Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sean Hartnett Wins the Hartnett Challenge 10K in County Cork

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

There was an appropriate winner to the John Hartnett Challenge 10km road race at Ballyhooly in Cork as Sean Hartnett, the 20-year-old son of the former Olympian and Irish mile record holder, took the honours in a time of 35:31.

A student at Monmouth University in New Jersey, the younger Hartnett has a best of 15:21.47 for 5000 metres this year and completed the 10km circuit in a time of 35:31, over a half-minute clear of Fermoy triathlete Michael Lyons with Denis Dunne of Eagle finishing in third place.

Deirdre Nagle, also of Eagle, took the women’s race in 41 minutes flat with Karen Kenny and Clotilde Fitzgibbon, both of Grange-Fermoy, finishing in second and third positions.

Afterwards, John Hartnett spoke movingly about his young days in Ballyhooly, remembering all those who helped him to win the International Junior Cross-Country title at Vichy in France back in 1970 and of his time at Villanova University where he was ranked amongst the world’s top middle-distance runners.

He competed in the 1972 Olympics in the 5000 metres and in 1973, at Eugene in Oregon, he broke Ronnie Delany’s Irish mile record with a time of 3:54.7 – which still ranks as the 11th fastest on the Irish all-time list – and the same year he was honoured as the Penn Relays Most Outstanding Performer.

The following year of 1974, Hartnett ran a memorable 3:56.3 mile on the old Mardyke grass track during the Cork City Sports.

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