A couple of days before travelling to New York where he finished second to Sweden's Andreas Gustafsson over one mile at the Millrose Games, World 50k Walk champion Robert Heffernan, pictured above with the chairman of Cork City Sports Tony O'Connell, received the Cork City Sports Athletics Person of the Year award for the third time.
"You don't start your year to win awards but, when you do, it's a great honour. Definitely with the City Sports, because all of the people involved are real athletics people, they love the sport and there is no sense of politics or anything like that, so this is a lovely award to win," said Heffernan.
Gustafsson posted 5:34.45 and Heffernan 5:39.75 for the indoor mile at The Armory, missing the record of 5:33.53 held by American Tim Lewis since 1988.
MULCAIRE IS TOPS IN MUNSTER
At the Aviva/Munster Schools' Cross-Country Championships in Cork IT, Kevin Mulcaire of St Flannan's, Ennis, took on Fearghal Curtin of Midleton CBS. Mulcaire's experience proved decisive as he went home 80m to the good.
Niamh Cotter of Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí took the senior girls' title. She came from third over the final lap to win by seven seconds from Eileen Rafter, Ursuline, Thurles. Caoimhe Harvey of St Joseph's, Kilkee, won the intermediate girls' race. Kyle Larkin of Ardscoil Rís, Limerick, was the dominant figure in the senior boys' 6,000m as he won by 51 seconds from Darren Dunne, St Joseph's, Nenagh.
BIDWELL'S MATT FINISH AS HE ADDS GORT 8K TO MAREE TITLE
Matt Bidwell of Galway City Harriers added the Gort 8k title to the Maree event over the same distance the previous week when finishing a minute and a half ahead of his clubmate Owen Byrne.
Bidwell's time of 26:04 was 42 seconds faster than he ran the week before. Ann Lennon, second the previous week, also had a faster time of 30:48 as she raced to victory.
At the Kilmacthomas five-miler in Waterford, Carrick-on-Suir's Brian Murphy won in 25:38; Brian Byrne was second in 26:37; and Danny Smith was third in 26:47.
Corinna Walsh of West Waterford was first in the women's race in 31:37 with Hannah-Mai Flynn of the Surrey-based Stragglers second in 32:35; her mum Phyllis was third in 32:48.
SHEEHAN PUTS HIS INSPIRING FORM DOWN TO STINT IN KENYA
After a five-week training stint at the Kenya altitude camp of Iten, Colm Sheehan returned to win the annual Tommy Ryan Memorial five-miler at Carrigaline in impressive form.
With Sean McGrath, winner for the past six years, missing through injury, it was his East Cork team-mate James McCarthy who was expected to provide the main challenge to Sheehan. However, the Leevale man moved away on the hill after one mile and continued to increase his lead to cross the line in a time of 25:37, 47 seconds faster than he ran last year when finishing second to McGrath.
"Mo Farah was staying about four doors down from me (in Kenya), so I managed to get a few easy runs with him in the evenings," Sheehan said. "There were a lot of the top British runners there, such as Olympic marathoner Lee Merrien, so it was a fabulous trip," added Sheehan, who clocked up 444 miles during his five-week stay.
After winning the Janssen four-miler the previous Sunday, Orla Drumm had another fine victory as her time of 28:44 was a mere four seconds outside of Lizzie Lee's record from 2011.
The Crusaders athlete, who is now based in Cork, was hoping to compete indoors but an illness in December upset her plans. "It was a tough course, but I enjoyed it," said Drumm.