Cragg gets Irish record

Congratulations to Alistair Cragg on achieving a new Irish 5000m record last night in Brussels. With a time of 13.03.53 Alistair was not only 5th in the Diamond League event but more importantly was .4 of a second under Mark Carroll’s 13 year old National record. Entering the last 1000m the record was certainly on, and indeed a sub 13 minute time was not out of the question. With 400m to go Alistair managed to up the pace and cross the line 3.5 seconds faster than his previous best of 13.07.10 set in 2007.

This means Alistair now owns National records at the 5000m and 10000m outdoors as well as 3000m and 5000m indoors. He also has the fastest half marathon on record by an Irishman run earlier this year, though not officially recognised as a record.

With Joe and Gladys Cooper, Noel and Ian Guiden, Mark McKenzie and John Kelly in the stadium, it was a memorable night for the Clonliffe contingent. Since Alistair’s 13.16 performance in 2004, this record was always on the cards. While his foray in to Marathon running may have seen him leave the track, his repeated stance that there was still unfinished business over 5000m was proved accurate last night.

Alistair’s consistency over the years in this event is evident when you see that his top 10 times average 13.12.36, which alone would be 3rd on the Irish all-time list. Maybe now, Clonliffe`s two time Olympic finalist, World Championship finalist, European 3,000m indoor gold medalist and holder of 3 Irish Records will get the recognition he truely deserves.

Once again, congratulations from all in Clonliffe.

As regards the rest of the meet Noel Guiden reports that it was fantastic. The weather was perfect, a t shirt day until 9.00pm ! Packed stadium. And the athletics: outstanding.

The first big talking point was the 10,000m. Would Bekele be on the line? Would Bekele last the distance? Surely he can`t win? He was, he would and he did! A wonderful sight to see the great Kenenisa Bekele in action, well and truely back. The pace was fast from the off with Bekele in the lead pack all race long, waiting for the moment which came with 250 to go as he sprinted hitting the front and winning in a world`s best time for 2011 26.43.11. The Clonliffe fan club were on their feet roaring their happy heads off and to make it even better current hero of the Clonliffe junior team USA`s Galen Rupp ran an unbelieveable time of 26.48.00 to take 3rd and a new US record.

The 100 and 200 men`s race were equally unbelieveable. Usain Bolt the athletes superstar had the whole stadium up cheering and dancing as he ran a 2011 world best of 9.76. Wow! Bolt is still on his lap (lapping up the adulation) of honour as Yohan Blake decides to also run a world best: 19.26 in the 200.

There was also a superb performance from the USA`s Morgan Uceny in the women`s 1500 a great win in 4.00.06, and yes that was a world best time. We then witnessed an attempt on the women`s world high jump record by Anna Chicherova, having won the competition at 2.05 she went for 2.10 to the roar of the crowd, the fact that she didn`t break the record is only a minor detail in the story.

And then there was Alistair Cragg`s exceptional performance. Opening laps of 61/62 seconds were reeled off, 3,000m in 7.50, two laps to go and our club mate is still there. Flying. Top bend in 6th place this is damm fast, might he get a PB? Down the straight and he`s flying , up to 5th. The fact that we`re 150 yards away doesn`t matter as we scream “Go Alistair go”, he crosses the line and we compair watches: “13.03.8 I got what do you have?” “13.03.9” It`s a PB, it`s a club record. The official time flashes up 13.03.53. “What`s the Irish record, he`s close” We google on our mobiles, yes he`s taken Mark Carrol`s record. We text Joe Cooper, in another part of the stadium, but to be sure we best text the man who`ll know: Killian. It`s official!

As a proud Clonliffe man I felt privileged to share in the moment. Thanks Alistair.

The next morning bright and early Ian, Mark and I headed home. In Brussels airport the lads met one of their heroes Galen Rupp. Had a quick chat with him and got his autograph on their meet programmes. Galen seemed equally pleased to meet his fans and comes accross a genuinely nice guy. The guys also meet his coach the great marathon runner Alberto Salazar and 100h World Champion Sally Pearson.

In summary: the whole thing was fantastic!!!