Weekend Preview: Minnowburn 10k, McConnell Shield XC and more…

Weekend Preview:  Minnowburn 10k, McConnell Shield XC and more…

Dublin Marathon hero Vincent McKenna (QUB AC) will lead over 600 athletes onto the trails of Minnowburn in Belfast this coming weekend as Born 2 Run kick off their popular ‘Run Forest Run’ Series in Northern Ireland’s capital city with the Minnowburn 10k & 5k (Saturday 3rd November 2018).

Last weekend, Vincent, who is relatively new to the competitive side of the sport, recorded an exceptional 2:31:39 for the 26.2 mile distance.  He’ll return to the start line less than one week later full of confidence and will prove hard to beat.

Mark Smith (Mallusk Harriers), another athlete who has made an impact on the local scene recently, will also compete.  After a strong start to the local cross country scene, Mark will also be one to watch and should pick up a podium spot.  Other men to look out for, barring any late entries, include Neil Andrews (Unattached), Phil Wood (Invictus TC) and Stephen Montgomery (Glenlough RC).

Ballycastle AC athlete Gemma McDonald will start as favourite in the ladies race and the all impressive competitor will finish well up in the overall standings.  Gemma’s most recent competitive outing was a win at Fergal’s 10 mile race, where she recorded 1:06:15 for the win.

Chasing the North Coast lady will be North Down AC’s Catherine Roberts and possibly Julie Murphy from Lagan Valley AC, two very consistent performers and regular podium placers.  Nicola Mathers (Newcastle AC) will place well.

In the associated 5k event, standout entries include well-known and respected Northern Ireland international Rachel Gibson (North Down AC) and junior star, newly crowned Age Group (Under 14) XC Champion Lauren Madine (East Down AC).

84th annual McConnell Shield XC:

In Ballyclare, East Antrim Harriers will host the 84th annual running of the famous McConnell Shield XC in Sixmilewater Park (Saturday 3rd November 2018).

The programme of events will kick off at 12:45pm with the Under 14 Age Group Races, which will be followed by the Under 16 Age Group events (1pm).  The Senior / Masters Ladies and Vet60+ 3 mile Race will take place at 1:30pm, before the McConnell Shield Men’s 5 mile Race at 2pm.

North Belfast Harriers’ Mark McKinstry, a podium finisher at the event 12 months ago, should start and based on his recent form, will contest top spot.  The Northern Ireland international put in an excellent display of front running to take the win at the recent NIMAA XC.

Club mate John Black (North Belfast Harriers), who ran well at the Bobby Rea XC last week, and Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), a highly placed finisher at the NIMAA XC, will also play a part at the front should they race.  James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners), Stephen O’Gorman (Dromore AC) and the host clubs Matthew Hewitt (East Antrim Harriers) will challenge for a top ten place.

In the ladies race, in-form North Down AC athlete Sarah Grant should feature alongside club mate Jodi Smith (North Down AC).  Both will challenge for honours but could face the likes of Rebekah Nixon (Dromore AC), Laura Bickerstaff (Dromore AC), Paula Worthington (Ballymena Runners) and Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers).

Patricia Blair (East Coast AC), Leann Gibson (Victoria Park & Connswater AC), Debbie Matchett (Ballydrain Harriers), Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and Diane Watson (City of Lisburn AC) will finish well up the field should they make use of the on the day entry.

The associated Vet60+ Men’s race should attract Frank Rea (North Down AC), Eric Montgomery (Lagan Valley AC) and Brian Todd (Orangegrove AC), all of whom excelled at last week’s Bobby Rea XC.

Other races taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend…

Sunday 4th November 2018:

  • Decathlon 10k Road Race: Decathlon, Holywood Exchange, Belfast – 9:30am (On the day entry NOT available!)
  • McGrady’s Junior XC Race 3: Dromore Community Centre, Dromore – 1pm (This is an INVITE ONLY event!)

Elsewhere this weekend…

Familiar faces from the local running scene are expected to take part in the Donegal XC Championships this coming weekend (Sunday 4th November 2018).

Claire McGuigan (Lifford Strabane AC) and Marina Murphy (Derry Track Club) will be amongst those chasing gold in the ladies event, while in the men’s race, Kenyan star Gideon Kimosop will head a strong Derry Track Club contingent, which includes Keith Shiels, Paul Barbour, John McQuade and Cathal McLaughlin, amongst others.

An entry list for the event is available HERE.


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.