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Russell and Emma lead the way with Titanic effort

 

By Brian Hill

Commonwealth Games triathlete Russell Whyte and international runner Emma Mitchell took the honours in yesterday's Titanic 10k as 1,300 competitors took advantage of fine weather to produce some fast times.

All eyes were on the expected battle in the Ladies race between QUB's Mitchell and London Marathon entrant Laura Graham. Neither athlete disappointed as they fought a tight battle for most of the race before Mitchell broke away in the final kilometre to record a superb time of 34 mins 12 secs which is one of the fastest on this course.

This placed her 12th overall with Mourne's Graham finishing in 34.31 which was just outside her Personal Best. Willowfield's Amy Bulman was third in 37.30.

Mitchell said: "The plan here was to win though I am also pleased with the time. My training is going well and I will now be concentrating on the track season. I already have the 10k standard for this year's World University Games in Thailand."

Graham indicated she was reasonably happy with her performance and accepted that her rival's track experience would be the key factor towards the end .

As the 31 year old's priority is the marathon she will be racing in London in two weeks to see how close she can get to the Commonwealth Games qualification mark of 2 hrs 40 mins. This is well within Laura's grasp as she took the Irish title last year in just under 2hrs 42 mins.

There was a surprise winner in the Men's event where Dromore's Russell Whyte threw down the gauntlet from the gun. He opened a 50 metres gap over the opposition after the first kilometre and the distance then doubled for much of the race.

The 24 year old crossed the line for victory in 31.46 with last year's 3rd finisher Chris Madden of Lisburn producing a furious sprint to snatch second with a time of 31.49, a mere three seconds ahead of previous winner Connor Duffy of Glaslough.

In Dublin, Newcastle's Kerry O'Flaherty took her second Irish 10k title behind winner Gemma Steel whose time was three seconds slower than Mitchell's Titanic run. Kerry last won the title in 2009 and will now be concentrating on the steeplechase for this summer's World Championships.

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