This year has seen some huge performances amongst the club’s juvenile ranks of middle-distance runners. Middle-distance running is one of the more demanding of the athletics disciplines with alot of dedication to training required to improve stamina and speed over the distances. This article highlights some of the achievements this year and hopefully will inspire some of our other juvenile athletes who have the potential to succeed over these distances as they get older.
For many of these athletes, their potential is obvious but they are too young in many cases for the rigours of hard middle-distance training. So for those athletes, its important to be patient with steady progress year over year and wait until older juvenile age groups before really judging your ability!
The following highlights the achievements of some of our juvenile middle-distance runners this year.
This year has been a fantastic year for Linda culminating in a top-class performance in the National finals of the 1500m last Sunday. Linda’s progression in the 600m and 800m has been steady over the last few years: –
But on Saturday last, Linda capped all of these performances with an absolutely stunning performance in the 1500m finals. Linda ran almost perfect splits over the first 1300m of the race to position herself in 4th place with 200m to go. Running a stunning last 200m in 37 seconds, Linda briefly passed Stephanie Power of Clonmel to move into 3rd place about 50m from the line. The experienced Power, holder of multiple indoor and outdoor middle-distance titles, summoned enough energy to draw level with Linda and a sprint to the line ensued with Power shading it in a photo-finish by the tiniest margin of 0.01s.
To be beaten by this margin in a sprint is tough, but in a 1500m it is heart-breaking. But Linda can take huge consolation from this race – for herself, her parents and her coaches her time of 5.02.03 is worth more than a gold medal, a fantastic improvement of over 30 seconds on her Connacht and Galway times for this distance. That time would have been good enough to have taken either gold or silver in this distance in each of the last 5 years. A remarkable achievement!
Double National Champion over 600m in 2005 (AAI Outdoor 600m and Community Games 600m), 2007 has been another great year for Ashley. Her progress in middle-distance has been strong over the years and particularly this year:-
In many of her tougher races, Ashley has driven herself to exhaustion in the race to record a good time/position and often times struggled to recover quickly after the race. So the prospect in this year’s National finals of a heat and a final over 800m in a short space of time was daunting. With 2 races confirmed as the number of participants exceeded 16, Ashley moved into the leading bunch in the early stages of her heat, along with eventual top 2 Mary Jones of DSD and Mary Mulhare of Laois. The race hit a fast pace for the first 400m but eased after that as the leading 4 moved clear, with all 4 crossing the finish line together in a time of 2.32.32. With the final coming up within the next 2.5 hours, it was recovery time. Thankfully the pace of the heat was not excessive compared to Ashley’s recent Connacht performance and she recovered quickly after the race.
The final was called about 2.5 hours after the end of the heat and Ashley took the lead early in the race to stay out of congestion in the pack. The first 400m were ran in a blistering pace of 1:10. As the bell went for the final lap, a group of 5 started to pull away with Ashley drifting to the back of the leading group of 5. The effects of the earlier 800m race were beginning to take their toll at this point and from 200m out, Ashley slipped down the chasing pack but still managed to finish in a highly respectable time of 2.30.43. Her two race times were her 2nd and 4th fastest times ever over this distance – so to record both on the same day was remarkable, especially having not ever ran 2 races on the same day before.
2007 has been a watershed year for Shane. Having put in solid performances in cross-country and 1500m races in the last few years, Shane made a huge leap forward this year in the 1500m knocking over 15 seconds off his PB to record 4.53.48 in the Connacht outdoor track & field. But it is over the longer 3000m or 5000m that Shane’s true potential lies. These distances are not available to him yet in the track but during May he ran a few of the Galway 5k series of road races, recording a fantastic time of 19.14 in the final race of the series in Dangan. All augurs well for the future for Shane.
There were many other fine performances in middle-distance races from other athletes in the club in 2007 including U12 Nicholas Sheehan, Cathal Reidy and Conor Tarpey, U13 Paul Joyce, Paul Fitzpatrick and Finn Stoneman, U14 David Concannon and Pádraic Tobin, U15 Ruairi Finnegan; U12 Claire Ryder, Sarah Molloy, Ailbhe Greaney, Ella Bryan, Gabrielle Tobin, U13 Laura Porter, Maria McNamara and Sinead Gaffney. In addition to the above, U16 athletes Rachel Finnegan and David Porter are a match for anyone when they compete over the 800/1500 distances and will hopefully be hitting the headlines in cross-country running later in the year, with Rachel havng medalled on the track in U15 1500m last year and David winning the Galway Community Games 800m this year.