Athletics

Fionnuala McCormack coasts to Dublin success

 Fionnuala McCormack crosses the finish line
Malcolm McCausland

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Fionnuala McCormack impressed at the Autumn Open Cross Country on the new course at the National Sports Campus in Dublin yesterday. Mark Christie also caught the eye after winning out in a four-way battle for victory in the men’s race.

In excellent running conditions, Ireland’s queen of country looked as though she will be a threat to anyone at the Europeans in early December after leaving the opposition for dead early in the race. McCormack crossed the line in 20 minutes and 30 seconds, over half-a-minute clear of runner-up Poland’s Paulina Kaczynska with Crusaders club woman Caroline Crowley third.

Strabane’s Ann-Marie McGlynn (fourth overall) and Kerry O’Flaherty (sixth) were the leading Masters with City of Derry’s Catherine Lilburn also squeezing into the top 10 finishers.

Mark Christie continued a good run of form with a hard-fought victory in the men’s race after four athletes broke away in mid-race. Christie enjoyed a five-second margin over Poland’s Adam Novicki with Belfast Half Marathon winner Freddy Keron-Stuk back in third on this occasion.

The race also served as the trial for the Ireland teams at next month’s British & Irish International in Glasgow.

Newry-based Paddy Hamilton, 11th overall, was the winner of the men’s M35 category, while Letterkenny’s Ciaran Doherty took the M40 award.

Omagh Harrier Stephen Duncan was first home of the M45 contestants and evergreen Belfast man Paul Elliott surprised European 1500m/3000m champion Brian Nolan to win the M60 race.

Almost five years after the untimely death of Beijing Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru in a freak accident at his home in Kenya, there was a new Wanjiru in town yesterday at the Amsterdam Marathon.

Wanjiru’s namesake, 24-year-old Daniel, wrote his name in the history books when he upset all predictions to win the TCS Amsterdam Marathon. Wanjiru’s time of 2:05:19s was a new course record and led another Kenyan sweep of the podium in the men’s race.

Running in only his third marathon, the relative unknown timed his breakaway perfectly to get away from Chicago runner-up Sammy Kitwara and the fancied Geoffrey Kirui at the 38km mark.

In contrast, Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu broke clear early on and powered home unchallenged to take the women’s title in 2:23:20s. That dashed the comeback dream of London Olympics silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo who finished fourth on her debut in the Dutch city.

Abebech Afework was second across the line in 2:24:27s to complete and Ethiopian one-two as Kenyan Eunice Chumba prevented the clean sweep when she clocked 2:25:00s for bronze.

Thomas O’Gorman was the winner of the Red High 10K held in Downpatrick on Saturday with a time of 37 minutes and six seconds. Aaron McGrady won the contest for the runner-up spot in 37:14s, edging out first Master finisher Francis Tumelty by four seconds. Trisha McKibbin was the leading lady in 41:38s. Joanne Foster (45:00s) and young Aoife Cochrane (46:35s) filled the minor positions.

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