European Cross Country Champion logged another victory over arch rival Gemma Steel of Charnwood in the Antrim IAAF International Cross Country at Greenmount. However it was closely fought head to head contest which was only decided in the last 600 metres.
Up to that point Steel was determined not to make the same mistake as in Edinburgh where she let her Irish rival open an unbeatable gap midway through the race. In Antrim a proverbial handkerchief covered both women for much of the race with Steel taking the lead for a short period. It was only in the closing stages where the energy sapping mud enabled the stronger Britton to secure victory by 7 seconds.
Afterwards Steel said “I tried different tactics today by taking the race by the scruff of the neck. I gave it much more today from the start as there was no jogging in the early stages”.
For her part Britton said the race was tougher than Edinburgh because of the heavy conditions. She said she was pleased with her performance especially after the race in Seville where she admitted she struggled.
Breege Connolly of North Belfast Harriers won the NI & ulster Senior Championship followed by Julie Turley (Dromore AC) and Lauren Scott of North Down in third. North Belfast Harriers took the team title.
In the Men’s 10.8K event Kenyan Mike Kigen again showed his sheer class to record his third consecutive victory from a strong line up from fellow Africans. World Youth silver medallist Patrick Mutunga was 30 seconds in arrears with marathon specialist Bernard Rotich in third.
Kigen said “I found the muddy conditions very hard even though spectators marvelled the way he left the oppositions behind from an early stage. Afterwards the 25 year old said he was concentrating on coming weeks on making the Kenyan team for the London Olympics.
England’s Frank Tickner had probably the best cross country race of his life when he split the phalanx of Africans to finish a suberb 5th. Afterwards he said “Everything is now coming together following injury. This was another pleasing run following a good performance in Edinburgh.
Joe McAlister (St. Malachy’s) had a great race to take the NI & Ulster Senior title; he said he felt good after the first 2 laps and was happy with it throughout although admitted it was tough going in the conditions. He was followed by Andrew Agnew who led Anndale Striders to the team title with North’s Stephen Scullion in third.
The Junior Men’s race was won by Harvey Dixon (Aldershot) after breaking away from local Stephen Kerr of Armagh AC. This should bode well for the McCain Challenge as he won in Cardiff last weekend.
The U17 race went to Callum Matthews (Kilbarchan) and Siofra Cleirigh Buttner of Irish club DSD in the Girls race.
U15 titles went to Lydia Turner (Birtley) and Euan Gillham (Kilbarchan AC) while U13 was Eimear Fitzpatrick (DSD) and Patrick McNiff (Banbridge).
Full results on www.athleticsni.org and official photos to follow Monday.