Thursday 29 September 2016

Hehir leads Irish finishers in London as Kipchoge just misses record

Cathal Dennehy

Published 25/04/2016 | 02:30

Sean Hehir was the leading Irish finisher at the London Marathon yesterday, the Clare man taking 15 seconds off his personal best to run 2:17.20.

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The men's race was won by Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, who missed the world record by just eight seconds in 2:03.05, while the women's title went to Jemima Sumgong in 2:22.58.

Hehir led a trio of Irish elites who were taking their last shot at Olympic qualification, with Thomas Frazer the second fastest home in 2:19.17, followed by Stephen Scullion with 2:20.39. Fionnuala Ross was the leading Irish woman, running 2:49.57.

However none of the quartet is expected to figure when Athletics Ireland pick their team for the Olympic Marathon on May 23, and that selection picture remains murky.

While Lizzie Lee, Fionnuala McCormack and Kevin Seaward all appear certain to be picked, the remaining spots are up in the air.

The third fastest Irishwoman is Belfast's Breege Connolly, who ran her qualifying time of 2:37.29 a year ago in London, but has shown scant evidence of form in 2016.

'Hehir led a trio of Irish elites who were taking their last shot at Olympic qualification' General photo: Getty
'Hehir led a trio of Irish elites who were taking their last shot at Olympic qualification' General photo: Getty

Selection

On the men's side, Sergiu Ciobanu, Mick Clohisey and Paul Pollock have all made legitimate cases for selection. Of those, Clohisey is fastest, but Ciobanu ran his qualifying time in the earliest performance window, which was said to be of higher priority for selectors.

Pollock, meanwhile, is fourth fastest on marathon times, but trounced both Seaward and Ciobanu at the World Half Marathon Championships last month, where he finished 14th.

Kipchoge celebrated by raising his finger as he made the final turn, but appeared to realise as he approached the line just how close he had come to Dennis Kimetto's world record.

"I realised I ran a world record for 30, but between 30-40km I lost about 20 seconds," he said. "I knew the record was close. I tried to squeeze it, but it wasn't possible."

Elsewhere over the weekend, Georgina Drumm was elected President of the association at the Athletics Ireland Congress on Saturday, beating Ray Flynn by a count of 171 votes to 23.

"I'm delighted to be elected," said the Louth woman, who took over from Ciarán Ó Catháin. "I'm looking forward to working with the CEO, the staff and volunteers."

Irish Independent

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