Britton smashes Tom Brennan 5k record
EUROPEAN cross-country champion Fionnuala Britton warmed up for Saturday's Edinburgh International Cross-Country when she stormed to victory in the Tom Brennan New Year's Day 5km in Phoenix Park.
Britton was up with the top men from the start and finished eighth overall in 16 minutes 15 seconds - 24 seconds faster than her own course record set last year.
After her emphatic European Championships victory before Christmas, Britton leads a strong European select team taking on the USA and the United Kingdom over the tough Edinburgh course.
Lining out for the British team is Gemma Steel, who pushed Britton hard in the later stages of the European Championships, along with Steph Twell and home favourite Freya Murray.
Neeley Spence leads Team USA after finishing second in the USA club championships.
Ethiopian-born Atelaw Bekele, who won the European title for Belgium, leads a men's team that includes Irish inter-county champion Joe Sweeney.
Also selected are Spanish pair Ayad Lamdessem and Javier Garcia, and Sergiy Lebid, the nine-times European champion from Ukraine.
While Britton heads east, rising star John Coghlan of MSB will head west to the USA after an equally emphatic win on the roads around Phoenix Park.
Coghlan set a fast pace from the gun and knocked five seconds off James Nolan's five-year-old record when he finished in 14:34. Behind him came a tremendous battle for second place, with Tallaght's Anthony Lieghio beating MSB veteran Shane Healy.
Healy's aim for 2012 is to become the second Irish master athlete over the age of 40 to break the four-mile barrier; the first was a certain Eamonn Coghlan 18 years ago.
Next up for John Coghlan is a trip to New York, where he will compete with a DCU team at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational on February 3-4 and the Millrose Games a week later.