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Rob Heffernan: I couldn't have done it without wife Marian

“The world championships are over now and Marian’s four months pregnant and I’ll have to put the hard yards in when I go home. The tables will turn.”

ROB HEFFERNAN CROSSED the line out on his own in Moscow this morning but the Cork race walker got there thanks to his wife Marian, he says.

The Togher native became Ireland’s first gold medal at the athletics world championships since 1995 with a stunning win in the 50k walk.

Heffernan’s wife Marian — who represented Ireland at last year’s Olympics — this year focused her attention on her husband’s goals. And it paid off.

“I’m thrilled, it’s hard to take in at the moment,” Heffernan said afterwards. “World champion, even to say it out loud, it doesn’t feel real. I’m so proud, I’m delighted.

“I’ve trained really well this year. I’ve kind of kept it simple and Marian took a step back from her athletics and she came on board with me full time and she’s been such a support to me.

“She’s been with me all year and I had nothing else to worry about. All I had to worry about was racing and everything else was taken care of. I just got on with it and nature took it’s course.

“Two of us are in it together. Everything we do, we do it as a team. It’s a journey for the both of us. It’s extra support and it’s extra stress. But having said that, the world championships are over now and Marian’s four months pregnant and I’ll have to put the hard yards in when I go home. The tables will turn.”

Heffernan talked reporter Will Downing through his thinking as one of his rivals struck off.

“He tried to make a move, and I was going ‘this is only a young fella’. I’m after walking 3.37 in London, I’ve coped with all of this pressure. Leave him go and then at 40k: bury him,” he said.

“You need to have your reserve for 40k, it doesn’t matter what the time is. Then at  39k, I started to pull away from him and I was like okay, it’s after happening without me planning it. And then at 40k I’m going to keep on. And I knew I was increasing the lead a little, a little, a little every lap.”

Audio courtesy of Will Downing

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