Murray and Fegan set pace down by the Laganside
DONEGAL'S Gary Murray and Danielle Fegan from Armagh were the impressive winners of Sunday’s Laganside 10K, which carried NI Championship status for the distance.
The race ceiling of 1,100 runners was filled days before the race with Murray being one of the last to register. However, there was nothing slow about Murray’s start to the race with the 35-year-old former Irish cross country champion taking control almost from the gun.
He had a good 40 metres advantage by halfway and doubled his lead in the second half to win by 18 seconds in 30:35.
Slieve Gullion’s Paddy Hamilton may regret running a 5K race on Friday night as he could have offered stiffer resistance but was pleased to relegate Stephen Scullion to third in 31:07.
There was a tighter contest in the women’s race with Danielle Fegan, Gladys Ganiel O’Neill from the host club North Belfast Harriers and East Down’s Catherine O’Connor all together at the 6K mark. But Fegan, the winner of both the national Novice and Intermediate cross country championships last winter, was able to get away in the later stages to break the tape comfortably in 37:06.
O’Neill showed she has recovered quickly from the birth of her baby only three months ago to take second in 37:30, while O’Connor was an unexpected third-placer with a 37:45 timing.
Earlier in the day, Raheny Shamrock Mick Clohisey had claimed top spot in the Waterside Half Marathon in Derry. The 2014 national champion for the distance threw down his cards on the table from the gun and had already built up a sizeable lead by the end of the opening mile.
Two-time Walled City Marathon winner Freddy Keron Sittuk, from Kenya, and local runner Scott Rankin led the chasing pack early on but Clohisey’s lead was never threatened.
The Dubliner never faltered and broke the tape in a credible 65:08, almost three minutes ahead of Sittuk (67:54) with City of Derry Spartan Declan Reed seizing third place late in the race with a 69:28 timing.
There was the first ever hometown victory in the women’s race with City of Derry Spartans’ Catherine Whoriskey taking the honours in 83:08. Her clubmate Jackie McMonagle was the next woman across the line in 92:09 with Limavady’s Helen Bateson filling the final podium spot in 93:01.
Karol Doherty, from Carndonagh, completed back-to-back wins in the wheelchair race with a time of 78:34. Just under 1700 runners started the half marathon in a drizzle but weather conditions soon improved. The race route took in the City side of Derry for the first time in its 34-year history.
On Saturday Mark English ran a new Irish 600m record in finishing second in 1:15.71 at the Flame Games in Amsterdam. The UCD athlete was well placed throughout the rarely run distance and was narrowly behind Kenya’s Alfred Kipketer who won in 1:15.60.
English improved on his personal best of 1:16.14 that he set when finishing second in Ostrava this May behind world 800m silver medallist Adam Kszczot. Clonliffe Harrier Brian Gregan clocked 46.91 seconds to finish fourth in the 400m in chilly conditions.
Earlier in the day Fionnuala McCormack (née Britton) ran a new personal best of 71:33 at the Lille half marathon in France. Kenya’s Peninah Arusei won in 68:56.