A windy Sunday with intermittent sunshine and showers saw almost 1100 finishers in the third staging of the SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon.
And new course record figures from individual winners, Kenyan Freddy Sittu and Tullamore Harrier Pauline Curley, highlighted another successful city wide 26.2 mile race.
Freddy Sittu was very impressive indeed in retaining his 2014 men’s title slashing over three minutes of last year’s winning time with a classy 2 hours, 22 minutes and 34 seconds winning time, a brilliant new course record after last year’s 2hrs 25m 47s.
Freddy got away from compatriot Peter Somba as they headed into the Bay Road Park circuit around 22 miles and went on to take the honours ahead of Somba’s 2hrs 25m 26s with a great effort from early leader Greg Roberts, netting the Spartan a decent pay cheque for his 2hrs 25m 38s third place finish.
Pauline Curley was always in control in the Women’s race and her winning 2hrs 47m 29s gave her an impressive win and new course record as she was well clear of Omagh based Kenyan, Selnah Kangogo’s 3hrs 01m 15s.
The Irish Olympic Marathoner, like Sittu, had won at the Limerick Marathon in early May and both improved on their clockings there.
North Belfast Harrier Collette McCourt won the SSE Airtricity 10 miler last month and on her Walled City Marathon debut she did well again with 3hrs 12m 48s for third place on Sunday.
Carndonagh man Karol Doherty won the Wheelchair race with 3hrs 04m 48s and Gary Slevin was the second local finisher, his 6th overall a good effort as he posted 2hrs 45m 01s.
Three Locals also made the top 10, James Crampsey 8th in 2hrs 49m 18s, Mark Long 2hrs 50m 50s for 9th and Mark Mullan 10th in 2hrs 52m 25s.
It was a terrific spectacle as, despite the mixed weather, the crowds turned out to support the runners all around the course with a massive crowd around the Guildhall Square finish roaring them home.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness were joined by representatives of commercial sponsors SSE Airtricity and the Mayor Cllr, Elisha McCallion to greet the runners on the finish line and present the major awards.
Three runners in the big field are worth mention for their amazing achievements over the classic 26.2 mile distance. American Richard “Rich” Holmes was completing his 500th marathon just a day after boxing off number 499 in Limerick; Englishmen Roger Biggs and Jack Brooks were completing their 805th and 373rd respectively. They have travelled the world in their marathon exploits and Roger and Jack did Derry last year and persuaded Rich to travel here for his landmark 500th - very well done guys!!