Kipsang primed for tough test in Bangor
Triple Belfast half marathon champion Gideon Kipsang Kimosop will face Commonwealth Games marathon athlete Kevin Seaward in today's Bangor 10k race which has yet another huge entry - with in excess of 1,000 runners.
Last Sunday, 29-year-old Kipsang from Kenya was unchallenged in the Deep RiverRock half marathon where he enjoyed a three-minute plus winning margin against modest opposition.
Things may be a little different in Bangor where he will be defending last year's title against marathon maestro, Seaward of St Malachy's, who will be making one of his rare competitive appearances in the province.
Seaward (32), who now lives in Manchester, has enjoyed his most successful year yet.
He came an outstanding fourth in the Gold Coast Games marathon in April followed by an equally impressive 15th place for first Irish finisher in the European championships in Berlin last month.
On the Gold Coast, he defied 35C temperatures to run down the opposition in the closing stages and came within 18 seconds of a bronze medal.
In Berlin, he also fought 30C heat to surge up the field and eventually overtook team-mate Mick Clohissey who was 18th.
Maths teacher Seaward is determined to break his marathon personal best of just under 2 hrs 15 mins next spring, possibly in London.
However, as the Bangor distance may be a little short for Seaward, Kipsang remains favourite to retain his title.
He ran a personal best of 30 mins 3 secs last year, which is one of the fastest ever times over a difficult course. A strong men's field also includes Slieve Gullion's Paddy Hamilton who was runner-up a year ago. Paddy recently finished third in the Frank Duffy 10 miles in Dublin.
Also in the field are North Belfast's Mark McKinstry who was fourth last year and club mate Andrew Annett who is racing next week in the Commonwealth half marathon in Cardiff.
North Belfast's John Black and Paddy Brannagh of St Malachy's are also entered.
In the ladies event, last year's winner Laura Graham continues to recover from injury. This should pave the way for Beechmount's Gerri Short who won the Belfast half last week plus North Down pair Jessica Craig and Rachel Gibson.