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Christie aims to party in Dublin

Mullingar's Mark Christie aims to improve his own course record at Sunday's Kleinwort Benson St Patrick's Festival 5k (12 noon).

Last year, Christie -- (pictured) won the Dublin city centre race in 14 minutes 12 seconds, clipping two seconds off the previous record. Pushing him hard in the initial stages was Tallaght's Sean Connolly who went on to finish second in 14.39.

Christie faces tough opposition this year from DSD's Breandan O'Neill and John Coghlan of host club MSB AC, both members of Ireland's U23 European cross-country gold medal team in December.

Others include Anthony Lieghio from Tallaght, recently crowned American national junior college 800m and 1000m indoor champion, and Liam Reale from Limerick, second in Saturday's Irish Universities Cross-Country.

In the team category, Raheny Shamrock is aiming for a hat-trick of titles. Last year Richie Corcoran and Mark Kirwan, third and fourth in the race, led the northside club's strong squad.

Still wide open is the women's race, won by Linda Byrne from her DSD clubmate Ava Hutchinson last year. Byrne is taking a break from the sport, while Hutchinson is on world cross-country duty in Spain, along with Fionnuala Britton.

There's a record entry of around 2,000 including plenty of St Patricks, leprechauns and shamrocks. With a special entry fee for families, mothers, fathers and children are expected to join in together. Prizes will go to the best three fancy dress outfits still intact.

There will be a live band, jugglers, clowns, face painters, balloon artists, stilt walkers, fire eaters and a parade of motorbikes all adding to the festive fun.

Online entries will be accepted at €15 until Friday. On the day, registration is at the Mansion House, Dawson Street with late entries costing €20. The first 2,000 to sign up get a T-shirt and goodie bag.

p If you can't run, why not help out? Call 087-670331; no offer too small!

p Online entry at www.patricksrun.com