After what feels like a lifetime without “real” races, the Graded series started again last Wednesday, 9th June, in Tallaght. I didn’t enter any races during the shortened 2020 series, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this time with rules & restrictions etc. Entries had gone on sale the week before at 7am for both the 100m and 1500m with the 1500, in particular, proving popular and selling out within a couple of hours.

On the night, eager not to miss a moment of build-up and always anxious about parking, I arrived at the track an hour before my race was due to start. The check in was quick and easy with a desk set up at the entrance to the clubhouse. Armed with my race number, I headed out to the park behind the track to do a warm-up. Entry to the track itself was only allowed directly before your race so a small crowd had gathered on the grass to the side of the track to watch the races unfold. It was a warm, sunny evening and there was a great buzz about the place.

After a good 4km jog (who knew you had to warm up so much for such a short distance), I headed back towards the action where I was warned by Myles to stay near the track as they were starting to call out the 1500m races. I did a few strides and stretches in the car park while the ‘A’ race waited on the line to start. After several false starts, they were off. At this stage, Katie Nugent and her sister, Siobhán, had arrived and we discussed tactics (i.e. run until you can’t run anymore). Although we were both registered for the ‘C’ race, it had been split into two groups so we weren’t able to race each other. Katie went off first and ran very well, finishing in a great time of 5:40. More importantly, she finished just ahead of her sister and as all older siblings know, you can’t let the younger ones beat you. Finally, it was my turn to go. As soon as the gun went off a younger girl shot off and was quickly out of sight. I slotted in behind two other girls and over the next two laps managed to pass them before finishing in a very distant second place in 5:45. Having never raced a 1500 before, I didn’t know how to target the race. I based my expectations off the last two time trials we did at the Saturday sessions last year where I finished both in approximately 6:05. With that in mind, I hoped to go under 6 minutes. On the evening itself, I felt quite strong and was able to push myself further.

With the race out of the way, myself and Katie were free to relax and watch the men in their races. Anthony, Declan & Timothy all ran very well and were happy with the times achieved. It was great to have a gang of Sportsworld runners gathered together to race again. Thanks to Myles as well for all the encouragement.

The series continues on the 23rd with races across 200m, 800m and 3000m. It would be great to see a few more Sportsworld vests taking to the start line. The graded series is a great way to put the Saturday sessions to the test and race against a few new faces.

1500M Deirdre McGing – 5.45

1500M Katie Nugent – 5.40

1500M Timothy Morahan 4.42.13

1500M Anthony Gillen – 5.12

1500M Declan Brady 5.36