Fresh from her European Cross Country championship win in December, Wicklow’s Fionnuala Britton set a new course record in the Tom Brennan Memorial 5k Race at the Phoenix Park on New Year’s Day, smashing her own women’s record by some 24 seconds and finishing in 8th place overall behind John Coghlan who led the 300 strong field home. Britton’s winning time was 16m 15 secs; she finished more than a minute ahead of second place Fiona Roche from Raheny AC.
She now moves on to Edinburgh this weekend where she will be the star attraction at the Edinburgh International Cross Country event.
Coghlan like Britton had much to celebrate as he dominated the race from the start and improved James Nolan’s 2006 record in the process. Coglan – son of former Irish and World record holder Eamonn, finished in an excellent 14 mins 34 seconds eclipsing Nolan’s previous time by some five seconds. Tallaght’s Anthony Lieghio, on holidays from the United States moved up in distance to outsprint1996 Olympian Shane Healy on the finishing straight.
The Tom Brennan Memorial Race, organised by the Liffey Valley Athletic Club , was the inaugural event of the OPW’s 350th Anniversary Celebrations of the opening of The Phoenix Park.
The Park was established in 1662 by one of Ireland’s most illustrious viceroy’s, James Butler, Duke of Ormond, on behalf of King Charles 11.
It consists of 707 hectares and is one of Europe’s largest enclosed recreational spaces – indeed larger than the combined city parks of London and more than twice the size of Central Park in New York.
The “park” as it is affectionately known by runners who have transversed its many trails provides them with unrivalled choices of diverse laps up to ten miles without retracing one’s steps.
A reminder that the Dublin Masters XC takes place on Sunday next, 8th January at St Annes Park in Raheny.