In-form Fagan targets Tergat in Phoenix Park

FOLLOWING his record-breaking run in Holland last weekend, Martin Fagan has returned to his training base at Flagstaff, Arizona, but he will be back in Ireland in two weeks when he will bid to become the first Irishman to win the Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park.

The Mullingar man has been based at altitude (7,000 feet) for the past two years and returning to sea level a few times to qualify for the Olympic Marathon and take on the Africans in some of the world’s top road races.

It was in one such race, the Fortis City-Pier-City Half-Marathon in the Hague, that he clocked 1:00:57 (4:39 per mile) to break John Treacy’s 21-year old national record (1:01:00).

He won the Manchester Road Race in the US in November and set a new course record when winning the 3M Half Marathon in January.

In those races he has been taking on and beating some of the leading Africans and he now wants to beat the former world marathon record holder, Paul Tergat, in the Dublin showpiece on April 5.

The star-studded field also includes the Brazilian champion, Gladson Silva Barbosa, Andrew Carlson of the USA, Pablo Villalobos of Spain and British Olympian Tom Lancashire.

Newly crowned national cross-country champion Keith Kelly has been forced to withdraw from the Great Ireland Run with a recurrence of one of his old knee injuries and doctors have told him not to run on for at least three months.

“My knee, for want of a better term, is wrecked,” the Drogheda man said. “I was very fortunate to get to see Dr Brian McKeon who works with the Boston Celtics. He was very straight to the point, he was very quick to present me with the situation, and he was very quick to give me the simple scenario without a care to whether he was offending me or not.

“So here is the quick bullet point layout of my diagnosis: 1cm x 1.5cm piece of cartilage dislodged and floating in my knee; major bone contusions on the surface of my femur and tibia; stress fracture on the surface of my tibia; lots of swelling and general mess.”

He has been advised not to run for three months, to wear a special brace to relieve the pressure and must have a follow-up MRI in seven weeks to determine if further surgery is necessary — he has had surgery on both knees already.

To cap everything he has been told he is going to have to deal with chronic knee pain for the remainder of his career.


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