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National Combined Events Championship Report 2023

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

The conditions couldn’t have been worse for athletes competing in the national combined events in Morton Stadium yesterday – but that didn’t deter our MSB group of three masters and one U16 Juvenile from giving it their all!

Despite massive delays all MSB athletes got stuck in from the get go. Mia Coquart faced in lashing rain and a very slippy wet track for her 80m hurdles and despite that achieved 14.80s and 5th place!

While the masters athletes were kept waiting, Mia headed over to the high jump, again facing in to a wild head wind and increasingly heavy rain. With tough weather conditions, a water logged high jump mat and little experience in high jump Mia did extremely well to clear 1.20m.

It was over to Long Jump for Mia and the Masters athletes also finally got started. With the wind at your back it can be difficult to calculate your long jump stride but Mia did extremely well to finish with a 3.98m jump taking 6th place.

Declan McDonagh in his first event of the day in the masters men 35 category jumped 4.27m – a huge achievement given that he suffered a hamstring strain during the week and had almost pulled out altogether. Declan kept his jumping conservative to insulate against injury but still managed quite a leap. Rob Ryan in the masters men 40 category wasn’t far behind and jumped a brilliant 4.23m 👏 and finally Mark Woodger, the combined events veteran in the mens 50 category jumped 3.88m, a solid jump given the conditions but below his personal best.

Next up was shot put for Mia in the U16 girls and 200m sprints for the Masters Men. Mia had a brilliant throw with her 3kg Shot pushing it out to 7.30m which was the 3rd longest in her group.

The wind was still howling and the rain never let up for the 200m sprints. Thankfully officials had made a decision to move all shorter track events so that they finish along the back straight and athletes no longer were faced with running in to a heavy headwind. So our masters men started their 200m sprints at what is the usual start line. Once again, Declan McDonagh, grimaced as he faced in to a race that would potentially force him to pull up if it aggravated his niggling hamstring strain. Declan and Rob Ryan ran in the same race but different age categories. Both ran incredible times. Declan speeding down the track in 27.86 with Rob just slightly ahead with 27.63.

These were spectacular times and despite the change of location they didn’t benefit from the wind at the back as they race between gusts with a 0m/s wind. Absolutely brilliant times and no doubt there is more to come! Thankfully Declan’s hamstring gave him no further trouble and he was able to continue with the competition. Mark Woodger was up next in the men’s 50. While Mark favours the longer track distances he still put in a great performance of 31.10 also with flat wind 👏

There was lot more waiting around as the Masters men waited for their events to be called in what was an action packed day in Morton as the AAI Games were also scheduled. The men were finally called for their discus in the backfield. A new event for Declan and Rob who both did really well to throw their 2kg discus out to 16.84m for Declan and 14.53m for Rob. Discus is a technical throwing event and difficult to get right in wet slippery conditions. Mark Woodger, throwing the lighter 1.5kg discus for the mens 50 category, reached out to 23.72m which was a very strong throw but below his PB.

Next we were back to the track to see Mia Coquart compete in her final event of the day. Mia is not an 800m runner but she has strong stamina and endurance from her training for individual core event of the 250m hurdles. She hit the track with a smile on her face and paced herself superbly! Finishing her first lap tucked in behind the leading group, Mia finished out the tough last lap in the rain coming home to her first ever 800m race in 2.48s and fantastic result for a first timer 👏👏 That marked the finish of Mia’s first ever combined events in extremely challenging conditions. She came in an incredible 5th place with bags of new experiences under her belt. Proud Dad Cyril was cheering on from the sidelines as was her training partner Mia Brett. Well done Mia C !!

The men’s events were delayed again but eventually they got going with their javelin. Declan and Rob were up again and both men are entirely new to this discipline. Throwing the heavy 800g javelin Declan did really well to reach 18.29m in his second throw. Unfortunately, Rob didn’t manage to get points on the board with no legal throw achieved. Next up was Mark who has more experience in Javelin throwing and did a super job of throwing his 700g javelin out to 23.72m and coming 3rd in his group.

The final event of the day was delayed again, making it an extremely long day for the masters athletes who had registered in Morton at 9am and were only facing in to their last event after 7pm.

Despite that all three gave it their all. Declan And Rob were once again lined out together in the same race. 1500m is a tough distance which ultimately comes down to clever pacing and race tactics, something that can can only be learned with race experience. Rob and Declan, who are new to masters track racing both did a superb job with Declan coming home at 5.53.22 and Rob at 6.24.38.

That ended a very challenging day with no less than three well earned silver national medals for our masters men across three different age categories!! Congratulations! A special shout out to Gavin Howlin who had to pull out last minute due to illness. No doubt he’ll be back for the indoors. And congratulations once again to Mia Coquart who came an incredible 5th place for the U16 girls 👏👏

Report: Ruth Moloney

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