Despite the inclement conditions at both venues the weekend Omagh and Cardiff half marathons proved rewarding for local runners with personal bests for Jackie McMonagle, Catherine Whoriskey and Scott Rankin on the back of focussed efforts.
Starting in Cardiff and the World Half Marathon championship race, the persistent wind and rain did the 20,000 field comprising world class, top club runners and the masses no favours whatsoever, but with the top four male finishers all breaking the hour barrier it genuinely was a quality race.
Catherine Whoriskey and Scott Rankin led their respective Northern Ireland squads in the Home Countries competition and despite the atrocious conditions both produced personal bests with impressive efforts.
Catherine placed 10th in the Home Counties section with a really gutsy 80m 09s clocking, a significant improvement on her half marathon debut in the local Waterside race last September and an indication that she could have a big future in distance running.
Rankin posted an excellent 68 minutes and 32 seconds, 16th in the men’s Home Countries pecking order and, like the female Spartan, the Foyle Valley star has decent times from 5K upwards, a good base to take his longer distance racing to a higher level.
Welsh athlete Charlotte Arter and Scotland’s Derek Hawkins led home the Home Countries finishers with 73 mins & 16 secs and 64 mins & 58 secs clockings. Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya won overall with a superb 59 mins & 10 secs, his countryman Bedhim Muchiri was second on 59 min & 36 secs, with Mo Farah grabbing third.