In 2018, a balmy summers evening in July, you could just have easily been at the Lausanne Diamond League on the shores of Lake Geneva. Parking the car, world class athletes were running by on the grass, warming up – for some of us, to warm up so long before the gun was due to go, would relegate the actual race to an exhausted stumble! It was like something you see on TV, except there you are walking around amongst it.
No pre booking required, just €10 at the gate, and what a bargain.
There are the development races which are brilliant to watch in themselves, showcasing the young and sometimes not so young, Irish stars, some of whom will hopefully feature in the main event in the future.
And then it is two hours of non stop world class action. Guest internationals and home grown.
Síofra Cléirigh Buttner was mobbed by kids and spent a long time signing autographs. Access is excellent and you are right up close to the action.
In 2018, the Morton Mile was the final race. This event has attracted the likes of Steve Ovett, John Walker and Kip Keino to compete in the past. As the athletes approached the bell, a roar went up from the crowd, I then realised that the clock was pretty much showing 3 minutes… The final lap was a mighty burn up, Sam Prakel of the USA won in 3:55.80, leading another ten athletes over the line sub-4! Where would you go to see this?
Later this year, the Morton Games 2019 is on Wednesday the 21st of August, but hopefully the weather will again play its part.
If you don’t feel like waiting so long, the Belfast International is on the 1st of August at Mary Peters track. The pre-programme of kids races starts at 16:30 with the main event getting underway at 17:30 (track events start at 18:30). What’s more, entry is free!