Stephen Scullion and Maria McCambridge retained their titles in the 28th Greencastle 5 Miles Road Race in County Tyrone with majestic displays of running.
The event attracted 800 athletes in cold but excellent conditions and with 200 plus in the walk there were over 1,000 in action.
Scullion, just back from the European Cross Country Championships, went straight into the lead. He was chased hard by Keith Shiels, John Lenihan, Conan McGaughey, Paul Barbour and Brendan Murphy but soon opened a gap.
As they came to three miles it was Scullion on his own followed by Shiels and McGaughey and the holder completed the big climb at four miles before coming down to the finish for a popular victory in 25:09.
Waterside winner Shiels came second just over a minute behind with novice champion McGaughey having his best result in third. Lenihan, Barbour and Murphy completed the top half dozen.
Maria McCambridge, the Dublin Marathon winner and also just back from the European Cross Country, was simply superb as she blasted round the course with only eight men ahead of her.
The former Olympian was in supreme isolation as she crossed the line in 28:25 just seven seconds off her own record set last year. This incredibly was her sixth victory in the last seven years.
Cathy McCourt and Heather Foley had a great battle for second interchanging places before Cathy clinched it by just seven seconds. Denise Toner and Marie McGillen were next.
Meanwhile, there is a massive entry of over 300 teams for Saturday’s Castlewellan Cracker 8 Miles Race held on a variety of surfaces mainly round the Forest Park.
The race won last year by East Down’s Brendan Teer and Liam Venney is unique in that the runners compete in pairs with the second in each group recording the official time.
There are prizes for all male pairings, ladies, mixed and veteran groups plus specific awards for the best fancy dress.
The promoting Newcastle Club looks strong with Ian Bailey and David Steele, David O’Flaherty and David McNeely, Deon and Sam McNeely with Eamon McMahon and Damien Hughes of North East and Justin Maxwell and Ian Brown from East Coast also worth watching.
Hazel and Eamon McLaughlin of Lagan Valley and Ryan and Catherine Maxwell of East Coast will go well in the Mens while Amanda Perry North Belfast and Denise Logue Ballydrain will be favourites in the Ladies.
The race starts at 1pm from Castlewellan GAC Football Club.