Freddy Sittuk and Laura Graham claim wins at Belfast Half Marathon

Scott Rankin ,  Freddie Sittock and  Adam Kirk-Smith celebraten after the race
Scott Rankin , Freddie Sittock and Adam Kirk-Smith celebraten after the race

Freddy Sittuk and Laura Graham claimed the major honours in the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in front a field of 3,200.

The mens race was billed as a rematch between Kenyan star Sittuk and Scott Rankin from Foyle Valley and so it proved as they refought their epic Waterside duel.

Rankin and Sittuk went straight to the front and blasted through three miles together. Mark McKinstry and Adam Kirk-Smith were 32 seconds back with Stuart Donald and John Black next.

At this stage Graham the red hot favourite was already clear of Louise Smith and Amy Bullman. The Mourne Runner was well placed amongst the men.

Rankin hit half distance in 32 minutes 55 with Sittuk just one second behind. Kirk-Smith and McKinstry were over a minute back with Donald still running well.

Graham was threatening her personal best and she held on for the win,.

Rankin was forcing the pace but as in Derry a fortnight ago Sittuk accelerated in the last minute to cross the line at the Ozone Centre in 67:50 just three seconds ahead of a determined Rankin.

Northern Ireland steeplechase champion Kirk-Smith took third ahead of McKinstry,

Black, Donald, Gary Slevin, Chris McGuinness, Olympic walker Colin Griffin and Danny McLaughlin.

Graham the National half marathon champion added this title to her growing list coming home in 78:23 which as three minutes before Louise Smith with Amy Bullman finishing a good third ahead of Mary-Margaret Meade, Rachel Parker and Helen Carbin.

Many of the runners were competing for charity with MENCAP being nominated.

One nice note. At the 13 mile mark Andrew Gibson proposed to his girlfriend Ann Brown as they turned towards the finish. Thankfully she accepted! and both got great applause from the large crowd.