The National Senior Track and Field Championships took place in Santry on the 22nd and 23rd August. It must be said that conditions at this year’s Championships were very demanding with strong blustery wind to contend with over the two days along with a scattering of heavy showers. The Club was very well represented with four members taking part and it was great to see that none of them were overawed by the occasion as it was the first time for three of our members competing at this very high level. They all done the Club and the town proud with brilliant performances.
The race of the Championships so far has to be the Men’s 1500m final where two hundredths of a second separated Gold and Silver. Here Sean Tobin ran a powerful race, full of sheer strength and determination. Right from the start Sean took up the pace and set a strong pace that soon saw him well clear of the chasing pack. With 800m to go, his training partner Paul Robinson mover clear of the chasing pack and started to reel in Sean. At the bell Sean still held a slight lead over Paul, down the back straight and the gap was closing. Over the final 120ms both athletes gave it everything into a strong wind, with none of them giving an inch as they matched stride for stride all the way to the line, with less than an inch separating them on the line with Paul getting the Gold and Sean the Silver medal. What a performance by Sean in an event that epitomises everything good about the Sport. This was just brilliant by Sean who took the race by the scruff of the neck, set a strong pace and his never say die attitude spoke volumes over the final 100ms, brilliant, what a performance, what a role model for all our up and coming Juveniles to look up to. For me this was Sean best ever performance on the track in Ireland in what must have been the most competitive race on Irish soil in recent years.
The first race on the track on Saturday was the 5000m and here we had Evan Fitzgerald making his debut at these Championships in what turned out to be the fastest qualifying heat. Evan ran a very good race settling in well over the first few laps of a race where the pace varied up and down, real Championships racing, and that can takes its toll as the race progresses. Still Evan stuck to his plan and ran very well when finishing 9th in 15 mins 35.21 secs, just missing out on qualifying for the final by 4 secs. This was a great performance by Evan who will have learned a lot from such an experience. In the women’s 1500m we had both Ciara O Neill and Siobhan Whelan making their debuts at these Senior Championships. Ciara went in the first heat and ran very well when finishing 9th in 5 mins 5.0.53 secs in what was only her 2nd Track race in the last three years, brilliant and I am sure she will have gained valuable experience with this performance. Then we had our youngest athlete competing, seventeen year old Siobhan Whelan in the 3rd heat of the 1500m. Siobhan ran a brilliant race positioning herself very well in the early stages and as the race entered the business part of the event, at the bell, Siobhan was still in contention. Then over the final stages with everyone battling for the top three places to qualify for the final , Siobhan was edged out down the final straight when finishing 5th in a Personal Best of over 10 seconds improvement of 4 mins 37.92 secs, fantastic performance. Earlier this year Siobhan showed her potential over Cross Country when finishing 4th in the All Ireland Schools.