Athletics

Inside Track: Richie Kelly launches Dental Solutions 5K

Adrian Boyle (manager of Foyle Arena), Cathal McLaughlin (chairman of Derry Track Club), Diana Casalins (Dental Solutions), Ciaran Gillan (Dental Solutions) and Richie Kelly at the launch of the Dental Solutions 5K, which takes place in Derry on April 15 
Malcolm McCausland

AUTHOR and retired BBC sports broadcaster Richie Kelly was back in the public eye this week when he was at the Foyle Arena in Derry to launch the Dental Solutions 5K Classic. The race is organised by Derry Track Club and goes ahead on Friday, April 15.

Richie Kelly’s voice was synonymous with sport in Derry and beyond for more than 30 years but since his retirement from Radio Foyle last year he has been busy mulling over ideas for a follow up to his very successful book Sporting Greats of the Northwest.

That book included chapters on a number of well-known athletes including Olympic marathoners Danny McDaid and Tommy Hughes as well as World Championships steeplechaser Peter McColgan. However, the former Radio Foyle man has an ulterior motive in promoting the race – he is planning to run in it as well. Despite fast approaching his 75th birthday, Kelly is a familiar figure at the Derry city parkrun and other local 5K races.

“I’ll be entering a new age group in May,” said the former Finn Harps defender. 

“So I’ll be using the race to get fit for the Northern Ireland Masters’ championships in June and hopefully the national Masters’ in August.”

The race also sees a change of venue from Eglinton to the Foyle Arena in Derry’s Waterside. The race once again will have chip-timing with every entrant receiving a bespoke gym sack and customised race beanie hat. A one-kilometre race for U14s has also been added to the programme and will precede the feature race.

“We’re hoping to build on the success of last year’s inaugural event in Eglinton,” said Derry Track Club chairman Cathal McLaughlin.

“We’ve mapped out a fast route around the centre of the city including crossing both Craigavon Bridge (lower deck) and Peace Bridge. We’re also pleased to have the use of the Foyle Arena thanks to manager Adrian Boyle.”

Dental Solutions proprietor Ciaran Gillan has again generously stepped in to sponsor the race. Gillan, who has strong ties with Slaughtneil GAC, is happy to be associated with the event for the second year.

“We were delighted with how the race went last year and we’re happy to help promote activities that improve health and wellbeing,” said the Maghera man. 

“We feel that is in keeping with our own objectives at Dental Solutions in relation to oral health and cosmetic dentistry.”

Further information on the race is available at www.derrycitytc.com and online entry is now open at online.athleticsni.org/ps/event/DentalSolutions5KClassic.

 

IRELAND has only token representation at the IAAF World Indoor Championships that started early this morning in Portland, Oregon.

The time difference between here and the west coast of the United States means that it will be difficult to follow the championships live on television with most of the finals contested in the early hours of the morning our time.

Sunday evening looks like the prime viewing spot with a clutch of finals in the two-hour spot transmitted on Eurosport. Viewers can also tune in live on Friday evening (6.15pm) to watch Rose-Anne Galligan in the heats of the 1,500m at 8.25pm. The Bath-based athlete broke new ground when she ran 4.11.07 to finish third in the Athlone International last month. That was almost two seconds inside the qualifying time for Portland and set Galligan up for her first appearance at a World Indoors.

However, she may need to run much faster than that to merely progress beyond the opening round. In the absence of world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba, who has chosen to focus on the 3000m, the former Ethiopian Sifan Hassan looks prepared to step into the shoes of her former compatriot. Now representing the Netherlands, Hassan was a runaway winner of the European indoor title in Prague last year, but the 23-year-old faces a much stiffer challenge if she is to emulate that success at global level.

She has raced sparingly this indoor season with her sole outing at this distance coming at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix where she defeated two of her biggest rivals here to win in 4.01.40.

Ireland’s other representative is Waterford man Joe Gough who is one of those selected to take part in an exhibition 800m for over 60s. Gough is already world champion at the distance, both indoors and outdoors, and could very easily take gold in the newly-opened Oregon Convention Center.

The Kilkenny City employee runs tomorrow evening at 19.25 but the race may not be televised as happened during the Masters’ exhibition events at last summer’s World Championships in Beijing.

Mark English was also to have competed at these championships but withdrew at the 11th hour after twisting his ankle. The Letterkenny athlete will now concentrate on his preparations for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Also missing from the championships will be Ukraine’s Nataliya Lupu. The 2013 European Indoor 800m champion has been withdrawn from this in connection with her use of meldonium. It is not clear yet whether she failed a test or has been withdrawn as a precaution after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is said to “have raised concerns” about Lupu regarding meldonium use.

 

SATURDAY'S AES Larne Half Marathon headlines this weekend’s athletics action with the 1900 registration limit met long before race day meaning that no entries will be accepted on the day.

In the absence of last year’s winner, Ugandan Vincent Kiprotich, another Project Africa Athletics runner should lift the winner’s cheque. Gideon Kimosop was in action in England last weekend where he finished third in the Bath Half Marathon, one of the top races of its distance in England.

Kimosop is expected to have recovered from that effort after an easy week’s training in Omagh and should be in form to show a clean pair of heels to the local opposition. The women’s race is a lot harder to call but Mourne Runners’ Laura Graham should not be far away when the first woman crosses the finish line.

 

PROVINCIAL champion Aaron Doherty (right) is expected to lead the Northern Ireland senior men’s team at the Home Countries International at Callendar Park in Falkirk. The 35-year-old Madrid-based Derry man was a surprise winner of the NI & Ulster championship at Lurgan Park

Doherty should be joined in the NI selection by Seamus Lynch, Neil Johnston and Mark McKinstry last month and this will be his first appearance at this level. An unexpected omission from the squad is Conan McCaughey who was recently 14th in the Scottish Championships and was third NI finisher in the Antrim International cross country. The Enniskillen man also finished runner-up in the provincial Intermediate Championships.

Beechmount Harrier Gerry Short leads the women’s squad that also includes Jodi Smith, Rebecca Henderson and Karen Alexander. Fintan Stewart, Eoin McCann and Christy Conlan form the junior men’s selection while Aife McSheffrey, Zoe Carruthers, Rebekah Nixon, Toni Moore and Laura Gardiner have been named in the Junior women’s line-up.

The Home Countries International follows the annual Schools’ cross country between Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Ulster is well represented on the Irish teams with Rebecca Wallace having medal hopes in the Junior (U15) Girls’ race.

Indoor action continues with the National Masters’ Indoor Championships in Athlone. Derry Track Club’s Cathal McLaughlin goes for a double double after winning the 800m and 1500m at last weekend’s British Masters’ in Lee Valley, London.

 

WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Saturday
9.30am:
Parkrun 5K, various venues
10am: Washingbay Green Run, Coalisland
11am: AES Larne Half Marathon, Larne

Sunday
8am:
North Coast Series Marathon – Crescent, Portstewart
10am: Jogbelfast 5K, Ormeau Park, Belfast.
10am: Clogher Valley 5K, Clogher

 

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