Wednesday 24 January 2018

Hehir delighted with half marathon victory

Sean Hehir of Rathfarnham/WSAF Athletic Club cruised to a comfortable victory in Saturday's Woodie's DIY Half Marathon Challenge & National Championship in Waterford.

Hehir (26) made his winning break close to eight miles from the end and ran on strongly to win his first national road championship in 65 minutes 24 seconds. Brian Maher of Kilkenny City Harriers finished second in 66:40 and Alan O'Shea from Bantry AC placed third in 66:50.

An emotional Hehir was delighted with his victory over a record field of over 800. "It is a great feeling to have won the championship and I am very happy with my performance," he said.

Hehir also led his club to their first ever team victory in this event. Hehir, Barry Minnock and Mark Ryan made up the victorious combination.

It was an extra special day for the Kilkishen, Co Clare native Hehir, as the Dublin-based primary school teacher was appointed club captain earlier this year by Rathfarnham/WSAF coaching manager Adam Jones.

"It put the icing on the cake to lead the club to team victory," he said.

Hehir, who won the National Intermediate Cross-Country title in 2009, is coached by former Olympic marathon runner Dick Hooper.

Ava Hutchinson of Dundrum South Dublin AC won the women's national title in her first race over the distance, finishing in 74:17.

Gladys Ganiel O'Neill of North Belfast AC, who led in the early stages, finished up in second in 75:32 and Julie Turley from Dromore AC placed third in 78:02.

"This was my first half marathon and I found the final mile especially hard," Hutchinson said. The National Cross-Country champion expects to run in the National Lottery Dublin Marathon in October.

The Raheny Shamrock AC team of Eilish Kelly, Annette Kealy and Fiona Roche won the women's team title.

Irish Independent

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