Irish Life Health National Race Walks
Athletes from Sweden, Spain, Britan,Poland and the U.S.A were in St.Annes park Raheny today taking part in the National Race walking championships held in ideal weather conditions. The numbers at the start were swelled by Juvenile and Master athletes who were taking part in various distances with a total number of 60 sent on their way by starter Cyril Smythe. The Mens 30 klms turned into a sometimes dramatic race with the Medals only decided in the final 4 klms.
Callum Wilkison largely dominated the race coming home a clear winner in 2 hour's 15 minutes. However the Great Britain international who competes for Togher ac in Cork and is coached by Rob Heffernan fell foul of the residential rule and was deemed ineligible for a championship medal. So the battle for the Medals looked to between Brendan Boyce fresh from his Doha exploits Cian Mc Manamon and up and coming star David Kenny. Indeed it was Kenny who made the first break with Mc Manamon in pursuit and Boyce starting very conservatively. Kenny was the first to hit the ground suffering from stomach cramps but hauled himself bravely back to the race for a few klms before calling time on his efforts. Cian Mc Manamon then took the race on but Boyce was in hot pursuit. He caught the championship leader at 25 klms and 1 klm later Cian finally cracked and called it a day. Boyce went on to win in 2 hours 21 minutes. The exit of Kenny and Mc Manamon left the door open for Jeremy Caprice to come through for Silver and Brian O Domhnaill to become the second Finn Valley athlete on the Podium winning bronze
The Women's medals went a more predictable route. Former world youth champion Kate Veale continued her road back to the top with a gutsy performance to win the race overall in the 20 klms. She shook off the overseas opposition winning in a sharp 97 minutes. Orlaith Delahunt current under 23 champion took Silver with Rachel Glennon another under 23 athlete taking bronze.
The two races were IAAF accredited events with International judges on duty including Pierce O Callaghan and Ian Richards who will be officiating at the Tokyo Olympics. Points for Olympic qualification were on offer and the main benefactor from an Irish perspective today was Kate Veale who by virtue of her win and time will earn valuable points.
At the conclusion of proceedings medals were presented by former world champion Robert Heffernan who complimented athletes and officials
It was a great days racing from Juveniles to Masters and great credit is due to the Athletics Ireland officials who were out in force. Particular thanks is due to local organiser Pat Hooper of Raheny Shamrocks who left no stone unturned to ensure the success of this important IAAF accredited event.
Full Result HERE