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National titles for Graham and McMahon


Clonliffe’s Brian McMahon. Photo: Sportsfile

Clonliffe’s Brian McMahon. Photo: Sportsfile

Clonliffe’s Brian McMahon. Photo: Sportsfile

Laura Graham of Mourne Runners and Clonliffe's Brian MacMahon were the winners of the national half marathon titles in the Phoenix Park.

With many of the country's top distance runners either in Rio or Tullamore, times were slow, not helped by a ferocious gusting winds on the difficult course.

It suited McMahon, better known as a mountain runner, who was first of the men in 71:09. Galway's Gary Thornton finished second in 71:49 with Gary O'Hanlon of Clonliffe third and first over 40 in 72:04. Clonliffe proved best of the 44 senior teams, beating Rathfarnham WSAF and Mullingar Harriers.

An eye-catching total of 68 clubs entered teams in the over-35 age group, with North Sligo the best of them. Mullingar Harriers, led by Tom McGrath, were first M50 team, ahead of Tullamore Harriers and a Raheny squad which included Vinny Clohisey, whose son Mick will run in the marathon at the Rio Olympics.

In the women's race, Laura Graham of Mourne Runners, winner of the Fingal 10k a few weeks ago, finished in 78:56. She had over a minute to spare on Catherine Whoriskey of City of Derry Spartans, while in third place Norah Newcombe-Pieterse was leading Mayo to team victory. Sportsworld finished second and Tallaght,third.

Dunboyne was first W35 team, ahead of Sli Cualann and Donore Harriers, with 66 teams entered.

In the masters' grades, Mark Ryan of Rathfarnham WSAF was fourth overall and first M35 in 72 mins 14 secs.