National Track Masters race report – by Justin McKeever
Having recently discovered the pain joy of track running, and also having matured to the M40 category, I thought I’d have a crack at the National Track Masters in Tullamore, having already really enjoyed the Saturday track sessions with Emily and Myles and the 3 graded meets over the last few weeks. After a damp drive out the N4 though the lashing rain, I got checked in for the 5000m, got changed, warmed up in damp conditions. The timetabe can be a moving target, depending numbers of competitors and heats etc, so I kept one eye on staying warm and the other on what races were running, to make sure I was actually at the startline when the call came.
The gun went off for the first of 12.5 laps and elbows were needed as 20 lads all aimed for the fastest line round the first bend. My plan was to tuck in with a nice group and see how things settled down, but immediately this was harder than planned as the leaders tore off in the distance. The pace felt quick to me from the start with the first lap in about 77secs and me positioned in about 18th place. Gaps were already opening up as the leaders stretched out and some strong encouragement from Eoin, Ann and Martin on the sideline forced me to move up a couple of places. I felt ok as I passed 1k in about 3:17, and 3k in 10:11, but by this stage I couldn’t hold on to the lad in front and a gap opened up which left me exposed into the wind on the backstraight. There was a good gap behind me now so it was all I could do to just dig in and hold to the finish, absolutely wrecked but happy with a new pb in 17:24.
Then for the main act of the day, the sun broke through the clouds and Martin Keenan stepped up in the 1500m M45/ M50 race, fresh from a pb of 4:38 in Santry in the last graded meet and in search of another medal to go with his national indoors bronze from earlier this year. Martin ran a good safe first lap, tucked in around 10th place, but then his experience showed as he worked his way up through the group to stay on the shoulders of the leaders by the start of the last lap.
He held on strongly and finished in 5th within a couple of seconds of the leaders. As the race was a M45 and M50 combined, an agonising wait ensued for the results of the M45 positions. Finally it was confirmed the Martin finished 2nd in the M45 race, earning a shiny silver national medal to go with his shiny new pb of 4:37 – huge congratulations to Martin!!
These track events have been a great experience for me and once you get to understand the logistics of the day, it really is a very welcoming and inclusive for all ages and abilities. There was huge turnout in Tullamore by all clubs and I was privileged to see some fantastic performances over the afternoon which proves that age is no barrier for healthy competition!
I’d recommend everyone to have a go – you never know, you might even enjoy it! A big thanks to Eoin, Martin and Anne for the vocal support, especially given the poor weather, much appreciated!
Full Results: National Masters T&F
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