The National Junior Track and Field Championships took place in Santry last Sunday and the Club was very well represented with Gillian Hughes and Lorcan O Keeffe competing in the 800m heats and Siobhan Whelan competing in the 3000m final.
Siobhan went to the starting line of the ladies 3000m along with 17 other athletes all vying for National glory. Siobhan on the back of her brilliant bronze medal the previous week in the 1500m was surely going to be one of the favourites. Having not run a 3k in a number of years her PB was going to take a battering. From the off Siobhan went to the front and with an early pace of 3.25 for the first km, only 6 runners were left in contention. A further 3 mins 25 secs km had only 3 athletes left. Siobhan was perfectly positioned in second place throughout, ready to cover any sudden move. It was clear that the medals would be sorted by Clonmel, Moy Valley and St Coca’s. On the bell Siobhan made her move and Joanne Loftus went with her. For the next 300m these two athletes went toe to toe around the track more reminiscent of a 400m than the final lap of a 3km.
Into the final straight and one last surge from Joanne was held off by Siobhan to cross the line in a time of 10 mins 2.48 secs, covering the last km in 3 mins 12 secs. A brilliant display of tactical running from our 17-year-old, who showed great composure throughout the race to come home a very worthy National Champion in a new Personal Best, fantastic achievement.
Early in the day we had Gillian Hughes competing in the 2nd heat of the 800m with the 1st 3 from each heat to qualify plus the 2 fastest losers. The race started and Gillian got off to a very good start and midway down the back straight she was leading the chasing pack as she tried to reduce the lead on the leading group, she was still running very well when reaching the bell, the pace never relented as she battle along on her own to try and get one of the fastest losers place. She kept the tempo going all the way to the line to finish 4th in 2 mins 24.75 secs, just 6 hundredths of a second from qualifying for the final, brilliant performance in a new PB. Lorcan O Keeffe also ran a great race when running 2 mins 10.4 secs in his heat, a PB. This was an extremely competitive 800m event with the top four breaking 2 minutes in the final. These three Club members had a welcome visitor to their final track session last week with Sean Tobin calling into them and having a great chat with them. Once again it was brilliant to see the Club colours so prominent on the National Stage and these performances will no doubt be an inspiration to our Juvenile squads as they prepare for the upcoming Cross-Country season.