DTC’s Gideon Kimosop made it a second victory in as many years at the Bangor 10K which this year carried Northern Ireland & Ulster championships status. But the Kenyan did not have it all his own way with Commonwealth Games star Kevin Seaward pushing him all the way to the finish line as both men shared the same 30 minutes and 21 seconds timing.
Jessica Craig was the first woman home in 36:44 leading the host club North Down to the ladies’ team title while North Belfast Harriers were the leading men’s outfit. Almost 1000 runners took to the relatively tough seaside course in cold and breezy conditions.
Kimosop took the lead from the gun with a sizeable bunch, including Seaward, Ben Bradagh, defending champion Scott Rankin and Mark McKinstry, giving chase. But it was soon down to just the Kenyan and Seaward who finished fourth in this year’s Commonwealth Games marathon.
Kimisop visibly slowed the pace on a number of occasions to force Seaward into the lead but Loughborough-based teacher refused to take the bait. The two men were still locked in combat on the climb after the nine kilometre marker but it was the subsistence farmer from the Rift Valley who found a crucial acceleration on the homestraight to see him home by less than a metre.
City of Derry Spartan Declan Reed proved the best of the rest to take third in a very credible 30:57, with McKinstry (31:15) in fourth laying the foundations for a comfortable North Belfast team victory. Defending champion Scott Rankin (31:57) was fifth ahead of Ben Bradagh (32:01) in sixth.
Conan McCaughey (7th/32:04), John Black (9th/32:46) and Philip Goss (17th/33:56) completed the Stags scoring quartet with Victoria Park & Connswater and Acorns AC taking the silver and bronze team medals respectively.
Jessica Craig may have raced lightly this summer but she showed she had lost none of her sharpness as she saw off the challenge of North Belfast Harrier Gladys Ganiel (37:13) by almost half a minute. Dromore’s Laura Bickerstaff (38:03) filled the minor podium place ahead of Beechmount Harrier duo Sarah Lavery (38:55) and Gerrie Short (39:04), who showed no after-effects of her victory in the Belfast Half Marathon the previous weekend.
The other scorers in the victorious North Down women’s team were Sarah Grant (6th/39:17), Jodi Smith (9th/40:09) and Clair Quigley (17th/42:25). Beechmount and Ballydrain were second and third in a competitive women’s team competition.