Brendan Boyce continued his rise with a PB as he was the leading Irishman in the 50k walk at the European Track and Field Championships.
The Milford native came home in 16th place in Zurich on Friday with 3:51: 34, as France’s Yohann Diniz smashed the world record by over two minutes to win the gold medal in 3:32:33.
Rob Heffernan, the Cork native who won the World Championships in Moscow last year, was in third place for a spell before dropping out at the 40km-mark through fatigue.
Interestingly, the pace in Switzerland was so ferocious, Heffernan’s PB of 3:37:56 would only have been good enough for fourth.
Twenty-seven-year-old Boyce was 29th at the Olympics in London in 2012 with 3:55:01 and 25th at the World championships in Moscow last year as he clocked 3:54:24.
“The PB is the main thing,” he said. “In a 50k you can’t really control the field and you just have to work to your own rhythm. I’m happy enough to take three minutes off my PB.
“It’s phenomenal and it’s a step in the right direction. The conditions changed a lot. I was dry and then I was drenched at one point and dried up then again at the end.
“I was happy that I controlled my own emotions. I was about 5k short off the perfect race. I was going very well up until the last 5 or 6k.
“Agony set in then and I just had to grind it out from then until the end of the race.”
Boyce, despite those tough closes stages, made his way from 25th place to 16th.
“I wasn’t paying attention to positions really,” he added.
“I was thinking if I can do the performance that I set myself up to do then the position would take care of itself.
“It’s probably the toughest Europeans in history. Most of the guys there are world class.
“It’s all positive. I’ll take a big break after this now and I will get back training at the end of October.”