14 Oldpark Terrace, Belfast BT14 6NN

Weekend Preview: Derry, GNR and Holland

Harriers @ Waterside Half Marathon

North Belfast Harriers are sending a strong team to the 30th Waterside Half Marathon in Derry this weekend with a view to challenging for the NI Team Title.

Local clubs City of Derry and Foyle Valley are expected to field the main opposition.

The race, which doubles as the Northern Ireland Half Marathon Championships, has been a happy hunting ground for Harriers in the past and this year’s squad will be headed by Stephen Scullion who will be looking to add the title of NI Half Marathon Champion to his ever expanding CV.

Stephen’s main opposition will come in the shape of defending champion Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) who is looking to repeat his 2009 and 2010 victories on the Gransha course.

Paul Rowan (Willowfield) and Joe McAlister (St Malachy’s), who each won three in a row between 2002 and 2008, are also running.

In the battle for team honours, Scullion will be backed up by “young veterans” Alan O’Hara, Eamon White and Conor Curran.

Unfortunately, Connor Magill has been forced to withdraw from the team because of a heavy cold.

At the time of writing, other pb hunters making the trip include Alan Ritchie and Gerry McNamara.

Breege @ Great North Run

At about the same time but across the Irish Sea, Breege Connolly will take to the start line with 54,000 other runners when she competes in the BUPA Great North Run (BBC Red Button).

Breege has had an excellent season on the roads this year with wins in Portaferry, Greyabbey, Churchisland, Lisburn and last weekend when she ran close to a PB at the Laganside 10km.

On current form, Breege could threaten her personal best of 1 hr 19mins 16 seconds which was set in Omagh earlier this year.

British marathoners Jo Pavey and Yara Yamuchi start as favourites for the women’s race.

Greg Roberts from City of Derry runs in the men’s event while his club mate and friend of the harriers, Brendan Murphy runs in the Bristol Half Marathon this weekend.

Marty @ 100km World Championships in Holland

And finally, Marty Rea closes his season this weekend with another Irish international vest when he competes in the 25th IAU 100km World & European Championship in Winschoten, the Netherlands.

The 2007 and 2008 Irish 100km Champion, Marty holds a PB of 7:21:42 for the distance and has won numerous ultra races including the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race, Everest Challenge and Tring to Town.

Marty runs for Ireland this weekend in the Netherlands

Marty has previously represented Ireland at 100km, 24 Hours and Trail Running and he led the Irish team to 5th place at the 2007 European 100km Championships and 8th in the World Championships.

Rea will be looking to round off an injury hit year with a strong performance in Winschoten where 230 athletes representing 35 countries will be toeing the start line in – a record number for any IAU 100km World Championships.

Last year’s winner Shinji Nakadai (JPN) will be defending his title but he will face opposition from top qualifier and 2008 World Champion Giorgio Calcaterra (ITA).

The World Championships also have a European championship component to them. Marty and his team mates will be vying for the best in Europe title in addition to competing for the world championships.

The race takes place at 10am and Marty’s progress can be tracked using the Live Updates feature on: www.iau-ultramarathon.org