Ciara Everard turned mishap into magic at the Athlone Institute of Technology indoor arena yesterday as she sped to a new national indoor 800m record of 2:02.54 and a European Indoor qualifying time (2:03.5) in a incredible weekend for Irish athletics.
Her performance followed Brian Gregan’s stunning victory against Olympic 400m silver medallist Luguelin Santos over 400m in Belgium.
Everard (UCD), who was competing in an invitational 800m race as part of the Woodie’s DIY National Junior and U23 Indoor Championships, ended the disappointment of months of injury and a fall two weeks ago at the AAI Games in Athlone to rewrite Aisling Molloy’s national record of 2:02.87 set in Glasgow in 1990.
“It feels so good to be back again,” said the UCD scholarship student. “It was literally injury after injury after injury from April when I fell off my bike all the way to mid-November. It feels so good to be back running.
“I really never thought it would be possible to go sub 2:03. I wasn’t even going to think about doing indoors and only for James (Nolan) kept pushing it I said I’d give it a shot.
Nolan was delighted with his charge’s performance and with the opportunity to race again in Athlone. “She was due to race in Vienna and then this opportunity came up with Marian Heffernan (Robert Heffernan’s wife) pacing her,” said the UCD head coach. “Training over the last couple of months indicated it was possible.”
It certainly was all good in Athlone as Sarah Lavin (Emerald) broke Derval O’Rourke’s junior 60m Hurdles record by two hundreths of a second, running 8.44.
Speed was the order of the day as Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O’Toole) set new junior marks for the 60m and the 200m running 6.90 and 21.31 respectively.
Undeterred by Lavin’s new mark, Derval O’Rourke won the 60m Hurdles at the British Trials in Sheffield, running 8.11 seconds to announce herself as a medal favourite for the European Indoors in Gothenburg.
Meanwhile Gregan showed he was the number one 400m runner in Europe in Ghent as he beat Belgium’s Jonathan Borlee and Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos in 46.73.
Interest switches to Athlone next weekend where athletes will converge for the Woodie’s DIY National Senior Indoor Championships.
Meanwhile the very tough but scenic Mealagh Valley Ring 10-mile road race outside Bantry saw an outstanding performance from Ann-Marie Holland who won the women’s race in 65:04 while finishing fourth overall .
This knocked all of two minutes and 25 seconds off of Maureen Harrington’s course record which has stood since the inaugural race three years ago.
Holland, a member of the Eagle club, finished over five minutes clear of Geraldine O’Shea from St Finbarr’s with Skibbereen runner Ama Bailey in third.
Michael Dullea from Drimoleague won the men’s race, breaking away from Kevin Wilmot of Bandon AC after seven miles and going on to win by 26 seconds.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved