Thursday March 31st 2016, Morton stadium witnessed another National record fall by the wayside as our very own Sergiu Ciobanu broke the 5 mile track record by just under 8 seconds in a time of 24.14.8. The race was part of the renowned Clonliffe Grand Prix Series, it was the first race of the series, the Frank White 5 Mile.
Back in the 1940s many a track meet featured 4 and 5 mile track races. Indeed these were National Championship races. In 1946 the Irish 5 Mile record was set by Martin Egan of Shanaglish, Gort, Co. Galway a time of 24.22.4. Egan was an athlete of some note and in the 1940s won no less than 30 Irish titles, in addition to holding the 5 mile record he also set a new 4 mile (track) mark. The last National champion over 5 miles was Cork`s John Buckley.
Martin Egan`s 5 mile record had stood for 70 years at 24.22.4, and last night in favourable running conditions, Sergiu took to the task like the proverbial duck to water. Sergiu had no pacers or help from the field so it was more like a time trial. It is worth noting that this race was only 5 days after Sergiu had competed in the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff in very tough conditions.
A huge congratulations to Sergiu who is a very loyal club man and can always be relied upon to turn out in the black and amber. We wish him all the best as he continues his training and his dream of wearing the Green vest in the Olympic Games in August.
A big thank you to all the officials who turned out on the night, there was 48 athletes, a big field, so traffic was an issue for Sergiu but the other athletes` awareness and officials shouting “track” and “move to Lane 2” as Sergiu made his way around the 20+ laps ensured another very special night was added to Sergiu’s and Clonliffe’s glorious history.
This season`s opener in the Grand Prix series was sponsored by Colm Doran, and was held in memory of the former Clonliffe athlete and Hon. Secretary Frank White who passed away in the club`s centenary year of 1986. Frank actually ran in the World Record 2 Mile set by Albie Thomas in Santry in August 1958 and was a two time winner of the Clonliffe 2 (1955 and 1957).
The results of the Grand Prix will follow and the next race in the series is the 4 mile track race, The McDonald Cup on the 14th April.