Running the 800 meters is like being chased by a lion. You sprint for your life but must pace yourself just enough to avoid collapsing before the finish line. The world’s best 800-meter runners, like David Rudisha and Jarmila Kratochvílová (some women), have turned this gruelling two-lap race into a showcase of superhuman speed and endurance. Rudisha’s record-setting 1:40.91 from the 2012 Olympics was so fast that even cheetahs were left wondering if they should take notes. On the women’s side, Kratochvílová’s 1:53.28 has stood unbeaten since 1983, if only the IAAF could catch up with her.

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just someone trying out the distances, the 800 meters is a race that tests your limits and leaves you breathless—literally and figuratively. The fourth graded meet of the year took place on June 5th in Tallaght Stadium. The gradeds are a series of summer races held between May and July on Wednesday or Saturday evenings. Each night features a different distance, allowing those who train on the track over the summer to test their skills. The atmosphere is relaxed with a separate race for every fitness level

This week, we had the 100M dash and the middle distance 800M. First up from the club was Emma Meade. Typically a shorter distance fan, Emma had just completed a gruelling half marathon in the Mourne Mountains on Sunday, she didn’t think the mini marathon was a long enough warm-up! Starting from lane 5, Emma ran an impressive 14.81 to place second, a mark she was determined to beat later in the evening.

Next were the 800M races. Competing in the C grade was Elaine Kennedy. In just her second-ever 800M race, she ran a fantastic race and finished first with a new personal best of 2:24.04. Elaine ran a fast first lap and then took off with 200M to go, she had aimed to run under 2:30 but smashed that goal out of the park. This performance is a testament to her recent fitness gains, and she’s going from strength to strength over the distances. Watch this space—it’s her year.

The next race was another highlight, with Emma running again, this time accompanied by Michelle Burk, Shauna O’Callaghan, and Kate Burke. Determined to improve on her earlier performance, Emma took the lead alongside club friend Siobhan Nugent, with Michelle close behind. As the first lap progressed, Emma and Siobhan pulled away, battling closely to the finish. Emma clinched the win with a time of 2:37.15. Michelle was narrowly edged out for third, finishing in 2:42.53, just ahead of her sister Kate, who ran 2:53.30. Shauna showed a strong final 200M to finish in 3:10.29. The intensity of the race was evident, with all the runners lying flat on the track at the end. The Burke sisters had Veronica cheering them on from the sidelines with motivational slogans, such as”Don’t bring shame to the family!” It was a great race. All of the above had raced at the weekend so Kudos to all.

As for my race, it was my first 800M since 2018. Years of injuries and marathons have slowed my pace significantly. I didn’t give the distance the respect it deserved and went in a bit tired. The first 200M felt like an all-out sprint, and after that, I was toast but never drop out. I managed to avoid melting into the ground and finished in 2:15.46. I had expected a 2:10 to come relatively easily, so it was a wake-up call to incorporate more shorter intervals into my sessions. Onwards to a 5k this Saturday.

Timothy wrapped up the evening with a solid performance, finishing third in 2:18.99, evidence that he is on the comeback trail. Timothy is a great track runner.

Thanks to Emily, Myles, and Veronica for their support. The event had a great atmosphere and was very accessible for runners of all levels. It wasn’t the picturesque golden sunshine I imagined, but you can’t have everything. As always it was amazing to see some relativley new runners toeing the line. Hope to see more out for the next one on June 15th.

Full results and upcoming fixtures on