Sinead Diver and Mick Clohisey impress at London Marathon, The Wicklow Round record is broken after only eight days and exciting road relay racing in Dublin. 

Mayo-born Sinead Diver ran a personal best 2:24:11 to finish a magnificent seventh in the London Marathon on Sunday (April 28).

Had Diver been running for Ireland, it would have been the best Irish performance in an international marathon since the heyday of Catherina McKiernan. Of Irish-born women, only McKiernan, with a time of 2:22:23 has run faster.
Diver, of course, runs for Australia, and was aiming to break Benita Johnson’s Australian record of 2:22:36 after running an uncontested 2:25:19 in Melbourne last October.

The Nic Bideau coached athlete started out at a steady pace and led until until around 25 km, after going through 10km in 33:28 and the halfway point in 71:22. After that, her pace slowed and the chances of breaking 2:23 receded as she fell back to ninth place. A determined effort over the last couple of kilometres allowed the W40 runner to grab seventh and be the first veteran across the line.

In the men’s race, Mick Clohisey of Raheny Shamrock finished 25th in 2:15:06 after going through halfway in 66:34, but slowing down in the final seven kilometres. In 31st place, Gary O’Hanlon of Clonliffe Harriers came close to his best when he finished second M40 in 2:17:32 – not far off the time of 2:17.11 he ran in Dublin last October. Sean Heir wasn’t far behind in 2:18:58 and Heather Noone was the first Irish lady to the finish in 2:48:35, which is another 2019 PB for the late comer to running who could be a brilliant prospect for the future.

For a full roundup of the London Marathon read the Fast Running report here.

Track and Field

Kate O’Connor, of St Gerard’s AC in Dundalk, smashed the Irish senior record when finishing a magnificent second in the heptathlon at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge in Lana, Italy on Saturday and Sunday (April 27/28).
O’Connor opened her campaign with a massive personal best 14.48 secs in the 100m hurdles, netting her 912 points and putting her 16th overall among the 26 competitors. Her previous best in this discipline was 14.82 secs set at last year’s Commonwealth Games.

In the high jump, she finished equal first with a height of 1.72m, which brought her 879 points and moved her up to ninth overall with 1791 points. Her 13.48m shot putt was another personal best showing a huge improvement on her previous best of 12.90 from 2017. Adding 801 points to her total, it moved her into fourth position on the table and just three points off a medal position. Her final event on the opening day was the 200m, which she ran in 25.20, putting her sixth in a closely-packed field overnight.

On the second day, a long jump PB of 5.86m was followed by a mighty 49.31m in the javelin, which was not only by some way the best of the competition, but which broke her own Irish U20 record of 48.95. With just the 800m to come, O’Connor had moved up to 3rd overall and a time of of 2:21.15 gave her an overall total of 5881 points – breaking Elizabeth Morland’s Irish record of 5815 set last summer. Competition winner was Annie Kunz of the USA with 5971 points.

At the Leevale Sports in Cork IT on Saturday (April 27) Amy Hayde of Newport AC ran a time of 2:09.99 for the 800m – a European Youth Olympics qualifying mark.Winning the 400m in 54.03 secs was Hayde’s Newport clubmate Sharlene Mawsley.

There were doubles for sprinters Ciara Neville from Emerald AC and Leevale’s Ryan O’Leary. Neville won the 100m in 11.57 from Niamh Whelan of Ferrybank AC and Joan Healy of Leevale AC. In the 200m, she clocked 23.85 with Joan Healy second and Sarah Lavin of UCD AC third. O’Leary won the 100m in 10.81 from Basit Oyebanji of Tralee Harriers and the 200m in 22.15 from Robert Bennett of Nenagh Olympic.

Highlight of the field events was a 65.64 throw in the men’s hammer for Brendan O’Donnell who travelled from Lifford Strabane AC. Simon Galligan of Clonlffe Harriers threw 55.87m for second.

Road relays

A battling team from Raheny Shamrock retained the men’s title at the National Road Relays, hosted by Raheny Shamrock in Dublin on Sunday.

Kieran Kelly for Raheny and Eoin Everard for Kilkenny City Harriers came in together after the first two mile leg, with Clonliffe Harriers not far behind in third place. Taking over for the one mile was Cillian Kirwan for Raheny and by the time he handed over to Kevin Dooney, Raheny was firmly in the lead, with Clonliffe now in second place.

Dooney had the task of keeping the team in touch over three miles and this he did in style, although John Travers, who had pulled Donore Harriers from fourth to a narrow lead, was first at the hand over, with Dooney on his heels and Clonliffe Harriers in third.

It was now all down to track specialist Brian Fay for the final two mile leg. A determined run saw him catching Donore’s Eric Keogh to regain the lead and bring the team home as champions ahead of Donore and Clonliffe. Kilkenny City Harriers finished fourth, the Dundrum South Dublin fifth.

On a good day for Donore, a decisive middle leg over two miles from Barbara Cleary pulled them into a close second place in the women’s 1 mile-2 mile-1 mile relay, with Ide Nic Dhomhnaill then taking over in front for victory on the final one-mile leg. Dublin City Harriers finished second and North Down AC third.

First up on the day were the women masters, with St Finbarr’s winning the W35 title from Dunleer AC and Raheny Shamrock B. Raheny Shamrock also took the W50 title in a time that would have put them second overall. Leading the men’s master race from the start was Donore Harriers who went on to win the M35 title from Rathfarnham WSAF AC and St Finbarr’s AC. First of the M50 teams was St Finbarr’s with Rahney Shamrock second and Drogheda and District third.

Hill running

Mark Lamb of Keswick AC was the overall winner of a closely fought Mourne Highline mountain race held on Saturday (April 26)– the NIMRA British Championships round.

On a route adjusted for the bad weather, Lamb finished in 63:17 with James Espie of Deeside Runners a close second in 63:22. Third was U23 runner Joshua Jardine of Helm Hill Runners in 64:06. Best of the Irish was Jonathan Scott of Mourne Runners who finished 23rd in 69:51.

Women’s winner was Kelli Roberts of Helm Hill Runners in 73:27. Megan Wilson of Dark Peak Fell Runners Club was second in 75:07 and Rachel Parker of Mercia Fell RC third in 75:26. Esther Dickson of Newry AC was first of the local athletes in 79:09.

At Crone woods in Co Wicklow, Zak Hanna of Newcastle AC was a comfortable winner of the men’s 6.25km trial race for the European Championships held in stormy conditions on Saturday (April 27) . “Standing on top of Djouce in that wind was a challenge in itself!” said Hanna afterwards.

Megan Wilson of East Down had a flier in the women’s race over the same distance, finishing four minutes in front of Esther Dickson, who was the winner at Donard Commedagh earlier this month.

Wicklow Round record broken

Earlier in the week, on Easter Sunday (April 21) Shane Lynch broke Paddy O’Leary’s eight-day Wicklow Round record with a time of 16 hrs 23 mins 32 secs for the looped course taking in 29 nominated high points in the Wicklow mountains.
Waiting to great Lynch at the finish was O’Leary who had run 16:27:20 just over a week earlier.

Lynch, a former international orienteer, based in Co Louth, was lucky with the conditions. “On the day, fears of fog never materialised, I had perfect visibility from the off. I did have to contend with heat, but it was never an issue. Existing niggles didn’t hamper my run and the mind only wavered briefly a couple of times. I did change my nutrition after getting sick on table mountain and survived the rest of the day on pizza, bacon, coke, water and oranges. Oranges never tasted so good!”

Lynch believes that the faster times are possible on the round. “Some of the best lines have yet to be established and some more of these will no doubt be found this summer.”

In true mountain running spirit O’Leary rushed to the finish to congratulate Lynch on taking his record as the US-based Irishman was still in country. Rumours have it that the former international lacrosse player is tempted to come back and have another crack at the Round in future.

Earlier Results

Andrew Coscoran of Star of the Sea was the winner of the 128th Clonliffe 2-Mile in Santry on Thursday (April 25) in a time of 9 mins 13 secs. Second in 9:15 was Colm Rooney from the host club with his clubmate Efrem Gidey third in 9:28.
Nadia Power of Templeogue AC won the women’s race for a second year in 10:46. Ide No Dhomhnaill of Donore Harriers was second in 10:53 and Bronagh Kearns of St Senan’s third in 11:18.

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