Road Running

Seaward and Lee lead Irish marathon renaissance in Berlin

Setting the standard

Kevin Seaward and Lizzie Lee led a renaissance of Irish marathon running in Berlin today with five Irish athletes in total running Olympic qualifying times.

A host of Irish athletes went over to Berlin in pursuit of Olympic qualification (2:17:00 for men and 2:42:00 for women) with Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s) the first across the line in 2:14:52 as Lizzie Lee (Leevale) went to number five on the Irish women’s all-time list with 2:32:51.

“I’m absolutely blown out of the park,” said an emotional Lee afterwards who smashed the Olympic standard (2:42:00) and her personal best (2:38:09) from Berlin in 2013. “The last two miles were the hardest thing I’ve ever done, my goal was 2:33:00. Fingers crossed now for selection for Rio.”

Seaward first Irishman

Kevin Seaward came through strongly to cross the line as first Irishman and was pleasantly surprised with his time. “The first 5k felt really fast but as the race went on it settled and everything felt good from there,” said Seaward. “I thought I’d run around 2:15. I didn’t think I could go inside it so it’s a pleasant surprise. I’m absolutely delighted.”

He was followed closely home by Sergiu Ciobanu in 2:15:14 with Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock) just holding off Paul Pollock in a great tussle in 2:15:35 to 2:15:38.

“There was a good group and we worked together,” said Ciobanu of how the race went with a host of Irish in the elite field. “I started to struggle a bit for the last 10/12k. I am delighted to finish second Irishman. Now I don’t have to worry too much about running another marathon in the spring. I can hopefully prove my form with a half marathon at the world half marathon in March.”

Mick Clohisey led the Irish charge from the gun and, despite underestimating the distance, crossed the line with a two minute personal best. “The first half there was a good group of us and I was at the front of it all the way,” said Clohisey. “I thought I might be able to pick it up the second half but I slowed a bit; I underestimated the distance. The latter stages I started to struggle. It’s a two-minute PB, I have to be happy.

Pollock contends with injury

Meanwhile, Paul Pollock had to contend with a recent injury and was unable to hold off Clohisey. “Three weeks ago I had a 11cm tear in my quad, so I wasn’t able to run for about 10 days then it was a week or two or three miles a day,” said Pollock afterwards. “I thought if I got sub-2:15 it might be enough for qualification, and I caught Mick with four or five miles to go, but he caught me with 3k to go, and in the Brandenburg Gate it was a kick for the finish, and everything seized up and I walked across the line. I’m gutted I’m fourth Irishman, but I’ll have to sit down and re-assess and probably do a spring marathon.”

*There are YouTube video interview on Athletics Ireland TV here.

Leading Irish results


Lizzie Lee (Leevale) 2:32:51


Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s) 2:14:52

Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) 2:15:14

Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock) 2:15:35

Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) 2:15:38

Gary Thornton (Galway City Harriers) 2:17:19

Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham WSAF) 2:17:48

Mark Kirwan (Raheny Shamrock) 2:19:30

Gary Murray (Clonliffe Harriers) 2:21:09

Mark Hanrahan (Leevale) 2:21:13

Tomas Fitzpatrick (Tallaght) 2:22:18

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Gerard O'Donnell

Gerard O'Donnell

Gerard O'Donnell is an athlete, physical therapist, and MSc student. He is current national 110m hurdles champion and ranks 3rd & 5th on the Irish all-time list for the sprint hurdles events. He is occasionally referred to as GOD, not due to his initials, but because of his heavenly beard, which he has sported since the age of 5.

1 Comment

  1. Amy
    September 28, 2015 at 2:30 pm — Reply

    Some great results in Berlin. Well done all. It’s encouraging to see 4 times sub 2.16 but there’s a lot of work to do to reach the big boys. Rio will be won for the men in or about 2.07/8 surely? It would be great to see some Irish athletes in the top 20 and in the Women’s who knows Fionnuala could top 10.

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