ATHLETICS: Freddy Sittuk and Pauline Curley shine at Walled City Marathon

Selinah Kangogo and Pauline Curley out in front during the Walled City Marathon
Selinah Kangogo and Pauline Curley out in front during the Walled City Marathon

Freddy Sittuk and Pauline Curley led a feast of record-breaking times at the 3rd SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon in Londonderry which was held in blustery conditions.

Defending champion Sittuk came to the event fresh from his Limerick victory and was soon prominent in a group which included fellow Irish-based Kenyans Gideon Kipsang Kimosop, Peter Somba and Lezan Kimutai, with a determined local hero Greg Roberts also prominent.

By half distance it was Kipsang just a stride ahead of Somba and Sittuk in 71:27 just ahead of record schedule.

Roberts was 35 seconds back with Kimutai the Belfast Marathon winner back in 2003 a further 30 seconds behind.

At this stage 2008 Olympian Pauline Curley had moved away from another of the Project Africa Kenyans Selinah Kangogo as she stormed through in 83:49 with the record certain to go.

Coming off the Peace Bridge after 20 miles Kipsang and Somba were side by side with Sittuk shadowing them but looking absolutely full of running.

Roberts was still strong as he went through 58 seconds down.

Sittuk made his effort into the wind with three miles left and was quickly on his own.

He came back to a massive crowd reception in Guildhall Square to not only retain his title but he set a new course record of 2:22:34 – over three minutes faster than his own time 12 months previously.

Somba, incredibly running his first ever marathon, came second with Roberts blasting home just 12 seconds later to finish third.

Both were also under the old time.

Kipsang was an isolated fourth with Kimutai, Gary Slevin, James Crampsey, Mark Long and Mark Mullan following.

Pauline Curley showed her undoubted class as she dominated the Ladies’ race.

There were only six men ahead of her as she came to the finish 2:47:29, knocking over 10 minutes off the former record.

Selinah Kangogo held second in front of Collette McCourt with Glenda Whiteside, Sandra McKeever and Ruth Johnston making up the top six.

Carol Doherty gave an impressive demonstration to win the wheelchairs.

Among the finishers was American Richard Holmes who was running his 500th marathon, appropriately wearing the number 500.

There was also a large team of Palestinian runners.