Here is some information from the World Masters Championships 2011 in Sacramento USA
Over 5500 athletes from 93 different countries competing at the World Masters Athletic Championships in Sacramento California in the USA. The weather was over 90 degrees and hit 100 during the last days of competition, which effected the athletes who had to compete at 6am for some events and as late as 10pm for other events. The most interest came from the ex-Olympic athletes that returned to compete at Masters Level. These included a two time Olympian Triple jumper Willie Banks, the bare foot cross country athlete formally from South African, Zola Budd and a top ex-NFL athlete and Olympian High jumper Dick Frosbury to name a few. Some of these medalled, like the now married Zola Piederson receiving a silver medal in the women’s over 45 8km cross country race and NFL sprinter Willie Gault ran 10.9 in the men’s over 50,100m to take gold while others came home empty handed.
Dunleer athlete Geraldine Finegan running for Ireland was the most successful women in Ireland at the World Championships. Geraldine broke nine age group national records and won four silver medals in the process.
The first event was not without excitement as due to a change in track venues she finally arrived on the right track which was 12 miles apart, just in time for the first event in the Heptathlon event the 80m hurdles and without much of a warm-up came second with a time of 12.7 to the French European Long jump record holder. The rest of the day was a whirl wind racing from event to event with 30 minutes to recover to get 2nd in the high jump behind the 1.60 French athlete again but then Geraldine managed a mighty throw in the shot putt to win this event leaving the French in third spot behind the up and coming American top talent Susan Weimer. The final event of the first day Geraldine broke the national record in the 200m to hold her second place behind France. The second day of events in 95 degrees of sunshine Geraldine was much better prepared as Geraldine equalled the indoor long jump record and creating a new outdoor record only 13cm behind the European record holder who long jumped 5.48 in Ghent at the World indoors in March earlier this year.
This gave great confidence and hope to Geraldine who won the next event the Javelin with another National record. The final event Geraldine's favourite was the 800m. Due to the hard and numerous cross-country races ran in Ireland with her club and team mates Laura, Mark, and Lydia during the year Geraldine won by over 9 seconds to finish with 3 wins to the French athletes 4. When the points where added Geraldine found out that she had broke her own record and the National outdoor masters record by almost 2000 points which used to be held by Belfast athlete Monica Tauwney. The next event without much recovery was the 400m Hurdles but the Irish athlete was feeling the 7 event heptathlon still in her legs and although it was the best time in 3 years and a new Irish record the British and current World champion Virginia Mitchell just tipped ahead over the last hurdle to dip one stride ahead in 65.25 seconds. Still disappointed from another near miss Geraldine had the courage and motivation to compete in the Javelin and triple jump individual events.
An athlete from Ukraine Valentina Kreptikina won the triple jump in10.96 with an India athlete in second place only one cm behind in10.95.Poland’s Top jumper scrapping ahead of The Irish legend in 10.48 but Geraldine broke the Irish record with 10.42 saying she will work on this event in the future when facilities are more readily available in the winter months ahead when local council and St Colman’s college in Newry hope to finish the latest modern track and field facilities.
The 800m quarterfinals and semi finals where next run at 9pm to help the athletes stay cool. Geraldine easily qualified recording faster times than her 800m heptathlon final run. Only 12 athletes from the large entry where allowed to move to the final held the following day at 8.30pm. A cooler evening followed and another National record in 2.25 followed the fast recovering Finegan who although out of the medals was happy to smash another barrier. The 400m heats where another tough and highly contended events with top spot going to Jai Black from USA in 58.1 and Ausrtalia's Julie Brimms having won the 100 was bitterly disappointed to finish second to England’s double medallist Virginia Mitchell who won gold earlier in the 400m hurdles. Geraldine won her heat easily and broke a very old Irish record by .1 held by Maeve Kyle in 1972.
Having decided to drop out of the final 400m due to a clash in events on the same day Geraldine wisely ran the 80m hurdles that afternoon in the mid day heat with -2.6 winds. Her prophecy of another silver medal was to follow behind the very fresh and current World Champion Monica Perrillini from Switzerland who ran 11.7 even with strong winds. What was interesting was the top national colligate hurdler from the 1982 Olympic trials who had run 13.3 in the past over 100mH was fourth place behind Irelands Silver star.
The last day was very hot and temperatures where still rising. Luckily the 2000m steeplechase race was scheduled for 9.05am. The Irish girl Geraldine had her hopes high for another medal ranking 4th behind Poland, Great Britain and USA. The Brit did not show with injuries increasing as the week progressed for most athletes. This put the Irish athlete ranked third. Having run well all week Geraldine said she aimed higher and wanted silver knowing the training for steeplechase was not there due again to lack of facilities in the area.
Geraldine began the 5 lap race cautiously behind the American record holder Lisa Valle who earlier won the 800m and second in the 1500m". With a World record pace being set it was hard to maintain the pace and hold back put I remained in second place until the final 200 when from behind I heard the heavy breathing of the Polish girl breathing down my neck and unexpectedly as I was mid air hurdling the steeplechase I felt excruciating pain above my Achilles in the lower leg. My spick was half pulled from my heel and I was pushed to the ground by the polish athlete who lost balance mid flight clearing the jump I fell to the ground cutting my left knee and grazing my right palm as I slid along the tartan track I watched the strong Polish athlete take for the first time a lead of 10 to 12 metres. I looked behind and realized I could still take the bronze medal I got up with one spick only half on and the other fully on blood dripping from my leg knee and hand, and got back in the race. I finished the last water jump and had 150m to run when I realised my friend who had come to see me run from another part of America Gennie Stone shouted to get back in the race and fight for the silver medal, She said "You can do it. Go Geraldine get the silver" I didn’t see her but recognized her voice and as I splashed my way out of the deep water I remember flipping the half on half off spick from my right foot and changing up a gear to sprint down the home straight with one final steeple to clear and the Polish girl dying in front. I not knowing where the strength came from at the time sprinted past her and finished 7 seconds ahead of her at the line to take my last silver medal of the games a new national record and a lot of pain and bruises to clean. Covered in blood, loose tartan, water and sweat I was happy to celebrate my first championship without a lot of inhalers for asthmas and allergies and the energy to keep running faster and faster. I would like to thank those specialists who have helped achieve this small miracle including Seamus McQuaid from The Salt Clinic in Omeath and Mazu Gold a wonderful natural supplement that balances and helps with recovery time after time. Also a huge thank you to Kookie O’Hagan from Newry Top athletic club and two great sports therapists Artie Quinn and Richard Mongela. Without a full team of professional and great natural supplementation I could not have achieved this marathon of 15 events at World Championship level.
Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. I will try and keep you up to date on all my future Events, plus results from students competitions and training progress.