This weekend effectively marked the end of track and field athletics in Northern Ireland for another year. Yesterday the Mary Peters Track in Belfast hosted the Northern Ireland Masters Athletics Championships. Some years this can be a rather badly supported event, but yesterday the aged Peter and Pamela Pans arrived in, if not exactly hordes, then certainly swarms. There was a good smattering of athletes from the Republic of Ireland and even a few from Scotland and England. Some of these yearly, "blow ins," could probably be described as émigrés, others were just eager to compete against their peers.
I decided to drop down in distance yesterday, electing for a 200m and a 400m. I also had a few runs down the triple jump runway. A reasonably successful day. I managed to keep ahead of the second placed athletes in my events.
Not being used to all out sprinting and jumping I have to concede that I had a few aches when I woke up this morning and some of them were not too dull. Despite this I paddled off to the Northern Ireland Relay Championships for the last track race of my very truncated season. I had been asked by my club to run a leg in a masters team that had been entered in the distance medley relay. Today's venue was Londonderry's Templemore track. This must qualify as the windiest track in the UK. There is no shelter. Why the local council never planted a shelter belt around it is beyond logical comprehension. My compatriots for today's racing are primarily road runners so the changeovers were perhaps not the slickest ever viewed, but at least, unlike the British 4x100m national team we managed to get the baton around the track.
Now for stamina training and the dubious, very dubious joys of cross country!