Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Guest Post: NEW AMERICAN RECORD HOLDER HAS IRISH CONNECTIONS ...By John Walshe

Thursday, October 13, 2022



By John Walshe

Last Sunday in Chicago 30-year-old Emily Sisson set an American marathon record of 2:18:29, improving on the previous best of 2:19:12 held by Keira D’Amato.

Although overshadowed by winner Ruth Chepngetich who ran the second fastest time in history of 2:14:18 - after going through 10 miles in 49:49 and halfway in 65:44 - Sisson’s second place was an improvement of almost five minutes on her previous best of 2:23:08 set on her marathon debut in London in 2019.

There is an interesting Irish angle to the latest American record-setter as she is married to Waterford-man Shane Quinn and is coached by Ray Treacy, who was also college coach to both during their time at Providence College.

A lovely tribute currently appears on the Waterford AC Facebook page where it is recalled that Sisson’s first-ever road race was the Alan Everett Woodstown five-mile event back in 2014.

Emily Sisson at the Woodstown 5-mile

Titled ‘From the Hills of Woodstown to the Streets of Chicago’ it goes on to say: “Emily Sisson, who is a daughter-in-law of our former distance coach Brendan Quinn, first ever road race in which she participated in was the Alan Everett, Woodstown five-mile event on 18th July 2014 hosted by WAC, whilst a student on scholarship in Providence, clocking 27:17.

“Since that date, Emily has had a wonderful career to date, participating in the World Championships and Olympic Games. Emily now holds the American records for the half and full marathon distances, which in itself is an impressive achievement. Congratulations Emily, from us all in Waterford Athletic Club.”

With the TV cameras focusing on Chepngetich world-record early pace, Sisson didn’t think she was on any sort of record pace since there were no cameras or vehicles around her until about the 20 mile mark. She just focused on her pacers and didn’t even know her time or place until she spoke to her husband, Shane Quinn.

“I didn’t know what pace I was on, the whole time,” she said. “I was given instructions (from coach Ray Treacy) to go off of my pacers and not think about time at all. I had no clue what pace I was running until a couple of miles to go and a few people had told me to pick it up, so I thought I must be close to breaking 2:20 or the American record but I didn’t know which one. So when I crossed the finish line, I was really surprised with the time and the place and I'm just really, really happy."

Emily’s husband Shane had an impressive junior career here at home, winning the Irish Schools senior cross-country in 2011 plus two junior inter-counties cross-country victories. He then gained a scholarship to Providence where his performances included 13:48.90 for 5000m along with a 3000m time of 8:04.81 at the Cork City Sports of 2013.

Shane Quinn & Emily Sisson

His father Brendan – who represented Ireland at the 1988 Seoul Olympics - still holds the Irish 3000m steeplechase record of 8:24.09, set back in August 1985. That time improved Liam O’Brien’s previous record of 8:27.24 from the year before.

Another Corkman, Kieran Stack, ran 8:29.75 in 1985 and it’s interesting to note that 37 years later only one other Irish runner (Brian Fay with 8:29.75 in 2021) has broken 8:30 for the event. 

A list of previous guest posts from John Walshe can be seen HERE

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