Ireland’s 30 years old, former European Indoor 3000m Gold medallist, Alistair Cragg gave his athletics career a timely boost with a new Irish record for the half-marathon when finishing sixth in a high profile event through the streets of New York yesterday.
South African born, Cragg, who represented Ireland in the Olympic Games of 2004 and 2008 , is due to make his Marathon debut at the Boston Marathon in mid- April and indeed stands a good chance of being the leading European competitor in that event, though many of the leading Europeans will be
taking part in the Virgin London Marathon a day earlier.
“I felt good the whole way and it was only in the last mile or two that the leaders managed to get away from me, but it’s good feeling to get another Irish record and I‘m excited about where this can take me” a clearly happy Cragg , told Athletics Ireland , from New York yesterday.
Cragg’s time of 60 minutes 49 seconds knocked eight seconds off the old mark of 60:57 set two years ago in Holland by Martin Fagan of Mullingar, as well as being a personal best by more than a full minute, with victory going to Britain’s Mo Farah in an impressive 60:23 after a sprint finish.
This race was Cragg’s pre-trial prior to making his marathon debut in Boston next month.
“I’ve been packing in the miles in preparation for Boston and I think those miles were in my legs when it came to speeding up in the last few miles here” he said.
“But I never felt the distance or did I feel tired at any stage. I finished very strong and really enjoyed it. Running this event is a bit strange for me after all my races on the track but I’m now entering a new stage of my career and I’m excited about it and will now use the next few weeks wisely to prepare for
Cragg will be looking to get the standard of 2:16 in Boston next month which will put him in line for selection for the World Championships next August in Korea and also for the Olympics in London next year.