A record entry and a lovely evening was had for the 6th running of the Athenry AC name-your-own-time 10K AKA 'The Burger Run' in Carnaun on Friday, 27 July 2012!
Run over the old (give or take) Fields course, this year's event attracted 40 entries. We even had some guest women unlike last year! Many of the stalwarts of previous events turned out again, with some returning stars also graced us with their presence, some who had not been seen racing for a number of years.
James Corbett and his crew of merry helpers including (not least) Maire Treasa Beatty, Owen Curran, Iain Shaw and Deirdre Quinn put on a brilliant show, from registration to burger flipping to lead bike/photographers to stewarding. I noted other stewards on the course too, including Michelle Tooher and Assumpta Feeney. Bridget Ann Walsh also made a special guest catering appearance. Peter Delmer must have bribed his teenagers to come along and help out likewise :-).
There were even a record number of spectators on the course: four. 'Mount Amber' was well represented again, as was at least one woman and two kids on the wall on the last estate out of Athenry on the Tuam road. Perhaps they were just out for a walk? The runners had to run the gauntlet of at least two tractors and Iain Shaw careening down the road at Moonbaun on his bike too. Neither a pretty sight!
The event got going soon after 8:10PM. James Corbett told the assembled masses just before the off that club member, Valerie Glavin, had had a baby boy that afternoon, Benjamin. Great news! The competitors made their way - some quickly and others a little slower - into Athenry from above St. Mary's GAA clubhouse. There was thankfully little traffic on the road, which made cutting corners easier than usual.
The wind was with the competitors on the way into the town, but gently buffeted us on the way back out the Tuam road towards Castle Ellen, running close by the home house of upcoming Olympian Paul Hession. GOOD LUCK AND FAIR RUNNING, PAUL!
The field quickly broke into general groups, with the front five well ahead of the next five, with the rest of the field strung out from there. The format of the race meant the winner could be as easily last on the road as first if they were able to correctly predict their finishing time (sans stop watch or any other distance measuring/time calculating instrument).
While the race was taking place, Owen Curran and his crew of little and large helpers were cooking up nearly 100 burgers for the hungry and thirsty customers who would soon descend down upon them.
The leaders made their way quickly around the course with a lean-looking Mick Rice coming home first in a handy 36:20, with returning star Peter Delmer only a minute behind, also looking very lean after a long lay-off from competitive action. Guest Abel Flores was third on the road soon after.
Mick nervous on the road?
The rest of the field streamed in, with Enda Munnelly having a stormer and probable PB in 41:13. He looked strong from early on and kept going further away from me as the race proceeded. Sham town's Brendan Monaghan and Headford's Gary Doherty kept ahead of me all the way, but not that far! Time was incidental to keeping those two long-time adversaries in my sights throughout the race.
Johnny ambling along at 40 minute pace!
Once finished, the timers at the finish line, Corbett and Beatty, were recording numbers and times, to be crunched later in Excel.
Some finishers did their warm-down on the pristine turf of St. Mary's pitch, while others tried to find their way to the nearest ditch/car to regain their bearings before being presentable again.
I awaited numbers from the finish line to produce a usable result and to quaff as many burgers and Club Orange as possible in 10 minutes. I think I finished with three burgers and two cups of Club Orange and one cup of crap Cola of some sort. Owen was worried that there wouldn't be enough of customers for his wares. I told him not the worry. There wasn't a crumb left at the end, needless to say. Athenry AC are a hungry crowd. I never did get as far as the cakes and desserts brough along by Orla McCluskey below...
Orla admiring her own handiwork...
Eventually the data was processed and winners announced. And then the problems started.
There was no Geraldine Reynolds! It was actually George Livanos instead. And it was at the business end of affairs too! Dang!!!!!
That meant a very quick re-calculation of the minor AAC women's positions and a full re-casting of the AAC men's placings. Almost al l prize winners were still on the premises and after a few hasty trophy swaps, we got almost all the right prizes into the right hands. Hard luck on the two people who thought they'd won, who now went home with nothing. Sorry!
Marie McCarthy, the race's only guest woman, got closest to her predicted time being a mere 8 seconds outside her predicted time. Brendan Monaghan won another guest man prize in this race, to add to his numerous such prizes in Ballindine etc. Sinead Foran was first Athenry woman home in a very leisurely time while the aforementioned George Livanos was first Athenry man home with both only three seconds apart on the road.
Fair play to James Corbett on a super event. The man put a lot of effort into ensuring that the event ran as smoothly as humanly possible. He also sponsored all the prizes… much kudos. He had some excellent people around too, people who know exactly what do to - a pity about the lad he got to do the results though ;-).
Done and dust and out the gate of Carnaun before 10PM, by which time it was dark and had turned distinctly cool after a scorcher of an afternoon. Onwards to the Coolarne tomorrow (Saturday), the Ballygar 10KM next weekend and then the big one, the Connemara 100 or The Streets the Saturday after that!