THE sun brings out the best in people, and that was certainly the case in Belfast on Saturday where the Irish milers Club meet produced a long list of superb performances.
Uncertainty about the meet taking place was resolved just days before the meet was due to take place after meet officials took the direct route to European Athletics for a permit, rather than go through Athletics Ireland and Athletics Northern Ireland.
While uncertainty about the Olympics going ahead in Tokyo persists, there is nothing stopping athletes chasing qualifying standards for their events.
Phil Healy of Bandon made the trip to Belfast worthwhile by competing in the 200m and 400m.
In both races she was simply head and shoulders ahead of her opponents, strolling to victory in the 200m in 23.29, and then she produced a world class performance to win the 400m in 51.50.
In March she ran under 52 seconds for 400m for the first time with 51.94 indoors, and this was her first sub 52 outdoors to give her a massive new PB.
After running the entire race on her own, Michelle Finn of Leevale was an easy winner of the 3,000m steeplechase in a time of 9:39.44, just a fraction outside her best time for the distance of 9:38.04 that she ran in Australia in February 2020.
The men’s 1,500m was shaping up to be a very interesting race, but was hit by a number of late withdrawals that left Darragh McElhinney of UCD and Bantry as the standout athlete.
In the event, he did the only sensible thing and lead the race almost from start to finish. His solo run was rewarded with a win in 3:43.87, a big improvement on his previous best of 3:45.12 achieved in Belfast last June.
There was a big change in tactics by Louise Shanahan of Leevale in the 800m.
A couple of weeks ago she set a new outdoor PB for the distance in Manchester after staying off the pace from the start.
On Saturday she stuck with the pace from the gun and was rewarded with a huge new PB after finishing third in 2:01.44.
Right now, she is the second fastest Irish woman this season and is 11th fastest on the All-Time list.
Ciara Mageean is the only Irish woman to run under two minutes with 1:59.69.
Another big PB went the way of Ruairi Casey of Togher who ran a strong 1,500m to finish second in 3:50.83.
Only one Cork athlete made his way to the British Milers Club meet in Manchester.
Liam Harris of Togher finished fifth in the 3,000m steeplechase in 8:57.17, his first time under nine minutes.
In what may have been her last race for Adam State University, Stephanie Cotter of West Muskerry added another Division 2 title when she won the 1,500m at the national championships in Allendale, Michigan on Saturday.
She stayed with the lead group until she made her move on the last lap to win easily in a time of 4:14.96, a big improvement on her previous best of 4:19.84 from 2019.
Sam Healy of Leevale and University of Texas equalled his season’s best of 7.59m at the Division 1 West regionals in College Station, Texas, just short of the 7.66m that would have qualified him for nationals.
Charlie O’Donovan of Leevale and Villanova clocked 3:45.29 in his heat of the 1,500m at the Division 1 East regionals in Jacksonville, Florida. In the final he finished seventh in 3:42.28, but, like Healy, did not qualify for nationals in Oregon next week.
Fearghal Curtin of Youghal and Arizona State had his first race in a while when he finished seventh in the 1,500m at Icahn Stadium, New York with a time of 3:44.72 behind Colin Albert who won in 3:43.12.