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Anne Marie McGlynn and Ben Branagh are targeting Ormeau Park joy

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Full stride: Anne Marie McGlynn will be out to defend her Ormeau crown. Credit: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Full stride: Anne Marie McGlynn will be out to defend her Ormeau crown. Credit: INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Full stride: Anne Marie McGlynn will be out to defend her Ormeau crown. Credit: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Letterkenny’s Anne Marie McGlynn and Ben Branagh of St Malachy’s start as favourites for tomorrow’s big Podium4Sport 10k Joe Seeley road race at Ormeau Park (2.30pm).

This race has an illustrious history since its inception in 1983 and has once again managed to attract the cream of Northern Ireland road racers with entries closed several weeks ago at a capacity of 1,000 due to Ormeau Park constraints.

There is increased interest this time as last year’s event was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Two years ago, McGlynn took five seconds off Teresa Duffy’s 1989 record with new figures of 33 minutes, 38 seconds.

There is every expectation that she will repeat her victory tomorrow and she will no doubt aim for another record.

The 41-year-old Strabane woman was disappointed earlier this year when she was a mere four seconds off her Tokyo Olympics qualification mark when setting a new Northern Ireland marathon record of 2.29.34.

The Irish international will be determined to press for another best time at Ormeau to add to her numerous NI records.

McGlynn’s opposition will include team-mate Nikita Burke, who was second in 2019, Sarah Lavery of Beechmount, Catherine Whoriskey of City of Derry Spartans and North Down’s Jessica Craig.

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North Down will be going for yet another team title.

The men’s event is much harder to predict with a fierce battle expected between defending champion Branagh of St Malachy’s and Annadale’s new star Eskander Turki, who just beat Branagh a week ago in the Malcolm Cup cross country.

The flat road surface at Ormeau may just give Branagh the edge over Turki with Lisburn AC’s Chris Madden, who was second two years ago, certain to be in the mix.

Annadale are favourites to take another team title with a classy line-up of Neil Johnston, Conall Kirk, who is returning from injury, plus Stephen Connolly and Owen Carlton, fourth and fifth respectively in the Malcolm.

Other athletes to the fore will be North Belfast’s Craig McMeechan, Mark McKinstry and Gavin McCaffrey.

Fell running international Zak Hanna plus Pat McNiff lead the Newcastle challenge.


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