Monday 19 February 2018

ATHLETICS: Olympics high on home brigade agenda

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

PERFECT conditions and a high-class field helped Moses Kangogo Kibet to run the fastest marathon on Irish soil -- 2:08.58 -- last year, and the Kenyan is back to defend his title.

The weather is not as promising, but this year's race should still be fast as there are 14 elite Kenyan men involved, including Chepkwony Gilbert Kiptoo with a 2:08.33 personal best this season, and Ben Maiyo, who has a 2:07.09 PB.

Russia's Tatiana Aryasova won the women's title last year also in a new course record (2:26.23) and there are three Russians as well as Ethiopia's Shuru Diriba Dulume (a 2.28.26 runner) and Namibia's Helalia Johannes (runner-up in Dublin in 2009) among the field.

The home entry is also particularly strong as the race offers athletes a great chance to get the Olympic 'A' standard for London 2012 (2:15 men, 2:37 women).

A joint Athletics Ireland/Dublin Marathon initiative called 'Marathon Mission' was set up two years ago to improve Irish standards at the top level and many on that scheme are racing.

Leading them are two US-scholarship graduates: Sean Connolly of Tallaght AC and Andrew Ledwith of Meath club Fr Murphy's.

This is Ledwith's marathon debut, while Connolly ran 2:17.23 in Rotterdam this year.

Other Marathon Missioners hoping to break the 2:20 mark are Alan O'Shea, Brian Maher, Greg Roberts and Joe McAllister.

Leading the women vying for the Irish senior title and Olympic qualification should be Dundrum South Dublin trio Maria McCambridge, Linda Byrne and Ava Hutchinson.

Monday's wave starts begin at Upper Fitzwilliam St at 9.45 (wheelchair).

Race number/chip collection at the RDS is open from noon to 6.0 today and tomorrow, but there is no number collection facility on race day.

Dublin City Marathon,

Live, RTE 1, Monday, 9.15

Irish Independent

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