Belfast Telegraph

Kipsang keeps his title following photo finish

 

By David McKibbin

Gideon Kipsang retained his title in the Bangor Classic 10k road race in a photo finish after a dramatic duel with Commonwealth Marathon fourth placer Kevin Seaward.

The event, promoted by North Down AC and Ards and North Down Council with support from Belfast City Airport, included the Northern Ireland and Ulster Championships and attracted 1,100 runners in cool but perfect conditions.

From the gun, Derry-based Kipsang, fresh from his victory in the Belfast Half Marathon, hit the front. Seaward was quick to react along with Ben Branagh, defending 10k champion Scott Rankin, Mark McKinstry and Declan Reed.

At half distance it was Kipsang, Seaward and Branagh together, with McKinstry and Reed four seconds down followed by Rankin.

The leading pair fought it out all the way on the return from Groomsport.

They entered the finishing straight in Ward Park still together with Seaward looking strong, but Kipsang produced a powerful final sprint to win as both recorded the same time.

Cross country champion Reed came through strongly to take third from McKinstry, Rankin and Branagh.

The Northern Ireland and Ulster title went to Seaward ahead of Reed and McKinstry.

Jessica Craig from the promoting club - second on two of the last three years - made no mistake this time in the women's race. She came home to a rapturous reception from the big crowd to win by 29 seconds from Gladys Ganiel.

Laura Bickerstaff was a good third and completed the championship rostrum. Beechmount pair Sarah Lavery and Gerrie Short followed with Sarah Grant making up the top six.

North Belfast led by McKinstry took the men's team honours from Victoria Park and Connswater with North Down won the ladies' ahead of Beechmount.

Belfast Telegraph

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