This week’s report is dedicated to track running, which, for the time being, seems to be gathering momentum both south and north of the border.
It was great to see so many Crusaders return to the Irishtown track this week for an evening of time trials, over one mile and 3k. At least 60 participated on the night and the event produced some PBs, despite the challenging weather conditions for several of the races.
We start, however, with the previous weekend, where we had two of our clubmates take part in a meet organised by the City of Lisburn AC on the Mary Peters track outside Belfast. It was an invitational event and both of our athletes did the club proud. In her first competitive outing in a while Mary Horgan stormed through the 10-runner field in the last lap of the women’s 800m A race to take second place behind Denise Toner of Clones in a PB time of 2:10.44, only 36/100th off the winning time. Earlier in the day, Andrew Mellon was narrowly beaten into 2nd place in the 7 runner men’s 400m in a time of 48.18, behind the 18-year old hugely talented up-and-coming race winner, Robert McDonnell of GCH, who clocked a PB time of 47.98.
On Saturday, then, we were treated to another event at the Mary Peters track, organised by the Belfast Milers Club together with the Irish Milers Club whose leading lights are our Mike McGovern and Susan Walsh. Most readers will by now be aware of how challenging it became to get the relevant permits needed for the event that was to provide a great opportunity to obtain Olympic qualifying times or, at the very least, ranking points to qualify for Tokyo via the quota process. With the permits secured rather late in the day, those who participated were not disappointed and the event produced some of the highest quality racing to be seen on this island. In particular, it was great to see Bandon’s Phil Healy and Sophie Becker of Raheny battling it out in the women’s 400m, with both producing PBs (for Healy 51:50, half a second faster than her previous PB set in 2018) and with it some precious ranking points. The women’s 800m A standard race produced an Olympic qualifying time for the UK’s Alexandra Bell with a time of 1:58. The British athlete has long been a strong supporter of IMC meets and it was a brilliant reward for both her and the race organisers, where she not only got a track record but also recorded the 3rd fastest time ever in Northern Ireland. The same race, involving 7 runners and paced well by DSD’s Sinead Denny who trains on occasion in Irishtown, included Mary Horgan who got carried along by the exuberance of the occasion to record another PB on the same track as the previous weekend. Mary knocked off an unbelievable 2 seconds to clock 2:08 and take 6th place.
Other Crusaders made the trip north, with at least two of our other athletes recording PBs in such high standard races. In the women’s 1500m B event, with 14 runners, Kate O’Malley, running her first ever competitive event on a track, recorded a PB of 4:54 to place 10th (a 17 second improvement!), followed closely by Sarah Lyons who took 11th place in a PB time of 4:55. Both runners found themselves in no man’s land for much of the race, unattached to any group, so it was a tribute that they were able to pull off such super PBs. Our national champion in the 400mH, Matt Behan, tried his hand in the men’s 400m B race, no doubt recording a PB with his result of 49.93, narrowly missing out on 3rd place on the line and also with an unfavourable inside lane draw. Fearghal O’Hare got his season underway with a solid 1:53 (a PB?) to place 6th in the 800m B race, followed in 9th place by Kieron White who ran 1:56 in what proved to be a high quality field. Max Doyle placed 5th out of 8 in the men’s 400m C race, with a time of 53.40, whilst Finn Boyle took on the 800m D standard race, placing 4th in a major PB time of 1:59. Earlier on, Charlie Bastow ran in both the 100m B and 200m A races, where he placed, respectively 3rd in 11.75 and 5th in 23.51. A good outing. Rhianna McCarthy took 4th place in the women’s 200m B event (involving 8 runners) in a creditable time of 25.80 and, finally, Matthew Ryan placed 11th in the men’s 1500m E standard race in a time of 4:49. Incidentally, in the men’s 400m A race, in which our Andrew Mellon unfortunately pulled up in the home straight, GCH’s Robert McDonnell, mentioned above, recorded a second PB in a week in placing 2nd to a likely training partner, Cillin Greene, from the same club. Greene ran 46.45 to take the win, narrowly edging the young McDonnell in a PB time of 46.59 into second place in what became a two-horse race. All results can be found here: https://www.irishmilersclub.org/results-page
So back to the evening of time trials in Irishtown Stadium on Tuesday. Conditions on the night were at times diabolical and indeed the 15 runners who set out on the 3k at 18:30 were treated to rain of biblical proportions, with virtually no part of the track not swamped. Even so, there may have been a good few PBs recorded by our runners. Indeed, we are aware of at least 3. Miriam Logan produced her fastest ever run for the mile in 6:18, whilst Tanja Narancic ran yet another PB over the same distance with a time of 6:28. In the 3k, Diarmuid Fahey ran a super PB time of 12:04. Some other notable results stand out. In the same event, Lea Braud ran a brilliant 11:58, followed by Margaret Foley who ran 12:09. Among other 3k results early in the evening Conor Parle ran a super 12:21, followed by Paula Bradshaw with an excellent 12:55.
Going back to some of the mile results, it was good to see Michael Maughan back from injury recording a 5:58 finish. Likewise, Miriam Logan’s PB came off the back of a sprint with Dee Ni Chearbhaill whose 6:19 was equally respectable. Kate O’Malley and Sarah Lyons warmed up for the IMC meet with respective times of 5:30 and 5:48, great preparation for the Belfast effort to come. Another notable mile time came from Karl Walsh who would have surprised himself with his 5:18 finish.
The later 3k time trials also produced some super results. The 6:30 event, ironically the most popular timing in terms of size of field but at the same time with the worst conditions, saw Sean Murphy of United Striders lead the field home in 11:00, with, inter alia, Cathal O’Hara running 11:05, Aaron Nutley, 11:14, Niamh Corby 11:21 and Kathryn Sweeney 11:38. The later 3k events saw Michael Kiely finish ahead of the pack in 9:17, followed by Adam Flanagan in 9:36, Warren Swords, 9:49, Ciarain Kelly 9:52 and Niamh Allen, 10:07. Just before that race, 9 runners looked to run under 11 minutes and they were led home by Henry Griffin in 10:42, followed by Dee Lawlor in 10:47, Eddie Nugent in 10:48 and Sam Carvill in 10:54, with both Eddie and Sam likely to have improved on previous best times.
These were just a few of the results and if anyone wants any further details they should contact Susan Walsh or James Cottle. Please let us know too if you also ran a PB so that the report can be updated. Many thanks and congrats to everyone who took part! Also, if there is any event involving Crusaders, that has been missed and that we should know about, please let us know. Thanks.