WHILE the majority of Irish athletes dream of the day when they return to competition, a handful have made it to the start line in recent weeks, with some excellent performances once again over the past week.
The Bryggen Sports Invitational was held in Sportcity, Manchester on Sunday and attracted three Cork runners in the women’s 800m.
English international Ellie Baker won the race in 2:02.73, but was chased hard all the way by Louise Shanahan of Leevale who was second in 2:03.52, Katie Kirk of Ulster in 2:04.09, and Ciara Mageean in fourth in 2:04.40.
For Shanahan, who is a student at Cambridge University, her time was just a fraction outside her best of 2:03.17 from August 2020, and smashed her previous indoor best of 2:09.70 set exactly a year ago.
Stephanie Cotter of West Muskerry and Adams State University raced over a mile at the Ichabod Invitational in Topeka, Kansas and added another runaway win to her impressive tally.
Competing in the mile, she won easily in a time of 4:46.85, six seconds ahead of second placed Yasmine Hernandez.
After winning the 3,000m at the Meeting de l'Eure in Normandy, France a week earlier, Michelle Finn of Leevale was back in action at the same venue on Sunday.
This time she dropped in distance to the 1,500m and recorded another runaway win in a time of 4:15.23. Her previous best for this distance was a distant 4:24.23 in Greystones in 2019.
The previous Tuesday she acted as pacemaker in the 3,000m at a meet in Lieven.
At the same meet, Liam Harris of Togher was fifth in the 1,500m in 3:56.31.
Laura Nicholson of Bandon and Temple University was third in the 3,000m at the H-Town SpeedCity Series in Houston in a time of 10:05.7.
The Irish Life health ‘micro-meet’ in Dublin on Saturday and Sunday will provide more top class competition for Irish athletes in the run-up to the European indoor championships in Poland on the first weekend in March.
In spite of the limited number of meets, there have been some amazing performances around the world so far this year.
One of the most amazing races was the mile at the Razorback Invitational in Arkansas last Friday won by Cooper Teare (21) in a world leading 3:50.39 from fellow Oregon University team mate Cole Hocker (19) in 3:50.55.