McCormack's Antrim bid gets stuck in mud
Fionnuala McCormack saw her hopes of a podium finish dashed midway through the Antrim International Cross-Country on Saturday, the 32-year-old eventually fading to fourth after losing a shoe in the soft underfoot conditions.
The two-time former champion nonetheless battled to the finish in 19:39, narrowly behind Ethiopian pair Gotytom Gebrslase (19:35) and Birtukan Adamu (19:38), and announced afterwards that she will now turn her attention to the roads before seeking a qualifying time for the World Championships 10,000m on the track. McCormack has already secured the standard for the marathon, having run 2:31:22 to finish 20th at the Olympics in Rio.
The race was won with ease by Kenya's Caroline Chepkoech in 18:53, while McCormack's Irish team-mates Maria McCambridge, Shona Heaslip and Laura Shaughnessy also impressed, finishing 11th, 12th and 13th respectively. The men's title went to Olympic steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya, who outkicked Bahrain's Abraham Cheroben to win in 24:36.
Meanwhile, Phil Healy got her 2017 campaign off to a flying start by clocking two qualifying times for the European Indoor Championships, which take place in Belgrade from March 3-5. The Bandon sprinter ran 7.40 and 7.36 in her two 60m races at the Irish Life Health National Indoor League in Athlone, with Carlow's Molly Scott also impressing with a 7.42 clocking.
Leitrim's Gerard O'Donnell also showed promising form, clocking 7.97 in the 60m hurdles. In Australia, City of Lisburn's Amy Foster impressed in her first 100m outing of the season, her time of 11.49 marginally outside the national record of 11.40 she co-holds with Ailis McSweeney.