Local Marathon star Greg Roberts’ Kenyan house guest, Freddie Keron Sittuk continued his domination of the local road race scene with a highly impressive Buncrana 5K victory on Wednesday evening, storming to a facile victory in spanking new course record figures.
And Marina Campbell of host club City of Derry Spartans was an equally impressive winner of the women’s race, posting a new personal best of 18m 12s.
On a balmy evening 330 finishers were recorded as the Buncrana race, the third in the Furey Insurances 5K series, further enhanced its reputation as a top event in the local race calendar with club runners and joggers all very complimentary at the post-race awards function.
The huge turnout of spectators were royally entertained, cheering home all the finishers as both the front runners and the down the field finishers all battled to the line.
The Kenyan added the Buncrana title to his Lisnagelvin victory three weeks ago with a superb 14m 18s finish and he also won over five mile in Belfast and 10K last weekend in Laois.
He went clear from the gun, had about a 100 metre gap by the first kilometre and went on to smash Joe McAlister’s 14m 40s course record as he sprinted through the finish area to claim a E100 bonus on top of the winners’ cash award.
Chasing behind him was the battling Scott Rankin, the Lisnagelvin runner-up and overall series leader to date, and the Foyle Valley man produced an excellent 15m 06s clocking to clinch his third runners-up spot of the series, some 20 seconds ahead of his clubmate Keith Shields who was impressive in third.
M45 star Pauric McKinney of Letterkenny AC was fourth with 15m 30s; Foyle Valley’s M40 Cathal McLaughlin was a superb fifth in 15m 32s and the Spartans’ Paddy Doherty completed the top six in 15m 33s and picked up the M35 age category award.
With Pius McIntyre 8th, the Foyle Valley boys were emphatic winners of the Men’s team prize and were delighted to receive the new perpetual team trophy.
Colin Roberts 7th, James Brown 10th and Paul McCafferty 11th completed the Spartans’ runners-up quartet with Letterkenny third courtesy of McKinney 4th, Ivan Toner 12th, Garvin Walker 13th and Kevin Ferry 14th.
Marina Campbell caught early leader Christy Nittrouer, visiting from Texas and went clear over the second half of the race, posting her 18m 12s PB to win convincingly from the American who just about survived a late charge from Catherine Lilburn, the Texan clocking 18m 50s with the Spartan just one second in arrears.
Campbell and Lilburn combined with 4th placed Miriam Bridge who continues to impress with a 19m 15s finish and Jackie McGinley, 6th in 19m 28s to give the Spartans the Women’s team trophy. Foyle Valley led home by Martina McMullan 5th in 19m 16s were second with Inishowen third.
The aforementioned Paddy Doherty M35, Cathal McLaughlin M40 and Pauric McKinney M45 were joined by the other Men’s category winners, Dominic Bonner M50, Sammy McAnaney M55, Seamus McElhinney M60, Christy McMonagle M65, Willie John McLaughlin M70 and U20 Connor Doherty who set a new PB of 16m 38s with a fine run.
Nicola Doherty was a good F35 winner on 19m 38s, Martina McMullan took the F40 category, Bridgeen Byrne the F45 and Vera Haughey was the top F50. Hannah McGowan ran a PB of 20m 50s for the U20 award.
The popular Furey Insurances 5K series continues at Culmore on Wednesday night, June 13th before returning to Inishowen on Wednesday, June 27th for the Carndonagh race. Both have the usual 7.30 p.m. start times and entries will be taken on the night at each venue.
Track & Field
While the Olympic Torch will be carried through the streets of the Maiden City on Monday next, June 4th many local athletes and officials will be in Antrim for the NI/Ulster Senior and U18/19/20 track & field championships.
An unfortunate clash but with Provincial championship honours up for grabs, the top local athletes will be heading to Antrim in search of honours.
Among the serious medal candidates will be Connor Bradley in the senior 1,500m, Long Jumper Mary Devlin while in the men’s 5,000m Declan Reed will hope to successfully defend his 2011 title.
The local age group athletes will also have an eye on honours but some of them, such as hurdler, Mark McGarvey and sprinter/jumper, Anna Barr, may well be preoccupied by the All-Ireland Schools Championships scheduled for Tullamore tomorrow.
This pair will be among a large contingent of local school athletes travelling to the Midlands venue for a crack at All-Ireland honours.
Meanwhile, with round one of the National League coming up on Sunday, June 10th the City of Derry and Olympian athletes will be keen to impress on Monday as the business end of the summer season beckons.
Elsewhere Jason Smyth will continue his quest to crack the Olympic 100m qualifying standard of 10.18s. The Eglinton man will run in his Clermont, Florida base over the weekend hoping for favourable weather conditions and a classy field to boost his prospects of making the Irish team for London.
Finally the younger members of both the Spartans and Olympian were in Bangor last weekend for round two of the Young Athletes League.
Both squads did well but City of Lisburn appear to have consolidated their overall prime position ahead of the League final. Both city clubs will make the final in Antrim next month but a big effort will be required to stop the Lisburn juggernaut.