Gary Murray showed his class with a superb win in the Podium 4 Sport Seeley Cup 10K promoted by Willowfield Harriers and Athletics Northern Ireland at a windy and wet Ormeau Park.
Murra - the former All Ireland champion - started as favourite in the absence of holder Paul Pollock who had withdrawn. He wasted no time in hitting the front of the 1000 strong field. He came to the centre of the park with a 30 metres lead over former double winner Paddy Hamilton and Scott Rankin.
By half distance it was Murray by ten seconds from Rankin and Hamilton with the very impressive Chris Madden fourth ahead of Keith Shiels and Danny Mooney.
It was all Murray as he cruised round the final circuit to win by sixteen seconds from Hamilton and last year’s runner up Rankin. Madden was an isolated fourth with Gareth Hill and Brian Campbell moving into the top six ahead of Andrew Annett and Shiels.
Craig McMeechan looked good as he clinched the junior prize ahead of Caolan Daly and Lorcan Magee.
North Belfast with Annett backed by Mark McKinstry, Lindsay Gordon, John Black, Kent Swann and Mark Jennings clinched their third successive team crown ahead of North Down and Ballymena Runners.
The winner was delighted.
“It was tough running into the wind. I will now hope to run in the Greenmount International in the New Year,” he said.
The Ladies race as expected was an absolute thriller as Ann-Marie McGlynn and Kerry O’Flaherty went shoulder to shoulder for almost the entire distance.
Ann-Marie, captain of last year’s Irish bronze medal team in the Europeans, was in ferociously determined mood after losing a shoe in the Inter-Clubs Championships six days before.
In the end Ann-Marie crossed the line 11 seconds clear of Kerry in the second fastest time in the history of the race. Gladys Ganiel came third.
Laura Graham, Kelly Neely and Rebecca Henderson making up the top six.
North Belfast with Gladys Ganiel, Louise Smith and Martsje Hell clinched another hat trick of team titles with Newcastle and City of Lisburn taking the other rostrum places.
The winner said: “I reckon that I had a point to prove after Santry and have never been so fit.” Certainly she should break 34 minutes in the near future.
O’Flaherty although disappointed now looks forward to the Europeans in France in a fortnight.
Jack Agnew completed a hat trick of gold medals at the Paralympic Schools Games in Natal, Brazil. The sixteen year old City of Lisburn athlete, coached by Heather Ardis, added the 100 metres to his 400 and 1500 successes with another tremendous performance.