Irish Milers Club / Beechmount Harriers / West Belfast Coolers Belfast Grand Prix 2017:
A blustery day welcomed athletes from all over the UK and Ireland to the impressive Mary Peters Track in Belfast for the annual Irish Milers Club Belfast Grand Prix, an event co-hosted by Belfast based clubs Beechmount Harriers and West Best Coolers.
Despite the withdrawal of several high profile athletes, spectators were treated to an excellent day of competition, which included four European Athletics Championships qualifying standards and numerous personal bests – all despite the at times strong head wind at the back end of the track.
Brandon Arrey (Blarney Inniscarra AC), Alanna Lally (UCD AC), John Fitzsimons (Kildare AC) and Sarah Healy (Blackrock AC) were arguably the top performers of the day. Brandon and Alanna put themselves up for selection for the Ireland team heading to the upcoming European Athletics Under 23 Championships with qualifying standards and Sarah again dipped below the European Under 20 standard with a huge personal best – John has cemented his position in the Ireland European Juniors squad.
Jason Smyth (Derry Track Club) opened the day with a fairly sharp 10.76 (1st place) to lead the way a 100m warm up event before he returned and won the 100m ‘A’ race in slightly quicker 10.70 (+0.6). Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Christopher Doherty took 1st place in the 100m ‘B’ race in 11.52 (-1.4) and added a 23.39 for 1st place in the 200m ‘B’ race later in the afternoon.
Dublin City Harriers athlete Catherine McManus was the stand out performer in the ladies sprints with an 11.84 (+0.0) for 1st place in the 100m and 23.95 (+3.0) for 1st place in the 200m. Sligo AC’s Aaron Cadden topped the men’s 200m ‘A’ with a 22.30 (-0.9) clocking for 1st place.
The aforementioned Brandon Arrey (Blarney Inniscarra AC) edged out Harry Purcell (Trim AC) and Craig Newell (Ballymena & Antrim AC) to win the men’s 400m ‘A’ race in 47.57, a European Under 23 standard. Scotland based Blair Crawford (Kilbarchan AAC) won the ‘B’ race in 49.45 (1st place), while brothers and University of Ulster students Ronan Bloomer and Justin Bloomer battled it out for top spot in the ‘C’ race – in the end, Ronan dipped across the line for victory in 53.50 (1st place). DSD AC’s Mollie O’Reilly won the ladies 400m ‘A’ race in 55.10 (1st place).
In the men’s 3,000m race, Raheny Shamrocks AC’s Conor Dooney stayed with the pacer well before pushing on during the latter stages of the race to take a well-deserved victory in 8:16.90 (1st place).
Mullingar Harriers AC’s Shane Fitzsimons and Emerald AC’s Amy O’Donoghue were the quickest male and female athletes over 800m, with Shane clocking 1:50.32 (1st place) to win the men’s ‘A’ race – Kildare AC’s John Fitzsimons took 2nd place in 1:51.01, a European Junior qualifying standard. Amy then led the ladies ‘A’ race home in 2:06.32 (1st place) – Alanna Lally (UCD AC) claimed 2nd place in a European Under 23 qualifying standard of 2:06.43.
Conor Duncan (Ratoath AC) won the men’s 800m ‘B’ race in 1:55.19 (1st place), while North Belfast Harriers’ Andrew Milligan recorded a new personal best of 1:58.29 for 1st place in the ‘C’ race. Mullingar Harriers’ Oisin Quinn clocked 2:00.80 for 1st place in the ‘D’ race, while John McQuaid (Omagh Harriers) took victory in the ‘E’ race at in 2:08.47 (1st place). Denise Toner (Clones AC) won the ladies 800m ‘B’ race in 2:14.72 (1st place).
Teresa McDaid coached athletes Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC) and Sean Corry (Omagh Harriers) secured victory in the men’s 1500m ‘A’ and ‘B’ races respectively, with Danny breaking the beam in 3:45.49 (1st place) in the ‘A’ race and up and coming star Sean winning the ‘B’ race in 4:02:51 (1st place), a massive personal best.
Blackrock AC’s Sarah Healy had already achieved the European Under 20 1500m qualifying standard, but the rising star re-affirmed her position by running well under the 4:24.00 ‘A’ standard – She covered the metric mile in a huge personal best of 4:20.84, securing 1st place.
Prior to the senior athletes taking to the track, over 20 junior competitors took on the 1,000m Primary School races. Finn O’Neill from City of Derry AC won the boy’s event in 3:00.12 (1st place), while East Down AC’s Lauren Madine took 1st place in the girls race in 3:16.29.
Full results for the event will be added to our website as soon as possible and photos from the event will follow over the coming days. Video footage from the IMC Belfast Grand Prix is available on the East Down AC You Tube channel HERE.