Records broken and personal bests at superb new complex

The Woodie’s DIY AAI Games in the new Athlone IT indoor arena produced a long list of new personal bests and one new record.

David Sharpe’s 1986 GB junior 1,500m indoor record went by the new Athlone boards when Matthew McLaughlin ran the race of his life to win in a time of 3:42.87, and in the process smashed his own pb by taking almost five seconds off his outdoor best of 3:47.69. Mark Nouws from Holland was second in 3:43.53, and Darren McBrearty (Lettekenny AC) was third in 3:45.38.

Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers) was never threatened in the 400m, cruising through 200m in 21.9 and then holding his form brilliantly to cross the line in 46.07 to smash his previous best of 46.66 and record one of the fastest times this year.

His time is also well inside the standard for the European Indoor championships, and is the fastest time ever run for an indoors 400m in Ireland. The previous best was held by Alleyne Fancique who clocked 46.19 in Belfast in 2006.

Another All Comers record went west in the 3,000m, an intriguing race that saw Juan Higuero (Spain) outpace compatriots Casado Arteuro and Roberto Alaiz to win in 7:52.14, well inside Mark Christie’s time of 7:58.12 set in Belfast in 2007.

Kelly Proper (Ferrybank AC) showed an impressive run to form when she won the 60m in a time of 7.55 from clubmate Niamh Whelan in 7.57. The delighted look on Proper’s face as she crossed the line put an end to almost 18 months of frustration due to injury and illness. She had more reason to celebrate when she won the long jump with 6.04m.

Whelan did have some cheer when she won the 200m in 24.43 from Louise Kiernan (Fingallians AC) in 24.76.

Robert Heffernan (Togher AC) put in another amazing performance when he won the 3,000m walk in a time of 11:13.92, his second fastest time ever for the distance behind his 11:10.02 Irish record achieved in Cardiff 11 years ago.

Max Kessler from Germany won the 60m in 6.81 from David Hynes (Menapians AC) in 6.91. Zac Irwin (Sligo AC), still a youth, clocked 6.98 for fourth, and clocked 21.97 in the 200m. Kessler won in 21.30 from Hynes in 21.84.

Meanwhile, Mary Cullen, (North Sligo AC) made a winning return to competition – setting a new course record of 25 minutes 55 seconds in the AXA Raheny 5-Mile Road Race in Raheny, on Dublin’s Northside.

This was a big comeback performance for Cullen who has only recently returned to full training following a period of frustrating injury. The North Sligo AC runner finished comfortably clear of Linda Byrne, (DSD) who placed second in 26:37. Fiona Roche of the host club took third in 27:43.

There was a big entry too (1,750) in the annual John Treacy 10 Mile Road Race in Dungarvan — an event hosted by West Waterford Athletic Club. Gary O’Hanlon of Clonliffe Harriers won the men’s race in 51 minutes 21 seconds ahead of William Harty of the promoting club who posted 51:29. Andrew Connick of Ferrybank AC was third in 51:49.

Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC won the women’s race in 57:35 from Claire Gibbons McCarthy, (Finbarr’s A.C), 57:51. Niamh Devlin, (DSD) was third in 57:51.

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