ST HELENS middle distance runner Matt Crehan finally managed to get a race under his belt after a series of big series cancellations - and ended up on the start line with Sir Mo Farah.

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Crehan was among the 45 elite athletes invited to compete in the Antrim Coast Half Marathon, which also included Irish Marathon and Half Marathon record holder Stephen Scullion, British Olympians Scott Overall, Nick McCormick, and British 5k record holder Marc Scott.

Sir Mo set a new Ireland All Comers Record with his time of 60:31, with Crehan - proudly wearing his St Helens Sutton vest - coming in a creditable 15th.

The race was split into two waves starting 30 seconds apart to maintain social distancing - but Crehan was relieved to finally compete after clocking up miles of summer of training.

He said: "It's been a really crazy year, and from a running perspective it has been tough at times to keep motivated at the level to put in back to back 100 mile training weeks.

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"I had been training for the London Marathon and chasing as close as I could for the Olympic Qualifying time, but that was postponed and then cancelled so, it's just been a matter of keep training and hope some races will go ahead.

"And it was great to get the invite to go over to Antrim and race in such a high quality field and put my training to test."

And having a legend like Sir Mo for company on the start line gave all the motivation he needed - and a little reward for all those hours of thankless training.

"Sir Mo Farah has been the top British athlete on the track and road for most of my running career so to get the chance to toe the line with him was great," Crehan said.

"It is a real motivator going forward to keep training hard and building towards future races, knowing I'm able to get in the mix with athletes such as himself even if in the end I was just under 5 minutes behind him."