Fagan and Murray take victory at Spar Great Ireland Run

Both home grown Martin Fagan and Scotland’s Freya Murray scored impressive victories over 10 kilometres at the SPAR Great Ireland Run in Phoenix Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Scot’s finishing strength and time of 32 minutes 30 seconds saw her outpoint Jo Pavey who however was pleased with how easily she eased herself back into competitive action after a year when finishing runner up, with Benita Willis third.

Murray who is quickly emerging as one of the country’s up-and-coming stars was delighted with her 15 seconds victory ahead of Pavey and third placed Willis, Australia’s former world cross country champion who clocked 34min 28sec.

“I’m over the moon with the win and felt good throughout the race,” said the UK cross country champion. “Jo just went for it from the start ahead of myself and Benita.
“She opened a little gap and I sat in until we reached seven-and-half kilometres and an uphill stretch when I managed to pull her in and then get clear.”

Murray, clearly benefiting from the coaching of US-based Steve Jones the British marathon record holder, added: “He’s been inspirational with his advice and I’m hoping to go to Boulder in May for another training camp.
“I’m just delighted with everything. This is only my third 10km race and I’ve won all of them at the Great Runs in Sheffield and London last year and now here in Dublin.”

Pavey, who gave birth to her baby son Jacob last September had planned her international comeback at next month’s Bupa Great Manchester Run, but at short notice willingly stepped in as a replacement for Hayley Yelling-Higham, the sick European Cross Country champion.

The 36-year-old produced a front running show until Murray powered away in the final two-and-a-half kilometres but expressed satisfaction with her display on returning to racing.
“I’m really pleased with how things went, particularly as everything happened so suddenly on Thursday night when I was asked at the last minute to run,” said Pavey who clocked a time of 32minutes 45 seconds.

“It was a rush but really having a race has worked in my favour and was a great opportunity before Manchester. I did need a run out and it was nice to get back sooner than I expected and I’m happy it was a good start.”

Pavey, after Manchester, plans turning her attention to the track and is lining up claiming a place in the Aviva GB team for the European Championships which start in July.
“I need to get the 10000 metres qualifying time for Barcelona and hopefully I can do that sooner than later,” she added.

However she is still undecided about competing at the Commonwealth Games where four years ago in Melbourne she won the 5000m silver medal.
“I’ve still not made my mind up,” said Pavey. “It has always been my plan to run an autumn marathon and the timing of the Commonwealths (in October) makes it a difficult decision.”

Fagan made up for the disappointment of placing third 12 months ago when becoming the first ever Irish winner of the eight year old event in a time of 29 minutes 17 seconds.

Indeed with several overseas stars non-starters because of flight cancellations due to the volcanic ash disruption on travelling, he led a domestic sweep of the medals.

Fagan, based in the United States, was on the last flight to land in Dublin before restrictions were imposed and he admitted it had been a long haul getting back to home soil.

“I was travelling from Flagstaff for three days and only just made it,” said Fagan. “But I wanted desperately to be here and grab a victory.
“After being a really disappointed third last year this was a race I wanted to win.”

Fagan admitted: “Because I felt pretty tired from the travel I was happy to sit in and let others do the work. I’m really pleased that I’ve made up for last year.”

Gary Thornton took second position in 29min 36sec with Andrew Ledwith third in 29min 48sec.