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Athletics: Cragg second on comeback

Alistair Cragg bounced back from his lengthy enforced absence to finish second in a high-profile half-marathon road race in Phoenix, Arizona, over the weekend.

Cragg's time of one hour, 3 minutes, 22 seconds suggests that the 30-year-old is ready to make a successful transition from the track to the marathon and achieve the qualifying time to compete in his third World Championships in South Korea later this year.

But while Cragg was happy enough with his performance in the field of 20,000 runners, he was annoyed that he did not win the race where the honours went to the 27-year-old Australian Shawn Forrest in 1:03.07.

"He made a break after only a mile and it was a calculated decision by myself not to follow him instantly. I just let him go because I felt he would either come back or that I would catch him," said the Irishman.

"So I spent 12 miles chasing him and I can tell you it was not fun out there. With two or three miles to run I felt confident I would reel him in but then he found something extra.

"But this was my first race since last September and have just made a full recovery from my tendon problems so I'm very pleased and I would think that I can break the Irish record for the distance when I run in New York in a couple of months.

"And then I hope to run a marathon and get myself selected for the World Championships."

Meanwhile, Tori Pena has set a new Irish indoor pole vault record of 4.21m at the University of Washington meeting.

Pena, a Californian native with Irish parentage, declared for Ireland last year and is affiliated to Donegal club Finn Valley. She added 1cm to Zoe Brown's old 2009 record to add the indoor record to the outdoor one she already holds after clearing 4.15m at the European Championships in Barcelona last summer.

Irish Independent