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McCambridge back to defend Greencastle Boxing Day road race

Maria McCambridge

Maria McCambridge

Maria McCambridge goes for an amazing sixth victory in seven years at the 28th Greencastle Boxing Day 5 Miles Road Race in County Tyrone.

The Olympic and World marathon star has dominated the event in recent seasons breaking her own course record last year with 28 minutes 18.

She is in very good form this season winning the Dublin Marathon before coming sixth in the Inter Counties Cross Country and going on to compete in the Europeans in Serbia. She will be red hot favourite.

The battle for the medals will be intense.

Danielle Fegan from Armagh finished second last year before also clinching silver in the senior cross country.

Club mate Fionnuala Ross was a very impressive winner of the Seeley Cup while Anne Paul the former cross country champion came third here 12 months ago. Rachel Gibson had a great win at Coleraine.

There is a possibility that marathon expert Gladys Ganiel, second in Greencastle two years ago, will run. She easily retained her North West Cross Country title. Lauren Quee, second in that race, can also place highly.

Stephen Scullion, the dominant winner last year, was hoping to compete but looks to be a doubtful starter this time.

Conor Bradley from City of Derry came first in Greencastle in 2011 and is certainly capable of a repeat. He defeated a star studded line-up to win the Seeley Cup at Ormeau Park. City of Derry can also field Declan Reed second last year and Gransha winner Alan Bogle.

Foyle Valley can be led by Waterside winner Keith Shiels and the highly rated Scott Rankin, Chris McGuinness and Pius McIntyre.

Joe McAllister was the winner in 2006 and 2009 and if the former double national half marathon champion has fully recovered from injury he will not be too far away from the victory.

The wheelchair section is certain to be a close contest between Paul Hannon and Jim Corbett.

The race, long deserving of its title as Jewel of the Festive Season, always attracts a massive field. There is huge prize list covering all categories and age groups with T-shirts for all finishers.

The walk gets underway at 11 o’clock with the main action starting at 1.

The mountain running action is in the Mournes with the annual Boxing Day Turkey Trot which starts from the bottom of Trassey Track at 12 noon. Stevie Cunningham, second last year behind Chris Smith of Thames Valley and defending ladies champion Diane Wilson will be hotly fancied along with Shileen O’Kane.

The Boxing Day 5K Run/Fun Run and Walk presented by Triangle Triathlon Club at Roe Valley Leisure Centre in Limavady. Registration is from 10.30 with the action starting at 11.

An innovative feature is that prizes are awarded to the athletes predicting their own finishing times. No watches or other timing devices will be carried.

 

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