ATHLETICS: Big field expected for Jimmy Murray 10k race in Downpatrick

Judith Lonnen should go well in Downpatrick
Judith Lonnen should go well in Downpatrick

There will be more than 900 competitors in Sunday’s Jimmy Murray 10K Road Race in Downpatrick.

The race – in memory of the talented coach, manager and official – also includes the first round of the new Novosco 10K Grand Prix.

Former winner Kerry O’Flaherty leads the Ladies’ entry.

The Newcastle athlete, who has already qualified for the Olympic Steeplechase, has won a host of track titles and is a five-time winner of the Seeley 10K.

Shalene McMurray – also Newcastle – had runaway successes in the Senior Cross Country at Lurgan and the Intermediates at Coleraine and has been the revelation of the season.

Judith Lonnen, second in the Dune Half Marathon, can be next best with Louise Smith, Jodi Smith, Martsje Hell and forest champion Laura Graham all possible.

Defending Men’s champion Gideon Kimosop will be red-hot favourite after his victory in Londonderry but the Irish-based Kenyan intends to compete in Bath on the same day.

Former senior silver medallist Andrew Agnew from Annadale can be the athlete to watch.

Jamie Budde, Eddie Cooke, Neil Weir, Greg Lucy, Jamie Thomaselli and Bangor winner Francis Marsh will all feature along with Jamie McMeechan and Lindsay Gordon.

The race and the two-person relay starts at Ballydougan Industrial Estate at 11am.

Meanwhile, Chris McGuinness and Catherine Whoriskey will be the favourites for Saturday’s Paula’s Run, promoted by City of Derry Spartans at Gransha.

McGuinness was a good fourth at the SSE 10K last weekend and can win from holder Emmet McGinty, Pauric McKinney and Marty Cox.

Catherine Whoriskey, second to Natasha Adams seven days ago, can take the Ladies from Gemma McGinty and Martina McMullan.

The action starts at 11am.

Also on Saturday the opening round of the NI Mountain Racing Championship the Glenariff Race is being held from Waterford.

The event – sponsored by Glens of Antrim Potatoes – is unique in that each competitor gets a bag of potatoes.

Jonny Steede from the promoting Ballymena Runners club can follow up his Slieve Gullion success.

Forest champion William McKee, Alan Bogle and possibly Mark McKinstry will all go well along with Neil Carty and Gary Bailey.

The Ladies’ race should be a duel between defending champion Shileen O’Kane and Ben Nevis winner Diane Wilson.

Mari Troeng and Hazel McLaughlin can dispute third.

The race of 5.9 miles with 370 metres of climb will start at 12pm.