At the time of the Montreal Olympics in 1976, the nation held its collective breath as Eamonn Coghlan, by his own admission, grabbed fourth place from the jaws of victory in the eagerly awaited 1500m showdown with his long-time rival John Walker. And so, fast forward to London 2012, and another Irish athlete, and a Walker to boot, takes fourth spot in an Olympic final. However, for the vast majority of the Irish sporting public, the latter fourth was more like a Bolt from the blue than a Bolt from Jamaica.
Of course, to those who know Rob Heffernan, his performance at London 2012 came as no great surprise. This was the culmination of years of dedication, effort and single mindedness in his quest to reach the top of his chosen sport. In the post games rush, Ireland’s Olympic medallists in Boxing and Equestrian took centre stage in the national limelight. However, for Track & Field enthusiasts, Road Runners and Coyotes alike, Rob Heffernan’s fourth place in the 50km Walk was undoubtedly the highlight Irish performance of London 2012.
It would of course be remiss of me not to mention Rob’s better half Marian (Andrews) Heffernan who, along with her 4x400m colleagues, also gave of their best in pursuit of Olympic glory. All the above mentioned did the nation proud and competed gallantly in the true spirit of the games. Well done, Olympians one and all!
Rob Heffernan can often be seen of an evening strutting his stuff on the Straight Road. If you manage to catch up with him, then he’s probably taking a breather. Do him a big favour and tell him to Hurry up. “C’mon now Rob, you really ought to be Russian along there!”
Excerpt from Athletics Ireland
Rob Heffernan (Togher A.C.) was named as the Athlete of the Year at the National Athletics Awards in association with Woodie’s DIY and Tipperary Crystal which took on Saturday 17th of November in the Clyde Court Hotel in Dublin 4.
2012 was the year when Rob Heffernan quite literally had the Walk of his life. His fourth place finish in the 50k Walk at the London Olympic Games was the standout performance by an Irish athlete at major championships this season. On that occasion the Togher AC athlete carved his way through the field and came up one place short of what would have been a well deserved Olympic medal. In the process Heffernan destroyed his own national record with a time of 3:37.54. The 34-year-old remains on course to grab the major medal that now appears more probably than possible. Not Surprisingly Rob Heffernan was also awarded the Race Walker of the Year Award for 2012.