Paul Pollock beats Belfast and Waterside half-marathon winner Freddy Sittuk to win Bangor Aurora 10K

<span style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; ">Paul Pollock crossing the finish line at the the Bangor Aurora 10K</span>
Paul Pollock crossing the finish line at the the Bangor Aurora 10K Paul Pollock crossing the finish line at the the Bangor Aurora 10K

Olympic marathon runner Paul Pollock eased himself back into competition after the rigours of Rio with a confident victory in the Bangor Aurora 10K.

Laura Graham continued a hectic racing schedule by claiming the prize for first woman in a race held in warm but wet and windy conditions.

Freddy Sittuk had been criticized for his sit and kick tactics in winning both Waterside and Belfast Half Marathons earlier this month.

But the Kenyan found top local distance runner Paul Pollock a different proposition from Scott Rankin who had made all of the running in both the above half marathons before being mown down by Sittuk in the final 200 metres.

Again the home favourite, in this instance Pollock, hit the front from the gun.

However, on this occasion Sittuk was unable to match the early pace of Pollock who built up an advantage of over 40 metres by the halfway point reached in a sharp 15 minutes and nine seconds.

After that it was all plain sailing for the Annadale Strider who went on to break the tape in 30:40.

Sittuk followed 20 seconds later with a long gap back to another frequent racer Mark McKinstry who took third in 32:52; a modest time for the Glenwherry man reflecting the windy conditions.

Seventeen-year-old Craig McMeechan filled fourth in 33:06 with Lindsay Gordon (33:16) and David O’Flaherty (33:22) completing the top six.

Laura Graham showed no sign of fatigue from a racing programme that takes in a race almost every week as she cruised to a comfortable win in the women’s race.

The national half marathon champion posted a 37:02 clocking that saw her finish 13th overall in a field of 600 plus finishers and well clear of Cathy McCourt who took second in 38:38. Jodi Smith, from the host club North Down and daughter of race director David Seaton, was a popular third placer in 39:27.

Sittuk was back in action again yesterday when he was outsprinted to the finish line by Mark Christie in the Rathfarnham 5K in Dublin.

The Mullingar Harrier turned on the gas with just 100 metres left to pip the Kenyan at the post.

Both men were timed at 14:26 with Kilkenny veteran Brian McMahon taking third another two seconds back.

Finn Valley’s Chris Johnston was first Northern runner taking seventh spot in 14:54 and City of Derry’s Declan Reed was first Master (M40) home in tenth place with a 15:07 timing.

Another Finn Valley athlete Mark Hoy took 14th in 15:24. DSD’s Laura Shaughnessy was the first across the line in an excellent 16:30 timing.

Sean Hehir and Barbara Sanchez were the winners of Saturday’s SSE Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon, leading home a field of 6,940 finishers in the Phoenix Park.

Hehir, whose immediate goal is a third national title at the Dublin Marathon in October, broke the tape in 67 minutes and 45 seconds.

He finished comfortably clear of his Rathfarnham team mate Fikru Teshager (68:58) and Raheny’s Mark Kirwan (69:27).

Sánchez led the women home in 78:26, ahead of Catherina McKiernan, who still holds the Irish marathon record, in second place with a 79:27 mark.

Third spot went to Letterkenny native and 2012 Olympian, Caitriona Jennings, in 80:23.

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia pulled away from Wilson Kipsang of Kenya late in the race to win yesterday’s Berlin Marathon in just outside the World record time.

Bekele’s winning time of 2:03:03 was six seconds outside Dennis Kimetto’s world record, also set in Berlin two years and is the second best time ever.

“I wanted to set a personal best and it’s a fantastic time, but it’s a little disappointing to miss the world record by so little,” Bekele said after the race.

Aberu Kebede led an Ethiopian sweep in the women’s race in 2:20:45. Birhane Dibaba was second in 2:23:58 and Ruti Aga third in 2:24:41.

Rosses runner Ciaran McGonagle recorded an excellent 2:31:32 while Finn Valley athletes Shane McNulty (2:47:30) and Adam Speir (2:58:11) also got under three hours in the German capital.