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World of Sport

26th Sep 2022

55-year-old County Cork athlete beats Kaka in Berlin marathon to remember

Patrick McCarry

Kaka Berlin marathon

‘What a run to be a part of.’

The Berlin Marathon took place on Sunday and saw the indomitable Eliud Kipchoge sheer a chunk of time off his world record. It also saw 55-year-old John Casey from Cork clock a better time than World Cup and Ballon d’Or winner, Kaka.

Kipchoge crossed the line, in Berlin, at a scarcely believable time of 2.01.09, shattering the record he had set along the same route in 2018.

The marathon also featured a host of Irish athletes, across various levels and categories. John Casey was racing in the vest of Togher Athletics Club and he did both himself and the Cork club proud.

Casey finished the race just ahead of Kaka, but because he started further down the field from the Brazilian, and his chip did not activate until he crossed the start line, his finishing time was over seven minutes better.

Sharon Murray, who shared the snap above, was there supporting another Cork runner that clocked better than Kaka. Tony Murray, her husband, was running in the Midleton AC colours and came home in a time of 3:37.25.

Kaka was running in his first ever marathon and clocked an impressive 3:38.06 in completing the route.

The 40-year-old, who played with distinction for Real Madrid and AC Milan, was happy out at getting over the line and getting a medal to chew on:

The Brazilian is done as a 3.38.06 for his marathon. That fine time was bested by John Casey, though, as he finished the route in 3:30.29 and stood proud in the 55+ category.

Togher AC celebrated all of their members’ marathon efforts, and had some words of praise for John Casey. They declared:

‘Massive congratulations to Togher ACs John Casey who knocked it out of the park in today’s Berlin Marathon in 3.30.29. What a run to be a part of, where a new marathon world record was set!

‘John has sent his thanks to all in Togher AC who brought him to the line, but it was only yourself that got you over it John. Special thanks to senior coaches Aidan Hartnett and Tony Kelleher for the training plan and Ray O’ Connell for the fuelling strategy, which worked a treat! John’s personal highlight today was crossing the line with Kaka (Brazilian footballer). We’ve looked up Kaka’s result John and he finished in 3.38, so we think that means you are pretty much AC Milan athlete standard!’

Kaka was running to celebrate his father’s Covid recovery

The Berlin Marathon was a moment of celebration for Kaka and his family, after a taut time during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The retired footballer was taking part in the event with his father and brother. Kaka explained, before the marathon, that his father had spent 45 days in hospital as he battled with Covid.

“He’s not going to run, he’s just walking, but we wanted him in this experience with us – it’s more of a family experience,” he said.

“I’m very excited, of course, it’s completely different than those [professionals]… As an amateur athlete, I can run and be in the same field as the professionals.

“This is something really special in marathons – afterwards I can say that the best one in the marathon ran this time, and at the same time I was running with him.”

The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner had set a target of 3:40.00 to complete the 42.2 kilometre route.

He ended up doing that, with almost two minutes to spare. He’s still no John Casey of Togher AC, though.