Hundreds of people ran yesterday’s inaugural Ashling Murphy 4 Mile Road Race in Tullamore yesterday.

The race saw over 500 participants from across the town, county, and country toe the line to remember the 23-year-old primary school teacher who was murdered in Tullamore while out for a run along the local canal in January.

The race also incorporated the Offaly Novice, Senior, and Masters Championships and was the first race of the Offaly Endurance Race Series.

Peter Somba of Dunboyne AC took victory in the Men’s race. Somba, originally from Kenya, has been in good form recently finishing second in last weekend’s Irish Runner 5k at the Phoenix Park where he ran 14.33.

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Somba is a regular on podiums at road races across the country and was always likely to make another one in Tullamore. He produced an impressive performance to win the race in a time of 19.43.

Behind Somba was the first Offaly finisher, Mick Fogarty of Ferbane AC. Fogarty recently finished second at the Leinster 10 Mile Championships in Clontarf behind Olympian Mick Clohissey and his good form showed as he ran a time of 20.03 to take second.

Michael Murphy of local club Tullamore Harriers finished third. Murphy is currently studying in DCU and was making his return from a recent injury lay-off. He has just returned from altitude in Font Romeu and his recent hard work showed as he looked strong crossing the line in 20.38.

Rio Olympian Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC was the star attraction on the Women’s side. Lizzie has impressed recently with some strong performances on the road across the country and was a comfortable winner of the inaugural Ashling Murphy Perpetual Trophy. Lee’s winning time was 22.29.

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There was a close battle for second and third with Sinead Whitelaw of Mullingar Harriers seeing off Fiona Gettings of Longford AC. Local athlete Emily Grennan of Tullamore was fourth.

Ashling Murphy’s parents Raymond and Kathleen were on hand to present the trophy to Lee, who described the occasion as “very emotional”.

Music on the day was provided by Ballyboy Comhaltas whom Ashling had been a member of, while her boyfriend Ryan got the walkers underway. Raymond and friends from Camcor Riders circulated the course, with Raymond leading the athletes.

The race was described by many that took part as a fitting tribute to a popular young woman whose personality lit up the town of Tullamore and surrounding areas who is gone too soon.

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