Athletics

Dundalk woman smashes world record

Athletics

Caoimhín Reilly

Reporter:

Caoimhín Reilly

Email:

caoimhin.reilly@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Dundalk woman Geraldine Finnegan smashed the Tetradecathlon world record in Belgium last month.

The North-East Running club member was top-class across all 14 individual events as she set a new world record by a staggering 500 points.

The Tetradecathlon event consists of completing the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 100m hurdles, 200m hurdles, 400m hurdles, shot put, javelin, discus, high jump and the long jump, and on the first day of competition, Geraldine claimed a clean sweep in all but one of the events. Unfortunately, she was beaten by one-tenth of a second in the 200m sprint.

Considering Finnegan, who incredibly is 52-years old, was competing with 25 other starters, ranging from U20s to Masters Ladies, in whopping temperatures which reached as high as 31 degrees, her performance is all the more impressive.

With this being her first attempt at the competition, she was unaware of the physical toll such a competition would have on her body. Having spent most of the '30 to 40 minutes' between races being treated by physios and a chiropractor, Finnegan remained ahead of all the other, mostly younger, competitors to take the record in convincing style.

She even managed to win the long jump while using her weaker leg, due to an injury to her preferred limb. Though, Finnegan, whose family own Sean's Tavern pub on Church Street, insists that she could not have completed the journey without the support of those in her company, namely former long-distance runner Anne Marie McGlynn, "who was shouting the loudest and encouraging me to keep working to the line."

Her world record rounds off a special year for the athlete who has claimed 11 world medals since the beginning of the year. She finished as the most decorated athlete at the World Indoor Games in Deagu, South Korea earlier in the year, winning six individual medals - a gold, two silvers and three bronze medal.

And less than a month after her exploits in Asia, she flew to Auckland, New Zealand, winning a pair of gold and bronze medals in an outdoor competition.

Geraldine has a lot of people to thank for helping her to achieve her dream goal came, from all those who helped her with her training and dietary regimes to those who supported her in competition.

"All the hours of sacrifice, repetitions and training in bad weather was all worth it," Finnegan told The Dundalk Democrat.

"I won gold and created a new world record, and nobody can take the memories of breaking the record away from me. I will savour, relive and recall this title for many years to come," she added.