SPEED, agility and endurance: The qualities needed to be a top-class international athlete. On Wednesday, August 21, Dublin City will witness the excitement and spectacle of world class track and field athletes up close and personal.
The Morton Games returns to the Morton Stadium, Santry for the annual International Athletics Meet hosted by northside club Clonliffe Harriers.
In nine short years, the event has gone from a small meet, with half a dozen international athletes, to one of the biggest international athletics events, certainly if taking a count of the countries taking part this year.
2018 saw athletes from more than 25 countries taking part and the organisers of this year’s Meet believe that record number will be exceeded.
Already athletes are confirmed from the United States, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Jamaica, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Ireland and England.
The format of Morton Games is for an action-packed, condensed Athletics Meet which will start from 7.30 p.m. There is a short pre-programme of qualifying races and junior races, before the main events kick off with the Loki Sports Men’s International 400m, with the concluding race, the Albie Thomas 5000m, scheduled for 9 pm.
The highlight will be the storied Morton Mile. This is a race which has attracted some of the world’s best athletes since it was first run in 1970. It is a prolific producer of the magical sub-four minute mile on these shores.
To date, there have been in excess of 140 sub-four minute miles set in the Morton Mile with 11 last year in a field led home by Sam Prakel (USA) in a time of 3.55.80.
The Irish challenge will be led by John Travers (Donore Harriers). In 2014, he ran his personal best in the Mile but this year comes looking not only for a personal best, but also for an elusive Irish win. It’s 15 years since James Nolan was the last Irish winner in this event.
He will face stiff competition from 2016 Olympian Hamish Carson (six time New Zealand champion), Andy Bayer (USA, a 3.52 miler) the 2017 Morton Mile winner Robert Domanic (USA) and, possibly the man to beat, Australia’s Morgan McDonald. An interesting Santry connection is that McDonald is coached by Mick Byrne, the head coach at Wisconsin University in the United States, a Clonliffe Harriers stalwart in the 1970s and 1980s.
Another highlight race will be the women’s 800m with Ciara Mageean, a European bronze medallist, and Siofra Clerigh-Buttner (Dundrum South Dublin AC). Their aim is to become the first Irish female athlete to break two minutes.
Admission on the night is €10 with Under-16s going free. Further information on www.mortongames.ie.