Belfast Telegraph

Walled City Marathon: Sittuk hits the wall but finishes out on his own

By Brian Hill

Belfast Marathon winner Freddy Sittuk confirmed his pre-race favourite tag in yesterday's SSE Derry Walled City Marathon when he crushed the opposition with a 16 minutes victory margin.

Prior to the race there was some speculation that Sittuk could be suffering from race fatigue following his narrow hard-fought victory last week in the Newry Half Marathon but, hailing from the Rift Valley in Kenya he follows in a long line of classy Kenyans with a personal best time of under 2hrs 15 mins.

In Derry, with more than 2,000 runners trailing in his wake, he showed from the gun he was carrying on this tradition and went through the halfway stage in an impressive 69 mins 34 secs time.

But he couldn't keep up the early pace and, in what turned out to be a solo run, crossed the line a frustrating 44 secs outside the 2 hrs 25 mins required for an additional £1,000 bonus prize.

Pauric McKinney of Inishowen went one better than last year to secure silver in 2.41.31 with City of Derry's James Crampsey third in 2:43.45. They were followed hom by Foyle Valley's Chris McGuinness, Rosses Ciaran McGonagle and Inishowen's Benny Mullan.

Afterwards, Sittuk declared himself happy with his performance, particularly as he had to run the entire distance on his own.

He claimed to be suffering no ill effects from either his Newry victory or his Belfast Marathon and he intends to be back next year to defend his title, which he regarded as the highlight of his career.

In the Women's event, there was a significant improvement on last year's standards with the winner breaking the highly sought-after sub-3 hours time. Donore's Ann Curley won in 2 hrs 57 mins 50 secs for an impressive 14th place overall.

In the early stages of the race she had the company of City of Derry's Marina Campbell who was only 45 secs in arrears at the half way mark which was covered in 88 mins 27 secs.

While Curley speeded up Campbell finished in a respectable 3:08.17. Bronze went to Lifford's Clare McGuigan who was thrilled with her first ever marathon time of 3.11.10. The top six were completed by Fran McFadden of Springwell, Sandra McKeever of Foyle Valley and Nicola Frizelle of Springwell.

City of Derry's Christy McGonagle set an over-70 record of 3.27.42.

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