Another Wicklow Round record, whilst strong performances on the roads, track and some excellent schools performances.
Thomas Barr of Ferrybank AC finished third in the 400-metre hurdles at the Shanghai Diamond League on Saturday (May 18) in a time of 49.41 secs – just half a second off the Tokyo 2020 qualification standard of 48.90.
Finishing ahead of Barr were Abderrahman Samba of Qatar in 47.27 and the USA’s Ben Rai in 47.80. “Very happy with a fast and smooth start to 2019 tonight in China!” tweeted Barr after his race. Next up for Barr, who took bronze at last year’s European Championships, is the Stockholm Diamond League on May 30.
Stars of the future shine
Irish heptathlon record holder Kate O’Connor of St Vincent’s Secondary School improved her own Irish junior record to 49.46m when winning the senior girls’ javelin at the Leinster Schools Championships at Santry on Saturday (May 18).
Other Santry highlights included Efrem Gidey of Le Cheille SS setting a senior boy’s 5,000m record of 14:34.22, an easy win for Sarah Healy of Holy Child Killiney with a time of 10:14.98 in the senior girls’ 3000m and victory for Louis O’Loughlin of Moyle Park in the senior boy’ 800m with a time of 1:52.43.
Rhasidat Adeleke of Presentation Terenure College won both the 100m and 200m at inter level, with her times of 11.69 and 24.34 faster than the winning times in the senior races. Fastest of the senior boys was Israel Olatunde from St Mary’s Dundalk who won the 100m in 10.90.
At the Munster Schools Championships, Darragh McElhinney of Colaiste Pobal Bantrai broke Sean Tobin’s record when winning the senior boys 1500m in 3:49.42.
In the senior boys’ 100m, Conor Morey of PBC Cork was the winner in 10.55 – faster than the 1985 record of 10.6 (hand timed) but helped by a 2.3 following wind.
Over 3000m, Laura Nicholson of Bandon Grammar knocked 19 seconds off the previous record when winning in 9:45.97.
Highlight of the Ulster Championships was a new record and personal best of 10.49 secs for Aaron Sexton from Bangor Grammar in the senior boys 100m. Sexton later won the 200m in 21.20, which although off his best of 21.06, was another Ulster schools record. Sexton is making quite a name for himself in rugby circles and earlier this month, was named Ulster A Player of the Year for his performances in the British and Irish Cup. He will defend his All Ireland 100m and 200m titles in Tullamore on June 1.
At the Irish Milers Club meet in Irishtown on Saturday (May 18), Katie Kirk of Ulster University ran a time of 2:10.24 to win the A 800m. Maisy O’Sullivan of St Abban’s was second in 2:11.57. Fastest in the men’s A 800m was 16-year-0ld Cian McPhillips of Longford AC in 1:40.71, with John Fitzsimons of Kildare AC, aged 21, second in 1:51.21.
Conall Kirk of Annadale Striders won the men’s A 1500m in 3:50.76, a personal best.
Winning the men’s A 5000m was English visitor John Sanderson from Guildford and Godalming AC in 14:17.31, with Joe Wilkinson of Lincoln Wellington AC second in 14:28.19 and Kevin Moriarty of Raheny Shamrock third in a personal best 14:41.73.
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner of Dundrum South Dublin, who has returned to the USA, ran a personal best time of 4:10.43 when finishing fourth in a 1500m race at Swarthmore, Pennsylvania last Monday (May 13). That puts her top of the current Irish rankings.
Can anyone beat Peter Somba of Dunboyne AC?
The diminutive Kenyan Somba, who is on his sixth annual visit to Ireland, won two races in three days over the weekend.
On Friday evening (May 17), he provided a thrilling finish to the Simon Combers/Paddy Hyland 6km in Navan when he edged out Mick Clohisey of Raheny Shamrock for victory. Somba was timed at 17 mins 36 secs and Clohisey just two seconds behind for second. A distant third was Sean Doran of Clonliffe Harriers in 19:25. First woman in Navan was Catherina Mullen of Metro St Brigid’s AC in 20:23
On Sunday morning (May 19), Somba turned out for the Tallaght 5km and this time battled it out with Mark Kennally from Clonliffe Harriers until the final stages of the race. Again it was Somba who took the victory this time by four seconds – he crossed the line in 14:50 with Kenneally, running his first race after a long break, second in 14:54. In Tallaght, there was a home win for Laura McDonnell in 17:48.
Winners of the Les Jones 10km in Belfast on Friday (May 17) were Stephen Wylie of Victoria Park and Connswater AC in 33:26 and Gemma McDonald of Ballycastle Runners in 39:47.
Wicklow Round goes again
Gavin Byrne came close to breaking 15 hours with his stunning record time of 15:04.30 for the Wicklow Round on Saturday (May 18). The local runner had put in plenty of time picking the best lines and his knowledge of the Wicklow mountains helped created an outstanding performance on the day.
It was the third time that the record for the looped course taking in 26 of the main Wicklow summits has fallen in the past five weeks. First off was US-based Paddy O’Leary, who ran a time of 16:27.20 on Saturday April 13. That knocked over 40 minutes off the 2018 17:09:44 mark set by American ultra runner Joe “Stringbean” McConaughey. Before McConaughey’s effort, Eoin Keith’s record of 17:53:45 had stood for nine years.
O’Leary’s record lasted for only a week when Shane Lynch from Co Louth clocked 16:23.32 on April 19 going four minutes faster.
Eoin Hughes and Sarah Fitzpatrick ran the quickest parkrun times in Ireland on Saturday (May 18). Check out the full rankings here
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Lindie Naughton is a journalist and writer based in Dublin who joined the athletics club at her college many many years ago and has never quite escaped. You’ll normally find her jogging around some orienteering course somewhere – or down at the Irishtown track coaching kiddies!