17 September 2017
Gideon Kipsang and Catriona Jennings both scored comfortable victories in yesterday’s 5th Deep RiverRock Belfast Marathon held in perfect running conditions. A record field of 3500 entered the event causing slight congestion problems at the start on Ormeau Embankment.
That did not deter home favourite Stephen Scullion from making a flying start. The former North Belfast Harrier, now Clonliffe Harrier, soon broke up the field with only Kenyan Gideon Kipsang for company as the leaders returned past Ormeau Park after three and a half miles.
Sixty metres behind the leading pair, another Kenyan and 2016 winner Freddy Sittuk appeared to have decided that discretion was the greater part of valour in settling for third spot. Some distance behind the local posse headed by John Black, Pierce McCullagh and Kyle Doherty fought for top ten places.
Letterkenny’s marathon Olympian Catriona Jennings already had a massive lead in the women’s race with provincial Masters’ cross country champion Amy Bulman in second enjoying an equally decisive advantage over Sarah-Jane Guiney in the bronze spot.
Little was changed in the men’s race at the seven mile mark except Kipsang (34:43) had now eked out a 20 seconds lead over Scullion with Sittuk a further minute back in third and Black still working hard in fourth.
Although Jennings was still out in front in the women’s race, it was all change behind her with Bulman pulling out after complaining of not feeling well. Meanwhile Judith Lonnen and Ciara Toner were making visible improvement further down the field as Guiney started to slip back.
As an expectant crowd awaited the arrival of the winner back in Ormeau Park, it was wheelchair athlete Jim Corbett who was first to appear with a Kipsang hot on his heels. The Derry Track Club runner broke the tape in 64:38, that was 14 seconds outside his own race record set two years earlier when it took a photo to split himself and compatriot Dan Tanui.
“We went through 10K in 30minutes and I went away after that,” said Kipsang. “I was looking at my watch after that to make sure I didn’t go too fast. It’s a great course and a great race.”
Scullion occupied the runner-up spot in 66:12 ahead of Sittuk (70:06) who returns to Kenya today but will come back to Ireland for next month’s Dublin City Marathon. Northern Ireland champion at the distance John Black (71:52) took fourth ahead of Kyle Doherty (72:02) with Pierce McCullagh (73:25) completing the top half dozen.
Catriona Jennings had an untroubled passage back to the park to win the women’s race in a new course record of 75:38. Judith Lonnen showed extensive reserves of energy to come through to snatch second in 83:25, ahead of Ciara Toner (83:33) with the brave Sarah-Jane Guiney (84:11) deserving better than fourth.
“It was comfortable all the way,” said Dublin-based Jennings. “There was no pressure at any time which is why I’m surprised to have run so fast.”
15 September 2017
Memorial 5K – Gransha
The small contingent of DTC athletes made their presence felt at the well organised Memorial 5K. The club’s professional Gideon Kipsang scored a comfortable victory in 15:33. Lisa McLaughlin had an excellent result to finish second female overall while Sean McIntyre was top Junior man. Ben Mellon also showed good form in another improving performance.