John Travers signs up for Belfast International Athletics Meeting

John Travers, Donore Harriers, on his way to winning the Senior Mens Relay race at the GloHealth Road Relay Championship in April 2015
Inside Track with Malcolm McCausland

JOHN Travers is the latest top athlete to sign up for the Belfast International Athletics Meeting on May 7.  

The Dubliner was a finalist over 1500m at last year’s European Indoor Championships and has been burning up the boards over the winter. 

The Donore Harrier raced frequently in the USA with the highlight being a 3:58.10 mile at the Millrose Games in New York in late February. Earlier he had also clocked 7:55.05 for 3000m at the Valentine Meeting in Boston. 

“I’m delighted to have an athlete the calibre of John coming to the meeting,” said meet director Eamonn Christie.

“The new Mondo surface at the Mary Peters is ultra fast meaning we’re expecting a really good time from him. 

“It’ll also be an excellent opportunity for our own northern runners to get a good time for 3000m.

“Young James Edgar ran very well to win the race last year and I’d expect him to be in the field as well as Scott Rankin, Conor Duffy and Paddy Hamilton who all ran well in the World Half Marathon in Cardiff at the weekend.  I’m also hoping to sign up a couple of quality runners from across the water to boost the field."

With five weeks to go, the women’s 800m is also shaping up to be quite a contest. 

Last year Yorkshire woman Alexandra Bell won in 2:03.24, an Irish Milers’ Club record. 

The Pudsey & Bramley athlete has already signed up to defend her crown but faces stiff opposition in Scotland’s Katy Brown, a 2:02.33 performer, as well as the rich crop of local two-lappers including Katie Kirk, Kelly Neely, Erin McIlveen and Aislinn Crossey.

There is detailed information on the meeting at where on-line entries are also being taken. 

The Belfast event is the second Irish Milers’ fixture of the new season after the Greystone meeting on April 30.



The 5k distance is the perfect distance to test all runners, regardless of age or experience.

Although races of half marathon, full marathon and even longer continue to grow in popularity, most runners will say there is still nothing better to test you than a good 5k. 

These short races are perfect for anyone looking to take their first steps in the sport while they are also ideal for more experienced runners who want to test their speed and fitness. And for those who say it is too short to be a real test, it is important to remember that it is an Olympic event and probably the most popular racing distance. 

So popular is the distance that in Donegal, there may be two or three 5ks happening within a relatively small area on the same night.  

As one wit once quipped: “You could be running a 5k in Donegal and meet another coming in the opposite direction.”

One of the attractions of the distance is that you recover quickly and can resume full training within two to four days after the race.  That is, of course, presuming you are training regularly and in good health. If you want to achieve your best result, it is important that you observe the five golden rules of 5k.

1. Be Lean

A successful 5k runner has to be lean to attain the best possible time for the distance. This means you will have to vigilant about what you eat in order to arrive at the start line in peak condition to run fast. This does not mean you have to starve yourself.

From the energy point of view, it is important to make it clear that a runner of 70 kgs (11 stone approximately) uses only 350 calories in running 5k.  
For that reason it is not necessary to load up on carbohydrates in the days before the race. 

Instead, it is important not to be carrying any extra weight and that the training you have done is geared toward making you run more economically and efficiently. 

2. Complete a Training Programme

It is important that you prepare properly for your 5k race. This means that you should have completed a training programme. These are readily available in running magazines or websites – even better get one from a coach at your local athletics club. It is advisable that you follow a programme that suits your age, ability and exercise background. 

3. Warm Up Adequately

The 5k is a fast race and you need to maintain a good pace over the whole distance. For that reason, you need to arrive at the start line completely ready to run fast. To achieve this, you will need to have raised your body temperature and kicked off the process of supplying additional blood to the muscles.

Everyone has their own ideas on warm-up but ideally this should start at least 45 minutes before race time with some gentle jogging and conclude with a few strides at, or just faster than, race pace.

4. Know the course

The more familiar you are with a course, the easier it will be for you to master it. If it contains a hill or two, make sure you include some uphill and downhill running in your training plan.

5. Race Pace

There is no doubt after all that preparation that anticipation levels will be sky high. But it is crucial that you run an even pace throughout the entire distance of the race. A level distribution of energy will reap the best reward in terms of a time.

The most common error is to start too fast. Build up an oxygen debt at the start and you will struggle at some point. Best go off steady. You should have an idea of your best pace from your training, stick to this. 

It is preferable to make up ground in the later stages than be struggling with fatigue as one after another runner overtakes you. 

Observing these rules, combined with sensible training, a healthy diet and plenty of rest and sleep, should see you cruise to a personal best at your local parkrun or at one of the upcoming 5ks near you: 

April 15: Dental Solutions 5K, Derry; April 16: Patsy Kelly 5K, Dundalk; April 20: Queen’s 5K,  Belfast; April 27: Purple Ladies 5K, Ballymoney 


Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access