City of Derry Spartans duo, Declan Reed and Jackie McGinley, grabbed the weekend headlines with impressive runs at the National Masters Cross Country Championships in Tuam on a misty Sunday afternoon.
Reed saw off all comers to confidently retain his individual title and the in-form McGinley also put in a big run to claim the competitive F45 age group individual bronze.
Classy performances from both local stars, rich rewards for meticulous preparation and continuing good form in recent months and a real boost to morale as they look forward to leading their respective Spartans squads into this Saturday’s NI & Ulster Senior Cross Country championships in Lurgan.
Elsewhere over the weekend Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin was a comfortable winner of Saturday’s Roe Valley Trail Run, his winning time of 26 minutes and 13 seconds easily accounting for Omagh runner Martin Cox, 27 minutes and 28 seconds.
Third place was Justin Maxwell of East Coast Runners on 28 minutes and 27 seconds Springwell’s Gemma Turley led a promoting club’s clean sweep with a winning 32 minutes and 54 seconds.
Another Omagh runner Paul Barbour won the last of the popular Lifford AC 5k series races on Sunday, with a decent 15 minutes and 28 seconds clocking, well ahead of the 15 minutes and 44 seconds of Finn Valley’s Gerard Gallagher and the busy Martin Cox who posted 15 minutes and 59 seconds for third.
The promoting club’s Claire McGuigan took the female honours with 18 minutes and 21 seconds and was chased home by Foyle Valley’s ever improving Gemma McGinty’s sub 20 minutes clocking of 19 minutes and 24 seconds and DCTC’s Hannah McGowan who ran 20 minutes and 36 seconds for third.
Good efforts here also from DCTC’s Matt Doherty, fourth on 16 minutes and 23 seconds and top male junior, clubmate Cathal McLaughlin first M45 in fifth, on 16 minutes and 24 seconds and City of Derry’s M35 Mark Mullan, seventh with 16 minutes and 42 seconds.
Local St Joseph’s school physical education teacher, Gary Murray, had a great run at Sunday’s Wokingham Half Marathon with a massive new personal best of 64 minutes and 37 seconds for a clear third place finish.
A significant improvement on his winning Waterside Half Marathon sub 68 minutes last September.
Greg Roberts was also in the field and finished fourth but was badly hampered by a head cold and his 68 minutes and 10 seconds finish time didn’t really reflect his current form.
Hopefully he will be healthier when he lines up this weekend in the Northern Ireland & Ulster Senior Championships.