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Updated: 15 hours 40 min ago

Connemara 2014, One Of Those Magic Days!

Wed, 2014-04-16 12:40

Lyall Guiney has shared his report on his brilliant run in Connemara recently. This can also be found on his blog Race the Blue Line.

There was some craic on the bus to the start line. A load of the Marathon Club Ireland guys were on it, and once we started passing the Ultra runners after Peacock’s hotel they were banging on the windows and shouting at their buddies down on the road. There was lots of sardonic Cork humour and insults and jokes flying around. It was great, it totally took my mind off the run. I’d spent the last 24 hours as a nervous wreck – as usual before a big race – so this was a welcome distraction.

I lined up with a handful of athletic-appearing runners at the front of the field. There weren’t many singlets on show besides my Athenry outfit. Almost 600 lined up behind us. Lezan Kimutai, eventual 4:07 winner of the Ultra, had just passed us in his own Athenry AC singlet, with a third of his race complete. Ray counted us down. I set my Timex Ironman stopwatch going and looked ahead along the shore of Lough Inagh.

I immediately fell into a “hard but comfortable” pace – whatever that happens to be, I’ve learned to trust myself. I was 6th in the lead pack, with the front five pulling a little ahead, and the sound of footsteps just behind me. A few strides into the second mile I settled into 8th position, as two pairs of footsteps eased past. Frowning at the concession, I glanced at my watch, then afforded myself a little chuckle; this was my 10-mile pace.

I had a decision to make straight away. The wind was behind and to the left. I had offered up a blind prediction to a few friends that I was going to finish no worse than 5th. And despite some significant hypochondria for the last 24 hours, I felt really great. But having just dropped a couple of places to 8th, and being way inside my established marathon pace, I could easily have thought: “Okay let’s be realistic. Let’s hang on here for a bit, ease off the pace, and if another couple of lads overtake, there’s still a top 10 finish to target.”

I thought that for a few seconds. Then I squashed that idea, and replaced it with this one: “I said I was going to finish no worse than 5th. That means that nobody else will pass me. And I must pass three runners in the next 25 miles. Be brave and run hard. Go.”

Thus I tucked into a steady, uncompromising cadence, with the tranquil but inspiring notes of Einaudi’s Andare on repeat in my mind – matching the rhythm of my legs. I had a few Ultra runners to catch first. The marathoner opponents could wait a while. It was a long way to the finish.

One mile in, just about to drop to 8th place.One mile in, just about to drop to 8th place.
  • Mile 1: 5:48 - 6th position, falling to 8th just after the marker.
  • Mile 2: 6:00 – Considered backing off but kept it steady.
  • Mile 3: 6:08 – Tempered a little by the slight ups and down.
  • Mile 4: 5:53 – But only a little, effort was consistent. Ray saluted as he passed me out on the motorbike.
  • Mile 5: 6:36 – Just a nasty uphill section.
  • Mile 6: 5:58 – Closing in on John Cronin and Jerome Debize (GCH in 3rd and 4th place in the Ultra). Took my first gel here ahead of the water station. I knew that later today, with hills and headwinds to come, energy levels would sap – so keep them topped up.
  • Mile 7: 6:06 – Passed the two GCH lads on the little incline just after the turn onto the N59.
A little after passing the two GCH Ultra runners. A little after passing the two GCH Ultra runners.
  • Mile 8: 6:19 – I had stayed within a couple of hundred metres of the 7th place marathon runner. He maintained a more or less constant lead in these miles.
  • Mile 9: 6:24 – Up a short, sharp climb. Couldn’t close the gap on the man up ahead.
  • Mile 10: 6:00 – Starting the long descent into Leenane. With the strong tailwind now fully at our backs, the splits dipped back into ‘serious’ territory.
Some of the middle miles, gels still in hands.Some of the middle miles, gels still in hands.
  • Mile 11: 5:48 – My fear at this point was pounding my quads into a pulp as I thundered down the hill. It had started to rain as well, but it was barely noticeable with it at our backs.
  • Mile 12: 6:01 – Took 7th position. I’d been gradually reeling him in over the last mile, only half realizing it. When it came to it, I sailed past him.
  • Mile 13: 6:01 – Took the second gel a little ahead of the water station. Very steady along the flat into the town of Leenane.
  • 0:45 to half: 1:19:47 - my fastest ever half-marathon by well over 3 minutes! It also told me that I was going to PB today, no matter what the second half threw at me. It was not going to be one of those days when it all falls apart.
  • Mile 14: 6:35 – Now it began for real. First challenge – the hill, from about 13.5 to 14.5 mile distance. Got a shout on from Mr. Shaw and possibly a couple of other friends at the turn in Leenane – I was only half aware. All focus was on the work ahead.
  • Mile 15: 6:44 – The hill finished, but the undulating second half continued ahead. Still, it’s always a relief when that seemingly unrelenting drag on your legs finishes; when your lungs get just that little bit of respite. More importantly: 6th place was now in my sights, and I was gaining.
  • Mile 16: 6:25 – Iain passed me in the car. The third gel got scoffed before the water station at the end of the mile. I caught the 6th place man just after the mile marker. He had slowed to a walk. I shouted at him: “come on buddy”, and he started moving again behind me, but I made sure to set a punishing pace for the next half-mile to encourage him to fade away in my wake.
  • Mile 17: 6:16 – Holding steady, just eating up the miles.
  • Mile 18: 6:03 – One of the few nice, flat miles in the second half. Cruising past walkers at nearly 6-minute pace, feeling great, feeling solid.
  • Mile 19: 6:55 – Significant climb in this mile. And the headwind. I had a bleak moment mentally, amidst all the half-marathon walkers, where I felt a wave of weariness wash over me.
  • Mile 20: 6:13 – Straight back to sub 6:20 once the profile leveled out. I think I was outputting a consistent effort level through all these miles, with the hills, the gusting wind and occasional rain causing most of the variance in pace. Ray passed me again on the bike.
  • Mile 21: 6:21 – At about this point a cyclist came up beside me and told me I was “7th or 8th”… “6th !” I shouted back triumphantly, thinking how any runner after 21 miles would prefer no information to wrong information. And rather optimistically: “And I’m gonna finish fifth!” He didn’t seem to think much of that but assured me I was “on for a good time”. Genius! :-P
  • Mile 22: 6:08 – I just burned through this mile, steeling myself for the final climb. Peter Brandon – one of my new Kenyan club-mates! – passed me just after crossing the bridge in Maum – the only half-marathoner to do so before the finish. Fourth and final gel with the water stop at the end of this mile. Fuel for the Hell of the West.
  • Mile 23: 7:11 – The first few hundred metres are on the flat, but the rest of it is straight up hill. And then it continues relentlessly for another mile, with a gale blowing you back, blowing you off the road.
  • Mile 24: 7:22 - There are so many “KOH” signs that cycling clubs paint onto the roads around Connemara, but there are none that make me snarl with satisfaction more than that alongside the 24 mile marker here. And an extra reward: the 5th place runner was in sight.
Nearly there, hurting.Nearly there, hurting.
  • Mile 25: 6:33 – My legs were on fire now but I pelted down the hill in chase. No let up – taking 5th place had to feel inevitable. I was battered by rain and wind, but if I was closing him down, it meant he had to be feeling even worse. So I pushed and pushed, flying past spectators wandering out to the top of the hill. I caught the runner with a little bit of road still to cover before the mile marker. I didn’t look at him, I didn’t make a motion or utter a word. No consolation. I ran straight past. 24 miles ago I’d promised myself that I was taking 5th position or better, and if there was any fight left in this guy, I wanted to crush it.
Final mile.Fighting the wind in the final mile.
  • Mile 26: 6:50 – For the love of… the last mile is flat, but it had to be the windiest of the whole course. I was fighting for every forward step. But I knew this was it – everything had worked out. I had a massive PB and I had 5th place, on one of the most beautiful yet terrible marathon courses in the world. I glimpsed Jim and Francis as I cleared the 26 mile marker – best of luck in London! – and tumbled towards the finish straight.
Finish straight.Finish straight.
  • Finish: 1:15 – sprinted home, fist in the air, second half in 1:26:04

Stopwatch: 2:45:53 | Gun + Chip: 2:45:51 | Place: 5th

A completely acceptable positive split of 6:17.

This was the greatest athletic performance of my life. Compared to some of my peers, it’s not saying much, and I know I’ve got more to come. But for now, I believe it to be true. I’ve never ran as bravely in any other marathon. The first half was a foray into the unknown, and I maintained the effort levels from the first mile to the final step. My determination and self-belief has been there in previous long-distance races, but I’ve always had some reticence in pacing strategy. Today, I literally threw all caution to the wind, and fought tooth and nail for every second.


Ray, Angela, Iain, James, Bridget and Alan should all be able to attest to one thing: I was utterly happy after crossing that line. I was so happy, so crazily happy with what had happened over the past two and three-quarter hours. Not even that it had finished, as such – this wasn’t a feeling of relief. It was simply delight with what had happened. I’d actually finished 5th. After the first mile, I had no genuine knowledge that I’d be able to reel in those other runners, just a determination to do so. Furthermore, I’d demolished my previous PB, a time with which I had been really rather content. And to have done so on that course, in those conditions. I’ve felt ecstatic after races in the past, but this was different. There was a sense of holistic fulfilment this time, which I have never quite felt before.

I could barely stand upright. So, after hugging and shaking hands with all concerned, I wandered off to collect the t-shirt and my gear, and to sit down for a while. Mick gave us a lift back to the car in Oughterard. A Scotties double-stack burger (and a brownie sundae) rounded out the afternoon a little later.

… 8 weeks to Cork… 

Category: Race Reports

Congrats to Peter Delmer!!!!!

Mon, 2014-04-14 00:15

Peter Delmer [co-founder of Athenry AC (Senior)] got married to the lovely Dympna last Friday!

Long life and much happiness to both.

Category: Athenry Club News

Mayo AC Move 2 Improve 2014 Series

Sun, 2014-04-13 21:50

Move 2 Improve MAYO AC 2014 Series


1 KILMOVEE 10k, 19 April @ 1pm CONTACT JOHN 086 173 7111

2 IRISHTOWN 8k, 29 June @ 12pm CONTACT MICHAEL 086 853 4729 AFTER 7PM

3 BALLA 10k, 26 July @ 7pm CONTACT BRENDAN 087 294 1227

4 CHARLESTOWN 10k, 6 Sept. @ 12pm CONTACT CHRISTINA 086 330 9653

5 BALLYHAUNIS 8k, 28 Sept. @ 3pm CONTACT MARTIN 087 245 5989

6 BREAFFY 10k, 12 Oct. @ 1.30 CONTACT MAGGIE 087 632 4252

GENERAL INFORMATION: Each participating race will have its own prize structure etc. and will be advertised in advance in the usual way. For Race Information contact: Michael @ (086) 853 4729 (after 7pm).

More info & updates on

Category: Running News Attachments: 14mayoac_move2improve.pdf

Two 10KMs on Galway next weekend

Sun, 2014-04-13 20:54

We have an embarrassment of riches in Galway with, not one, but two 10KMs in the county next weekend: Colemanstown [Easter Saturday] and Labane (Galway Sports Partnership) [Easter Monday].

Both are excellent events and deserve all local athletes' support.  See attached for posters for both races.

Category: Running News Attachments: 14colmanstown10km.pdf 14labane10km.pdf

Athenry Community Games & Parish Sports

Wed, 2014-04-09 23:12

The Athenry Community Games & Parish Sports are being held this Sunday 13th April at 1.30pm in Carnaun Pitch, Athenry. As always there is a Senior Mens 3000m & a Senior Womens 1500m race which are always well supported by Athenry AC. There will be Perpetual Cups for the 1st Athenry Area or Athenry A.C. finisher in each race.

This is a great, fun event & is a chance to run a new distance which isn't on the racing calendar too often. Please come along & support your home event.

Category: Running News Attachments: agenda.jpg press_release.jpg

Connemarathon 2014 Results

Tue, 2014-04-08 09:34

In typical Connemara weather, where after 4 hours I still couldn’t figure out which way the wind was blowing (and it was blowing), there were some very impressive times posted across the three distances on offer in Sunday’s Connemarathon. 

The club took three titles home from Maam Cross with Ruthann Sheahan & Lezan Kimutai both winning the ultra marathon & Peter Brandon winning the half marathon. With course records on their minds prior to the race start, both Lezan & Peter were undone by the swirling winds, particularly on the half marathon course, which everyone had to tackle. They still posted impressive times though with Lezan completing the 39.3mile course in 4.07.50 & Peter finishing the half marathon two & a half minutes outside the course record in 1.09.46. 

Despite finding the going tough at times, Ruthann Sheahan still had a large winning margin, a clear 15 minute gap to the second placed lady, with her winning time of 5.05.39. She was second club member home too with Kieran Guiry, Aaron Turner, Pat Forde & Martina Passman also completing the course. Kieran Guiry in particular had an impressive day, on his first attempt at this distance he finished with a brilliant time of 5.17.16 & the family bragging rights after beating his brother John (a sub-3 marathon runner) by 30 seconds. Pat Forde was over the moon by beating his sub-6 hour target with a time of 5.59.27. 

We had one member representing the club in the marathon & he didn’t let us down. With a fantastic time of 2.45.51, Lyall Guiney finished in 5th position & a near 7minute PB. Amazing running on a tough course & on a tough day. 

We had 10 members competing in the half marathon, again with some impressive times. Mick Rice came home in 1.23.40 for 6th position. Any other day you’d expect a category prize for that time / position but amazingly seven of the top ten were O40. Liam Egan was next home with a 1.47.39, not bad for a training run. Liam is off to Austria soon for his Ironman 70.3 & was using this as a warm up, so was pleasantly surprised with his time. Fiona Doughan was close behind with a 1.54.53. 

Following not far behind were a group who have come a long way since their Fit4Life days with Frances Egan, Yvonne Dowling, Caroline Mitchell, Shirley Quinn, Sinead Reilly, Janette Murray & Maria Hehir-Warde all finishing between the 2.00 -  2.25 mark. 

As always this race brought a huge contingent of supporters from Athenry with members lining the course throughout & I know the ultra runners in particular were appreciative of the support in the latter stages of the race.

Race results attached below.

Also, Lyall's outstanding report is posted here.

Category: Race Result Attachments: cnm2014_ultra.pdf cnm2014_full.pdf cnm2014_half.pdf

COPE Galway Give It Socks 5km 2014 Results

Tue, 2014-04-08 09:30

Race result located here.

Category: Race Result

Killannin 8KM Result

Thu, 2014-04-03 20:29

Congrats to Corrib AC on the first running of their Killannin 8KM last Saturday afternoon.

Full result is here.

Category: Race Result

Athenry Go Global

Wed, 2014-04-02 12:15

It's turning into a busy few weeks for Athenry members on the international stage with many of our members hitting the skies to take part in some of the biggest races worldwide.

This Sunday, 06th April, Philp Magnier & George Livanos will be lining up alongside nearly 50,000 other participants in France for the Marathon de Paris.

The following Sunday, 13th April, Frances Leahy, Tony Killarney, Kenneth O' Hara, Maeve Noone & Jim Leahy will be lining up alongside Mo Farah & Haile Gebrselassie in the London Marathon. (See photos above & below for this years medal)

Finally on Patriots Day, Monday 21st April, Deirdre Hasset will be targetting a sub 3.15 marathon in what is sure to be a very emotional race in Boston this year.

Category: Running News

New Inn 5K Race Result

Sun, 2014-03-30 20:11

Another great turnout by Athenry in New Inn for their 3rd annual 5k.

It was a cracking day out there & the heat caught a few of us by surprise but there were still a few PB's produced. Gearoid Rohan, Ruth Ann Sheahan, Jane Ann Healy & Ronan McCarthy all improved on their 5k times.

Tiernan Burke produced nearly a 2 minute PB with a 20.25 & now has Frank worriedly looking over his shoulder. Bragging rights in the Burke household could be hotly contested come the 5k series I think.

Full results is now attached.

Category: Race Result Attachments: 14newinn5k.pdf

Craughwell 10m - County Championships Results

Sat, 2014-03-29 14:16

The official results of the 10m County Championships, which formed part of the Craughwell 10m, have now been released & give Athenry a huge haul of medals. Congrats to all.

Results below.

Category: Race Result Attachments: 2014_galway_10_mile_road_race_championship_results.pdf

Jarlath Fitzgerald book being launched this Friday night...

Mon, 2014-03-24 21:05

A good friend of the club, Loughrea AC stalwart, Jarlath Fitzgerald is launching his book in Loughrea this Friday evening at 8PM!

See here.

Category: Running News

Juvenile Athletes Shine at National Indoors

Mon, 2014-03-24 15:28

It was a wonderful weekend (21-22 March) for our Juvenile athletes at the All Ireland Indoors in Athlone.  Brandon Lee took the gold medal in the u14 hurdles and also bronze in the 800m.  Lydia Doyle u15 took silver in both the 60m sprint and hurdles.  

All of our hurdlers made it to the finals u13 Aoilbhe Deeley fininshed 6th u14 Aubrey O Brien was 7th and he also finished 6th in the long jump.  Saoirse Healey finished 4th in the high Jump.  Evan Quirke was 8th in long jump and 7th in high jump.

Shannen Lee finished 6th in 1500m while Mathew Treacey also got a PB in his high jump.  

These were great performances from our young athletes and they should all be very proud of themselves.

Category: Athenry Club News

Craughwell 10 Results

Sun, 2014-03-23 23:44
Photo courtesy of Peter Mooney

Cover photo courtesy of Peter Mooney.

After some horrendous wind & rain in midweek, Sunday morning dawned as fresh & perfect as a spring day could be. The vast blue sky was looking stupendous, the myriad of daffodils lining the roadside were looking voluptuous & the post race spread greeting us as we lined up for our timing chips & t-shirts was looking sumptuous.

The inform Mick Clohisey took the male honours today for Raheny Shamrocks as he cruised to a 2min win over second placed Emmett Dunleavy of Sligo AC. There was only ever going to be one winner as Mick is in the form of his life & came home in a fantastic time of 50.14. Never too far away from the top ten in races over the last decade he is going from strength to strength & has taken multiple wins over the last few years (including the Fields of Athenry the last two). He recently ran to his best win to date with a 1st place in the National Cross Country three weeks ago, narrowly beating Gary Thornton of GCH by 15 seconds in the process.

The womens race was a tighter affair & a successful one for Athenry AC as the club finished with two podium spots. Paula Prendergast took first place with a 1:04:37, with Jane-Ann Healy 39 seconds behind in second. Sinead Foran finished a further minute & a half back to take third place. It’s a mark of the fighting spirit & future possibilities in both that neither were happy with their times & feel they could have done better – Sinead in particular finding the heat tough going towards the end.

Not only did Jane-Ann take second place but also won the dinner table bragging rights as husband David finished 17 seconds behind her. A brilliant result for David in his first race at this distance!

Whilst the team results are only provisional at the minute, it looks like Athenry took gold in the womens county team championships with Maria Lambe running a stormer to be fourth woman home for the team behind Jane-Ann, Sinead & Ruthann Sheahan. The quartet of Janet Clancy, Mairead Blake, Siobhan Guinan & Mary Rohan look to have taken third place.

The men’s team of Lyall Guiney, Ray Somers, Mick Rice & Gearoid Rohan would appear to have taken silver behind GCH. Mick was also successful on a personal level, taking 2nd in the over 40 category. Well done to all on great running.

As ever Athenry AC descended en-masse to the Craughwell 10 with a total of 56 members turning out in maroon & white at the start line this morning. Less than two hours later there was a lot of sun burned & salt streaked faces & a lot of beaming smiles. Whether it’s a target race in its own right or preparation for a spring marathon / half marathon, the timing of this race is just perfect in the racing calendar & a lot of people come to this race in peak fitness and the amount of club PB’s prove it........(one’s I know of at the minute)

Lyall Guiney       - 0:59:15

Ray Somers        - 0:59:33

Gearoid Rohan   - 1:04:21 Gave himself a B+ (Could have done better!) Feels he left the sub 64 behind him

David Meehan   - 1:05:33 First race at this distance

Martin O’ Hara  - 1:08:41 Delighted! PB by 58 seconds

Pat McDonagh  - 1:08:52 The eternal carpet bagger! Apparently never in form but pulls it out every time

Kenneth O’ Hara  1:09:47 Woo hoo!!

Ronan McCarthy  1:09:59 What a way to run your first 10m

George Livanos - 1:10:03 So near but yet so far, but who cares, a 5min PB – brilliant!!

Paul Hegarty     - 1:12:17 First 10m. Wasn't expecting this time & over the moon

Maria Lambe     - 1:15:24 Very tough run but thanks to Philip Magnier for keeping me going, especially on the last two miles

Siobhan Guinan - 1:16:42 Very little mileage since the 50k in February so delighted

Janet Clancy      - 1:17:30 Definitely back in the groove after her injury

Anne Lyng           - 1:29:56 Delighted! PB by 3 ½ mins

With over 50 members running today there was bound to be more – and near misses too. Kieran Guiry narrowly missed out on a PB, falling short by 6 seconds with a 1:06:00.

It was great to see John Langan back on the start line again after a couple of injury interrupted years. In what was his first long distance event since Dublin 2012 John ran a 1:17:01. Kellie O’ Shaughnessy was also making her return today & was delighted with her 1:30:40.

As ever Craughwell put on a great race today & the post-race spread ( which, in fairness, is the reason most of us turn up) was fantastic. Congrats to all involved for a great day.

Results located here

Photos by Peter Mooney located here

Some thoughts on the day;

James Lundon

Last two miles today were horrible! Seeing all my teammates racing ahead up on the road and leaving me in the dust was not easy. I was passed by 6 or 7 people in the last painful mile, while the rest up ahead - much of it Maroon and White clad - went further out of sight! Just ran out of steam big time after keeping it together quite well in the first half. May have gone out too quickly but nothing I thought I couldn't hold onto to, or at least try to... Kinvara, then Ballycotton, then 9 hard miles in Abbey last week didn't help! I was behind Martin Hynes (AAC not TAC) for at least 7 miles - most of it only 30 metres back - but I could never get any closer; he was slowing at the same rate as myself in the last few miles!


Tony Killarney

It looked like there were more Athenry runners there than any other club, it was just amazing, and what a great day. Unfortunately I don't have a PB story - 73:56 versus 66:09 in 2012. But I was delighted to be able to run it (plus an extra 10 miles to make a long training run). The rest of the old guys seem to be getting faster though - I got a silver medal in 2012 but that time would only have been 5th O50 today.


Kellie O’ Shaughnessy

My first race since injury last year so no PB but mission was to get around and was delighted to manage 9 min miles as training not taken me under 10 min miles so happy happy happy!


Anne Lyng

I had a great day! Came in at 1.29.56 a PB and knocking 3.30 mins off last year’s time! Tough going, but worth it!!


Sinead Foran

Not my best day out today at all, had been hoping for a better time but didn't feel good from mile 5 on. The heat got to me too - unbelievable!


Kenneth O Hara

Some say that running is a solitary sport but I challenge anyone who thinks it to take a look at today’s race. With an identical target of 70mins Colin Duane & I decided to stick together & see what happens. It wasn’t long before we were joined by George Livanos & for a good 7 miles we were inseparable. In a race this distance you are always going to hit a low point or tough patch & it’s great to have a teammate alongside you to give you encouragement or even tuck in behind for a few minutes for a breather. At various times throughout today we all took on the leader / sufferer but dragged each other around & even got a few shouts of ‘Great teamwork Athenry’ along the way.

Delighted with the race, was unsure of match fitness going in to today so over the moon to hit the sub 70 – check out the photo for the pain / relief / ecstasy all rolled into one.

Category: Race Reports Attachments: craughwell10_2014_athenry_ac.pdf craughwell10_2014.xls