CLONLIFFE Harriers’ Brian Gregan and Declan Murray produced superb runs as part of Ireland’s distance medley relay at the Armory Invitational meet last weekend as the team went under world record time.
They were denied the overall title by a dominant USA team who ran a superb 9.19.93 with Ireland finishing in 9.25.37, what now stands as the second best time ever,
The relay sees teams of four compete over mixed distances with the first runner, Murray for Ireland, leading out over 1,200m before further legs of 400m, 800m and 1,500m.
Murray completed his phase of the race in around fourth position after the American Matthew Centrowitz blew the field apart with an excellent 2.49.47 split with Murray in the bunch just under four seconds back.
He handed over to Gregan who ran his 400m in 47.40 before UCD’s Mark English upped the tempo further on leg three. His 1.46.59 moved them into second place with the fastest 800m split.
It left Ciaran O Lionaird about 20m to make up on Pat Casey and so he went out hard in pursuit of the American leader, briefly catching up but the early exertions made it tough for him to maintain the pace and he ended up slipping back but he held on for a famous second place finish.
Speaking about their respective runs, Murray and Gregan said they were physically tough outings but they achieved their target of going under the world record in good fashion, beating a much fancied Kenyan team into the bargain.
“It was tough,” Murray said. “I tried to put myself out there and get to the front and the lead pack to put us in the mix for the record.”
Next on his agenda is the Millrose Race 1,000m where he is eyeing up an Irish record before taking on 800m races to try and qualify for the European championships.
Gregan, meanwhile, paid tribute to his team mate: “Declan really worked hard and so I had to make sure we held on from there. I took the baton in about fourth position and it was tough going trying to get past two people, running out to lane three. It slowed me down a bit and I couldn’t get a clear run at it but the main thing was to keep us in touch when I handed over to Mark [English] and gave him an opportunity to chase them down.”