It was a big day for all road running aficionados watching the two marathons on the third day of the World Athletics Championships in London. The 10k lap course connected the start/finish point at Tower Bridge to Big Ben at Westminster, and toured all the sights in between along the Thames and through the City of London.
The Irish interest was focused on Mick Clohissy and Sean Hehir in the men’s race. Mick was well up with the leading group early on and held his pace well after passing halfway in 66:51. As the day warmed up to 22℃ he ran strongly right through to an excellent 2:16 SB finish and 22nd overall. Seán Hehir was about two minutes behind him over the first two laps but after halfway in 69:13 faded badly and a 78:20 second half saw him finish in 2:27.33 in 63rd place.
It was wonderful to see the world’s top runners race past this reporter’s Stock Exchange City of London base. Kirui of Kenya was the gold medal winner in 2:08:27.
In the women’s race all Mayo eyes were on the progress of Erris native Sinéad Diver, one of three athletes representing Australia. The South Melbourne AC runner was making her second appearance in these championships having finished 21st in Beijing two years ago in 2:36. It was very special to see her compete at this level so near her native land and with the support of family and friends all along the route. She was well placed in the leading group and passed halfway in an excellent time 75:09. Ireland’s only competitor Claire McCarthy (Leevale AC) was almost three minutes behind her at that point in 77:57 but like Sinéad, looked very strong and focused. She’s a year older than Sinéad who joined the W40 category in February. They both gradually improved position over the second half and finished brilliantly – a fantastic achievement – with Sinéad 20th overall in 3:33.26 not far off her PB, and just six minutes behind winner Chelimo (2:27.11). Claire equalled her Berlin 2016 qualifying best time – 37th place overall in 2:38.26.
Well done both.
Look out for an album of photos from this World Championships marathon day on our facebook pages in a couple of days.