PRE-race favourite Mick Clohisey lived up to his high expectations as the Dubliner claimed top spot in the 34th staging of the Waterside Half Marathon.
The Raheny Shamrocks athlete - a top class Irish road and cross country exponent who is seeking an Olympic qualification time for the full marathon in Rio next year - finished ahead of clubmate, Freddy Sittuk in 65.08mins.
Clohisey insists it was the perfect warm-up for the Berlin Marathon in three weeks time and promised he would be returning to defend his title next year.
“It was a solid run,” he said. “I’m doing the Berlin Marathon in three weeks time so I needed a good blow-out and it was a challenging course.
“It’s the first time I’ve raced up here,” he continued. “The first half there was a few hills but you need that - it makes it tough and honest so it was good. And I will definitely be back up.”
City of Derry Spartans’ Declan Reed, who finished as runner-up in the previous two Waterside half marathons, took third spot in 69.28mins.
“I deliberately went out off the pace with the first three and sat back and tried to run an even paced race the whole way and that’s the way it worked out,” said Reed.
“I caught Scott (Rankin) around the eight mile mark and he suffered for the early pace I think and I just kept it steady after that. I’m going to Berlin now in three weeks so I just hope I didn’t run too quick.
“I felt fairly comfortable and I’m happy enough. It’s a decent time going into Berlin - I just hope I didn’t burn myself out,” he laughed.
Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin (4th), Pius McIntyre (5th) and Chris McGuinness (6th) were the next across the line to cap a fantastic day for the purple vests.
It’s the first time I’ve raced up here. The first half there was a few hills but you need that - it makes it tough and honest so it was good. And I will definitely be back up.Mick Clohisey
Whoriskey takes top female prize
And City of Derry Spartans Catherine Whoriskey took the female honours with a fantastic time of 83.05mins as she became the first ever female winner from the city, following up her excellent sub 37m Dessie’s 10k Run victory from last week.
Also tipped to claim the top honours pre-race, she said she was trying not to let the pressure get to her.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” she said. I was trying not to let the pressure of being favourite bother me all week and just see how I got on on the day.
“All the hard work with my trainer, Dara Furey has paid off and I couldn’t be happier.”
She finished ahead of her club mate, Jackie McMonagle, who posted 92.09. Helen Bateson, from Limavady, came third in 93.01.
Meanwhile, Karl Doherty made it back-to-back wins in the wheelchair race with a time of 78.34.
Just over 1,700 runners took part in the main event - the 13.1 mile run which started from Ebrington Square and made its way back to the St Columb’s Park running track via the Foyle and Peace bridges with hundreds of spectators lining the route in support.
See Tuesday’s ‘Journal’ for further coverage