Lifford Strabane AC out in force at weekend despite Storm Ciara

Lifford Strabane AC out in force at weekend despite Storm Ciara

Endurance couple Lorraine & Michael McGrinder at the Donadea 50K

All the threats of “Storm Ciara” did not deter members of the club from their racing duties over the weekend of Saturday 8th Feb and Sunday 9th Feb.

First up we had cross country races in two different locations.  

On Saturday 8th Feb, Senior club lady Claire McGuigan made her way to the starting line at a tough Irish Masters Cross-Country Championships 2020.  Claire finished in a respectable 3rd place overall taking a well-deserved Silver in the 35+ Category resulting in a Gold Medal for the Donegal Team.

At a different cross-country venue masters athlete Elaine Connor made her presence felt at the NICSAC Stormont Cross Country where she led for part of the race finishing 5th female finisher overall placing 2nd in the F40+ Category. Prior to joining the club this athlete ran this race last year to finish 22nd overall.

On the same day “The endurance couple” Michael and Lorraine McGrinder took on the Donadea 50K.  Both athletes had a great run with Michael finishing just outside his category zone in a time of 3:58:54. Lorraine placed 23rd in her category finishing in a time of 5:09.  The course was a loop course which was repeated over 10 times.

Sunday 9th Feb: It was with much deliberating and questioning over the threat of “Storm Ciara” that finally “D-Day” of the Lifford Strabane AC series sponsored by Daly’s XL (Old Daly’s) 3 Race 5k Spring Series 2020 took place.  With the large numbers of participants in the 2 prior races making the points table very interesting and for some it was depending on their final race performance. Without a doubt “Storm Ciara’s” presence was felt and visible in a few places on the race route but never enough to cancel the race or endanger those participating in the event!!  A total of 47 club athletes were among the 179 runners/walkers who took to the starting line of this final race, this included some of those that completed our recent very successful Couch 2 5K Programme to which we extend our congratulations on their achievement and look forward to seeing them progressing to faster times/longer distances or just simply just running!! 

The race location was Lifford, which took in our new and proving to be a very popular racecourse route among race goers which starts on the main Letterkenny to Lifford Road with one loop of the town of Lifford with season best times if not personal best times being produced.  Athletes then proceeded to “The Roughan” before finishing at the gates of the club grounds!!

The race series was won by Finn Valley AC’s Gerard Gallagher finishing in an incredible time of 15:23.

Our very own leading lady Claire McGuigan was the outright winner of the senior ladies’ race series in a superb time of 17:41. 

Loyal supporter of our races and Wheelchair race winner Karol Doherty was the winner in his fastest time of the series in 17:51.

Despite running a tough cross country race the previous day it was Lifford Strabane AC’s commendable Claire McGuigan that rose to the occasion once again, running a seasons best time of 17:41SB! First Lifford Strabane AC athlete to grace the finish line winning all 3 senior lady races of the series, placing an impressive 12th overall to win the ladies’ race in a very convincing performance, 26secs ahead of her nearest rival.  This athlete’s commitment to her training is admirable which is very apparent in her race results.  2nd of our senior ladies to the finish line was the constantly improving Elaine Connor winning the F40+ Category, 3rd lady finisher overall in a super time of 19:13!  This athlete also competed in a cross-country race yesterday!  3rd senior lady finisher for Lifford Strabane AC was Dympna Houston.  This athlete had a great race to finish with a seasons best time of 21:16SB.

The first 3 senior male athletes to the finish line for the club, all clocking excellent times were Conor McLaughlin placing 20th overall, 3rd club athlete to the finish line in a seasons best time of 18:22SB!  Hot on his heels placing 21st overall, 4th club finisher running the race of his life was the industrious Cormac Carlin!  This young athlete has made vast improvements, displaying superb determination on making improvements on his 5K race times running a fantastic personal best time of 18:38PB!! Well done Cormac!!  Keep up the great work!! 3rd senior male finisher for the club was Martin Kelly he too ran a season best with a finish time of 20:31SB!! 

All senior athletes are coached by Michael McKinney.

For the junior male athletes, it was the exceptional young Wilson Craig!!  Wilson was the 2nd Lifford Strabane AC finisher, placing 18th overall and 2nd in the Junior Male Category in a superb season best time of 18:14SB just seconds from a road race personal best!! Well done Wilson!! Hughie McBrearty was next to the line running a season best time of 23:03SB to take 3rd in the Junior Male followed by Taylor Neilands in 23:27.

The first 3 junior female club athletes to the finish line included two athletes that dominated the points table in their category from the start of the series!!  First to the finish line for Lifford Strabane AC taking 1st Junior Female Category Prize displaying a gallant performance was the gutsy Orlaith McCrory in a time of 21:53!  Training partner Jaime McGinley was next to the line took 2nd in the Junior Female Category in a time of 21:58!  3rd for the club was Emily Rose Kelly running a personal best time of 23:14PB! 

The juvenile athletes mentioned above are coached by John Craig and Dermot Kelly.

Well done to all who competed and represented Lifford Strabane AC over the course of the week. Congrats to race winners, medal recipients and those who achieved praiseworthy personal bests/season bests.  All at the club are tremendously proud of your achievements.

Listed below are the 5k series Lifford Strabane AC Category Winners and times over the 3-race series:

1st in Senior Female Category; Claire McGuigan 17:48, 18:17, 17:41SB! 60pts!                 1st F40+ Category; Elaine Connor 19:08SB! 19:32, 19:13. 60pts!                                                                                   2nd F45+ Category; Carmel Hoynes 23:06, 23:08, 22:31SB! 52pts!                                       Not to be outdone by his other half 2nd M45+ Category; Raymond Hoynes 20:20, 20:33, 20:11SB! 46pts!                                                                                                  2nd in F50+ Category; Sharon Carlin 23:17, 23:52, 23:10SB! 52pts!                           1st in M55+ Category; Michael Duncan 19:24SB, 19:52, 19:24 58pts!                                                     2nd in Junior Male Category; Wilson Craig 18:53, 18:25, 18:14SB! 56pts!                          3rd in Junior Male Category; Hughie McBrearty 23:07, 23:47, 23:03SB! 42pts!                                     1st in Junior Female Category; Orlaigh McCrory 21:40SB! 22:04, 21:53 60pts!             2nd in Junior Female Category; Jaime McGinley 21:54PB! 22:40, 21:58 54pts!                     3rd in Female Category; Holly Barr 27:49, 27:44, 27:41PB! 42pts!

On the circuit and in terms of supporting the club we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our club members in their excellent racing results, well done to all who improved their times with season bests/personal bests so early in the racing season. A massive thank you and offer our appreciation to those that provided food for the after-race refreshments and spot prizes throughout the race series and to those that took on the various roles of marshalling, chip removal, tea making and registration duties. The volunteers in any club are always the most important yet unsung heroes.  Clement Clarke for entertaining the runners whilst the results were being finalised, we also had singing from one of our very loyal race supporters Gloria Donaghey!! Thanks, Gloria, for your continued support at our races and well done on your category prize!! A special thanks to club member Hugh Patton proprietor of “The Hatch” alongside Alice Lynch proprietor of “Maggies Tavern” who both kindly sponsored gift vouchers. Brendan and his team of timekeepers for running a very successful race series!! Brendan’s services and knowledge in this area are second to none!! To Liam Daly for his unwavering support of our annual race series, proprietor of Daly’s XL (Old Daly’s) sponsor of the 3 Race 5k Spring Series for 9 consecutive years!!  For that we are ultimately grateful! Lastly, we would like to thank every individual athlete that took to the start line of our 5k series making it the huge success that it was and we would hope to see you all again at our future road races.  

Other News;

Couch 2 5K a new programme commencing on Tuesday 18th February @ 6:30pm!! Spread the word!!!

Due to the fantastic response and demand for another programme the club will commence another Couch 2 5K Programme on the above date.  This programme will be led by Raymond Hoynes assisted by Laurence Doherty. This programme is open to all abilities which will be catered for within the group!! 

Awards Night; Club Awards Night Sunday 8th March 2020!  Save the date!!

Training (Weather permitting)   

Juvenile training Mondays and Wednesdays @ 6:30pm. 

Training for athletes aged 12yrs and under will be held in Lifford Community Centre (Old Bakery) on Mondays @ 6:30pm sharp!!  

Couch 2 5K Tuesday and Thursdays @6:30pm.                                                                                                                                                                              Adult training Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 6.45pm. New members always welcomed!! All training sessions are coach led.

It’s imperative that all renewals of registrations and memberships are completed ASAP! 

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email To contact Donegal Post, email To contact Inish Times, email

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