Weekend Preview: All roads lead to Mary Peters Track…
As the dust settles on the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and the memorable performance of Northern Ireland’s Laura Graham, the first local winner of the event since 1999, we must now look ahead to this weekend’s action.
Infact, for the mountain and trail enthusiasts, the weekend kicked off last night with Race 4 of Newcastle AC’s Hill & Dale Series, the brutal ’Binnian To The Top’ uphill only event – Zak Hanna and Diane Wilson reached the summit first, therefore winning their respective races.
Ok, let’s look at the next few days – it’s a busy one for us with the annual NiRunning Mile (in association with BMC) taking place tonight (Friday 5th May 2017). Aside from this, the other major events this weekend will be the Athletics NI Open Track & Field Meeting at MPT and the Termoneeny 10k.
Our weekend preview will focus on the aforementioned three events, but there are other races taking place throughout the province, and we’ll mention list these within the preview.
NiRunning ‘Festival of Miles’ in association with BMC:
The weekend action will kick off tonight (Friday 5th 2017) when we (NiRunning) host the fifth annual running of our NiRunning Mile, now better known as ‘the Festival of Miles’ in association with highly respected British Milers Club (BMC).
As with the previous few years, the Festival of Miles will take place at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland, the Mary Peters Track in Belfast. A record number of close to 300 runners will take to the track on what should be an excellent night of racing.
The race timetable will kick off at 6.30pm with two FREE un-timed Kids Fun Mile races for children under 8 years of age – we see this as an excellent opportunity for children to experience the track without the pressure of competition (ie timing). These races will be co-ordinated by our friends at Allstars Sports Academy.
Then at 7pm, the official race programme will kick off, start lists and timetable are available here: NiRunning Mile 2017 Start Lists & Timetable
Final instructions for competitors are also available on our website HERE.
In terms of potential winners, Derry Track Club pair Conan McCaughey and Shane McGowan will spearhead the challenge on Finn Valley AC man Mark Hoy’s event record of 4:19.03 (2014). Although David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) could also dip under the 4:30 mark considering his recent form – this would put him well in the mix. Zak Hanna’s potential to be involved at the front will be determined by how much his win at last night’s Binnian To The Top took out of him, while North Belfast Harriers’ John Black should also go well.
In the ladies race, QUB AC’s new star Sinead Sweeney will be considered as a major contender for the top prize, while event regular Maeve Lavery (City of Lisburn AC) will be one to watch – although always a talented runner, Maeve has really excelled over the last twelve months and could therefore prove to be the one to beat. Previous podium finisher Kerry Bamber (Ballymena Runners) will also return, while Laura Bickerstaff (Dromore AC) will be amongst several other talented ladies as they chase down Rachel Gibson’s record of 4:56.60 (2015).
Athletics NI Open Track & Field Meeting:
On Saturday 6th May 2017, the Mary Peters Track will again be the focus of attention as athletes from across the province descend on the famous track for the Athletics NI Open Track & Field Meeting.
The event will kick off at 12pm and will include 100m, 100m hurdles, 110m hurdles, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1500m and 3,000m races, as well as field events.
A plethora of athletic talent is expected to take part, with a number of athletes aiming for qualification standards for upcoming events. One of the most notable participants will be the current NI & Ulster 10k (Road) Champion Emma Mitchell, who is expected to compete in the 3,000m. Dromore AC’s Adam Hilditch will also go in the 800m.
A full timetable is available on the Athletics NI website HERE.
On Sunday 7th May 2017, hundreds of athletes are expected to take on the annual Termoneeny 10k in the Gulladuff area of County Derry/Londonderry, an event hosted by Termoneeny Running Club. The rural course starts close to the Termoneeny Community Centre and finishes even closer to it (at the main entrance door!).
Former winners of the event, Keith Shiels (Foyle Valley AC) and Jarlath Falls (Ballymena & Antrim AC) could well return – Keith especially, as he has been in good form of late having returned to competitive action. Jarlath tends to race sparingly, but is always in good shape when he laces up the racers. Recent marathon men Tommy Hughes (Termoneeny RC) and Aaron Meharg (Acorns AC) could start, while Michael Crawley (Sperrin Harriers) could also contest a podium place.
Other men to look out for include Bryan Edgar (Springwell Running Club) and Michael Kerr (Carmen Runners). In the ladies race, Leanne Sands (Acorns AC) may well compete and if she does, the fast improving athlete will hope to replicate her race winning performance at the recent Whitehead 5 mile road race. Ballymena Runners trio Geraldine Quigley, Paula Arthur-McCarthy and Paula McAllister could well be in the running.
Other local fixtures taking place this weekend:
– Saturday 6th May 2017: Killian Doherty Memorial Run – Drumquin GAA – 9am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day!)
– Saturday 6th May 2017: Glenavy Milk Run 10k & 5k – Balymacrickett Primary School – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day!)
– Saturday 6th May 2017: Killyclogher 10k – Killyclogher GAA – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on the day!)
– Sunday 7th May 2017: Lisburn Relays – Wallace Park, Lisburn – 12pm (Entries AVAILABLE on the day!)
As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty four parkrun events will take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.