Two sparkling gold-medal winning performances from distance runner Jo McGarry and sprint hurdler Claire Lidster matched the Sarnians’ earlier successes on a night of drama and broken records.McGarry, probably better known as a road runner, but one with a fair turn of speed, had the honour of winning Jersey’s first athletics gold when she roared past local favourite Penny Buckingham on the final bend to win the 10,000 metres.Things had not looked so rosy even one lap back; Buckingham, not known for her finishing speed, had taken up the running with a vengeance 1,500m from home.
Her ploy looked to have worked as she first shook off the highly rated Jackie Ashman of the Isle of Man, who settled for bronze, and then opened up a 20m gap on McGarry.’I almost settled for silver at that point,’ admitted McGarry.
‘I hadn’t been expecting her to go so fast and it caught me by surprise, although I knew she would take it on at some point.The 32-year-old mother of two, an Allied Irish Offshore employee, refused to be broken and she steadily made up ground on the back straight as Buckingham’s crowd-fuelled exertions began to tell.McGarry, who ran the 3,000m in the Guernsey Games of 1987, enjoyed her moment of triumph immensely but has already started to look towards Friday’s half-marathon – and the chance of another medal.Lidster repeated her triumph of two years ago in the Isle of Man by winning the ladies’ 100m hurdles, coming from behind at the last hurdle and then dipping on the line to take the decision from Manx sprinter Hannah Riley.Lidster (21), who works for the Royal Bank of Canada, said: ‘I’ve been struggling a little bit for form this season, so I’m really happy with that.’Lidster clocked 15.30 sec to Riley’s 15.36, with Guernsey’s Danielle Troke (16.03) denying Jersey 16-year-old Kamela Monks (16.59) a bronze.
Jersey did collect three bronzes on the night, however, with third-place finishes for hurdler Peter Irving, sprinter Keiron Palmer and thrower Lauren Thérin.Irving’s run in the 400m hurdles was typically gutsy and it came in a classic race which ended in victory in Games record time for local hero Dale Garland.
The Commonwealth Games star clocked 51.27 to better Saaremaa’s Indrek Tustit, but the drama was not fully over.
Irving, who had ran hard over the first 200, looked a spent force after an awkward final hurdle, but he dug deep to fend off the powerful Cayman runner Ronald Forbes.
He was delighted, but admitted that he needs to improve his hurdling technique: ‘I’m losing so much time because of it,’ he said.Palmer was also involved in a great struggle in the 200m but could not get into the final shake-up for gold with Guernsey’s Ryan de Haaff (a runner he has beaten before) and Illias Kellis of Rhodes, who won in 22.25 sec.
Palmer clocked 22.58, outside his PB, while de Haaff was delighted with his race and time of 22.34.Thérin collected her second medal of these Island Games with third place in the ladies’ shot, her throw of 11.18m placing her behind Virge Treiel of Saaremaa (11.89) and the winner, Christina Larsson of Gotland (12.34m).Paul Derrien threw 39.55m to finish seventh in the men’s hammer, an event that was over as a contest after less than a minute.
That’s all it took for England No 4 Andy Frost of the Isle of Wight to break the Games record with a throw of 61m.
Not content with that, he then broke it another three times, finishing with a mark of 65.82.
Fellow Isle of Wight thrower Paul Farley was second with 50.22.Kamela Monks finished fourth (10.86m) and Gemma Poignard sixth (9.97m) in a triple jump competition won by Kaire Paat of Saaremaa.
Earlier in the day Verity Beck was surprisingly eliminated from the 400m, having tightened up after a fast first 200 metres.