Report and photos by Eoin O’Brien
Wednesday 10th June 2015
Last Wednesday turned up the hottest day of the year so far and it set up the perfect evening for the BHAA to run their Trinity College Dublin track meet in the heart of Dublin City; held on the college park grass track in front of the Pavilion.
The BHAA Trinity Track is a great event, keeping a tradition alive and adding to the rich history of Trinity College. College Park was created in 1722 with the first recorded athletics event held in 1857. Back in the day, a way back in 1874, the Illustrated London News reported that 37000 tickets were sold for a two day athletics event on this very turf. While the BHAA didn’t pull in that kind of crowd, it was the perfect summers evening for students to have a drink sitting on the grass in front of the Pavilion bar (aka the track); so this was probably one of the largest supported, and most heavily wagered on, track meets in the country.
Two races where held across various grades, 1200m (3 laps) followed by 2000m (5 laps) with a gap of about an hour between races. The gun went off for the women’s 1200m at 7pm with all levels combined. Tara Ni Reachtagain was the sole club representative in a competitive field. As a combined race it was a very fast start with Kate O’Neill leading from start to finish to cover 3 laps in 3.52. Tara boxed clever and stayed with the pack for the first 2 laps as the top 3 stretched out and created large gaps. On the third lap Tara started moving up the field and finished in 8th place with 4:26.
With a one hour recovery Tara made a last minute decision into jump into the 2000m at 8pm. Again it was a combined race with Kate O’Neill comfortable winning in 6:51. On her second race in the space of an hour, Tara again stayed in touch with the pack before making her move and running a blistering final 200m to leave 3 runners in her wake and finish 6th in 7:55.
Next up was my good self and Peter Duggan in Division D. My sole motivation for showing up was to be Sportsworld’s only 1200m runner and thus get myself into the clubs record books. As I stood outside the door, the disappointment on my face became evermore apparent by the sight of each Sportsworld runner wandering into race registration. But I wasn’t to be denied my moment of glory on my track debut.
Lining up, we kept our heads on the opening laps as one runner went out solo like a grey hound. Biding my time, I started stretching my legs for the last lap. As I came down the back straight I started making ground on the leader (it was no coincidence that this was also the direction of the bar) before over taking him on the last bend to win in 4:16. Peter who is on the comeback trail had a steady race and crossed the line in 4.49. My first ever race win. Yes people. Pigs can fly.
Only returning to training didn’t deter Peter lining up again for the 2000m. I spent the hour long recovery period deliberating whether to retire from track running to keep my 100% record in tack. In the end I jumped in beside Pete for the 2000m. A similar race pattern to the 1200m ensued, however the gap from the eventual leader Martin Swift was a bridge to far for this champ who was pipped at the post and dropped in to 3rd place in 7.59. Peter clearly was just warming up in the 1200m, moved up the field in the second race and came in with 8.39 for 2000m.
Will Greensmyth had 2500 commemorative t-shirts printed up – available at the clubhouse
You would think the crowd couldn’t handle any more excitement after my win, wouldn’t you? Well they got it even if they couldn’t handle it. Next up was the men’s Division C with Sportsworld’s biggest participation. Division C was loaded with household names such as Will Greensmyth, Ray Carpenter (spotted wearing a cricket jumper in the Pavilion Bar afterwards; we expect to see Ray on TV3’s Xpose this week), the McMorrow Brothers and Killian Dirwan.
The 1200m started strongly with Killian Dirwan going out hard to stretch the field early. Will Greensmyth is coming into fine form and this was his first outing since breaking the 30min barrier, and getting a PB, at the BHAA Dunboyne 5 mile a couple of weeks ago. That confidence came through in style as once he took the lead on the second lap he never looked back, winning in 3:44. Next home was Killian in 4.41 who just pipped Ray Carpenter in 4.43. Bragging rights in McMorrow household went to Enda who came home in 4.48 to Killian’s 4.53.
All the lads lined up again later in the evening for the 2000m. This time Will took the race lead from the first corner and did a solo run unchallenged to the chequered flag in 6.53, a clear 15 seconds ahead of second place. Although most people are tired from the exertions of the 1200m, it does loosen the legs up with everyone running strongly in race 2. Next up was Killian Dirwan in 7.59, Xpose Ray in 8.06 and Killian McMorrow in 8.44.
The second last category was men’s Division B. Martin Keenan and Noel Tobin where the two brave men who set off with the high standard in the 1200m. The lads ran a steady opening lap before falling into respective groups. Martin, who in March won a bronze medal in the 1500m at the 2015 national indoor championships, showed his class in the last lap to break from his group and leave 6 runners in his wake to claim 3rd place in 3.50 with Noel just in behind him in 4.07.
Noel was on his own for the 2000m race with Martin only returning from injury. Noel is clearly built of the same stuff as Enda McMorrow and kept the best for last. He warmed into the opening laps but had a blistering final lap, taking the last 400m flat out to finish in 7.14. Noel was clearly inspired by the spirit of A.C. Courtney, who in 1873 set the first recognised world record for a flat race by running 1000 yards in 2.23 on college park. Also the benefits of Saturday morning track training clearly coming to the fore.
Finally we had Paul O’Connell as the lone ranger from Sportsworld in the Division A 1200m. You wouldn’t know he was racing with the sun hat, waves and smiles as seen in the image below. Mr BHAA worked at registration earlier in the evening, then had a clip board in hand organising all the race starts but still found time to run two highly competitive races. Ronan Dolin lead start to finish in the 1200m in 3.31 with Paul coming home in 10th in 3.38.
With the sun setting for the final 2000m race, the hat was gone and Paul was ready to race. A small field of just 9 started this final race and Luke Forde was the pace setter leading start to finish in 6.01. A group of 4 trailed Luke and quickly broke away from the final 4. Paul dug in with this group who tore around tightly packed lap after lap, with Paul holding on to jump up to 5th place in the 2000m in 6.18.
Full Photo Album click here: Sportsworld BHAA Trinity Photos
Full results click here: BHAA Trinity Results
Back in the day