Rankin and Whoriskey impress at Championships

Scott Rankin

Scott Rankin

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Scott Rankin and Catherine Whoriskey moved themselves into the top UK lists with tremendous performances as they won the major titles in the Northern Ireland and Ulster 10,000 Metres Championships at the Mary Peters Track.

The Mens race was expected to be close between Foyle Valley athlete Rankin, David O’Flaherty and Gary Henderson but Rankin had other ideas and was already on his own after two laps.

He circulated in 71 or 72 seconds and came to half distance just outside 15 minutes with O’Flaherty and Henderson next ahead of David Steele.

It was all Rankin as he lapped every other competitor and he was rewarded with a time of 30:17.90 almost a minute inside his personal best.

O’Flaherty and Henderson took the other podium places with Kyle Doherty coming through for a good 4th ahead of Darrell McKee, Steele, John Craig and Nigel McKibbin.

The Womens race was exciting. Novice champion Natalie Hall surged into the lead with Catherine Whoriskey and Laura Bickerstaff next. City of Derry athlete Catherine joined Natalie after five laps and then surged well clear.

At half distance she was on her own and she went on to win with a huge personal best of 36:52.73. Laura followed to take silver with Natalie claiming bronze.

ChampionChip Ireland sponsored the Age Graded Scores with Scott Rankin 1st with 88% followed by Gary Henderson 86%, Norman Mawhinney 84.24%, Paul McCullagh 84.12%, Nigel McKibbin 83%, David O’Flaherty 82%, Catherine Whoriskey also 82% and Gary Keenan 81%.

Meanwhile Philip Goss led a North Belfast one - two in the 25th Les Jones Memorial 10K.

Almost 300 athletes were sent on their way by Glenn Grant of sponsors ChampionChip Ireland in the race that was also a round of the new Novosco Grand Prix.

Goss led on to the Malone with team mate Marc Jennings, Stephen O’Gorman and last year’s placer Neil Weir all well placed.

Diane Watson and Jodi Smith looked the pick of the Ladies.

Along the towpath Goss began to take control and he moved through Barnetts and Queens Playing Fields to return on the track with a 51 second advantage over Jennings who was 5th last year.

Dromore’s new find Stephen O’Gorman came 3rd ahead of Weir, David Hughes and former cross country silver medallist Deane Fisher. Jodi Smith opened out in the second half and looked relaxed as she crossed the line thirty five seconds before Diane Watson. Cathy McCourt still recovering from injury was 3rd with Lyndsey Tyro, Geraldine Quigley and Valerie McDonagh completing the top six.

And Brendan Teer returned to competition with a runaway success in the Downpatrick Lyons 3 Lakes 14K Challenge. The East Down athlete had a two minute advantage over David Simpson with Paul Burns 3rd.

Niamh Kellett made it an East Down double by taking the Ladies from Amanda Jackson and Claire Ingram. East Down Juniors Daniel Atkinson and Edie Carroll won the 7K event.