Mark English and Thomas Barr just miss out in Beijing

Karen Alexander
Karen Alexander

Mark English and Thomas Barr failed very narrowly to set Irish eyes smiling as they just missed final qualification at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing.

English ran fifth in his 800m heat to make the semis as fastest loser but was unable to go further. He was in the third and last race and was ninth at the bell before finishing strongly to take fifth again in 1:45.55 just outside his seasons best.

Thomas Barr just failed to reach the 400m hurdles final. The World Universities champion drawn for the second time in the outside lane for the semi final had plenty to do entering the straight but came very strongly to come fourth in 48.71 fractionally outside his best. He would have needed 48.5 to progress.

Kerry O’Flaherty from Newcastle along with team mates Sara Tracy and Michelle Finn are in the semi finals of the steeplechase early this morning.

Meanehile, Karen Alexander and Laura Graham repeated their Groomsport placings of a week ago when they took the top two places in the Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon at the Silent Valley Reservoir.

World mountain medallist Karen looked great as she crossed the line almost five minutes before Laura with Ursula Campbell next.

Cameron Burns had a narrow win over Gerard Heaney in the Mens race with David Clarke, Richard Coey and Simon Reeve following. Martin Wilcox won the 10K from James Trainor and Welsey McDowell with Roisin Hughes dominating the Ladies. There 243 finishers in the Half Marathon and 300 in the 10K.

Elsewhere, Springwell runners took the key positions in their own promotion of the Downhill Demense 5 Miles Trail Race.

Neil Johnson and Luke Dinsmore came first and second in the Mens race with Ciara Toner and Bernadette O’Kane doing the same in the Ladies.

Also, Joe McAllister and Brian Campbell fought out a dramatic duel in the Mallusk Harriers 5 Miles Road Race.

The two former Northern Ireland champions moved clear from the gun and were together for most of the distance before Joe just got ahead to win by six seconds with both under the old course record. Neil Weir was third.

Geraldine Branagh ran very well to win the Ladies from Yvonne Macauley and former Junior champion Sarah Jane Guiney.