With the Olympic Games and Paralympics now consigned to the history books filed under `unforgettable` - the next major world athletics event on our doorstep will be the 2013 World Police and Fire Games in Belfast.
And work on the £3m upgrade of the Mary Peters Track, including the Mondo running surface that was used at the Olympic stadiums in London and Beijing, is on target to be completed with more than 10,000 competitors and 40,000 spectators expected to arrive from across the world.
Golden girl Dame Mary Peters has visited the track - named in her honour to mark her unforgettable gold medal in the Pentathlon 40 years - along with Katie Kirk, the young athlete who received the torch from Dame Mary before lighting the cauldron at the Olympics opening ceremony in London.
Belfast City Council is upgrading the track as part of its £150 million investment programme and the athletes were joined by Councillor Deirdre Hargey, chair of its Strategic and Policy Resources Committee.
• new eight lane International Association of Athletics Federations specification track to the same standard as the Olympic Stadium in London;
• refurbishment of the field area;
• 400 seat spectator stand.
Dame Mary was impressed at the progress being made on the track as she recalled visiting it at around the same stage of the development of the original track around 40 years ago.
And she expressed delight that the legacy would be having a world class track capable of hosting major events like the World Police and Fire Games but providing world class facilities for young athletes such as Katie who have set out on the road with a view to following in her golden footsteps.
Katie said: “It is fantastic that Northern Ireland is getting its first outdoor `Mondo` track to complement the indoor Mondo track at the Odyssey. Athletes have a high regard for it as it helps to enable fast times.
“Mary Peters is the ultimate heroine to all local athletes and it is fitting that the upgrade of the track named in her honour will give the next generation of athletes the facilities to help us try to emulate her achievements.”
Councillor Hargey said: “It is exciting to be here today with Dame Mary and Katie representing our past and our future. It is for young people like Katie that we continue to invest in our city.
“We want to do more than inspire though we want to provide concrete results, not just in physical investment like the upgraded world class Mary Peters Track, but economically too with more jobs and better venues, like the new conference facilities planned for Belfast Waterfront which will attract business and visitors from across the globe.