Julie Balmer retains Dervock Half Marathon crown

Julie Balmer
Julie Balmer

Julie Balmer gave an impressive exhibition of speed and power to retain her title at the Dervock Half Marathon on Saturday.

The race, which was held in very hot conditions, was part of the Kennedy Kane McArthur Festival of Running and was jointly organised by Springwell Running Club and Dervock and District Community Association.

Julie the winner at Newry and Ards started red hot favourite and was already well clear of Shileen O’Kane as they left the centre of the village.

The North Down girl increased her advantage with every step and had over nine minutes in hand as she crossed the line. Karen McLaughlin from the promoting club moved into second at halfway and narrowly held on over Shileen O’Kane.

Jack Neeson, from Ballymena Runners, had a controlled run to win the men’s race by two minutes from Paul Thompson with Mark Wright third. Springwell had four of the top seven.

It was double glory for Ballymena Runners in the 10k race with Matthew McCooke repeating his 2012 success to win from Noel Connor. Bernard Brady from Larne came third.

Gemma Turley took the ladies 10k from Springwell team-mate Laura Hassan with Geraldine Quigley and defending champion Julie Murphy next.

Paul Carroll showed his class with a convincing victory in the Lisburn Triathlon yesterday. The conditions were cloudy for the 750m swim, 20k cycle and 5k run.

Carroll was over a minute down in sixth on the swim behind Harry Speers, Neville O’Neill and Michael Sinton but had a superb cycle coming back to the arena ahead of holder O’Neill and former winner Speers.

Carroll looking very relaxed finished his five laps to a great reception. O’Neill making a gallant defence of his title held second with Speers, Sinton and Benjamin Christman following.

The ladies’ race was dramatic. Judith Lonnen competing in the third wave set a fast clocking which was second overall for some time before Anne Paul the reigning champion produced a power packed run to win by 27 seconds.

The Junior Aquathlon U15 race went to Philip Cox ahead of Daniel Malloy with the girls going to Lauren Strange from Sophie-Louise Bryson. The U12 boys was won by Ben Harding ahead of Adam Mahood with Andrea Cox winning the girls from Eve Dunford.

Aislinn Crossey from Newry set a very impressive new personal best when placing fourth over 800m in the European Juniors at Rieti, Italy.

The 17-year-old schools champion clocked 2:03.93 just missing out on a medal as she clocked the second fastest time by a UK based athlete behind Jessica Judd. She must now be in Commonwealth Games consideration.

Roseanne McGuckian had double success in the European Youths Olympics at Utrecht, Holland.

The Ballymena and Antrim 16-year-old came third in the 200 in a best of 24.42 and then was part of the all-conquering 4x100 squad which struck gold in 46.22.