Northern Irish athlete Tommy Hughes, who represented Ireland in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, has finished in first place in the fourth annual Novosco 10k Grand Prix.
He was among the winners who collected their awards recently at a special ceremony held at the Titanic Hotel, Belfast.
Tommy knocked the reigning champion David Clarke of North Belfast Harriers, who won the series in 2017 and 2018, off the top spot to take first place in the 18-race series.
Patricia Brown, representing Newry City Runners, secured second place, equalling her final ranking in the 2018 series.
David Clarke finished in third place, making this his third consecutive top three finish.
In total, 33 prizes were presented at the ceremony, including awards for the top 25 ranked finalists, top five clubs and two special recognition awards.
North Belfast Harriers took first place in the club leaderboard. Three of the club’s runners, David Clarke, Laurence Johnston and Gareth Lyons, finished in the top 10 in the individual standings.
Clubs in the Ards and North Down area dominated the remainder of the club leaderboard, with Scrabo Striders teams securing second, fourth and fifth place rankings. Bangor’s Ward Park Runners took third place.
Special recognition awards were also presented to Martina McGrath and Leanne Smyth, both of Saintfield Striders, and Gareth Lyons, North Belfast Harriers, for completing 17 races in the series.
Novosco co-founder and Strategic Advisor Patrick McAliskey said: “Congratulations to all of this year’s participants, and in particular to our top three finalists. A very well done to Tommy Hughes, a seasoned long-distance runner, record-breaker and former Olympic athlete, for winning the series in his first year participating. Well done also to Patricia and David for recording some extraordinary performances throughout the 2019 Novosco 10k Grand Prix series and once again securing a podium finish.
“The competitive spirit demonstrated throughout is testament to the calibre of athletics in Northern Ireland and we’re very pleased to continue our support for the series in 2020 which will be rebranded as the CANCOM 10k Grand Prix.”
Series organiser Glenn Grant said: “The Novosco 10k Grand Prix has experienced a huge surge in popularity, with 1,050 runners registered to participate in 2019. Refreshing the series every year, we’ve continued to boost prize values to reward athleticism and encourage new entrants to step forward, and we’ve increased the number of fixtures taking place across NI, which currently stands at 18.”
A not-for-profit competition, the Novosco 10k Grand Prix is a series of 10-kilometre running races staged throughout Northern Ireland with a £9,000 prize fund divided among the top runners and clubs.
It is supported by managed services IT firm Novosco, a CANCOM company, and organised by Glenn Grant, owner of electronic timing chip company ChampionChip Ireland, in partnership with Athletics NI, Running NI and Forestside.
For more information about the 2019 series, including a full list of each runner’s final standing, visit novosco10kgrandprix.com.