Robert Heffernan falls short in 5km walk

50km walk world champion finds shorter distance a real test at Cork City Sports

 

This was a sprint when he’s aiming for more than a full marathon distance longer, although Robert Heffernan was still thrown a little off track in Cork last night.

Competing at home for the first time since his World Championship gold medal in Moscow last summer, Heffernan finished fourth in the 5km walk at the Cork City Sports. As he said himself he “just doesn’t like being beaten”.

It was his last race before next month’s European Championships in Zurich, where Heffernan will be back on the road and the more comfortable 50km distance. However, unlike this time last summer when Heffernan signed off for Moscow with a victory in Cork, it wasn’t the perfect send off, even if it was still the perfect sharpening exercise.

Altitude training

Cork IT

Indeed Heffernan’s time of 11:09.08 did improve his personal best of 11:11.94 set here last year, only this time he found three athletes finish ahead of him: the Australian Dane Bird-Smith, formerly a mountain running specialist, took the victory in 10:56.23, ahead of Kevin Campion from France (10:58.16), with Cork’s Alex Wright – who is actually coached by Heffernan – taking third in 10:58.47.

‘Bright future’

At 36, it’s hardly surprising that Heffernan found it difficult to stick with the younger legs over 5km on the track, although it’s another timely reminder too that he certainly won’t have it all his own way in Zurich, those European Championships now just four weeks away.

Earlier, Thomas Barr went in the 400m hurdles having twice broken the Irish record in recent weeks – lowering it to a world-class 48.80, still the third fastest in Europe this summer. Here, Barr came up against some truly world-class opposition, including Javier Culson from Puerto Rico, the Olympic bronze medallist and two-World Championship silver medallists.

Indeed Culson showed all of that class when winning in 48.41 seconds, a meeting record, with American champion Johnny Dutch next home in 49.27. Still, Barr chased hard to clock 49.95 in third, in not ideal conditions.

“I’d like to have run a little faster,” said Barr, “and there was a strong wind back stretch. But this was top-class field, and that’s what I was looking for, a really high calibre race like this, and that’s all part of the experience in the weeks before Zurich.”

Longer distance

Fionnuala BrittonMarielle HallMelissa Duncan

Another of the headline races, the men’s mile, went to the American Kyle Merber, who ran an impressive 3:56.74, with the best of the Irish being Kevin Batt, who ran 4:01.81.

Phil Healy looked to have run a lifetime best of 11.36 seconds when finishing second in the women’s 100 metres, just short of the American Cleo Van Buren, who ran 11.35, but those times were ruled out for record purposes due to the tailwind of +3m.

Sarah Lavin also finished a close second in the 100m hurdles, running 13.30 seconds, just off the winning time of 13.20 for England’s Serita Solomon.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.