ATHLETICS: McKinstry, Doherty claim Buncrana 5k honours

The Furey Insurance Buncrana 5k again attracted a large field of athletes to the Co. Donegal venue.
The Furey Insurance Buncrana 5k again attracted a large field of athletes to the Co. Donegal venue.

North Belfast Harrier Mark McKinstry and Finn Valley’s Teresa Doherty took the prime positions at Wednesday night’s 14th staging of the Furey Insurances 5K road race in Buncrana, leading home 163 finishers in the very popular annual City of Derry Spartans promotion.

While the top male finishers times were not as impressive as last year’s record breaking efforts, in very warm conditions McKinstry took two seconds off his 2016 clocking leading from gun to tape in 15m 08s, while Doherty posted an impressive 16m 35s to claim the female honours.

McKinstry made it a North West treble after recent wins at the Bay Road 5K in April and victory at last week’s Wilkies 5m Classic and while pleased with the Buncrana win, he was disappointed not to have posted his first sub 15m run.

He was chased home by Finn Valley’s Oisin Gallen (15m 11s), Foyle Valley M40 Keith Shields (15m 14s) and Noel Logan of the promoting club on 15m 20s. Finn Valley won the ‘four to score’ male team race from Foyle Valley and the Spartans.

A multiple former Buncrana 5K winner, Doherty is on the come back trail and impressed with her excellent 16m 35s victory.

Noleen Scanlon of Letterkenny AC also looked good, second on 17m 31s and was followed closely by Willowfield’s Amy Bulman in 17m 40s. Finn Valley did the team race ‘double’, seeing off a gritty Ballymena Runners trio and Foyle Valley.

A feature of the race was the spread of athletics clubs involved with a total of 22 different clubs represented, the Derry City and Donegal clubs supplemented by North Belfast Harriers, Acorns AC, Sperrin Harriers, Springwell, Ballymena Runners, Lifford Strabane Ac, Willowfield Harriers, Enniskillen Running Club, Lagan Valley and Ballydrain Harriers,

Runners know a quality race when they see it and once again the Buncrana 5k vindicated its premier quality, a fast, accurate course, competitive action throughout, good spectator input and excellent organisation!!