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Kenya's Hellen Obiri. Credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Obiri, from Kenya, was competing in the World Athletics international Cross Country meeting at the Billy Neill Country Park and the large appreciative crowd could not quite believe how easily the double World 5,000 metres champion dominated the opposition when treating the difficult, hilly but firm course as almost a minor inconvenience.

Obiri had opened a 50 metres lead after just one lap of the 8K race and was a huge 19 secodns ahead at the finish.

Behind 32-year-old Obiri aa battle royal had developed between NI’s Hanna Irwin, who had been inspired by her recent impressive fourth in the Cardiff Challenge and Mhari MacLennan, who had finished eighth in this event in 2019.

The diminutive Irwin eventually broke her Scottish opponent on the steep hills to take the runner up spot by just three seconds.


England’s Eleanor Bolton was fourth with NI’s Grace Carson an outstanding ninth. Fionnuala Ross finished 13th and team-mate Catherine Mullen 17th.

The Men’s 10,000 metres was a much closer affair, with England’s Zak Mahamed winning by seven seconds from late entry Iliass Aouani of Italy and Scotland’s Stuart McCallum a further seven seconds back. Best NI finisher was Finn McNally in ninth.  By Brian Hill, Belfast Telegraph

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