Last Saturday all roads led west to Ballinasloe, Co. Galway for a track and field competition ran by Tribal Athletics in conjunction with Pop up races. Deirdre McGing took part in the 3000m and I took part in the 1500m.

The meet was really well-organised with a full timetable of events for the day starting with the 10,000m, which doubled up as the Galway County Championships.

Deirdre ran a very steady race with a strong finish clocking a great time of 12.32.70 to finish 2nd.

The 1500m race was very competitive with Irish Masters Athlete Ann Gilshinan from Slaney Olympic AC taking the win. Ann is a world medalist and holder of world records in the 800m and 1500m.

I was happy to get a PB with a time of 5.22.78. I ran a much faster first two laps than my previous attempts at the distance, so much so, that I was close to my 800 PB after two laps.

The big talk of the day was whether recent Olympian Mark English would appear, as he had signed up for the 400m. Unfortunately he did not, but the day was not without other notable athletes. Joe Gough from West Waterford AC, who is a world masters champion and record holder was a participant in one of the 400m races.

The event was attended by athletes not just from Galway, but also Dublin, Kildare, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford to name a few. It was a chance for a lot of serious masters athletes to have a good test before the National Masters Championships on the 5th September or for athletes to run a final track event before the outdoor season ends.

The weather conditions were sunny and dry despite the flooding elsewhere. The track surface was fantastic. It was also easy to find, as it is across the road from the hospital and there was ample parking. The friendly vibes and positivity (enhanced by the sun) made the day very enjoyable.

Deirdre’s dad was competing for Dundrum South Dublin in both track and field events and did very well. I had my sister Siobhain for company in the 1500m and she also got a PB of 5.26.73, which she was delighted with. We have both taken 18 seconds off our 1500m times since the first Dublin graded meet in June.

It was great to have another chance to run this distance (which I do particularly enjoy) and to have set down some times, which I am happy with, especially given the Covid restrictions over the last year. I would hope to improve on those times next year.