Exciting weekend of athletics action

After the spectacle and close-up excitement of last weekend’s National Indoors championship action in Belfast there is a mix of road, trail running and more indoor competition to interest athletes this weekend.

Tomorrow, Springwell Harriers expect a big turnout for their annual Roe Valley country park 8K trail run.

Sunday’s venue will be Stranorlar for the first in the Finn Valley 5k road race series and there will even be some local interest in Glasgow the same day for the Scottish Indoor championships.

The Roe Valley trail race will showcase a new three lap course tomorrow and will, as usual, cater for juniors, seniors and masters in what has always been a popular outing down Limavady way.

The 8K event will have three separate starts with the females going at 12.15 p.m. followed at 12.25 p.m. by the male juniors and masters and then at 12.35 p.m. it’s the turn of the senior men. Entries will be taken on site from around 11 a.m.

Cathal Logue and Simon Herron will be in Glasgow for the Scottish Indoors on Sunday and will go in the 800m and long Jump respectively.

Closer to home a big entry is expected in Stranorlar for the opening race in the four strong Finn Valley 5K series. The race out of the Finn Valley Centre has an 11 a.m. start time so get there early to enter. Race two is on Sunday, March 4th at the same time with races three and four following on Friday, March 23rd and 30th with 7 p.m. start times.

Upcoming Cross Country

Forward to next week and Wednesday, February 22nd will be a big day for local schools with Mallusk hosting the final of the Flahavan’s Primary Schools cross country league and the Secondary Schools Ulster championships. Young local athletes will be chasing honours in both and hopes are high for some success.

Next weekend is also a busy one with the final race in the NI Winter cross country league at Stormont on Saturday 25th and the National senior championships in Dublin on the Sunday.

City of Derry are in the running for pole position in the men’s section of the Winter league, sitting only four points behind North Belfast Harriers and their women are also in second place behind North Down AC.

A big effort from the men could pip their Belfast rivals and the women will have to settle for the runners-up spot, as North Down have an unassailable points advantage.

Despite plans to mount a serious team challenge at the National seniors in Dublin on Sunday 26th, injury and unavailability means that only the in-form, Declan Reed will wear the red vest in Santry, with improving on his 21st place finish from last year an entirely realistic target.

PB’s And Hard Luck Stories

From The Odyssey

Some additional details from last weekend’s National Indoors and mention of a few P.Bs set by athletes who missed out on making the finals in their events.

Sprint Hurdler, Mark McGarvey ran a swift 7.21s in the senior 60m heats for a new P.B; Pajo Hamilton ran a 4m 00.45s P.B. in the 1,500m and teenage talent, Shane McGowan posted an 800m P.B. of 2m 00.76s.

Ryan McParland is currently mixing his athletics with rugby for City of Derry RFC but ran an excellent 7.20s 60m, just shy of his 7.19PB.

In the Girls U16 800m Aoife Laverty missed a medal by a mere 0.08 seconds as she finished fourth with only 0.37seconds separating second, third and fourth.

Aoife clocked 2m 26.50secs. The same 0.37secs. margin saw Connor Breslin miss bronze in his U17 800m, his 2m 9.41secs. giving him a close up fourth.