Belfast Telegraph

Mitchell smashes record en route to victory for Queens

 

By Brian Hill

Commonwealth Games bound long distance star Emma Mitchell made light work of the opposition with a record-breaking run in the weekend's NI Relay Championships at Belfast's Victoria Park.

The superbly organised event, hosted by Orangegrove Athletics Club, attracted another record entry of 179 teams .

In the three-lap Senior Women's event, Rio Olympian Kerry O'Flaherty, of Newcastle AC, showed her rivals a clear pair of heels on the first leg when she broke her own record by one second with a time of 10 minutes 47 seconds.

However, this time was obliterated shortly afterwards by 24-year-old QUB student Mitchell who took the baton on the final leg with a handsome lead, courtesy of team-mates Yasmin Wilson and Sinead Sweeney.

Emma was clearly keen to impress in her first local race since her seventh place in the summer's World University Games 5,000 metres. The trainee teacher tore round the flat, fast course to romp home for an easy Queen's victory in 34 mins 37 secs, which was just seven seconds short of the record. Emma's time of 10.31 was a massive 16 seconds faster than Kerry's earlier record.

The Province's top long distance athlete said: "I am pleased with that, especially as I haven't eased off from my current hard training schedule which includes gym work. I only took a few days off after the University Games and now plan a few indoor races at the end of the year. I may race in the Joe Seeley 10k."

The Letterkenny took team silver in 35.15 followed by North Down (36.38 ).

The Senior Men's four-leg event was the closest of the day with nothing separating Newcastle and City of Derry Spartans as they entered the last lap with North Belfast closing rapidly.

Earlier Springwell's Neil Johnston had taken the honours in the highly competitive first leg in 9 mins 29 secs. This time was the second fastest of the day to Derry's Gideon Kipsang who later ran 9.27.

It was close between Newcastle and City of Derry for the entire race with North's Mark McKinstry making valiant efforts to catch the leaders in the last mile. He almost succeeded but a determined Zac Hanna of Newcastle took the win in a very fast 39.46.

Laganside winner McKinstry was three seconds back, followed by City Of Derry (40.04).

The Men's Masters event was won by defending champions Acorns in 43.15 who had the assistance of the fastest leg runner Glenn Donnelly (10.32). They were closely followed by Annadale (43.22) and Willowfield (44.02).

In the Women's Masters, Lisburn AC secured a hat-trick of victories with an easy win in 36.24, helped by fastest leg runner Kelly Neely (11.32). Lagan Valley were a distant second in 37.48, followed by Beechmount (37.58).

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