy weekend programme.

Belfast’s Duncrue Industrial Estate tomorrow hosts the 19th staging of the Albertvile 5 mile road race and has a 2 p.m. start while, closer to home, the final event in the Sperrin Winter League will be hed at Lough Fea, near Cookstown at 12 noon.

The latter has attracted several local runners with Pius McIntyre featuring prominently throughout the series and he is expected to line up again tomorrow.

Moving to Magherafelt and the final events in the Provincial Juvenile Indoor track & field championships will be run off tomorrow with some local input anticipated.

The age groups involved are U12, U13, U16, U17, U18 and U19 with a reduced programme having been announced as smaller entries than expected in some age group events has allowed some athletes to proceed unopposed direct to the National finals in Nenagh later this month.

The second race in the Finn Valley 5K series will have an 11 a.m. start in Stranorlar on Sunday morning and another big entry is anticipated there as the spring road race season steps up a gear.

Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall will have a busy weekend hosting the Scottish U14, U16, U18, U20 Indoor championships and involved in the action will be 10 young City of Derry Spartans who will travel for the two day competition.

Andrew Boster, Tamara Boyle, Megan Devine, Matthew Folland, Amy Jackson, Aoife and Roisin Laverty, Martin McGeady, Shane McGowan and Michael Surman are the athletes involved and all will be hoping to perform well with P.B.s in their respective events their targets in what will be a very competitive environment.

Staying with the Juveniles and some great breaking news for several young promising Spartans. The multi talented sprint hurdler and jumper, Mark McGarvey has been selected by Athletics Ireland as the 2011 Juvenile All-Star for County Derry. A terrific honour for the St Joseph’s student who excelled at both schools and club competition last year with top drawer performances at Provincial, National and International level. He has been in fine form already this year on the indoor circuit and will be one to watch in the months ahead.

The UK Schools Games this year will be staged in May on the London Olympic track and gracing it will be a total of nine local athletes who have been selected on the NI team for this prestigious event.

The athletes, all from the Spartans club are Ciara Armstrong, Michael Cartin, Megan Devine, Claire Dougherty, Amy Jackson, Jack McCloskey, Shane McGowan, Jenny O’Brien and Ruaidhri O’Neill.

This is the biggest ever local representation at this event, a significant increase on the previous best of six from last year. Making it two in a row will be Ciara Armstrong and Claire Dougherty. Well done and good luck to them all.

St Patrick’s Day

Road Race/Bay Road 5K

The annual Foyle Hospice fundraiser organised by Paula McGilloway is set for the Gransha grounds once again this year, two weeks from tomorrow and has a 11 a.m. start.

The 5K distance is popular for all standards of runners and joggers and while the usual Gransha circuit will be used, the start and finish locations have moved and will be closer to the race HQ in the U3A Foyle premises. Registration will take place from 9.45 a.m. and there will be tea/coffee and biscuits provided. For further information please ring 02871265116 or 02871372220.

For local runners concerned about the ongoing works on the Riverbank walkway around the Sainsburys area and any possible effect on the mid April Bay Rd 5K, the organisers from the City of Derry club have been in contact with the contractors on site and expect to resolve matters in advance of the April 18th race, which kickstarts the 2012 Furey Insurances 5K series and also hosts the NI 5K road championships.