On the hottest day of the year eight Sportsworlders made their way to the starting line of the graded track meet number 4. The group consisted of seasoned track veterans, while Colm and I made their debut. With conditions being very similar, high temperatures and no 50.000 spectators, to those in Tokyo this was the perfect environment for a test of everyone’s capabilities.

The evening started with the women’s 200m and the men’s 200m. Colm had been working too hard during the day, resulting in a sprint to the start line to make his race, let’s say he made it a 400 instead. Although his preparation was not ideal he finished in a very strong 28.00. This is only 0.78 off from a place in the club records. A normal warm-up surely will seal him a place in the annals and is certainly a reason to return to the track. I was up in the next race. The starter told us to set up our blocks and all I could wonder was “How do these things work…? Sure, we will give it a go” Turned out, Colm had exactly the same thought. We will have to train a bit more on the block starts. Nonetheless I was happy to finish in 28.96.

Next up was the 800m Women. Katie and Deirdre lined up for the start in the C1 race with the sun throwing longer and longer shadows across the track. They set off with purpose, found their spot in the group and achieved great results. Katie finished in 2.40 which was just above her PB but (and more importantly) once again finishing ahead of her sister! Deirdre came in just behind her in a new PB of 2.46.

The Mens 800m was next. In the C1 race Martin Keenan and Colm Foley took to the start line. It was an extremely fast race but both men settled into a good pace and finished close to each other. Martin came across the line in 2.21, followed closely by Colm in 2.23. In the CD1 race Timothy, Anthony & Declan laced up for a brilliant race in which Timothy left many in his wake crossing the line in 2.20 to finish 3rd! A stellar performance! However Anthony (2.33) & Declan (2.38) were not far behind him finishing in the main group. Michael and I took part in the D1 race. After a slight delay due to a late participant, who later cut in before the 200m cones, we took off. I had forgotten it was an 800m rather than a 400m and took off at an, for me, impressive pace only to burn out and be passed by a relaxed, steady and steamrolling Michael in the last 300 metres. It felt great to be at the front for half the race but a lesson learned for the next one. Michael crossed the line in the end in a splendid 2.24 while my first track outing finished with a 2.31.

Both the Womens and Mens 5000m A races were extremely inspiring to watch. It is baffling to see how the top athletes can run their 12.5 laps like clockwork, hitting respectively 81 or 72 seconds lap times. After a sprint to the finish, the gap between men’s first and second place after 5000m was only 3-tenths of a second with the winning time being 15.05.20 for the men’s race and 16.58 for the womens. Anthony was brave enough to take on the CD1 race after his 800m and was aiming for a 21-minute finish. It turned out to be a very strong race. Anthony being Anthony settled into his stride running his own race. He was even gracious enough to run half of his race in lane 2 to let some people pass him in the first lane. His calculated pace and steady race resulted in a finishing time 3 seconds under his target, finishing in 20.57.

After two weeks of “a first time for everything” (IMRA, track & a race report) I can only encourage everyone to participate in as many as possible. Each discipline has its pros and cons but they both give you that great adrenaline rush, sense of accomplishment and just simply the fun of running. While the A races may be above (many) of our level, there is a distance and grade for everyone to try their hand at.

Last night, word around the track was that the last track session of this year will be in 2 weeks time. With the uncertainty around races going ahead or not for the rest of the year, why not give the track a try. The benefit of being a first-timer, you will always run a PB!