PIUS McIntrye romped to an emphatic victory at Wednesday evening’s Culmore 5K winning by more than a minute from two Masters athletes, Dominic Bonner and Gerry Duddy.
The Foyle Valley man led home a field in excess of 100 with City of Derry’s Catherine Lilburn an equally emphatic women’s race winner ahead of clubmates, Miriam Bridge and Bridgeen Byrne.
Culmore was race four in the ongoing Furey Insurances 5k Series and was sponsored, as usual, by the local Ice Cream and Shakes Parlour, Joe Jackson.
The men’s race was a gun-to-tape success for Pius McIntyre who came home in splendid isolation with a 16m 14sec clocking for his first ever victory in the popular local series.
Behind him were two competitive M50s, Finn Valley’s Dominic Bonner and City of Derry’s Gerry Duddy.
The Donegal man held the runners-up spot throughout the distance but had to keep pushing as Duddy came through strongly in the latter stages. Bonner hit the line on 17m 19secs with the Spartan closing in 17m 28secs.
Both recorded their first ever podium places in the series with these efforts.
Catherine Lilburn confirmed her pre-race favourite status with another strong run and, like McIntrye, had a comfortable cushion over her clubmates, Miriam Bridge and Bridgeen Byrne at the line.
She posted another sub 19minute clocking - good running on a course not noted for fast times as her 18m 53sec gave her an impressive win.
Miriam Bridge finished second on 20m 12secs to confirm her growing status in her first season of competitive running and a strong late run by Bridgeen Byrne pushed the Spartans’ chairperson up into third spot, just three seconds ahead of the leading female U20, Hannah McGowan on 20m 42secs.
Age group winners
With the Masters runners prominent in both the open races, some new names emerged in the age group honours.
Donegal triathlete, Colin Deane ran 17m 40secs to claim the M35 prize, Mick Harkin of Inishowen AC won the top M40 on 19m 09secs, Eamon Able ran 20m 24secs for the top M45 spot and Foyle Valley’s Michael Gallagher was the leading M50 on 20m 17secs.
Hannah McGowan’s brother Zach impressed with a 17m 55secs clocking for first M U20; Sammy McAnaney looked good for 18m 07secs and top M55, Seamus McElhinney ran 22m 44secs to pick up another M60 award and Christy McMonagle closked 20m 29secs to reclaim his stranglehold on the M65 category.
The female Masters categories also threw up some new names, Nicole Mullan posted 24m 11secs to take the F35 honours and Nicola Duffy was the top F40.
Bridgeen Canavan looked good as her 22m 42secs gave her F45 success and Cathy Moran celebrated her return to competitive action by claiming the F50 honours in 22m 10secs.
The awards ceremony and post-race refreshments were provided at Hollybush Primary School with the awards presented by Neil and Joe Doherty of the event sponsors.
Carndonagh up next
Next up is the Carndonagh race on Wednesday, June 27th with the series finale scheduled for Wednesday, July 18th out of the Sports Complex and using the Baliniska/Branch Road circuit.
Entries for both will be taken on the night or online at firstname.lastname@example.org
Road and Track
Tonight the Lifford 5k at 7.30 p.m. should attract a good entry and next week it’s on to the Dunree 5K on Wednesday, June 20th and the Rathmullan 5K on Friday, June 22nd. Both have a 7.30 p.m. start.
Antrim is the track & field venue this weekend once again with the Provincial Juvenile Championships scheduled for both tomorrow and Sunday.
Local interest will see City of Derry and Olympian athletes in the mix for honours.
The National League positions following last weekend’s first round pool competitions look good for the local clubs.
City of Derry’s women top the overall Division One standings, 12 points clear of St Abban’s with Olympian in 10th place.
The Olympian men lie 9th overall in Division One and the Spartans occupy the same spot in the Premier Division. The top eight clubs in each division after round two move onto the league final in August and the locals have every chance of making Tullamore for the finals.