Follow the Track & Field Team Through the UK: Trip Report 2
Tim Springfield – Director of Track & Field (June 20, 2013)
The competition at the University of Limerick was an old-fashioned (in a good way) dual meet. Dartmouth and Brown made one team, and the University of Limerick plus select additional Irish university athletes made the other team. In the end, Brown and Dartmouth were victorious, but the day was more about camaraderie and competing hard than it was about winning or losing. The meet had a relaxed, friendly feeling to it, and our athletes really enjoyed competing. The cold rain impacted some of the times and distances, but didn't alter the nature of the event. Our sincere thanks goes out to our tremendous hosts at University of Limerick.
After the meet, the University of Limerick hosted a formal banquet at a local hotel. Dartmouth coach Barry Harwick and our own Hannah Wallace said a few words on behalf of the visiting teams, and our Irish hosts once again outdid themselves in making us welcome.
We also had the opportunity to attend a local hurling match between Ahane and Garryspillane, which was very exciting. Hurling is a traditional Irish sport that combines elements of baseball, lacrosse, soccer, and hockey. It's not a sport for the feint of heart.
The following day, we flew to England and took up residence at St. Mary's University College in Twickenham, just outside London. St. Mary's is the home base for many international track athletes when they are competing professionally in Europe, so we have been sharing the track with Olympians from the UK and Australia. Many of the top US professional athletes will also use these facilities when they come for the European season later this summer.
Today we toured Oxford, both the town and the University. First stop was the Iffley Road track, where Roger Bannister ran his historic 3:59 mile. Kevin Cooper reenacted the finish to stirring effect.
Christ Church College, Oxford, is beautiful, historic, and a powerful reminder of the reach of the Harry Potter franchise. Christ Church's Dining Hall was the featured in the films as Hogwarts' Great Hall. Christ Church Cathedral was also beautiful and had a shrine dating from the 13th century, but had no Harry Potter connection.
Tomorrow is a low-key day followed by our competition this evening. We're looking forward to exchanging our sightseeing shoes for track spikes.