Fionnuala McCormack finished a fighting second in the women’s 6km at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country on the rolling hills of Holyrood Park.
After the Kenyan-Turks, Yasemin Can and Meryem Akdag, moved the the front, McCormack was the only athlete who attempted to keep in touch. Can, the European champion, pulled away for a decisive victory in 20 mins 26, but McCormack caught the tiring Akdag on the final lap and finished second in 20:57, with Akdag five seconds behind for third. It was a fifth consecutive second place in the race for McCormack, who had also won it twice
An Irish team consisting of John Travers from Donore Harriers, Kerry O’Flaherty of Newcastle, Raheny’s Kieran Kelly and Ciara Mageean of UCD finished fourth in a closely-fought 4x1km relay. Travers had the tough task of leading off the team and completed the lap in 2 mins 39 secs for a fifth place. He handed over to Mageean who pulled the team up to third. Kelly dropped one place back to fourth before handing over to O’Flaherty.Winning in 11 mins 10 secs was a British team led by Laura Muir, with the USA second in 11:17 , Scotland A third in 11.18, Ireland fourth in 11.22 and Europe fifth in 11:23.
In the men’s 8km, Mick Clohisey, who was running for Europe, finished 26th in 25 mins 52 secs. Leonard Korir, the Kenyan-born American, sprinted past Scotland’s Callum Hawkins for a last gasp victory in a thrilling race. Third was the 22-year-old Kenyan-born Aras Kaya in 24:21; in 2015, Kaya won the Russian cross-county title in 2015 while attempting to gain Russian citizenship. When that didn’t work, he turned to Turkey and became eligible to compete for them in June 2016. Junior race winners were Harriett Knowles-Jones of Great Britain and Noah Affolder of the USA
Earlier in the week, Kerry O’Flaherty finished fourth in the 3000m at a BMC indoor meet in Glasgow. Her time of 9.12.86 was not far off her PB of 9:11.17. In fifth place was Emma Mitchell of QUB in a personal best 9:17.19. Race winner was Laura Muir in 8:59.38, who ran on to set a new British record of 14 mins 49.12 secs for 5000m. Her time knocked 14 seconds off fellow Scot Liz McColgan’s 25-year-old record.
WINNING THE BHAA Bank of Ireland Cross-Country in Tymon Park were Niamh Kearney and Simon Ryan. See www.bhaa.ie for full results.