THREE CONSECUTIVE road races in Limavady, Rathmullan and Strabane plus Saturday’s NI Team Trophy meeting at the Antrim track kept local athletes busy from last Thursday, and they duly impressed with decent returns from all four venues.
The City of Derry women’s squad scored a narrow win in the Team Trophy, the male Spartans were runners-up in their competition and NI relay championship medals - female bronze in the Sprint and male silver in the 400m event - were added to the tally from Antrim.
Noel Logan ran well for third place in Thursday night’s Round the Bridges 10 miler in Limavady; Catherine Lilburn ran a 19m 06s PB for second at the Rathmullan 5K on Friday night and Brendan Murphy posted his second PB of the week with a 32m 58s runners-up finish behind Omagh Harrier, Stephen Duncan in Saturday’s Strabane 10K.
Raphoe on Tuesday, Carndonagh on Wednesday and the Limavady 10 miler on Thursday gave local runners lots of choice and the popular Limavady race attracted over 200 finishers as Ballymena Runners’, Neil Douglas clocked a winning 55m 15s with the unattached Adam Boyd second on 56m 33s.
Chasing hard in third spot was Waterside man, Noel Logan in his first ever 10 miler and he did very well for a 56m 46s finish.
The novice Spartan only put on the red vest after an impressive Waterside Half Marathon debut last September and with a tough winter’s training and racing behind him, he can boast of local, provincial and indeed national success on both road and cross country.
Paul McCafferty also impressed, running 57m 55s for fourth and the top M40 finisher and James Crampsie broke the hour mark in eight spot with 59m 45s.
The peerless, Christy McMonagle finished in the top 50 with an outstanding 66m 39s, a great effort from the amazing 67 year-old Spartan.
North Down’s Roberta Dornan won the women’s race with 65m 31s, ahead of Derry born Rona Harkens on 66m30s with Larne AC runner, Geraldine Quigley third on 70m 02s.
Stephen Duncan retained his Strabane 10K title on Saturday with a flawless 31m 17s winning run, an excellent time in the hot conditions and on a testing course.
Behind him were a trio of City of Derry athletes and perhaps it was appropriate that Strabane man, Brendan Murphy came home in second spot with a new 32m 58s PB for the distance.
A great run from the Tyrone man who had also set a 5K PB of 15m 36s on Wednesday night when chasing home Scott Rankin at the Carndonagh 5K.
Paddy Doherty had to give way at the 4K mark on Saturday and he finished third with 33m 34s, ahead of clubmate, Gary Slevin’s 35m 15s.
Helena Crossan ran a gutsy 38m 30s to take the women’s race victory ahead of Omagh’s Julie Butler who chased the Inishowen athlete home in 38m 52s as nearly 350 finished the event.
The previous evening, close to 150 turned out for the Rathmullan 5K, won in a canter by the prolific Tirchonail M40 David Wilson who is making his annual pilgrimage home from the USA.
Wilson ran 15m 30s for the win, ahead of Letterkenny’s Ivan Toner on 16m 05s with the currently Buncrana based Nenagh Olympic runner, Gary Scully third on 16m 18s.
Noreen McGettigan of Letterkenny took the female honours with 18m 18s and there was a second runners-up spot in 48 hours for the Spartans’ Catherine Lilburn whose 19m 06s gave her yet another 5K PB.
Visiting U20 Sarah Hawkshaw ran 19m 33s for third. Peter Lilburn maintained his good form with 18m 07s to claim the M50 award as did Una Gavin in the W50 age category with her 21m 39s run.
N. Ireland Team
Trophy Dayin Antrim
Saturday was also NI Team Trophy day at the Antrim track and the City of Derry women’s squad did their confidence a power of good by claiming the win ahead of City of Lisburn, North Down, Lagan Valley and Ballymena and Antrim.
Anna Barr was a prolific points scorer for the red vests contesting the 100m, 200m, 400m and Long Jump.
Club coach and Masters athlete, Danea Herron chipped in with efforts in the Jumps and Throws as did Emma McCay in the Jumps and Hurdles.
At the end of a long day and an unfortunate disqualification for the winning 400m Relay quartet the red vests took the trophy with 96 points, four clear of favourites Lisburn with North Down third on 80 points.
The rest of the victorious team were Lisa Dobbins, Caitlin Ketelar, Amy McDaid, Hannah McGowan and the seemingly indestructible Catherine Lilburn who turned out less than 24 hours after her Rathmullan 5K exertions.
The City of Derry men also travelled with a small squad but could not emulate the women, finishing well behind a strong North Down team who amassed 150 points to the Spartans 82, but this was enough to leave them clear of Ballymena and Antrim, City of Lisburn and Lagan Valley.
They did chalk up wins in the 100m, 3,000m, High Jump and Long Jump through Ryan McParland, Declan Reed, Daniel Reid and Mark McGarvey and grabbed 400m Relay team silver at the end of the day.
The aforementioned were major points scorers and were well supported by Arnie Doherty, Cathal Logue, Pajo Hamilton, Robert Bigger, Scott Graydon, Michael Doherty, Caolan Coyle, Philip Donaghy, JP Williamson, Colin Roberts and Gregory Roberts.
Mention must be made of the 3,000m which saw a Spartans clean sweep of the top four places. Declan Reed won in 8m 48.65s, just ahead of Arnie Doherty on 8m 50.96s with Greg Roberts, just back from Keyna striding to a narrow decision over teenage team mate JP Williamson, the times being 8m 54.58s and 8m 56.81s.