Weekend Preview:  Athletics NI XC League 2017/18 continues with Malcolm Cup XC 2017…

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Weekend Preview:  Athletics NI XC League 2017/18 continues with Malcolm Cup XC 2017…

After last weekend’s traditional road racing season ‘finale’ at the Seeley Cup in Belfast, this weekend brings the return of the Athletics NI XC League 2017/18, with the Annadale Striders host Malcolm Cup, a traditional cross country fixture, taking centre stage.

Given it’s prominence within the local racing calendar, the Malcolm Cup XC will form the basis of our weekend preview – however, we will of course list all of the other notable fixtures taking place over the next few days; there are quite a few!

Malcolm Cup XC (Round 3 – Athletics NI XC League 2017/18):

On Saturday 2nd December 2017, the popular cross country venue of Sixmilewater Park in Ballyclare, will play host to the third event of the Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League 2017/18, the Malcolm Cup Cross Country, a meeting organised by Annadale Striders.

The programme of races will kick off at 1pm with races for Under 11, Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 athletes splitting up the Senior Ladies, Veteran Ladies and Veteran Men’s 3 mile race and the Senior and Under 20 Men’s 4 mile event.

Foyle Valley AC’s Scott Rankin, winner of the Bobby Rea XC and newly crowned NI & Ulster 10k (Road) Champion, should head the men’s field as competitors cover the four lap course – with Foyle Valley AC currently topping the men’s standings, Scott should be well supported by his club mates.

The North West based Northern Ireland international could well have Springwell Running Club’s Neil Johnston, City of Derry AC’s Declan Reed and North Belfast Harriers’ Mark McKinstry for company.  Craig McMeechan (North Down AC), a gold medallist at last weekend’s AAI National Age Group XC Championships will also be in the mix.

Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), Patrick McNiff (Newcastle AC), Neill Weir (Willowfield Harriers), Francis Marsh (North Down AC) and James Budde (North Down AC) may toe the line and will play a part at the front if they do.

In the ladies race, North Down AC quartet Jessica Craig, Rachel Gibson, Jodi Smith and Sarah Lindsay will be out to ensure that their team continue to lead the ladies table.  Currently, North Down AC hold bragging rights over neighbours East Down AC at the top.  Jessica, Rachel, Jodi and Sarah will be joined on the start line by the in-form Laura Bickerstaff (Dromore AC) and Amy Bulman (Willowfield Harriers).  Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers), Paula Worthington (Ballymena Runners), Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) and Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) are expected to start.

In the veteran men’s race, Neill Carty (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Carroll (Annadale Striders), Matt Shields (North Belfast Harriers), Paul Elliott (North Belfast Harriers) and World Vet70 Mountain Running Champion Jim Patterson (Newcastle AC) could all feature.

The full programme of events is listed below:

1pm – Under 11 Boys and Girls 800m Race

1.15pm – Open Ladies, Veteran Ladies and Veteran Men 3 mile Race

1.50pm – Under 13 Boys and Girls 1 mile Race

2.10pm – Under 15 Boys and Girls 2 mile Race

2.35pm – Under 17 Boys 3 mile and Under 17 Girls 2 mile Race

3pm – Malcolm Cup Race:  Senior and Under 20 Men’s 4 mile Race

Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend…

Saturday 2nd December 2017:

  • Born 2 Run ‘Run Forest Run’ Loughgall 10k & 5k – Loughgall Country Park – 11am
  • Sperrin Harriers Winter Trail Series (Race 2):  Lough Fea 5k – Lough Fea, Cookstown – 12pm

Sunday 3rd December 2017:

  • Cash for Kids 5k – Winters Square, Belfast – 10am
  • Hillsborough Santa Run – Village Square, Hillsborough – 2pm
  • ‘Son of the Griddle’ – East Down AC Club Rooms, Downpatrick – 11am

Parkrun:

As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty five 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.

Note:  Featured photo by John T Glover.