Saturday 17 March 2018

Up and Running

O'Hanlon Races to national Record

Frank Greally

Gary O'Hanlon of Clonliffe Harriers was in sparkling form in Kildare on Saturday taking victory in the National 50k Championships held over a 10-lap course in Donadea Forest Park.

O'Hanlon came home in a national record time of 2:59.19 – well clear of second-place finisher Raivis Zakis of West Waterford AC, in 3:13.44. Peter Mooney (100 Marathon Club) finished third in 3:16.11 and Steven McKeague was fourth in 3:16.41. Justin Maxwell (East Coast) finished fifth in 3:17.24 while Mike Cunningham (Bilboa AC) was sixth in 3:28.45.

Orna Dilworth of Sportsworld Running Club won the women's title in 3:43.06. Olwyn Dunne (Crusaders AC) was second in 4:13.23, with Donna McLoughlin third in 4:21.35. Deirdre Finn (100 Marathon Club) was fourth in 4:27.49 and Kate Kelly fifth in 4:28.40.

O'Hanlon, who had only decided to run in the event a few days previously when he learnt that his friend Kevin English had entered him in the championship, said: "I had been telling Kevin that I had completed a 20-mile training run with Mark Christie and Joe Sweeney and he told me that he had entered me in the 50k.

"I was delighted with my performance, but I found the last mile especially challenging. I had no problem with the 10 5k laps and I decided to go for a good time right from the start."

Last year, O'Hanlon, pictured below, won six marathons: Connemara, Newry, Kildare, Limerick, Waterford and Clonakilty and also finished second in the Cork event. Saturday's victory means that the Clonliffe runner now has national medals in track, cross-country, hill running road and trail events and he is now looking forward to racing in the Rotterdam Marathon in April, where his target is a 2:17 performance.

O'Hanlon will turn 40 on August 3 and, as he gets older, his appetite for racing seems to increase all the time.

Dilworth, pictured right, who's coached by David Fitzpatrick, ran 2:57 in the Dublin Marathon last October and wants to break 2:50 in the event this year.


Irish Independent

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