Some 3,000 participants took to the streets on Saturday for the 31st running of the Radisson Blu Streets of Galway 8k.
Runners, joggers and walkers took part in the city’s largest annual road race - an event organised by local club Galway City Harriers which has become the jewel in the crown of athletic events in the west and one of the biggest in the country.
This year's weather made running conditions difficult with winds whipping up at the start, and as the gun went at 7pm, a small lead group of athletes formed - eventual winner Sergio Ciobanu, Jake O'Regan, Craughwell young stars Jamie Fallon and Damien O'Boyle, and Northern Irish runners Andrew Annett, Lyndsay Gordon and Seamus Lynch.
After the 2km mark, O'Regan and Ciobanu put in a huge surge and dropped the pack, and the duo fought out a great battle for much of the rest of the race. Ultimately it was the strength of Irish international Ciobanu from Clonliffe Harriers which told as he stormed home down the Prom to claim the coveted top spot this year, winning his first Streets of Galway 8k in a time of 24.25.
He was followed by Jake O’Regan (24:36 ) from St Johns in second place with Seamus Lynch (25:27 ) from Newcastle AC in Down crossing the tape shortly after in third.
The women's section saw some top-class racing from a field which included many Irish internationals and top local runners. A three-way battle for victory took place with the leaders together until almost 7km, and eventually first home was Siobhan O’Doherty (27:19 ) from Borrisokane AC (also the 2013 winner ). An excellent race from Caroline Crowley (27:24 ) from Crusaders saw her come in second, while Loughrea's Laura Shaughnessy (27:38 ), now with DSD, finished third.
National Track and Field League Final
The GCH men’s team took a superb bronze team medal in the premier division at the National Track and Field League final in Tullamore Stadium on Sunday.
Only Clonliffe Harriers and Crusaders finished ahead of the city squad in what was their best league performance.
The GCH men’s squad, under manager Brendan Glynn, had a mixture of experienced national champions and up-and-coming youngsters. There were wins on the day in the shot putt and weight throws from Sean Breathnach, national shot champion, and from Linas Mitkas in the discus. Sprinter Cillin Greene was second in the 200m, Bryan Ndego was third in the high jump, Seamus Leddy finished third in the race walk, and Cliff Jennings claimed third in the pole vault.
Keith Fallon competed in two distance races, finishing fourth in the 1500 and fifth in the 5000m. Robert Meagher was sixth in the 400m as was Jack Dempsey in the 100m. Brendan Staunton was fifth in the hammer and sixth in the javelin, while Kelvin Samson placed third in the triple jump and eighth in the 400 hurdles. Henrique Nvokolate was fifth in long jump and Andrew O Donnghaile placed fourth in the 3000m steeplechase,
The Galway women's squad, managed by Sarah Finnegan, finished eighth in the league with a win for Veronica Burke in the walk, as well as solid performances from sprinters Laura Ann Costello in the 100m and 200m, and Nicole King in the 400m. Also point scoring for the team were Shannon Lee over 3k, Niamh Hennelly over 1500m, and Rachel and Sarah Finnegan in the hurdles and long jumps, while Laura Cunningham placed third in the High Jump and fourth in the javelin, Caoilin Milton in the shot and Roisin Flynn in the relays also added vital scores for the county squad.
National Half Marathon
Galway City Harrier Gary Thornton produced a superb run in the 2016 national half marathon championships on Sunday to claim second place in 71 minutes, just behind Brian McMahon. Gerry Carty took bronze in the Over 45 category, running 1hr 20 mins.
Grainne Ni Uallachain ran 1:28 to claim a great category win at over 40 level, while Athenry AC was placed fourth in the senior ladies’ team, led home by marathon medalist Jane Ann Meehan, who finished fourth overall. The GCH Over 50 women’s team of Carmel Brannigan, Mags Sheridan and Barbara Bergin also took second place, pipped by Mayo AC.