It was Conor’s Day” …. NIA Live, 16th February 2022

Having to work in Blanchardstown has to have some advantages. I never found any until tonight, and my proximity to the National Indoor Arena, to participate in the second NIA indoor live series of the year, and my debut.

Myself and Ms Ginty had a great night with race director Dave Mathews down in a pub in Dingle years ago after the half marathon, and this sowed the seed for our attendance on a blustery, storm-force February night, about 5 years later.

I knew a few Sportsworlders were due to run, and indeed all five of us had also competed in the National Cross Country on Sunday. But two of us didn’t get the footwear memo and wore the same mucky, clunky road runners that were destroyed in the Castlelyons Glastonbury style tented village. It turns out, you wear spikes indoors. Doh’!

My event was up first, the 400m, and it was great fun. The race director insisted I use the traps/blocks to start, and reminded me a few times that I was using them wrong. ! Turns out not all tracks are 400m, and thankfully race director also told me it was two laps of this loop. Against all coaching advice, I ran out hard, then blew up. I finished third of three in my heat AND last in the entire event. A fine debut.

Adam Furlong was up next for his debut indoor 400m. Despite finishing third of three, he started well by making it out of the blocks at all! Though also last in this heat, when your warm-up includes strides with Olympian Mark English, the result never really matters.

Blazing Conor Cavanagh returned to the Arena having posted a club record on his debut appearance last month. Conor battled in the last 100m to win his heat in an incredible time of 2.07s. It’s a great watch on youtube, and we agreed with commentator Dave Mathews, “It was Conor’s day!’

Katie Nugent put in such an impressive effort in her 1500m to clock a time of 5.40s. Her sister Siobhan was there to cheer her on.

And last up, and indeed up from Tipperary for the challenge, Conor Keating sped home in 4.34s in his 1500m, coming second and securing a Sportsworld indoor track record. Well done Conor!

It was so lovely to meet Anne Sweeney and family in the grandstand, cheering on Carla, who was 2nd in the final heat of the women’s 800 with an incredible time of 2.07s. Eh, Anne, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree! Let’s race Conor C versus Carla next time!

In all, it was great to experience the National Arena, running on this impressive track with the buzz and energy of the NIA Live crowd.

Hopefully this infamous metallic throat burn will be gone in the morning!

Congratulations to Nice Griggs who set a a new Irish 1500m Junior record 💥⏱3:43:72