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Byrne qualifies at Dublin Marathon

Linda Byrne wins Dublin Marathon

Linda Byrne wins Dublin Marathon

The big Irish performance of the day at the National Lottery Dublin Marathon belonged to Linda Byrne, who as well as winning the women’s Woodie’s DIY national marathon title, also achieved the A standard running 2:36.21 (inside the Olympic A standard of 2:37).

This was the highlight performance of twenty five year old Linda Byrne’s athletic career to date and the DSD runner ran a well-planned race where good pace judgement played a central role.

Last year Byrne ran seventeen miles of the Dublin Marathon- to get a feel for the event- but, by year end, illness forced her to take a lengthy break from training. “I had a low blood count and some stomach problems and it was only last May that I got back into full training for the marathon” Byrne said.

The DSD runner, who is a graduate of Dublin City University, had shown a lot of promise throughJjunior and Under 23 ranks, but her career took a dip after that. “I lost a bit of confidence for a while, but I have had great support from my family and friends and also my coach, Enda Fitzpatrick” she said. “I have also found Marathon Mission – the support plan set up by the Dublin Marathon and Athletics Ireland-to have been of great assistance”“ she said.

Byrne ran a sensibly paced race and only found the going really tough in the final six miles. “The crowd support along the marathon route was brilliant and it was only after 20 miles that I began to really feel the pressure, “ she said.

Byrne’s DSD team mate, Ava Hutchinson, was the early challenger for the national title, but it was Byrne’s sensible pace that paid the biggest dividend on the day. Maria McCambridge of Letterkenny A.C, who was considered favourite to take the national title, struggled in the second half of the race and took the silver medal in 2:40.24- well outside her best. Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast A.C) took the bronze medal in 2:42.43.

Helalia Johannes from Nambia made it fourth time lucky in Dublin when she coasted to a comfortable victory in 2:30.35. Emily Rotich of Kenya was second in 2:32.10 and Radiya Adilo of Ethiopia was third in 2:32.22. Johannes had competed in Dublin on three previous occasions.

But there was disappointment for Tallaght athletic club runner Sean Connolly who, although winning the national marathon incorporated in the Dublin race, finished well outside his target for a sub 2:15 Olympic A qualifying standard. Connolly won the Woodie’s DIY National title in 2:18.52 from defending champion, Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers, 2:20.56 and Alan O’Shea, (Bantry A.C) was third in 2:23.22

It was a bittersweet day for Sean Connolly who had his sights set on achieving an Olympic A marathon qualifying standard. “It is great to win the national title but I knew as early as four miles today that things were not going well, “ Connolly said. “I had planned to get some pacing help up to half way, but even at four miles the pace was off and I my legs were feeling heavy” he said. “It was blustery and a bit humid too early on in the race and things never really flowed for me.”

Connolly will now set his sights on a Spring marathon as he has until April to get an A qualifying standard. “I will have a better idea by the Spring of how other Irish athletes like Martin Fagan and Alistair Cragg may have run,” Connolly said. “Mark Kenneally has already run inside the standard , so I will know what I have to beat,” he said.

Geoffrey Gikuni Ndungu ran the fastest time ever recorded in an Irish marathon when winning the men’s race –just marginally faster than Moses Kibet’s course record of 2:08.58 set last year. The defending champion finished fifth in 2:11.43. Gilbert Kiptoo of Kenya placed second in 2:09.59 and Jacob Kiplagat completed a Kenyan treble when finishing in third place in 2:10.23.  source Athletics Ireland

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