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I could have gone faster, says Larne man Dave Clarke (60) after breaking 3,000m record

Larne runner only took up sport 10 years ago after lifetime of cycling


Dave Clarke at the Mary Peters Track last night after breaking the record

Dave Clarke at the Mary Peters Track last night after breaking the record

Stephen Hamilton

Dave Clarke at the Mary Peters Track last night after breaking the record

A Co Antrim man set a new 3,000m world record for a 60-year-old at a sun-drenched Mary Peters Track last night.

Dave Clarke only took up running at the age of 50 after a lifetime of cycling.

Unfortunately, his fellow Ulsterman Tommy Hughes, who has been racking up records all year, just missed out on a new 3,000m world record for an over 60 at the Belfast track.

Tommy, a long-distance specialist, finished second behind Dave in a time of 9.31.

Next month he will attempt a new marathon world record in Wrexham, which would complete an amazing year in which he has set or broken records at 8k, 3k indoor, 15k, 10 mile and half-marathon.

Dave, who was recently crowned Irish age group 1,500m champion in Dublin, said: "It's been a strange year with so many events cancelled, but I feel I could have gone faster."

"That was a short run for Tommy - he's virtually unbeatable at the longer distances," added the Larne man, who plans to compete in the World Masters in Finland next year after this year's event in Canada was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Hughes' bid came just five days after he set a new world record of 71.26 at the big Antrim Coast Half Marathon - won by the legendary Sir Mo Farah - in Larne on Saturday.

At 37, Sir Mo may have four Olympic gold medals tucked safely away, but it's highly unlikely he'll still be setting the standard on the road and track well over two decades from now.

Hughes was aided in his Antrim Coast success by his 35-year-old son Eoin, who acted as his pacer.

The pair broke the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon by a father and son at last year's Frankfurt Marathon, Tommy with a blazing 2.27.52 and Eoin on 2.31.30 for a combined time of 4.59.22, two minutes and 50 seconds faster than the previous record of 5.02.12, set in 2015 by Graham and Ben Green.

Hughes ran in the marathon at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, finishing well outside the medals in 2.32.55 - a time he incredibly and comfortably bettered in that Frankfurt race last year.

The Maghera man said: "Sports science has moved a lot of things forward such as nutrition in the last 30 years, but I train hard and get plenty of sleep too."

Tommy has set a variety of records in the post-lockdown ChampionChip Series at venues such as Down Royal Racecourse, the Eikon Centre and Glenarm Castle.

He's regularly running three races in a day - a half-marathon, a 10k and a 5k - taking on and beating runners up to 40 years his junior.

The ChampionChip Series will see Northern Ireland's first post-lockdown marathon when the long-distance blue riband event is staged at Shane's Castle in Antrim tomorrow week.

Belfast Telegraph