Fionnuala Britton on her way to victory at the Antrim International Cross Country 2013 (© Mark Shearman)
The SPAR Great Ireland Run 2013 – an IAAF Silver Label race – was launched by Ireland’s European Cross Country champion Fionnuala Britton in Dublin today.
Britton has committed to lead the women’s field for the 10km race on Sunday April 14 at Phoenix Park, Dublin. “I just love the Phoenix Park,” said Britton, who finished seventh here in 2011. “There is no place better in Europe to run and the buzz around the SPAR Great Ireland Run is incredible. Each year it gets bigger and better with more and more kids in their own races; and then runners, joggers and walkers of all abilities start in a top-class international race to aim for a personal best.”
Britton’s own PB, 34:10, was set in the 2011 edition of the race in her only road 10km to date. But after focusing on the longer distances on track last year, she set a lifetime best of 31:29.22 in the 10,000m before finishing 15th in that event at the Olympic Games in London.
The only Irish event with IAAF Label status, last year’s men’s race was won in a stunning course record of 27:49 by multiple Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia. The women’s champion was Britain’s Gemma Steel in 32:06 – the second-fastest winning time in Dublin behind the course record of 31:41 set by Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu in 2006.
Once again a superb field of international and national distance runners will compete on the day, led by the Irish women who won the team title at last month’s European Cross Country Championships. They include Linda Byrne and Ava Hutchinson, both of whom represented Ireland in the Marathon at last year’s Olympic Games.
This year’s event will incorporate the Irish 10km road championships as well as the All Ireland County Challenge.
Organisers for the IAAF