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BBC Northern Ireland's Stephen Watson reports on Sonia O'Sullivan's Dublin Marathon win
 real 56k

Monday, 30 October, 2000, 19:27 GMT
O'Sullivan's Dublin Marathon surprise
Sonia O'Sullivan
Sonia O'Sullivan won Monday's Dublin Marathon
Sonia O'Sullivan's capacity to surprise continued on Monday when, as a last minute entry, she won the 98FM Dublin City Marathon.

In her first attempt over the distance, the Cobh woman won in a very respectable 2.35.42 given the cold, wet conditions.

The performance came five weeks to the day after she claimed silver in the 5,000m in Sydney.

Belfast runner Teresa Duffy produced a personal best of 2.37.36 to take second place.

O'Sullivan, who finished sixth in the 10,000m in Sydney, contacted the race organisers on Sunday evening asking if they would accept a late entry.

Quickly agreed

Naturally race officials quickly agreed but with no time to publicise O'Sullivan's participation, the Olympic silver medallist lined up alongside her surprised fellow-competitors at the start before only a handful of spectators at 8am.

O'Sullivan, running alongside a number of male entrants in the mixed race, led the women's field from the gun, reaching half-way in 1.16.28.

Belfast runner Teresa Duffy closed to within 30 seconds of the Sydney silver medallist at 21 miles but O'Sullivan extended her advantage to almost two minutes by the finish.

O'Sullivan first mooted the possibility of running the race in a conversation with her coach Alan Storey last week.

Long run

"He said to me that I was planning to do a long run anyway and that if I felt OK on the day, to why not give it a go.

"In terms of whether I enjoyed it or not, I did up to a point but I think it will be a while before I run a marathon again,'' said O'Sullivan.

In terms of whether I enjoyed it or not, I did up to a point but I think it will be a while before I run a marathon again
  Sonia O'Sullivan

Nevertheless, the Irish woman was scarcely out of breath at the finish and in good conditions and with proper preparations, is probably capable of running up to 15 minutes quicker.

O'Sullivan leaves for her winter base of Australia on Tuesday where she will prepare for the World Cross Country Championships which take place in Dublin in March.

Controversially omitted

Second-placed Duffy was controversially omitted from the Irish team for the Sydney Olympics and she blasted the Olympic Council of Ireland after the race.

"I have been very badly treated by the Olympic Council and I think my time in these dreadful conditions today, has showed that I should have been in Sydney," said Duffy.

The Belfast runner was nominated for Sydney by the Irish Athletics federation but the Olympic Council of Ireland refused to select the athlete.

Russia's Marina Piliaviana finished third in 2.45.23.

Competes regularly

Scotland's Simon Pride won the men's race in 2.18.59 ahead of Kenyans John Mutai (2.19.53) and Penciel Osoro (2.19.55).

Mutai won both the Dublin Marathon and Great North Run in 1999.

Pride competes regularly in ultra-distance events and holds the world record for 100K.

Jamie Lewis, who previously represented Wales, was top Irish finisher in fifth place Over 9,000 runners competed in the race.

Silver medal

Meanwhile, county Down woman Mary Rice returns to Ireland on Wednesday after her silver medal performance at the Sydney Paralympics.

Rice won silver in the women's 400m celebral palsy final on Saturday.

Mary's sister Sharon took fifth place in the same race.

The Irish squad will arrive in Dublin Airport on Wednesday with nine medals - five golds, three silvers and a bronze.

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See also:

15 Oct 00 |  Athletics
Radcliffe races to Irish victory
30 Sep 00 |  Northern Ireland
O'Sullivan misses out on second medal
25 Sep 00 |  Northern Ireland
Silver lining for Sonia O'Sullivan
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