Freddy Sittuk sees off Scott Rankin in another tight finish

 Freddy Sittuk won  the men’s race in the Belfast City Half Marathon
Malcolm McCausland

Freddy Sittuk was the winner of yesterday’s Belfast City Half Marathon in 67 minutes and two seconds. For the second time in a fortnight the Kenyan was pushed all the way to the line by Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin who finished just two seconds back.

The pair clashed earlier this month in Derry’s Waterside Half Marathon with Sittuk sprinting past Rankin on the final straight, after the Claudy man had done all the heavy lifting.

Rankin varied his tactics yesterday by going off at a breath-taking pace but ended up suffering the same fate as the man from the Rift Valley stole past close to the finish line.

London-based Adam Kirk-Smith impressed by taking third in his first half-marathon with a 69:02 timing. He was followed by two North Belfast Harriers, Mark McKinstry (71:09) and John Black (72:31). North Down’s Stuart Donald was first Master taking sixth in 73:21.

Mourne Runners’ Club member Laura Graham continued her domestic domination of the distance with a comfortable victory in the women’s race with a 78:23 clocking. Louise Smith (81:43) and Amy Bulman (83:14) filled the minor places.

On Saturday Derry Track Club’s Marty Cox ran a well-judged race to win the inaugural Remembrance 5K in Derry. Despite extensive promotion of the race in the northwest, only 160 turned up to take part as against an expected 600.

Cox allowed club colleague Shane McGowan and City of Derry duo Noel Logan and Emmett McGinty to do the early work before taking it on with two kilometres remaining. The 34-year-old Omagh man only did enough after that to win but no more and had a slim three seconds winning margin at the finish line with a 15:58 clocking.

Logan edged out McGinty by a second for the runner-up spot with McGowan setting a personal best of 16:27 in fourth ahead of another City of Derry runner Mark Mullan (16:53) in fifth.

Foyle Valley’s Charlene McGinty was the first woman home in 21:53, followed by Olympian’s Nuala Bose (22:08) and City of Derry’s evergreen Paula McGilloway (22:26).

Meanwhile 30 some miles away less than 100 turned up for the Boom 10K hosted by the Springwell club in Coleraine. Lawrence O’Hara was first across the line in 34:55 and had over a minute to spare over Pace Running Club’s Stephen Nicholson (36:11) and Acorns AC’s Eoin Hughes (36:23).

Cathy McCourt was the winner of a good quality women’s race, taking ninth overall in 38:15. The host club’s Gemma McDonald was second woman home, 12th overall, in 39:53, ahead of third-placer clubmate Karen McLaughlin who was timed at 40:58.

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