By Frances Leahy

For a lot of people, running has been a way of life from school sports days to continuing on in their adult life – but for some of us that is not the case.  Back in May 2011 a group of women joined F4L group in Athenry AC not knowing what we were letting ourselves in for.  We gave it a go and after a number of weeks out on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, we were hooked. 

This was for us our first big race the streets of Galway 8k after that we concentrated on the big one “The Fields of Athenry 10k” on St Stephen’s day, that day was amazing with the number of runners and locals cheering us on.  After the race we got together and the question was asked, what’s our next goal and of course it had to be the Craughwell 10 miles. A daunting task going from 6miles to 10mile, but a plan was put into place (thanks to Deirdre Quinn), stuck up on the fridge door and ticked off the day as we did our training.

Craughwell 10 was brilliant day; weather was good and everyone achieved great times.  The following Saturday on our run the conversation started again “now what’s next” and as it was an almost a year to the day we first started running we decided that the Limerick Half was our goal. After all we had done 10miles in Craughwell that’s another 3miles, simple or was it???

Again another plan was put into place this time by Jane Mangan (tough but achievable).  Our Saturday long runs were good fun (looking back on them now) but at the time we were all wondering if we had bitten off more then we could chew.  In training we did various routes to get all the miles in and encounter the many obstacles on the way.  Mad dogs were the worst, jumping out over walls and scaring the living daylight out of us.  We managed to get through all that and then it was here the big day Sunday 6th May.

We meet up on the Friday eve to finalise every thing time, tactics, travelling arrangement etc for sun morning.  We all met up in McDonalds at around 10am, so the preparations started first was coffee and then race number and tags had to be put on, then the crack started – how may gels, cream, potions and lotions should we take before during and after the race.  We then had a photo shoot outside thanks to Jane’s friend Shirley, next was to get to the bag drop off point and head for the start line. 

We headed off nice and calmly to the start and off we went, a huge crowd of runners, it was a glorious day not too hot or cold perfect conditions, for running.  Great crowds of people cheering us along the way.  Meeting Deirdre on the corner at mile 9 was a brilliant, it gave us the lift we needed to keep going, and again at mile 12.5, Deirdre and Jim Leahy on the bridge to get us to the finish and finish we did all 10 of us Athenry AC women.

Congrats to everyone Sheila, Sinead, Mairead, Aura, Marie, Yvonne, Jane, Niamh, Caroline, Frances and also the other lady from Athenry sorry don’t know your name.

If the next couple of month are as good as the last we are in for a great year.