Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Branagh pips McKinstry at Ormeau Park

 

By Brian Hill

Ben Branagh of St Malachy's and Letterkenny's Nakita Burke took the honours in the 900-strong Podium4Sport Joe Seeley 10k at Ormeau Park which was favoured with perfect conditions.

Pre-race speculation on this high quality event centred on whether North Belfast's Mark McKinstry could continue his superb form following his emphatic recent British Masters cross country win. And the 35-year-old did not disappoint when he made a decisive break after two miles which was only covered by Branagh.

Branagh and McKinstry remained locked together until the 8k mark when the St Malachy's man broke away to romp home for victory in a fast time of 30 minutes 29 seconds with McKinstry some nine seconds in arrears.

These two were a long way ahead of Madden (31.16), a fast finishing Connall Kirk of Annadale (31.22), North's Conan McCaughey (31.25) and McCartan (31.26).

Branagh, who has won the Laganside and Carrick 10ks, this year said: "I am happy with that, though I admit I just sat behind Mark for most of the race. This is good preparation for the track next year where I want to improve my 5,000 metres times."

McKinstry had the consolation of helping his club to the team prize with 153 points from Acorns (167) .

In the women's race, Nakita Burke dominated from the gun and stormed home for an easy victory in a PB time of 34.57.

North Down's Jessica Craig gained a lot of ground in the closing stages for a PB of 35.36 not far ahead of Letterkenny Olympian Catriona Jennings (35.43). She was almost caught by QUB's Sinead Sweeney (35.44) with Springwell's Ciara Toner (36.30) and Sarah Grant of North Down (36.42) completing the top six.

Bangor were comfortable team winners with 17 points.

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