Published in Club News on 17th August 2009
Long standing, and some would say long-suffering, Athenry AC secretary Iain Shaw was in superb form at the Woodies Masters Track and Field Championships in Tullamore on Sunday. Although Iain has graced many road races in an Athenry singlet, I'm sure he'd be the first to admit that he's not built for speed. He is however built for strength and he demonstrated that talent in abundance in Tullamore last Sunday. Iain started on his medal winning ways with silver in the shot put, he continued with bronze in the discus, took another bronze in the javelin and wrapped it all up with gold in the 'weight for distance'. That's four national medals in a single afternoon - all from strength based events and surely makes Iain one of the stars of the championships.
I'm sure all of you will join with me in extending our congratulations to Iain on such a fine athletic achievement.
We're proud of you boy!
A short (!) report from 'Super Sec' himself on the day:-
What a truly great weekend for the club, Mick, Valerie and Ray showed us just what endurance really means. Jane Ann knocked lumps out of her 10 mile PB in Dublin. Elaine took the County 10K title and the women took the silver in the team event. Meanwhile a bit further across the continent a certain Athenry sprinter was preparing for an assault on the World Championships. However, a bit closer to home, and only known to a handful in the club, I was mounting my own track and field challenge at the National Masters Track and Field Championships. While we wait for the other reports to come in this is my usual short (ahem!!) report on my day.
I started this year with a prolonged and repeated battle with bronchitis and sinusitis, so much so that it erased all of my winter training for the running season. By the time of the first of the 5K series I was still not fit and so decided to abandon running for this season and turn my hand to the upcoming Galway Track and Field events. A twist of fate meant that I missed two of the three nights, but competed in the final night where I set a discus PB and took county silver. A few days later I was asked to represent Galway at the national league semi-finals to stand in for injured throwers, I set three PBs that day in the discus, shot and 56lb throw. Unfortunately Galway did not make it to the final but my appetite for competition was well and truly whetted. As it was late in the season opportunities for more competition was scarce except for the National Masters Track and Field championships. So, I decided to hit the gym, and get in as much throw practice as possible. My garden is now destroyed from shot-put holes but each week those holes were getting further away from where I was throwing, so things were going the right way. An impromptu throw-off between Brendan Monaghan and myself at the Summer Magic Mile event showed again that the shot put was going well, and the week before the nationals those holes in the garden were peppering the 10 metre mark.
So to the nationals, I had never stepped foot in the Tullamore Harriers ground before, and after driving around Tullamore for 20 minutes after my SatNav played a joke on me and dumped me on the far side of town I found the registration desk. Shot put was the first competition, and after a walk around the track I made my way over to the ring and had time to spy on the competition. Some of the guys there were looking scarily big and confidence was taking a hit but I knew that training was going to hold me in good stead here and just had to repeat what I had been doing in the garden and I was fine. One of the strange anomalies of the masters competition is that my category, V1 does not always attract huge numbers of competitors, with the V2-V4 being the hotly contested battles. First throw was a loosener (8m and a few cm), second was a no throw, and on the third I slipped in the ring (had been raining for first two rounds). Going into the final round I was in third and a good throw should move me up, gold was out of reach unless I was about to develop super human powers. I relaxed into the throw, glided, heaved and watched the shot plop into the sodden turf at 8m68, silver position. But hang on, whats this, the judges are conferring, they want to call it a no-throw as they are concerned I didn’t keep the shot tight enough into my neck, but after the stewards enquiry I get the white flag, the throw counts, national silver, but 3cm short of my competition PB.
On to discus, where again in training I have been increasing my distances and throwing around the 30 metre mark. I won’t go on too much here except to say my throwing was poor, just didn’t seem to be able to hit a rhythm but got it out to 22m which was enough for bronze but a good few metres short of my PB. Third event was javelin, and I don’t really know why I entered this because I don’t really like javelin but if I was travelling all this way I may as well throw the thing. Also as I was planning to compete in a throw pentathlon next season I needed a bit of practice. A brief glance at the start list lightened the mood as I noticed there were only three registered competitors, so a bronze was on the cards. Unfortunately, to win the medal I had to get the thing to stick in the ground to register a distance. First throw was a foul (landed tail first), second just about went point first at about 19m, the third throw was an improvement at around 21m and the fourth was a foul. So somewhat embarrassed I took the bronze, third out of three, 34 metres behind the winning throw and 10 metres short of my own PB.
The final event was the 56lb throw, and I was only doing this for pure fun value. I had only ever done this once before in Athlone and it has to be the most bizarre event in Irish T+F. For those of you who have never seen this event, the idea is to throw a 56lb metal weight suspended on a chain as far as possible with one hand after swinging it between your legs trying not to squash any of your ‘man bits’ whilst doing it. There are some guys who excel in this event, and who’s calling in life is to ‘throw heavy shit’, to quote Joseph Nagle (a truly nice gentle giant of a man) from Leevale AC, and can put this thing out to 5m+. After 4 throws I managed 3m70 which was a PB for me. Fortunately for me I was the only one in my age category and that throw gave me gold, and the title National Champion. After that I was just about done for the day, tired and with muscles that felt like rubber.
OK, so I ended up with a few medals by default by just turning up (although the competition wasn't a secret - competitors could have come to challenge me), but I came to Tullamore only really wanting to compete in shot put and I had to fight to get the silver and that has given me a warm glow all over. Four events, four medals, one PB, and a national title, think we will call that a result. Not sure where to go from here, may take the challenge across the border to the Northern Ireland Masters, but my body needs to stop hurting first.