Five sub-four minute miles at Lagan Valley anniversary meet

High-quality meet at Mary Peters Track

Callum Morgan
Candour TC's Callum Morgan

SUB-four minute miles at the Mary Peters Track seem to be like buses. You wait ages for one and then five come along together.

The Lagan Valley 70th Anniversary Meeting on Saturday, to commemorate the first sub-four minute mile by Roger Bannister, was suitably marked with not one, not two but five runners bettering that once considered impossible barrier.

Of course, that was before Mondo tracks and spring-sprung spikes.

Max Wharton led home the elite field in the BMC Mile, recording a time of 3:58.02. It was the second time under four minutes in the past month for the Sale Harrier and he was followed home by Dubliner Thomas Moran who was running his third sub-four clocking of the year with a 3:58.57.

For Candour TC’s Callum Morgan, in third with a 3:58.69 mark, it was his first time under four minutes and the first by a NI athlete at the Mary Peters Track since 1991, when Davie Wilson ran 3:59.9. It was also Kilkenny City Harrier Cathal O’Reilly’s first time sub-four in fourth place, registering a 3:59.26 timing, a mere hundredth ahead of Scot Andrew McGill who was the fifth man across the line in a mass finish.

In the other events, City of Lisburn’s Lauren Roy was the winner of the women’s 100m in 11.92 (+0.5) while UCD’s Bori Akinola gave notice that he could be emerging as the top Irish sprinter this season with a 10.39 (+0.6) in the men’s 100m.

Finn Valley’s Arlene Crossan was best of the female 400m runners, clocking a time of 54.77 seconds, and Callum Baird made a rapid return to competition after running for Ireland in the 4x400m at the Europeans earlier in the week. The Ballymena & Antrim athlete was a class apart in with a 46.22 timing, just three-hundredths off his best.

Kilmarnock’s Jamie Phillips took the top 800m race in 1:48.40 while Limerick’s Jenna Bromell was the fastest female two-lapper in 2:02.72.

There was a home win in the women’s 1500m for Dromore AC’s Rebekah Osborne with a time of 4:21.55. Tallaght’s Cormac Dixon (8:10.39) and Bandon’s Fiona Everard (9:31.37) were the respective winners of the top 3000m races, while Lagan Valley defeated holders Letterkenny AC to take the Ulster & NI mixed 4x400m relay title.

Meanwhile, Nick Griggs travelled to France for the Nikaia Meeting in Nice and was rewarded with a personal best of 3:35.40 for 1500m, edging himself closer to the NI record of 3:34.76 held by Gary Lough. That was good enough for seventh in a race won by France’s Maël Gouyette in 3:32.67 with Clonliffe Harrier Cathal Doyle third in 3:34.31.

That was also a personal best for the Dubliner as both he and Griggs pursue an Olympic qualification time of 3:33.50 before the deadline on June 30.

At home, over 1000 runners took part in the Enniskillen 10K on Saturday with Finn Valley’s Jonjo Doherty (32:00) the first finisher. Local man Conan McCaughey filled the runner-up spot, six seconds in arrears, with a long gap back to Inverclyde’s Jonathan Roebuck (34:17) in third.

Enniskillen Running Club’s Nadine McIntyre (40:05) was the first woman home.

Jason Nichol (229.6km/142.6M) and Bernie Kellett (175.1km/108.8M) claimed the respective men’s and women’s titles at the Belfast 24 Hour Race that finished at noon yesterday in Victoria Park.