Kenyans take the honours at Belfast City Marathon

Ladies podium: Caroline Jepchirchir, Laura Graham, and Christina Bogomiakova
Ladies podium: Caroline Jepchirchir, Laura Graham, and Christina Bogomiakova

Eric Koech led a Kenyan clean sweep in the 37th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.

It was the 16 th successive victory for African competitors in the Men’s race.

At half distance the lead was shared by Three times winner Joel Kositany and Koech, runner-up two years ago with Dan Tanui, third and second for the last two seasons, just 10 seconds behind.

Eoin Callaghan was leading the chase with Jarlath McKenna,Colin Griffin and Laurence O’Hara next.

Koech made the break sometime after 20 miles and came home to win in 2:18:19 two minutes before Tanui with Kositany third.

Callaghan held fourth with former Olympic walker Griffin moving into 5th ahead of McKenna,the first Ulster born finisher and O’Hara.

Kenyan girl Caroline Jepchirchir was the early Ladies leader then defending Champion Laura Graham moved up and the pair were together as they went through half distance on the Antrim Road.

At this stage Khadda el Aarabi of Morocco was battling with Christina Bogomiakova of Ukraine with regular top placer Radka Churnova of Czech Republic next.

Jepchirchir moved away in the later stages and the former Commonwealth Games athlete came in two minutes ahead of Laura Graham with the Ukranian star third.

Churnova followed her third and fourth of the last two seasons with another fourth ahead of local stars Karen Alexander and Louise Smith.

Another home runner Gerrie Short took 8th behind el Aarabi.

Paul Hannon was a blistering winner of the Wheelchairs with Karol Doherty second.

St Malachy’s won the relay with North Down taking the Ladies.