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Healy planning outdoor Sub-4

The big talking point after last Sunday's Rathfarnam 5km Road Race, which attracted an entry of over 800, was the impressive fourth place performance by former Olympian Shane Healy, who finished as the top Master in the event.

Joe Sweeney of Dundrum South Dublin AC took an early lead on the downhill, first kilometre and coasted to a comfortable victory in 14 minutes 16 seconds. Sweeney, who plans on running a marathon next spring, finished second in the same event last year.

National Half-Marathon champion Sean Hehir, wearing the colours of the promoting club, chased Sweeney home for second spot in 14:50 and Tommy Evans (Gowran A.C) took third in 14:58.

Aoife Culhane made it a DSD double when winning the women's race in 16:41 from Annette Kealy (Raheny Shamrock AC) 16:50 and her club-mate Aoife Talty, who placed third in 16:54.

However, it was the spirited performance by Healy in 15:11 -- just ahead of Donore's John Travers -- that stood out on the day. It is over 13 years since Healy had put on a pair of training shoes. A semi-finalist at 1500 meters in the Atlanta Olympics of 1996, Healy only returned to running when his friend Dermot McDermott asked him to coach former European Junior 1500m Champion Colin Costello, who was planning a return to racing.

Back in 1996, Healy, who was coached by Eamonn Coghlan, ran 3:36.58 for 1500m in Madrid to qualify for the Atlanta Olympics. A year later he set a personal best of 3:35.29 in Brussels -- a time that has seldom been bettered since by an Irish athlete.

Now Healy, who turns 43 next week, aims to be the first runner over 40 to break four minutes for the mile outdoors. Coghlan delivered his Sub-4 minute over-40 effort of 3:58.13 in an indoor race in the USA in 1994.

Irish Independent