The 11th of August 2012 will definitely be a day that the Eslin Ladies who travelled to London will never ever forget. In fact I think because of our experience on this date, the Olympics will hold a new meaning for us from now on.
We will always be able to reminisce and retell of our “out of this world experience” in London, whether it be this year, next year or many years down the line. Who do we have to thank only Laura Reynolds (Eslin) and Colin Griffin (Ballinamore) for this.
Had they not qualified we would not have been in London and could not have experienced the “Olympic Buzz”.
To witness Laura, a local girl, a friend, walk and compete in the Olympics was such a privilege. The moment we saw her make her way up the mall, on her very first lap, made each of us grow ten foot taller and made our voices and cheers hit the roof. We shouted and roared ourselves, but it was the help of a random Irish man armed with a whistle who structured our roars into a loud chant “Lets go Laura, Lets Go!!!”
Our group seemed to grow in numbers with many Irish, most of whom we did not know, joining us in our support of both Olive and Laura. It was a fantastic occasion to see Eslin and Leitrim emigrants, who are now working in London, come and join in our support of Laura. Many strangers came up asking for a photograph with us and telling us of their Eslin/Leitrim roots.
As Laura began to climb places in the race, we had our phones out checking updates from home and from the internet. To see Laura walk and look so comfortable throughout the blistering pace of this long race, full of the best athletes in the world, was an experience words can’t even begin to describe.
At times during the race we wondered if we were helping the athletes or not by the level of noise we were making but when we saw Olive join in on the words of “Fields of Athenry“ and Laura giving us a huge smile as they passed us for the final time, we knew it had been appreciated. It took a few seconds to sink in and believe what had just happened at the end of the race.
We knew Laura had climbed an unbelievable amount of places in the second half of the race but we weren’t quite sure of her finishing place. We all knew she was aiming for the top 20’s and we hoped she had done this for herself. The phones were out again and it wasn’t long until we found out that she came 20th place and slashed her personal best time.
Everyone of us was thrilled for Laura herself and of course her trainer Colin. It was an unbelievable experience and we were delighted we were there to be a part of it.
On our way home the next day all that was on our minds was Rio 2016.