Tubbercurry 10k 2013

This year was the 40th year of the Tubbercurry 10k St. Patrick’s day road race, hosted by South Sligo Athletics Club. Over 300 runners and walkers toed the start line in what was the largest field in recent years. Conditions were not the easiest on what is a relatively challenging course, with a 19mph northerly wind blowing and temperatures of 4oC (brrr!). Here is a picture of those ‘gentle undulations’.

Course Profile - Tubbercurry 10K - 2013

Four club members represented Galway City Harriers on the day, three from the one family (Alan Walsh, Jane Walsh and their son, Cillian Walsh – aged 13) and Eilis Leddy, in what is Alan’s native town. This meant additional support for the Walshs on the route which helped to take the pain out of those hills.

The atmosphere was buzzing as runners took to the start line, many with shamrocks painted on their faces to celebrate the day that was in it. With Craughwell 10-miler only a week away, my plan was to run relatively conservatively, and with the hills and windy conditions was not in the running(!) for a PB.

The route began with a lap of the town with competitors returning through the start line at about 1k where lots of early cheers for fresh-legged runners kept spirits high. During this first kilometre it felt like the entire field passed me there and I started to wonder was I the slowest runner out that day. However, patience is always required in the first mile to avoid sheer hell later in the run so I stuck to my planned pace of around 7:25-7:30 min/mile (PB pace would mean running faster than 7:22). Here are some Harriers at the 1k mark.

Jane Walsh - Tubbercurry 10K - 2013

Those smiles were quickly wiped off our faces as the route took a right turn up a hill (the name ‘Mountain Road’ should tell you all you need to know...). This was a kilometre of tough running which I was told would end when we saw the sign for ‘Lover’s Lane’. Needless to say my shoelaces were all I was looking at for most of this section (mile 1 = 7:21). The end of the 2nd mile and the 3rd mile saw the course flatten out, followed by a nice downhill section, allowing for a steadying of the pace (mile 2&3 = 7:17 & 7:04). At this stage, the field started slowly coming back to me which always boosts the confidence.

Then, disaster! The section from 3.5 to 4.5 miles was one long continuous hill, and straight into a headwind. All attempts to hide behind other runners failed as the field was well strung out at this stage. Nothing for it but to battle on.
The course took a left turn at around mile 4.5 onto the main Ballymote road with a downhill section to allow tired legs to recover some pace. But how was the wind still against us here? Mile times tell the tale (mile 4 & 5 =7:28 & 7:38). Never mind, this was never meant to be an astounding run...

Mile 6 saw an up-and-down section of the route but time to push for home (mile 6 = 7:13). During this period I continued to pass runners and with the beep for mile six I decided to put Matt Lockett’s track training to good use finishing in 6:17 pace for the last .2 of a mile (1:18), crossing the line with a most unexpected 23-second PB of 45:18. All three ‘adult’ Harriers crossed literally within seconds of each other (in the 45s...).
I had barely recovered my breath when my 13-year old son barrelled over the line in a time of 47:46 to win the Junior prize (U18) in what was his first ever 10k – a podium finish for GCH!

Cillian Walsh - Tubbercurry 10K - 2013
Cillian Walsh, right (1st, Junior prize)

The men’s race was won in style by Eamon McAndrew (Sligo Tri Club) in a time of 32:19, followed by Roger Barratt (Ballina) in 32:25 and Tristan Druet in 33:11.
The women’s race was a close affair won in the end by Carina Clarke (Sligo AC) in 40:10, followed by Paula Prendergast (Mayo AC) in 40:22 and Lucy Brennan (Sligo AC) in 40:24.

The event was superbly marshalled and excellently organised. A legendary spread was laid on in Killoran’s with oodles of delicious sandwiches, buns and tea for happy hungry runners. There were lots of category prizes and then a lucky dip raffle meaning that many participants left with lots of goodies, and all for the superb value price of €15. This event is to be highly recommended and the Walshs will be back to allow Cillian to defend his title next year!

Full results can be seen at:
http://www.precisiontiming.net/result/racetimer

Written by Jane Walsh, pictured above!!