Weekend Preview:  East Coast AC host Larne 10k… and more!

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Weekend Preview:  East Coast AC host Larne 10k… and more!

A record number of athletes will take on this weekend’s Larne 10k road race, an event hosted by East Coast AC (Saturday 8th September 2018).

Now in its third year, the increasingly popular event, which is part of the Novosco 10k Grand Prix, covers a fast and atmospheric Town Centre and Coastal route.

At the head of the pack, in-form Ben Branagh (St Malachy’s AC) should lead the charge for honours.  Ben has been victorious in his last two outings, winning Storming the Castle 10k in 31:54 two weeks ago and just last week, he broke the tape first at the Laganside 10k road race, clocking 32:07 for the distance.

Chasing the St Malachy’s AC man will be Joe Malone (North Belfast Harriers), Gareth Hill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Gordy Graham (East Down AC).

Joe claimed the runners up prize at this event in 2017, running 35:18 in tough conditions.  More recently, he recorded 34:21 for a podium place at Storming the Castle 10k. At last week’s Laganside 10k, Gareth followed up a good track season with a 33:43 on the roads, which saw him claim a top ten finish.  The fast improving Gordy Graham has also been in good form recently, having won the tough Dambusters Half Marathon in 1:19:50.

Mark Smith (Mallusk Harriers), David Clonliffe (PACE Running Club), Phillip McNeill (East Antrim Harriers), Paul Hutchinson (North Belfast Harriers) and Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers) should finish well up the field in what should be a well contested men’s event.

The ladies race will also be an exciting affair, with Dub Runners’ Collette McCourt coming up against Patricia Blair (Larne AC) and Geraldine Quigley (Ballymena Runners), two athletes who ran exceptionally well at the recent East Antrim Inter-Club Race.

Add to this the likes of Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers), a Northern Ireland international, and Larne native Sarah-Jane McFadden (North Belfast Harriers) and we’re in for an excellent race.  Larne AC’s Penny Lindsay should also be in the mix.

Established distance runner Collette McCourt, a 3:09:52 marathoner, ran 39:47 at Laganside 10k last weekend and the week before that, clocked an impressive 1:12:49 for a podium place at the Rathlin Run 10 mile Race.

A mere sixteen seconds split Geraldine Quigley and Patricia Blair as they claimed second and third place respectively at the tough EA Inter-Club Race two weeks ago, with Geraldine covering the hilly course in 26:56 and Patricia 27:12.  On record, both ladies have personal bests just outside the famous sub-40 and both possess the talent to go well below – could this be the day they do it?

Debbie Matchett has gone under the 40 minute mark previously; in 2016 she ran 39:30 at the Seeley Cup – that year the well-respected Masters athlete brok the 40 on three occasions.  However, her season’s best for 2018 is 41:14; this should still be enough to challenge for a podium place.

Sarah Jane McFadden and Penny Lindsay will both take on their first 10k race of the year.  Sarah Jane has run a notable 19:28 for 5k, while Penny produced a strong performance at the previously mentioned East Antrim Inter-Club Race, covering the 4 mile route in 27:17 to finish in fourth place.

The Larne 10k event will also see junior athletes take on an 800m race, kicking off at 10:30am ahead of the start of the 10k at 11am.

Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend…

Friday 7th September 2018:

  • Killyleagh Half Marathon: Killyleagh FC Grounds, Killyleagh – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)

Saturday 8th September 2018:

  • Diva Dash 4 mile Road Race(Ladies Only): Carrickmore GFC, Carrickmore – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)
  • Tannaghmore 10k: Tannaghmore Primary School, Tannaghmore – 12pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)
  • Run in the Park – 24hr Charity Event: Ward Park Bowling Pavilion, Bangor – 12pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)

Sunday 9th September 2018:

  • Alps 10k & 5k: Delamont Country Park: Delamont Car Park – 12pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)

Events taking place outside Northern Ireland this weekend…

NI record holder Emma Mitchell to make Half Marathon debut in England:

Northern Ireland 10,000m and 5,000m record holder Emma Mitchell (QUB AC / Eamonn Christie) will make her half marathon debut as hundreds of Northern Ireland based athletes take on the famous Great North Run in Newcastle, England (Sunday 9th September 2018).

Emma indicated earlier this year that she will step up to the marathon ahead of the Olympic Games in 2020 and with a 5,000m best of 15:50 and 10,000m best of 32:49, the foundation is there for an excellent 13.1 mile debut against what will be a top quality field.

Local athletes Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC / Mark Kirk) and Mark Long (City of Derry AC) will compete in the elite men’s field.

Northern Ireland’s Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers / James Hillier) will be in action at the associated Great City Games.  The Commonwealth games bronze medallist will be competing in the 150m race.

Parkrun:

As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty six 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.