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Oversea-ing the Track Map

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Courtesy of Brown Sports Information
Ariel Wright, Special Correspondent

Providence, RI -- Sunday June 22nd, the Brown and Dartmouth track teams regretfully returned from an amazing 12-day venture across the seas. The trip began June 10th with some airplane difficulties and an unfortunate early return to Providence when all flights to Philly were cancelled for the night due to weather. However, it turned into a fun evening and a great ice breaker as the Dartmouth team came back to the Brown campus with us and slept over at our places. The next day, we started all over again and returned to Logan to face yet again, more flight delays. They switched us to a different airline, but couldn't fit all 54 of us on one flight, so we had to split up and would meet in Limerick, Ireland.

All of these setbacks were no match for our excitement, and 10 hours later we arrived exhausted in Shannon, Ireland. We were greeted at the airport by our host Michael Hayes, who is a professor at the University of Limerick, an Ivy League graduate, and track aficionado. He handed each of us a packet of information and a program for our competition. Immediately, we felt welcomed. After a bus ride to Limerick, and a three-hour nap, (even longer for some of us), we convened for practice preceded by an Irish dancing lesson. The night after the first meet, we were delighted to attend a formal banquet with a delicious three-course meal and mixed seating arrangements, which allowed us to mingle with the Irish athletes. After the dinner we all enjoyed an inter-team dance complete with deejay! Five days in the beautiful countryside with the track meet (in which we realized not just the University of Limerick was competing but practically all of Ireland), banquet, and lots of bonding time, were followed by a sad goodbye to the University of Limerick and the local friends we made.

The teams then packed up and headed for Dublin. Here, we enjoyed only one brief day and night in a modest youth hostel. We had one day to explore the city and all it had to offer. Some found a great park to run in, and others went to see the castle. Some were tired and took a bus tour while others walked the entire city on foot, and lastly some went to the famous Guinness Beer factory. It was a quick trip, but a fun city to see before heading off to the wonderful UK.

The first night in London, the team stayed outside of the city at the quaint University of Brunel where an early night allowed us to re-energize before heading into central London. We were able to use the track and field facilities as well as run on some local trails. The day before - Linford Christie (a former English superstar sprinter, who later got caught cheating with drugs - was hosting a practice at the track). Furthermore, upon leaving we found out that Brunel was going to be one of the host sights for the 2012 Olympics. It was neat to realize that we got to stay where future Olympians would be staying. We were spoiled at both the University of Limerick and Brunel as both had incredible dorm situations in which everyone had their own room and bathroom!

After practice and lunch in the dining hall (where many would say we had the best meal of the entire trip), we headed into London on a very interesting bus ride (where the driver had no idea where we were going and got really, really lost). Finally we arrived in the middle of London at the University College of London, which is where we resided for the remainder of the trip.

The complete recap, including a picture gallery, of the trip can be found at the Brown Bears website.