Sheridan speeding up in race against time

by Karl Graham
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DUNDRUM South Dublin Athletic’s Club athlete Shane Sheridan brought home a silver medal from the 200 metres at the World Master’s Indoor Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea late last month, as well as reaching the finals in the 60 metres and men’s 4 x 200 metre contests.
Sheridan’s achievements are particularly astonishing, however, given he only took up the sport at the age of 53. At the age of 58, is one of the oldest competitors at the sharp end of his M55 category for those aged 55 and over.
“I’m unusual,” Sheridan told GazetteSport, “in that I’m still getting faster. I played rugby and tennis into my mid-30s. I’ve also done a lot of hiking in my life – places like Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro – that has kept me fit. I joined Dundrum South Dublin as I was looking for a way to keep fit. At the time, I knew nothing about Masters Athletics, so it’s been quite a journey.”
Sheridan found a Masters scene made up largely of lifelong athletes.
“Naturally, they’re getting slower, but I’m still getting quicker,” the Dundrum athlete explained. “Obviously, I’m going to start slowing down at some point but I haven’t had a year yet where I didn’t improve.
“I hadn’t even planned to go to Daegu, but we had a relay team of three people and they needed a fourth. I decided to go along, and seeing as I was there, compete in the other events, too.”
The relay team Sheridan’s referring to, incredibly, is a team running in the M35 (male over 35) category, one that made the finals despite the presence of Sheridan, a man 23 years older than the minimum.
“I’m about a second slower than the other runners. They’d be running around 25.5, and I’m at around 26.5,” he said. “It’s not a huge gap.”
Being competitive at the M35 age group, then, it’s no surprise that Sheridan powered to a big personal best and a silver medal in the individual M55 category.
“I believe it’s only the second Masters medal by an Irish male sprinter. It’s certainly the first since 2010,” he told us.
“It was a great experience. I ran pretty much every day from the Monday to the relay final on Sunday, with the various rounds. I was a little surprised how well I did; I had hoped to make the 200 final, but thought I’d come about seventh based on the line ups.”
The results, clearly, are very promising when it comes to Sheridan’s move up to M60 in a couple of years’ time.
“I think the thing people can take from my story is that running doesn’t have to be about long distance when you get a bit older,” Sheridan told us. “So many people start running marathons, things like that, and it really doesn’t suit everyone, every type of body. Track and field might be better.”

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