Robert Heffernan taking the gold in the 50k Race walk,
Ireland had won two gold medals in World Championships (outdoors) in the past, and both at the 5,000 meter distance. In 1983, Eamonn Coghlan won the inaugural 5,000m in the first World Champs in Helsinki, Finland. In 1995, Sonia O’Sullivan won the 5,000 meters in Goteborg, Sweden.
On August 14, 2013, Robert Heffernan gave Ireland it’s third gold medal, and at a new distance….
The 50,000 meter walk is the longest event on the Olympic and World Championship schedule. It is 5.4 miles longer than the classic marathon distance.
Robert Heffernan finished fourth in both the 20k and 50k distance in 2010 in Barcelona, at the European championships. In 2011, ranked first at the 50k distance in Daegu, Robert did not compete as his mother had fallen down steps and he flew back to be with her. In 2012, Robert placed fourth in the 50k in London.
A recent athletic publication nicknamed Robert Hefferenan ” Mr. Fourth Place”.
In Moscow, Robert Heffernan stayed back in the first 10k, and then battled his Russian challengers from 10-40k, when he took over and just built his lead.
Robert Heffernan took the gold medal in 3:37:23 for the 31.6 mile distance (50k), setting a new Irish record. Most importantly, Robert Heffernan had held on and took the gold, suprising many, all those except himself.