Rob Heffernan (Togher AC) was named as the Athlete of the Year at the AAI National Athletics Awards 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. In addition Heffernan was also awarded the Race Walker of the Year Award for 2012.
2012 was a remarkable year in international competition for our up and coming athletes and this quality is reflected in the winner of that category. Mark English (Letterkenny AC) ,lowered the national junior 800m record to a blazing 1:45.77 and finished a brilliant fifth in a highly competitive World Junior Championship final. English was the worthy recipient of Junior Athlete of the Year.
The Endurance Athlete Award went to Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) who struck gold at the European Cross Country Championships in Velenje last December. Britton was also the worthy winner of the Track and Field Athlete of the Year Award. She came agonizingly close to securing a bronze medal over 10,000m at the European Outdoor Championships in Helsinki, having to settle for fourth on that occasion. Britton went on to the London Olympics and placed 15th in the 10,000m and then returned a few days later to run a personal best of 15:12.97 in the heats of the 5,000m.
Teresa McDaid (Letterkenny AC) was the winner of the Coach of the Year. The Donegal coach has assembled an incredible squad of international class middle distance athletes including Mark English, Darren McBrearty and Ruairi Finnegan, whose talent she has nurtured.