Thornton returns to form

Men's winners - Gary Thornton and Emmet Dunleavy.

Men's winners - Gary Thornton and Emmet Dunleavy.

Almost 900 runners and walkers competed in the scenic Fields of Athenry 10k Road Race on St Stephen’s Day, which was won by Gary Thornton of Galway City Harriers and Catherine Conway from Mayo AC.

In winning the men’s race Gary Thornton continues to re-establish himself at the forefront of road running. This was Thornton’s fourth successive victory in the Athenry race and also represented a substantial return to form following some injury problems which the Galway native had experienced towards the end of 2008. Thornton crossed the finish line at Athenry’s famous Medieval Arch in a time of 30:40 - just 14 seconds clear of Sean Hehir who ran in the colours of Rathfarnham WSAF and Emmet Dunleavy from Sligo who took third spot.

In the senior women’s division Catherine Conway of Mayo AC came out on top following a titanic struggle with Lucy Brennan from Sligo. Brennan had won this race three times previously, but was just short of the requisite speed to compete with the younger Mayo runner in the closing stages. Conway’s winning time of 36:53 was a fine return on a day that was perfect for competitive distance running.

Among the top five finishers were Loughrea runner Caroline Clancy and Kathryn Casserly of Castlegar AC.

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