The Irish team finished in fifth place in the 2013 edition of the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, USA on Saturday, 27th of April. Paul Robinson (St Coca’s AC), Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers AC), Mark English (UCD AC) and Ciaran O’Lionaird (Leevale AC) combined to record a time of 9:24.10 for the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) event. The Irish quartet was up against teams from Kenya, Ethiopia, USA, Canada, UK, Morocco and Australia.
Robinson was on the opening 1200m leg for Ireland and he showed tremendous form to hold fourth position throughout the three laps. Robinson moved up to third position at the changeover as 400m specialist Brian Gregan took over. Gregan maintained his position and managed to avoid the bumping and barging which resulted in the British athlete Martin Rooney tumble to the track. Gregan continued to power down the finishing straight and handed over to Mark English in fourth place.
USA red team, Kenya, Ethiopia, USA blue team and the Irish team were all battling it out for the top positions at this stage. English showed excellent form to hold the Irish team’s position as he ran against athletes of the caliber of Mohammed Aman (Eth), the 2012 World Indoor 800m Gold medallist on the 800m leg. English handed over the baton in fifth place to Ciaran O’Lionaird who ran the anchor 1 mile leg.
O’Lionaird began the leg in fifth position chasing the USA blue team who were been anchored by legendary middle-distance runner Bernard Lagat. On the third lap O’Lionaird passed Lagat to move Ireland into fourth position. However Lagat responded and moved the USA blue team back into fourth over the final circuit. O’Lionaird stuck to his task and crossed the line in fifth place in a time of 9:24.10, to cap off a fine performance by all four Irish athletes. The event was won by the Ethiopian team in a time of 9:16.34.