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Monday 11 December 2017

Berlin best from Graham

Kenya’s Gladys Cherono Kiprono is helped after winning the women’s race (2:20:23) in the Berlin Marathon.
Kenya’s Gladys Cherono Kiprono is helped after winning the women’s race (2:20:23) in the Berlin Marathon.

Laura Graham of Mourne Runners and Gladys Ganiel of North Belfast Harriers have moved into first and second place on the Irish marathon rankings after their superb runs at last Sunday's Berlin Marathon.

Graham's time of two hours 37 minutes and five seconds for 14th place knocked a massive two and a half minutes off her personal best and she was an agonising five seconds off the Commonwealth Games consideration time.

Just behind Graham in 2:37.55 was Gladys Ganiel of North Belfast Harriers whose time was also a personal best by almost a minute and enough to win her the W40 title ahead of China's Haifeng Li who finished in 2:39.50.

In an Irish over 40 double, Clonliffe's Gary O'Hanlon finished first M40 in a personal best time of 2:19.25. "Delighted to be getting faster despite getting older, age is just a number. The key is to train smart, surround yourself with positive people and always believe in your own ability," said the 43-year-old Hanlon after his great run.

Overall, Rio Olympian Kevin Seaward of St Malachy's finished 19th in 2:15.50. His time was outside the 2:14.52 he ran in Berlin two years ago, but enough to put him on the consideration list for next year's Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

A large contingent of Irish athletes had travelled to Berlin and finished in under two hours 30 minutes were Alan O'Shea of Bantry AC with 2:27.29, Raheny's Cillian O'Leary with 2:28.26 and Alan O'Brien of Eagle AC with 2:28.53; all were competing in the M35 age group.

Irish record-holder Patrick Monahan of Le Cheile AC finished 13th with a time of 1:46.24 in the wheelchair race.

Monahan will defend his title in Dublin at the end of next month, as will Sergiu Ciobnau of Clonliffe Harriers who has kept a low profile over the past few months.

Last year, Ciobanu warmed up for Dublin by winning the annual Cork to Cobh 15-miler, the 2017 version of which takes place next Sunday. Coming up a week later is the Galway Bay Half Marathon, which is another option for athletes targeting Dublin.

Seán Hehir of Rathfarnham and Raheny's Mick Clohisey will head for Sunday's Cardiff Half Marathon, widely recognised as one of the most competitive in Europe.

Last weekend, Hehir took a comfortable victory in the Loughrea 10km, while Clohisey won the Stephen Carroll/Capt Mark Duffy Memorial 4-Mile held in Blackrock Village, Co Louth.

Making a return to racing in Blackrock was Fionnuala McCormack who won the women's race in a new course record 21 mins 10 secs. Emma Mitchell of QUB was second and Catherina McKiernan third.

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