Mahamed and Obiri win Northern Ireland International Cross at Dundonald

Zak Mahamed Stuart Macallum

Southampton based, Zak Mahamed and World Cross country champion Hellen Obiri, were in great form to win at the Northern Ireland International Cross Country in Dundonald near Belfast.

The Men’s 10k cross country event was a close affair with a large group contesting the lead for much of the race. Eventually a trio broke away comprising England’s Zak Mahamed (handicap -5.8), Italy’s Iliass Ouani and Scotland’s Stuart McCallum (handicap -5.4).

It was obvious at the start of the last lap that Mahamed was running with ease. He finished a classy 9th recently in the Dublin European u23 Championships and took the Junior title at Dundonald in 2019. He stormed away over the final mile and had a 7 second advantage over Ouani at the finish with McCallum a further 7 seconds back. Best Northern Irish finisher was Finn McNally in an impressive 9th place.

32 year old Obiri from Kenya opened a 50m lead after just one lap of the women's 8k race, which she built to a 20 second margin by the finish ahead of some top domestic  internationals. Behind Obiri a large group was contesting rostrum places. This included the Scottish trio of Mhairi MacLennan (handicap -1.0), Scout Adkin (handicap 0.1) and Megan Keith (handicap -0.6) plus England's Kate Avery (handicap -0.6) and teammate Eleanor Bolton (handicap -1.1) and Northern Ireland’s own, Hannah Irwin (handicap .-1.0)

As the race progressed, double Olympic silver medallist Obiri’s all-powerful stride never faltered. She further increased her lead to some 100m at the tape.

Behind her a battle royal ensued between Hannah Irwin (handicap -1.2) and Mhairi MacLennan (handicap -1.1). The diminutive Irwin eventually broke her Scottish opponent on the sapping hills to take 2nd place by 3 seconds, with MacLennan in 3rd.

England’s Eleanor Bolton (handicap -1.2) was 4th with Northern Ireland’s Grace Carson (handicap 0.3) an outstanding 9th and first U23.

Afterwards the softly spoken Obiri said she was happy to be in the Province for the first time. She thought the course was difficult but a good challenge. The affable Obiri then proceeded to make herself freely available for autographs and photo shots.

An ecstatic Irwin who is the Northern Irish 5,000m champion said: “I loved the course and held back for two laps to see what would happen. I gave it a real go at the end to snatch 2nd from Mhiari. This is my best ever cross country result beating my 4th place in Cardiff. I’m now aiming for good indoor times and hope eventually to get Commonwealth consideration standard times at either 5,000 or 10,000m“.

Youtube video footage of races on this link.

Northern Ireland International Cross Country race results here

 Report credit: Athletics Northern Ireland and Bob Given Photography. 

UK runbritain rankings for endurance events and age groups 

Other results from the weekend are on the following links: 


Road/multi terrain