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Mullingar men chasing record

Mullingar's Martin Fagan, fresh from his seventh place at the Great North Run, leads the men's entry for Sunday's Rathfarnham 5k.

Fagan, who is based in Flagstaff, Arizona, for most of the year, is back here for a short break and will be chasing victory and a course record bonus that could net him a nice pay-out of €650.

Taking him on is last year's champion and fellow Mullingar man Mark Christie and a strong squad from Raheny Shamrock. This could include Mick Clohisey, Mark Kirwan and Cillian O'Leary, the trio who took the team prize at the Tinryland 4-Mile a few weeks ago.

For the host club, Sean O'Hehir leads a team that includes Eoin Flynn, Paul Fleming and Barry Minnock, who ran the Great North Run last weekend. Favourite to win the junior race is Donore's John Travers, with his coach John Downes also entered after finishing seventh and first over 40 last year.

In the women's race, Linda Byrne of DSD is the defending champion and if she starts, will be looking for a victory after finishing second in a couple of recent races. Byrne had a great start to the year, winning the national cross-country title, and then a number of high-profile road races, most notably the women's mini marathon. At Tinryland, she lost to the in-form Patrcyja Wlodarcyzk of Raheny.

Almost catching Byrne at the women's mini marathon was Maria McCambridge, holder of the course record at Rathfarnham and three-time winner. McCambridge won the national half-marathon title a few weeks ago and clocked a personal best at last Sunday's Great North Run, and may opt for a weekend off.

A strong entry from the Sportsworld club included twins Aoife and Crona Brady. At 5km, Sunday's race is an ideal distance for those who prefer the shorter distances and are looking for a short, sharp challenge after the long summer months. A record entry of over 600 is expected.

For their €20 all who enter get excellent value -- a compression T-shirt, worth the entry fee alone, plus tea and goodies after the race, a race video, and the chance to win a category prize (Sub4.com vouchers) or one of the numerous spot prizes.

While online entries close tomorrow evening, entries at €25 will be taken on the day from 8.0 until 9.30am.

Race HQ is Terenure College, Templeogue Road, a short jog across from Bushy Park to the race start. Full details www.athleticsrathfarnham.ie or call PJ Claffey at 086 8560734.