Wednesday 21 November 2018

Barr starts to find stride with season's best

Thomas Barr. Photo: Sportsfile
Thomas Barr. Photo: Sportsfile

Cathal Dennehy

Thomas Barr clocked a huge season's best for 400m hurdles at the Oslo Diamond League last night, the Olympic finalist finishing eighth in a world-class field in 49.53.

Barr ran his first international 400m hurdles race of the year just 48 hours earlier in Finland, where he placed fourth in 50.29, but having returned home the following day he was surprised to receive the call with the offer of an open lane while staying in Dublin on Wednesday night.

Eleventh-hour plans saw him fly to Oslo yesterday afternoon and arrive at Bislett Stadium just hours before the meeting.

"I'm delighted with that, considering the preparation I had," said Barr. "I was close to them coming down the home straight but just not quite close enough. I didn't think the time would be that fast so I'm really happy with that; 49.5 is a good place to start and I know what I need to work on."

Barr feels he has plenty of improving to do ahead of the European Championships in August, which are now nine weeks away.

"That's basically the starting point for me: I didn't get the stride pattern right, didn't feel as smooth as I usually do over the hurdles and the final straight wasn't as fast as usual."

He noted afterwards how quickly his event has moved on since 2016, when he finished fourth in the Olympic final.

"They're running 47s, low-48s consistently and that's scary territory," said Barr, who will next race in Bern over 200m before returning to the 400m hurdles in Slovakia later this month.

Irish Independent

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