Friday 18 January 2019

Caitriona has day to remember

Winner brings first Mini Marathon win back to Sportsworld

Caitriona Jennings not only won the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon yesterday, she gave the Sportsworld Running club its first victory in this great race.

Sportsworld owes its very existence to the women’s Mini Marathon. With Emily Dowling in charge, it started out as a Meet and Train group in Dublin’s Bushy Park over 28 years ago, when the Mini Marathon was first held.

At the time, Jennings, who comes from Donegal was a two-year-old toddler. She grew up in the world where it was natural for women to take part in sport, with big sister Sinead excelling first at the triathlon and then rowing.


In her younger days, Caitriona was moderately successful as a juvenile athlete, but like many a teenager, she then drifted away from sport.

“I was 25 when I got back into it and have been coached by Terry McConnon since then,” she said after her victory yesterday.

In the past two years, she has finished fifth and sixth in the Mini Marathon, so this was a best ever performance, although her time of 35 minutes 28 seconds was outside her best time for the 10km distance.

“I’m delighted to win today because this is only my third race since Christmas. I picked up an Achilles tendon injury and only got back into training at the end of April – I’m still seeing a physio.”

As part of the ‘Marathon Mission’ team, Jennings travelled to Gothenburg for a half-marathon last month and then won the Donore 5km in the Phoenix Park last week.

“Maybe that’s why I ran so well today – it was only my third race since my injury and I was fresh.”

She now hopes to complete her first marathon in Dublin next October. In second place was Mini Marathon regular Siobhan O’Doherty, from Borrisokane. She’s another member of the ‘Marathon Mission’ and in April completed the Paris Marathon in 2 hours 45 minutes.

Early in the race, Jennings and O’Doherty were part of a group that included Raheny’s Aoife Talty, Cathy McCourt from North Belfast and Letterkenny’s Teresa McGloin.

After setting the pace for the first 3km, McGloin, who had produced the best run of her career to finish third last year, was first to drop back.

The remaining four continued to run together until after seven kilometres when Jennings and O’Doherty made a break. Only three seconds separated them at the finish. Third, in 35 minutes 54 seconds, came Talty, a daughter of GAA’s Brian, and surely a star of the future, while fourth was McCourt, followed by Raheny’s Fiona Roche, who was thrilled with her personal best time of 36 minutes 41 seconds.

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