10km de la Garenne. Roots, Rocks and Ruts.

Published in Reports on 18th June 2006

I travelled about 120km this morning on excellent motorways from Argelés sur Mer, on the Mediteranean coast, via Perpignon and Narbonne to the quaint village of Mirepeisset for the 10km de la Garenne. The race started at 9am so I arrived in a lot of haste at 8:30, abandoned the car and legged it to registration. I was expecting a lot of red tape as they required a copy of a medical report from each competitor, and in my best pigeon French I explained "Je n'ai pas du report medical". However the ladies behind the desk accepted my AAI membership card and for eight euro I was official. After I picked up a number (bring your own pins!) I queued again for the ubiquitous tee-shirt and a nice bottle of local vin rouge.

Time for a ten minute warm-up and off to find the start. The organisers cleverly lined everybody (about 160 entrants) up to a false line before moving us forward to the real start line, ensuring that the faster runners had ample opportunity to get a good position. Race started bang on time and I pushed off in about 30th position. Having had a dodgy stomach for the past four or five days I planned on going out easy and seeing how the body responded. I was doubly cautious due to the heat - despite the early start the temp was about 25 degrees.

The race entered the village of Mirepeisset and wound through the narrow shuttered streets. On the far side of the village we entered a shady lane alongside a river and I was happy to be out of the sun. I was running comfortably and overtaking people every minute or two. The terrain was a dusty old lane, but the surface soon deteriorated into a rutted laneway with poor grip. The race organisers had highlighted any exposed tree roots with an orange paint so that at least the chance of tripping up was minimised. However there was no way to run fast on this course. I was very glad of the shade but not at all happy with avoiding roots, rocks and ruts.

After the first km mark I encountered the 6th mark so I learned that this was to be a two lap race. So far so good; I was running well, constantly going by people, and not suffering badly in the heat ... yet. The race continued along the river track, along the edge of vineyards and along the Canal du Midi, almost always in shade. Only as we turned across a difficult little wooden foot bridge to head back to the village did we get the full sun exposure. In the direct heat of the sun, I began to have to work hard to keep my pace going. My pace was slow ... 3:46, 3:53, 3:49, 3:49 and 3:52 to give a first 5k in 19:10. I was not however too dissapointed as I was running hard and well in the conditions and was still catching and overtaking groups along the way.

Through the village and into the second lap. My splits continued pretty stable on the second lap clocking 3:43, 3:47 and 3:51 up to the 8km mark. The fact that the route followed rivers and canals made it very flat and easy to run decent splits. If only the surface was even! After the 8k mark I was labouring. I managed to catch and pass a group of three and set my sights on two runners about 100m ahead of me. But now I was struggling in the sunny part of the course and praying for the cool village streets. I finished the race with splits of 3:49 and 3:45 to give an overall time of 38:10. I had closed the gap on the two ahead of me but had not got to them. As 10k times go this was about 90 seconds outside where I was running last year, but it was all I had for my first race on French soil. I was very pleased to note a 14th position.

Friendly race, nice goodies, excellent set of trophies for first three in every category, well organised and well supported, scenic and shady course but oh those ruts!

Results
1 Younisse Aithamou 31:43
2 Christophe Serrats 33:32
3 Laurent Soulier 34:40

14 Peter Delmer 38:10

More Details on www.High5.ie Galway Twilight Track Meeting

Published in Club News on 15th June 2006

Combined Logos

Athenry Athletic Club, www.High5.ie and The Irish Milers Club are pleased to announce that they will be holding a number of events at the Galway Twilight Meeting on the evening of July 8th in Galway city. The highlight of the meeting will include a men's 5000m and mile race, as well as a womens 3000m/1500m race. This inaugral event is a result of the determination of the Athenry AC members to hold a top class track meeting in the West of Ireland. The 'City of the Tribes' will play host to all the top class distance athletes in Ireland as they prepare for the European Championships in Gothenburg in August as well as a number of top class international competitors from the UK, Europe and Africa.

The men's 5000m race sponsored by www.High5.ie is being paced for a European Qualifying time of 13.40. The organisers are looking for athletes to run sub four minutes in the mile race, the first ever in the west of Ireland. The womens race is been sponsored by the IMC.

The programme of events will also include a number of supporting middle distance races which will provide the opportunity for club runners to rub shoulders with the elite. A more detailed programme of events is given below, which may be subject to some small alteration as demand for particular events becomes clearer.

All entries for this event should be sent to [email protected] before 24th June and athletes will receive confirmation of their entry by June 28th. More information on these races will be posted on the Athenry AC and Irish Milers Club websites as it becomes available and enquiries can be made to Paul Mc Namara on +353 (087) 9690294 or Mick Rice on +353 (087) 2896989.

Events
Track
5:00pm Men Mile B - Open
5:15pm Women Mile B ”“ Open
5:30pm Senior Women 3,000m - Open
5:45pm Senior Men 5,000m - Open
6:25pm Women Mile A - Open
6:45pm Senior Men A Mile - Invitational
(Subject to qualifying time 04:20 Mile or Equivalent)
7:00pm Senior Women 1,500m - Invitational
(Subject to qualifying time 4:50 1,500m or Equivalent)
7:20pm Senior Men 5,000m - Invitational
(Subject to qualifying time 15:30 5k or Equivalent)

Field
5:15pm Senior Women Long Jump - Open
5:45pm Senior Men Long Jump - Open
6:15pm Senior Women High Jump - Open
6:25pm Senior Men Shot Put - Open

Athenry AC Press Release - 060611

Published in Club News on 11th June 2006

Athenry AC athlete Claire McNamara capped off an incredible
schools athletics career with a win in the Senior Girls high
jump at the Kit Kat Irish Schools Championships in
Tullamore on Saturday week last, while representing
Presentation College Athenry. Claire was the only athlete to
clear 1.63 on the day and looks well capable of going higher
as the summer progresses. Claire's win is of particular
significance given the arduous battle with injury she has
fought over the last two years and she deserves immense credit
for the manner in which she stuck to the task when the light
at the end of the tunnel did not shine so brightly. This win
is also a just reward for her coaches Dermot McNamara and Jim
Ryan who have played an invaluable role in seeing Claire
return to fitness. Claire can look back on her six years of
schools athletics with a great deal of satisfaction. In her
first outing at these championships in 2001 she captured the
80m hurdles title before discovering her calling as a high
jumper. She has since won high jump titles in junior,
intermediate and senior grades in what is universally
acknowledged as the premier track and field event on the
island of Ireland.

Claire was not alone on the rostrum on Saturday as fellow
Athenry AC athlete Conor Caulfield, representing Athenry
Vocational School, captured the silver medal in the junior
boy's 200m. This is an outstanding achievement for Conor and
underlines his tremendous potential. Conor is also an
accomplished athlete over longer distances. Perhaps he is
capable of matching the achievements of another 200m athlete
who represented Athenry AC and Athenry Vocational School - one
Paul Hession!

Incidentally, Hession opened his account for the season with a
100m/200m double at a meet in Uden, Holland this past weekend
week also. Paul had planned to race the previous Saturday but
withdrew due to illness. However, this did not seem to effect
his performance this past weekend week as Paul clocked a very
impressive 10.52 for the 100m (with a negligible wind reading)
and 20.98 to finish 2nd in the 200m against a -1.6M headwind.
This performance places Paul 16th in the current European
Ranking list.

Athenry AC's Brian O'Connor was 3rd in the recent ING Europe
Half Marathon (79:05) which took place on 27 May in
Luxembourg. A team of five athletes from Athenry AC took part
in the event with Gary Doherty and Alan Burke but coming home
in the top 75, in an event where over 2350 finished.

The Galway 5KM Race Series, which took place over four
Tuesdays in May, was a huge success. Congratulations to the
clubs who hosted races (Athenry, Tuam, Craughwell and GCH) and
to the 160 different athletes who took part. Over 35 athletes
ran in all four races. It is hoped that the series will take
place again next year.

Athenry AC are to host a top class international track event
on the evening of 8 July on Dangan racetrack in Galway. There
will be many different track and field events, most of which
will be open to all comers. More details are available on the
club's web site, http://www.athenryac.com.

Success for Claire McNamara, Paul Hession and Conor Caulfield

Published in Club News on 6th June 2006

Athenry Castle
Athenry Castle

Athenry AC athlete Claire McNamara capped off an incredible schools athletics career with a win in the Senior Girls high jump at the Kit Kat Irish Schools T&F Championships in Tullamore on Saturday while representing Presentation College Athenry. Claire was the only athlete to clear 1.63 on the day and looks well capable of going higher as the summer progresses. Claire's win is of particular significance given the arduous battle with injury she has fought over the last 2 years and she deserves immense credit for the manner in which she stuck to the task when the light at the end of the tunnel did not shine so brightly. This win is also a just reward for her coaches Dermot McNamara and Jim Ryan who have played an invaluable role in seeing Claire return to fitness. Claire can look back on her six years of schools athletics with a great deal of satisfaction. In her first outing at these championships in 2001 she captured the 80m hurdles title before discovering her calling as a high jumper. She has since won high jump titles in junior, intermediate and senior grades in what is universally acknowledged as the premier track and field event on the island of Ireland.

More Medals

Claire was not alone on the rostrum on Saturday as fellow Athenry AC athlete Conor Caulfield, also representing Presentation College Athenry, captured the bronze medal in the junior boy's 200m. This is an outstanding achievement for Conor and underlines his tremendous potential. Conor is also an accomplished athlete over longer distances. Perhaps he is capable of matching the achievements of another 200m athlete who represented Athenry AC and Athenry Vocational School - one Paul Hession!

Early Season Success for Paul Hession

Incidentally, Hession opened his account for the season with a 100m/200m double at a meet in Uden, Holland this past weekend. Paul had planned to race the previous Saturday but withdrew due to illness. However, this did not seem to effect his performance this past weekend as Paul clocked a very impressive 10.52 for the 100m with a negligible wind reading and 20.98 to finish 2nd in the 200m against a -1.6 headwind. This performance places Paul 16th in the current European Ranking list.

How do you measure the success of the Galway 5k series?

Published in Other News on 2nd June 2006

With numbers of course!

4 Races in the series
4 different courses
4 sets of conditions
158 People took part

29 People ran all four races
27 People ran three races
32 People ran two races
69 People ran one races
1 Person did not complete a race (injured)

81 Finishers in Athenry
75 Finishers in Tuam
73 Finishers in Craughwell
101 Finishers in Galway

21 Clubs took Part

18 Athenry AC runners
18 Galway City Harriers runners
16 Galway Triathlon Club runners
15 Craughwell AC runners
11 Galway M&T runners
8 Clare River Harriers runners
6 Loughrea AC runners
6 Tuam AC runners
4 Hewlett Packard runners
3 Mayo AC runners
1 Border Ramblers runner
1 Castlegar AC runner
1 Clonliffe Harriers runner
1 Corofin runner
1 Marian AC runner
1 Naas AC runner
1 Renmore Church Group runner
1 Skib AC runner
1 St. John's AC runner
1 Suileen runner
1 Tir Conaill AC runner
42 Unattached runners took part

61 Ladies
1 Junior Female
52 Senior Females
1 Over 35 Female
4 Over 40 Females
1 Over 45 Female
2 Over 50 Females

97 Men
2 Junior Males
72 Senior Males
9 Over 40 Males
6 Over 45 Males
7 Over 50 Males
1 Over 55 Male

A 'Peach' of A Race

Published in Other News on 1st June 2006

Peach 10k
Peach 10k

The Peach 10k and Fun Run will take place next Sunday the 4th of June. This event was won last year by Seamus Power and won priase from all who took part. There's something for everyone at this race from the elite to the fun-runner.

This is the second Peach 10K, last year being a major success with over 300 people finishing the 10K and they managed to raise just over €38,000 for their nominated Charities.

Whether you are competing or just completing the 10K, it is a great fun day out.

The Fun Run will be open to to walkers, fun runners, families and competitive runners of all ages as the focus will be on active fun. There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd placements (Male & Female) who cross the line.

Peach are taking this opportunity to raise funds for Charities that they have been exposed to over the last few years.

The selected charities for this years run are:

Milford Hospice
Our Ladys Childrens Hospital
Diabetes Ireland
Jack & Jill Foundation
The Clare Federation for People with Intellectual Disabilities

More info and entry details available at www.peach.ie

Success at Home and Abroad for Athenry Runners

Published in Club News on 29th May 2006

Luxembourg Half Marathon - Brian O'Connor
Luxembourg Half Marathon - Brian O'Connor Alan Burke - Luxembourg Half Marathon
Alan Burke - Luxembourg Half Marathon Gary Doherty - Luxembourg Half Marathon
Gary Doherty - Luxembourg Half Marathon Peter Lowney & Gary Raftery - Luxembourg Half Marathon
Peter Lowney & Gary Raftery - Luxembourg Half Marathon

There were some great performances at home and abroad for Athenry AC runners in what must have been one of the busiest ever for the club with action at home and abroad, on the track and road.

On Friday evening the County Galway Track and Field Championships kicked the weekend off in great style. There were good entries in almost all of the under age and senior events. There was a fantastic atmosphere around the track and the senior 3,000m kicked off the programme. Loughrea’s Jason Broderick took the honours in a time just a fraction over nine-minutes. There were good solid performances from James Lundon and John O’Connor in the same event. Two other Athenry runners Mick Rice and Philip Magnier unfortunately missed the race start time due to traffic chaos in Galway that evening. The highlight of the evening from the perspective of the Athenry Senior Club came later in the evening as John O’Connor picked up silver in the 400m relegating clubmates James Lundon and Mick Rice to the back of the field in the process.

On Saturday, five of our number, Brian O’Connor, Gary Doherty, Alan Burke, Gary Raftery and Peter Lowney took part in the ING Luxembourg Half-Marathon with spectacular and conspicuous success. Brian was third runner across the line in a PB of 1:19:05. Although it’s probably fair to say that Brian is capable of running a faster half-marathon he has to be pleased with his finishing position in such a prestigious event. Our other runners ran fine races with Gary posting 1:28:24, Alan, 1:30:22, Gary Raftery 1:33:30 and Peter Lowney 1:57:13. This success is a huge boost not only to Brian but also to the club in general. Sincere congratulations are due to all involved and we can’t wait for the race reports.

Sunday morning saw four club members line up in Craughwell for the last in their highly successful 10k Handicap series. James Lundon, Owen Curran, Philip Magnier and Mick Rice were representing the club on the day. There must have been something in the air this weekend as there were some fine Athenry performances. James Lundon pulled a fantastic personal best out of nowhere with a lightening run of 40:22. Surely with a little more training and some luck in ‘running’ the forty-minute barrier will fall for James before the summer is out. Although Philip was more than a little unfortunate during the race, Owen Curran had a great day at the races running very close to 39 minutes, another new personal best time for him over 10k. To wrap it all up Mick Rice ran 36:25 to claim the fastest race of the series award.

On the same day, across the ocean in Canada, Mark Flannery was flying the club flag in the Ottawa Marathon. Mark came home in 4:11:58 having passed through halfway in 1:49:21. Although we haven’t heard directly from Mark yet the figures would indicate a tough day at the office, particularly towards the end of the race. Hopefully Mark will have a story to tell soon and we send our congratulations on completing another race over the classic distance.

Whew! What a weekend!

Adventures For Athenry Runners From Canada to Luxembourg

Published in Club News on 26th May 2006

Luxembourg
Luxembourg

A few short years ago Athenry AC struggled on occasion to get a team together for a local road race. This weekend will see five members of the club entered in the ING sponsored Luxembourg Half Marathon and yet another will travel to Ottawa, Canada to tackle the full classic distance.

The intrepid crew of five, who fly out today to Luxembourg, will start with high hopes of putting in good performances. Rising club star Brian O’Connor will start as favourite to lead the Athenry runners home. Brian has been training quietly but conscientiously since the New Year and his racing performances have improved significantly over the same period. Gary Doherty and Alan Burke will also travel and there will surely be great competition amongst them to see who can stumble over the finish line first. Once again, both Alan and Gary have seen their race performances improve over recent times; although with Alan one sometimes wonder how as he doesn’t seem to train at all. Only one second separated these athletes in the recent Tuam 5k and it’s anybody’s guess as to who will earn bragging rights over the 13.1 miles in Luxembourg. New member Peter Lowney, who’s somewhat of a dark horse for this race, will join this trio on their foray into darkest Europe. We don’t know much about Peter’s running form yet but he’s in good company this weekend. last but not least Gary Rafftery will toe the line in the maroon and white. Gary's kept a low profile in recent times and of course we all wish him in this his 'comeback' race.

Ottawa Marathon
Ottawa Marathon

Our Canadian adventurer will be Mark Flannery. Mark lines up for the Ottawa Marathon, also sponsorred by ING incidentally, on Sunday. Mark has really upped the training stakes in recent times putting in regular fifty mile weeks in preparation for this event. Mark's fitness was evident in in his three fine runs in the recent 5k series in Galway, breaking 20 minutes in all three races held to date. We all wish Mark great success in Canada.

We’ll be watching the results with interest on Saturday evening.

Good Luck!