By Paul O’Neill
On Saturday a number of athletes from the Clones club travelled to Fairyhouse Racecourse where local club Ratoath hosted the National Half Marathon Championships.
Up on 1100 athletes took to the start line in glorious conditions just inside the gates of the racecourse, heading out onto the country roads before returning to the racecourse venue for the final three miles of the 13.1 mile distance.
The Clones ladies had a strong hand with teams in the Women’s Over 35 and Women’s Over 50 age group.
Denise Toner moved out of her comfort zone, slightly, moving from 1500m on the track, but this didn’t seem to faze the Knocks lady as she battled hard over the final 4km to take a superb bronze medal which is her first National Senior medal in a time of 1.22.10.
The race was won by Kate Purcell Raheny Shamrock AC in 1:18:01 with Sarah Baryga of Sli Cualann AC taking Silver in 1:21:36.
Irene Clements also put in a huge performance, setting a huge new personal best breaking 90 mins for the first time, crossing the line in 1:29.57. In doing so, she took the silver medal in the Women’s Over 60 category behind Mary Slocum of Ward Park Runners.
In the team events, Clones took bronze in the Over 35 category with the combined times of Denise along with Ciara Quigley from Clones and Eileen Hall from Newtownbutler seeing them place third behind Brothers Pearse from Dublin and Sli Cualann from Wicklow.
In the Women’s 50 category, Newtownbutler’s Bernie Mc Adam also had a magnificent run posting personal best figures of 1:32.04, just narrowly missing out on bronze in finishing 4th in the Over 50 category.
Unfortunately the Women’s 50 team lost world medallist Donna Evans at the 8 miler, which put paid to their medal hopes.
Lisnaskea’s Karen Mc Caffrey showed a return to form when finishing in a time of 1.45.44.
There was more good news in the Ratoath Half where there was an Open Team competition with each club’s top four athletes to score and Clones took first place ahead of Dunboyne and Raheny Shamrocks.
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