Judging by the past few weeks, the new indoor track at Athlone is lightning fast and we can expect lots of records at this weekend’s Woodie’s DIY National Indoors.Top of the list is Leevale’s Derval O’Rourke, who proved that her career is far from over when she ran 8.11 at Sheffield last Sunday. With Sarah Lavinand Sandra Lawler pushing her hard, O’Rourke could break eight seconds on her way to a 12th Irish indoor title.Fresh from his 400m victory over Jonathan Borlee in Belgium, Brian Gregan of Clonliffe is the current European No 1 over that distance.He goes in the 200m this weekend after running a personal best of 21.27 last month. His chief rival is defending champion Marcus Lawler of SLOT, who set new Irish junior 60m and 200m records on the Athlone track last weekend.
With neither Gregan nor Thomas Barr entering the men’s 400m, Jason Harvey of UU, who was second last year, is favourite to take the title.Amy Foster of City of Lisburn defends her 60m women’s title having run 7.39 ten days ago in Kirchberg. Should she falter, a number of Irish women are lining up to take advantage. Among them are Catherine McManus (DCH), Niamh Whelan (Ferrybank) Sarah Lavin (Emerald), and Steffi Creanor (DCH). On the comeback trail are Kelly Proper (Ferrybank), who ran 7.55 at the AAI Games, and Irish 100m record holder Ailis McSweeney (Leevale) who ran in Sheffield. . Many of these will also compete in the 200m at the weekend.Proper has also entered her specialist long jump where she is going for an eighth consecutive title.That’s one less than Clonliffe’s David Donegan who is favourite to take his ninth pole vault title and jumped 4.61 at the AAI Games.Race of the race looks like the women’s 800m, after eye-catching runs from both UCD’s Ciara Everard and Claire Traplee of DSD last weekend. Everard broke the 23-year-old Irish record with a time of 2:02.54 in Athlone, while in Sheffield, Tarplee was only a second slower in 2:03.66.Not far behind on the rankings are Siobhan Eviston of Raheny with 2:04.35, and 17-year-old Siofra Cleirigh Buttner of DSD who set a new Irish junior record of 2:05.26 a few weeks ago. Also entered is Rose Anne Galligan, who will take on Fionnuala Britton in the 1500m
Tomas Fitzpatrick of Tallaght took some notable scalps when he won the Enniscorthy 10km in 30 mins 13 secs.By the 3km mark, Fitzpatrick already had a 10m lead on the 2012 winner Brian Maher of KCH and Rathfarnham’s Sean Hehir.Maher and Hehir did their best to close the gap in the final kilometre, but Fitzpatrick came home a comfortable winner.First woman was Maria McCambridge with a time of 33 mins 38 secs – half a minute slower than last year. Barbara Sanchez of Raheny was second in 34:35 and Mayo’s Catherine Conway third. The top top three men and women are all part of the Marathon Mission, and keeping a eye on them was Marathon Mission coach Dick Hooper. A large contingent from Raheny Shamrock also ran, taking six of the top ten places.
Former Irish 400m record holder Paul McKee won the M35 60 in 7.19 secs and then set a new Irish 200m record of 22.36 at the Woodie’s DIY National Masters in Athlone.UCD coach James Nolan, another former Irish international and Olympian, set a new M35 record of 4:00.76 for 1500m.West Waterford’s Joe Gough not only made it a 200m,400m,800m hat-trick, but ran a record-breaking 2.15 for 800m. Gough holds the 800m record in every age group from M45 to M60.In the 3000m, Matt Bidwell from GCH was first overall and first M40, while in second place Paul Fleming of Rathfarnham WSAF was first M35. Both men ran under 9 minutes. Raheny’s Mick Traynor from Raheny Shamrock won the M45 3000m in 9 mins 4 secs.Martina O’Dwyer of Carrick-on-Suir outsprinted Tullamore’s Pauline Curley to win a thrilling women’s 3000m in 10:25.22, improving on her own W35 record. Curley’s time of 10:25.96 was a new W40 best.In the women’s 800m, Bernie Byrne of Clonliffe improved the W50 record to 2:32.55, finishing second overall in the race behind W45 champion Bridget Clarke of Na Fianna. Former senior champion Kathryn Walley of Clonliffe won the W50 200m.Oldest of the day’s competitors was Hugh Gallagher of Donegal who competed in the M85 age group.* In Belgium, Joe Sweeney had a three minute margin when winning the Groet uit Schoorl 30km race in 1:34.17, with Alan McCormack 7th in 1:44.00.* Marcus Lawlor (SLOT) set new junior 60m and 200m records of 6.92 and 21.31 at the National Junior/U23 Indoors in Athlone. Those records were held by Jason Smyth and Paul Hession respectively.Sarah Lavin (Emerald) broke Derval O’Rourke’s junior 60m hurdles record with a time of 8.44, also winning the 60m in 7.57.* Missed out on the Operation Transformation 5km taking place on February 23 in the Phoenix Park? Good news is that South Dublin County Council has stepped into the breech and will organise at “Operation to Transform” 5km in Corkagh park, Clondalkin on the same day (11am start). Entry is free, but you must register in advance. See www.sdcsp.ie or call/text 086 0441071.