Irish athlete Mick Clohisey enjoyed a highly-creditable 22nd place in the men’s marathon at the World Athletics Championships on Day Three in London today.
After making it through in fourth place in his first round heat at the Olympic Stadium, 400m hurdles runner Thomas Barr raced out to join the rest of the Irish team in supporting Clohissey and Sean Hehir at Tower Bridge for the 26-mile classic.
Coached by former national marathon champion and current TV commentator Dick Hooper, Clohisey put the disappointment of last year’s Olympics in Rio behind him, having finished low down the field in Brazil in 103rd place due to illness.
This time though, the Raheny Shamrock athlete was in much better fettle, and was able to follow his plan perfectly, starting solidly, picking tiring runners off in the second half of the race.
Around a quarter of the way through, the Irish half-marathon and cross-country champion was down in 46th position – but past halfway kept his momentum and strength intact as others were losing theirs.
Clohisey’s time of 2 hours 16 minutes 21 seconds was a full 10 minutes faster than he was able to put in while feeling under-par in Rio, and his position of 22nd bested Paul Pollock’s top mark of 32nd from last year’s Olympics – Pollock was unable to start, pulling out 72 hours before the race due to a metatarsal injury.
Sean Hehir of Rathfarnham WSAF came home 63rd in 2:27:33, as Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui took gold on Tower Bridge in 2:08:27, ahead of Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola in second (2:09:49), and Tanzanian Alphonse Simbu in third (2:09:51).
Clohisey was more than satisfied with his performance.
Mick Clohisey on his brilliant marathon run pic.twitter.com/Yt02iWu0ty— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) August 6, 2017
“I’m happy with the placing,” he said.
“The main aim was to come here and get as high a place as I could in the Championships.
“I came through well. I went out at a nice decent pace – 67 minutes through halfway, which was bang on, and I probably slowed a little bit after that but I was happy I picked off a fair few guys and finished strong, which is good because my last two performances in Rio last year and London in April, things didn’t go to plan.
“It’s good and positive to see myself be able to get back on track.”
With thousands having travelled the quick hop from Ireland to London, Clohisey and Hehir took advantage of massive Irish support out on the course, similar to what has been seen over the three days so far at the Olympic Stadium.
— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) August 6, 2017
“All in all, it was a good course and the Irish support out there was brilliant, like home town support,” Clohisey enthused.
“It was incredible going through certain parts of the course, watched by Irish all over.”
Leevale AC’s Claire McCarthy was flying the flag for Ireland in the later women’s marathon over the same course, with Brian Gregan involved in evening action back at Stratford, in the men’s 400m semi-finals, starting at 7:20pm.