Weekend Preview: Local athletes ready for Irish Life AAI Masters Track & Field Championships 2018

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Weekend Preview: AAI Masters Track & Field Championships 2018 and more…

This weekend will see an abundance of local veteran athletes travel south to the famous Tullamore Harriers Stadium for the prestigious Irish Life AAI Masters Track & Field Championships.

Previously, competitors from Northern Ireland have impressed with a significant medal haul and we would expect the same this year.  We’ll highlight some of the medal hopefuls within the preview and provide links to the start lists and timetable.

Closer to home, there is a huge fixture list with the Born 2 Run Dambusters events being the obvious highlight.

As always, we’ll provide a list of what is happening around Northern Ireland.

First up, it’s the AAI Irish Masters Championships…

Irish Life AAI Masters Track & Field Championships 2018

Former World and European Masters 800m Champion Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) will lead the Northern Ireland & Ulster charge for honours at this weekend’s Irish Life AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships in Tullamore, Ireland (Saturday 18th August 2018).

The City of Lisburn AC star will take on the (Vet40) 800m and will be keen to add to her Masters Indoor gold medals over 1500m and 3,000m earlier this year as she works her way back to full fitness following a recent injury.

Kelly’s most recent outing was a 2:13.15 for 800m gold at the NI & Ulster Senior Championships in June (2018), while her seasons best this year is an impressive 2:09.86 (NIA Live Indoor GP – February 2018).

North Down AC’s Francis Marsh and Derry Track Club’s Cathal McLaughlin will contest the Vet50 800m and 1500mIn the Vet55 category over the same distances, North Belfast Harriers’ David Clarke will play a prominent part in proceedings.

Martin Cox (Carmen Runners) and Stephen Orr (Orangegrove AC) should place well in their respective Vet35 and Vet40 1500m, while Simon Doyle (Belfast Running Club) will be hoping for a personal best and based on his recent form, potentially a podium place, in the Vet40 800m.

In the sprints, Mid Ulster duo Glen Scullion (Vet35) and Patrick Forbes (Vet75) will pick up medals.  Meanwhile, in the field, Lifford Strabane AC’s Damian Crawford will have a busy day as he takes on the Discuss, Hammer, Javelin, Shot Putt and Weight Over Distance (56lb).

Versatile athlete Elaine Connor (Derry Track Club) will line up in the Vet40 400m and 800m events.  In the 800m, Elaine will face tough opposition in the form of fellow NI athlete Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers) – Catherine will also race in the 1500m.

Ballydrain Harriers’ Ruth Perioli (Vet60) is set to compete over 200m and 400m and Orangegrove AC’s Joy McAleer (Vet55) is scheduled to race the 400m and 800m.

Official start lists for the event are available HERE. A provisional timetable for the event is available HERE.

The Irish Life AAI National League Final will also take place also take place in Tullamore this weekend (Sunday 19th August 2018).  A full timetable for the event is available HERE.

Closer to home…

Born 2 Run Dambusters Events:

On Saturday 18th August 2018, nearly one thousand runners are expected to descend on the stunning Silent Valley Mountain Park, in the Mourne Mountains, for the annual Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon, 10k and 5k races.

In the feature half marathon event, which has attracted in excess of 300 entries, Don Travers (Newry City Runners) and Mark Smith (Mallusk Harriers) are expected to dominate at the front.

Don is a highly respected and talented athlete.  He will know what it takes to win here and if he is in top form, it will be hard to see anyone else taking the win.  However, on the subject of form – Mark is an athlete who has emerged over the last six months and continues to improve, with regular podium performances.  On his day, he has the ability to lead the way.

This could be an excellent battle for the men’s prize, then if you add Gordy Graham (East Down AC), John Neill (East Antrim Harriers) and Chris Collins (East Antrim Harriers) to the mix, it makes for an excellent race for the top three places.  Mark Alexander (Ballymena Runners) and David Proctor (Willowfield Harriers) will also place well.

In the ladies race, Jog Lisburn AC’s Karen Wilton, who has already impressed in the Mourne’s this year with her Hill & Dale Series exploits, will start as favourite.

Behind, there is several talented athletes who will give chase – this includes Jolene Mellon (Unattached), Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) and Emma Kirk (North East Runners). Catherine Roberts (North Down AC) and Gillian Connolly (Seapark AC) will finish around the podium places.

Meanwhile, the 10k race, Stephen O’Gorman (Dromore AC) and Roberta Dornan (North Down AC) will take charge.

Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend…

Friday 17th August 2018:

  • Fivemiletown College 5 mile Trail Run: Fivemiletown College – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day)
  • Atlas Running Prosecco Run: Castle Ward – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)
  • Crebilly 5k: All Saints GAC Clubrooms, Woodside Road – 7pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)

Saturday 18th August 2018:

  • The Loughshore 10k & 5k: Kinturk Cultural Centre – 12pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)

Sunday 19th August 2018:

  • Atlas Running Stairway to Heaven: Cuilcalgh Mountain Park – 12pm (Entries NOT available on race day!)
  • Run Connswater 10k & 5k: CS Lewis Square, Belfast – 10am (Entries NOT available on race day!)
  • Carmoney 5k: Knockenagh Avenue, Newtownabbey – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)

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