Byrne sets hot pace in sunny Dublin
ATHLETICS/WOMEN’S MINI MARATHON:IT SURE felt like high summer around the streets of Dublin and with that the perfect test run for Linda Byrne in the countdown to the London Olympic marathon – now just two months away.
Two years ago Byrne won her first Women’s Mini Marathon and that ultimately prompted her quest for Olympic qualification in the marathon. Having achieved that goal in Dublin last October, she returned to yesterday’s mini marathon with the intention of polishing off her preparations.
She did that and more – winning the 10km run in an impressive 33 minutes and 29 minutes, and after leading every step of the way, boosted her confidence too for the 26.2-mile run in London, where she will make her Olympic debut.
It probably helped that the 25- year-old from Dundrum was just back from three weeks of warm-weather training in Portugal, and the warm conditions appeared to have little or no effect as she cruised toward the finish at St Stephen’s Green – the rest of the 40,000-plus runners still spread out around the course, many of whom had added charitable causes to their own motivations.
“Yeah I felt quite strong and relaxed throughout, and really just treated it like a good, hard tempo run,” said Byrne, adding that she will next run a half marathon in Longford to help conclude her preparations for London. Her winning time of 33:29 was exactly one minute quicker than the time she clocked to win the 2010 race.
Second place went to Siobhán O’Doherty from Tipperary, the same place she finished last year, in 35:20. One other notable finisher inside the top 10 was mini-marathon former winner Catherina McKiernan, still the Irish marathon record holder and still enjoying semi-competitive running, even on modest training.
There was warm, pleasant sunshine in Cork too for the sixth edition of the Cork City Marathon and those conditions most definitely suited the winner, Freddie Kearon from Kenya, who appeared to run well within himself to come home the comfortable winner in a course record of 2:22:12.
Kearon did have Irish marathon champion Sergui Ciobanu from Moldova for company in the early the stages, both men passing halfway in 1:10:36, but the 32- year-old Kearon later eased in front – with Ciobanu settling for second in 2:22:51.
England’s Hugh Lobb took third in 2:28:35, while Cillian O’Leary, representing Raheny Shamrock, took fourth in 2:29:54.
The first woman home on the day was Angela McCann in a fine time of 2:53:02, while the half marathon races did provide one local winner when Lizzie Lee was first home in the women’s race, with the men’s half marathon win going to Gary O’Hanlon from Louth in 69:15. See also page 5