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Sunday 4 December 2016

Athletics: Half-marathons athletes spoiled by choice

Martin Fagan won in Kerry last year
Martin Fagan won in Kerry last year

With the Berlin Marathon taking place in ten days time, the large number of Irish athletes heading for Germany have a choice of two major races this weekend as a final test of their fitness.

Maria McCambridge who is by-passing Berlin for the Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday October 25, is pencilled in for the SSE Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon. While entry for this race closed over a week ago, the undulating Phoenix Park course is not renowned for fast times.

By contrast, Sunday's Kerry Foods Charleville International Half Marathon has a well-deserved reputation as one of the fastest in Ireland.

Last year the now retired Martin Fagan clocked a time of 63 minutes 56.9 seconds for victory in the race, while McCambridge was first woman in 72 minutes and 25.5 seconds.

In the Phoenix Park, times were a lot slower - Gary O'Hanlon of Clonliffe won the Dublin Half Marathon in 69 mins 43 secs, while Patrycja Wlodarczyk of Raheny was first women in 82 mins 54 secs.

Clonliffe's Sergiu Ciobanu, one of the favourites for Rio '16, was in action last weekend, setting a course record of 66 mins 17 secs on his way to victory at the Flatline Athlone Half Marathon. Mick Clohisey of Raheny was taking a rest after winning the Waterside Half Marathon in Derry in 65 mins eight secs a week earlier.

Others aiming for Berlin who may opt to run this weekend include Mark Kenneally of Clonliffe and national half marathon champion Lizzie Lee of Leevale.

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