Ireland’s hottest athletics talent will be on show against some of the world’s best athletes on Saturday 2nd July at the Letterkenny AC Sub 4 Minute Mile Challenge Event. The event will feature international athletes from countries such as USA, South Africa, Germany, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, England, Scotland and Wales. The first event starts at 7:00pm at the Danny McDaid Track, Aura Leisure Centre with the grande finale, the Mens Mile, taking to the track at 8:45pm.
The Mile is set to feature a number of sub 4 minute milers, along with a host of other athletes who will be aiming to break the magical four minute barrier for the first time. Leading entries in the mile so far include Eric Speakman of New Zealand, the American trio of Jake Hurysz, Reid Buchanan and William Kincaid, Germany’s Clemens Bleistein as well as England’s Matt Clowes, Dan Studley and Mike Wilsmore. Spectators will barely get a chance to catch their breath as the action doesn’t stop there with many quality events planned on the night. Olympic qualification will be high on the agenda in the womens 800m with a host of athletes chasing the time of 2:01.5. New Zealand’s Kat Marshall, England’s Leah Barrow, Scotland’s Emily Dudgeon, and the South African duo of Anuscha Nice and Gena Lofstrand will all be looking to book their ticket to Rio. Also in the race will be City of Lisburn athlete Kelly Neely who has been smashing World Masters records in recent months.
Similarly in the womens 3000m steeplechase, a number of athletes will be looking to secure Olympic qualification with Ophelie Claude-Boxberger of France, Sofie Gallein of Belgium, Molly Renfer of Switzerland, and English athletes Rosie Clarke and Louise Webb looking to emulate last year’s memorable night in Letterkenny, where four athletes achieved Olympic qualification. World Silver medallist Magda Gorzkowska from Poland is set to star in the womens 400m. The polish sprinting star is a silver medallist from the 2016 World Indoor championships in Portland, Oregon. She will face tough opposition from England’s Nicole Kendall. In the womens 200m, South African champion Alyssa Conley will go up against England’s Nicola Gilbert as well as a host of Irish stars including Catherine McManus and Steph Creaner, who won the event in 2014.
In the mens sprints, Lebakeng Sesele of South Africa will be returning to defend his title in Letterkenny. Sesele is rounding into great form after running 10.35 seconds last week in Finland, and is edging closer to Olympic qualification. The meeting records for the 100m and 200m look to be in great danger as 2014 winner, Philip Redrick of the USA, and England’s Jonathon Browne and Omari Barton-Ellington, will all challenge for the honours in both the 100m and 200m. However, in the 200m, South African Hendrik Maartens may be the man to beat, having already ran 20.51 seconds this season. The mens 400m will feature South African Shaun de Jager, who was an Olympic finallist from London 2012 in the 4 x 400m relay.
The mens 800m event will see some of Ireland’s rising stars attempt to chase down Welshman Tom Marshall, who has been in scintillating form in recent weeks, running 3:39 for 1500m. In the mens 3000m, a host of the North-West’s top distance runners Danny Mooney, Conor Bradley, Emmet Dunleavy, and JP Williamson will all be looking to record fast times as they attempt to go under 8 minutes. All eyes will also be on the centre-field action with the mens javelin set to produce a great battle. This will be an impressive event to watch in the air as England’s Joe Dunderdale will be looking to extend his meeting record. Strabane coach Damian Crawford’s stable of throwers Sean McBride, Darryl Crawford, Fergus Cox and Gareth Crawford will not make it easy for Dunderdale. In the womens long jump, Irish athletes Naomi Morgan and Karyn Dumigan lead the entries so far, with both athletes edging closer to 6metres.
With many more names to be added in the coming weeks, and with such a high calibre of up to 100 athletes competing from all over the World, it is a great opportunity to come and see world class athletics in the North-West. The international programme will be kicking off at 7:00pm on Saturday 2nd July at the Danny McDaid Athletics Track, Aura Leisure Centre and admission is free. Letterkenny Athletic Club is welcoming everyone to come out and see a night of non-stop athletics action.