Wednesday night’s Furey Insurances 5K in balmy Buncrana saw superb winning runs from Letterkenny’s Ciaran Doherty and Lifford’s Anne Marie McGlynn.
And those performances underline, yet again, the deserved reputation of the event as the premier 5K in the North West.
Doherty was pushed hard to just before the 3K mark by Derry athletes, Declan Reed and Scott Rankin but from there he was imperious, speeding to a stunning new Irish best on the course of 14m 34s, taking four seconds off Joe McAlister’s previous record figures.
McGlynn ran a new pb of 16m 32s, the second fastest female clocking on the course as she finished well clear of the opposition in an excellent 19th overall.
In ideal racing conditions over 260 starters lined up and the huge turnout of spectators were treated to a series of impressive performances.
The prevailing North West wind and warm temperatures combined to aid fast times and they were there in abundance on the night as the athletes took full advantage.
Doherty, Reed and Rankin were clear from the gun, chased by Emmet McGinty who in turn was pursued by a large chasing pack. The following wind was a bonus on the first 2k plus and they had the advantage of turning onto the sheltered back road on the way to the finish.
Doherty upped the ante from the turn and came home an impressive winner, 14 seconds ahead of Reed whose 14m 48s equalled his 5K road pb and Rankin took third on 15m even.
Doherty’s time was the fastest ever on the course by an Irish runner, the all comers record of 14m 18s was set last year by Kenyan Freddie Sittu.
McGinty held on for fourth with a good 15m 12s, in fifth was Pauric McKinney, the top M45 with a decent 15m 25s.
Gary Slevin and Colin Roberts were next on 15m 35s and 15m 38s and Roberts claimed the M40 category prize.
McGlynn was a clear female winner, always going away from her opposition and looked really smooth for her 16m 32s winning time. Behind her two notable runs from Springwell’s Gemma Turley, a pb of 18m 06s and Spartans teenager Amy McDaid, whose 18m 38s run was perhaps her best road race performance ever.
The four to score team prizes went to the male Spartans who packed well for an easy win ahead of 2012 winners Foyle Valley and Letterkenny while Inishowen led home by fourth placer Kim McLaughlin, saw off the female Spartans.
Reflecting the pulling power of the race the age group awards went to athletes from a wide array of clubs.
Indeed, Letterkenny, Lagan Valley, Inishowen, City of Derry, Finn Valley, North Belfast Harriers, Springwell and NW Tri club all had athletes on the podium.