STEPHEN Scullion, Anne-Marie McGlynn, Marty Cox, Sorcha Mullan, Paul Hanna and Nathan Dixon may have proved the stars of the show at the 29th Spar Omagh Half Marathon on Saturday, but the event itself, which attracted over 3,000 participants also shone on the day.
The thousands of runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes swarmed around the streets of Omagh as a carnival atmosphere swept them along, many claiming personal bests, while most savoured the unbeatable sense of achievement in completing the 13.1 miles.
While most in the field were either trying to better their last attempt at the distance, or complete it for the first time, the elite athletes in the field were hoping for victory, but in the end the sextet mentioned in the first paragraph proved the chosen few.
Clonliffe Harriers’ Scullion took the overall half marathon victory in a time of 1:07.01, beating second placed Declan Reed by almost a minute, while Gregory Roberst was almost four minutes further behind.
While Scullion’s victory was fairly emphatic, his was seen as a close finish in comparison to the ladies race, which was totally dominated by McGlynn, who was representing Letterkenny AC.
The Strabane woman came home 10th overall in a ladies courser record time of 1:14.28, which was in and around her target time of sub-75 minutes, but her nearest rival, Nakita Burke was almost seven minutes behind in 1:21.17 in 33rd position, with Gerrie Short the third woman home in 1:24.56.
“I was hoping to go for the [course] record, but I knew the course wasn’t going to be fast,” explained a delighted McGlynn.
“I knew if I was on it I could get under the 74.5 mark, so it was a good day.
“On a fast course like Reading I’d be looking for a sub 74 time, but on that course you’d never get near a 73 high, it’s so hard and hilly, the hills are constant, they just didn’t stop.
“The conditions were perfect, though, they couldn’t have been better and every day you do a PB you’re happy!”
Hanna, meanwhile, claimed a dominant victory in the wheelchair race, finishing in a time of 1:03.47, with Karol Doherty some way behind in second place in a time of 1:19.14.
The half marathon walk was won by Nathan Dixon in 1:56.00, with Eimear Fox second in 1:57.35 and Jack Law third in 2:07.14.
Alongside the half marathon, the 5K took place with Cox and Mullen reigning supreme.
Carmen Runner, Cox, took a commanding win overall, finishing in an impressive time of 15:48 minues, ahead of team-mate, Michael Kerr, who was third in 17:22, while Mattie Neill came home in second in 16:35.
Loreto Grammar School starlet, Mullan claimed victory in the ladies race, finishing in 19:21, ahead of Paula Donnelly and Natasha Kelly, who were second and third respectively in 19:48 and 19:58 minutes.
FOR FULL COVERAGE OF THE EVENT, SEE MONDAY’S TYRONE HERALD AND TODAY’S ULSTER HERALD
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