WALLED CITY MARATHON: Eric Koech, Pauline Curley take 2016 titles

Kenyan runner, Eric Koegh pictured with Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness after winning the Walled City Marathon.

Kenyan runner, Eric Koegh pictured with Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness after winning the Walled City Marathon.

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KENYAN runner, Eric Koech insists he was ‘disappointed’ not to break the course record as he came home in an impressive 2hrs 23m 47s to clinch victory at the 2016 SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon.

Last year’s winner, Freddy Sittuk set the record with a classy 2hr 22m 34s and Koech had set his sights on breaking that time today in only his second ever marathon in Europe.

Koech, who finished second in the Belfast Marathon this year, came in 0.3 seconds ahead of Project Africa runner, Dan Tanui as thousands turned out along the 26.2 mile course in the sun to cheer on runners.

“It was a very hilly course and a lot of it downhill,” said Koech. “This is my fourth marathon. I’ve done two in Kenya and two in Europe. But I’m not so happy with the time because I didn’t break the record. My aim was to break the record but it wasn’t to be.

“I’d be very happy to come back next year. I loved the course and I love the people here and the climate was good.”

Donegal runner, Ciaran McGonagle of Rosses AC finished third in 2hrs 41m 24s while Foyle Valley’s Chris McGuinness was first Derry man home in 2hrs 48m 31s.

2008 Olympian and 2015 winner, Pauline Curley from Tullamore was first female home in a new course record of 2hr 47m 23 - six seconds off her time from last year.

Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders) finished second in the female race in 2hrs 56m 19s and Claire McGuigan (3h 07m 16s) from Lifford-Strabane AC crossed the line in third.