Kenyan Lands Irish Championship

Kenyan athlete Freddy Sittuk landed the Irish Championship at he 2017 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon this morning.

Sittuk races for Dublin club Raheny Shamrock and was in the mix for the outright Dublin title until the final mile of the race.

The race itself was a titanic battle with Bernard Rotich passing Ukrainian Yuril Ruskyuk in the last half mile to win the Dublin marathon in two hours 15 minutes and 53 seconds.

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Ruskyuk was just three seconds behind Rotich with Asefa Bekele of Ethopia finishing third in 2:15.58 and Kenyan Sittuk fourth in 2:16.05, just 13 seconds separating first and fourth.

However Athletics Ireland confirmed that Sittuk qualifies to compete in the Irish championship and thus won the race ahead of Louth man Gary O’Hanlon who finished 11th overall in 2:18.52.

O’Hanlon was extremely upset after the race, having held his hands above his head as he crossed the line.

O’Hanlon admitted that Dublin marathon officials had explained to Hanlon on Saturday night that Sittuk was not eligible for the Irish title.

However Athletics Ireland Competitions chairman John Cronin told the media, that communication was made with the Dublin Marathon organisers on Friday night regarding Sittuk’s eligibility.

Former Moldovan international Segiu Ciobanu took the bronze medal in the Irish championships finishing 13 seconds behind O’Hanlon.

The women’s race was a clear cut affair with Nataliya Lehonkova of Ukraine winning out 2:28:58 followed by Kasim Ashu of Ethopia and Vikoriya Khapiliina of Ukraine third.

The Irish championship went to county Down mother of four Laura Graham who posted 2 hours 39 minutes and six seconds as first Irish woman home.

Letterkenny’s Caitriona Jennings took second place in two hours 42 minutes and 36 seconds while 48-year-old Tullamore Harriers runner Pauline Curley landed the national bronze medal.