Friday 15 December 2017

Hartnett keeps it in the family with fitting ballyhooly triumph

There was an appropriate winner to the John Hartnett Challenge 10km road race at Ballyhooly in Cork on Sunday as Sean Hartnett, the 20-year-old son of the former Olympian and Irish mile record holder John, took the honours in a time of 35:31. A student at Monmouth University in New Jersey, the younger Hartnett has a best of 15:21:47 for 5,000m this year.

He finished over half a minute clear of Fermoy triathlete Michael Lyons.

Afterwards, John Hartnett spoke movingly about his young days in Ballyhooly, remembering all those who helped him to win the International Junior Cross-Country title at Vichy in France back in 1970 and of his time at Villanova University, where he was ranked among the world's top middle-distance runners.

He competed in the 1972 Olympics in the 5,000m and in 1973, at Eugene in Oregon, he broke Ronnie Delany's Irish mile record with a time of 3:54:7 -- which still ranks as the 11th fastest on the national all-time list.

In the same year he was honoured as the Penn Relays' most outstanding performer.

In 1974, Hartnett ran a memorable 3:56:3 mile on the old Mardyke grass track during the Cork City Sports.

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