Last week marked a truly extraordinary chapter in Pauline Moran's athletics career.
The Newport-based Mayo AC masters athlete travelled to Torún in Poland to compete in the 9th World Indoor and Non Stadia Masters Championships - March 26 to April 1.
Over 4,000 athletes from over fifty countries were registered to compete, including 135 Irish ranging in age from 35 to 84.
Mayo AC's multi-medal winning National and International masters champion had competed successfully in the 2019 Championships in W60 category – winning silver 8k cross-country, silver 3,000m and Irish team gold in half-marathon.
Pauline arrived in Poland fresh from a fantastic 43:32 finish time and over 60 winner in the Tubbercurry St Patrick’s Day 10k, and prior to that gold in 3,000m in National Masters Indoors in Athlone in February.
In her first event in Torún Arena on Sunday morning she came home first in women's o65 3,000 metres in 12:31 – World Indoor W65. Champion! A brilliant achievement..
On Monday, Day 2 of World Masters action, Pauline Moran was on the 8km cross-country startline among over thirty W60 /W65 competitors.
She was joined by Irish W65 teammates Nuala Reilly Drogheda & District AC, and Kay Byrne Finn Valley AC in W60.
The race was held in a rest and recreation wooded park not far from Torún Arena.
Another fantastic run by Pauline won her gold W65 in a time of 37:07, with Christine Kennedy USA silver 38: 23 and Nuala Reilly bronze 43.47.
In the cross-country event she joined Kay Byrne, who won individual gold in W60 category, and Nuala Reilly in the Irish team and they won gold W60 team.
Mayo AC's Stephen Monaghan also ran and finished 23rd in the men's o50.
Pauline Moran was back competing on Day 4 Wednesday morning in the 10k road race - her third race in four days!
She went into the race on the back of this fantastic success having won three medals on Sunday and Monday
The 10k field included men and women runners of all age categories. There were twenty-four Irish runners – twelve men, twelve women, including two from Mayo AC – Pauline and Stephen Monaghan.
It was dry and sunny as the field of 260 assembled near the Torún Arena.
Pauline was joined in 10k by Nuala Reilly (Drogheda & District AC) in the same category.
And what a performance again by Pauline – first W65 in an amazing time – 42:20 – and a fourth World Masters gold. She finished just over twenty seconds ahead of silver medal winner Hernaiz Del Campo Spain 42:42.
Plus, if it’s ratified, that’s a new Irish 10k W65 record for Pauline, beating her previous 44:20 last year, and which she had already bettered in Tubbercurry on St Patrick’s Day last month.
There was disappointment for Nuala Reilly who finished just outside the medals - 4th W65 in 49:03.
Well done to Stephen Monaghan who also had a great 10k run to finish in 39:40 and 15th M50.
Overall winner of 10k was Kenneth Mburu Kenya in the men over 45 category in 29:28! That's the same time as Irish Olympian Andrew Coscoran ran when breaking the Tubbercurry 10k course record last month.
After two days of well deserved (and badly needed!) rest Pauline ran her final race of the Championships on Saturday morning. She combined with Noreen Bonner Finn Valley AC and Nuala Reilly to made up the Irish W65 team.
Noreen Bonner Finn Valley AC and Nuala Reilly Drogheda & District made up the Irish W65 team in the half-marathon.
There were a number of other Irish runners in a field of over 400.
Pauline renewed rivalry with Corofin Co Galway native Christine Kennedy running for her adopted USA, who finished second behind her on Monday in the 8k cross-country.
In context, Christine ran 1:32.43 in Wokingham half-marathon in UK last in February, which is reported to be awaiting ratification as a new W65 World Record.
Prior to Saturday Pauline ran her best W65 time 1:34.03 winning gold in the National Masters at Ratoath last September.
Pauline ran brilliantly finishing the half-marathon in 1:33.51 and winning silver W65!
That time is also an amazing new PB for Pauline - after three tough races you can’t ask for more. And she broke her own National half-marathon record into the bargain.
She was just two minutes behind Christine Kennedy who won gold in 1:31.38 which will be a new world record for the category if ratified.
Hernaiz Del Campo Spain – who won silver behind her in Monday's cross-country finished with bronze just eight seconds behind.
Noreen Bonner 1:47.44, and Nuala Reilly 1:50.03, were just outside the individual medals but with Pauline’s 1:33.51 their combined time total won team silver behind USA.
Today’s half-marathon meant she has completed the equivalent of a marathon distance over six days in four races.
Six medals, a unique achievement in one championship – Congratulations Pauline!
Total World Masters haul =
three gold – 3000m, 8k cross-country, 10k; one team gold cross-country, one silver half-marathon, and one team silver half-marathon. A phenomenal performance by any standard.
It may be apt to recall a Mayo Athletics Road League prize-giving at Balla many years ago when guest speaker the great Dick HHooper who when asked what was the recipe for success replied “talent and hard work”. That was epitomised by this wonderful performance by Pauline Moran in Torún.
Saturday was party night for the World Masters and Pauline certainly had a lot to celebrate.
Ireland finished 7th of over 50 countries in the medals table: 28 gold, 23 silver 75 bronze.
Full results and more on the World Masters at www.mayoac.com.