Darragh McElhinney produced an outstanding performance to smash the Irish U20 5000m record in Oordegem, Belgium on Saturday, the Glengariff 18-year-old becoming the first ever Irish junior to break 14 minutes with his clocking of 13:54.10.
That brought him home second behind Belgium’s Mortier Jennen (13:49.28) and carved a whopping 19 seconds off his previous best.
It also took eight seconds off the Irish U20 record, which had stood to Kevin Mulcaire of Ennis since 2015.
It was the start of what could be a big summer for the Bantry AC athlete, who will target the 5000m at the European U20 Championships in Boras, Sweden in July.
Since late last year McElhinney, a sixth-year student at Coláiste Pobail Bantry, has been coached by former international athlete David McCarthy, who took over from Steven Macklin after Macklin took a coaching position at the Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar.
On what was a breakthrough night for Irish distance running, Donore’s John Travers clocked the fastest 5000m by an Irishman since 2011 when running 13:28.86 for 5000m in a different race to McElhinney’s, a
personal best by 15 seconds. That moved Travers to 14th on the Irish all-time list.
Luke McCann of Dundrum South Dublin clocked a PB of 3:42.37 for 1500m, while in the sprints Carlow’s Marcus Lawler continued his impressive form with a 10.56 100m. Teenage star Rhasidat Adeleke clocked 11.72 for the same distance, while former European U20 medallist Sarah Lavin impressed with 13.44 in the 100m hurdles, the Emerald athlete’s fastest time since 2014.
Meanwhile in the US Ryan Forsyth advanced to next month’s NCAA Championships with a personal best of 29:03.07 for 10,000m at the NCAA West Regionals, while Eric Favors advanced from the East Regionals with a PB of 19.11m in the shot put.