Saturday 21 October 2017

Nike's two-hour marathon stunt fails to inspire Hehir as treble bid looms

Sean Hehir is hoping to win a third Irish title in the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon in October. Photo: Sportsfile
Sean Hehir is hoping to win a third Irish title in the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon in October. Photo: Sportsfile
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Two-time Irish marathon champion Sean Hehir says he took absolutely no inspiration from a recent controversial bid to break the magical two-hour mark.

And Olympian Mick Clohisey of Raheny also felt the stunt completely failed to resonate with the public, saying: "It was so staged. I think people will get more inspiration elsewhere."

"It was interesting as a scientific experiment but does it personally inspire me? No! It was other-worldly," said Hehir, who is hoping to win a third Irish title in the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon in October.

Nike's hyped #Breaking2 event, which saw Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge run more than two minutes faster than the world record (2:02:57) and come within 25 seconds of breaking the two-hour mark, got mixed reaction in athletics circles.

Some felt Kipchoge's feat will inspire a new generation of marathon runners but others lambasted it as another cynical exercise to sell shoes.

 

Pacemakers

The use of a variety of pacemakers in the 'closed' race on Italy's Monza car-racing track on May 2 meant his time of 2:00:23 didn't count as a world record.

"It was interesting from a science point of view to take it out of a big city marathon and put it on a specially selected course, with teams of pacemakers jumping in and out, having drinks bottles delivered by a motorbike and with special shoes," Hehir noted.

"Nike achieved what they wanted to do but remember, Kipchoge is still living a spartan existence in Kenya, sharing a room with two other athletes. He's completely devoted to it."

Hehir, Clohisey, defending Irish women's champion Laura Graham and Leevale's two-time medallist Claire Gibbons McCarthy helped launch the 2017 Dublin Marathon yesterday.

Entries jumped by 30pc last year and have been capped at 20,000 for the race which now takes place on a Sunday; entry is €70 before May 31 and €80 afterwards.

Race director Jim Aughney revealed yesterday that he is already in talks with Athletics Ireland's new high performance director Paul McNamara to try to ensure that the first Irishman and woman home in 2017 will get automatic AAI selection for the 2018 European Championships.

"For me, it's not a big ask," Aughney said. "If that carrot was there I think we'd have people running Dublin as opposed to Berlin at the end of this year. It'd be win-win for us, Athletics Ireland and the athletes."

Irish Independent

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