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Dublin: 3°C Monday 1 March 2021

'Sixth didn't appeal to me, I wanted to win': Rob Heffernan speaks after his mid-race withdrawal

The Corkman admits he ‘wasn’t great’ mentally and will have to learn from today’s experience.

REIGINING WORLD CHAMPION Rob Heffernan took a pragmatic decision as he came to terms with the reality of his position after 40 kilometres of today’s 50km European Championship walking race.

Rob Heffernan with Marian Heffernan after withdrawing from the race Heffernan goes to his wife and coach Marian after pulling out. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The Corkman had struggled with what turned out to be a searing World Record pace in the early stages and appeared to pick up a knock that pushed him down to sixth place. There, he called his race over before the three-hour mark:

“I knew it was gone,” the honest-to-a-fault Corkman told Will Downing in Zurich.

“I felt it was going from me – I don’t want to be analysing it now – mentally it probably wasn’t good when it went away from me.”

Rob Heffernan is encouraged by his coach Marian Heffernan Marian Heffernan shouts encouragement. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Sixth, it didn’t appeal to me after winning the World Championships. The only thing I wanted today was to win the European Championships – and when it got away from me sixth just didn’t appeal to me. It’s disappointing.”

The 36-year-old added: “The boys were very strong today and their tactics worked. They probably anticipated me coming through and they went to go off hard and break me.

“I’ll just have to learn from it.”

Listen to Heffernan’s full post-race assessment with Will Downing.

Source: Irish Sports Network/SoundCloud

Click here if you can’t listen to the embedded audio above.

Rob Heffernan withdraws after 40km of European Championship race

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Sean Farrell

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