What a welcome sight it was to see and hear athletics back at the Mary Peters track on Saturday last.
An Afternoon of 5000’s was organised and North Belfast went to great lengths to provide a meet that conformed with Covid restrictions and gave a number of athletes an opportunity to gain qualifying standards for European age group championships by having all the requirements in place to attain a UKA Level two licence, ensuring any times inside the European standards could be ratified.
Nine races were spread across a four hour time slot, with action getting underway in cold, miserable conditions with the Elite Women’s race at 12.15.
In this first race, ten athletes went to the line including Knock’s runner Denise Toner who was opening up her track season by making her debut over the twelve and a half lap distance.
The pace makers were asked for 78 second laps which would bring the winner home in and around 16.15. As the race went through the 1km mark in 3.17 the field of 10 started to split, with only Aoife Killgallon and Clare Fagan going with the pace.
At the 3km mark, Killgallon went to the front followed by Fagan, with Toner running in the colours of her 2nd claim club Cookham leading the chase pack, in a time of just over 10 mins and if they could maintain would see them run close to 16.50.
As the laps passed Denise kept churning out the 80 second laps and as they went into the final lap she was in pursuit of 2nd place Fagan from Mullingar who was Bronze medallist in last years National Senior 5000m.
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Posted: 5:29 pm May 15, 2021