North Belfast Harrier Matt Shields lands silver in the Two Oceans Marathon
NORTH Belfast Harrier Matt Shields put aside his coaching duties last weekend to take part in the Two Oceans Marathon 56K Race in South Africa. Once one of the top marathon runners in the country with a best under 2 hours and 20 minutes, Shields showed all his old style to finish a close second in the M60-69 category with a time of 4:30:45.
“I had to come here on business and some colleagues suggested we should all do this, so, with a bit of peer pressure, I bought in,” said Shields (62).
“I increased mileage a little but mostly increased long runs and adjusted diet. Marty Rea gave me advice. In preparation I did two marathons and a 50K. I ran Howth (3:16), Greenisland (3:11) and Donadea 50K (3:43) which is the national championships.”
The Two Oceans attracted over 30,000 participants split almost evenly between the half marathon and ultra distance. The first half of the race is reasonably flat and it is only in the final third that three tough climbs are encountered.
“You start before sunrise at 6:30am and run in the dark. Overall it’s an amazing experience but thankfully the temperature was 18-23 for most of run and so manageable. Three big climbs in the second half left me coming home on a wing and a prayer but I just about made it.”
BUSY WEEKEND AT HOME AND ABROAD
THE NI Running Killylane Klassic is the main domestic fixture of the weekend and has an 11am starting time from Killylane Reservoir, near Larne, tomorrow morning.
Later in the day (1pm) Chris Millar goes for a hat-trick of wins in the third Valley 5K Trail Series at Ballykelly.
On Sunday (12pm) it is the Runher 5K and 10k at Delamont Country Park, near Killyleagh. Earlier, the Run Donegal 5K is at the Finn Valley Centre at 11am.
Abroad, Fionnuala McCormack (10,000m) and Mary Cullen (5,000m) will compete in the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California tomorrow and northern athletes, including Cathal McLaughlin (right), Stuart Kennedy and Adrian Boyle, are in action at the European Masters’ Indoor Championships in Ancona, Italy.