Below are some of my thoughts and experiences from the Connemarathon 12/04/15- it is longer than I expected but then the marathon is not short! written by Sarah Makem
Another great weekend of racing with the National 10k taking place at the Phoenix Park on Saturday 11th April and the renowned Connemarathon Ultra, Marathon and Half taking place on Sunday 12th April.
On Saturday in Dublin on what is a notoriously hard course especially in the last 5k of the race. This did not deter our GCH athletes who determinedly took to the course to mark their place in this National event!!
Whose bright idea was this???
Oh yeah, mine.
So where to begin? I like to run. In doing so I like to do things that I will remember when I’m old and greyer. This year, I’m in my 39th year so what better way to mark it than a 39(.3) race, the Connemara Ultra.
KISS- Keep it Simple Stupid
My basic plan was (a) to get to the start line and (b) get to the finish line. In distance running, part (a) is often the hardest to achieve with the chance of illness, injury or simply not getting the time to complete the training load. For me, a chest infection with a week to go made me more than a little nervous. But, felt good by Friday and the race wasn’t until Sunday.
39 miles to run, nowhere to hide
We set off from near Peacocks of Maam Cross at 9am without fuss and I settled in to a nice steady rhythm. I ran by effort rather than pace as the Ultra is anything but flat and an even pace but would be difficult to achieve. For me, a Heart Rate (HR) of 165-170 was about right.
A game of 3 halves
You could say the Ultra is a race of 3 halves with the first half marathon section reasonable, followed by two progressively harder half marathons to follow. I felt comfortable until about mile 15 when a strong-ish wind and rolling roads made me work harder than I had wanted. My HR shot up to 180’s and slowing down didn’t have any effect. I knew I would pay the price later in the race. The left turn for Leenane brought a welcome relief from the wind. What followed was a good stretch of downhill running. The only problem was the downhills were just as hard if not harder on the legs than the uphills.
I got to the 26 mile mark at Leenane at 3 hrs 44 mins with the hardest section of the course left. Heading out of Leenane the legs started to get their own back on me and started to send shock waves of cramp. I wasn’t alone though as many of those around me suffered the same fate.
Onwards and Upwards. Literally.
I’d like to say that I negotiated the course from Leenane to Keane’s Pub in Maam comfortably but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It hurt like hell. Each uphill brought a dart of pain from the calf muscles and each downhill hurt everywhere else. Energy was running low but I couldn’t face eating. A bottle of flat coke at mile 29 managed to save the day though.
If you are going through hell, just keep going.
I struggled on to Keane’s and made the final turn of the day, onto the ‘Hell of the West’. I had decided long before the start that this race, for me, was all about the last 5 miles. A 34 mile warm up and a right good dig up and over the infamous hill.
Brendan Monaghan who had tirelessly kept me hydrated and motivated throughout the race as he cycled up and down the course was joined by Stephen Brady and John Joe Higgins. I think we were the only people who laughed our way up the climb. My wife Mary, sister Marian, and mother Sheila had stationed themselves at mile 38 and they provided all the encouragement I needed to slog it out to the finish. The clock read 5 hours 59 mins as I crossed the line.
Just need to find a 40 mile race for next year
Tuam AC Members running on Sunday were as follows:
Connemara Ultra Marathon – Padraic Burke (see his report above).
Hell and Back Tuam 5k – Joanna Kieley, Andrea Ridge, Tommy Varden, Justin Lane, Maura Meeneghan (1st female),Timothy Geraghty, Ronan McGrath, Teresa Burke, Dolores Higgins, Helen Gilmartin.
Ballinderry 5k – Ger Hartnett (3rd overall and 1st in his category), Sean Burke (3rd in category), Mark Rabbitte (1st in category), Annmaire Miskell (2nd in category), Maura Meeneghan (2nd 5k of the day), Justin Lane (2nd 5k of the day), Olivia Fitzpatrick, Timothy Geraghty, Roger Rushe (1st in Category), Audrey Greaney, Julie Murphy, Assumpta Meeneghan.
Please remember to send your race results/reports to Sean our Club PRO.
Easter weekend brought the sunshine to the West and it was time to put the hard slog of battling wind and rain which was plentiful over the winter season to the test. It was also time to see if our Lenten season sacrifices had paid off!!!
It was a weekend of celebrations for Tuam AC as three of our members received very well deserved awards at the 2014 Galway County Athletics Awards which took place on Saturday evening at the Ard Ri Hotel. Roger Rushe and Mickey Kelly were the joint winners of the Hall of Fame award and David Evans won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Athletics. Everybody in Tuam AC and indeed everybody in the Tuam area is delighted that Roger, Mickey and David have received recognition for there fantastic support and participation in athletics for so many years and we wish them continued success.
Roger celebrated by doing what he does best as he traveled to Loughrea on Monday and ran the 5k race in 25.07 and he was joined by his daughter Audrey Greaney who also had a superb run and they are both really looking forward to the 5k series which begins on Tuesday 28th April in Athenry and promises to be the biggest series to date with almost 1000 entries.
Other members in action over the weekend included Sean Burke, Mark Rabbitte and Sean O’Morain who all ran the Colemanstown 10k.
Ger Hartnett and Aidan Doyle both had flyers in the Kilmovee 10k and the Tuesday evening speedwork sessions are definitely paying off if these results are anything to go by.
Finally we would all like to wish Padraic Burke well in the Connemara Ultra Marathon on Sunday. He has completed his training schedule and is in superb condition and raring to go on Sunday, he is a great inspiration to everybody in the club and we wish him well.
Craughwell AC has retained its place as the largest juvenile club in Ireland with the figures announced yesterday by Athletics Ireland. Having spent a number of years in the top 3, Craughwell edged into 2nd place and then 1st in Autumn last year. We appear to be growing more rapidly than any other club and are now 55 members bigger than the next biggest Dundrum South Dublin and more than twice as big as all other Connacht clubs other than Sligo AC. The club is extremely proud of this statistic as we place a big emphasis on participation as well as developing our members to their potential be it part of a healthy lifestyle or elite national and international standards.
And we’re not neglecting competitiveness either. After the recent Irish Indoor Championships, the club are ranked 6th in the country based on our indoor performances – with 9 medals and many top 8 finishes. The club’s performances in terms of both participation and competitiveness are all the more impressive given that our members come from a relatively small area of rural County Galway compared to many big city and town clubs.
All the more reason why the club needs to move forward quickly on developing our new facility as we badly need the space and better facilities for our rapidly growing membership. To this end, the club are launching is major fund-raiser for this year – an attempt at setting a Guinness World Record.
We really need the full support of club members on this as we are putting a lot of effort into developing advanced facilities quickly with the aid of loans and grants so that the current membership benefit.
Please read on for details of the facility plans and fundraiser- don't leave it to others as we need everyone on board!! Thank you!!
Matthew McKernan in action in the U18 Triple Jump National finals in Athlone
The club’s leading juveniles had another wonderful day of action on the final day of the National Indoor Track & Field championships in Athlone last weekend, with some fantastic performances which yielded 1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze and several top eight finishes. Foremost amongst them was Sineád Treacy’s massive leap of 5.45m to take the gold medal in the U19 long jump along with a season’s best of 25.04 to take the silver medal in a close battle to the line in the 200m. This brings Sineád’s tally for the National indoor season to 2 individual gold and 1 silver in the U19 championships, silver in the U20 200m and team silver in the National Indoor League – incredible performances.
Also in fine form, Matthew McKernan leaped an impressive 12.17m to take the silver medal in the U18 triple jump. Daniel Callanan-Forde claimed his first indoor National medal and first long jump National medal with a fine jump of 5.70m. Daniel was holding 2nd place until the very last round of jumps with a best of 5.68m when the jumper prior to him leapt 5.77m. On his final jump, Daniel put everything into it to leap 5.70m and had to settle for bronze by the tiny margin of 7cm.
In the U19 800m, Damien O’Boyle qualified comfortably in the heats in a time of 2.01.00 and went on to produce his 2nd fastest time ever to place 3rd in the final in a time of 1.58.93.
Galway Athletics County Board are delighted to announce that the following people have been selected as category winners in the 2014 Galway AAI Athletics Awards.
The winners will be presented with their awards at a reception in the Ard Rí Hotel in Tuam, on Saturday next 4th April 2015, from 7pm. Contact Brendan Monaghan of Tuam AC for further details of the reception or to book a place- email@example.com or 0868371136
So, here I was at the start line of my first Craughwell 10 wearing a Craughwell AC singlet, but a complete stranger-almost. Having only joined the club 3 weeks ago I hoped this would be a successful homecoming. I hoped the Garmin would locate a satellite before the gun in 2 minutes!
Lots of guns here today, Raheny, Tullamore, Limerick, Mullingar, Roscommon, Templemore more Raheny... but this is my backyard. Galway's' finest are on show today. From Athenry-Rohan, Meehan, Healy, Somers, Deakin, from Maree, Mc Donagh, Kerrin from G.C.H. Bidwell, Brody, Carty, Phelan and some heavy local artillery in the form of Larkin and Mullins.
Two hours earlier at number collection I didn't have to introduce myself as the lady issuing the numbers recognised me. It turns out Mairead Lane and I shared the same school bus when I did the leaving cert in '87. Mairead must have been in 1st year! So at least one person in a Craughwell singlet knows who I am! Having worked all morning in administration Mairead went on to post a superb 1hr 29mins.
BANG! We're off. I have a plan... run with my head and ignore the Garmin for the most part. Nobody is overtaking me in the first 500yards, that's because I'm moving too quickly and need to slow it up. Where's the plan now? I have overtaken quite a few and decide to sit it in, albeit 20yds behind my friend Brendan Mc Donnell. Brendan finished the Kinvara half two minutes ahead of me a fortnight ago, I won't see him for long. A young lad shoots past, down the centre of the road and continues at an electric pace. It was Oliver Mullins- he quickly fades in the distance.
Photo courtesy of Paul O'Connor
Mile 1 complete 5'52"- not good, what am I doing? I'm 46 and with only two years running under my belt even I realise that this is far from intelligent running. So I pull in the horns. Mile two is flat and I decide to ignore the Garmin, reduce the effort and the pace, no overtakes 6'15". Two down and I can look forward to a drink soon.
The headwind is cooling though, just need to rinse the mouth. The runner behind me is starting to pound the tarmac, I can't live with this, two choices, no – one, he's not getting past...I squeeze the throttle. His noisy footfall fades. The three mile marker 6'04". Ah, the water station, all is good again, or is it? I try to take a drink but nearly choke. I'm moving too fast again and my mouth is for breathing, not drinking this time. We turn right for Roveagh and the breeze is no longer in our faces, found a comfortable pace now. Brendan is not really increasing the distance between us. I admire the scenery-almost 30 years since I travelled these roads. I'm moving well.6'13" for mile four.
The fine day means there are people at almost every gateway encouraging all the runners. They were there for the first four miles too but didn't get the appreciation they deserved as I was trying to referee a conflict between my head and my heart. Mile five has a gentle incline and I pass a runner whose game is clearly up! He wishes me well as I pass, he'll be back. I'm now starting to appreciate the advantages of being a club member running on home ground as cheers of "C'mon Craughwell", "Good man yourself" and "Fair play to ya" ring in my ears at every gateway. 6'14" for mile five and so far so good. We soon take another right turn and the initial breeze in our faces is now on our backs. Brendan is not stretching his lead over me but is actually within touching distance. He looks over his shoulder for the first time. He sensed it was me gaining on him, "I'm cattle trucked Tom" or similar sounding words came from his mouth. I pass my friend, tell him to tuck in and I'll take him to the finish. I'm 5'8" -he's 6'4"! He ordered me to "GO"- I did- mile six - 6'03"
I was moving well, legs were strong my breathing controlled. Mile seven has a hill, I like hills, and a water station. Brendan recedes behind me as I recognise the runner 200yds ahead-Jane Ann Healy. My only other race over the distance was the Galway Simon 10 last summer -I finished in 1:06:20 with Jane Ann 40 seconds ahead in 3rd place overall. I'd settle for that today but had a goal time of 1:05 for Craughwell. I wouldn't be checking my overall progress till race end. Mile seven 6 minutes flat.
Three miles from home and I was enjoying this. I managed to take on water during mile 7 and keep the pace. I managed a wave or two and a few "Thank you's" to the many encouraging well-wishers along these last few miles. This Craughwell singlet is making me run faster and stronger-I'm flying now. As I near the right hander just before the eight mile mark there's a shout "C'mon Tom, you're flying". It was the endorsement I needed, it was my old school class mate and Craughwell A.C. stalwart John Fitzpatrick.
I put mile eight aside in 5'54". Keep it cool now, don't blow up 2 from home. Jane Ann wasn't getting any closer... she was gliding along gracefully. All quiet in the rear-view mirror! There's a downhill section in mile nine and halfway down we take the only left hand turn onto the long home straight. There are lots of cheering onlookers now and I'm feeding off them 6'02" for mile nine.
And now one last effort, stay focused and finish strong but carry on enjoying the moment. I don't think the next runner is close enough to challenge my position in the field and I know I have got the fuel reserves spot on. I'll empty the tank now and float over the line. 200 yards to go and I disengage cruise control and fully open the throttle.
A marshal shouts my bib number ahead and the P.A. announcer is on the wrong page ...declaring "Next home is... (ladies name) from Ballyhaunis meet and train". The large crowd near the finish had such a laugh at the ugliest woman they ever saw running! I managed a smile and lifted my vest to expose a hairy belly for them, proof enough that she had made a wrong call. There quickly followed a correction and an apology over the P.A. system with the announcer rectifying her mistake declaring aloud that number 478 was in fact a MAN, me, TOM PRENDERGAST OF CRAUGHWELL A.C.
Photo courtesy of John O'Connor
As I completed mile 10 in 5'57", I glanced contentedly at the clock overhead 1 hr 0mins 55 seconds. A 5 minute PB. I had absolutely no idea that I had such a time in me, but have since realised that the time was always there. It just took every man, woman and child along the route to draw it out of my willing legs and lungs, for that I shall be eternally grateful to everybody who made it for me, the race of a lifetime and for instilling so much pride in me through the club colours!
What a day! What a club! What a brilliant organisation. To the volunteers who probably outnumbered the runners "take a bow "and thank you,
Close to home this time and the Craughwell 10 saw the second event of the 2015 GCH Club Challenge. Close to 40 GCHers toed the line on a close to perfect day for running. Grainne Ní Uallachain and Matt Bidwell led home the GCH challenge.Bernie Kelly leads up the women's side of the GCH challenge thanks to her bonus points from Ballycotton and strong run in Craughwell. Matt and Conor Dolan share top spot in the men's challenge. Next up is the National 10km in the Phoenix Park.
G.C.H juveniles had a great weekend at the National Juvenile Championships in Athlone.
The club won 4 Gold medals, 2 silver medals and 2 bronze medals.
Congratulations to all our GCH athletes who took part in this year’s Craughwell 10. The sunshine brought over 33 GCHers to the race and not only did we see many podium finishes but lots of PB’s this year too.
Sinead Treacy, National U19 Indoor 60m Champion 2015
Sinead Treacy was the star of the show on day 2 of the National Juvenile Indoor Track & Field Championships in AIT today when taking the U19 60m title in a blistering 7.84s – one of Sineád’s finest indoor performances in her final year as a juvenile athlete. Sineád’s progress over the years is an inspirational example to all of our younger athletes. If we rewind the clock to when our current U12s were U5s and in junior infants or thinking about the big step up into junior infants, Sineád was an U12 competing in the Galway Indoors in Nenagh where she placed 3rd, a feat she repeated in the Connacht’s in a time of 9.46 before going on to place 13th in the National finals. Her hard work and dedication in the intervening 7 years has paid rich dividends for Sineád and long may it continue for her after she leaves the juvenile ranks.
In excess of 500 participants toed the line in for the 6th running of the Craughwell 10 Mile road race in almost perfect running conditions this afternoon. A big thank you to all of the participants and of course to all of the Craughwell AC members, their families, friends and neighbours for making the day such a great success. We could not do it without you.
Results of the Galway 10 Mile Championships and full age category results to follow in the coming days.
The top three finishers in each category:
- Mick Clohisey Raheny Shamrock A.C 0:49:29
- Matt Bidwell Galway City Harriers 0:52:41
- Brian Leahy Raheny Shamrock A.C 0:54:17
- Jane Ann Healy Athenry AC 1:00:19
- Grainne Ni Uallachain Galway City Harriers 1:05:27
- Sinead Brody Galway City Harriers 1:05:48
Start Line of the Craughwell 10 Mile 2015
Photo courtesy of Paul O'Connor
Race number collection: Your race number will be available for collection from 12.00pm to 1.00pm on Saturday the 21st of March at St. Michael's Hall Craughwell
From 11.00am to 12.30pm on race day 22nd of March at our race HQ at Craughwell National School.
Please arrive early to collect your race number, timing chip and technical t-shirt from the marquee at the rear of the school.
Road Closure commences at 12:30pm therefore it is vital that you arrive at the event prior to this time.
Ample parking is available in the GAA training grounds behind Craughwell National School which is the first left after Craughwell National School.
Note: The start line is approx. 1k away from the HQ!
Please attach your race number to the front of the t-shirt you will be wearing during the race using the safety pins provided. Your race number should be visible at all times. Your race chip is incorporated into your race number.
Toilets : there will be 8 portable toilets at race HQ and 2 close to the start area.
Any items left at HQ or at the start area are left there entirely at your own risk.
We will collect all bottles and jackets etc. from the start and leave them for you to retrieve in a box near the finish line. The organisers will not be held responsible for any items lost or stolen.
The race will start at 1:00pm sharp. Clear instructions will be given to move to the start area from HQ and you must follow the instructions of the race officials at this time to ensure you are not late for the start.
If you are a walker please start at the back of the field to allow runners to get away safely.
There will be 2 water stations with 250ml bottles, at approx. 3.3 Miles and 6.6 Miles and water will also be provided at the finish line.
When you are finished with each bottle please drop it at the mile markers only. Please do not throw away bottles anywhere else along the route. There will be distance markers every mile.
The roads will reopen at 3:30pm so please exercise caution after this time as normal rules of the road will apply.
Use of iPods and other devices is not permitted during the race. Please be aware of other runners at all times, particularly at water stations.
Please obey the marshals instructions at all times.
Refreshments will be available for participants in the marquee at the finish area.
Prize giving will take place for each category as they become available.
Thank you for entering the Craughwell 10 2015. We wish you the very best of luck and we hope you have a great experience.
If you have any queries please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerry Keary was the pride of the club on Saturday when he jumped a brilliant 1.70m to take the silver medal in the U16 boys high jump, in the process eclipsing the previous club best in this age group by 10cm. Jerry got off to a wobbly start knocking 1.55m on his first attempt and then proceeding to clear 1.60 and 1.65 on his first attempt.
With 5 jumpers still in it at 1.70m, it was a top quality competition. Only 1 cleared it on his first attempt, the eventual winner. Jerry got it on his 2nd attempt, the crucial jump as it turned out as it earned him the silver medal when the other 3 jumpers took another attempt to get it.
At 1.73m, Jerry made a few great attempts but it wasn’t to be on this occasion. But he was delighted with silver, a new PB and a club age group record and his first time on the podium since clearing 1.20m to take bronze as an U12 in 2011 having come close on many occasions in the intervening four years.
The relays threw up their usual share of exhilarating excitement with 2 fourth places finishes from the boys U15 and boys U12 teams in their finals.
The U15s ran a time of 1.50.29 to win their heat and followed it up with an exceptional performance in the final to place 4th with a time of 1.49.04 with the team of Alex Evans, Sean Connaughton, Ultan Sheerin and Oisin Shannon.
The U12s ran a superb heat in a time of 57.13 and followed it up with an exceptional 56.47 to take 4th place in a tight finish in the final – both times being club age group records. The team were Robert Urquhart, Conor Hoade, Lukas Schukat, Sean Fox and sub Liam McDonagh.
Craughwell AC U12 Boys 4x100m Team at the National Indoors Championships
Earlier in the day the U15 girls recorded a good time in their 4x200m heat of 1.57.03 (Rachael Hughes, Mia Waters, Anna Farrelly, Siona Lawless) as did the U16 girls with a time of 1.56.22 (Siona Lawless, Lorraine Delaney, Anna Farrelly, Laura Cunningham) and the U14 boys who were unlucky to drop the baton in their race when recording a time of 1.59.84 (Alex Evans, Sean Connaughton, Kyle Moorhead, Finbar McFadden, sub Ciaran Connaughton). The U13 boys had a strong performance in their heats to qualify for the final when winning their heat in a time of 56.79 and went on to place 5th in the final in a time of 57.01 with their team of Lewis Ryan, Jack Fitzgerald, Padraig Martyn and Shaun Gilligan.
Craughwell AC U16 Girls 4x200m Relay Team at the National Indoor Track & Field Championships in Athlone
Siona Lawless, Laura Cunningham, Lorraine Delaney, Anna Farrelly
Meanwhile Oisin Lyons had a massive performance on his international debut when he placed 12th in the Schools International Cross Country which was held in Santry. While it has not been confirmed yet, its thought the Irish team took the silver medals. Also in flying form, Neil Greaney had a fine run to take the victory in the PREDA 5k Run for Freedom at Ballybrit where he held on for the victory in an excellent time of 16.25, battling to the line with clubmate Jason Broderick.
Finally welcome to Craughwell tomorrow to all the Craughwell 10 participants! Best of luck to all! And best of luck also to all our juveniles in action at day 2 of the National Indoors tomorrow!
Full results of todays action is at:- http://www.athleticsirelandenterprises.com/results_21032015/schedule.html