Koech and Curley take the titles in hotly contested SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon

Around 1,500 runners from 14 countries took to the sunny streets of Derry~Londonderry yesterday (Sunday 5 June) for what was a hotly contested SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon.

As always, the 26.2 mile track took participants through buzzing neighbourhoods, along the banks of the River Foyle and over the city’s iconic bridges, before finishing up in the historic Guildhall Square.

Spectators lined the route in their thousands, creating a fun and festive atmosphere as they enjoyed the warm weather and cheered on the runners.

After the late withdrawal of popular defending champion Freddy Sittuk from Kenya, it was down to two of his fellow countrymen to lead the way. And that’s just what the impressive pair of Eric Koech and Dan Tanui did, as they battled it out all the way to the finish line.

With a late surge, Koech moved away from his compatriot and training partner to cross the line just three seconds before him, and take first place in 2:23:47. Tanui finished second in 2:23:50, with Donegal man Ciaran McGonagle taking third place in 2:41:24.

In the ladies’ contest, defending champion Pauline Curley from Co. Offaly took the top honours and set a new course record to boot. Curley shrugged off the warm conditions to finish the course in 2:47:20, shaving five seconds off her previous best time. England-based runner Hannah Oldroyd took second place in 2:56:14, while Claire McGuigan from Lifford-Strabane AC took bronze in 3:07:13.

Speaking after the race, SSE Airtricity’s Vicky Boden commented: “This is the fourth annual SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon, and it seems to get bigger and better every year. It was a fantastic day out, helped by the nice weather and the brilliant atmosphere created by the crowds along the route. I want to commend the great work and commitment of the organisers and volunteers, and of course congratulate the winners and everyone else who took part.”