Tommy Hughes: 59-year-old Maghera runner breaks Irish over-55s marathon record in Rotterdam

Tommy Hughes
Hughes won the Walled City Marathon in Londonderry in 2013

Former Olympic athlete Tommy Hughes has continued his marathon heroics at the age of 59.

The Maghera man cut over seven minutes off the Irish over-55s record, clocking two hours, 30 minutes and 15 seconds in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Hughes is the second fastest Northern Irishman for the marathon with a 2:13.59 clocking - 53 seconds slower than Greg Hannon's record set in 1979.

He represented Ireland at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

The 1992 Games came a few months after Hughes, who represents Termoneeny Running Club in Knockcloghrim, ran his personal best in Marrakech.

The county Derryman's performance in Barcelona was severely inhibited by a stress fracture as he crossed the line in 2:32.55 - which was in no way reflective of his abilities at the time.

Ironically, his time on Sunday, over 26 years later, was two minutes and 40 seconds quicker than his Olympic performance.

Hughes' target in Rotterdam was the existing Irish over-55s mark of 2:37.42.

He was outside that time by 51 seconds in Malaga just before Christmas but obliterated the Irish mark in the Netherlands as he reached half way in exactly one hour and 14 minutes, and slowed only slightly in the second half of the race.

Hughes' time is his quickest marathon since he produced two sub-2:30 performances in 2012.

He won the Walled City Marathon in Londonderry in 2013 although a thyroid problem then severely affected his running for a number of seasons before diagnosis and surgery enabled him to return to decent form in 2018.

The 59-year-old won the 1991 Dublin Marathon and also clinched victories in Belfast in 1988 and 1998, while his international triumphs include a success in the Melbourne Marathon in 1988.

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