Published in Results on 3rd March 2014
Last Saturday saw the return of the brilliant Kinvara Rock & Road series of races in south Galway. Only in its fourth year, this race has firmly established itself as one of the most popular & well organised events west of the Shannon. With a sell out crowd of 1500 a big congratulations must be given to Chris & his crew for getting the event to this high level in such a short timeframe.
With scenic routes on offer in both distances, the half marathon in particular is proving to be a definite PB course. Martin O’ Hara smashed his PB (deservedly) by 7 minutes with a 1.33.41 whilst James Lundon put his Ballycotton training to good use with a new PB of 1.35.29. Sandwiched between the two was Pat McDonagh with a 1.35.05.
With 23 Athenry AC members taking part across the two distances there were good performances throughout. Janet Clancy had a big confidence booster with a 1.48 to show she is definitely over her injuries & must now be in the form to target her Craughwell PB in a few weeks time.
We again had new members on show this weekend with Heather Porter, Louise Cahill & Susan English making their debuts for the club in the 10k & posting 49.51, 58.14 & 58.30 respectively.
Sinead Foran had another brilliant day out but I’ll leave the rest of the report to Chris;
1st March 2014, a date we had been looking forward to since 2nd March 2013, has come and gone. A sell out number of 1500 people entered the 10K and half marathon in Kinvara this year, the fourth year of the event. A lot of the talk in the days leading up to Saturday was about the weather. It doesn't need to be warm and sunny to run a race but high tides and flooded streets are definitely out. This had been the scene in Kinvara in recent weeks, with the finish line regularly under water in the lead up to Saturday, but we rolled our lucky weather dice and got away with it (the finish area started to flood again at about 5pm just as we were finishing up!).
So a great day for running started with the 10K at 12:00 as the long train of runners made their way down the main street of the village and out on to the course. First to emerge back in the village was a very familiar face in GCH runner Matt Bidwell in a course record time of 32:50. Matt was strong from start to finish and had a great race with Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers), who finished in second with Patrick Quinn (Ennis Track) in third.
The women's 10K race was the best we've had in Kinvara so far with just 17 seconds separating the top 3. Veronica Colleran (Ennis Track) held on to come out on top in 39:36, just ahead of Athenry AC's Sinead Foran who was just 8 seconds back. That's another sub-40 10k from Sinead which saw her finish in 13th position overall. Out of a total field of 698 only 12 finished ahead of her! GCH runner Helen Corbett was third just 9 seconds behind Sinead.
The men's half marathon had been dominated in previous years by Michael Shannon, who won in 2011, 2012 and 2013. With Michael out injured this year there was going to be a new winner and it was Joe Cawley (Sli Cualann) who stormed home to win in 1:16:11. Paul Fitzgerald (Limerick AC) came in second, closely followed by Oliver Mullins (Craughwell AC). The half marathon course has some spectacular scenery after you make the sharp right turn on to the New Line & this is how participant John Quinlivan described it: "We turned on to the New Line Road which has to have been one of the most amazing stretches of roads I've ever run on".
There was a feeling of déjà vu about the women's half marathon with the top 3 ladies from 2013 returning to finish in the same positions again this year. Eimear O'Leary (MSB) was a convincing winner in 1:27:27 with Grainne Ni Uallachain (GCH) second and Roisin Farragher (Le Cheile) third. Athenry AC's Jane-Ann Meehan had to pull out with a cold but she would certainly have been in the mix here and has vowed to "kick ass next year!".
Full results are at http://www.rockandroad.ie/results/
Athenry AC were very well represented in Kinvara and not just with runners. A big thanks to Ray Somers, Gearoid Rohan, Mairead Sullivan, Ruthann Sheahan and Jim Leahy, who did a brilliant job with the pacing. Here's a comment from Boards.ie: "Stuck with the 1:40 pacers [Ruthann] till 12 miles, and picked up the pace a bit then to get under 1:40, the pacers were class, the pace was bang on the whole way round, that was my first experience running in a pace group, and thought it was great."
Special thanks to Philip Magnier who was out on the half marathon course photographing the event. Philip's photos are fantastic and no doubt will be flying around Facebook and the like over the next few days. Thanks also to Frank Burke who, even though he had to pull out of pacing duties with a bad back, still came along and helped keep the show on the road.
So that's it for another year. Roll on Saturday 7th March 2015!
Chris Deakin, Athenry AC & Dolmen Sports