Brendan Boyce does the double at the Race Walking Championships in Raheny
Memories of the great days of grand Prix Race Walking in the phoenix park came flooding back at an excellent Irish Life Health National Race Walking Road Championships held in St Anne's park Raheny on this morning (Saturday 8th December). The difference was that the big field of walkers was populated by Irish Walkers with a sprinkling of world class overseas athletes.
National medals were at stake in the 20 and 30km Men's and 20km Women's championships. The old guard of Race Walkers from a golden era of Race Walking for Ireland are now retired but from the evidence on Show in Raheny we now have a new generation who can be very competitive on the International stage.
Brendan Boyce, now in the colours of Finn Valley AC, did the double winning both race's. He was put to the test in the 20km race by the young Kerry Man David Kenny. Just out of the Junior ranks he was a revelation and looks to have a great future. Cian McManamon found the going too tough and retired at 17km leaving the DSD man Jerome Caprice to pick up the Bronze medal. Boyce and Caprice went on to collect gold and silver in the 30km with another Finn Valley athlete, Brian O Donnell, picking up the Bronze. However, all 3 athletes were beaten to the 30km finishing tape by guest athlete Eric Barando of Guatemala Olympic Silver Medalist from London.
In the Women's 20km championships Kate Veale showed she is very much on the way back to the top with a convincing win. The former world youth champion took over 5 minutes off her personal best time. Veronica Burke, another product of juvenile athletics, was delighted with her silver medal as was Rachel Glennon of Mullingar, winner of the Bronze.
As in the Men's 30km, a visiting athlete was the first accross the line with Ivana Renić of Croatia setting a new national record in the Women's race.
There were many outstanding performances at juvenile level in the race's held on the excellent Raheny circuit and some Master walkers also put in times on par with anything we have seen previously,
A special feature of the event was a Raheny Shamrocks plaque presented to all competitors. This was much appreciated by our visiting athletes from Spain. Wales, Guatemala Germany and Croatia.
Well done to all officials, judges recorders and a special word of thanks to local organiser Pat Hooper.