Weekend Preview:  Local athletes ready for take off as weekend approaches…

Weekend Preview:  Local athletes ready for take off as weekend approaches…

It seems like no time since we were compiling the preview for the Virgin Money London Marathon – now its been and gone, with plenty of success stories, and we’re looking forward to another weekend… which will hopefully bring plenty more to write about!

In a similar fashion to last weekend, there will be a lot of local interest in major events outside of Northern Ireland, with a large number of trail / mountain runners heading to Scotland for the famous HOKA Highland Fling – there will also be familiar faces at the prestigious 3 Peaks Race in Yorkshire.

Locally, the weekend will ‘lift off’ with the Scrabo Striders ‘Run the Runways’ 10k and 5k (like what we did there?) – there will also be several other events to tempt those who haven’t decided whether or not to lace up those racers.

In this preview, we’ll give you a run down of what’s happening out and about this weekend, with some focus on the three aforementioned events.

Scrabo Striders ‘Run the Runways’ 10k & 5k:

The weekend action will kick off later tonight (Friday 27th April 2018) when hundreds of athletes take to the flat and fast surface of Newtownards Airfield for the inaugural running of the Scrabo Striders ‘Run the Runways’ 10k & 5k races.

Former World Masters 800m Champion Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC) will be the star of the show.  Kelly will compete in the 5k event and is likely to lead the 100 strong field home overall, therefore securing the ladies title.  The remaining podium places are up for grabs and may be contested by Claire Ingram (Ballydrain Harriers), Zara Baird (St Peter’s AC) and Rosi Earney (Ballydrain Harriers), amongst others. In the men’s 5k race, young Will Barham of Larne AC should feature well.

At the head of the 10k field, Mark Walker (Unattached) and Mark McFeeters (Unattached) should play a part and barring any late arrivals, both should make the podium.  Sile Brennan (Victoria Park & Connswater AC), Amanda Perry (Ballydrain Harriers) and Gemma Caughers (North Down AC) will be the top finishers in the ladies race.

Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend:

Saturday 28th April 2018:

  • PAT 2018 10k Race: Hazelbank Park, Newtownabbey – 9am (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)
  • St Ciaran’s Ballygawley 10k & 5k: St Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley – 12pm (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)
  • NI YDL Competition (Round 1) plus Senior Competition: Antrim Forum, Antrim – 10am (See HERE for more details)

Sunday 29th April 2018:

  • Kileeshill 10k & 5k: Kileeshill Community Centre – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on race day)
  • Seapatrick 10k & 5k: St Patrick’s College, Banbridge – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on race day)

Events taking place outside Northern Ireland this weekend:

HOKA Highland Fling (Scotland):

Early on Saturday 28th April 2018, almost 20 runners from Northern Ireland will be in action at the sold out HOKA Highland Fling.

The famous event sets off from Milngavie Railway Station, just north of Glasgow at 6am.  Runners will run in a northerly direction, past Loch Lomond and along the famous West Highland Way to Tyndrum.  This event is a 53 mile trail race.

Amongst those taking part from Northern Ireland will be the speedy East Antrim Harriers pairing of Chris Collins and Billy Reed, previous podium finisher at the event, Justin Maxwell (East Coast AC), and Belfast lady Aisling Allum (Carnethy HRC).

As usual, there will be a large showing from BARF (Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners) with Joanne Curran, John McBride, Taryn McCoy, Martin Mullan, Dessie Green, Stuart Maxwell and Gerry Kingston all entered for the Belfast club.

The experienced husband and wife pairing, Gary and Gillian Connolly (both Seapark AC) will take on the challenge, as will, the ever-consistent trio of Mark King (Newcastle AC), Stephen Wallace (Newcastle AC) and Dominic McInerney (Newcastle AC).  Mourne Skyline MTR finisher Craig Bell (Unattached) will compete, whilst Declan Faulkner (Knockmanny Runners), David Sommerville (East Coast AC), Sean Nickell (North Down AC) and Donald Smith (North Down AC) will also continue their ultra-running journey’s.

Yorkshire ‘3 Peaks’ Mountain Race (England):

Also on Saturday 28th April 2018, Newcastle AC man Ian Bailey and Orla McElroy (Unattached) will travel to Yorkshire to participate in the iconic ‘3 Peaks’ race.

The event starts in Horton, takes in the summits of Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough before returning to finish line in the countryside town (Horton).  With in-excess of 23 miles and approximately 1600 metres of climbing and descent, this race will be a good test for Ian, as the Irish international has his eye on the WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in the coming months.


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.