Robert Heffernan will be part of the Irish Race Walking team that will travel to Saransk, Russia for the prestigious IAAF World Race Walking Cup on the 12-13th May. A record number of 67 countries have entered to compete. The prominent Russian athletes on home soil are expected to claim the majority of the podium spots.
Heffernan finished in fourth position in the men’s 20k event at the recent race walking grand prix in Portugal. This was Heffernan’s best ever performance at a race walking grand prix, finishing in a time of 1:21:28, which was only 14 seconds off a podium position. Heffernan is likely to target the 50km in London and will use the 20km race in Russia to sharpen up and gauge his competitive progress.
Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny AC) has already achieved the 50km qualification standard for the Olympics and will line up alongside Heffernan in Russia. Boyce has been in great form lately setting a personal best of 3:57:53 for 50km in the Dudince grand prix. Michael Doyle (Tara AC) is the third of the Irish athletes competing in the 20km event and will target a personal best.
It was at the Dudince grand prix that Colin Griffin (Ballinamore AC) and Jamie Costin (West Waterford AC) came agonisingly close to achieving the 50km standard. Griffin was on track for qualification but he was disqualified at the 42km mark while Costin was also on target before rising temperatures forced him to drop out at the 32km mark. Last weekend Griffin and Costin came through a 20km event in Naumburg clocking 1:24:40 and 1:25:25 respectively. Saransk offers both athletes the perfect opportunity to achieve the elusive standard.
In the women’s event Olive Loughnane (Loughrea AC) and Laura Reynolds (Mohill AC) will line up. Loughnane will target a solid confidence boosting performance as she prepares for the Olympic Games. Loughnane will relish the opportunity to test her reserve against top international competition. Reynolds set an impressive personal best of 1:34:40 in Naumburg last weekend. Reynolds has achieved the Olympic B standard on numerous occasions, the 1:33:30 A standard is the target for Reynolds in Saransk.
2011 World Youth Gold medalist Kate Veale (West Waterford AC) will compete in the junior women’s 10km. Veale has been in great form this season having won the 10km event in the Lugano Racewalking Grand Prix back in March. Veale will be joined on the start line by Irish teammate Emma Prendiville (Farranfore Maine Valley AC).
In the junior men’s race James Treanor (Shercock AC) and Luke Hickey (Leevale AC) are set to compete and both athletes will target personal best performances.