Belfast Telegraph

Seaward joins ranks of NI fastest with his top time

 

By Brian Hill

Commonwealth Games ­marathon fourth placer Kevin Seaward finished a superb fifth from 20,000 competitors in yesterday's Great South 10 miles in Portsmouth.

His time of 48 mins 41 secs is one of the fastest ever by a NI athlete and takes one and a half minutes off his previous best time.

In the big cross country meeting in Dublin Armagh's Fionnuala Ross continued her vintage form with a third place finish behind defending champion ­Shona Heslip. The 27 year old Scottish Half Marathon champion is aiming to gain Irish selection for the Euro Championships in December.

Meanwhile, Newcastle's Shaleen McMurray and North Belfast's Mark McKinstry were convincing winners in the Comber Cup which marked the opening event of the nine-event ­Winter Cross Country League.

This well organised Ballydrain Harriers fixture took place at the Billy Neill Playing Fields which will be the location for next year's International Cross Country, which has moved from Greenmount.

In the well-supported Ladies event, 39-year-old McMurray wasted little time in taking advantage of the firm conditions to forge ahead from the gun with only North Down's Sarah Grant for company after the first lap.

After that the 2016 NI Senior champion and mountain running specialist pulled well clear and enjoyed a 30 second winning margin at the finish. Grant was second ahead of Dromore's Laura Bickerstaff.

Willowfield's ­Jennifer Hamilton was 4th followed by North Down's Katie Moore.

In the Men's 8 K event the ever consistent M'Kinstry was determined to make amends for his third place finish last year behind winner Neil Johnston.

Former double winner McKinstry had English visitor Sinn Johnston of North Down for company on the first two laps.

Thereafter the North Belfast man broke well clear and had a 30 secs victory margin over Johnston at the finish.

McKinstry's team mate John Black was an isolated third.

Next was Springwell's Simon Stewart who just overtook Acorns Gerry Heaney with North's Eamon White completing the top six.

A delighted Mark commented on his hat trick of victories: "I am really happy with that.

"This was a real test for me in preparation for the Masters International in Swansea in mid November.

"I have been training a lot on grass and the hilly Swansea course should suit me," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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