Top class athletics lined up for the summer months in Ireland
Track and field fans can expect to see an international cast of athletes and homegrown stars this summer without ever leaving the country.
The fifth Letterkenny International Track and Field Meet on Friday, July 7 is the latest to be added to an already interesting summer fixture list.
The sub-four minute mile challenge continues to be the feature event, with the organisers Letterkenny AC expecting another classic race. Last year's mile saw England's Lee Emmanuel (right) running 3:59.66 in an exciting finish. The 2014 race produced the first ever sub-four mile on Donegal soil when Mexico's Juan Luis Barrios stopped the clock at 3:59.43.
The women's feature event this year is the 3,000m steeplechase. It was at this meeting two years ago that Kerry O'Flaherty, Michelle Finn and Sara Treacy all qualified for the Rio Olympics. The mark (9:42) for the London World Championships will be this year's target.
There is also a men's 3,000m steeplechase on the programme this year, with a time of 8:32 needed for London.
Another addition is a women's 400m hurdles race, with Irish champion Christine McMahon likely to compete.
The full list of events includes the men's 100m, 200m, 400m, mile, 3000m steeplechase, 3000m, javelin and high jump, and a women's 200m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 3000m steeplechase, shot putt and high jump.
The summer programme of international meetings starts with the IMC Belfast Meeting at the Mary Peters track on June 24. Meeting director Eamonn Christie is already putting the final touches to the meeting in which the middle-distances will take centre stage. No details are available yet for the Belfast International which follows on July 5 at the same venue.
After that comes the Morton Games in Dublin on July 12, with the Le Cheile Meet in Kildare three days later.
The excitement should not end there as the 66th Cork City Sports take place on July 18.
Newell Stores have launched their upcoming Newell 10K Race and 5K Fun Run in association with the Keep Er Lit Running Club, with proceeds going to Marie Curie.
The event takes place on Thursday, June 15 in Coalisland and starts at the Cornmill in the town centre. There will be a staggered start, with the 10K race kicking off at 7.15pm and the 5k fun runners 15 minutes later.
“The course is fast, flat and perfect for getting those PBs,” said race organiser Cathal O'Hagan.
“Not forgetting to mention the total prize money is a whopping £1000 and chip timing will be included. T-shirts, goodie bags, refreshments, music and entertainment will all be provided on the day. It's sure to be a great evening out, bring all the family for support and enjoy.”
Registration is open at www.athleticsni.org or call into Newell Stores in Dungannon or Coalisland to collect a registration form. A pre-registration day will take place on Saturday, June 10 in Coalisland Parochial Centre, where raceday registration starts from 5pm. Distribution of bibs and t-shirts will also take place at the same venue.
For further details, contact Newell Stores on 02887 741818 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The NI Commonwealth Games Council have confirmed that four track and field athletes have been included in the team to represent the six counties at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas from July 18-23.
Northern Ireland will be represented by 18 sportsmen and women across five sports – aquatics, athletics, boxing, cycling and judo. The team members have been selected based on nominations from their respective sport's governing body.
High jumper Sommer Lecky will look to build on her early-season form which saw her jump 1.82m at the weekend. Aaron Sexton will compete in the 100m and 200m, while Anna McCauley is listed for the 100m hurdles.
Davicia Patterson (left) tackles the 400m where she has the potential to take a medal.
NI's Ben Fisher won two bronze medals, long jump and 110m hurdles, at the Games in Samoa two years ago, while Lydia Mills was sixth in the girls' long jump.
The Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon and 5k is back for a fourth successive year on Sunday and is set to attract a record combined field of 2,000 runners.
In a short space of time the event has established has established itself as one the most popular dates on the north west athletics calendar, due in no small way to the flat course and slick organisation of the Lifford-Strabane Athletics Club.
“The Strabane Lifford Half Marathon and 5k has once again attracted a huge field of runners from both sides of the border and beyond, continuing its reputation as one of the biggest cross-border events on the athletics calendar,” said Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Hilary McClintock.
Participants in both races are advised to be at Melvin at least an hour before race start time (10.30am). No entries will be accepted on the day. Further details of number collection etc. can be found at www.derrystrabane.com/halfmarathon.
Before that the Les Jones Memorial 10K kicks off another busy weekend on the roads with a 7pm start tonight at the Mary Peters Track. There are also 5K races in Aghyaran and Rathmelton this evening, both starting at 7:30pm.
Tomorrow, Joe Quinn organises the Lions 3 Lakes Challenge (11am) in Downpatrick with Eamon's Get Together 5K (1pm) at Arvalee.
The Saturday action concludes with the Jengana 10K (4pm). And if that is not enough, there is a parkrun (9.30am) somewhere near you.