Another strong weekend of Irish endurance action with Lindie Naughton reporting. Highlights include a big PB for Sean Tobin and a big move for former Fast10 athlete Zak Hanna.

Sarah Healy of UCD continued her strong start to the season when she finished fourth in the 1500m with a time of 4 mins 09.92 secs at the Muller Grand Prix in Gateshead on Sunday (May 23)

Healy’s time was just off her best of 4:09.25 run in 2018. Race winner was Laura Muir in 4:03.73.

In the men’s 5000m, Sean Tobin of Clonmel AC ran a time of 13 mins 33.93 secs which knocked almost 20 seconds off his previous best. He finished 12th in a quality race.

Appalling weather put an end to Ann-Marie McGlynn’s ambitions of making the marathon qualifying time for the Tokyo Olympics at the =S7 Marathon in Styria, Austria on Sunday (May 23) .

McGlynn, of Letterkenny AC, was on target for a sub 2 hour 30 min when she passed through halfway in 75 mins but dropped out soon after. Last month McGlynn missed the Tokyo standard by 4 seconds when running 2:29:34 in Pulford, Cheshire.

Rio Olympian Breege Connolly clocked 2:41:44 to finish sixth in the same race. Of the 20 starters in the women’s race, only nine finished.

Track racing at home and abroad

John Travers of Donore Harriers rolled back the years when running a time of 3:37.94 for 1500m at the Meeting Internacional Jaen Paraiso Interior, a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meeting, in Andujar, Spain, on Saturday (May 22).

Travers’ previous best of 3:37.27 dates back to 2014. He finished fifth in the race, which was won by Ethiopia’s Teddese Lemi in 3:35.8.
Also in Andujar, Claire Mooney of Naas AC finished eighth in the women’s 800m in 2:06.25.

Race of the day at the City of Lisburn Invitational Meet at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast on Saturday (May 22) was a thrilling men’s 800m won by Harry Purcell of Trim AC.

Purcell, who crossed the line in a personal best 1:46.83, was chased all the way by Andrew Coscoran of Star of the Sea AC whose time of 1:46.91 was also a career best. Right on Coscoran’s heels was Roland Sulis of Annalee AC in a time of 1:46.93.

Ellie Hartnett of UCD AC won the women’s 1500m in 4 mins 25.28 secs, beating Siobhan Whelan of Clonmel AC second in 4:26.86, and Ava O’Connor of Tullamore Harriers third in 4:31.05.

In the men’s 1500m, Neil Johnson of Annadale Striders AC was the winner in 3:49.45 ahead of Finn Valley junior Sean Mc Ginley whose time of 3:55 32 was a 12-second personal best time. Daniel Stone of Clonliffe Harriers was third in 3:56.27. Winning the women’s 800m in 2:10.08 was Denise Toner of Clones AC.

Friday night racing

John Fitzsimons of Kildare AC produced the Irish performance of the night at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Level meet in Ostrava, Czechia last Wednesday (May 19)

Lining out with Mark English of Letterkenny AC in the men’s 800m, Fitzsimons raced to a career best time of 1 min 46.62 secs to finish seventh in a competitive race. English, who led at the bell, faded to finish 11th in 1:47.85.

Luke McCann of DCH AC moved to the top of the current rankings when he finished 10th in the men’s 1500m with a personal time of 3:37.77. His previous best was 3:41.70.

In the women’s 800m, Nadia Power of Dublin City Harriers ran a time of 2 mins 3.72 for sixth place and for the 3000m, Sean Tobin finished fourth in 7 mins 49.37 secs.

In other news, Irish international mountain runner, Zak Hanna has made the big decision to link up with an Italian club in Malannon. Fast Running wishes him all the best on his next adventures and look forward to reporting on his progress in the Alps this summer.