Kenyans land a marathon double success in Omagh

Gideon Kimosop, Project Africian Project winner of the 26th Omagh Half Marathon
Gideon Kimosop, Project Africian Project winner of the 26th Omagh Half Marathon

Kenyan athletes scored a double at the 26th Spar Omagh Half Marathon. The event held in very windy conditions attracted a massive entry with over 3,500 in action.

Gideon Kimosop and Selinah Kangogo both staying in the Province as part of the Project Africa initiative took the major honours after dramatic confrontations.

From the start three men drew clear with Kimosop, compatriot Vincent Kiprotich and the favourite Paul Pollock opening a gap over Scott Rankin with Greg Roberts next.

The pace was fast with three miles reached in 14:52 as the three leaders swept through. By half distance Kimosop, the winner at Downpatrick, and Pollock who came first at Queens had moved away from Kiprotich.

Roberts was now a clear fourth with John Frazer, Stevie Duncan and Paul Barbour closing in on Rankin.

At this stage Selinah Kangogo also a Downpatrick winner had a narrow lead over a determined Cathy McCourt with Louise Smith a close up third.

Pollock had a spell in front but the decisive move came in the tenth mile when Kimosop moved ahead as Pollock suffering the after effects of flu developed a stitch.

The Kenyan came home to win in 65:15 just outside the record which would almost certainly have gone but for the gusty wind. Pollock held on for an isolated second.

Kiprotich kept third from Roberts who was closing all the time with John Frazer next just in front of former winner Stephen Duncan who headed his Omagh team mate Paul Barbour for sixth.

Cathy McCourt caught Selinah Kangogo in the eighth mile and took the lead for a while but the Kenyan came back and had twenty eight seconds in hand at the end over the very impressive Cathy.

Louise Smith came third with Gerrie Short, Claire McGuigan, Gillian Burns, Diane Watson and another former champion Donna Evans completing the top eight.

Paul Hannon and Jim Corbett fought out the wheelchair race for the entire distance with Paul leading into the straight before they got exactly the same time.

The strength of Omagh’s Junior runners was shown in the 5K fun run as Sean Corry took the Mens from Peter Murray of St. Peters with David Gormley third and Enya Haigney heading the Women from Lyn Parke and Kate Mulholland.

There were a large number of athletes ‘Running for Enda’ in memory of Enda Dolan the student tragically killed on the Malone Road.