A welcome returns go
got it all perfectly right when winning the Terenure 5-Mile Road Race in Dublin yesterday - his first major outing since serving a two-year ban for doping.
If the way he beat Kenyan runner Freddy Sittuk Keron for the top spot wasn’t satisfying enough – both men credited with the same time of 24 minutes, 23 seconds – the warm reception which greeted Fagan afterwards almost certainly was.
Indeed Fagan received a particulary generous applause at the prize giving function that followed the event, which this year attracted an entry of over 1,700 runners: Fagan had run a few low-key road events in the past two months but this was a big and successful step-up for the still popular Mullingar runner.
Gary Murray finished third in 24:31, but the race for the top prize always looked to be decided between Fagan and the Kenyan as they pressed the pace throughout.
In the end Fagan had just enough leg speed to hold out for victory, and the 30-year-old continues a slow a steady build-up over the summer months for a possible run in the Dublin Marathon in October.
"It feels good to be back running again and a big bonus is that I am running injury free and enjoying my training," said Fagan. "I have been getting some coaching advice from John Downes and I am currently running about 70 miles a week in training.
“I would love to compete in the Dublin Marathon in October but I will have to wait and see what John Downes thinks about that idea.”
Joe Sweeney of DSD also mixed it up in the opening miles, before finishing fifth, with Conor Dooney coming through for fourth.
Still turning back the clock on her career is Catherina McKiernan, who showed a beautifully clean pair of heels to her much younger rivals when winning the women’s race in 27:40, 22 seconds clear of Fiona Roche from Raheny Shamrock, Michelle McGee of DSD finished third in 28:49.