Northern Ireland & Ulster Road Relay Championships 2018:
QUB AC trio Emma Mitchell, Sinead Sweeney and Rebecca Henderson smashed the Senior Ladies course record on their way to gold at today’s NI & Ulster Road Relay Championships (Saturday 6th October 2018).
There were also impressive wins for St Malachy’s AC, North Down AC and Beechmount Harriers as a record number of teams descended on Victoria Park Belfast for what was an excellent day of racing, hosted by Orangegrove AC and sponsored by O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.
Northern Ireland 10,000m and 5,000m record holder Emma Mitchell (10:30) anchored the Queen’s University team and clocked the fastest 3 x 3,380m leg as she finished off excellent work by team mates Rebecca Henderson (11:27) and Sinead Sweeney (11:23) to break the tape in 33:19 (1st place). North Down AC followed in 35:02 for 2nd place and the associated silver medals, while East Down AC completed the podium in 36:48 for 3rd place.
The young St Malachy’s AC team of Ben Branagh, Tony McCambridge, Conal McClean and Adam Ferris looked a class act as they held off experienced opposition to win the Senior Men’s 4 x 3,380m race.
Ben Branagh got the team off to the best possible start with the fastest leg of the race, 9:31, and the team increased their lead from there, winning in 40:12 (1st place). Derry Track Club claimed 2nd place in 40:38 but were ineligible for the Championship aspect of the race, so 3rd place finishers North Belfast Harriers (40:10) collected the NI & Ulster silver medals.
Acorns AC completed the Championship podium when new recruit Gerard Heaney crossed the line as the clock hit 41:21 (4th place); this was enough to ensure his team picked up bronze medals.
A stunning final leg by Stuart Donald saw North Down AC take the Masters Men’s 4 x 3,380m title from the grasp of Acorns AC, who were agonisingly close to completing a hat-trick of wins in the category.
After a close start to the race, Glen Donnelly (10:14) put Acorns AC in control with the fastest leg of the race. It looked like they would claim their third victory in a row until an epic finish from Stuart Donald, who ran 10:32 to edge it for North Down AC with an overall time of 42:32 (1st place). Acorns AC followed just one second later in 42:33 (2nd place), while Willowfield Harriers secured bronze in 42:55 after a strong finish from Garry Morrow.
In the Masters Ladies 3 x 3,380m race, the talented Beechmount Harriers trio of Gerrie Short, Catherine Diver and Maria Morris came through to claim a well-deserved victory.
Lagan Valley AC, Derry Track Club and Victoria Park & Connswater AC all played a part early on, but it was Belfast club Beechmount Harriers who eventually took charge, winning in 36:42 (1st place). Derry Track Club claimed silver after crossing the line in 37:16 (2nd place), while Victoria Park & Connswater AC impressed on home turf with a 37:54 finish for 3rd place.
City of Lisburn AC’s double World Masters Champion Kelly Neely ran the fastest leg of the Masters Ladies race, recording 11:27 for the 3,380m distance.
In the earlier junior races, there were wins for Jacob McKittrick (Orangegrove AC), Lucy Foster (East Down AC), Joel Chambers (Loughview AC), Kirsti Foster (East Down AC), James Gracey (Beechmount Harriers) and Rebecca Wallace (Lagan Valley AC).
Full Results: NI & Ulster Road Relay Championships 2018 Results