Boyce and Wright impress at the 50k walk
Team Ireland’s 50km Race Walkers took to Sapporo Odori Park this morning for the longest event of the Athletics programme.
Brendan Boyce put in one of the performances of his career to finish 10th in a time of 3:53:40, less than three minutes outside the medals. His Team Ireland teammate Alex Wright also impressed in 29th, his highest finish ever at a global championship, in a Season’s Best time of 4:06:20.
Boyce went with the lead pack from the off, holding that position in a group of 22 men through to the halfway mark. Wright spent most of the first half of the race in the second and third packs, positioned in the thirties and walking in relative isolation for long stretches.
An early morning start of 5:30am, was intended to dampen the extreme conditions, but the athletes still faced temperatures in the thirties, and intense humidity for their four-hour effort.
As the race entered its final hour, both Irishmen began to pick up places, with Boyce up to 11th with 10km to go, and Wright in 36th. Working most of the final stages of the race in isolation, both finished very strongly to cement their positions in the top 10, and top 30.
Boyce was happy that his pre-race tactics paid off saying: “The race tactics were good, it was kind of the way I planned – to go out steady and push through the race.”
After finishing 6th at the 2019 World Championships in the event, Boyce wanted to re-enforce his World Class status this morning adding: “I worked for the top ten definitely so I’m happy – happy to get that kind of a result in these conditions and back up what I did two years ago in Doha.”
It is likely to have been the final edition of the 50km event on the global stage, with a 35km race set to replace it at next year’s World Championships, leaving both Boyce and Wright with career decisions to make. Uncertain of where his future lies after today Boyce said: “I guess this is the end of the road for 50km so it’s a new life for me after this, we’ll see how it goes next year.”