Belfast Telegraph

Thomas Frazer leads northern trio into Dublin top seven

By Brian Hill

Three northern runners, led by Thomas Frazer of St Malachy's, were among the top seven finishers in yesterday's blustery Airtricity Dublin Marathon which attracted a record 14,500 entrants.

Chicago-based Frazer finished fourtth in a time of 2 hrs 22 mins 34 secs followed by Annadale's Paddy Hamilton who was fifth in his inaugural race in 2.23.38. Team mate Eddie McGinley who was also running his first marathon crossed the line in seventh in 2.24.50.

These were particularly good performances especially considering the debut outings of Hamilton and McGinley.

However, given the adverse weather conditions, it was always going to be a tall order for these two to achieve the Commonwealth Games qualification standard of 2 hrs 18 mins. They may make another attempt in one of the big marathons next Spring.

Qualification was not a concern for Frazer whose fourth place was exceptional bearing in mind that he had achieved the Games standard only a month ago in Berlin with a time of 2.17.45 . To recover so quickly in such a demanding event is testimony to the 31 year old's superb fitness.

In Dublin both Frazer and Hamilton ran a cautious pace in the early stages. They reached the halfway mark together in 71 mins 8 secs which was over two minutes behind the leaders with McGinley a minute further back. The pace up front was being dictated by pre-race favourite Sean Hehir of Rathfarnham plus DSD'S Joe Sweeney.

In the latter half of the race the even pacing of the three Northern athletes was rewarded by significant improvements in their positions as they picked off runners right to the finish.

Victory went to Hehir who broke away from Sweeney at 20 miles to record a time of 2.18.21 which was commendable in the far from ideal conditions. Sweeney was second in a good debut time of 2.19.29 with Clonliffe's Sergui Ciobanu third in 2.22.05 – 29 seconds ahead of Frazer.

In the absence of overseas opposition, Hehir's win was the first by an Irishman since John Treacy's victory 20 years ago.

In the Women's race, victory went to DSD's Maria McCambridge in 2.38.53 which was over three mins slower than her winning Irish time last year. Cork's Clare McCarthy was second in 2.39.30 with Tullamore's Pauline Curley third in 2.43.00.

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