Ireland's Brendan Boyce turned in the performance of his life to finish sixth in the men's 50km race walk at the World Athletics Championships in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The Finn Valley man excelled on the 2km loop course along the Corniche - the waterfront in Doha - and finished in a time of four hours seven minutes and 46 seconds in searing heat.
Conditions were stifling once more but Boyce didn’t let that get to him and gradually scythed his way through the field, moving strongly over the final 10km to seal a memorable performance, which he concluded by moonwalking backwards over the line.
Super Super performance from @brendanboyce @finnvalleyac 6th in world @IAAFDoha2019 Worked so hard for many years for a day like this now for @Olympics Big shout here to coach @RM_Heffernan Right now #Finnvalleyproud pic.twitter.com/l6XrktwKzJ— Patsy McGonagle (@patsyfinn) September 29, 2019
The race was won by Japan’s Yusuke Suzuki in 4:04:20, while Portugal's Joao Vieira became the oldest person to medal at a World Championships when he claimed silver. Canada's Evan Dunfee was third.
"It means a lot and I want to thank everyone who’s helped me this year," said an emotional Boyce afterwards.
His coach, former World Champion Robert Heffernan, said: "Having watched the women’s marathon the night before, we prepared to not have any excuses and I’m delighted it worked out for him."
"I probably looked like a spaceman for half the race"
"It was a phenomenal race," Boyce told RTÉ Sport's David Gillick.
"Everything just fell into place and the plan I had from the start worked out perfect. I was delighted with it.
"We worked a lot on making sure the cooling strategy was right. I probably looked like a spaceman for half the race (he wore a variety of headgear).
"we did full body immersion before I went to the start line. I was absolutely freezing shivering cold the first couple of laps. It felt so easy then.
"We thought maybe 3:56, 3:58 might would have been a winning time and then 4:05, 4:06 would have been good enough for top eight. It worked out it was top six.
"After London (2017), I got injured and I was joking with Rob back then that I was in phenomenal shape and I would have beaten him, and this proves it!
"We put a lot of effort into getting the camps right, altitude tents and being away.
"I'm married three months and I only saw my wife for one month of that so we're going straight on honeymoon after this. She's happy as well so it was all worth it."
Despite the IAAF increasing the number of rehydration points and bolstering its pool of medical staff for the race, 14 of the 46 walkers competing dropped out during the race.