Make sure you’re sat down with a good cup of tea before you get stuck into one of the biggest Irish round-ups in a while. Lindie Naughton reports on all the action from the last week.

Efrem Gidey of Clonliffe Harriers got the New Year off to a great start when he won the Tom Brennan New Year’s Day 5km in the Phoenix Park with a time of 13 mins 43 secs – over a minute faster than his winning time of a year earlier and initially thought to be a course record. Unfortunately it was revealed soon the race ended after that the two-lap course was about 100m short.

Second in 13:59 was Abdel Laadjel of Donore Harriers, home from the USA, while third in 14:24 was Jack Moran of Mullingar Harriers.

First woman in 16:10 was Ciara Wilson of DMP AC, improving on her time of a year earlier by over two minutes. Orla Duffy of Dublin City Harriers was second in 16:34 and Eleanor Foot of Bray Runners third in 17:02.

Other good runs came from Christopher Keenan seventh and first junior in 24:3, Shane Healy of Metro St Brigid’s AC eighth and first master, although now in the M55 age group, and Annette Kealy of Raheny Shamrock first W55 in 18:01.

In the team categories, Clonliffe were clear winners of the Tom Brennan Trophy. Best of the women’s teams were defending champions Dublin City Harriers.

In Kerry, Brian Murphy of Iveragh AC won the Beaufort 10km with a time of 33 minutes exactly. Second in 33:49 was junior athlete Tommy Arthur of Lagan Valley AC with Darragh O’Leary of Killarney Valley AC third in 34:27. First woman for a second year was former Irish junior international Niamh O’Mahoney of An Ríocht AC in 36:12; Maura O’Malley was second and first W40 in 38:35.

At the Race Over the Glens, in Glenarriff Forest Park, Philip Goss of North Belfast Harriers was the overall winner with Niamh Marrs of Glens Runners first woman.

New Year’s Eve…

Ryan Creech of Leevale AC closed out a successful year with a clear victory at the Grange Fermoy New Year’s Eve 10km in Fermoy.

Creech, who was winning the race for a third consecutive year, finished in 30 mins 43 secs. Second and first M40 was Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers in 31:42, while third was Andrew Forristal of East Cork AC in 32:10.

Defending women’s champion Niamh Moore of Leevale AC, was again first woman in 36:09. Kealey Tideswell of Clonmel AC was second and first W40 in 36:52 and Michelle Kenny of Leevale AC third and second W450 in 37:11.

John Durcan made it a home win at the Togher 5km, in Co Cork finishing in 15:21. Leevale AC’s Lizzie Lee was first woman in 17:19.

Michael Morgan was the winner of the Belbulben 5km in Co Sligo with a time of 14:51. Heather Foley of Sligo AC was first woman in 18:13.

The latest Jurassic Park remake has apparently been hit with big budget cuts.

Saturday runs

Runners dressed as everything from oversized dinosaurs to nuns, Santas and clowns showed up at the start line of the annual Christmas Cracker 8.5 mile race organised by Newcastle AC in Castlewellan, Co Down on Saturday (December 30).

In this unique race, over roads, fields and trail, the combined score of the two runners making up a pair is what counts and among the serious competitors, much thought goes into the team combinations, with age also a consideration.

Winners this year was the pairing of Jared Martin of Ballydrain Harriers and Thomas Renshaw of Aldershot Farnham and District AC. They crossed the line in 50 mins 26 secs. Just over a minute behind in 51:35 were Aaron McGrady of East Down AC and Timmy Johnston of Annadale Striders. For the host club, Robert Hagen and Tom Crudgington were third in 52:38. All three pairs were in the Under 80 (combined ages of the pair) category.

Age categories of the future?

Winning the M80-99 age group were David McNeill of Newcastle AC and Gareth Lyons of North Belfast Harriers. First M100-119 were Gareth Blair and Billy Reed of East Antrim Harriers, while best in the M120-39 age group were Norman Mawhinney of Scrabo Striders and Laurence Johnston of North Belfast Harriers.

First mixed U80 pair was Caitlyn Harvey and Noel McNally of Belfast Roadrunners AC with Tanya Cummings and Connaire McVeigh, both Newcastle AC, first mixed over 80-90. Mary Slocum of Ward Park Runners and Les Wilkinson of North Down AC proved best mixed pair in the 120-139 age group.

In the women’s categories, Rhiannon Paton of Westbury Harriers and Charlotte Buckley of Thames Valley Harriers were the winning pair under 80 while Martsje Hell and Shileen O’Kane of Lagan Valley AC were first W80-90. A total of 672 pairs made it to the finish line.

At the Shandrum 5km, in Newtownshandrum, Co Cork, Anthony Mannix of Cork Track Club was first home in 15:45; Tadhg O’Sullivan of Bweeng Blazers was second in 16:16 and Thomas McCarthy of Emerald AC third in 16:23.

Finishing 11th and first woman was Michelle Kenny of Leevale AC in 17:47. From North Cork AC, Emma Flynn was second in 19:18 and her clubmate Michaela Flynn third in 20:57.

In Galbally, Co Limerick at the Mooreabbey Milers Mile Challenge, the overall winner was Ben Coughlan of Clonliffe Harriers with a time of 4 mins 25 secs. Second in 4:51 was Matthew Ryan with Philip O’ Dwyer third in 4:57.

Catherine Fogarty proved fastest of the women finishing in 6:03 and beating her Dundrum AC clubmate Mary Keane by a single second. Roisin Carew of Mooreabbey Milers was third in 7:21 and helping the Carew family to team victory.

Winning juniors were Nessa Moloney of Mooreabbey Milers and Rua Flynn of Galbally.

Robert Dowling of Clonliffe Harriers was the winner of the D15RC Suicide Awareness 5km at Sports Campus Ireland, Abbotstown also on Saturday in a time of 16 mins 45 secs and Lucy Barrett of Raheny Shamrock AC was fourth and first woman in 17:26.

Midweek madness

A record crowd of 154 turned out for the annual Milford 3km handicap race on Thursday (December 28).
This year’s race was run in memory of club athlete, Sylvester Hiemstra and juvenile coach Ann Marie Canning was first adult across the line holding off the chasing pack to win the inaugural Sylvester Hiemstra shield.

Former winner Paul Callaghan finished second and Ger Doohan third. First juvenile was Jack Condron. Running 9 mins 45 secs for the fastest time of the day was Nakita Burke of Letterkenny AC.

On Wednesday, Kieran Kelly of Raheny Shamrock ASC was the winner of the annual Rita and Robbie 6km in Navan in 15 mins 7 secs.

Second in 15:24 was Fintan Kerins of Clonliffe Harriers while third in 15:27 was junior athlete Christopher Keenan of Drogheda and District AC. First master was Trim AC’s Tom Feeley in 16:46.

First woman in 18:20 was Susan McManus. Saoirse McGrath was second in 18:30 and Nadine McIntyre third in 18:32. First W40 was Jane Bandila of Dunboyne AC in 18:58.

Trim AC, with 18 finishers, was the winning team by just two points from Mullingar Harriers. Clonliffe Harriers finished third.

Raheny athletes were out in force for the annual Fat Turkey 10km, run by Suttonians RFC in Sutton, taking the top three places and also the women’s title.

Race winner in 34:27 was David Kirwan, followed by Stephen Butler 34:47 and Ciaran McGrath 35:31.

First woman in 40:15 was Carmel Ward. Ciara Brady of Sportsworld AC was second in 40:23 and Sive Durcan third in 42:36.

St. Stephen’s Day, or Boxing Day if you prefer

John Travers of Donore Harriers AC was a clear winner of the Fields of Athenry 10km in Co Galway on St Stephen’s Day – Tuesday December 26 – , leading home close to 1,500 finishers.

Travers finished over half a minute clear of the chasers in 30 minutes exactly.

Second in 30:34 was William Fitzgerald of Craughwell AC, with Jamie Fallon, also Craughwell, third in 31:07.

First woman was Alice Goodall in 34:14. Isobel Oakes of Sligo AC was second in 36:50 and Catherine Thornton of Galway City Harriers third in 36:55.

Records and near records all round

It was a day of records (and near records) at the annual MSD Clonmel four-miler on St Stephen’s Day writes John Walshe. Top-class fields in both the men’s and women’s races, along with calm and cool conditions, produced a plethora of fast times.

Shona Heaslip (Riocht AC) and Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC ) both bettered the course record with just a second separating them, Heaslip taking the honours in 20:46. Leevale’s Lizzie in third place, was also inside her own course record of 21:32 when finishing in 21:25.

Heaslip now heads to Kenya for a month’s training before tackling the Barcelona half-marathon in early February.

Local athlete Sean Tobin missed his own 2019 course record of 17:45 by just one second, recording a time of 17:46. Peter Lynch of Kilkenny City Harriers, last year’s winner, was second in 17:59 and Paul Hartnett of East Cork third in 18:51.

Tobin’s next outing is the elite Valencia 10km in Spain on January 14 followed by a half-marathon, also in Valencia, and then the London Marathon in April where qualification for the Paris Olympic Games is the target.

Races for everyone, everywhere

Patrick Sharkey was the winner of the Shane Brennan 5km, in Newtownforbes, Co Longford. Sharkey, who was also first M40, finished in 16 mins 47 secs. Second in 16:58 was Ciarán Madden in 16:58 with Ross Gannon third and second M40 in 17:13. All three are members of Longford AC.

First woman was Rachel Yorke of Crusaders AC in 19:45, with Therese O’Connor of Lanesboro Tri one second behind and Michelle O’Neill third in 20:34.

Vinney Connolly of Mullingar Harriers and Danielle Donegan of Tullamore Harriers were the winners at the Kilbeggan St Stephen’s Day 6km in Co Westmeath. Connolly finished in 18 mins 30 secs; Donegan in 20 minutes exactly.

In Co Kerry, junior athlete Oisin Spillane of Ennis TC was the winner of the Farranfore Maine Valley 5km with a time of 14:44. Brigid Dennehy, who is based in New Zealand, was first woman in 16:42. 293 finishers.

At the Cavan Christmas 5km Dash, Jamie McDonnell of St Michael’s College Enniskillen was the winner in 15:59. Caitriona Mullen of Metro St Brigid’s AC was fifth and first woman in 17:15.

Jack O’Farrell led home almost a thousand finishers at the 38th Oliver McCullagh Greencastle 5-Mile in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains in Co Tyrone. His time was 24 mins 52 seconds.

John Lenehan of City of Derry Spartans was second in 26:13 and Brandon McKeown of Annadale Striders third in 26:40. Fourth and former M40 was former Olympic race walker Colin Griffin of Ballinamore AC in 26:42.

First women was junior athlete Eimear McCarroll of Finn Valley AC in 30:17. Second and first W40 was Heather Foley of Sligo AC in 30:38, while third was Nadine McIntyre, another junior, in 31:04.

In Co Donegal, Oisin Toye was the winner of the Finn Valley 5km in Stranorlar with a time of 15:44. Fourth and first woman was Roisin Flanagan in 16:69 with her twin Eilish sixth and second woman in 17:04. All three are Finn Valley members.

Charlie O’Donnell was the winner at the Darren Millers 6km on Cruit Island in the Rosses ahead of Letterkenny AC’s Ciaran Doherty with Amy Green of Finn Valley AC the first woman.

Winners at the Falcarragh 5km were Letterkenny AC John McCallion and Martina Mulhern.

Angela Eustace receiving the trophy from Donore Harriers president Florence Curley. Picture Donore Harriers

Eustace wins Europe’s oldest off-road race

Angela Eustace, with a 33-minute handicap, ran a smart race to win the 127th Waterhouse-Byrne-Baird 10-mile handicap race in the Phoenix Park.

The members’ only race, organsied by Donore Harriers, has the distinction of being the longest-running organised cross-country race in Europe, dating back to 1896 and take place on a two-mile lap starting from the Dog Pond.

Eustace ran a conservative first lap in 18.18, and with a lap remaining, still had a three-minute advantage. Her final lap time of 17.16 was good enough to hold off the challenge of Patrick Byrne off an eleven minute handicap and Ryan Aikins, off nine minutes, who finished second and third. Less than 10 seconds separated the first three places.

Ken Nugent, the 2021 winner, finished tenth with his time of 59 mins 29 secs the fastest of the day.

Fastest women was ultra specialist Sorcha Loughnane who clocked a time of 66:35 and finished eleventh. For a second year, Ian Fitzgerald was the ‘scratch’ athlete; he ran the second fastest time on the day of 60:49.

Previous winners of this historic race include Eamonn Coghlan whose course record of 49 mins 56 from 1979 still stands, and Valerie McGovern the first female winner of the race in 1988.

24hr running is a team event. Here’s Patricia McLoughlin with her crew, who worked in shifts. Photo: John O’Regan


Winner of the Across the Years 24-hour race at the Le Chéile track in Leixlip on December 31-January 1 was Cathal McParland who notched up a distance of 225.2 km.

The great Eddie Gallen of Finn Valley AC was second with 209.2 km and Patricia McLoughlin of host club Le Chéile third and first woman with 190.4 km.

There was also an excellent performance and new Irish 12hr Record of 143.450Km for Adrian McNamara (Mayo AC).

In the associated marathons (two of them), Sean Meehan of Cherry Orchard AC ran the fastest time of 2 hrs 55 mins 58 secs. Fastest woman was Joanne Rice of Navan AC in 3:36.02.