Home News Heffernan Finishes Sixth at Fifth Olympics

Heffernan Finishes Sixth at Fifth Olympics


Robert Heffernan (Togher) finished in 6th place in the 50km race walk in 3:43:55 in his fifth Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro today. Heffernan initially crossed the line in sixth but Japan’s Hirooki Arai (third across the line) was subsequently disqualified due to a collision with Canada’s Evan Dunfee moving Heffernan to fifth position. Arai was later reinstated pushing Heffernan back into a sixth place finish.

Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny) broke into the top 20 with an excellent 18th in 3:53:59. Unfortunately Alex Wright (Leevale) was forced to withdraw mid-race due to a fluid intake problem.

“At 36-38km I thought I was going to win it,” said Heffernan afterwards. “I got bad cramps then but it’s still a magnificent performance. I’m still there or there abouts so you’ve to take the positives.

“This is the only day of the year that counts. Obviously I would have liked to have won a medal. I love training in the summer and I love training for these championships. It’s all about tunnel vision and getting ready for the big day.

“I’ve got such great support and messages from everyone on Facebook and Twitter and it helps when you’re working hard in that last 10 kilometres. I would have loved to have won a medal for them but it’s still a great performance.”

Heffernan has a remarkable Olympic record since making his debut in Sydney in 2000. He finished 8th in the 20km in Beijing in 2008, 9th in the 20km and third in the 50km in London 2012, and fifth in the 50km in Rio today.

His splits were as follows: 5km 22:39, 10km 44:48, 15km 1:06:53, 20km 1:29:05, 25km 1:51:12, 30km 2:13:02, 35km 2:34:55, 40km 2:57:18, and 45km 3:20:14.

Brendan Boyce was delighted with his top 20 performance and felt he got his race plan spot on. “I stuck to my race plan. I went off conservatively for the first 10km. I got in with a good group and it held together for about 25-35km and then people went into their own zones but I was always catching people.

“Physically my energy was good, my energy was good. My hip flexors got at me at 35km and cost me probably ten seconds per kilometre pace wise but I didn’t hit the wall. I’m delighted with how I’ve progressed.”  

Source & Pic: Athletics Ireland