Stroll in the park as Mark Christie doubles up

Mark Christie won the Great Ireland Run in 29:30 in the Phoenix Park yesterday and also secured the national 10km title.

Stroll in the park as Mark Christie doubles up

Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole) was a late withdrawal overnight due to a lingering hip injury which left England’s Gemma Steel in to take victory in the women’s race in 34:15.

The Wicklow woman was the headline act for the event but it didn’t knock the wind out of the sails with thousands of runners in the park and an Irish team which still had some depth in the international match-up against England.

And it was Christie who stepped up to the plate after some indifferent form in 2017. “I’ve had a real up and down spell since Christmas,” said the Mullingar Harrier afterwards. “I dropped out of the Reading half marathon and I was in terrible form. It could have gone either way. I know how to race a 10k. I wasn’t sure what pace we were doing. I went a bit earlier than usual to test the waters.”

The showing left Christie ‘pleasantly surprised’ as he looks to build up for an autumn marathon. England’s Graham Rush was second overall in 29:41 with Raheny Shamrock’s Mick Clohisey third in 29:44.

It won the Raheny man the silver medal in the national 10km, which was also part of the event, and he will run the London marathon in two weeks. Clonliffe Harriers’ Sergiu Ciobanu rounded out the national podium winning bronze in 30:20.

Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle) took up the reigns for the Irish women’s team in the absence of McCormack and she put in a gritty performance to finish third overall while also bagging her second national 10km road title which she last won in 2009.

Leevale’s Claire McCarthy was second in the national championship race in 34:47. DSD’ Laura Shaughnessy won national bronze in 35:04.

The men’s and women’s Irish teams combined to beat England for the Sean Kyle Cup.

Meanwhile, at the Irish University Championships in CIT, Thomas Barr (UL) was the star of the show, winning the 400m hurdles in 50.92 seconds. The Waterford man also anchored the UL 4x400m team to victory in 3:17.16.

Marcus Lawler was another in flying form winning the 200m in 21.01 while also helping IT Carlow to gold in the 4x100m relay in record time in 41.62. Blarney/Inniscara’s Brandon Arrey had to settle for silver in the 400m with a swift 47.87 behind Ben Maze (QUB) winning in 47.61.

Phil Healy (UCC) impressed to win the women’s 400m 53.98. Limerick’s Jenna Bromell (UL) showed class in the women’s 800m to dominate in 2:10.02 leaving Louise Shanahan (UCC) in second in 2:14.90. Shona Heaslip (IT Tralee) soloed the women’s 5,000m in 16:11.74 which was narrowly outside the World University Games qualifying time.

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