John Byrne finished 2nd on Saturday in the National 50k championships hosted once again with understated efficiency by Donadea Running Club. Marathon Mission member Barry Minnock (Rathfarnham WSAF) who was 2nd behind him last year was the clear winner in 3hrs 5:02. John finished in 3:07:40, an excellent result and a typically resilient performance, and a personal best by ten seconds. Conditions for the 107 starters in the Forest Park setting were quite different from 2012. The mainly gravel trail course (10 laps of 5k) had sections of sticky mud after a wet winter and compounded by the effects of logging vehicles which prevented water running off the track in places. From the start Minnock showed the pace that brought him a 2:17 marathon in 2012 and had opened up a 27 second lead by the 7k mark. Although he was well within John’s sight at that point, as the laps went by he gradually extended this to one minute 13 seconds by halfway 1:30:22/1:31:35, and to 2mins.42 by 40k – 2:25:55/2:28:37.
As they both tired over the remaining 10k John clawed back a few seconds but by then Barry Minnock was well in control and a deserving winner in 3:05:02. In the circumstances it was a brilliant effort by both athletes. Third was Peter Mooney (Unatt) in his first run over this ultra distance in 3:17:45, with his brother Rory (Raheny Shamrock AC) fourth in 3:18:40. The top four finishers were all under the 3:20 qualifying time to compete internationally. The women’s title went to Olwyn Dunne (Crusaders) in 4:00:28. The 50k distance is almost five miles beyond the marathon and a tough assignment on any day. Well done to all 86 finishers. Provisional results: www.redtagtiming.com
John is pictured above with Kevin Kilbane who presented him with the Endurance athlete Mayo Sports Stars Award on Friday night (15th Feb). picture: Michael Donnelly