New Gransha course for tonight’s ‘Dessie’s Run’

Catherine Whoriskey will be one of the favourites for the  Womens race at Tuesday night' Dessie's Run. DER3714-159KM
Catherine Whoriskey will be one of the favourites for the Womens race at Tuesday night' Dessie's Run. DER3714-159KM

The second Donegal Marathon and Half Marathon attracted around 600 runners to a wet Letterkenny on Sunday morning as Freddy Sittuk and Natasha Adams claimed the Half Marathon honours with Kildare man Mark Doyle and Kerry woman Margaret Carlin the overall Marathon winners.

Ceilbridge based Doyle finished on 2hrs 38m and was chased home by Ciaran McGonagle on 2hrs 42m with Bangor runner Mark Walker claiming third place on 2hrs 58m.

Carlin ran 3hrs 28m for a comfortable win in the Women’s race while in the Men’s race there was a good run from Foyle Valley’s Dara McNulty, fifth in 3hrs and 10 seconds, agonisingly close to busting the much coveted three hour barrier.

Freddy Sittuk continued his Irish tour with a 69m 51s winning effort in the Half Marathon and may well be in the North West again this weekend for the Waterside Half Marathon, celebrating its 34th edition with a return to its original base in St. Columb’s Park. The Kenyan was all alone up front but behind him was the trio of Natasha Adams, Connor Bradley and Danny Mooney.

All are Theresa McDaid coached athletes and clearly the two men were there to pace Adams to a fast time. That they did as the Strabane based Letterkenny AC athlete broke the tape in an impressive 76m 33s, second overall and the leading woman by the proverbial ‘country mile’.

Bradley posted the same time with Mooney third, a second behind, and they joined Sittuk on the Men’s race podium. Behind Adams, the next women home were Donegal pair, Sheila Regan and Marie Boyle on 92m 55s and 96m 20s respectively.

Dessie’s Run set for tonight

Organisers will be hoping the weather this evening as the local race action, kicks off in Gransha where a new course awaits the field at the annual Dessie’s Run, one of the best 10K road races around these parts.

The organisers at City of Derry Spartans, former club captain Dessie McNulty, report a massive pre-entry for the popular race. The online entry process closed on Monday but entries will be taken on Tuesday evening from 5.30pm to 7.00pm at race HQ in Gransha, the U3A Foyle building.

The race has a 7.15pm start time and the start/finish line is located right beside the U3A car park. An initial three lap internal Gransha circuit will boost the spectators appreciation of the action before the runners exit onto the out and back section along the Greenway between Gransha and St. Columb’s Park. The final 500m or so are back in the Gransha grounds and should provide some exciting action at the end of the 10K distance, which was officially certified by the ANI Course Measurer, John Glover, last week.

Last year’s Mens winner, Scott Rankin, will be there to defend his title and will face, among others, Declan Reed, who is building towards the Berlin Marathon in mid-September with Dessie’s Run and the Waterside Half on September 6th targets along the way. Scott was well under 32 minutes last year after a titanic battle with Greg Roberts, who may also see action again tomorrow and the new course hopefully will permit more quick times all round. Will Connor Bradley be tempted to give it a go?

Anne Marie McGlynn ran sub 36 minutes for the 2014 Womens win. She is not confirmed as yet for this year but third placed Catherine Whoriskey is entered and, in a rich vein of form, the Spartan will be confident of improving on her sub 40 minutes clocking from last year. She has reduced her 5K PB to the low 17 minutes over the summer and would expect a serious chunk off her 10K best this week.