The National Senior Track and Field Championships took place 3 days over the last weekend in June at the Santry Stadium and it was brilliant to see Club athletes perform so well at this level.
The National Senior Track and Field Championships got off to a brilliant start for the Club on Friday night. The senior women’s 1500m semi finals were on. Siobhan Whelan was in the 1st semi-final. Right from the start Siobhan made sure that she was well placed, moving into the leading group. She maintained that position throughout the 1st 800m, reaching there in 2 mins 38 secs. At the bell she was lying in 6th place with the top 6 automatic qualifiers for the final. Then down the back straight she kept the momentum going and was well placed coming off the final bend. She kept it going to finish 6th in a time of 4 mins 38.87 secs to automatically qualify for the final on Sunday. In the final Siobhan was well positioned throughout the race and was running very well against more experienced athletes. She put in a great effort over the final lap when finishing 8th in 4 mins 26.73 secs, brilliant performance and oh so close to the European Junior qualifying time of 4 mins 26.40 secs. Still a fantastic performance by a talented athlete.
On Saturday we had the Senior Men’s 5000m race. Any race with Sean Tobin’s name on the starting list will have the media scrambling for pens and superlatives and so it was again with this race. Going into the race both Sean and his training partner Hiko Tonosa decided to set a strong pace, with each sharing the workload every 600m as they both chased fast times for Olympic qualifications. However, the strong wind down the back stretch put pay to that midway through the race. Still these two athletes gave us a fantastic duel over the 12-lap race. Going out on the final lap it was all to run for and down the back stretch Hiko got a gap which he held all the way to the line despite the best efforts of Sean, with Sean winning the National Silver medal in 15 mins 35 secs. Courageous as ever, Sean lost nothing in defeat, only adding to the admiration he is held in nationally and internationally. An extraordinary competitor, he now has a silver medal to add to his previous victories in the National 1,500m and 10,000m races.
Then we had Ciara O Neill competing in the Senior women’s 5000m race and making her debut at this level. Ciara was well positioned in the early stages of the race. Then as the pace picked up, she drifted back a bit but got going again over the final few laps to finish strongly in 14th place in 17 mins 23.44 secs, brilliant running. Ciara will have learned a lot from this experience and can look forward to a good year ahead.
On Sunday we had David Mansfield and William Maunsell competing in the 10000m final. Both athletes acquitted themselves very well in a race won by the aforementioned and wonderful Hiko Tonosa. What a great occasion for the club having athletes competing at this level.