217 runners took part in this year's 29th Claregalway 10km, numbers being slightly up on last year. Ten athletes donned the maroon and white club colours, taking on the traditional one lap loop. Weather conditions were described as blustery but remained dry! For the third consecutive year, local man (he lives less than 200 metres from the start of the race) Matt Bidwell of Galway City Harriers claimed victory, while Regina Casey GCH last year's winner, finished second.
2506 athletes completed this year's Streets of Galway 8km. The iconic club photo usually taken on the steps of Jury's Hotel was organised by James Lundon. There was a smaller representation from the club this year as the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon was on the following morning. Race conditions were described as blustery, but for once, we saw the wind favour athletes as they ran along the prom in the final stage of the race. There were a few reported PB's and possibly more! We saw an impressive finish to the ladies race with only 18 seconds separating the 3 podium places.
National Half Marathon / 07 Aug 2016 / 08:30 a.m.
Although most of us relish the challenge of a tough race, the 4:30 a.m alarm call was greeted with little enthusiasm. By the time the porridge was consumed and we had hit the M6 the early start was quickly forgotten as the focus turned to the task in hand.
A few of us headed in the direction of Mullingar this Sunday for the annual Mullingar AC 10 mile road race. We knew from my better half Esther, who had participated the previous year, that it actually takes place outside the town of Mullingar in a little place called Dalystown, so Google Maps was our navigator.
Many years ago when the children were young, we decided to go on a family holiday. So one morning with the exception of the kitchen sink we loaded everything and everyone into the car and didn't stop going until we landed somewhere in the middle of France. On arriving there we were amazed at the long straight roads and the miles of vineyards growing in the fields. Soon we were to discover that the grapes growing in the region we were in were the ones used in the making of brandy and that the town of Cognac, home to the Hennessy and Martel distilleries, were only an hour’s drive away.
A week after the Athenry county half marathon it was time for a test over a shorter distance. A good contingent from Athenry AC made the trip to the Headford 8K for this lung buster. The first person I spotted was Marguerite Wilkinson on her warm up, looking fresh after her sub 2 hour half in Monivea the week before.
I first broke 3 hours in the 2012 Cork marathon, running 2:53. Every marathon I ran in 2013, 2014 and 2015 was under 3 hours. In order, these were a 2:54, a 2:52, a 2:45 (pb from Connemara 2014), a 2:47, a 2:58, a 2:48 and another 2:54. I say this for perspective, because last Monday June 6th in Cork, I ran a relatively slow 3:08:31... yet it was one of the most enjoyable marathons I've ever run.
Indulge me please: I need to write a little about the last six months first, before describing this race.