Road Running

Quick cash Kenyans look set to skip Cork marathon as they dominate in Derry

A flock of Kenyans, and most recently Ugandans, have found nuggets of gold on the road racing scene in Ireland. Joining local clubs and staying for months at a time, they select races and hoover up cash prizes before heading back to the Rift Valley. They use the money to buy land and set up a farm or develop other business interests along with providing for their family.

It is an interesting time on the road racing scene and Freddy Kerron Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock) took first place at the Walled City Marathon in Derry in a time of 2:22:34 followed by Peter Somba in 2:25:26 and Greg Roberts in 2:25:38. Full results are on Precision Timing here

Lezan Kimutai (Athenry AC) is one of the travelling band, of essentially lower tier Kenyans, and he was due to run in the Irish Examiner Cork City marathon this bank holiday Monday which now looks unlikely after his 5th place finish in Derry in 2:43:55. In his younger, and leaner, days he won the 25th edition of the Dublin marathon in 2004 in a new course record of 2:13:07. Now a little older, and a little wider around the waist, he sports Barcelona football shorts as he traverses the roads to make an income.

Prize money for the winner of the Cork marathon is €1000 – decent prize money for a winning time that will be around the high 2:20 mark. The top rate Kenyans such as Eliud Kipchoge, who recently won the London marathon, would have roughly earned that amount for every kilometre he ran as he proved himself to be the world’s best marathon runner when he completed the 42.2km route at The Mall. But the Irish road racing scene still provides a worthwhile income and there has been an extra influx of Kenyans the last few summers.

Pauline Curley smashed her course record from the previous year with 2:43:37 in Cork last opted to run in Derry instead of bagging a hat-trick of titles Leeside. She won in Derry, and finished 7th overall, in 2:47:29. Selinah Kangogo was second in 3:01:28.

Poland’s Bartosz Mazerski denied Gary O’Hanlon’s (Clonliffe Harriers) brave attempt for a third marathon victory in 15 days in a sprint finish down St Patrick’s Street. It still remains to be seen whether Mazerski will return for a tilt at three victories on the trot – there is no official elite entry system.

In an exciting duel that went the full distance, Mazerski had more in the tank to prevail in 2:28:38 to O’Hanlon’s 2:28:45 as they sprinted over the bridge and into the finish on St Patrick’s Street after an enthralling 26 miles.

Domestic interest lies very much with the old guard. O’Hanlon’s manic marathon schedule has hit a halt since his victory at the Tralee International marathon on March 15th in 2:31:38 but Cillian O’Leary (Raheny Shamrock) and Barry Minnock (Rathfarnham) should mount a serious challenge.

O’Leary, 35, is a native of the Model Farm Road which forms part of the route and the secondary school teacher will be looking to improve on his 4th place finish from 2012 where he clocked 2:29:52. He is also coached by former Cork winner Jerry Kiernan.

Barry Minnock (Rathfarnham), who recently turned 40, has a personal best of 2:17:41 and the marathon stalwart will use this as a stepping stone for a tilt at the Olympic marathon standard of 2:17:00.

The women’s race looks wide open with the absence of Pauline Curley and could leave the door open for the evergreen Angela McCann (Clonmel), who won the race in 2012, and Mary Sweeney (St Finnbarr’s) to take the top honours.

Jumping The Gun will be on Patrick Street and will hope to tweet updates. The marathon starts at 9:00am sharp and the half marathon starts at 10:45am.

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Feidhlim Kelly

Feidhlim Kelly

Con Houlihan once told me that tomorrow is now. In taking on this venture I’ve started to try and put his words into action.

I worked for Con from 2007 till his passing in 2012 taking down his copy and a whole lot more. I have a Con Houlihan section which will go in to more depth on that.

I’m a long-time contributor to the Irish Runner magazine and am also working for the Irish Examiner.

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