67 men under 15 for 5k and 28 women under 10 for 3k at Armagh Road Races

Armagh women's podium

The Armagh International Road Races, that took place last night out-did last year's record-breaking results with 67 men running under 15 minutes in the 5k event and 28 women running under 10 minutes in the 3k event.

Both races were stacked with talent and kept the crowds entertained as huge pelotons of runners lapped the historic Armagh Mall before the outcome of both came down to thrilling sprint finishes that had the spectators either holding their breath or screaming out the name of the runner they were supporting. The atmosphere was electric!

The women's race saw a strong group at the front for the entire race and a feeling that it could be anyone's win by the finish. The men's, on the other hand, saw Yannick Michiels, of Belgium, run away from the leading pack after the half way mark but was joined by the others, once again, for battle on the final straight.

The first three in both races were within a hair's breadth of each other.

Sara Treacy (handicap 0.9), of Ireland,  proved to be the stronger in the women's race, crossing the line in 9:18:20 followed by Sarah Inglis, of Scotland, (handicap 0.0) and the 2014 champion, Laura Whittle, Scotland, (handicap -0.3) who ran 9:19:01 and 9:19:27 respectively.

The final two laps of the men's 5k had the crowd in a spin as Yannick Michiels, of Belgium, made a sudden and fast run from the front of the pack and romped a good 30 metres ahead whilst his opponents sat tight. Yannick is one of the world's best orienteers and finished 5th in the World Championship sprint event in August, a race that took him 13 minutes and 20 seconds to run. This type of running demands skill in accelerating in and out of tight corners with many changes in gear. Certainly his fast acceleration off the front of the pack took his competitors by surprise. After the race he said "I hoped somebody would come with me and help to keep running fast off the front of the pack but nobody did. It was hard to keep that going on my own. I would like to come back next year though and go for the win!" As the finish came into view, Charlie Hulson (handicap -3.3) and Andy Maud (handicap -5.0) were on his shoulder and, with all three in full flight, it was Charlie Hulson who edged past and stopped the clock at 14:02:83 with Yannick registering 14:02:99 and Andy 14:03:17.

Afterwards, Charlie said "Yannick kicked so fast and it took everyone by surprise. I wasn't feeling particularly good but I started to feel better during the 4th lap and, on the last lap, I felt good. Once I was in 2nd place I felt I could catch 1st. The course is good and the atmosphere, with the crowds lining the whole course and the constant commentary, makes every race unbelievably exciting."