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Posted: April 3, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Fagan Takes On Tergat At Great Ireland Run On Sunday

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

In what could be called a battle of the generations, Irishman Martin Fagan will take on Kenyan legend Paul Tergat at Sunday's Great Ireland Run 10-K in Dublin.

Fagan, 25, who starred for Providence College in the NCAA system, has developed rapidly under American coach Greg McMillan. Based in Flagstaff, Ariz. at 2121m (6955 ft.), Fagan has taken to longer distances on the roads with excellent success. On March 14, in The Hague, Fagan clocked 1:00:57 at the Fortis City-Pier-City Half-Marathon to become the Irish record holder for the distance. An Olympian, Fagan competed in the Beijing Games in the marathon last August, but failed to finish.

The willowy Tergat is some 15 years Fagan's senior (he turns 40 in June), and remains one of the most decorated athletes in all of distance running with two Olympic silver medals, five individual world cross country titles, and three world half-marathon gold medals. He remains the second-fastest marathoner of all-time (2:04:55), and won his last marathon just one month ago in Lake Biwa, Japan.

Fagan and Tergat have never raced each other, and Fagan will have the added advantage of having his training partner, American Andrew Carlson, running with him in the race. Irish veteran Mark Carroll is also entered.

The women's race is shaping up to be a three-woman battle between 2009 European Indoor Championships 3000m silver medalist Mary Cullen of Ireland (another former NCAA star), two-time ING New York City Marathon champion Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia, and former world 10,000m champion Sally Barsosio of Kenya. Portuguese legend Fernanda Ribeiro, 39, former world 10,000m champion and Olympic bronze medalist, is also in the field.

Nova International, the British company which organizes the event, reports about 10,000 runners have entered the race which takes place in Phoenix Park on a two-loop course. The course records are 28:35 for men by Australian Craig Mottram (2005) and 31:41 by Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu (2006). Conditions should be good for fast times; the forecast calls for cool temperatures, cloudy skies and only a 10% chance of rain.

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