If you were to script a race against the elements and time itself, where better to stage it than on an athletics track with a hugely important event waiting in the wings.
That very scenario played itself out right here in Castleisland all during the week and will draw its final breath only later tonight.
Fractious weather conditions all week weren’t in the least conducive to the laying of the synthetic materials that went into the two-tone rejuvenation of the near 30 year old track.
Denny Community Games Finals
And, as this weekend loomed with the Denny Kerry Community Games Finals booked in for Saturday and Sunday, there were very few hours on the clock which didn’t see action on the preparation of the vital facility.
This evening it looks home and dry with the promise of a few more hours of good, dry weather as the skips were being filled with the waste of the €140,000 refurbishment job and the grounds being prepared.
Project committee manager, Ger Cremin and An Ríocht AC manager, Kate McSweeney are as pleased as the many locals who have come to the facility over the past week to wonder at the transformation of the track.
Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 10am
The opening ceremony and lighting of the flame of the 2017 Kerry Community Games Track and Field Athletics Finals will be performed at 10am on Saturday morning at An Ríocht Athletic Club grounds in Castleisland.
The launch of the 2017 games on May 26th was the last official engagement on the old, red, tartan track.
The new two-tone track, only the third in Europe – the other two are in Finland and PortAventura, will host the games at the weekend as the first official event on the refurbished surface.
I stood between men from China and America on Wednesday evening as the final touches were being put to the track. I expressed my admiration for the work and for the uplifted appearance of the place.
As Good as it Gets
The American, who flew in from Florida to have a look at the work, responded: “This is as good as it gets – This is amazing – believe me.” I do – I said.
I looked at the Chinese man and he just smiled and warned me that the white paint on the lines was still wet.
I told him I hadn’t taken up running yet. He looked and me and laughed politely.
The children and young athletes coming to Castleisland on Saturday morning are in for a real treat and the local children are having to be restrained from using the track. Mainly because its very final touches are being applied and also because of a sense of fairness to those from the rest of the county.
Action on Saturday and Sunday
The event, sponsored again this year by Denny, will open An Ríocht on this Saturday morning at 10am and continue all day with a 10am start also on Sunday up to medal presentations on that evening.
The games will attract a host of competitors representing all communities from across the county.
“The Kerry Community Games is a child-centred event with a focus on participation. It gives children an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of sport and the chance to progress and compete in the National Community Games Finals in Dublin in August.
“We are looking forward to a fun weekend with lots of great events,” said Kerry Community Games County Secretary, Margaret Culloty.
Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs, Kerry Group also expressed his company’s pleasure at its long association with the, now 50 year old, event.
“Denny is delighted to continue its sponsorship of the Kerry Community Games Athletics Finals.
“Involvement with sport can be an important part of a healthy, active lifestyle and this event is a showcase for sporting activity and community spirit among young people in Kerry.
“The continued success of this event is testament to the hard work and commitment put in by all those who participate, their parents, the voluntary committee and members of the
community who continue to offer their support.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the participants every success in the 2017 Finals,” said Mr. Hayes.
In Pursuit of Gold
The Denny Community Games Athletics Finals features a full list of track and field events which attract competitors from communities right across the county.
Young people will come to Castleisland this weekend in pursuit of a gold medal and that elusive passport to the National Finals in Dublin.
For more information: Margaret Culloty, Kerry Community Games on 066 97 6 4977.
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