ATHLETICS: Freddy Sittuk and Scott Rankin are ones to beat at Belfast race

Scott Rankin
Scott Rankin

Freddy Sittuk and Scott Rankin are set for a thrilling re-match in Sunday’s fourth Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon which has attracted more than 3,200 entries.

The pair fought out a ferocious duel in the Waterside Half Marathon with Sittuk winning by just one second although a determined Rankin set a new best at 67:38.

Kenyan star Sittuk is a former winner of both Derry and Belfast Marathons. He won at Cookstown before his Waterside victory and will be determined to follow compatriot Gideon Kimosop with another success here.

Scott Ranking from Foyle Valley is in blistering form. He took the Northern Ireland 10,000 crown at the Mary Peters Track before smashing the record for Dessie’s Run in Derry. It will be very closed.

North Belfast star Mark McKinstry can make the podium.

The double cross country silver medallist has won at Loughry and Laganside and is a very determined runner.

Danny McLaughlin won the Dambusters over the distance, Eoghan Totten took silver at Laganside, Chris McGuinness won at Lifford while English based Adam Kirk-Smith is Northern Ireland’s steeplechase champion.

Others to watch include Gary Slevin, Gerard Heaney, John Black, Francis Marsh and Ben Butler-Madden from Penarth.

National half marathon champion Laura Graham will start red hot favourite to win the ladies just two weeks after her Laganside victory.

The Mourne runner has had a string of success winning 10 races over tomorrow’s distance.

She clocked 78:07 at Omagh and included wins at Larne, Newry and Lisburn in her tremendous season.

Louise Smith second at Newry, Omagh and Cookstown and former international Mary-Margaret Meade both from North Belfast can dispute second with Willowfield’s Amy Bulman who came first at Crossgar and Strangford.

Sarah Jane Guiney, Susan Smyth, Paula McKibbin and Janice Plumb will all be worth watching and they will be looking to get in among the front runners.

There is a massive prize list covering all categories including £500 for the first man and woman. The nominated charity with MENCAP.

The race starts on Ormeau Embankment at 9 o’clock and circulates Ormeau and Ravenhill Roads before passing Titanic Quarter, City Centre, Falls and Grosvenor before returning by Botanic Avenue to finish at the Ozone Centre.

On Saturay the Boom 10k Race at the University of Ulster, Coleraine will start at 12 noon with the Memorial 5k Classic at Templemore, Derry also going at 12.