NOT even a fall on the final lap could stop Fionnuala Britton romping to victory in the Great Edinburgh Cross Country on Saturday.
Ireland's two-in-a-row European Cross-County champion maintained her brilliant form into 2013 by winning the 6km race in 20 minutes and 40 seconds, with 16 seconds to spare thanks to another commanding display of front-running.
Only Britain's European U-23 champion Jess Coulson, Julia Bleasdale and Holland's Adrienne Herzog (the European bronze medallist) were able to go with the Wicklow woman's blistering early pace and, with just one lap to go, she had already opened up an unassailable lead to successfully retain her title.
Herzog got up in the late stages to finish second and Coulson was also nudged off the podium by a late sprint from America's Mattie Suver.
Linda Byrne, who played a key role in helping Ireland take team gold at the European Championships, also came through the field well to finish sixth, just behind Portugal's European silver medallist Ana Dulce Felix.
The Irish duo's strong performances also helped Europe to take team victory ahead of Great Britain & Northern Ireland and the USA. Next up for both athletes will be the IAAF Antrim Cross-Country on Saturday.