Week ending Saturday 19th June
Plenty to cheer about at AAI Games
The AAI Games took place in very good conditions in Morton Stadium, Santry last week-end. In the senior men 800m, Eoin Quinn’s recent improvements saw him compete in the A race, giving a very good account of himself finishing in fifth place in 1 minute 52.74 seconds. Colin D Smith (under 23) was having his first race of the season and finished closely behind Eoin in a time of 1 minute 54.34 seconds. In the next heat, Colin P Smith (under 20) stepped down in distance from 1,500m to 800m and produced a really strong finish to win his race in 1 minute 54.78 seconds. This was a personal best by three seconds and another big step forward for Colin.
In the men 3,000m A race, Cormac Dalton was always prominent in the leading group as was Jamie Battle, who was racing for the first time in eighteen months. Cormac finished second in a thrilling sprint finish to record a time of 8 minutes 11.68 seconds, which was a personal best by over fifteen seconds. Jamie Battle also finished strongly in 8 minutes 16.48 seconds, also a personal best time by over ten seconds. Euan Lagan dipped under the nine minute barrier for the first time with 8 minutes 56.85 seconds while Lorcan Mullen finished well for a time of 9 minutes 16.51 seconds.
Claire Fagan, who usually races over 5,000m and 10,000m, stepped down in distance and raced over 1,500m for the first time in two years. She was rewarded with a seventh place finish in a personal best time of 4 minutes 30.66 seconds. Phoebe Bate and Meabh Killalea are both juvenile athletes but bravely stepped up into senior competition, competing in the 800m and 3,000m respectively. This was the first opportunity for the girls to race in almost a year and both performed very well. They can now focus on their upcoming juvenile Leinster and National championships in the weeks ahead. Diarmuid Fagan and Ross Killalea also used the 1,500m to sharpen up for the underage championships. While both were marginally outside their personal bests set two weeks ago, it was a great experience to race against senior athletes and will set them up very well for the rest of the track season.
Charles Okafor lined up late on Saturday afternoon for his first 200m race in nine months. Drawn in lane 3 in a tough race against a high quality field, he powered to third place in an excellent 22.15 seconds with a tail wind only slightly over the legal limit, so it was a very good first race over the distance this year. Charles was back on track early on Sunday morning for the 100m where he responded well to the pressure of top quality opposition and was very pleased to run 11.01 seconds in near calm conditions, quicker than in Belfast two weeks earlier. An hour later he lined up in the second series of 100m races where he improved again to 10.82 seconds, which only for the tail wind being slightly over the legal limit, would have been a big personal best but he’s improving with every race and knows that further improvements will come.
Mullingar Race Walkers to the fore in Tuam
The AAI National 20k Race Walk Championships and Supporting Events were held in mild but very humid conditions in the lovely grounds of St. Jarlath’s College, Tuam, Co. Galway last Saturday morning. The Open 10k was held in conjunction with the 20k Championships and so was judged by the panel of mainly International race walking judges, which was a great experience and test of technique for all the 10k competitors. The course was very demanding and included a 160m long steep gradient, which had to be overcome on each of the 17 laps in the 10k.
Oisin Lane took all of this in his stride, coming home first in 44 minutes 39 seconds, over a minute inside the European Junior qualifying standard and is the second time he has achieved the standard during the qualifying period. Saturday was Oisin’s birthday and the performance puts him in line for team selection, an ideal birthday present! Matthew Glennon, who has also already achieved the European Junior qualifying standard, was matching Oisin stride for stride but unfortunately, the steep incline began to affect his hamstrings, so as a precautionary measure, he withdrew just after the half way mark to avoid an injury. Aisling Lane had planned to attempt the longer distance but instead settled for a new personal best for 3km. Andrew Glennon too attempted the 10km for the first time and was very happy with his third place finish in 51 minutes 39 seconds, an excellent performance for a youth athlete, and was a good confidence booster for him ahead of the National Junior Championships. It was good to also see Sarah Glennon back in a distance race again and she was pleased to be the first woman home. This is good preparation for the upcoming AAI National under 23 Championships.
The club’s master race walkers have been flying the flag at home and abroad and Colm Walsh showed why he is the current Irish National Masters Champion with a clear gun to tape victory over all competitors and age groups in a fast 25 minutes 41 seconds in the Open 5km. Our seasoned competitor Sean McMullin walked strong and solid throughout to finish fifth overall leaving behind several others who are a fraction of his years. So, on a day of distance race walking, the maroon and white of Mullingar Harriers was clearly to the fore.
10k PB for Jack O’Leary at NCAA Finals
The NCAA T&F Finals are the pinnacle of College athletics in the USA and this year were held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Competing for Iona College in the 10,000m last Wednesday evening, Jack O’Leary knew that had to be on the top of his game and fortunately given his current rich form that was no problem. NCAA finals are legendary for their quality and this race was no exception, with the winner breaking the meeting record that has stood for over forty years and fifteen others recording personal best performances, among them a terrific 28 minutes 29.39 seconds by Jack, a nearly 8 second improvement on his previous best set in early April, to finish strongly in sixteenth place. This is a brilliant result at this level and it earned Jack All-America honours. Jack’s time also puts him the second fastest over an outdoor 10,000m in Iona history. Jack has had an outstanding cross country season and now an outstanding track season in the USA and we look forward to seeing him when he comes home for the summer.
Lorcan Mullen 5k PB in Cork
At the first MTU Athletics Track Night at the Munster Technological University in Cork last Tuesday evening, Lorcan Mullen was the easy winner of his 5,000m race with a new personal best time of 16 minutes 23.60 seconds, a 6 second improvement on his previous best. It was a shame that the pace runner didn’t stay in the race for longer and that there was no one to run with for much of the race, so Lorcan had to do all the work himself at the front, but he battled on despite hurting over the final stages and was delighted with the win and personal best time and is confident there is better to come in the right race with better opposition to run against. Lorcan has his sights set on the National Juvenile T&F in August and this race in Cork was the latest building block along the way.
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