Sweethearts 2x1 Mile Relay

Published in Reports on 8th December 2008

Eight hardy couples dragged themselves from weekend lie-ins, post-party stupors, family committments, and frost-skating to participate in the first ever Sweethearts relay at Ballybrit at noon on Sunday 7th. We had a couple of withdrawals but Clara Burke and Mick Rice happily showed up to complete the sets of teams in their place.

The race was a two-mile relay comprising a mile run by both the man and woman on each team. We used handicaps but, unlike our club championships, the race was run in "real time"; that is, teams began at staggered times depending on handicaps and the first over the line was the winner.

Nice to see relatively new runners Pearse and Ann Hunter springboard from their stringent Summer and Autumn training to come home first, followed closely by the slightly less stringent Iain Shaw and recent marathoner Maria Hehir. Please see the attached Excel sheet for other placings, and times as measured against handicaps.

Prizes included useful goodies for couples such as Blow-up Husband; Nagging Wife doll; Homer Simpson mug and t-shirt; Elvis bottle opener and singer; Inflatable Ego; Measure Your Alcohol Tester.

Have a look at other photos at http://www.athenryac.com/image-galleries/sweethearts-2x1-mile-relay.

High Jinks on de Island

Published in Reports on 19th November 2008

Inis "Iron" Meáin is a tough, or tougher if you take in the dunes, 10k(ish) run around the island, which was held on Sunday for the fourth year running. The event is organized in aid of Coláiste Naoimh Eoin, the island's school. One of our newest Athenry AC members, Sinead Foran, took part again this year and wrote a race report for your reading pleasure.

As you read you may find that Sinead was not the only Athenry AC member to take part ...

‘Inis Iron Meain’ 2008

The Annual ‘Inis Iron Meain’ 10k/11km race is a fundraiser event for the primary school on the island and has been run in mid-November for the last few years; (this is the fourth one). The focus is on fun running and word-of-mouth for entry, although Sonia O’Sullivan has taken part the last two years!

A group of friends and I, including fun runners and some more serious runners alike, arrived at Rossaveal just in time for the boat, which has become the place of meeting and greeting for the ‘Inis Iron Meain’ 10K runners. We got the calm crossing we were hoping for and arrived on Inis Meain with just enough time for the pre-race cupán tae and scones provided by Padraic and Treasa at ‘an Dún’. Then on to the halla for registration, where the atmosphere is completely laid back and fun! It’s definitely the fun factor that brings runners back and back to this event on Inis Meain.

A bit of a warm-up and after a quick pre-race briefing from race co-coordinator Lorcan O’Callarain, there was nothing left to do but go to the start line. Weather conditions were pretty unbelievable for November, very still, mild and even a little warm! We were off! This year, the race was led by David Campbell, who narrowly missed the Olympic qualifying time for the 800m in Beijing this year. The first 2k of the course were fairly manageable, though I was now bemoaning Treasa’s pre-race scones, one small hill and on through the meandering boreens until we came to the fork in the road that divided the road run from the beach run. Having originally signed up for the road run, I changed my mind at the last minute and went for the beach run which has traditionally been the most challenging part of the course. We picked our way up and down the dunes and finally onto the beach, where relief quickly replaced any initial apprehension about this part of the course.…. the tide was out a good respectable distance, the sand was nice and solid and it was, thankfully, not too tough this time – its also the first time I managed to appreciate what an amazing beach it is!

Roughly 2K of beach running later, we were off the beach, back on the boreens and free to enjoy the rest of the charms of this particularly pretty run, complete with islanders carrying bales of hay on pushbikes, residents lining the route at their front doors cheering the runners on. Others provided random and multiple water stops and lots of enthusiastic support.

Inis Iron Meain
Inis Iron Meain

I had forgotten how tough this 10K is! A lot tougher though I’m sure for the runners pushing buggies! Lots of hills follow, big and small, nothing though compared with the almost vertical hill at 8k, help! This required more hiking than running to be honest and I was seriously glad to get to the top where we were greeted by yet another water stop and more enthusiastic supporters there to see us through the final kilometer. It was pretty much downhill from there, fairly undemanding and straightforward for the rest of it, right to the finish line!

Winners were David Campbell in 1st place and approximately 10 mins ahead of his rival for the men’s (around 36 minutes for a very challenging 11km) and a great run by Athenry AC’s Elaine Walshe coming in 1st place for the women’s race. Elaine was positioned 8th overall, finishing in around 47 minutes. Official times are still to be released.

Back in the halla we were greeted by a fantastic, much appreciated array of refreshments - all kinds of pastas, sponsored by Magnettis, soups and sandwiches and a great variety of desserts – making specific reference here to the great lemon meringue! All compliments of the island residents who as per the other years, made us feel so welcome during our stay on the island. Fancy dress themed ‘the letter P’ followed later and included great outfits such as ‘peas in a pod’, pineapples, a potted plant, playboy bunnies, Papa Smurf and even special guest appearances from Pamela Anderson and Sarah Palin! So the entertainment, as predicted, really did look after itself and partying went on into the early hours.

The ‘Inis Iron Meain’ course doesn’t get any easier but the craic certainly gets better and better!

Tom Hunt's Hollymount Report

Published in Reports on 10th November 2008

Report and Pictures from this year's Hollymount Races From Tom Hunt of Mayo AC

The 43rd Annual Hollymount Road Races took place on Sunday. Once again it was excellently organised by Sean Reilly and his team. It was the eighth race of nine in the C&C Cellular Mayo AC Road Race League. The weather was cold with a slight breeze but thankfully the rain held off. The uphill finish along the main street proved a good test at the end of the womens one lap 3k while the men had to go over the top three times in their 10k race.
Strong club teams made up the nucleus of the 150 who took part in the three races, among them Raheny Shamrock AC, Sligo, GCH, Craughwell, Tuam and Athenry as well as the traditional contingent from Liverpool Harriers and John Moores University. Many of the athletes had competed in the Irish Marathon Championships less than two weeks previously when it was incorporated in the Dublin marathon. Among them were M35 silver medallist Mark Davis (Craughwell AC ) and TJ McHugh (Mayo AC) who won bronze in the same category.
Mayo AC had a fine turnout too, among them twelve of their 18 strong Dublin marathon team. It included most of Mayo AC's bronze medal winning women's senior team.

At the finish Hollymount 3k Winner Catherine Conway with Regina Casey (GCH) in 2nd place
At the finish Hollymount 3k Winner Catherine Conway with Regina Casey (GCH) in 2nd place

The women's 3k race turned into an exciting battle in the final 800 metres with Mayo AC's top marathoner Catherine Conway displaying great stamina to catch up with the leaders and go on to win in fine style in 10.53. Regina Casey (GCH) was hot on her heels in second in 10.57, followed by Caroline Clancy (Loughrea AC) in 11.06. Kathryn Casserley (Castlegar) was 4th in 11.22 followed by three Dublin marathoners Mary Gleeson (Mayo AC), Elaine Walsh (who led Athenry AC's silver medal winning senior team in the National Marathon) and Edel Reilly (Mayo AC). Finishing in eighth place was Olivia Feeney (Sligo AC) who just beat o40 rival Ann Murray (Mayo AC). Sarah Jackson was the first JMU finisher in 10th just a second ahead of Mayo AC's Kathy Connolly in 12.07.
The team prize was won by Mayo AC with JMU 'A' second.

They're off ..start of the 2008 Hollymount 10k ..
They're off ..start of the 2008 Hollymount 10k ..

The men's 10k was an exciting race with three Raheny Shamrock athletes mixing it with two from Sligo AC over the first two laps. However on the third lap Martin Conroy stretched ahead and ran on strongly for a very convincing victory in 31.42, with Bernard Roe and Richard Corcoran from Raheny in second and third place. Emmett Dunleavy (Sligo AC) was fourth and Iain Conroy (Raheny Shamrock) fifth Unlike these five, John Byrne still had the marathon effort in his legs but he made a great effort on the final lap to finish 6th in 33.48. Sligo AC dominated the o40 category with Michael O'Connell and Tom Meehan first and third respectively and Martin Corcoran (Craughwell AC) second.
Twelve club teams took part - 1: Raheny Shamrock, 2: Sligo AC, 3: Mayo AC.
Barry Healy (Claremorris AC) won the u17 boy's 3k race.

Hollymount 10k..( L-R) first four finishers together on the first lap Bernard Roe (Raheny Shamrock) 2nd, Emmett Dunleavy (Sligo AC) 4th, winner Martin Conroy (Sligo AC) and Richard Corcoran (Raheny Shamrock) 3rd
Hollymount 10k..( L-R) first four finishers together on the first lap Bernard Roe (Raheny Shamrock) 2nd, Emmett Dunleavy (Sligo AC) 4th, winner Martin Conroy (Sligo AC) and Richard Corcoran (Raheny Shamrock) 3rd

The final race in the 2008 Mayo AC Road Race League will be the Westport 5k on Sunday 30th December. League Prizes (based on best points totals from 6 of the 9 races) will be presented after this race. An update on league table positions will be available before then.

Hollymount MEN 10K (top 10)
1 Martin Conroy Sligo AC 31.42
2 Bernard Roe (Raheny Shamrock) 31.55
3 Richard Corcoran (Raheny Shamrock) 32.11
4 Emmett Dunleavy (Sigo AC) 32.32
5 Iain Conroy (Raheny Shamrock) 33.10
6 John Byrne (Mayo AC)
7 James Meldrum (Liverpool Harriers AC) 33.52
8 Mark Davis (Craughwell AC) 34.00
9 Allan Ashton (Liverpool Harriers AC) 34.03
10 Simon Ryan (Raheny Shamrock) 34.26

Hollymount WOMEN 3k (first 10)

1 Catherine Conway (Mayo AC) 10.53
2 Regina Casey (GCH) 10.57
3 Caroline Clancy (Loughrea AC) 11.06
4 Kathryn Casserley (Castlegar) 11.22
5 Mary Gleeson (Mayo AC) 11.33
6 Elaine Walsh (Athenry AC) 11.39
7 Edel Reilly (Mayo AC) 11.58
8 Olivia Feeney (Sligo AC) 12.02
9 Ann Murray (Mayo AC) 12.04
10 Sarah Jackson JMU 'A' (12.06)

Hollymount 3k: l-r Caroline Clancy (Loughrea AC) 3rd, winner Catherine Conway (Mayo AC) and Regina Casey (GCH) 2nd.
Hollymount 3k: l-r Caroline Clancy (Loughrea AC) 3rd, winner Catherine Conway (Mayo AC) and Regina Casey (GCH) 2nd.

Breen There - Done That

Published in Reports on 3rd November 2008

Dublin City Marathon 2008 Race Report by Mark Breen

I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself last Monday at the Dublin City Marathon. Meeting the other Athenry AC crew outside Tesco's at 8.00am and then "the rest of the West" throughout the Day. Craughwell, GCH, Tuam, Loughrea and from Mayo AC it felt like we were all on the same team today. If they could have hooked us up to the grid there'd be no need for windmills. It was great the be surrounded by so many friendly faces. Mary Beatty was a late withdrawal. Just back from running the Chicago Marathon she wisely decided against it - others too had to pull out during the year. Grainne, Niall and Aileen we were still thinking about you.....next year!

This was my first Marathon and I was really looking forward to it. It was a bit of a leap into the unknown and I did wonder what demons awaited me after twenty miles and how I would react. I felt great - even the early start 9.00am didn't bother me - had the dinner at half past four! The training went well and I had been determined to give myself every chance, and had given up all sugar and coffee for two weeks. I drank loads of green barley (urg) and eaten lots of Pineapple. I gave the carb loading a miss and just ate loads of fruit and vegetables.

It's All Smiles At The Expo
It's All Smiles At The Expo

I lined up on the 'grid' beside Mayo's Tom Hunt who had only decided late on to compete after struggling all year with injury. He ran a terrific race. I was frozen even though I was wearing a hat and gloves and then runners started to throw away extra jumpers as the countdown continued and as luck would have it a lovely brown fleece landed on my head and I gladly put it on. Happy days!

Bang - we were off! Well the people up ahead are. It takes a bit to get across the start and another bit to find a side street for a quick pit stop but then I was off. The first few miles seemed to fly by. The crowd really gave us a charge as we all headed off to do battle with ourselves. Start to meet familiar faces, Micky, Frank, Valerie, Conor - all running well and looked really comfortable. Up O' Connell Street, the North Circular Road and into Phoenix Park all the time trying to get into seven minute mile pace which was proving to be a bit tricky: especially as I kept missing the mile markers. Then I found the 10k mark at 44 minutes. My brain was confused and a bit overwhelmed by the maths. Kilometres to miles, minutes to seconds, what was my split time? I've no idea but who cares the saw doctors were blasting out "To Win Just Once". What a charge!

Meeting at Tescos
Meeting at Tescos

Met Owen Curran and Jane-Ann and both were running strongly and the Mayo AC women were flying it too. All along the crowds were on corners cheering enthusiastically and the adrenaline was coursing through me. Had arranged to meet Grainne, Hazel (7) and Danny (4) around half-way and was delighted to turn the corner around fourteen and see them. They had chocolate and Coke (yes Coke!) for me, but Danny had been "minding"" the Coke for me and temptation had gotten the better of him. And so, with big smiles, half a bottle of coke and "Go Athenry!" ringing in my ears, I headed off again trying not to choke on the chocolate - which I didn't really feel like eating, but knew I'd thank myself later for.

Still felt great through 15,16 and 17. Took on gels and water and some other yellow stuff that tasted like piss. Was then finally, warm enough to take off my cap which I remember thanking as I threw it away. Ran into Ann Carter's sister Dettie who was making her Athenry AC debut. She looked really strong and ran a terrific race to finish second Athenry Woman. At 19 met Larry Kelly who was just back from running Chicago. That's some going. Peter Delmer was giving great support out on the course. Pete you're a life saver. The Jelly Babies and support you gave on your bike was much appreciated. Went through 20 miles and felt confident about last 6.2 miles (10k). Perhaps too confident. I flew uphill near Roebuck Road like it wasn't there. Felt fantastic. A little out of breath now - turn onto Stillorgan Road where I come across Peter helping Ann Carter: her race was run. She had struggled with injury coming up to the Marathon so it had always been touch and go. Still - she was full of praise for medical staff afterwards who were really good to her. Thanks again lads.

The Action Gets Underway
The Action Gets Underway

Mile 21- met Maeve. Get a great cheer, more water and jelly babies. Getting a bit tired now. Have I've started to count down the miles? Not a good sign. Try unsuccessfully on a number of occasions to subtract 22 from 26.2 but can't do it. Then I try to subtract 23 but still nothing. Give up trying. Hit 23 miles and glance at watch (2:34) just 5 k left and if I can hold it together and do inside 26 minutes will break 3 hours. No sooner had the headline "3 hours" crossed my mind than things started to change dramatically. In the space of 200 metres my legs turned to jelly. I went from doing about seven minute miles to doing 10 minute plus miles. I still felt pretty good, but my legs were toast. A few three letter abbreviations were entering into the equation: D.N.F - D.O.A. - R.I.P - C.I.E! (OK maybe the last one was a bit dramatic). Runners breezed past. It felt surreal. Here I was in my milk float and either side of me Ferraris flew past. I tried banging on my thighs on the off chance they might be just asleep, but nothing. Started to laugh. Ah well, at least I wasn't leaning against a tree being violently sick like the poor guy at 24. I thanked my legs and carried on and by now the crowds were much bigger as we approached Trinity.It really was an electric atmosphere as I high-fived my way across the finish line. There already was Elaine Walsh who led home the women's team in under 3 hours - probably the performance of the day - and Craughwell's Tony Nevin who hit 3 hours too. Brian Bruton and Brian O'Connor led home the men's team and were well 'home and hosed' before we got there. Mick Rice had breezed in in 3 hours in preparation for his ultramarathon in Rome next week - best of luck Mick. Maria broke 4 hours on her first attempt. Fair play to her. Paul Kilkelly and Owen Curran flew passed at 24 miles and finished strongly.

And now for the hard part - to find my way back to the hotel. It was only a mile but it took nearly an hour. All along knowing smiles were exchanged with other fellow sufferers as we lobbled (half a hobble, half a limp) home. Oh happy days!

The Athenry AC Team
The Athenry AC Team

It's Friday - four days after the Dublin Marathon and I've just managed to go for a 30 minute hobble. I no longer have the sensation of having 2 spikes going through my knees. I no longer feel intimidated by the stairs and Hazel (7) and Danny (4) no longer burst out laughing when I try to walk. Yes, I feel like I am on the road to recovery and now even have one eye on the big one - "The Hollymount International" next week. To defend our sixth position(out of 8 teams, mind) and to win another pair of socks.

Ah yes, memories!