Tuesday 16 January 2018

McCarthy earns world qualifying time in Berlin

Sean Hehir on his way to winning the SSE Airtricity Race Half Marathon. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Sean Hehir on his way to winning the SSE Airtricity Race Half Marathon. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Cathal Dennehy

Leevale's Claire McCarthy secured the qualifying time for next year's World Championships in London by running 2:38:00 at the Berlin Marathon yesterday morning.

In cool, calm conditions, the 40-year-old passed halfway in 1:18:16, then held it together well over the punishing final miles to carve more than a minute off her lifetime best and dip well below the 2:45:00 standard.

The women's race was won by Ethiopia's Aberu Kebede in 2:20:45, while in the men's race, distance-running great Kenenisa Bekele bounced back to his best, taking victory in 2:03:03, just six seconds outside the world record.

Bekele out-sprinted Kenya's Wilson Kipsang, who had set a blistering early pace

"I wanted to run a personal best, that was my first goal," Bekele, who shaved more than two minutes off his previous fastest, told reporters.

"The time was fantastic but I am a bit disappointed as well, as I missed a few seconds in the end."

A strong early pace, with the leading runners passing the five-kilometre mark in an eye-popping time of 14 minutes 20 seconds, meant the main contenders had the world record in their sights from the start.

Back at home, Mark Christie edged a close race in the Rathfarnham 5k yesterday, the Mullingar man coming home in 14:26 just ahead of Raheny's Freddy Keron Sittuk.

Laura Shaughnessy of Dundrum South Dublin got her autumn campaign off to a good start by winning the women's race in 16:30 ahead of Caroline Crowley of Crusaders (16:43).

On Saturday, former Dublin Marathon champion Sean Hehir led home a field of almost 7,000 in the SSE Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon, the Clare man clocking 67:45 to finish clear of Rathfarnham's Fikru Teshager (68:58).

Barbara Sanchez took the women's title in 78:26 ahead of Catherina McKiernan, who proved the old adage about class being permanent, by finishing second in 79:27.

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