With the weather last week putting paid to all fixtures hopefully the week end ahead will be uninterrupted. The Irish Life All Ireland Schools X Country Championships go ahead at the WIT Arena next Saturday with a 12 noon start and over 1,000 athletes from schools all over the 32 counties will compete in four grades minor, junior, intermediate and senior boys and girls including many from Waterford schools city and county plus of course thousands of spectators. The first race the minor girls starts at 12 noon and the final race the senior boys is timed for 2.30 pm. A few of the Waterford competitors are expected to figure prominently in their races both for individual and team placings. Lots of help required setting up the course on Friday and also at the event on Saturday. It promises to be a great days competition and well worth a visit, all athletes asked to warm up inside or outside the course but not on it for obvious reasons
On Sunday next the Lugano Cup of Race walking is in Lugano in Switzerland and its a team event for men and women. Kate Veale West Waterford is on the Irish team in the 20km event and we wish her well.
The 36th Annual Deise College 10km road race is in Dungarvan on Sunday next starting at 11am, the Dungarvan GAA Club is the race Headquarters, its the final race in the Michael Roche Carpets Series.
The All Ireland Master's Indoor championships postponed last Sunday due to the weather now goes ahead in Athlone this Saturday starting at 11 am.Athletes male and female will compete in various age categories with Waterford well represented there. The All Ireland Juvenile Championships Day 1 fixed for Sunday in Athlone will not now go ahead the new date is Saturday April 7th. Locally the Dunhill/Fenor 10 miles has been re fixed for Dunhill on Monday March 19th at 11am the long week end.
Last week Roger Bannister of Great Britain died aged 88 and in athletics folklore he will be remembered forever due to the fact that he was the first to break 4 minutes for a mile in 1954, his time in Oxford on that evening in not ideal conditions was 3 minutes 59.4 seconds presently the record stands at 3.43.13 set in 1999 in Rome by Hicham El Guerrou Morroco. Bannister was for ever grateful to two other fine athletes Chris Brasher later to become Olympic steeplechase champion in 1956 and Chris Chataway who set a world record in the 5000 metres later in his career for their help during the race. So far over fifty Irish athletes have run inside 4 minutes including one from Waterford David McCarthy West Waterford who clocked 3.55.75 in 2012 in Boston. The first Irish athlete to go below the magic barrier was Olympic Gold medalist in the 1500 metres in Melbourne in 1956 Ronnie Delany Co Wicklow, he did it at Compton in California in May 1956 clocking 3.59.00, and at that time it made him the seventh and the then youngest member of the most exclusive club in the world of sport: the men who had run a mile in less than four minutes, he is 82 years at the moment and in great health. The current Irish record holder is Ray Flynn Longford at 3.49.77 set way back in 1982 in Oslo and Eamon Coghlan has the indoor record of 3.49.78 again set way back in 1983 in New York, Coghlan also ran a mile over over 40 in 3.58.15, his son John is also a sub 4 minute miler and Marcus O'Sullivan from Cork ran 101 sub 4 minute miles in his career. A famous quote attributed to Bannister was "The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win." few would disagree with that.
The Munster Athletics Star Awards Banquet due to be held last Saturday were postponed due to the weather and has been re fixed for at the same venue Auburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis on Friday March 16th.
The death took place on February 25th of Eddie Wymberry one of Waterford's best known personalities and a man of many talents, one of these was as a fine athlete in the late 50's and up to mid 60's with Waterford AC. His distances were 100 yds up to 440 yds with his best distance being 220 yds. He won two Munster 300 yds titles in successive years 1964 and 1965 which were farmed out to various sports in those days and was third in an Irish 300 yds again farmed out. At the Munster Championships proper he won the the 220 yds title in 1965 was second in it in 1964 and third in it in 1960 and 1966, he was also second in the 100 yds in 1964, in addition he was a member of the Waterford AC Mile Medley Relay team that won the All Ireland title in Banteer Co. Cork in 1966. At that time the final race every year at the Championships was the Mile Inter Club Medley Relay race starting off with 440 yds, then two 220yds and ending with 880 yds. Eddie ran the 440yds, the late Cyril O'Regan ran the first 220 yds, the late Liam Power the second 220 yds and yours truly the 880 yds. He travelled to sports all over Ireland winning many races and won medals also at the then Annual Ballinasloe Inter Club Relays which had huge entries from clubs all over Ireland. These Relays consisted of 4 x 100 yds up to 4 x 1 mile and in field events 2 x long jump. 2 x high jump, 2 x shot putt etc. Yours truly and indeed many others have nothing but pleasant and at times hilarious memories of Eddie at training and at competitions. To his beloved wife Maura sons, daughters and extended family sympathy is extended on behalf of all involved in Waterford athletics.
Monday March 18th Dunhill. Fenor 10 miles Dunhill 11 am Sunday April 1st Easter Bunny 5 miles RSC Waterford Friday April 6th Ballinroad 5 km , Friday April 13th Butlerstown 4 miles, Friday April 20th Faugheen 5 Km, Sunday April 22nd Ferrybank GAA.
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