Results and recap as world champion Hellen Obiri cruised to victory at Saturday’s (22) Northern Ireland International Cross Country event in Dundonald. The event is part of the World Athletics Silver Cross Country Tour, which also incorporated the Celtic Games, Home Countries International, and British Athletics Cross Challenge. England’s Zak Mahamed won the men’s 10K race.
Hellen Obiri storms to easy win
Obiri, who won the World Cross Country title at the last edition in 2019, broke away from the field early in the race and never looked back as she continues to show progress in her quest to transition to road racing.
READ MORE: How to watch the 2022 Northern Ireland International Cross Country? (what a replay of every race)
The Kenyan made the victory look easy on Saturday at the Billy Neill MBE Country Park when she clocked 26 minutes and 44 seconds to dominate the women’s 8km race in what she thought was a very good preparation in the push to defend her World 5000m title in Eugene, Oregon, later this summer. She is also looking forward to retaining her Commonwealth Games crown. The 32-year-old won gold medals in the 5000m at the past two World Championships.
Hannah Irwin of Northern Ireland finished strongly to overtake Scottish runner Mhairi MacLennan in a sprint to the line to finish in second place, 20 seconds behind Obiri with the latter running 27:07. They were followed by Eleanor Bolton, European under-20 champion Megan Keith, Kate Avery, and Jess Gibbon.
Zak Mahamed fends off the challenges
Meanwhile, Zak Mahamed continued his fruitful form in recent events as he took the men’s 10K title with a time of 29:49.
“The course was tough,” Mahamed said, but “I really enjoyed the course because I was here two-years-ago (for the) U20, so I love it.”
Mahamed, who was a top-10 finisher in the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin before Christmas, managed to fend off the challenges from Italian Iliass Ouani (29:56) and Scotland’s Stuart McCallum (30:03) to break clear over the final lap to secure the win.
Hugo Milner of England was fourth and Jack Millar took fifth.
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1 Hellen Obiri (KEN) 26:44
2 Hannah Irwin (GBR) 27:04
3 Mhairi Maclennan (GBR) 27:07
4 Eleanor Bolton (GBR) 27:21
5 Megan Keith (GBR) 27:25
1 Zak Mahamed (GBR) 29:49
2 Iliass Aouani (ITA) 29:56
3 Stuart McCallum (GBR) 30:03
4 Hugo Milner (GBR) 30:14
5 Jack Millar (GBR) 30:26