This was the 2nd meeting in the graded series. And on a warm balmy Wednesday evening a small but quality contingent from Sportsworld were flying the flag and showing off their spikes. There was Peter, Emma, Timothy and myself making up the quartet and supported by Emily whose words of support and encouragement were much appreciated, as well as reminding us again to get our strides in both outside and inside the track. We’d all settled for the 800M event as maybe the thoughts of trying to negotiate those blocks in the 200M sprint was a stretch too far. We were all a bit nervous but excited at the same time and we did our warm-ups to keep the muscles flexible and the nerves at bay and watched the sprints from behind the fence. The atmosphere was good and there was great speed on display in both the mens and womens events from the mainly twenty somethings !.
After the formalities of the first Graded Meet in Santry, when competitive racing under Covid restrictions was new territory and everyone from officials to athletes were a little nervous about getting everything right, things did seem slightly more relaxed for this 2nd meeting. We were able to do our warm-ups in the paths beyond the track (where we do cool down runs on Saturday mornings) and then the pre-race holding area was in the car park immediately beside the track entrance. Then we had the chance to do some strides and stretches when we went onto the track itself just before assembling at the start line. The whole event seemed to run quite smoothly with only a slight delay in the scheduling of events. Not a surprise as there seemed to be a lot more athletes participating I thought than last year and in some cases a Division had to have two races like A1 and A2. There was good supporter presence beyond the fence right along the home straight and you could really hear it as you were in mid race. There’s a very friendly vibe at this stadium I think and even upstairs when you go to check-in they recognise you and welcome you back. I’d arrived at the stadium to hear an Official over the loudspeaker “can the person who removed the Hammer please bring it back, as its needed for the next competition”. That set the tone.
BTW Conor (Keating) in absentia was the most heralded name on the night as the Official at the startline called out his name several times, and even after Peter clarified twice that Conor was’nt able to attend, said Official started another round of “Conor Keating ?” before he’d let us line up at our places in the Mens 800m. Now Conor if you’d got the gold medal and set a world record you might’nt have caused as much of a stir. But it gave us a bit of a laugh anyway and eased the tension for nervous Sportworlders.
WOMENS 800M B/C Race.
The womens A race was won in a very fast 2.08.81 by Aimee Hayde from Newport so top class athletes out on the evening.
In the B/C event Emma ran a stunning race from start to finish leading from the gun. She took up the challenge even before the lane break after 150M and she held the front right through to the bell. We were real excited watching from behind the fence to see the red and white vest storming down the track but even Emily wondered if she had maybe gone out a bit too hard and would she be able to keep it up. But instead Emma held her form superbly and if anything increased her lead in the final 300M to come home in a brilliant 2.25.56 which was a big PB and her margin of victory was at least 20 metres I’d say. She was delighted with herself as she should be and has the club 800m record in her sights now. That threw down the gauntlet for the Sportsworld men folk as Peter, Timothy and myself took our places at the start line in the Mens event.
MENS 800M D Race.
There was 14 athletes in our race so we had a double-up of the lanes which can be a bit tricky at the start, and I’d noticed with some trepidation a couple of people tripping in previous races. Peter was in lane 2, Timothy in lane 4 and myself in lane 5. TG none of us were on the outside as that always seems like you have to run much wider, and myself and Peter had made a sort of pact before hand that we’d “keep each other company” or at least try not to be Paddy last – it was more about reassuring ourselves on that score. The gun went and everyone seemed to go out very hard I thought. I could see the red shirt of Timothy up ahead powering up the back straight with the leaders and Peter was just ahead of me. I sort of tucked in behind Peter and tried to hold on but the race really did feel like an elongated sprint from start to finish with no let up at all. I was conscious of trying to hold my position and I think Peter and I overtook one guy in the second lap after the bell. Timothy ran a brilliant race and finished 4th in a great time of 2.19.72. Peter ran very strongly down the home straight and finished in 2.35.64 a well deserved PB for him. I lost a bit of ground as I was starting to tie up at that point and finished a couple of places behind Peter in 2.37.36 – two seconds down on last year but I was happy enough. And there were several athletes behind me so was’nt Paddy last tg.
All in all a great night and one I’d recommend. These events sometimes can seem a little intimidating in the sense that they’re attracting top calibre athletes and you wonder if you’re a bit of an imposter there, but its well worth participating for the competitive experience the fun and the atmosphere I think.
Timothy Morahan – 2.19.72
Peter Knaggs – 2.35.64
Declan Brady – 2.37.36
Emma Meade – 2.25.56