Judith Storm aiming to complete unique double at NIMAA Cross Country Championships

Judith Storm has her sights on a novices/masters double
Judith Storm has her sights on a novices/masters double

JUDITH Storm will be aiming to complete a unique double when she lines up at the Northern Ireland Masters’ Athletics Association (NIMAA) Cross Country Championships at Upper Malone on Saturday.

Both the men’s and women’s races also serve as trials for NIMAA teams to contest the British & Irish International, to be held this year at Tollcross Park in Glasgow.

Last autumn, Storm was a convincing winner of the NI & Ulster Novice Cross Country in Stranorlar. The City of Derry runner stayed in the leading pack for most of the four kilometre race before moving away for what looked like a comfortable victory. Tomorrow’s trip is six kilometres but that should pose no problem for the mother of three young children.

The City of Derry Spartan is lightly raced – this will only be her fifth competitive outing this calendar year. She ran 28:47 in the Raheny 5 Miles at the end of January but did not race again until May when she returned a time of 17:48 at the Buncrana 5K.

More recently, in September, she returned a 42:02 in the Laganside 10K before taking the prize for first female master with a 79:47 timing at the Belfast Half Marathon. 

That sort of form should see Storm in contention for a first-ever novice/masters double in the same 12 months. But she will have to see off the challenge of defending champion Catherine O’Connor from the East Down club, Lagan Valley’s improving Sarah McNutt, and City of Lisburn’s evergreen Kelly Neely who ran the fastest leg in the master women’s road relay two weeks ago.

The men’s race looks wide open with no outstanding candidate for the title with Ricky Johnson the pick of the younger masters.

Ballymena Runners clubman Tony Scullion should go well in the M40 category, while the distinguished Steven Cairns looks the best of a competitive M55 age group. Gerry O’Doherty (M65) and Brian Stewart (M70) should land victories in the older age groups who run along side the women’s race over the shorter six kilometre distance. 

Interesting entry in the M45 age group is Neill Weir. Three weeks ago the Willowfield Temperance Harrier cycled all the way to Berlin to take part in the Berlin Marathon, where he ran an excellent 2:43:20. Weir wisely decided to take the plane home and should be at least part, if not fully, recovered for tomorrow’s test. 

Attention on the international stage switches to the United States and the Chicago Marathon. After the sensational women’s world record in Berlin, could we be set for a new men’s mark on Sunday? Kelvin Kiptum is running his first US marathon, and no-one has started a 26.2 mile career like the 23-year-old Kenyan! 

Last year in Valencia, he ran the fastest debut marathon ever, 2:01:53. He improved to 2:01.25 in London this April, making himself the second fastest marathoner ever. His splits in Valencia (61:38/60:15) and London (61:40/59:45) show that he is capable of running significantly faster than his 2:01:25 personal best but can he challenge Kipchoge’s 2:01:09 record?

“I will break the marathon world record, but that may not happen during the Chicago race, because I started late training and my body is not yet at its best form,” Kiptum said last month.

“I prepared well for the London Marathon in April because there was less rain compared to now. I have been battling the weather in training, but I am determined to complete the programme.”



11:15am NIMAA Trials and Championships - QUB Playing Fields 

12am Gr8 Dundrum Run & 3.5 Mile Race - Dundrum Main Street 


9am Newcastle Way - Newcastle, Co. Down 

10am Armagh 10 Mile Road Race - Navan Centre, Armagh 

10:30am Marty’s Run 5K – Templemore, Derry.


10am Belfast Primary School Event - Victoria Park, Belfast