Kerry O’Flaherty continued her Olympic Year preparation with a victory in East Down AC’s Jimmy’s 10k in Downpatrick on Sunday morning. Spring-like conditions greeted the 821 runners at the East Down clubrooms as they signed in ready to do battle. The early pace was fast and O’Flaherty was accompanied by club mate Marty Melville as they passed the first km in 3:13 and then through 3k in 10:01 including the climb to do the short lap of Down Cathedral. Half distance was reached in 17:03 and a solid second half saw O’Flaherty winning the women’s race in 34:49.
Mourne AC’s Laura Graham winner of the winter’s Born 2 Run Forest Series was second in 36:13 ahead of O’Flaherty’s club mate Shalene McMurray in 3rd in 37:06 (an excellent personal best and inside 6 minutes per mile pace). Fast improving Ashlene McGeough was 22nd in another personal best of 43:01 taking 25 seconds off her time from the Carlingford 10k last weekend. Jacqui Barbour also had a great run to come home 40th in 46:45.
Marty Melville was 16th overall in a time of 34:39 a tantalising 2 seconds outside his best set at the Seeley Cup last November. He will no doubt make further progress this summer. David Steele had a solid run in 18th in 34:59 and young Zak Hanna was 26th in 36:31. Evergreen Damien Brannigan on the eve of his most stressful week of the year put all his injury problems behind him to record an excellent 39:44. Mark Keane smashed his personal best – hoping for a time inside 45 minutes, he came home in 43:35. Ciaran Og Mussen was just outside the top 200 in 44:43 and Stephen Knight broke the 50-minute barrier with 49:20.