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Hodgkinson dominates and writes name in record books

 

Strong showing: Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack
Strong showing: Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack

By Brian Hill

English athletes dominated yesterday's big Titanic 10k where some 1,000 competitors took advantage of the sunny weather and benign wind conditions.

The inclusion of the event as part of the UK Inter Area Road Race Series ensured a series of high quality times and saw a course record in the women's race.

The late withdrawals of Laura Graham and Anne Marie McGlynn made little difference to a rampant Danielle Hodgkinson representing the North of England. She stormed to a clear victory in a record time of 33 minutes 43 seconds - a huge 30 seconds off her previous best.

The recent Inter Services silver medallist said: "I am really happy with that, I found the course suited me especially as there wasn't much wind. I have enjoyed this trip and intend to come back."

Double Scottish Half Marathon champion Fionnuala Ross took silver in a time of 34.14 for overall 26th. The Armagh woman said she was happy enough with her performance in her first 10k of the season.

Northern Ireland's Nakita Burke was another satisfied athlete when she got bronze in a time of 34.35, slicing nearly two minutes off her previous best.

Next came an England trio of Eleanor Bolton (35.03) ,Carla Davies (35.39) and Olivia Stones (36.14 ). NI's Rachel Gibson who was third last year finished seventh in 36.45.

The top 10 were completed by Birchfield's Jessie Lutwyche (37.35), Faith Taylor of Erne (37.36) and Roanna Vickers of Birchfield (37.47) .

Personal best times were also the order of the day in the men's race where the North of England pair Ollie Lockley and Dejene Gezimu fought a race-long battle before Lockley just got the verdict by one second in an impressive 29.59 - 13 seconds faster than his previous best. Bronze went to England's James Bellward in a PB of 30.39.

Ollie commented: "Oddly enough I didn't feel great for much of the race and only felt good in the last kilometre. I knew I was in good shape after getting a recent PB in the Reading Half. I am of course really pleased though I found the course hard."

In fourth place was England's Daniel Bebbington in 30.47 just two seconds ahead of City of Lisburn's Chris Madden.

The ever-consistent Madden has two runner-up spots in this event and was delighted with his time of 30.49 which is his fastest by some 25 seconds. UK Masters cross country champion Mark McKinstry was sixth in 30.58.

Meanwhile, in the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, Ireland's Fionnuala McCormack finished an outstanding 18th which is the fourth occasion she has finished in the teens.

The 34-year-old was second European finisher in a race won by Kenya's Helen Obiri who also holds the world indoor 3,000 and outdoor 5,000 metres titles.

Ireland's Sean Tobin was 61st in the men's event.

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