Tuesday 22 October 2019

Christie's sweet triumph eases Olympic pain

Cliona Foley

NOT even a pre-start downpour could dampen the enthusiasm of the huge field who lined out for the first race of the Irish Independent Fit Magazine 10km City Series in the Phoenix Park.

To their delight it quickly brightened up and the great democracy of road-running was underlined as elites, veterans and beginners all lined up to race on what is regarded as the best 10km venue in the country.

First to cross the line in 30 minutes and 17 seconds was Mark Christie, and victory in what was his first race in almost a year was a particular boost to the Irish international, who was heartbroken not to qualify (at 5,000m) for the London Olympics.

"I left my job last year to train full-time, so not qualifying was very difficult," he explained. "I was despondent afterwards and actually stopped running for a while.

"I got a new job since with Pfizer and have been putting my energy into that, so to win on my first race back is really encouraging."

A mere eight seconds behind him was MSB's John Coghlan (son of former world champion Eamonn) who actually starts his final exams in DCU today, and third, in 30:33, was Portlaoise's Dan Mulhare.

In-form Aoife Talty was the first woman home in 35.11 (and sixth overall), adding the inaugural Fit 10km title to her recent triumph in the Dublin Night run. Her dad is former Galway footballer Brian but the Raheny athlete – a primary school teacher in Lusk NS – reckons her running talent comes from her mum Maire, who herself has run a 41-minute 10km as well as a 3:35 marathon.

Second in 37.10 (ninth overall) and a brilliant advertisement for her own great advice, was 'Fit' magazine columnist Catherina McKiernan.

The 43-year-old mum of two remains as enthusiastic about running today as when she was 1994 European cross-country champion and winner of four consecutive world silver medals.

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Her husband, RTE broadcaster Damien O'Reilly, was also delighted to finish what was only his second 10km race in less than 46 minutes, quipping: "I have a great coach."

And proof that taking up running can often unearth unknown talent was the third-fastest woman Aisling Jordan from Marino.

A former Dublin camogie player who still lines out for St Vincent's, she has only recently taken up running because a bad hand injury has forced her to take a year's break from her favourite sport.

Yesterday's race was only Jordan's second-ever 10km – and took place just a week after her first – so the aircraft engineer with Ryanair was particularly shocked and delighted to make the elite podium with a 39.05 run that also placed her 14th in the entire field.

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