Belfast Telegraph

No final run, but Katie Kirk raises the bar

Kirk fails to progress despite new personal best

By Brian Hill

Lagan Valley's Katie Kirk had the race of her life last night in Hampden Park when she broke her personal best time in the semi-finals of the 800 metres which places her second on the Northern Ireland All Time List behind Amanda Crowe.

She just failed to make the final in an event where two women qualified with slower times.

All the major names ended up in Katie's semi, including World Champion Eunice Sum of Kenya, former European Indoor champion Jenny Meadows and 2012 European champion Lynsey Sharp.

England's Marilyn Okoro took the lead from the gun along with Meadows and they went through the first lap in a fast sub-59 secs.

Katie stayed at the back and avoided some bend clashes by other athletes, but she attacked before the home straight and passed two athletes, just losing out in the final 30 metres as less than three quarters of second separated five runners.

Katie's time of 2.02.63 was a personal best which is getting ever closer to the NI record of 2.01.83 The race was won by Sum in 2.01.38 followed by Canada's Melissa Bishop (2.01.86).

Afterwards Katie said: "I was a little disappointed because even though I got a PB I felt I couldn't keep up early on. Overall, I suppose I have to be pleased and I certainly got a buzz out of passing girls in the home straight.

"I tried to stay relaxed and was battling with Lynsey Sharp and Jenny Meadows towards the end both of whom got through.

"Its frustrating that I would have qualified had I been in the other heat. However it's great to race against girls of this class. I am a bit emotional but I have achieved everything I wanted this season and next year I will be aiming for around two minutes and the NI record."

In the Men's 200 semis, Northern Ireland's Leon Reid finished eighth in his race in 21.03 secs with the winner Rasheed Dwyer of Jamaica recording 20.42.

Leon ignored the poor rainy weather conditions and attacked in the home straight before fading in the final 30 metres.

A satisfied Leon said: "That was a lot better than my heat as I ran a good bend. Yesterday I attacked too early but today I got it right. I am very pleased that I have done this after being out a month because of my accident when I ended up in hospital."

Today's action will feature top Marathon runner Paul Pollock of Annadale Striders who races in the 10,000 metres.

The 27-year-old doctor from Holywood will be competing in just his second track race over the distance although he has, of course, competed many times in 10K road races.

His inaugural run, in Stanford (California) last May was quite spectacular, as he defied the humid conditions against a world class field to cross the line in 28 mins 32.18 secs, a mere 0.03 secs slower than Dermot Donnelly's NI record set in Spain back in 1999.

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