Shane McGowan and Maeve Lavery lead the way at NiRunning Mile 2017!

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NiRunning – BMC Mile 2017:
On Friday 5th June 2017, a record number of over two hundred competitors descended on the sun soaked home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters Track, for the 5th annual ‘NiRunning Mile’ event, which once again was endorsed by the highly respected British Milers Club (BMC).

Although the famous sub four minute barrier was not broken on this occasion, the gathered spectators were treated to an exciting night of racing, which culminated in Shane McGowan (Derry Track Club) and Maeve Lavery (City of Lisburn AC) being crowned champions after clocking the fastest times of the night.

The evening kicked off with two junior ‘fun mile’ races coordinated by Allstars NI Sports Academy, before the more competitive athletes took to the start-line, but it wasn’t until the elite races when the fastest times were recorded – however, for some time it looked as if Derry Track Club’s Martin Cox could run out winner after he set an impressive target to aim for. On his return from injury, Martin dominated Race 13, winning in 4:38.88.

The Derry Track Club athlete’s time stood until the final race of the night, when a tear up between Shane McGowan (Derry Track Club), John Black (North Belfast Harriers) and Conan McCaughey (Derry Track Club) smashed it, with all three men dipping under it. Shane excelled with a notable performance, leading the field home in 4:29.91 (1st place) – then, in an epic sprint finish, John Black took 2nd place in 4:31.97 and Conan McCaughey 3rd place in 4:32.54.

The quickest lady of the night was last year’s runner up, Maeve Lavery. The City of Lisburn AC star knocked five seconds off her 2016 finish time when she claimed top honours in a personal best of 5:11.02 (1st place). Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) broke her own personal best and Ballymena Runners’ club record when she crossed the line in 5:21.20 – this saw Kerry take eighth place in Race 14 and 2nd place overall in the ladies event. Laura Bickerstaff (Dromore AC) clocked 5:28.19 for third in Race 15 and this secured 3rd place overall for the improving athlete.

Earlier in the evening, the competitive races kicked off with an excellent showing from East Down AC athlete Jodie Foster, who led the Under 10 years old athletes home in 6:18.72 (Race 1). Luke McCausland (City of Lisburn AC) was similarly impressive in Race 2, covering the 1,609 metres in 6:13.03 (Race 2).

In the Under 12 event Lauren Madine (East Down AC) was the fastest girl, running 5:51.35 (Race 3) for the distance, while Orangegrove AC’s Jacob McKittrick crossed the line in 5:31.44 (Race 4) to lead the boys home.

North Down AC pair Alex Hodgen (7:11.75) and Paula Simpson (7:26.28) led the way in the 10+ mins and 9-10 mins race (Race 5), while Dromore AC’s Alan Magee won Race 6 (8-9mins) in 6:52.09 – Joanne Cummings (North Down AC) was the leading lady in 7:05.34. Out of the three 7-8mins races, Sammy Drummond (Larne AC) and Kirsti Foster (East Down AC) were the quickest competitors – both competing in Race 9, Sammy (5:55.30) and rising star Kirsti (6:01.65) took 1st place and 2nd place respectively.

Like the 7-8mins category, the 6-7mins category had three races – Larne AC’s Sean McAllister was the fastest of the male athletes, running 5:37.92 in Race 11, while Derry Track Club’s Elaine Connor completed the distance in 5:47.51 (Race 10) as fastest lady.

Next up was the most popular category of the night, the 5-6mins races – four in total. As previously mentioned, Martin Cox’s 4:38.88 (Race 13) ensured he was the quickest in the category, while Kerry Bamber’s 5:21.20 in Race 14 was enough to secure a podium place overall.

Overall Podium Places:
Top 3 Men:  1st Shane McGowan (Derry Track Club) – 4:29.91, 2nd John Black (North Belfast Harriers) – 4:31.97, 3rd Conan McCaughey (Derry Track Club) – 4:32.54

Top 3 Ladies:  1st Maeve Lavery (City of Lisburn AC) – 5:11.02, 2nd Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) – 5:21.20, 3rd Laura Bickerstaff (Dromore AC) – 5:28.19

Full Results: NiRunning / BMC Mile 2017 Results (Photos from the NiRunning Mile will be added to our Flickr account – link via Photos section of our website, as soon as possible).

Note – We (NiRunning) would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported our event; we would also like to extend a special thank you to all the volunteers and officials who made the event possible. Your continued support is very much appreciated.