Thursday night’s Morton Games delivered once again with a superb night’s athletics before a large appreciative crowd in the Morton Stadium, Santry. Throughout the night from start to the iconic Morton Mile at 9 p.m. there were world class performances delivered by world class athletes.
The Morton Mile was the climax of the evening at 9 p.m. sharp with 11 of the 14 finishers dipping under the magical four minutes. Sam Prakel (USA) continued his superb form, having won in Cork on Monday night he carried that form up to Dublin and was a worthy winner in 3.55.80, chased all the way to the line by the fast finishing Lopez Lomong (USA) who also finished in a season’s best, like Prakel, of 3.56.58 with Henry Wynne (USA) on his first visit to Ireland 3rd in 3.56.86. Raheny’s young Brian Fay just finished outside of the magical sub 4 running a time of 4.00.45, a superb performance by the young northsider.
The Dublin Marathon Women’s 800 again delivered with a superb race, although the field finished just outside of the 2 minute barrier it was an excellent race won by USA 800 finalist Hannah Green in a time of 2.01.66 from Ireland’s Ciara Mageean who had another storming performance in this race in 2.02.13 with Alena Brooks (TTO) 3rd in 2.02.32.
The Men’s 800 produced a fantastic race, when the pacemaker pulled off Boris Berian (USA), the 2016 World indoor champion, took the race by the scruff of the neck and heading into the top bend was several metres clear, a lead that he was not going to relinquish, he was chased all the way to the line by teammate Brandon Lasater (USA), Berian broke the tape in 1.45.72, the fastest 800 in Morton Games in several years. Other notable performances included a PB from John Fitzsimons (Kildare AC) of 1.48.09 and a PB from Australia’s Jordan Williamsz of 1.47.35. Unfortunately Mark English pulled off on the home straight with an injury.
The Hireco Women’s 1500 produced the finish of the day. With good pace making the athletes were on for a fast time, there were several athletes in the field chasing European qualifying times and this resulted in the recording of four PBs and 2 SBs. Coming down the home straight it looked to be Elinor Purrier’s race, as she was about to raise her arms in victory Emily Lipari (USA) was getting closer and closer and on the dip just got in in front of Purrier to take her first win at Morton Games in 4.08.01, Purrier was 2nd and 2017 European junior champion Gemma Reeki (GBR) 3rd in 4.09.08.
The sprint races produced wonderful performances with the favourite Crystal Emmanuel (CAN) taking the win in the Aon Women’s 100 in a time of 11.44. There was drama in the Aon Men’s 100 as a false start resulted in the DQ of defending champion Jeff Demps (USA) meaning that there were only nine starters tearing down the home straight and in the dash for the line Sean McLean (USA), 2nd last year behind Demps took the win in 10.22 with Jamaica’s Rasheed Dwyer 2nd and Bismark Boateng (CAN) 3rd in 10.29.
The JWT Folk Women’s 400 really brought the crowd to their feet as rounding off the top bend Ireland’s fastest woman Phil Healy looked like she was going to take the win from a very strong international field, however, getting up beside her on her inside was Maggie Barrie, not only the first athlete representing Sierra Leone to run in the Morton Games but the first athlete from Sierra Leone to actually race in the Morton stadium. Barrie took the win in 52.63 from Healy 52.88 and France’s Elea Diarra 4rd 53.01.
Likewise the Men’s 400 was a superb race with the first two dipping under 46 seconds. Israel’s Donald Sanford took the win in 45.81 from Rabah Yousif (GBR) 45.87.
The eagerly anticipated Albie Thomas 500 (sponsored by Dublin Athletics Board) produced the goods. The pacemakers were clearly doing their job as the large field was strung out from the start. When the pacer pulled out of the way Adel Mechaal (ESP) took up the running as expected, he was chasing the European qualifying time. Sitting on his shoulder was Brett Robinson (AUS), the winner of the 3000 in Cork on Monday night and a train of British athletes led by Ben Connor, Jonny Mellor and Luke Traynor. With 600 to go Robinson made his move getting up past Mechaal and chased by Connor. The first three all came home under 13.30 with Robinson recording 13.26.50, Connor 13.29.35, bettering his PB set in this race last year, by 2 seconds and Mechaal 13.29.94. Both Connor and Mechaal dipped under the European qualifying time. Jonny Mellor clearly showed that he still has speed in his legs, now that he is moving up to the marathon, running 13.36.12. Ireland’s Stephen Scullion ran a big PB of 13.50.04.
There was also as part of the Meet a fantastic interclub juvenile relay producing almost the finish of the day as Clonliffe Harriers A team was hunted down by Dunboyne AC and in the end there was a margin of one tenth of a second or so between the teams with Clonliffe winning in 3.51.26 from Dunboyne and Ratoath AC.
The Junior Men’s Mile was won in considerable style by Cian Kelly (St. Abban’s) – 4.20.05 from Daire Finn (DCH) and Michael Power (West Waterford).
In the IMC races Maisy O’Sullivan (St. Abban’s) won in 2.08.36 from Stephanie Cotter (West Muskerry AC) 2.09.73 and Jenna Bromell (Emerald) 2.09.73 and in the Men’s 800 Elliot Slade won in 1.52.75 from Alex Beddoes from the Cooke Islands 1.53.18 and Mark Milner (Tullamore) 1.53.34.
The two field events were very classy affairs. The javelin resulted in three seasons bests and for Ireland and Clonliffe Harriers Stephen Rice a huge PB of 75.89 which was also a national U/23 record. The winner was Lars Timmerman (NED) 76.40, Rice was 2nd and Great Britain’s Joe Dunderdale 3rd 70.21.
Unfortunately Ireland’s World U/20 silver medallist Sommer Lecky withdrew from the event after warming up, however, there was still great performances by the remainder of the field with former NCAA champion Liz Patterson (USA) winning the event with a 1.91 jump from Ireland’s Phippa Rogan who jumped a PB of 1.83 and Canada’s Alyx Treasure 3rd in 1.80.
It was another magical Morton Meet. A huge thank you to all our sponsors for their involvement in the event, to the athletes for their performances on the night and to the large crowd in attendance and of course also to the army of volunteers throughout the build up, planning and hosting of last night’s Morton Games. It was once again a tremendous team effort.
Full results on www.mortongames.ie