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Ukraine’s Naumov turns on the power


By Frank Greally for the Irish examiner UKRAINE’S Andriy Naumov led home a record 11,700 runner entry yesterday in the Lifestyle Sports adidas Dublin Marathon — the 29th running of the event.
The 35-year-old Naumov finished strongly in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 06 seconds — comfortably clear of second placed Kenyan Thomas Omwenga (2:12:29) and Thomas Abyu of Salford Harriers in England (2.13.06).

Naumov, who often logs 200 kilometers in training in his home town of Donetsk where he is a big fan of soccer club Shaktar, started conservatively and only turned on the pace over the final six miles to win the Dublin title and the top cash prize of €15,000.

“This was the best victory of my career and the most money I have ever won,” Naumov said.

Naumov’s time was the third fastest ever recorded in the event, but still well outside the course record of 2:09:07 set last year by Russian Alexsev Sokolov.

There was a closer contest in the women’s race won by Russia’s Larissa Zousko, who finished third in 2006 and second last year. She stormed through in the final stages to win in an impressive 2:29:55, ahead of Ethiopians Haile Kebebush (2:30:03) and Hadish Negash Letay (2:31:13).

Larissa Zousko, who comes from Nouvsibirsk, the capital of Siberia, was happy with her performance and her prize money of €15,000.

“This was my best race ever,” the 39 year old Russian said. “I am very happy to have won after a few attempts and it is a big victory for me.”

Zousko’s winning time was the fifth fastest ever recorded in Dublin.

Michael O’Connor from Galway City Harriers led the Irish challenge, finishing 13th in 2:20:49, retaining the Athletics Ireland men’s title incorporated in the event.

This was a personal best for O’Connor, who first won the title last year and the Galway man was just a little disappointed that he did not dip under the 2 hours 20 mark. “I would have loved to have broken 2 hours 20 minutes,” O’Connor said.

35-year-old O’Connor, coached by Jerry Kiernan, believes there are other younger Irish distance runners who should have been capable of challenging him in Dublin.

“There are a number of younger Irish runners who should be capable of running well under 2:20 and we need them to commit to the distance,” he said.

Brian McMahon, Clonliffe Harriers, took the silver medal in the national championship in 2:27:2 and Patrick Cassidy from Monaghan took the bronze in 2:27:55.

It was a day of celebration too for Maria McCambridge, Dundrum South Dublin AC, who was a clear winner of the women’s national title in 2:36:33.

McCambridge ran a perfectly paced race and finished well clear of Annette Kealy, Raheny Shamrocks AC 2:49:50. Barbara Sanchea, also of Raheny Shamrock AC, finished third in 2:49:54. The expected close contest between McCambridge and Kealy never materialised as Kealy, who was struggling with a recent cold, was never able to match strides with the DSD woman. This was Maria McCambridge’s marathon debut and the DSD women, who lives with her husband, former national marathon champion Gary Crossan in Letterkenny, is now looking forward to following her Dublin experience with a spring marathon.

“I am very happy with today’s effort and I worked hard for the past two weeks preparing,” McCambridge said. The DSD woman had been logging an average of 100 miles a week in training over the past 10 weeks — a regime that paid off handsomely.

Aramgh’s Paul Hannon was the best of the wheelchair entrants — finishing in 2.22.56. Weather conditions yesterday were cold, but conducive to fast running.

The record entry of 11,700 is expected to be surpassed next year when the Dublin Marathon celebrates its 30th Anniversary.

Yesterday’s event was also tinged with sadness as Josephine Healy, one of the long time volunteers responsible for keeping the Dublin Marathon on the road, died on Friday night after a year long illness.

The weekend also marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Noel Carrol, one of the founders of the marathon back in 1980.

Tyrone legend Peter Canavan came home in 4:56:49, while Galway hurler Alan Kerins was forced to withdraw after seven miles with an ankle ligament injury.