Wicklow’s Fionnuala Britton, who just missed out on a medal at the European cross-country Championships in Portugal in December, began her 2011 campaign with a record breaking performance to win the sixth Tom Brennan Memorial 5K road race in the Phoenix Park.

Britton (Sli Cualann AC) was in a class of her own in winning the women’s race from the front in 16:39, knocking 16 seconds off the previous course record held by fellow Olympian Roisin McGettigan.

Deirdre Byrne finished in second place in 17:03, also from the Sli Cualann club.

‘It's a good feeling to be back winning a race again, more especially as I know I should have won a medal in the Europeans, but you always learn from these experiences,’ said the 26 year old Britton.

Britton has gone about putting her disappointment at the European cross country into the background having defeated two of the three women who finished ahead of her in Portugal with the excellent second place finish at the recent cross country invitational in Brussels.

Now she is planning to build on her excellent start to the new year by going for a period of altitude training in South Africa.

‘I have some good races planned for the coming weeks, including the World Championships, and now is the time to get some extra hard work done.’

Front running tactics also paid dividends for Tomas Fitzpatrick of Tallaght AC who won the men’s race by nine seconds in 14:54, from Eddie McGinley of North Down, with popular Dundrum Masters athlete Noel Berkeley in fourth place.

Fitzpatrick specialises in the 1500m on the track and is planning towards making some significant improvement over this distance next summer.