Mary Larkin presenting the Shield to Ciaran McGonagle
Letterkenny AC's Ciaran McGonagle won his third successive Donegal Half Marathon title in Letterkenny this morning when posting a personal best time of 1:13.13. Second was John McElhill of Finn Valley in 1:13. 52, with his club mate, Mark McPaul, third in 1:14.05.
The three-times champion was presented with the Dessie Larkin Perpetual Shield by Mary Larkin, widow of the late Dessie Larkin. Dessie, who was a former chairman of the Donegal Half Marathon Committee, died suddenly on March 18th last aged just 48.
The senior women's title was won by DSD's Maria McCambride in 1:21.52. Runner-up was Rosses AC's Helen McCready in 1:28.48, with Letterkenny AC's Monica McGranaghan third in 1:29.11. Karol Doherty won the wheelchair section in 1:19.18.
Speaking after his win, Ciaran McGonagle said he was delighted and honoured to be the first recipient of the Dessie Larkin Perpetual Shield.
"The conditions were tough out there. Even during the warm up you knew how strong the wind was on the way out. The plan was to keep it steady for the first half and take it on a bit in the second - and that's how it unfolded," he commented.
"There was a group of five of us working into the wind and just before the turn I picked it up a bit and opened up a bit of a gap. I kept it steady and managed to stay ahead to the finish. It's a really well organised event and great credit to the organising committee for their efforts. The numbers were great to see and hopefully this is a race that will continue to go from strength to strength," he added.
Race director, Brendan McDaid, paid tribute to all those who volunteered and helped make the event a success.
"We got great reaction from the competitors and everyone seemed happy. We had about 100 volunteers and with their help, that of the Red Cross and the gardai, it meant that things ran smoothly and everyone got back safely," he said.
"This is the first year that we are without our Donegal Half Marathon chairman, Dessie Larkin, who sadly passed away earlier this year. It was an emotional day for his family, and particularly for his wife, Mary, when she crossed the finish line. She said she had angel wings today because she got around the course much quicker than she had expected. It's nice, too, that Ciaran McGonagle from Letterkenny AC is the first name on the Dessie Larkin Perpetual Shield," the race director added.
The relay event (3 x 7k) had 12 teams competing, with Smells Like Team Spirit taking th honours in 1:45.49. D&L Road Runners were second in 1:47.48 and Donegal Derry Vibers third in 1:48.41.
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