Weekend Preview:  Les Jones 10k, Euro 10,000m Cup, Inter Counties Mountain Running… and more!

Weekend Preview:  Les Jones 10k, Euro 10,000m Cup, Inter Counties Mountain Running… and more!

What a weekend we have ahead of us – Balmoral Show, North West 200, Ed Sheeran (in Dublin), the FA Cup Final (in England), the Royal Wedding (in England) and for those of us interested in running, there’s the Highgate Harriers Night of 10k PB’s (inc Euro 10k Cup), Inter-Counties Mountain Running Championships, the Great City Games (Manchester) and locally, a firm favourite in the form of the Les Jones Memorial 10k!

I’m sure this is the tip of the proverbial iceberg in terms of events happening in the next few days, but regardless – it’s going to be busy out and about!

The aforementioned Les Jones Memorial 10k is the highlight locally and will be the feature race in our weekend preview.  We’ll also list what other running events are taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend and cover the prestigious competitions happening outside the Province, including the European 10,000m Cup, the Inter-Counties Mountain Running Championships and the Great City Games in Manchester.

Kicking off the weekend will be the Athletics NI hosted Les Jones Memorial 10k later tonight, Friday 18th May 2018…

Les Jones Memorial 10k:

A capacity field of 400 athletes will descend on the Mary Peters Track this weekend for the 27th annual Les Jones Memorial 10k, an event hosted by Athletics Northern Ireland (Friday 18th May 2018).

The popular event is organised in memory of late athlete, team manager and Athletics NI Chairman Les Jones who passed away in 1992.

Athletics NI are working with Action Mental Health for the event, as part of the Mental Health Awareness week, which began on 14th May 2018. A donation will be made to the charity from the race entries.

This year’s Les Jones 10k will again provide a fitting tribute, with a plethora of athletic talent due to battle it out over the tough course, which takes competitors onto the Lagan Towpath and towards Shaws Bridge.  Athletes will then negotiate the infamous climb in Barnetts Demesne on their way back to the finish line on the Mary Peters Track.

At the competitive end of the field, the fast improving Vincent McKenna (QUB AC) will come up against fellow Queen’s University student James Smyth, who will represent St Malachy’s AC.

Vincent recently recorded a new 10k personal best at the TQ10K, were he clocked 33:11 for the distance.  James, a 4:14 1500m runner will make his 10k debut and with a 5k best of 16:07, he will challenge for a podium place.

Stephen Wylie will lead a strong Victoria Park & Connswater AC contingent, which also includes Thomas Leitch and Gary Kennan.  David Noble (Larne AC), Turlough Donnelly (Unattached) and David Clarke (North Belfast Harriers) will all place well.

Northern Ireland international Jessica Craig (North Down AC) will line up on the Les Jones 10k start line for the first time and having won the Ballynahinch Lions 10k in 37:39 last month, is sure to play a prominent part at the front.

The track star, who recently clocked 5:00.10 for the Mile, will face Newcastle AC’s Sinead Murtagh, who won the Newry Mayors 10k last week (in 38:09), will also be worth watching – also last week, Sinead impressed with an excellent run at the Slieve Donard Mountain Race, were she led early on and finished in an excellent fifth place.

Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers), Sarah Lavery (Beechmount Harriers), Ann Terek (City of Lisburn AC), Jenny Finlay (Lagan Valley AC) and Jennifer Black (Victoria Park & Connswater AC) should also be considered as podium contenders.

Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend…

Friday 18th May 2018:

  • M5M: Traynors Chip Shop, Maguiresbridge – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)

Saturday 19th May 2018:

  • Knockevin 10k & 5k: Knockevin School, Downpatrick – 12pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)
  • Scarvagh House 10k & 5k: Scarvagh House, Scarvagh – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)
  • Run Kirkistown 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon and 50k: Kirkistown Race Track – 2pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)

Events taking place outside Northern Ireland this weekend…

European 10,000m Cup / Night of 10k PB’s:

Four local athletes will be part of a strong Athletics Ireland team at this weekend’s European 10,000m Cup, which will be held as part of the famous Night of 10,000m Personal Bests in Highgate, London (Saturday 19th May 2018).

Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers / Stephen Haas), Emma Mitchell (QUB AC / Eamonn Christie), Fionnuala Ross (Armagh AC / Dermot Kerr) and Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) have been included in the line-up.

Emma, who set a new Northern Ireland 10,000m record of 32:49 at the Commonwealth Games last month, ran an NI record at the Highgate Harriers event in 2017, when she recorded 32:51.  After being selected for the event, Emma expressed her delight on social media, posting, “Excited to be selected to represent Ireland at the European 10,000m Cup.”

In a similar fashion, Fionnuala also spoke of her excitement, “Can’t wait for my first visit to the #nightof10kpbs, especially since I’ll be back in the green vest with this talented bunch!”

The full Ireland team for the event is…

Hugh Armstrong Ballina AC Ray Treacy
Sergiu Ciobanu Clonliffe Harriers AC Jerry Kiernan
Mick Clohisey Raheny Shamrocks AC Dick Hooper
Stephen Scullion Clonliffe Harriers AC Stephen Haas
Shona Heaslip An Riocht Niamh O’Sullivan
Ann Marie McGlynn Letterkenny AC  
Emma Mitchell Queens University AC Eamonn Christie
Fionnuala Ross Armagh AC Dermot Kerr

 Inter-Counties Mountain Running Championships:

Also this weekend, a team of mountain runners will represent Northern Ireland at the Inter-Counties Mountain Running Championships which will take place at Lads Leap, Derbyshire, England (Saturday 19th May 2018).

Both the men and women will cover 9.5km in distance, with 518m of ascent on the up and down course.

The teams are as follows:


David Hicks (Newcastle AC) – Team Captain
Timothy Johnston (Mourne Runners)
Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley FR)
Luke McMullan (Newcastle AC)

U23 – Zak Hanna (Newcastle AC)

Reserve: Ryan Stewart (Shettleston Harriers)


Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – Team Captain
Esther Dickson (Newry AC)
Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers)
Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners)

Reserve: Megan Wilson (Dark Peak FR)

Great City Games (Manchester):

Decorated Paralympic athlete Jason Smyth (Derry Track Club) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers) will be in action at the prestigious Great City Games on the streets of Manchester this weekend (Saturday 19th May 2018).

The talented pairing will both compete over 150m, but in separate races. The Games will be televised live on BBC 2 from 6pm – 7:30pm.

Since its inception in 2009 the unique event has brought some of the biggest names in international sport to the city-centre including Olympic heroes Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford.


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.