Letterkenny shaping up for a festival of International Athletics.

The Letterkenny AC Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge Event will be bringing international athletics to Donegal on the 18th May 2013. Preparations are well underway for what promises to be one of the most eagerly awaited and exciting track and field fixtures of the season on Irish soil. As part of the official opening of the Danny McDaid Athletics Track at the Aura Leisure Centre, the event will incorporate a curtain raiser of juvenile events, followed by the elite senior programme, with an exciting array of Irish and international athletes on show. The feature event will be the Mens Mile where it is hoped we will witness the first ever sub 4 minute mile in Donegal.

Kenyans Jonathan Kiplimo and Hillary Kipkorir will come with an eye on taking victory from the Irish hopefuls. Paul Robinson, fresh from his success in the Great Irish Mile, leads the Irish charge, and along with the Letterkenny trio of Darren McBrearty, Danny Mooney and Ruairi Finnegan, and Derry’s Conor Bradley, it will be interesting to see how many Irish men can dip under the magical 4 minute barrier. The mens 800m will feature one of Ireland’s brightest young talents, Letterkenny’s Mark English. He will be looking to hold off the challenge of Brian Hill of the USA, in a bid to impress the home crowd, and along with his recent 47.30 seconds over 400m, will use the race as key preparation for the European Under 23 championships in Finland in July.

Double European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton is set to start her track season in the womens 3000m. A recent European Indoor Bronze medal in March shows that Fionnuala’s talent also lies on the track. She will be looking towards posting a fast time over 3000m, with a view towards the World Track and Field Championships in Moscow in August. Another Moscow hopeful, and also talked about as one of Ireland’s next stars, Brian Gregan leads the field in the mens 400m, and will be looking forward to making further breakthroughs this year following his European final last year, where he narrowly missed out on a medal. In the mens 100m and womens 200m, some members of the Irish 4 x 100m relay squads will be looking to post some fast early season times to help with their preparations for the European Team Championships in Dublin in June. The womens 200m will see double Olympian Joanne Cuddihy stepping down a distance against National Indoor champion Kelly Proper. Proper will also double up in the Long Jump, where she will face tough opposition from Tir Chonaill’s Mary McLoone, who will be looking to steal a victory on her Donegal soil.

The mens shot putt promises to be one of the best competitions seen in Ireland in years with London Olympian Kim Christensen from Denmark and Daniel Stahl from Sweden doing battle with Seán Breathnach, multiple Irish champion. The mens 3000m will feature the fast improving John Travers, fresh from the European Indoor Championships, and along with Joe Sweeney, both coached by Jerry Kiernan, will be seeking a fast time. The 1 hour track race, a unique event, will bring some of Ireland’s best long distance talent together on the track, with Barry Minnock looking to have a go at John Treacy’s Irish record of 19625m. In the womens race, the winner will be assured of an Irish record, as the distance has never been recorded for Irish women before, and Olympian Maria McCambridge will be looking to establish this Irish record.

In the womens 800m, Laura Crowe will look to show some early season form, in what is developing into one of the most competitive Irish events, with many Irish 800m women making the breakthrough to international level. In the mens javelin, Matthew Martin will be challenged by Strabane’s Aaron Crawford. The womens shot putt features Niamh Murphy and Andrew Heney features in the mens high jump. The last event of the evening will be the mens 4 x 400m relay event, where a number of teams will have their eyes on Irish records, and we hope that this event will provide a fitting finale to our festival of International Athletics in Letterkenny on Saturday 18th May.

There are some places still available in the programme of events. Interested athletes should email daraghmcdaid@yahoo.com with their personal bests and recent best performances. More information and event updates on www.facebook.com/LetterkennySub4Mile or Twitter @lacsub4mile.