Yet another title this weekend for Wicklow’s Fionnuala Britton who took the women’s title at Saturday’s Antrim International IAAF Cross Country event over the Greenmount course.
The recently crowned European Cross Country champion, completed the tough Greenmount course in 19:32, an impressive time for the 5.6 km run taking into consideration not only the heavy rain and strong winds but also the prevailing muddy conditions underfoot.
In many respects this was a repeat of the recent BUPA Edinburgh event when Britton was chased home by England’s Gemma Steel. As then the two raced ‘neck and neck’ for the majority of the race though the 27 years old Kilkoole AC athlete had some seven seconds to spare, having gradually pulled away from her main challenger during that final lap.
“It was tough, a lot tougher than Edinburgh I think,” she said later . “It was similar in one way because it was the two of us together, but that muck made it tough.
“There was a lot more running on the course in Edinburgh. Here there was a lot of ploughing through it.
“In Edinburgh I gradually pulled away ,from Gemma, where this time we ran together for a lot more of it, so it was tougher I suppose, mentally as much as anything.
“Both of us are aware of the fact that there are people behind us. I suppose both of us are similar in a way, so if we get away we know we only have each other to battle against, where if we sit back and let others run the race we don’t know what is going to happen.
“I struggled in Seville last week, so I needed it this week. I suppose after one good race you forget about it quickly. One not so good race plays on your mind for a lot longer. This would get rid of last week.”
Aoife Culhane finished 10th with a time of 21:14 with Breege Connolly posting 21:54 in 13th position
The men’s event (over 10.8km) was once more won by Kenya’s Mike Kigen in 34:48 – a race dominated by the Kenyans who finished 1-2-3-4 with England’s Frank Tickner coming home firth in 35:38. For the hosts, Joe McAllister finished 12th in a respectable 38:01 followed closely by Andrew Agnew in 38:11
IAAF Antrim International Cross Country, Antrim, Results:
Senior Men’s 10800m: 1 Mike Kigen (Ken) 34mins 48secs, 2 Patrick Mutunga (Ken) 35.16, 3 Bernard Rotich (Ken) 35.21, 4 Yirsaw Tegegne (Ken) 35.37, 5 Frank Tickner (Eng) 35.38, 6 Joseph Birech (Ken) 35.47, 7 Yetwale Kende (Eth) 35.49, 8 Jacob Cheshari (Ken) 36.56, 9 James Walsh (Eng) 36.57, 10 Murray Strain (Sco) 37.33, 11 Andrew Douglas (Sco) 37.48, 12 Joe McAllister (NIrl) 38.01, 13 Andrew Agnew (NIrl) 38.11, 14 James Trollop (Eng) 38.17, 15 Dean Lacy (Eng) 38.27, 16 Stephen Scullion (NIrl) 38.37, 19 Eddie McGinley (NIrl) 38.51, 20 Jarleth Falls (NIrl) 39.12
Senior Women’s 5600m: 1 Fionnuala Britton (Irl) 19mins 32secs, 2 Gemma Steel (Gbr) 19.39, 3 Birtuken Adamu (Eth) 19.54, 4 Mekdes Bekele (Eth) 20.11, 5 Mekasha Waganesh (Eth) 20.28, 6 Purity Kirui (Ken) 20.39, 7 Annabel Gummow (Gbr) 20.44, 8 Jane Potter (Gbr) 21.02, 9 Rosemary Smith (Sco) 21.03, 10 Aoife Culhane (NIrl) 21.14, 11 Clare Martin (Gbr) 21.21, 12 Rebekah Randell (Gbr) 21.44, 13 Breege Connolly (NIrl) 21.54, 16 Julie Turley (NIrl) 22.18, 17 Lauren Scott (NIrl) 22.23, 18 Cathy McCourt (NIrl) 22.35, 19 Patricia O’Hagan (NIrl) 22.44, 20 Sharon Bird (NIrl) 23.00