Saturday July 2 sees the return of big-time athletics to Dublin. After a two-year Covid-induced hiatus, Morton Games, international track and field, is back at the Morton Stadium in Santry.
Over the course of the past decade, Morton Games has captured the imagination of the athletics’ world with Ireland’s best athletes queueing up to compete against world-class international athletes at the traditional home of Irish athletics.
The Morton stars
This meet in recent years has brought in the likes of Yohan Blake (JAMAICA), Nick Symmonds (USA), Melissa Bishop (CANADA), Olympic gold medallist Mat Centrowitz (USA), and medallists at this year’s world indoor championships, Eleanor Patterson (AUSTRALIA) and Elinor Purrier (USA) - both of whom won their events at the most recent Morton Games.
The 2022 international calendar is jam-packed with championship events as between late July and late August athletes have the World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Championships.
So Morton Games is ideally placed two weeks before the beginning of the Worlds and it’s expected that many athletes will use the meet as their final warm-up event.
Meet Director Noel Guiden said: “The response already at this early stage has been extremely positive with many of the agents we deal with pleased to see Morton Games back on the international calendar.
"I am particularly pleased with the commitments we have received from Ireland’s star athletes such as Phil Healy, Israel Olatunde, Brian Gegan, Marcus Lawler, Ciara Mageean, and Andrew Coscoran to name but a few.”
What to expect
The meet will once again stick with the exciting format of a tight, non-stop programme of action with minimal gaps between races.
The international programme will start at 7.30pm and will conclude with the feature Morton Mile at 9pm.
Over the course of that 90 minutes, the crowd will see an extraordinary 12 international events featuring world-class athletes from home and away.
Athletics fans in the Morton Stadium will also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the stars of track and field.
The Morton Gamers have always made time to meet the fans and sign autographs. Who will ever forget Yohan Blake, far from his ‘the beast’ moniker, surrounded by hordes of excited young and not-so-young fans, spending the best part of an hour posing for selfies?
Or Ciara Mageean accompanied by a dozen young fans as she completed her warm down on the track?
Magical moments never to be forgotten.
Speaking of magical moments, the iconic Morton Mile sprinkles the magical dust year after year. There still remains something special and magical about the four-minute mile: four perfect quarters of 60 seconds each.
The Morton Mile
The Morton Mile is steeped in legend, its genesis goes back to the original ‘Dream mile’ of August 6, 1958 in Santry, when Herb Elliott set a new world mile record and for the first time in history five athletes ran sub four in the same race.
That meet was promoted by Clonliffe Harriers’ Billy Morton, who went on to promote many an athletics meeting in Santry over the course of the next decade until his untimely death in December 1969.
The following year, the Harriers introduced the Morton Memorial Mile to the world. That first 1970 Morton Mile was won by Olympic champion Kip Keino (KENYA).
Ever since, the Morton Mile has been won by legends of the sport including John Walker (New Zealand), Steve Scott (USA), and our own great Irish milers Eamon Coghlan, Marcus O’Sullivan and Frank O’Mara.
The Morton Mile has also proved to be the most prolific producer of the sub-four over the course of 36 runnings of the race.
An extraordinary 149 sub-fours have been recorded meaning that the race winner on July 2 will become the 150th.
At a glance
WHEN: The Morton Games takes place in the Morton Stadium Santry on Saturday, July 2. The International programme will commence at 7.30pm with the pre-programme of national events from 6pm.
ADMISSION: Tickets will be available to purchase online through the event website www.mortongames.ie from June 1 with ‘cashless’ payment accepted on the night.
COST: Admission is €10, with accompanied U16’s going free.