Britton pays for sluggish start

Fionnuala Britton had that familiar fourth feeling akin to the European cross country championships at a windswept Phoenix Park yesterday where Poland’s Iwona Lewandowska was a surprise winner at the Spar Great Ireland Run 10k in 33:39.

Britton pays for sluggish start

“It felt like the European cross again,” said Britton who had a sluggish start but managed to get herself back up to finish fourth in 33:54. Her French rival, Sophie Duarte, was second in 33:48 with Spain’s Alessandra Aguilar third in 33:49.

“I just didn’t feel good,” said the Kilcoole AC athlete, who ran 33:54 off her slow start where she dropped off the pace within the first six minutes. “I don’t know whether it was hanging around at the start. In the back of my mind, I knew it was going to be tough in the second half with the hills but I couldn’t leave that much of a gap.”

Lewandowska had built up a sizeable lead passing the halfway point in 16:10, with Duarte and Aguilar side by side and Britton ploughing a lonely furrow.

The teak tough Wicklow woman kept battling and was gaining ground right up until the finish but the damage was done.

“They were looking back but they were just watching each other,” said Britton of Duarte and Aguilar. “In the second half of the race, I wasn’t really out of it. It felt like the European cross again in the last kilometre. It was disappointing to finish fourth.

“It’s only April. It’s not the end of the world,” concluded Britton who will race over 10,000m on the track on May 10 in Highgate in London.

The national road 10k championships were run in conjunction with the event, with Britton crowned champion with Catherina McKiernan (Annalee) and Sarah Mulligan (DSD) having to negotiate a stray deer bolting across them mid-stride to finish second and third — they ran 35:03 and 35:20 respectively.

The men’s race was won comfortably by Kenya’s world cross country champion Japheth Korir in 29:12 with Great Britain’s Andy Vernon came second in 29:19 and Australia’s Michael Shelley third in 29:33.

Leevale’s Mark Hanrahan, recently returned from a training camp in Australia, was crowned national champion in 30:20.

Raheny Shamrock’s Mick Clohisey was second in 30:44 with Tallaght AC’s Tomas Fitzpatrick third in 30:47.

Paul Robinson came close to breaking the four-minute mile on Chesterfield Avenue when he won the men’s elite mile in 4:02 ahead of Donore’s John Travers (4:04) and Great Britain’s Ross Murray (4:06).

It was another exciting event with the weather the only uncontrollable factor as thousands of runners formed a human river through the park. Earlier in the day, Sonia O’Sullivan’s daughter, Sophie, won the junior 2.5km race ahead of Catherina McKiernan’s daughter, Deirbhile O’Reilly. A glimpse of the next generation.

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