On a bitterly cold St Patrick's Day morning. our very own National Short Course Cross Country Champion, Paul McNamara, carried the form he showed in winning the National title last week to record a victory over 4 Road Miles in the Phoenix Park KBC sponsored St Patricks Day Race. Battling the elements was necessary as the temperature hovered at little over freezing, with the wind chill factor on the open stretch between 2 and 3 miles biting through the layers worn by most runners. Added to the chill were hail stones at various times, and a challenging course down through the Glens and up the zig-zags to the Papal Cross, before a flat finish along the main road through the Park to the gates of Farmleigh, and a welcome cup of warming tea back at Castleknock College.
It was cold and blustery last Sunday morning as a hardy group of Galway runners lined up for a dash over a measured mile around the Ballybrit racecourse. This was an informal workout for all concerned but the fact that athletes took part from a number of Galway clubs was evidence that they appreciated the opportunity to blast a quick mile. The mile-long course was undulating and included a long stretch into a cold and stiff headwind. Despite the tough conditions Ian Egan of GCH posted a highly respectable winning time of 4:40. Close behind was Mark Davies of Craughwell AC, and Pat Hannon of Loughrea AC chased the two leaders home. In terms of the conditions, the wind and cold certainly added around fifteen seconds to each of the finishing times in comparison to a calm day. It was also interesting to note that the first five runners home were each from different Galway clubs. There's clearly an appetite for this sort of informal racing event out there and hopefully more such outings can be arranged over the summer months.
Photo Credit: Alan Cowzer (http://www.cowzer.com/athletics/)
(Mary Porter's audio report on the weekend action now attached to this report.)
Athenry AC's Paul McNamara claimed his second national senior athletics title yesterday in Dublin's Tymon Park when he crossed the line first at the AAI National Short Course Cross Country Championships. The event, which was hosted by Rathfarnham AC who are to be congratulated on a fine event, saw Dublin runners to the fore in both the men's and women's senior races. It was however our very own Paul McNamara who took home the men's senior title with a powerful display of front running. Paul shared the pace with one of the emerging young stars of Irish Running, Mick Clohissey of Raheny Shamrocks, for the majority of the race, with Paul's strong fininshing kick just proving decisive at the 'business' end. Great credit must go to young Mick Clohissey for such a quality performance, his day will surely come before too long.
Thursday 2nd March ”“ 03:28pm: On the phone from work to my wife, Margaret.
Mick: “Yeah, I feel a little queasy, Declan says there are a lot of people out with a stomach bug, but I don't think I could have that, I’m not too bad.”
Thursday 2nd March ”“ 07:49pm: Sitting with forehead pressed against the top of the kitchen table.
Mick: “Margaret, get a gun, a big one, and shoot me now. Please!”
Friday 3rd March ”“ 10:31am: Slumped on the couch with a pale green complexion.
Another March and another trip down to West Cork and the Ballycotton 10. This is a classic road race that has been going for 29 years, and has increased in size from the 30 brave souls who competed back in the 70's to yesterdays 4000 entrants (although only 2800 completed the course).
It was a cold spring day when I left Dublin at 7 am to drive the 175 miles down to Cork, and clear roads meant I made the journey in little over 3 hours, beating the road closures around the small coastal village of Ballycotton, and making the local car park. The race wasn't due off until 1:30, so plenty of time to meet up with friends and take in the coastal air before warming up and stripping down a good hour before the start so as to ensure a good starting position. With narrow roads, and over 4000 entrants, we are all felt it wise to get as near to the front as possible.
John Walshe and his tremendous team in Ballycotton Running Promotions are yet again to be congratulated for another fantastic running of the famous 'Ballycotton 10' yesterday. In bright sunshine and the very odd hail shower almost 3,000 runners took their chances on the roads around the small Cork seaside town. Despite the increase in numbers over previous years the organisation was flawless and the stewarding effecient, professional and polite. All of the athletes here in Athenry AC offer our warmest congratulations to John and the rest of his team for a thoroughly enjoyable race.
As we head for the Ballycotton 10 and the Connemara International Marathon our latest club project is shaping up nicely.
Between January and February, 12 Athenry AC members have attended 6 different events across the country. This is a great start to 2006 for the club as the brighter evenings are only starting to kick-in making training and motivation a lot easier for most of us.
As you can see from our “Clubperson/Athlete of the Year” chart, Alan Burke at 10 points is busy flying the flag wherever he can and 23 of us haven’t even started our racing for the year yet. I’m sure by the end of March more of us will be off the ground and hopefully some injurys will be on the mend.
Four Irish Ultramarathoners put up a tenacious performance in Taiwan over the weekend. The team representing Ireland at the event included Galway's own Richard Donovan as well as Tony Mangan, Martin Rea and Eoin Keith. All four runners took part in the IAU (International Association of Ultrarunners) 24 Hour World Challenge in Taipei (Taiwan). This gruelling event drew together most of the best ultramarathon runners in the world for one day's extreme racing. The event involves athletes completing as many kilometers as possible within the allocated 24 hour time limit. Many athletes will complete the event without any significant breaks.
Photo by Alan Cowzer (www.cowzer.com/athletics)
Athenry AC's Paul McNamara ran superbly well in the National Inter Clubs Cross Country Championships in Santry last Saturday to finish in fourth place in the men's senior event. Paul, who's training has been badly hampered in the early part of this year with both illness and injury, was competitive from the start. An early breakaway group of seven runners, including Paul, would clearly dictate the outcome of the race running clear as they did in the early stages. Athenry's finest also exacted some small measure of 'revenge' over his close friend and training partner Gary Thornton of GCH for finishing ahead of him in the Proactive Fields of Athenry 10k last St.Stephens day. Gary who has run superbly well this year and last posted a fine eleventh place and was followed home closely by his clubmate Mike O'Connor. Athenry AC was also ably represented in this race by Alan Burke who flew the club colours with great distinction. Our congratulations go to both Paul and Alan on fine races against a high quality field.
Tracy O'Mahoney who runs the 'Hot Yoga' Studio in Galway has extended an offer to all Athenry AC members to take part in her classes in Galway. Very frequently runners have difficulty with flexibility and Tracy's classes may be just the ticket for loosening up before your next Marathon or as part of an ongoing flexibility maintenance program.
Tracy says, "We currently have some members who are training for marathons and in the week up to their marathon I allow them to do as many yoga classes as they want for free. The yoga I do is quite strenious and is done in a heated room (not less than 105 Fahrenheight) and the runners find it great for stretching and loosening out before a long run. In the meantime if any of your members would like to try out the yoga please come along to a class for free - make sure that you tell me that your in an Athletics club. If you have any queries you can call me at 087 2642922 or visit my web site at