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Veteran Olympian Catriona Jennings is out to seal Rio place with Belfast success

By Brian Hill

Irish Olympian Catriona Jennings is the latest big name to be added to Monday's 35th Deep RiverRock Belfast Marathon (9am, City Hall.)

The 35-year-old is a late entry following her race in Rotterdam less than three weeks ago, where she recorded a time of two hours, 44 minutes.

She has a PB of 2.36.00 but it is unlikely that she will be able to match this time over the difficult Belfast course, although if she succeeds she will oust north Belfast's Breege Connolly from the third Irish slot for the Rio Olympics.

Jennings should be able to make a rostrum position on Monday, albeit behind overwhelming favourite and defending champion Berhan Gebremichael, who has never lost a marathon. The Ethiopian enjoyed a 10-minute victory margin last year to finish eighth overall.

This year's result is likely to be similar, especially after her huge PB win of 2.36.31 in the Castellon Marathon in December. Berhan has said she would like to beat the course record in Belfast, although the windy conditions which are forecast make her bid something of a long shot.

Other names in contention include Katalin Garami of Hungary, who was third last year, team-mate Helen Csonge, Fantu Jifar of Ethiopia, Amy van den Broek of the Netherlands and England's Shona Crombie-Hicks. North Belfast's Roisin Hughes, who was fifth in 2013, is also racing.

In the Men's race, Kenya's Joel Kipsang will be trying to emulate the great John Mutai in achieving a hat-trick of victories in Belfast. The 29-year-old had a one-minute victory margin last year over Gideon Kimosop .

Kenyans Daniel Tanui and Eric Koech are sure to challenge along with new 19-year-old star Zeleke Bekele of Ethiopia. Also racing are Hungary's Tamas Nagy and Morocco's Mustaffi Channi, who were second and fifth respectively last year.

Belfast Telegraph


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