Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Irish Times interview with racewalker Rob Heffernan

Friday, October 07, 2011

Irish Times interview with racewalker Rob Heffernan

Just a few weeks ago in late September, racewalker Rob Heffernan from Cork qualified for the 2012 London Olympics. The following extract which is taken from the Irish Times details how the 50k race went for him in Naumberg, Germany.
"AFTER 21 of the 50 kilometres that made up Rob Heffernan’s attempt to qualify for the London Olympics a fortnight back, he found himself a target.  Rob Heffernan reckons that with anything in life, if you get yourself the right target and do the right thing the right way, it will inch towards you as much as you will towards it. You don’t need to be a race walker to appreciate the value of each small step.
His target that afternoon in Naumberg, Germany, took the shape of a 21-year-old Pole by the name of Adrian Blocki, who had burst clear of the field after three kilometres and by now had built up a 45-second lead. Heffernan was at the front of the chasing pack, alongside Jesus Angel Garcia, a four-time medallist at the World Championships. The two class walkers in the field, neither he nor Garcia were minded to do the other’s work for him so Heffernan figured he’d go about catching Blocki on his own.

After 22 kilometres, the gap was down to 44 seconds. After 23, it was 36. After 25, not only was it down to 27 but Heffernan had opened up a 10-second gap on Garcia. He was in full predator mode now, insinuating his way across the ground and taking chunks out of Blocki with each passing lap. By the 26th kilometre, the gap was down to 15 seconds – half a minute gone in the space of just four laps. And then, just as he was about to reel Blocki in, just as he was about to plant a dart in the bull’s-eye he’d set for himself just under half an hour earlier, the Pole dropped out of the race. He finished out the 26th kilometre and then pulled stumps. Heffernan could have punched him.

“Next thing,” he says, “I’m in the lead and I have about 15 seconds on the guy behind me, who I know had won a medal in the World Championships just two years ago so I know is not going to die. And my heart just kind of sank. I was going, ‘I’m out on my own here, there’s nobody watching the race, there’s nothing to be gained. We’ll just get this over with and get the (qualifying) time.’ “I slowed down a bit to let him catch up so that we could have a bit of cat and mouse over the rest of the race. In the end I finished second. I was disgusted.”
He was able to wash it off him easy enough though as he had just qualified for London and his fourth Olympic Games

The full article can be seen at

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