Athenry AC News
Well done to all our super Juvenile athletes who did Athenry AC proud in Dangan on Sunday 19 May in Day 2 of the Galway Juvenile T&F Championships U12-19s!
A provisional set of results can be obtained here.
The main image with this article is one of a deadheat for first in one of the sprint finals, which was confirmed by the electronic timing system which was used extensively during the day, ably manned by our own Iain Shaw and Michael O'Hart (Sligo AC). The young GCH and Craughwell AC athletes could not be separated, even after very close analysis of the photo finish.
A record 9 clubs (Athenry, Craughwell, Loughrea, GCH, East Galway, South Galway, Corrib, Tuam, [and last but certainly not least) Ballinasloe & District) across the county competed and all took home at least one medal. There were even representatives in from the new club centred in Carna in, who will be competing with us in 2014!
The Galway County Board would like to thank all the clubs for their support and patience throughout what was a very long day, starting at 11:02AM on Sunday morning and finishing well after 7PM that evening. The Galway/Mayo game was far from our minds throughout the day itself!Category: Juvenile Club News
The only thing missing from Loughrea on Tuesday night last (14
May 2013) was an ark but there were strong rumours that one was
being warmed up down on the grey lake, less than half a mile away
from the start/finish line.
Galway Series 8.3 or #42 (Year 8, Race 3 or Race 42) was
seamlessly organised and run off by our good friends & neighbours
in Loughrea AC. Good to see all the old faces as well as most of
the newer ones from that club out in force on a horrible evening
for organising anything, let alone running. The usual, almost
perfectly triangular course was laid out, which most of us have
recurring nightmares about, especially that stretch between 2.9
There was almost no one milling around the school at half 7 but
come 7:58PM, we had 526 (those with chips anyhow) toeing the
line, already very wet but with spirits intact, although suitably
dampened by torrential rain.
Did I tell you it was raining already?
The rain probably scared away a good 75+ "part-timers": with the
series tops only needing four races to secure this year,
discretion was the better part of valour for many given the
eveing that was in it.
I got the guts of a KM warm-up done, but in wretched conditions.
Felt better than I did last week, when I ran a rank first two KM
up the hill in Claregalway. I was hoping for a good time in
Loughrea (sub 20:30) but the conditions were not going to help me
in any meaningful way.
And without much (any?) ado, we were sent on our way by the LAC
starter. I just about had my Ironman watch primed for action.
Poor old John (Red Tag) Cunniffe looked very shook trying to
shelter from the rain, while getting the timing mats to do their
job properly under very stressful conditions for any technology.
There was water everywhere but once you are out and racing in it,
it doesn't matter, and Tuesday evening last was no exception. I
enjoyed the first KM, some of which was spent with my current
greatest adversary, who dropped back before the one KM marker not
to be seen again before the finish. I continued to be passed by
people all the way to after 2KM, where things eventually settled
down. I was passed by a club mate around then who couln't resist
nudging me as *she* passed by. I await the opportunity to pass
her out in a race and return the compliment, which will probably
be never ;-).
Then we hit the massive puddle, of which there was no escape.
All the 4M @ KM runners just flailed through it but I later heard
tales of carnage back the field with motorway-like pile-ups when
this section of the road was encountered. It was only five steps
long, unlike the mammoth 17-steps-wide lough that greets runners
around 6KM in the Fields last Stephen's Day. Even Athenry AC
cannot account for everything on our big race day!
Around the corner and up the boreened hill, probably the only
part of the race where the wind was fully behind us. I recall
passing someone I didn't know around then, who obviously had gone
out too hard. A fallen hero in battle! There but for the grace
of God goes any of us at some stage or another.
Around the corner and up to 3KM, with the impending "hillock"
smiling menacingly but fully behind the clump of trees hiding the
3KM marker. Another club mate had not run that hill before now,
so I knew she was already "enjoying" its charms up ahead. I felt
I was going well enough. The usual suspects were all up ahead
and not too far up ahead either. No people were passing me that
I felt shouldn't be either.
A "sham" friend was ahead, silently beckoning me - with his
trademark shuffling gait - to catch up with him, something I
failed to do before the finish line, much to my chagrin. Another
long-time adversary was in my eye-line, walking, not an unusual
eventuality for him. I passed two other fallen comrades taking
the hill in walking mode soon after. I said nothing to either,
not knowing them, and not nearly well enough to abuse them ;-).
There are a lot of people in the series this year in the early
20s (those with a shouting change of breaking 20 for 5KM before
the end) who are little known on the usual Galway road race
circuit. There are also just a lot of people in that time
window, which is a double-edged sword. Good and bad. Lot of
company but on congested roads.
Got to the top of the hill, semi-top anyhow, without being passed
by more than one or two, but I knew there had to be a posse
behind. I only passed those walking, so knew that I wasn't going
badly but I wasn't going gung-ho well either.
I am much better travelling up hill than down, so once we hit
4KM, I knew that I would be passed and would not pass (m)any
more. That was the way things remained until the finish. The
road was slippy but not unduly so, less than I expected before
the race started.
The chairman passed me near the line, and I didn't even realise
it until the results and photos afterwards! I crossed in 20:37,
the exact same as last week but felt like I'd run a much stronger
and better race, up to 15-20 seconds better i.e. on a good day, I
would have been down under 20:20 I believe.
That was still a bit back from 20:03 on the same course last
year, which I wrote about separately here. I was deeply
touched when another adversary came up to me after Claregalway
last week and mentioned that report I wrote last year. Those
small things means a lot, as it indicates that at least four or
five people actually read these meanderings!
I just haven't done the necessary work (any work, some of my
clubmates would say) to do any better, simple as that, or as the
young and/or hip people says these days, much to my confusion and
annoyance, "My Bad!"
"My Bad" Wha', Gay? WTF?
There wasn't much chat at the finish line as the rain was still
pelting down, so I kept moving and went back out the course to
cheer on a few of the others coming home, including the two
presidents who were where I expected them to be, and in the
correct & current sequence too, though "slower" is getting closer
to "quicker" as the series goes along. Could be quite
interesting by the end of the series as long as they both start
in the same wave, unlike the DCM of the last few years - just
like heavyweights avoiding having to fight each other until there
is no other option ;-). People do notice these things...
That makes it 39 finishes out of 42 series races run, with only
only four people having run more than I have: the three series
stalwarts each have run all 42, and my good pal and clubmate on
41 (who was a helper at the other very early race but should have
run). PErsonally speaking, I missed GCH in 2006 (breaking the
sequence earlier is a much less stressful thing to do than later)
and was RD on two other occasions in Newcastle.
Onwards to a date with Elvis in Craughell but no sub-20 in 2013,
unlike last year :-(. All Shook Up!
JAL.Category: Race Reports
The format will be fairly easy going, and hopefully interactive and i look forward to seeing you there.
As a club member for years the topic of nutrition has often come up on some of our long runs and i have learned alot from many of you on how you manage your nutritional requirements (not always in a good way)! So its great to have the opportunity to present to you!Coming late to running i joined Athenry AC and completed my first 10km ever in the 'Fields' race eight years ago and using the roads of Athenry as my training ground I have since dabbled in 5km to endurance running, triathlon, and recently hard core zumba:) I hope given my experience to make the presentations suitable to all members. Working in high performance sport is very rewarding but suprisingly many of the nutritional issues encountered by professional athletes are the same as what us normal guys complain of - low immunity, problems with weight loss, not knowing what nutrition info to believe… However the rewards at a higher level are great as i discovered this year working with the Grand Slam winning Womens Rugby team. Category: Athenry Club News
Athenry AC had a different kind of social outing last weekend in making a trip to the Great Western Greenway (Bealach Mór an Iarthair ) in County Mayo. We had the Castlecourt hotel in Westport as our base and - accompanied by children, spouses, and Buster the dog - performed various feats of endeavour along the 42k of trail stretching from Westport to Achill.
We hired a coach from Westport on the Saturday and headed north along the Newport road. With us we had a rare assortment of babies, toddlers, teenagers, runners and cyclists. Each group hailed the bus driver at the distance they felt comfortable with, got off, and made their own way back to base. The trail follows the route of the former railway line and, with the exception of the part going through Newport, is off-road and traffic free.
Three of the group, Ruthann Sheehan, Ray Somers, and Lyall Guiney, started a little earlier and were driven by Val Glavin and husband John Broderick to the furthermost end of the trail in Achill. All three made it back in good time. The Brodericks then headed back by bicycle themselves; hopefully they managed to pick up their car the following day. Frank Burke took his son Tiernan on a trip around Achill before even venturing on the trail; in all, I think they did about 40 miles of cycling.
Martin and Mary Keane
Of course, there were some mishaps. "Winning Smile" Martin Keane took a wrong turn and did an extra two miles for his trouble. No doubt the pint of Guinness that awaited him at the hotel brought some relief. Mulranny to Newport was my favourite stretch: the trail follows a gentle decline, is a good distance from the road, and goes through varying countryside with the occasional great view of the sea.
Maeve with Tiernan
At the hotel meal that evening, a special award was given to all male members of the club, namely: "He has issues with intimacy. And he runs far too much". If you were unable to be in Westport, please see club treasurer James Lundon for your prize.
He will be happy to direct you to the nearest Garda Station.
Tony and Carol Killarney
Thanks to Tony for organizing the trip.
See photos (27) at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmagnier/sets/72157633473688821/show/Category: Athenry Club News
Please find attached schedule for Sunday for u12s and older for Avaya Track and Field. Start time is 11am, please be there at least one hour before your event is due to start. Note they are starting with the relays. Good luck to all. If you have not comfirmed your entry please do so by this evening.Category: Athenry Club News Attachments: galwaytf_u12-19_entries_20131.pdf
Please find attached provisional results of todays Avaya U9,10,11 Track and Field. Well done to all the athletes there was some great results from our juvenile athletes. The top three in each event go on to the Connachts in Athlone on June 8, so see you all at training next week.Category: Athenry Club News Attachments: galwaytf_u9_11_results_2013.pdf
I suppose the real story of the Limerick marathon is not so much about the great course, nice weather, or PB's but the injuries. It all started for most of us in January/ February as we set out on the long road to Limerick on those cold dark evening following our training plans: longs runs, tempo, speed sessions, and all the usual stuff.
It started when Maeve collided with a dog and had a bad fall off her bike on her way to race in Tuam and was out of training for a number of weeks. Then Noel Fox was struck down with a particularly bad virus which brought a halt to his training for so long that he was forced to abandon his plan for the Limerick marathon and go for the half instead.
Next it was Maeve up again she tripped while out on a long run one Sunday and broke her arm; this would end Maeve's involvement in the race as a participant although herself and Deirdre Quinn were a great support crew on the day.
As time progressed Aoife Callan, Frances Leahy, and Fiona Doughan all fell victim to injury or illness and their training was badly hampered; happy to say all are back in training again. With only a few weeks to go, news was breaking that Frank Burke’s attempt at a sub 3 may be over before he even gets started as he has a leg injury, but he's tough and decides to go.
Finally it’s race day: all the weeks of training had lead us to this point as we assemble at the baggage drop point and make our way to the start line, some more confident of making it to the finish line than others.
The race started without to much drama for me anyway and I quickly settled into my running, keeping myself busy chatting with another runner and wondering how my fellow Athenry member were getting on. I was soon to find out. As I passed through UCL about five miles into the race I come upon Frank walking away from the course: this was terrible, to see someone who has spent months training pulled up unable to continue.
As I continued on, the course loops up and down the same road for a few miles so I was able to check on how everybody was doing. Hi-fiveing Aoife, Martin, and Kieran was great and a wave from Bridget, Ed, Fiona, Frances, and Orla things weren’t going to bad there was still a good gang of us still going well.
The course — which is nice and reasonable flat for a marathon course — winds it way back from the east side of Limerick city through the centre of town where our support were offering encouragement and anything else we needed out to the west and back through the centre of town again.
We are at about 17 miles at this point and there are big crowds clapping and cheering and I am loving it when I hear a couple of voices I recognize shout encouragement at me I look around and there in the middle of the crowd is Aoife and Kieran. This almost stopped me in my tracks. I was stunned. They had to tell me to keep running, my head was a mess: what had happened? They looked so good earlier and all the long winter nights of training just like Frank gone up in smoke.
I had to get my head together at this stage. I was wondering was I the only Athenry runner left, it was carnage all these fine athletes out with one problem or another. I eventfully made it to the finish line but not without further incident at mile 24; another competitor collapsed on the road about 20 meters in front me. This put the heart cross ways in me. I taught he had a heart attack but he assured me it was just his legs, my own weren’t great at this point an’ I was wondering would I make it.
All that were left standing eventfully made it home, some with PB`s, other just happy to get home. This was a real race of attrition for our club but I know all these fine athletes will have better races and their day in the sun.Category: Race Reports
Avaya Galway Track and Field Championships for U9,10,11 take place this Sunday May 12 in Dangan starting at 12.30. I have attached proviosioinal timetable I would recommend that you arrive an hour before your event is due to start. Best of luck to all that are competing.Category: Juvenile Club News Attachments: galwaytf_u9_11_provisionaltimetable_2013.pdf
The Claregalway leg of the Galway 5k Series again brought out big numbers with just over 600 runners completing the run. The winning time was considerably better than last week's Athenry leg as Peter O'Sullivan recorded a great 16:02 to win by a good margin from Billy King with Enda Mannion in third. Our Sinead Foran was second among the women, well done again.
I counted 75 Athenry runners among the official list, correct me if I am wrong. All the helpers from last week seem to have stayed the course and run this week. Mairead Sullivan broke her PB again with 22:22, at this rate she will be sub-20 by the last run in Tuam. Five Athenry runners clustered just below the 24 minute mark, no doubt a savage tussle with no holds barred during the race and all smiles afterwards. They included Frank Noone, George Livanos, Jacqueline Hayes, the ranging new member Martin Moloney, and Janet Clancy.
Deirdre Quinn ran for two while Jane-Anne Meehan came back after a brief respite to do a great 20:24.
Well done and on to Loughrea next Tuesday. Results at http://www.redtagtiming.com/.
Also see the Maree AC Facebook page for oodles and oodles and oodles of images from the two series legs to date.Category: Race Result
East Galway Athletic Club sponsored the first & successful running of the Killererin 10K (St. Mary's Ladies GFC) road race on Bank Holiday Monday 6th of May in Barnaderg.
The race took place on a new course this year. Congratulations to Ian Egan and Siobhan Healy on winning the men's and women's races.
Results attached. As the 5k race was unofficial only the placings are given.Category: Race Result Attachments: 10k_results.pdf prizes_for_10k_5k.pdf
Every marathon has its bad luck and Athenry AC seemed to be affected strongly at the Great Limerick Run on Sunday 5th May. We won't dwell on the misfortune but instead we'll note the seven in our colours who did finish the full marathon, with nine more completing the Half marathon.
Jim and Frances Leahy both had PB'sin the full as did Martin O'Hara and Orla McCluskey. Congrats to all, let me know if you had a PB at Limerick.
Results at http://www.tdl.ltd.uk/.
Jim Leahy 03:08:10
Martin O'Hara 03:30:50
Bridget Murray 03:58:49
Fiona Doughan 04:08:05
Ed Egan 04:09:29
Frances Leahy 04:22:56
Orla McCluskey 04:27:41
Chris Deakin 01:35:33
Noel Fox 01:41:52
John Daly 01:43:38
Paul Daly 01:51:01
Jackie Hurley 02:12:41
Thia Hennessy 02:15:15
Jessica Mckillop 02:35:06
Sheila Dunleavy 02:35:08
Darina Keating 02:36:24
The new route of the Athenry race in the Galway May 5k Series proved very popular with contestants and spectators last night (Tuesday 30th April). As well as everything else, it's nice to have a route that is actually close to Athenry and that one can jog to. Thanks to Tony Killarney and Frank Burke for taking the time to find a suitable route and to Mick Rice and Tony, again, for doing the measuring (not a small task).
A perfect evening for running continued the tradition of good weather for this great series which sold out within 14 mintues online. How many events of any sort - sport, entertainment, etc. - are there in Ireland that sell out that quickly? 646 ran the race: the highest number ever in any of the 5k series races over the years. 73 were from the Athenry club, a great total, and 12 managed to break the 20 minute barrier. Mairead Sullivan smashed her PB by recording 22:54, having never gone under 24 mintues previously.
Thanks for Marie Curran for turning up to start the race, hopefully she'll be back soon. Photos by Catherine Magnier.
See the dedicated website at http://www.5km.ie/.
Athenry members Pat McDonagh and Brian Somers, a cousin of Ray.
The spectators seemed very happy to have a race on their road.
Alan Burke shows us what he is capable of.
Results at http://www.redtagtiming.com/.Category: Race Result
** Official Result attached **
The second annual Labane/Ardrahan/Galway Sports Partnership 10KM took place yesterday (Saturday, 20 April 2013) around the pan-handled course, starting and finishing in the interesting village of Labane, midways between Ardrahan and Gort, off the main Galway/Limerick Road.
The organiers put on a super show again, including ensuring the weather stayed dry albeit a bit windy, which buffeted the runners constantly over the first half of the race.
A full provisional result and prize list is attached below.
Matt and Peter battlnig it out around 7KM(?)
Four finishers enjoying the sunshine at the end.Category: Race Result Attachments: 13labane10km.pdf
Two miles or so from Peacocks Hotel in Maam cross, all of 194 of us waited, watched, wondered at what the next few, or many, hours of hard running would bring, would we all survive the course, will we make it to the finish, will this, almost perfectly calm morning continue throughout the day to ease the battle ahead?
Connemara has a mind of its own though. This was my first 39 miler. I chatted to fellow runners to keep my mind off what lay ahead.The people standing here at the start line of one of the most gruelling ultra marathons in the country were people like: the first Irish woman to climb Mount Everest, and, a man who was about to complete his 99th marathon, another who had swam the English channel, another woman completing her 21st marathon, who were these people around me? I was completely out of my league I thought, these weren't ordinary people, I was standing amongst gods.
The familiar voice called us to the start line, 'good luck guys' he said, one loud whoot, and we were off . The gods flew off as if being carried on the Connemara wind and within, what seemed like minutes, were but a line of dotted colours way off in the distant horizon, us 'newbies' would have to run.
It didnt seem long until we were at mile 5, 34miles to go I thought, the pace was just as I had planned, 9.30 min. miles, going strong now, but could I keep going like this for another 34 miles? The breeze was picking up now and changing from its earlier deceptive calmness to a strong wind, that would reveal its true harshness as the day and miles stretched out before us. 2 hours and 13.1 miles later I was still going, I still had'nt warmed up enough to take off my longsleeve top, was it my imagination or had the tempature dropped? Mile 20 now and I was cold, sore, my right foot started to cramp up with pain for some miles now, I stopped to stretch it out, kept going again, limping now, stopped again, massaged my foot, stretched it, mile 25, so much pain, too much, maybe I should stop.
Spotted an ambulance in the distance, I could make it to there, they might help, and they did, massage and stretch and I was good to go again, thank God the pain seemed to ease out of my foot as I kept moving, thank God for those medical guys, where would I be without them. My energy seemed to return, I pulled myself together and pushed myself along, mile 34 now and I knew I had some food and gels at a drop off table at mile 35, oh how that bananna saved my life, washed down with a bottle of coke, I never usually drink coke but new I would need it at this point in the race. I wondered where the gods were now, had they finished, were they sitting, sipping hot soup and sandwiches? Probably.
I will never forget mile 37, my face red with wind burn, my body screaming with pain, screaming to stop, to give up and call it a day, telling me I was crazy to ever think I could take on such a huge challenge, and that I wouldn't make it now anyway. But then I heard it, dimly at first, beneath the harsh wind, yes I could hear them, voices, cheering voices, music, clapping', was it the finish line? keep going' the voices said, 'you are almost there', dont give up, not now.
Mile 38, probably the longest mile of the race, I could see the tower at Maams cross, the place I had started from so many hours earlier. I was cold now, tired,hungry, I cant make it I thought, but my legs kept moving. Mile 39 came ever so slowly, I could see the finish line, the tears started to well up in my eyes, I was almost home, I wanted to break down and cry like a baby, tears forced themselves out and trickled down my cheeks, ok I thought, pull yourself together woman, you are almost at the finish line, you dont want to be in bits at your moment of glory, I dried my eyes, pulled my shoulders back, lifted my head, ran as strong and limpless as I could, and with heartfelt cheers from that brillant crowd, eased over that finish line in 6hrs and 32 mins. Almost falling into the surprisingly cameraless arms of Iain Shaw, and into the medal holding arms of The Ultraman himself Mick Rice, and finally a victory kiss from that familiar voice, race director, Ray. What a day, what a race, what a place, what a battle, a battle that will break people, but only so they will heal, and rebuild, and grow stronger, strong enough to run again, a battle that makes gods? will I do it again,oh yes, yes, please God,yes.Category: Race Reports
Folks, an awful thing happened in Boston today, innocent runners and spectators being killed and maimed. It's the first time I can remember a race being the target of terrorism. It's impossible not to think about it and realise that someone we know could have been there, could have been involved. As far as I know, no one from our club was running.
Hopefully the authorities will find and imprison the perpetrators very soon.Category: Running News
I couldn’t sleep. The butterflies in my tummy were circling like the Hitchcock film The Birds. Clock finally went off at 5.50 and I got up – wrecked. This was going to be a day I was never going to forget for the rest of my life. It was Connemara Ultra Marathon day at last. Weeks and weeks of training and preparation led me to this morning – and I got up absolutely jaded – typical!
Prep was meticulous. My wife Claire always marvels at how I prepare so well for a race yet when I’m sent to town for the groceries, I always forget the milk! One of life’s mysteries! My two great girls Amy and Grainne had my food bags ready and packed. Ray said to make them visible – by golly they were visible. From “Hon Kilconieron” to "Never give up Daddy” in bright colours, they were going to be the easiest recognisable bags by far! Anyway – gear on – vaselined to the point I felt as if I could glide the course – I hit off.
All farming duties were handled by my beautiful (but long suffering!) wife Claire and my 3 great kids. Never drove through Galway so easily – so I made the bus handy. Twas then things started to sink in. The bus was full of people doing exactly the same as me! Thing is – they all looked so sane! They ranged from beautiful peaches (girls), to crusty ould lads (that would be men!), and absolutely every thing in between. For some reason at that point, the nerves took over. I suddenly felt like a 5 year old on my first day at school checking my bags of food made by my kids – a strange change of roles!
We got there – as expected highly organised – Ray reigns supreme at his job. The briefing was funny yet poignant and without further ado we were bussed the mile or to the start. I felt strange – sharing such elusive company as Keith, Gerry and Vassiliy etc. but also loads and loads of first timers just like myself. I tried to make conversation but it was very cold and people weren’t in the mood for talking.
After 10 minutes, Ray and Alan let us off. It was great to go as we were freezing. As we passed through Maam Cross the few people there cheered us on but it was humbling to see the greatest Ultra runner of them all Mick Rice give his club mate a big roar as we hit west. He will be back next year.
Off we hit for Recess – wind in our backs –God this is lovely I thought. I made some conversation with some lads but they were going too fast for me – so I had to pull back at 5 miles as I wouldn’t make 10 miles if I kept going at that pace. I had hoped I wouldn’t pay for that later.
My first food bag was at 10 miles. It was very welcome. I got very emotional as I hated dumping the hand crafted bag with all the inspirational logos designed in my honour. It was at this point I noticed the wind. It was quite cold – blowing into my right cheek as we approached Lough Inagh. I didn’t realise we were at the full marathon start point until I was right at it. Ignorance of the course I suppose. I decided to use the portaloo. No one around I thought. To my shock – Marek my TG4 cameraman mate was filming me as I was going into the loo and as I came out Deirdre Quinn hollering at me and JAL going strong with the camera! So much for doing your business in Connemara!! It was great to see them though. James was giving me sound grown up advice while busy with the camera and Dee was her usual “Go on Athenry” self. It was heartening to see them and indeed I was quite sad leaving them. James was concerned that I was going a bit quick and advised me to pull back a bit. I hoped it wouldn’t come back to bite me later.
As I left them I started to tighten up a bit I my chest as the wind picked up. My times dipped a bit as my legs started to feel a bit heavy. Nothing to worry about I thought - it’ll pass.
It didn’t pass. As I turned right near Letterfrack on to the N59 - I was worried. Had I gone out too fast – yes – gobshite as always trying to be the big man. Had I not enough clothes on – deffo – I was freezing as now the biting east wind was in my face. A sudden fear set in on a steep uphill as both my legs started to cramp up. I had to stop. I hadn’t cramped in years and I was never more prepped for a race. What’s going on?? I got going slowly again after it seemed half the world passed me and was glad to get to my second food station on 23 miles.
My legs were heavy, my chest was tight and my times were slowing rapid and I hadn’t even got to Leenane!! I looked down at the food bag and my daughters’ inspirational logos and started to work out a few things in my head. Ok – at this pace and with the way I feel, I’m not going to break 6 hours. Am I going to finish at all? I never had a DNF in my life – by God I’m not having one today – not while clutching a bag with “Go on Daddy” on it! If this was the last thing I was going to do I was going to do this for my kids. If it takes all day I’m not going to let them see their Daddy as a quitter.
So gears down and on I trudge to Leenane along Killary Fiord. Even though I had a reprieve on the head battle – I thought these few miles into the village were the hardest bit of running in my life. In fact – to date probably the toughest thing I ever did in all my life was to get to Leenane. My relationship with Killary is seriously broken down at this point and will take a lot of mending. The cold – oh the cold! With no gloves and no sleeves and a bit of blind panic – I wanted to lie down and die! I had the idea of zip locking the food bag onto alternate hands just to keep some heat in my fingers. It really helped – needs must.
Finally I made it to Leenane – shattered, freezing, demoralised and my times completely gone down Killary Fiord in the east wind. I had two pairs of socks so in the village I had the idea of taking off one pair and putting them on my hands! Ok not so hygienic but I didn’t care. Again I felt emotional dumping the colourful and inspirational food bag which had literally carried me thus far.
Twas at this point I saw George and Ruthann. God it was great to see two familiar faces. George ran towards me and encouraged me on and Ruthann was so inspirational telling me it was shorter to stay going. It was just what the doctor ordered and for some reason at that point my mood changed.
As I left Leenane, Ruthann and George and that dreaded Killary, my spirits picked up as did the strength in my legs and chest. The wind – though ever present – was blowing into my left and didn’t feel quite as bad. It is by far the most scenic pert of the course and indeed a lovely half marathon course. I had a resurgence of power and energy and my times actually climbed back to near where they should be at this point – sadly I would never regain what was lost and would be lucky to break 6.20.
With that in mind – I started to enjoy myself. Lots of people – halfers, fullers and ultras and the craic was good. As I started to pick off some runners I felt the encouragement from them and it gave me great strength. The Ultra on my back was a great source of pride in myself for getting this far and started to feel good about it.
My last food bag was at mile 32. I was going to enjoy this one as it was my last. The guys manning the food stations from miles 32 to 37 were from Clarinbridge GAA and Camogie so the banter was good.
My legs felt good and my times kept improving as we hit the last hill before home. I climbed it like it wasn’t there! Oh – if I could have ran like this at mile 25! Still I was happy – a strange sense of childish happiness just like I’ve done something I shouldn’t! As I started to hear the public address I couldn’t take the smirk off my face. I think I was smiling for a full mile and a half going at 8 minute pace! You can see Maam at a mile out and it’s all downhill. I was waving at the people – you would swear I won the bloody thing!! With 400 to go I met Chris and Orla – my two neighbours who helped me through so much in the last few months. The perfect people to see at this point.
The waterworks started as I approached the finish – familiar faces were there – James, Iain, Andy and Ray and congrats all round. 6.21 was the finish time. I started to explain why it took so long – but I was told to shut up – I had just conquered the Connemara Ultra for the first time. Worry about the times another day – I was told.
Probably the most humbling moment of all was to be presented my medal by Mr Ultra himself – Mick Rice – who said I did a great race. Again I started apologising for the time but was put in my place and told to enjoy the moment. I rang home – to great congrats and told them how the food bags carried me home – in every way!
It’s a humbling unforgiving course with nowhere to hide – and there were places where it won some battles but I did win the war and I conquered the Connemara Ultra! If I can do it - -anyone can and I mean that!
It was late. I was a long time on the road and all I wanted to do at this point was to get back as soon as possible to the most important people in my life – my family. It was a wonderful moment when I got home. I again explained how the food bags with their inspirational messages altered my mood at critical times and literally carried me home.
At this point I want to thank my 3 wonderful kids – Amy, Gráinne and Michael for totally supporting their mad Daddy in doing what he does. And to my rock – the person who has moulded me into what I am, who encouraged me to go out for a run 5 years ago, my loving wife Claire. I’m certainly not perfect husband or father material but they have encouraged and inspired me on this journey and will on many more and to them I am eternally grateful.
Patrick Forde - April 2013.Category: Race Reports
1. What running shoes do you train in?
My Vibram Bikele are number 1 but I ran the Ultra in my Sketcher Bionics Go Run - another beautiful minimalistic shoe.
2. How many miles did you run last week?
Just the Ultra - 39.3 miles!
3. What’s your favourite racing distance?
Has to be the Marathon. There's nothing to beat conquering another regular one or attempting a new one - and they are an excuse to travel the world!
4. Where’s your favourite place to train?
Simple - The woods in Dunsandle any time of year - pure heaven. Can't wait to get back there next week.
5. What’s your favourite event or race each year?
For a club event - the DCM will always be the big one, as I don't train with the club with work, its a great opportunity to meet old and new faces wearing the Maroon and White. On an individual level, the Ballyvaughen Burren Marathon is an annual pilgrimage for me. There is just something magical about the place that brings me back each year.
6. What annoys you most at races?
The Portaloos. Has anyone ever had a good experience of one? If someone comes up with a better idea they will make a fortune! The Flush thing seldom works - I don't want to see what the last guy was eating!
7. What race, that you haven’t yet run, would you most like to take part in?
I like to push the boat out a bit - so I'd have to say one that Ruthann did in Africa - the Marathon des Sables sounds exciting!
8. What was your best-ever running performance?
My 3.16 last year in Dublin is my best - but my 18.59 at Tony's race on New Years Day this year still baffles me. Don't know where that came from!
9. What was your worst-ever running performance?
My First Marathon was the now discontinued Galway Bay Marathon in October 2009. Went out too quick - I still do- tied up on the second lap - walked, crawled and shuffled home in 4.20. Ended up being passed out on the prom by an elderly couple out walking their dog!
10. What’s the strangest thing that you’ve ever seen on a training run?
Two Bulls started fighting each other (over a female no less - we never learn) as I approached on my run one morning. That run quickly turned into a speed session as I got the hell out of there before they turned on me!
11. Favourite piece of running gear?
My Garmin - lost without it. My radio would also be up there. I love listening to the Marathon Training Academy podcast and I love all kinds of music. Pink's song Try is my favourite running song at the minute - it seems to speed me up a bit always.
12. Who would you most enjoy beating in a sprint for the line?
Niall Callanan. The day will come Niall - watch out!
13. What was the best bit of training advice you were ever given?
I've been given it from James and I've shared it out to many : The day you feel good, run like hell cause there'll be plenty days you won't feel good. Simple but true.
14. In ten years time will you still be running?
I'd like to think so. With running you make it up as you go along. There are no boundary's to what you can strive for and achieve.
15. If for some reason you were told you could never run again, how do you think you’d react?
Not good. I'm not great with bad news and that would be right down there. I know I am blessed to be able to do what I do and it all could end so easily. I've seen it first hand with people in my family.
16. Have you ever been bitten by a dog while running?
Yes. Only once and he didn't do it again. Enough said.
17. Have you ever had to stop for an emergency "Paula" during a race?
Not in a race. Often on a training run. Same place all the time -can't say where!
18. Favourite post-race food?
Hard to beat going as a family to Supermacs on O'Connell Street after the DCM - loaded with vouchers - eating exactly what you want. Look forward to it every year as its a real pig out! But otherwise its the bowl of porridge with natural yogurt, nuts, honey and cinnamon . The only job!
19. Most embarrassing ever running-related moment?
Coming across a couple making out in a car in the woods in Dunsandle while out for a run late - too late - on a Summer Saturday night. I knew them so it was awkward for a while after!
20. The greatest Irish Athlete of all time is/was?
Probably Eamon Coughlan. What he achieved broke moulds on a world stage and he is still encouraging people to out and run. Had the pleasure of meeting him at the DCM expo. He still is very enthusiastic about the sport.Category: Athlete Profiles
(Photo by Don Nyhan)
Lennane seemed strangely empty in the hour or so before the Half Marathon start on Sunday. However closer inspection revealed the whereabouts of the 2000+ starters behind every available wall, truck, pub, outsized runner, etc., trying to get shelter from a gusty wind blowing from the East.
It made for a tougher day than usual climbing the hills while negotiating the blasts but most runners knuckled down and got on with it. One UK competitor did tell me however that he missed being able to take in the scenery through having to lean into the wind so much.
Times were down on other years overall but it didn't take from this event, now long established as a major race and tourist attraction in Connacht. Johnny O'Connor tells me that 70 coaches are hired to ferry the runners and spectators from Galway and Clifden to the three starting points. The logistics of this very unique race require a lot of thought.
Patrick Forde and long time Athenry AC member Aaron Turner were the only Athenry AC male representatives in the Ultra this year, pretty amazing with all the success the club has had in various ultras over the years. Patricks time of 6:21:10 breaks down as averaging 9 mins. 40 secs. per mile, and yes he did run in his "barefoot" style running gear as distinct from shoes. A photo of Patrick's feet from Portumna last year is shown below. Martina Passman, who will be returning to Athenry AC in the upcoming transfer window, continued her ultra journey with a very fine 6:32:15.
A few sentences on the connemarathon website caught the eye: "It was lovely to see Simone Grassi's parents and friends cross the finish line too. Great people paying special tribute to a great man!" Simone was a two-time winner of the Connemara marathon (2008, 2009) and died in January of this year having walked the race in 2012. See a description of his participation in 2012 at http://www.connemarathon.com/simone-grassi-returns-different-circumstances. Rest in peace.
Eighteen from Athenry AC ran the Half and Bridget Ann Walsh representated us in the Full (BAW has been at every Connemarathon and apparently completed all but one of the marathons).
The Irish Times has some great photographs at http://www.irishtimes.com/news/connemara-international-marathon-1.1351783.
See the results at http://www.connemarathon.com/2013-results.Category: Race Result
by Martina Donnellan and Gearóid Rohan
On a bitterly cold day, GCH men claimed 1st , 2nd & 3rd prizes in this year’s Colemanstown 10k. Last year’s winner Matt Bidwell from Galway City Harriers was first home again, in a time of 33:39; not quite as fast as his PB which he created on the same course last year.
The breeze was quite stiff and played hell on the straight stretch as far as the 4k marker and runners found it difficult to make up on time on this normally fast course for the remainder of the run. Last year’s 2nd placed runner Owen Byrne, GCH claimed 2nd again in 34:39 while Gearoid Hynes was 3rd home in 36:11.
Sinead Brody (now with GCH) was 1st lady home in a new course record of 41:00, Sinead Foran (Athenry AC) was 2nd in a time of 42:07 while 3rd was Aoife Callan (Athenry AC) who came in on a time of 43:14, superb running.
Category winners were: Joe Morrissey, Male O40; Jane Walsh, GCH, Female O40; Anthony McCormack, Male O50; Mary McHugh, GCH, Female O50; Liam Lowry, Male O60.
Another great turnout from Athenry AC with almost 30 runners on the Day. Ray Somers lead the gang home in 37:16 followed by Darragh McShane, Gearoid Rohan, David Noone and Jim Leahy all sub 40 and Frank Burke jogged in on exactly the 40min mark. Plenty of PB’s on the day, to name but a few Jim Leahy came flying through the finish line hands held high on a great time of 39:53, Pat Mc Donagh (rumored to be sponsored by "Herbalife") who is in flying form and also Nicola Condon who is also running superbly broke their previous PB’s by a good margin. Mark Mitchell split up some of the Athenry runners and he himself is a previous member of the club.
The hospitality was second to none with homemade soup and salmon on brown bread followed by copious amounts of teas, coffees and the most delicious homemade cakes and buns. Full credit to all who really put their heart and soul into the organisation of this race.
Preceding the 10k run a 1k fun run for the youngsters was held with approx 65 kids taking part. County hurler Cyril Donnellan presented the participants with their finisher’s medal & goody bag.
Many thanks to Frank & Bernie Burke who sponsored the cash prizes for the winners. A word of thanks also from the Colemanstown 10k committee to Athenry AC who sponsored the race permit application.
There are some photographs available on the Colemanstown United website: http://www.colemanstownunited.com/?page_id=102&album=1&gallery=27.Race Reports