The club’s last virtual challenge, ending on Saturday 8 May, coincided with the 76th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, popularly known as VE, or Victory Europe, Day. Crusaders may come to know the day as Virtual Ending Day or at the very least, Virtual Easing Day, as we look forward to a return to training at the track and in groups of 15, but there remain throughout the Summer virtual races to be run. Hopefully, our Docklands 5k race will not be one of them, with a new target date of Tuesday 5 October. Please put it in your diaries! Hopefully, also, although the Dublin race series and others will be virtual for 2021, a decision as to whether the Dublin marathon can be held on the streets of the capital at the end of October will be taken at the end of June and all our fingers are crossed for a positive decision.
Before we go through the results of the latest challenges, we should give congratulations to Andrew Mellon who represented Ireland in the final of the World Athletics mixed 4x400m relays in Silesia, Poland, last weekend. Andrew ran the first leg for the mixed quartet which ultimately finished 7th in the final, having witnessed his teammates in the squad qualify the previous day for the Olympics. It should be noted that Andrew's time for the first leg of 47.81 was only 300ths of a second slower than Chris O'Donnell's time for the same leg the previous day when the team ran 4 seconds faster overall. Hopefully, this is a good sign for Andrew's continued presence in the squad for Tokyo, although it should be acknowledged that the competition for places will be fierce and there could well be some doubling up for 400m, 400mH and 800m runners who qualify for their individual events, and who could make up a decent relay squad.
It will be good to see a return to actual racing here, both track and road, but it has to be said that the virtual challenges have been extremely positive for many of our members, keeping us healthy and motivated. We have seen many PBs during the last 12 months and also we’ve seen our club mates get better and better at predicting their times for specific distances. This was clearly the case for the last relay challenge this weekend. It bodes well for how Crusaders will be able to master their pacing when it comes to actual racing.
So, in order to set up the relay challenge, once again an individual predictive challenge was run two weeks ago, with runners having to predict their 3k times. We had 18 participate in the event and the winner with the closest prediction to actual time was David O’Donnell, who predicted 13:00 and actually ran 12:57, a positive difference of 3 seconds. With a 5 second difference, in 2nd place, came Kevin Kavanagh who has been getting faster and faster over recent weeks. Kevin predicted 11:25 and ran 11:20. 3rd place went to John Gleeson who was only 7 seconds slower than his 12:00 prediction, running 12:07. An honourable mention should also go to Brendan Glynn who ran 8 seconds faster than his predicted time of 13:00, in 12:52. The fastest times in the event were recorded by Orla Drumm (11:15), Kevin Kavanagh (11:20), Karl Walsh (11:51), Fiona Shine (11:58), John Gleeson (12:07) and Gill Earley (12:10). In addition, in completing the 3k in 12:56, Miriam Logan broke 13 minutes for the first time. Congrats to everyone.
As usual, these individual results were helpful in putting together teams for the relay challenge which saw a further 9 runners added to the list to make 9 mixed ability teams of 3 among the 27 athletes who took part. The challenge involved 2 runners attempting 3k each and one running the mile, the combined distance therefore being approx. 7.61km. Teams were left to decide amongst themselves as to who would run each leg and for the most part, but not in every case, the faster runners on each team were selected to run the longer legs. As a consequence, the resulting spread between the team results was actually quite narrow when coming to follow this formula (31:01-32:01).
Of course, the name of the game wasn’t about being the fastest team in the contest, but being the most accurate in predicting times on a consolidated basis. The winner on this basis was team 8 of Eileen Glynn, Miriam Logan and Seamus Moore. They predicted a combined time of 31:20 and completed the challenge in 31:13, a delta of only 7 seconds. Miriam Logan, who ran one of the 3k legs, recorded another huge PB (running near the Curragh) of 12:32 for the distance (having only just broken 13 minutes for the first time a few days earlier, as noted above). The results were so close for this finale, with the team in 2nd place recording a difference of only 8 seconds, and the team in 3rd one second further out, in 9 seconds.
2nd place went to team 5 of Iseult Ni Chuinneagain, Dee Lawlor and Aoife Quigley who predicted 34:38 and ran 34:30, with none of their team being wider than 6 seconds in his or her prediction. Individually and collectively, this was extremely impressive. The bronze medal position went to team 9 of Gill Earley, who also recorded a PB, breaking 12 minutes for the first time in a 3k TT, running 11:56, Mairead Cashman and Eugene McDonough, who collectively ran 31:16. An honourable mention should go to team 3 of Sharon Woods, Karl Walsh and Brendan Glynn who were only, as a team, 10 seconds slower than their prediction in running 31:39, whereas the top 3 teams all ran faster than their predictive times. In fact, it was a really tight competition this week, with the widest gap between predicted and actual times being only 30 seconds.
The closest predictions went to as many as 7 runners who were all no more than 2 seconds out. Indeed, Liz Nixon was spot on with her 3k prediction of 13:09 and Mairead Cashman was only 1 second slower in running the mile (8:46 versus 8:45). Dee Ni Chearbhaill (13:08), Barry McGuire (11:28) and Lisa Shine (19:28) were each 2 seconds faster than they expected for their 3k efforts, whilst Diarmuid Byrne (12:02) for the 3k and Aoife Quigley for the mile (6:01) were only 2 seconds slower.
The fastest runs in the event were recorded in the 3k by Orla Drumm (11:06), Gill Earley (11:56) and Aine Kenny (12:18), Eugene McDonough (10:34), Dee Lawlor (10:44) and Seamus Moore (10:48), whilst the fastest miles were run by Aoife Quigley (6:01), Joanne Carey (6:10) and Margaret Foley (6:48). The fastest team was team 4 of Kevin Kavanagh, Kate Murray and Aine Kenny, who collectively recorded a time of 31:01 for 7.61k, a combined pace of approx. 4:04 per km.
Many congrats to all who participated in these last events and a massive thanks to Coach Susan Walsh who was instrumental in coming up with the challenges each week. We’re all now looking forward to seeing each other again in the flesh, rather than virtually, this coming Tuesday at Irishtown and Saturday in the Phoenix Park. Don’t forget to sign up!
Soon, we may even be able to make full use of our pristine clubhouse!