Athletics: Denise is the star at Ulster Masters event

Don Travers
Don Travers

There was some very impressive middle distance running in the Northern Ireland and Ulster Masters Track and Field Championships at the Mary Peters Track.

Denise Toner from Clones was the star. An opening lap of sixty five seconds was enough to take her clear of Orangegrove’s Jenny Black in the 800. She then took the 400 before completing her hat trick in the 1500 again from Black and Helen Stockdale.

Helen claimed gold in the F50 group in 400, 800, 1500 and 3000 to add to the Senior 10,000 title that she won on the same arena.

Declan Power was in a class of his own as he lapped the entire field in the Mens 3000. Nigel McKibbin was dominant in the 1500 with Cathal McLaughlin and Mark Weir interchanging positions throughout the 800 before Cathal produced a final sprint.

Danea Herron produced a triple jump record, Alan Keys had six medals with Barrie Holmes also showing his versatility in the M70 group.

81 year old Billy McMullan was very impressive in the throws winning shots, discus, javelin, hammer and weight. The former North Belfast Harrier emigrated to New Zealand in the 1950s before relocating to Australia. He had earlier collected a hand full of Irish titles.

Don Travers and Liosa McKeown came out tops in the Born 2 Run Dam Busters Half Marathon at Silent Valley. The race included the tenth and last round of the Pure Running/ChampionChip Ireland Series.

The Newry runner, winner over 10 miles at the same venue last year, started hot favourite and soon stamped his authority as he led for every step of the way.

By half distance he was well clear of Nigel Grier, Michael Bell and Sean McShane and went on to win by almost two minutes from the very impressive Grier, Bell, Gerard Heaney, McShane and Niall Mooney.

Liosa McKeown from Gym Tech improves with every race. Three girls moved away from the rest with Catherine Roberts leading at half distance from Liosa, Mary Laverty and Janice White.

Liosa took over in the second half and came home forty five seconds before Catherine with Mary and Janice following.

Mountain star William McKee won the 10K race from Peter Donnelly and John Neill while Rathlin runner up Jade Hegarty took the Ladies from Virginia Ervine and Niamh O’Connell.

There were medals for Ulster athletes in the English U17 and U15 Championships at Bedford. Ben Fisher came second in the U17 long jump with 6.79, sprint star Megan Marrs was third in the U17 100 in a personal best of 11.80 with Aaron McGlynn also third in the U15 800 in 2:02.4.

James McIlroy returned to competition with victory in the Blackpool Hilton 10K Road Race. The former Olympic, European and Commonwealth athlete covered the distance in 32:58.