WITH less than one month to go until the 2024 Belfast Irish Milers Meet in association with Tripadvisor, the prestigious track meet is miles ahead under the guidance of race director, Eamonn Christie.  

The Belfast track meet has a long-standing tradition of producing some of the fastest times within the world of athletics.  

In 2022, the Belfast Irish Milers Meet was written into the Irish record books when Louise Shanahan broke the Irish women’s 800m record, running 1:59.42.  

In recent years, the women’s 800m has been a highlight event at the Belfast Meet, when British athlete Alex Bell ran 1:58.52 in 2021 to secure her Olympic selection for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games.  

For the last three consecutive years, the women's 800m race has been won in under two minutes for the two-lap distance, a time commonly recorded at world-level competitions.  

This year, Christie has put together an 800m start list comparable to that of the Diamond League circuits.  

Shanahan will line up once again to attempt the hat-trick. However, she will face tough competition from three athletes coached by British duo Trevor Painter and Jenny Meadows.  

Meadows, a former world and European 800m medalist for Great Britain, and her husband Trevor Painter coach a well-established elite group of athletes headlined by Olympic 800m silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson.  

Members of the M11 Track Club will line up in the Ardent Wealth Women’s International 800m, which include Erin Wallace, recent 800m bronze medalists at the British Indoor Championships in February.  

Annmarie Nissen from Denmark will also make the trip to Belfast for the two-lap race. The eight-time national champion will be joined by training partner Ava Loyd who is ranked ninth fastest junior athlete on the British all-time records.  

Recent winner of the Carlsbad 5000m Road Race in California, Olympian Laura Galvan from Mexico will headline the Tripadvisor Women’s International 1500m.

Local athlete Nick Griggs will face tough competition from Norwegian Andreas Fjeld Halvorsen. Both Griggs and Fjeld Halvorsen hold European titles in U18 and U20 categories. But will Griggs have the home advantage? 

As if start lists including Olympians, national champions and world and European medalists isn’t impressive enough to showcase in Belfast, since the track meet was established in 2015, Christie has continued to ensure the athletics meet is free entry for spectators - a rare occurrence for sporting events of this calibre. 

“The athletes are at the heart of the track meet but it’s a very inclusive day,” said Christie. 

“The meet starts with junior 1000m races and ends with Olympians battling for Olympic and European Championships standards.  

“It’s a fantastic day of athletics all round with plenty of international athletes making the journey from South Africa, Mexico and all over Europe to compete in Belfast.”

The Belfast Irish Milers Meet in association with Tripadvisor is set to take place at the Mary Peters Track from 11:30am-5:30pm on Saturday, May 11. Free entry for spectators.  

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