World 50km Race Walk Champion Robert Heffernan (Togher A.C.) made his competitive comeback on the Race Walking Circuit at the Lugano Race Walking Grand Prix in Switzerland on Sunday, March 16th.
The event in Lugano is one of the most prestigious race walking events in Europe with many of the athletes using it as preparation for the European Track and Field Championships in Zurich later in the summer.
Heffernan showed that his preparations are well underway for Zurich by finishing in fifth place in the 20km race in a time of 1:20.57. Posting on his twitter page (@RM_Heffernan) afterwards Heffernan said:
“Excellent competition today over 20km finished 5th in 1h20m57sec. Perfect preparation at this time of year.”
The event was won by Ruslan Dmtrenko of the Ukraine in a time of 1:20.08
There was a number of other Irish athletes competing in Lugano; Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny AC) finished 25th in a time of 1:26.33 while up and coming athletes Luke Hickey (Leevale AC) and James Traynor (Shercock AC) were rewarded with new personal bests of 1:28.00 and1:31.02 to place 31st and 49th respectively. Next up for these athletes will be the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Taicang, China on the 3rd/4th of May.
Away from the action in Lugano Paul Robinson (St. Coca’s AC) finished a close third in the 1,500m at the Sydney Track Classic on Saturday,15th of March. Robinson clocked a time of 3:39.08 and finished just half a second behind the winner James Magut (Kenya) and one meter behind 2012 Olympian Jeff Riseley (Aus) who ran 3:38.90. It was an excellent performance by Robinson as the time is also inside the 1,500m qualifying standard of 3:39.30 for the European Championships in