You have broken the world record Emer McKee and you have also broken an island's delusions 3 months ago

You have broken the world record Emer McKee and you have also broken an island's delusions

I have a confession to make. I am completely and utterly deluded.

Summer 2020, without the GAA, without training, without the Olympics, was a 5k free-for-all and I was stuck in the middle of it.

Advertisement

In my capacity as an ex-cross country runner, you see, this was the stuff of dreams. It was a chance to show not just my friends, but more importantly the Instagram followers I haven't even the faintest recollection of ever meeting, that I hadn't lost it and that there was life in these legs yet.

Two weeks, I decided, was the perfect amount of time to sharpen the old blades that, once upon a time, won me the Munster under-14 cross country championship. For those who know me, that won't be the first time they've heard that fact and I'd like to take this opportunity to let them know that it won't be the last time either.

So whenever I wasn't giving out stink about the world beating times being posted by my non-athletic contemporaries and 100% certified rogues in the fortnight that followed, I was out running with the mind set and the body tuned for the 5k of all 5ks.

D-day arrived and as the birds sang and the sun shone brightly on the grass of Moatfield GAA pitch in Lorrha, I smiled to myself too, when I picked up a blade of it to discover that there wasn't even a puff of wind in the air. This was 5k weather and I was ready to burn it up.

It's a lonely burn up when it's just you, a heavy pair of legs and a stop-watch and when mine said 19.09 for 5.03k, I have to say I was moderately pleased. In truth, it didn't really matter how pleased I was because I knew I couldn't go any faster anyway.

That whole experience was satisfying and it was forgotten about until this Tuesday, when I read about Emer McKee and now it turns out that life, never mind 5ks, won't ever be the same. The 12-year-old Willowfield Harrier hasn't just broken the world record, no, much more importantly, she's broken the deluded visions of fitness going on not just in mine, but in many other minds too.

Advertisement

You know what they say, you think you're fit until a 12-year-old beats your 5k time by two minutes and twenty nine seconds. With her world-record breaking time of 16 minutes and 40 seconds, as well as forcing many a good long look in the mirror, that's exactly what this little star has done.

After a net-ball game and before a Gaelic football session, SportsJOE caught up with the incredible young queen of Belfast and it turns out the 12-year-old is just as good a talker as she is a runner.

"And then there were no more races," she says, as she talks her attempts to break the record for 11-year-olds.

"And then I turned 12."

The rest, as they say, is in the book.

Advertisement

As for the rest of us, where's that god-damned drawing board?