independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

O'Hanlon banks sixth marathon win of year at Clonakilty

Gary O'Hanlon of Clonliffe Harriers raced to his sixth marathon victory this year when he led the field home in the Clonakilty Waterfront event on Saturday, finishing in 2:46.06.

O'Hanlon only took over the lead in the final three miles of what is a testing but beautifully scenic course. He finished comfortably clear of Raivis Zakis of West Waterford (2:47.59). Rory Mooney finished third in 2:48.36.

This was a hard-earned victory for O'Hanlon as he had to worry about a niggling leg injury that had been troubling him for most of the previous week.

"It felt like a hamstring problem and I was hoping that I would be able to complete the distance on Saturday," he said.

"I had to run with a bit of caution, but I am delighted to win what is a really brilliant event."

This was O'Hanlon's second successive victory in Clonakilty.

Joasia Zakrzewski from Drumfries Running Club in Scotland was a clear winner of the women's marathon -- finishing in 2:48.41, a time that earned her fourth place overall.

The 37-year-old, who has only been running for five years, has already made a big impact in international ultra-distance events, finishing second in the World 100k event in 7:41.04, where she beat all the British men.

The doctor was delighted with her victory. "There was great support out there today and this is a really lovely event," she said.

Angela McCann (Clonmel AC) placed second in 3.02.40 and Maura Regan (Eagle AC) was third in 3.09.50.

Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers coasted to victory in the half-marathon in 1:08.44, after taking an early lead.

Ciobanu, who represented his native Moldova in the marathon in the World Championships in Moscow in August, now has Irish citizenship on his wish list.

"I have lived here now for a good few years and I would love to run for Ireland," he said.

"I have enjoyed great support from my club and my Irish running friends and now I hope that I can become an Irish citizen in 2014."

Ciobanu also won the Clonakilty event in 2012.

There was great cheer too for the local Cleary brothers Stephen and Robert, who finished second and third respectively in the half-marathon in 1:14.15 and 1:20.37.

Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC) came home a winner in the women's race in 1:26.32, with Ann Marie Holland (St Finbar's AC) a close second in 1:26.50. Karen Walsh placed third in 1:29.34.

Jude McEntee led the field home in the 10k event in 33.24. Julia McMurray (Ballineen) won the women's race in 40.53.

FRANK GREALLY

Irish Independent

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