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Kimosop, Jemutai in superb double at Belfast Half Marathon

By Brian Hill

Omagh coach Ciaran Collins was in celebratory mood at Ormeau Park, his Kenyan athletes producing classy record-breaking performances to dominate the third Asics Belfast Half Marathon, Gideon Kimosop and Mercy Jemutai winning the men’s and women’s races respectively.

The 3,500 participants took full advantage of the flat course and perfect weather conditions to produce numerous personal best times in an event that incorporated the NI Championships.

Pre-race favourite Kimosop, who was second in this year’s Belfast Marathon, wasted little time setting a fast pace.

After two miles he was in a group comprising fellow Kenyan Dan Tanui plus Newry’s Paddy Hamilton and Brendan Teer from East Down.

With 150 metres remaining the two Africans embarked on a ferocious sprint with Kimosop just getting the verdict on the line from Tanui by the proverbial hair’s breadth.

Both runners were given the same time of 64 mins 24 secs which took two and a half minutes off Stephen Scullion’s winning time from two years ago.

Hamilton was an isolated third in 69.12 with Teer fourth in 70.38. The top six were completed by North Belfast’s Mark McKinstry (71.56) and Declan Power of Clonliffe (72.23).

Kimosop said: “That was fantastic. This was a PB for me which is good as I am running the Cardiff Half Marathon soon followed by the Dublin Marathon.”

In the ladies event Kenyan pair Jemutai and Roisina Gibionia took command from the start.

Jemutai, who has a classy PB time of 71 minutes, crossed the line to take a decisive victory in 73 mins 36 secs which placed her an impressive 9th overall. Gibionia was second in 73.57. 

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