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Monday 29 May 2017

London call for Hehir

Rathfarnham’s Sean Hehir will be heading for the World Track and Field Championships in London after his successful run in last Sunday’s London Marathon. Pic: Sportsfile
Rathfarnham’s Sean Hehir will be heading for the World Track and Field Championships in London after his successful run in last Sunday’s London Marathon. Pic: Sportsfile

Rathfarnham's Sean Hehir is on his way to the World Track and Field Championships in London after finishing best of the Irish at Sunday's London Marathon.

Hehir's time was a personal best time of 2 hrs 16 mins 18 secs - comfortably inside the qualifying mark for the World Championships later this year.

In 2016, he had clocked 2:17.30, then personal best and also putting him fastest of the Irish finishers in London.

Although failing to make the team for the Rio Olympics, he rounded out his year by running 2:18.46 for second place behind Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe at the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon.

If he opts to run at the Worlds, it will be a third marathon in less than a year. Second of the Irish in London with a time of 2:17.08 was Rio Olympian Kevin Seaward of St Malachy's who was aiming for the Commonwealth Games qualification mark of 2:16.30.

Also with his sights set on the Commonwealth Games is Stephen Scullion, like Seaward a British based Ulsterman.

Scullion had dropped out in London last year after two miles. After a long rest and a flirtation with rugby, his appetite for running returned and his time of 2:17:59 was a personal best by three minutes.

Fading to finish fourth of the Irish in 2:18.34 was Raheny's Mick Clohisey in 2:18:34. Clohisey was on target for a sub-2:14 times when he went through the half way mark in 66:41.

Seaward and Hehir were less than half a minute adrift and at 30km, Seaward was leading the Irish, followed by Clohisey, Hehir and Scullion but after 35km, he began suffering from leg cramps. Hehir caught and passed him, while Clohisey continued to fade.

In Hamburg, national champion Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe dropped out at 35km with rain and hail making fast times impossible.

Story of the day in London saw 23-year-old Welsh athlete Josh Griffiths starting with the masses and, in his first ever marathon, coming home first of the British athletes in 2:14:49; a time Irish athletes can only dream of.

In the women's race, Irish champion Laura Graham of Mourne Runners was another athlete to fade after a good start. 

At 30k, she was on target for a time of  under 2:37, but she struggled as the race went on and finished in 2:42:38, which was 44 seconds off the time she ran in Dublin last October.

Behind her was Barbara Sanchez of Clonliffe  in 2:47.36, hhile failing to finish was Gladys Ganiel of North Belfast Harriers.

In the dramatic wheelchair race, Le Cheile's Patrick Monahan finished 19th in 1:33.41 - five minutes quicker than last year.

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