Races & Places

Watford GP Part Two – Irish athletes produce strong performances in Watford

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Part One of this review can be found here: https://www.irishrunner.ie/races-places/watford-gp-part-one-english-and-bromell-claim-800m-victories-in-watford

The action continued at the Woodside Stadium in Watford with a host of top Irish female 1500m runners taking to the track.

Tokyo 2020 Olympian Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) was the sole Irish competitor in the A race. Shanahan has had a super start to her outdoor season. Last month she ran a new national record over 800m in Belfast beating Ciara Mageean whilst clocking 1.59.42. Shanahan and Mageean are the only two Irish women to have ever broken the illustrious two-minute barrier for the event. The Cork woman has also ran a 1500m PB this season of 4.13.27 this season. Shanahan found the going tough on Saturday and finished sixth in 4.18.02, however with World and European Championships still to come this season she won’t be able to dwell on her race for too long.

Carla Sweeney (Rathfarnham) had an impressive 2021 and looks like she is capable of having another very impressive season if her performance on Saturday evening is anything to go by. Running in the B race, Sweeney clocked 4.17.57 to finish second, which is only 0.06s of her PB which she set in Belfast last year. Cheryl Nolan (St. Abban’s AC) was 11th in 4.35.82.

Five Irish women toed the line in the C race. The race will be remembered for the sensational feat of Niamh Markham (Ennis Track AC) who took an extraordinary six seconds off her PB to win the race. Her previous PB of 4.26.20 had dated back to 2019 and despite showing good early season form nobody would’ve predicted what she achieved in Watford. Her time of 4.20.36 makes her the eighth fastest Irish woman over the distance this season. Ellie Hartnett (UCD AC) finished second in 4.22.86, Niamh Kearney (Raheny Shamrocks AC) was seventh clocking 4.25.92. Junior athlete Kirsti Foster (Willowfield) was 11th running 4.27.29, while former national senior Indoor champion over 800m Fiona Kehoe (Kilmore AC) was 12th in 4.27.83.

The D race also saw strong performances by Irish athletes. Robyn McKee (Annadale Striders) was second in 4.28.72. Tokyo 2020 Paralympian Greta Streimikyte (Clonliffe Harriers) was fifth in 4.30.28, just outside her PB, while Lucy Foster (Willowfield) was ninth in 4.39.48.

In the 5000m races Callum Morgan (St. Malachy’s AC) was tenth in the B race. Morgan, who is still a junior athlete ran a new PB of 14.25.30.

Elsewhere, the C race was won by David Scanlon (Rathfarnham). Scanlon was left to effectively run solo for the final five laps and finished marginally outside his PB in a time of 14.33.34. Daniel Stone (Clonliffe Harriers) was 11th in 14.54.28, while David Troy (Metro St. Brigid’s AC) was 14th in 14.58.58.

The next meet in the British Milers Club Grand Prix series is the Manchester Trafford GP on Saturday July 23rd. The meet will take place at the Trafford Athletic Stadium and it is expected that a strong Irish contingent will be in action once again.

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