Kenyan Stars Excel at Antrim International XC
06 January 2018
Kenyan stars Timothy Cheruiyot and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi secured top honours as a host of world class talent descended on CAFRE Greenmount for the 41st annual running of the Antrim International Cross Country.
The IAAF permitted event, hosted by Athletics Northern Ireland and supported by Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council, also incorporated the British Cross Challenge and the Celtic International XC.
In an epic sprint finish, IAAF World Championships 2017 silver medallist and Diamond League Trophy winner Timothy Cheruiyot edged out Mogos Tuemay (Ethiopia) to win the men’s 8,000m race in 23:12 (1st place). Tuemay also recorded 23:12 (2nd place) for the runners up prize. Olympian Soufiane Elbakkali (Morocco) completed the men’s podium in 23:32 (3rd place).
Springwell Running Club’s Neil Johnston led the Northern Ireland team home in 25:28 (17th place).
The ladies 5,400m race was also a closely contested affair. Double European XC Champion Fionnuala McCormack headed the early lead pack – Ethiopian Fotyen Tesfay then led but it was Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi who came through, holding off the fast finishing Tesfay to win in 19:55 (1st place). Tesfay crossed the line in 19:56 for 2nd place. Bontu Edao Rebitu, who has represented Bahrain at the World XC Championships, took 3rd place in 19:59.
Scotland based Armagh AC athlete Fionnuala Ross continued her recent good form, leading the Northern Ireland team home in 21:10 for 9th place.
Northern Ireland also picked up medals in the junior race programme. In the Under 17 men’s race, Adam Ferris (St Malachy’s AC & Northern Ireland) took 3rd place in the Celtic International and 3rd place in the associated British Athletics Cross Challenge. St Colman’s AC athlete Miceal McCaul claimed 2nd place in the British Athletics Cross Challenge.
In the Under 15 category, Willowfield Harriers’ Dylan McBride finished in 3rd place, while in the Under 13 race, City of Derry AC’s Oisin Duffy crossed the line in 2nd place.