Indoor Track & Field

Super Sunday: five races not to miss at Nationals

Super Sunday: five races not to miss at Nationals

By Cathal Dennehy 

Travers trying to run the legs off everyone: 15 laps of complete carnage. 1:20pm

You’re John Travers. You go to college in Athlone IT. You run laps of the car park under the stadium for morning runs, and you’ve done more laps of this arena than anyone. Literally: anyone. You’re reigning national senior champ over 3,000m, ran 3:42 for 1500m last week, and now these punk blow-ins Eoin Everard and Conor Bradley, better known as 1500m specialists, rock into town trying to take your national title. What do you do? Why, you do what every self-respecting aerobic monster does. You run the legs off the field until you can hear nothing in your slipstream but the heaving gasps of the runners you’re lapping as you rip the race to shreds.

Look, we’ll level with you, we haven’t the faintest shagging clue what Travers’ game actually plan is this Sunday, but it’s highly likely he’ll adopt the same front-running tactics that saw him run 7:58 for the win here last year. Conor Bradley, Eoin Everard and Rory Chesser will most likely sit in and try to hang on for dear life as Travers takes them on what we like to call the sub-8-minute rollercoaster ride to Painville. Will he succeed, will he self-destruct, will we get it completely wrong? All of these are possibilities, but one thing’s for sure, it’ll make for good watching. Bring the popcorn for this one (even if you have to retreat outside to actually consume it).

 

The Crowe-Barr Hatefest Death March, 3:12pm

Thomas Barr and Timmy Crowe have three things in common. They’re both 400m hurdlers from Munster, they’re both running very fast over 400m this indoor season, and they both hate each other. Okay, we made the last one up, but hey, hype sells. Now, while they brazenly made empty promises to Jumpingthegun to knock the living bejaysus out of each other during the men’s 400m at the Intervarsity Championships last Friday, what transpired was an utter disappointment, as Barr raced to a 46.97-second PB, and Crowe ran 47.47, and also to a PB, in second. No post-race punch-up, no daggers being thrown in the call room, not even a hefty, how-dya-like-that-ya-bollox, shoulder from Crowe – as he has been known to throw when necessary – at the break after 200m.

No, they’re both very nice guys, sadly, but in fairness to them, they’re both very fast, which sort of makes up for it, I suppose. Their rematch over 400m on Sunday at precisely 3.12pm should be done and dusted within 47 seconds of the gun firing, and is guaranteed to be a belter. There, look, I said it, GUARANTEED. Barr has to run under 46.80 to make the World Indoors in Sopot, and given he had several races in his legs last Friday when he ran 46.97, don’t bet against him managing it this time around. Richard Morrissey might also get involved at the front; he’s pretty damn good too.

Speed Queens Battle for the Throne, 3:20pm

The Bandon Bullet meets the Lisburn… ehm… Locomotive? Yeah, let’s go with that. That works, kinda. Phil Healy is the new kid on the block in the senior sprint ranks and goes into this race off the back of a new intervarsity record last weekend with a blazing 7.36-second run. Know nothing about sprints? That’s fast, DAMN fast, especially for a 19-year-old. Funny as it sounds, though, she won’t start as favourite. No, that mantle rests on the shoulders of Amy Foster, who blitzed a 7.33-second run in the British Championships last weekend. Both are within touching distance of the World Indoor standard of 7.32, and even the national record of 7.30 could be in danger this Sunday. This could be fast, DAMN fast.

The Super Sixty, 3:28pm

Look! We’re not slow any more! Irish people can run fast! And lots of them too, not just Paul Hession, with daylight coming second. At the recent National Junior Championships, five men, or boys… whatever, broke seven seconds, with Keith Doherty setting a national junior record of 6.88 in the process. The kids will have their work cut out, though, up against guys like David Hynes (6.81 this year), Steven Colvert (6.87) and Jamie Davis (6.89). It’ll be a hell of a race, and the photo finish judges may not want to go on the lash too hard Saturday night, because there’s a pretty good chance their eyesight will be severely tested Sunday afternoon trying to decipher the photo and crown the new champ. As much as it bothers us here at Jumpingthegun to admit that anything besides the middle distances are worth watching, this will be an absolute cracker.

 

Galligan v Everard: two athletes, two minutes, four laps, one champion, 3:54pm

Last year, Ciara Everard lit up the indoor season, surprising everyone and maybe even herself by making the final at the European Championships over 800m. Outdoors, Galligan was the undoubted star, running a new national record at the London Diamond League before competing at the World Championships in Moscow. Now, they meet on equal terms in Athlone, with both still shy of the 2:03.00 qualifying standard for the World Indoors in Poland. No pacemakers, no international competitors, this will come down to a good old, head-to-head, kill-or-be-killed shootout over the final 200m. This could also be a race within a race, with both athletes keeping one eye on the clock, and one on their nemesis.  Don’t miss it. Seriously. We’ll burn your house down if you miss it. Bring the popcorn. No wait. Don’t. You could get thrown out for that.

 

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Con Houlihan once told me that tomorrow is now. In taking on this venture I’ve started to try and put his words into action.

I worked for Con from 2007 till his passing in 2012 taking down his copy and a whole lot more. I have a Con Houlihan section which will go in to more depth on that.

I’m a long-time contributor to the Irish Runner magazine and am also working for the Irish Examiner.

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