A magnificent 11 medal haul from the National Juvenile Indoor championships in Nenagh was the weekend highlight as a talented young City of Derry Spartans squad were richly rewarded for the long trip.
The young Red Vests claimed three gold, three silver and five bronze, plus a host of new PB’s. U17 60m sprinter Ciara Armstrong, U19 Hurdler, Mark McGarvey and U18 Triple Jumper, Claire Dougherty were the golden trio in Nenagh and with senior athletes Keith Shields of Foyle Valley and the Spartans Catherine Lilburn, running to victory in Friday evening’s Finn Valley 5K it was yet another good weekend for local athletics.
Nenagh hosted the two day Juvenile uneven age group Indoor championships and the young Spartans were prominent on both days, grabbing 11 podium places with a series of outstanding performances.
Mark McGarvey took 60m Hurdles gold on Sunday, running an 8.45s PB after a swift 7.21s bronze medal effort in Saturday’s 60m flat final.
Ciara Armstrong sped to 60m flat gold in her age group with a spanking new PB of 7.89s and triple jumper, Claire Dougherty claimed the third local gold with a winning 10m 61cm leap in the U18 age group.
Ryan McParland got double silver, in the U18 60m flat with 7.21s and with a PB of 8.53s in the 60m Hurdles.
Anna Barr showed she is getting back to her best with double bronze at U19 level, clocking 8.11s in the 60m flat and triple jumping 10.98cm.
U17 sprinter, Jack McCloskey ran well for 60m flat bronze with 7.32s; Jenny O’Brien claimed U18 300m silver with a 43.5s PB and the medal haul was completed in the U17 60m Hurdles by Ruaidhri O’Neill’s 8.82 PB.
A marvellous return for the young Spartans and although out of the medals, Emma McCay did well in the U18 60m Hurdles and got a 300m PB while Michael Cartin, unlucky in his Hurdles race, still came home with a 400m PB of 54.45s under his belt.
Finn Valley 5k Series
Closer to home, two local runners were to the fore at Friday night’s third race in the Finn Valley 5K series in Stranorlar.
Keith Shields won the men’s race in 16m 11s and Catherine Lilburn clocked 19m 14s for the women’s honours as once again a big field turned out.
The Foyle Valley man led home the host club duo of Gerard Gallagher on 16m 20s and U20, James Speight on 16m 23s. Catherine Lilburn was well clear of Letterkenny’s Margaret Kelly who posted 19m 47s.
The fourth and final race is this Friday evening at 7 p.m.
Joe McAlister kept his recent winning streak going with a 70m 38s victory at Saturday’s Larne Half Marathon and visitor Sarah Cumber of Halifax Harriers ran 84m even to take the women’s race win.
2011 Waterside Half Marathon winner, Julie Balmer of North Down was second in 84m 16s with Inishowen AC’s Helena Crossan posting 86m 09s for third.
Ulster Novice cross country champion, Connor Magill of North Belfast ran 72m 50s to grab second just ahead of East Down’s Brendan Teer on 73m even.
The Spartans’ Gerry Duddy finished just inside the top 40 with 81m 24s and took the runners-up spot in the M50 age group. Foyle Valley’s Stephen Borotta had a decent run for 21t in 77m 53s.
No locals travelled to the Dunboyne 4 miler on Sunday after all but a large contingent will be in Omagh this Saturday for the annual Half Marathon which will this year host the NI championships.
Greg Roberts is expected to lead the local challenge this weekend and the numbers should be boosted by many of those with the London and/or Belfast Marathons in their sights.