Clear wins for Pollock and Ganiel in Belfast, whilst McCormack shines at Yorkshire Three Peaks. Lindie Naughton reports.

Olympic marathon runner Paul Pollock of Annadale Strides was a dominant winner of the Belfast City Marathon on Sunday (May 1) in 2 hrs 16 mins 13 secs.

Pollock finished over eight minutes clear of the field led by Conor Gallagher from St Malachy’s AC who finished in 2:25:00. Veteran campaigner Gary O’Hanlon of Clonliffe Harriers finished third and first M45 in 2:26.59.

Pollock’s winning time was outside the European Championship qualifying standard of 2:14.30. It was also well off his personal best set of 2:10.25 at the Valencia Marathon in late 2019 which earned him selection for the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Gladys Ganiel of North Belfast Harriers won the women’s race in 2:43.49. Second was Gillian McCrory from St Peter’s AC in Lurgan in 2:52.06 while third was Natalie Hall of Annadale Striders in 2:54.00.

In Limerick, Clonliffe’s Sergiu Ciobanu won the marathon at the Great Limerick Run with a time of 2:21.20. Second was Sean O’Hehir of Metro St Brigid’s AC in 2:28.31, while third was Tudor Moldovan of Clonliffe Harriers 2:29.01.

Caitriona Jennings of Letterkenny AC, better known as an ultra runner these days, was first woman in 2:41.09. Second woman was Neasa de Burca of Galway City Harriers in in 2:58.47.

Peter Somba from Kenya, who runs for Dunboyne AC when in Ireland, won the half marathon in 64 mins 37 secs, with Tim O’Donoghue of East Cork AC second in 65:04. First woman was Courtney Maguire in 80:45. Siobhan O’Doherty of Borrisokane AC was second in 81:06.

Winners of the six mile race were Jose Ignacio Giminez Perez in 29:32 and Leevale’s Jessica Coyne in 35:19.

Photo: The Vitality Big Half

Clohisey’s winning ways

Mick Clohisey of Raheny Shamrock AC stretched his recent winning streak at the Drogheda 10km on Sunday (May 1) with a clear victory in 30 mins 41 secs. Aaron Smith of Cilles AC was second in 32:11.

Laura McDonnell of Rathfarnham WSAF AC was first woman in 36:03 followed in second place by Laura Buckley of Dunboyne AC in 37:23.

East Cork Championships

One of the few annual events to continue unbroken during the lockdown was the East Cork Divisional Road Championships which dates back to 1980, writes John Walshe. At the 43rd edition in Ballynoe, Nick O’Donoghue of East Cork AC emulated his brother Tim’s win of last year when covering the tough four laps that make up the five-miles in a time of 27:09, over a minute clear of runner-up John Spelman.

Over the shorter 3km distance, the women’s race saw another brilliant display by Watergrasshill’s Linda O’Sullivan.

Although only a short few years in the sport and now in the W50 category, O’Sullivan thrives on racing. After finishing second over four miles at Ballintotis a week before, she followed that up with another second (to Lizzie Lee on both occasions) at the Great Railway Run 25km on the Sunday before her Ballynoe victory. And then, three days later, she headed to Limerick where she finished fourth in the half-marathon with a time of 82:13.

The popular Roscommon Harriers four-race 5km series, which attracted around eighty runners on successive Friday nights, concluded on Friday (April 29) with individual and overall honours going to Adrian Smith of the promoting club, who finished in 16 mins 50 secs on the final night, and Kate Kelly from Athlone IT AC.

Kelly’s performance made her the “runner of the series” according to organiser Frank Murphy. She won the first race outright before following that up with two seconds and one third places overall. She also improved the course best each night with times of 17:37, 17:28, 17:25 and 17:23.

Held over a quiet picturesque out-and-back route from Hannon’s Hotel, the series has now been on the go for five or six years, with the best three results counting.

A Saturday at the races

Ellen Moran of Galway City Harrier was the winner of the Mayo Women’s Mini Marathon 10km held in Castlebar, with a time of 36 mins 57. Secs. Sinead Whitelaw of Mullingar Harriers was second in 37:48 and Norah Pieterse third and first W40 in 38:03.

At the Leinster Novice Road Championships hosted by Gowran AC, Sile of Byrne of Sli Cualann AC in 10 mins 21 secs and Cian Kelly of St Abban’s AC in 18:46 were the winners. St Abban’s AC took the women’s team title, with Mullingar Harriers winning the men’s title.

In the masters’ race, Noreen Brouder of Sportsworld AC proved best of the women in 10:35 while Martin Hoare of Celbridge AC was the men’s winner in 18:53. The Sportsworld women and the Celbridge men were team winners.

The Dublin Track Club training and racing together to great success. Photo: Andrew Coscoran


In the Philadelphia, USA , at the prestigious Penn Relays on Friday evening (April 29), the 4 x 1 mile world record of 15 mins 49 secs was undisturbed when a team from On Athletics Club won the race in 16:04.69.

Finishing second in 16:10.04 was a team from Dublin Track Club, which led until the final leg. Andrew Coscoran led off with a mile split of 4:07.00 followed by Sean Tobin whose time of 3:55.99 was the second fastest of the night.

Paul Robinson’s time of 4:06.47 reduced the Dublin team’s lead to five seconds and on the final leg, Hiko Tonosa was passed by Joe Klecker of the On team who went on to clock a split time of 3:55.18 – the fastest time of of the evening. Tonosa ran a time of 4:00.57.

The record dates back to a memorable evening at the UCD track in Belfield in August 1985 when Eamonn Coghlan, Marcus O’Sullivan, Frank O’Mara, and Ray Flynn combined to break the record.

Also running in Philadelphia was Laura Mooney of Tullamore Harriers set a new Irish U23 Women’s Record of 33.23.95 in thewomen’s10,000m, taking over twelve seconds of the old record.

In the women’s 5000m, Mooney’s club mate Nadine Donegan ran a PB 16.36.

Elsewhere in the States

At the Payton Jordan Invitational, in Stanford, California, also on Friday, Aoibhe Richardson of Kilkenny City Harriers finished sixth in the 10,000m in a time of 33 mins 40 secs, while in the 1500m, Michael Power of West Waterford AC was fourth in 3:40.97 and Kevin Kelly of Sat Coca’s AC sixth in 3:42.41.

Barry Keane of Waterford AC was third in one of the 5000m heats in 13:26.29, while in the other heat, Kilkenny’s Peter Lynch was the winner in 13:43.52. Second was Cormac Dalton of Mullingar Harries in 13:43.77.

Irish junior international athlete Efrem Gidey of Clonliffe Harriers won the 5000m at the Irish Milers’ Club Track and Field Meet in Santry on Saturday (April 30).

Gidey’s time of 13:47.43 put him comfortably clear of Dean Casey from Ennis TC who finished second in 14:02.28, with Casey’s twin Dylan third in 14:15.54.

Aoife Kilgannon of Sligo AC won the women’s 5000m in 16:14.70, with UCD’s Fiona McKenna second in 16:36.41 and Grace Lynch of Iveragh AC third in 16:45.19.

Bohermeen’s’ Kevin McGrath won the men’s A 1500m in 3:38.70. Second was Juan Ignacio Pena of Raheny Shamrock AC in 3:50.49.

Fastest of the women was Emma Mitchell of Clonliffe Harriers in 4:23.12, with Niamh Kearney of Raheny Shamrock AC a close second in 4:24.12.

Photo: Chris Hodgson

McCormack flying over the fells

At the historic Yorkshire Three Peaks Fell race in England Sarah McCormack was first across the line. The Irish international mountain runner led from the start of the race, which traverses Pen y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, and won in 3:23:21.

The race doubled as a trial for the British team for the European off-road championships in La Palma, this July. Apparently McCormack was announced as the winner of the trial, before it was politely pointed out that she is an Irish international. Bodes well for the Championships for us.