With just 10 days to go until the Letterkenny International Track & Field meeting, the Mens 3000m steeplechase is set to be a classic over the barriers as a host of athletes will be chasing the World championship qualification time of 8:32. Leading the starters list will be double Commonwealth Games finalist, NCAA bronze medallist, and 4 time UK champion Luke Gunn who has a personal best of 8:28.48. Coached by the legendary Bud Baldaro, he will also be joined by rising English star Will Gray, who has had a major breakthrough 2017, running 8:33.68 just last month.
3-time South African national champion Rantso B Mokopane will be another athlete aiming to book his place for the London World championships. Mokopane, an African Games finalist, has a personal best of 8:31.72, and may be the man that everyone will be keeping their eyes on as they come off the final waterjump, having also ran 3:38 for 1500m in recent weeks. Fresh from running a lifetime best of 8:32.94 and making the final at the USA Track & Field championships, Brian Shrader will lead the American charge, along with Jordan Gershon Mann, Brandon Doughty and Aaron Nelson. Other confirmed starters include Denmark’s Jakob Dybdal Abrahamsen and Italy’s Giuseppe Gerratana.
The North-West crowd will be taking a very keen interest on this race as Derry Track Club athlete Adam Kirk-Smith will be looking to improve on his already sensational year, having achieved the Athletics NI Commonwealth Games standard and lifetime best of 8:37.62 just last month. David Flynn, currently training in Letterkenny, and fresh from the European Team championships last weekend, as well as 6 times National champion Rory Chesser will also feature in the race which has no fewer than 12 athletes with PB’s of sub 8:40.
Letterkenny AC already has the honour of having hosted the fastest Irish womens steeplechase race of all time from 2015. With the Athletics Irelandall-comers record set 32 years ago in 1985 at 8:32.80 by Brendan Quinn, 2017 may be the year that the mens event is added to that list. The action gets underway on Friday 7th July at the Danny McDaid Athletics track at 7:00pm with the barriers coming out for the mens steeplechase at 8:10pm. It will be an action packed night of athletics not to be missed!