Last Saturday the Moyne AC summer games took place on the club’s 4 lane track which is just a 15mins drive from our family home in Two-Mile-Borris where I have been working for the past 4 months.

It’s great to see the return of competitions and, similar to the Dublin graded tack meets, the organisers were inundated with enquiries as soon as entries opened resulting in them closing entries a whole 2 weeks before the original closing date. Luckily I had expressed interest in B Mile race the day the entries opened and I got confirmation of my entry around a week later.

The track in Moyne was opened in September 2015 and was a huge venture for the club including taking on a substantial loan for same. The official opening involved a track meet and such was the success of this the club decided to make it an annual fixture.

To help finance the above mentioned loan the track is open to the public and there is a €2 honest box; I am a regular user of the track during Christmas holidays etc. and the track re-opened to the public a few weeks ago which allowed me to get a feel of the track again and get some variety into my recent solo training…for a few months I was confined to running in the local community field (which is very small) and the old Dublin-Cork road which is just around the corner from our house and has a big hard shoulder but is very straight and has the feel of Groundhog day and my repetitive running of same has attracted a few comments on Strava.

Anyhow the 2020 event attracted a stellar field with the 2 main races being the women’s 800m (which included European U23 bronze medialist Nadia Power and Olympic hopeful Michelle Finn who was stepping down from her usual 3000m stleepchase) and the men’s mile where they were looking to run the first sub 4 minute mile in Tipperary (which looked likely with the likes of Irish 4 mile National record holder Sean Tobin and Olypmic 1500m hopeful Andrew Coscoran on the start list). As extra incentive there was a €500 bonus for going under 2.05 in the women’s 800m and sub 4 in the men’s mile.

With government restrictions on outdoor events remaining at 200; competitors were kindly advised, in advance, to leave the facility soon after our race.  The meet started at 2:30 with a 3km race and there was a full list of events (ex. The 1500m) from 100m to the mile. The men’s B race was spilt into 2 heats and I was in heat 2 @ 3:25 with the 2 main races, outlined above, were scheduled for 7:15 and 7:30.  The event was really well organised by Moyne AC and the whole meet was streamed live on the club’s facebook page. Unfortunately the weather didn’t read the script and it was pretty damp and wet for most of the day although it did clear up for the major events later in the evening..

Following advice I arrived close to my start time, and did a quick warm-up, including in the club’s indoor facility, but it was soon time to step out into the rain and onto the start line. There was a high standard in the race and there was nothing tactical about the pace despite the conditions. There was a runaway winner in our race and it turned out his time would have finished half way up in Heat 1 (ie. he was in wrong race) and he had an 800m PB of 1.53 (for context the night before Ciara Meegan had become the first Irishwomen ever to break 2mins with 1:59:69 in Switzerland). I managed to keep a fairly consistent pace and was happy enough with 5.14 in light of the conditions and the fact it was first race for 4 months.

In the main races there were 2 anguishing missing with Nadia Power running 2.05.10 and Sean Tobin clocked 4.00.38 having pulled away from Andrew Coscoran in the final 200m. I was actually just coming off the 9th green in Thurles golf club when I managed to get the last few laps of the mile on mine phone before heading to the back 9 (thankfully I’ve had to shout 4 less on the golf course in recent weeks having taken the game up during lockdown). Despite the limited numbers there was a great atmosphere at the event with the cream of the Irish Athletics community (Sonia O’Sullivan and Catherina Mckiernan) and the local livestock turning up. It is great to see such a high profile event being held down the country. I’ll definitely be back next year and all going well it will be bigger and even better than this year’s event. It would be great to see some other Sportsworld athletes take part and I’ll let me the club know when the 2021 entries are opening.