Waterside Half Marathon: Rankin out to upset Sittuk

Foyle Valley AC's Scott Rankin. (0910PG55)
Foyle Valley AC's Scott Rankin. (0910PG55)

Waterside Half Marathon 2016 Preview

FREDDY Sittuk and Scott Rankin go head-to-head in a dramatic confrontation at the 35th Waterside Half Marathon promoted by City of Derry Spartans and Derry City and Strabane District Council in the Maiden City tomorrow.

Catherine Whoriskey is a strong favourite for the womens' title at the Waterside Half Marathon.

Catherine Whoriskey is a strong favourite for the womens' title at the Waterside Half Marathon.

The race has attracted a massive entry of over 1,800 for the main event with 75 relay teams of three runners each.

Sittuk, the Kenyan star who runs for Raheny, is a former Belfast and Walled City marathon winner. He ran second at last year’s Waterside behind Olympian, Mark Clohissey, and won over tomorrow’s distance at Cookstown before taking the prestigious Frank Duffy 10 Miles in Dublin.

Foyle Valley’s Rankim, the recent record breaker at Dessie’s Run, is in the form of his life. He set a best of 68 minutes 32 in the World Half Marathon at Cardiff then took the Northern Ireland 10,000 title on the track before winning the Lifford 10K.

Sittuk will be narrow favourite but it will be very close with Rankin hoping for a new personal best. Kyle Doherty (third at Gransha), Paul Barbour (fourth in the 2014 Waterside), Ciaran McGonagle (third in the Walled City Marathon), Stephen Connor, Mark Mullan, Benny Mullan, Mark Long and Dermot McElhinney will all be in the mix for high positions.

Catherine Whoriskey, the defending champion, will start red hot favourite in the ladies race. Like Rankin, the City of Derry athlete won the track 10,000m before breaking the record at Dessie’s Run. She was second in the SSE 10 Miles and should break 80 minutes tomorrow.

Claire McGuigan from Lifford-Strabane, third two years ago, can take runner-up position ahead of Tara Malone, Martina McMullan, Grainne Neill, Hannah Shields and Evelyn McKinney. Karol Doherty should keep his wheelchair crown.

There is a huge prize list of over £5,000 covering all categories with 13 pacers in place for the different time groups. The event starts at Ebrington and crosses back and forwards along the Foyle before finishing on St. Columb’s Park Track. The action starts at 10.00am.