It’s a busy local Easter weekend as usual with the 27th staging of the Omagh Half Marathon tomorrow (Saturday) and, for the non distance runners, the annual Easter 3K road race in Letterkenny on Sunday morning.
In addition, two local athletes, Catherine Whoriskey and Scott Rankin, will be in Cardiff for tomorrow’s World Half Marathon championships where they will represent N. Ireland in what should be a race of real quality.
Staying local and Sunday’s Easter 3k in Letterkenny has an 11.15 a.m. start with entries taken from 10 a.m. in the Aura Leisure Centre. It usually attracts a decent turnout with early season leg speed set to be given a genuine testing for all concerned.
The Omagh Half Marathon expects a field of around 1,500 runners with entries being taken on the day at race HQ in the Omagh Leisure Centre. The 11 a.m. start will see a terrific mix of club and recreational runners on the line with the Omagh based Project Africa athlete, Gideon Kimosop likely to be the man to beat. He won last year in an eye-catching 65m 15s and may well have his eye on the 64m 45s course record, providing the weather conditions and his recent heavy race schedule do not impair his performance.
Omagh has attracted many Derry area runners down the years and by all accounts will do so again this weekend. And the local Foyle Hospice is the official charity this year so let’s hope they benefit significantly from the runners’ generosity!
The Spartans’ Catherine Whoriskey and Scott Rankin of Foyle Valley will be in N. Ireland colours tomorrow as they line up in Cardiff for the World Half Marathon championships. Both are in good form and may otherwise have been in Omagh but the lure of contesting a World championship event clearly won out.
Neither will be close to the speedsters up front but will certainly chase good runs and PB’s, as there will be quality all through the field and provided they both run smart, significant PB’s are there for the taking for both local talents.
Interestingly Paul Pollock, runner-up in Omagh last year, will be on the Irish team for Cardiff alongside previous Omagh winner, Sergui Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers, as well as two more N. Ireland men Kevin Seaward and Thomas Frazer.
All four are in contention for places on the Irish team for the Olympic marathon in Rio later this year and will be using tomorrow as a guide to current form.