Lindie Naughton brings the action from home and abroad, with more excellent racing in Spain, Taiwan and in Ireland.

Fionnuala McCormack of Kilcoole AC in Co Wicklow has qualified for her fifth Olympics after running a perfectly calibrated time of 2:26.19 at the Valencia Marathon in Spain on Sunday (December 3).

That time put her inside the qualification mark of 2:26.50 for the Paris Olympics next year – and should have left enough in the tank for next Sunday’s European Cross-Country Championships.

Indeed, when McCormack lines out for the Irish team at next Sunday’s European Cross-Country Championships in Brussels, it will be her 18th appearance at the champions and he 44th international cap in total putting her four behind javelin thrower Terry McHugh with 48 caps and comfortably ahead of Sonia O’Sullivan with 33 caps.

McCormack, now aged 39, began her senior international career eighteen years ago at the European U23 Track and Field Championships as a steeplechaser. She went on to win back-to-back European cross-country championships in 2011 and 2012 and, barring time out for giving birth to her three daughters, has been a constant on the Irish team pretty much every year since then.

* Also at the Valencia Marathon, Hiko Tonosa of Dundrum South Dublin AC finished in a time of 2:15.51 in his marathon debut. Tonosa has moved up the distances in the past year and ran a personal best 62:23 for the half marathon in Larne last August.

Jingling time in the park

Mitchell Byrne of Rathfarnham WSAF AC and Ann-Marie McGlynn of Letterkenny AC were the winners at the 32nd Jingle Bells 5km, held in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on Saturday (December 2).

In cold but sunny conditions, Byrne led home over 1,200 finishers in 14 mins 13 secs. Three seconds behind was Eoin Everard of Kilkenny City Harriers, with Philip Marron of Ratoath AC third in 14:20 and David Scanlan of Rathfarnham WSAF AC fourth in 14:22.

With two in the top four, Rathfarnham WSAF AC took the men’s team prize ahead of Donore Harriers, Clonliffe Harriers and Brothers Pearse.

McGlynn finished in 15:56, with Claire Fagan of Mullingar Harriers second in 15:58 and Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC who was third in 16:1 and was leading Leevale to team victory.

Catherina Mullen of MSB AC in fourth place, helped Metro St Brigid’s to second place in the women’s team competition with Dublin City Harriers third. Over two hundred club teams lined out in the race which, like so many road races these days where numbers are restricted, was a sell-out.

Local athlete David McGlynn of Waterford AC won the Waterford Half Marathon in a time of 65 mins 26 secs, also on Saturday (December 2). Clonliffe Harriers athletes took the next three places – Sergiu Ciobanu was second and first M40 in 67:10, Mihail Sprincean third in 67:23 and Tudor Moldovan fourth in 67:33.

First woman was Ciara Wilson of DMP AC in 76:43, with former Clonliffe athlete Becky Woods second in 77:42 and Nichola Sheridan of Bohermeen AC third in 77:56.

Photo: Paul Lawther

Paul Pollock of Annadale Striders made a winning return to racing at Saturday’s Seeley Cup 10km, held on a bitterly cold Saturday morning in Belfast.

Pollock, a medical doctor who ran the marathon for Ireland at both the Rio and the Tokyo Olympics, finished in exactly 30 minutes. Second in 30:20 was his Annadale clubmate Neil Johnston, who was chased all the way to the line by Kieran Kelly of Raheny Shamrock AC, with both given a time of 30:20.

In an Annadale double, Hannah Gilliland was first woman in a personal best time of 33:48. Cliona Murphy of Dublin City Harriers was second in 34:10 and Noeleen Scanlan of Letterkenny AC third in 34:37.

Fastest at the Medieval Mile in Kilkenny on Friday evening (December 1) was Cathal O’Reilly of the host club Kilkenny City Harriers with a time of 4 mins 30 secs.

Robert Hewison of Kildare AC was second in 4:31 and Mitchell Byrne of Rathfarnham WSAF – who would go on to win the JinglesBells 5km the next morning – third in 4.31. Fastest junior was Cillian Dunne of GowranAC in 4:46.

Fastest woman was Dymphna Ryan of Dundrum AC in 5:17; Ryan was also first W40. She was followed home by two juniors: Clodagh O’Callaghan of KCH in 5:39 and Katie O’Shea in 5.45.

Also on the roads

In a quality field, Cathal O’Reilly of Duhallow AC was the winner of the Newmarket Classic 5km, in Co Cork on Sunday (December 3) with his time of 14 mins 15 secs putting hims just two seconds clear of English visitor Carl Avery with Paul Hartnett of West Cork AC third in 14:19.

First woman in 16:49 was prolific racer Dymphna Ryan of Dundrum AC in 16:49. Holly Carroll of Blarney Iniscarra AC was second in 17:04 and Leevale AC’s Carol Finn third in 17:15.

In other Sunday races, Enda Marren of Swinford AC in 33:27 and Michelle Needham of Westport AC in 40:54 were the winners of the Belleek 10km in Ballina, Co Mayo.

Justin Deplantis won The Border Half Marathon in Corbally, Co Limerick with a time of 73.15. Sinead Oakes-Higgins in 88:37 was first woman. Over 500 completd the run.

Peter Arthur of Liffey Valley AC won the CRYS Jingle Bells 5km, hosted by Carlow Rowing Club, in a time if 15:55. First woman was Aileen Arthur of St LO’T AC in 17:46.

Cross-country – Novices in Navan

Lucy Holmes of West Waterford AC in Dungarvan was a clear winner of the women’s title at the All Ireland Novice Cross-Country Championships, held in Co Meath on Sunday (December 3).

Holmes competed the 4km course in 14 mins 43 secs, while in the battle for second place, Roise Roberts of North Belfast Harriers just edged out Amy Pollmn Daamen of An Ríocht AC in Co Kerry, with both women timed at 14:50. A close fourth in 14:51was Orla Duffy of Dublin City Harriers. Leevale, headed by Ciara O’Neill in fifth place, was first team ahead of Dublin City Harriers and Clonliffe Harriers. Best of the county teams was Cork with Dublin second.

After the disqualification of Kevin McGrath of Bohermeen AC, Michael Murphy of Tullamore Harriers was declared the winern of the men’s 6km race in19:37. William Fitzgerald of Craughwell AC , second in 19:93 was also leading Craughwell to team victory over Ennis TC and Dublin City Harriers.

Finishing third was Dean Casey of Ennis TC in 19:51. Dublin with six finishers in the top 20 was first county team ahead of Galway and Donegal.

In the U19 age group, Lucy Foster of Willowfield Harriers won the girls’ race, with Ennis Track Club the winning team. Sean Lawton of Durrus AC in Co Cork was first of the boys, with Clonliffe Harriers the winning team. Dublin won the boys’ county team title and finished second in the girls’ race behind Cork

Track and field overseas

Andrew Coscoran won the men’s 10,000m in a time of 27:56.37 at the Zatopek:10 meet in Melbourne, which incorporated the Australian Championships. In a closely-fought race, he beat local athlete Jack Rayner who finished in 27:57.87

Coscoran, a member of the Star of the Sea AC in Co Meath, trains with the Dublin Track Club which is closely associated with the Melbourne Track Club, where Nic Bideua is head coach.

Jodie McCann of Dublin City Harriers finished second in the women’s 3000m with a personal best time of 9 mins 00.82 secs. In the men’s 3000m, Paul Robinson of St Coca’s AC finished sixth in 8:07.87.

In the USA, Darragh McElhinney of UCD AC, representing Forte Sports Management, clocked a time 13:35.99 for 16th in his 5000m heat at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener at Boston University on Saturday (December 2).

Oisin Ó Gailin (Finn Valley AC) ran a time of 13:49.61, Michael Morgan (Sligo AC) 14:03.30, James Dunne (Tullamore Harriers) 14:24.68, Charlie O’Donovan (Leevale AC) 14:27.10, Fionn Harrington (Bandon AC) 14:39.45. A total of 208 runners lined up in ten heats.

Clocking 16:44.20 in the women’s 5000m was Grace Richardson (Kilkenny City Harriers). Fiona Hawkins (Dublin City Harriers) clocked 16:58.07. In the 3000m, Scott Fagan (Metro St Brigid’s AC) ran 8:24.58

Anne Jennings with Jen Coleman of GB&NI in Taiwan. Photo: Geoff Lowe


Ed McGroarty (Lifford Strabane AC) the Irish 24 hour national record holder, completed a distance of 218.670 km at the World 24 Hour Championships held in Taipei, Taiwan over the weekend (Friday December 1 – Saturday December 2). His Irish record stands at 258.820km.

Anne Jennings (Dublin Bay Running Club) ran 208.732km; her best distance is 220.545 km.

First woman was Japan’s Miho Nakata whose new world record distance of 270.362m, broke Camille Herron’s record by 246m. Herron, married to Dubliner Conor Holt, runs for the United States.

Just over two months ago, she as first woman home at the Spartathlon ultra in Greece. Although she was in Taipei and started the race, she dropped out after completing 142 km.