Letterkenny Athletic Club Notes

Catriona Jennings had an excellent run in the St Stephen’s Day  5 mile race in Greencastle, Co Tyrone. Catriona went round the tough course in 28.57, which saw her finish first in the F35 category and the second woman overall. Emma Mitchell, Queen’s University Belfast AC, was the first woman in 28.28. The overall winner was Paul Pollok of Annadale Striders in a very fast time of 24.31.
Several Letterkenny AC runners ran in the Finn Valley AC 5K, also on St Stephen’s Day. Danny Mooney’s fine form continued and he was first across the line in 14.59, with 4 seconds to spare over Thomas Hayes of Kilkenny City Harriers. LAC’s young Jack Holian had an exceptional run and ran a PB of 17.35. Sean McFadden was just behind in 17.39. Fionnuala Diver continued her excellent  form to come home in 18.27; she was the 3rd woman.
Martin Gormley clocked 18.52, Patrick Brennan 19.02, Ciaran O’Donnell 20.03, John Hughes 20.09 and Ciaran Bannon 20.52.
Karol Duggan finished a year to remember in style in his native Milford on Wednesday. He ran in Milford AC’s 3KM handicap race. Karol’s time of 8.44 was not just the fastest time of the day, it was also a new course record.
Saturday saw the 100th running of the very popular Letterkenny parkrun, with a very healthy number of runners, 127, taking part. LAC household names, Danny McDaid and Sinead Jennings, were in attendance to provide support on the day.
LAC marked the event’s  centenary by taking the first 6 places. Jack Holian completed a memorable week  by becoming the youngest ever winner. The highly promising young runner crossed the line in 18.45 and was followed by the very consistent Sean McFadden in 18.56. Nakita Burke completed a highly successful  2017 with a 3rd place finish. Her time of 19.06 was the fastest women’s time. Barry Meehan was 4th in 19.38, followed by Padraig Friel in 19.51. Martin Gormley was the 1st M50 runner in 19.57. Paul Toner had a top 10 finish and was the 3rd M40 runner in 20.01. Barry Mackey was 2nd in the M50 category in 21.08.
Young Alex Plumb was the 1st JM10 runner in 21.46. Paul Lee was the 3rd M50 runner in 22.04 and James McBride was 1st in the M65 category in 24.35. 2 of the large number of promising LAC girls ran the event for the first time,  with both of them, Gillian Reynolds and Aimee Bonar, clocking 26.03, which made them the leading JW 11-14 runners. The  even younger Emma Bonar was the first JW10 runner in a time of 26.58.
The most committed of all Letterkenny parkrunners, Peter McLean, is almost two thirds of the way towards his own personal centenary. Peter completed his 62nd parkrun in 27.03. Olivia Plumb was the 2nd JW10 runner in 27.17.
3 Letterkenny AC runners marked the end of 2017 on Sunday by travelling to the Lough 5, a 5 mile road  race in Loughmacrory, 7 miles from Omagh, Co Tyrone. Danny Mooney ended the year in style, with a 2nd place finish in 25.48. Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin won the race in 25.17. Aidan McKenna’s time of 32.58 gave him 7th place in the M45 category, while John Hughes was the 4th M55 runner in 34.49.
Also on Sunday, a group of LAC runners took part in the Annual Coravaddy Rudolph Run through the scenic surrounds of the woods. It is designed as a family fun run, with all proceeds going to the very deserving Donegal Down Syndrome. Donal Farren was first across the line. Donal was recently selected for the  Northern Ireland and Ulster team to run in the Celtic International  cross country race in Antrim. The race is on Saturday at the Greenmount Campus. Several other LAC runners ran in Coravaddy, including Barry Mackey, Ciaran O’Donnell, Darren Price, Noel Lynch, Adrian Callaghan, Paul Cosgrove, Nakita Burke, Margaret/Stephen Shiels, Niall Barry, Padraig Friel, Kieran Coyle and Martin Gormley as well as several others.
Sean McFadden was the 2nd runner home in the New Year’s Day 5K in Raphoe. Sean ran an excellent time of 17.04. The race winner was Michael Black. 15 year old Molly Page was the 2nd woman and 1st Junior in 19.39. Martin Gormley’s consistent form continued and he crossed the line in 18.57. He was 2nd in the M50 category. Ciaran O’Donnell, recently retired after almost 30 years as a journalist with the ‘Donegal Democrat’, clocked 19.55. There were also fine runs from Adrian Callaghan, whose time was 21.00 and the Shiels family, Margaret, Stephen and Chloe. 13 year old Chloe and father Stephen both came home in 21.14. Margaret’s time was 22.39. M50 Noel Lynch finished in 22.41 and fellow M50  Barry Mackey in 22.43.
Aidan McKenna was in action in Co Monaghan and finished the Glaslough Harriers  AC  Jolly Joggers’ Annual 10K in a time of 43.31.
The first Letterkeny Athletic Club race of 2018 will be the ‘New Year’s 5K’, which is on Sunday January 7th. The start time is 10.30am and entries and presentation  are from Aura Leisure Centre. The timing will be chipped, there are prizes in all categories and the entry fee is €8.
Letterkenny Athletic Club would like to wish a Happy New Year  to all those people and organisations who  helped the club have such a successful 2017. The club is grateful to all the media outlets who have helped to publicise our events and achievements in 2017. We are grateful to the race sponsors who have ensured that we can offer Donegal athletes a wide variety of well organised events at a reasonable price and with an  extensive prize list. The pre race and post race efficiency of North West Chip Timing has been a feature of the events. LAC appreciates the help and co-operation  of  the hard working management and staff at Aura Leisure Centre.
                                 Hugh Gallagher
                                      LAC PRO.