Wexford’s Masters athletes distinguished themselves with a host of great performances at last Sunday’s Irish Life Health National Masters Indoor Championships in AIT, Athlone.
There was some sensational performances throughout the day, not least that of Slaney Olympic’s Anne Gilshinan who, a week previously, broke the W50 800m record at the Leinster Championships. This time round, Anne, displaying her trademark fluid running style, eased through the first three laps before turning it on in the final lap to win comfortably in a time of 2:21:28 minutes. In the process she shed one tenth of a second off her previous best and came away with a new National Record.
Also running over 4 laps, was Emily Waldron of Enniscorthy who ran 2:33:02 minutes to win the W35 silver.
In the Master’s Men’s 800m, John McGrath of United Striders finished 5th (M45). McGrath, who competed for Ireland in the British and Irish International Cross Country last Autumn, also came 4th in the 1500m. John’s clubmate Fabian Flood was also in action in the same 800m race, placing 9th overall.
Kilmore’s Jackie Carthy is one of the stars of running in Wexford. Feared and respected in equal measure by her opponents, Jackie has, in recent years, been a force to be reckoned with. Fresh from winning the 1500m (W45) in Abbotstown the previous weekend, Jackie turned her attention this time to the 3000m. She cruised to a facile victory in 10.30 minutes, her nearest challenger finishing more than a minute behind her.
One of Jackie’s training partners, Niall Sheil of St Killian’s, is another formidable force in Masters middle distance running. Like Jackie, Niall is coached by Pavel Kolesnikov and it is evidently clear that all the hard training is paying off. Niall, also running the 3000m (M40), exercised great patience over the relatively slow first two kilometres before ramping it up and, following a full-on sprint finish, claiming the gold by a single second.
Ann Sullivan of DMP, one of Wexford’s most enduring middle distance athletes, is as tough as they come. She has won multiple County, Leinster and National medals in recent years and has also represented Ireland on many occasions. Running the 3000m last Sunday, Ann added to her honours list, claiming yet another national title in a time of 11.24 minutes. This was also a National record.
Wexford also had good success in the sprints. Margaret O’Connor (W45) and Deirdre Bowers Kavanagh (W50), both of Enniscorthy, were in action over 60m. Margaret, was fast out of the blocks and powered home strongly, to place 2nd in a time of 8.99s. Deirdre finished 4th in her race.
John O’Connor, also Enniscorthy, ran a strong race to place 7th in the M50 60m..
Emily Waldron was back on the track for the 200m, finishing in a fine 7th place. Paula Freeman of Striders was 15th (W35).
Emily returned again for the 400m, placing 4th in a very competitive race. United Striders woman Sonya Byrne did however make in onto the podium in 400m (W45), placing 3rd, a mere tenth of a second behind 2nd!
There was to be further success for our multi-talented Masters in the 60m hurdles. Aine Cullen, United Striders, finished 2nd (W40). Margaret O’Connor of Enniscorthy was also a medalist in the hurdles, placing 3rd (W45).
In the High Jump, Enniscorthy’s John O’Connor (M50) cleared a best of 1.35m, to finish 4th. John also placed 5th in Long Jump, with a best of 4.15m. Margaret O’Connor placed just outside the medals in 4th place in W45 Long Jump.
At last year’s championships DMP’s Antoinette Stafford broke a Long Jump record which had stood for decades. Coached by Ronnie Bent, Antoinette was looking to win National Gold to add to her Leinster Gold from the week before. She did just that and in fine style, finishing over 60cm ahead of her nearest pursuer, jumping a best of 5.12m, a new national record (W40).
Deirdre Bowers Kavanagh of Enniscorthy finished 5th in W50 Long Jump.
So ends another great domestic indoor season for Wexford’s Masters athletes. Some have the World Masters Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland in two weeks time to look forward to.