Report by Gemma White

Firstly I would like to thank Eoin O’Brien for “volunteering” me to write this report!

So back at the beginning of the year there were plenty of chats among us ladies about booking  a race outside of Dublin which finally….  materialized  into Andrea , Catherine, Denise, Margaret and myself signing up for the Kilkee race.

The race itself takes place along the breathtaking Loop Head Peninsula in Co Clare.  The course provides two options of a 13.1 mile half marathon and a 10km run both of which are set along the picturesque sea cliff views of the Peninsula. All participants opted for the 10k.

At the time of signing up for this race, I was trying to convince myself that I would be fit enough to race! Unfortunately, this was not the case however; it was still possibly one of the most enjoyable runs I have done to date.

Last Saturday morning at 7.45am we hit the road for Kilkee, leaving us plenty of time to arrive for the 12.30 start. With the sun splitting the stones as we left Dublin, the clouds became darker the further west we drove – much to our disappointment…. (Bikini’s packed unnecessarily!). We had a leisurely journey down, with plenty of chats…. all in relation to race tactics of course!

Upon arrival, there was a great atmosphere in Kilkee.  The race itself starts and finishes along the Horseshoe Bay with a kilometre of golden, blue-flag beach.  We arrived with plenty of time to spare; so both Andrea and Margaret went about doing a warm up while I decided it would be more beneficial for me to persevere whatever resources I had for the actual race. Within this time I also pondered on how hanging back with Catherine and building sandcastles could be a lot more fun.  However, within a few minutes the girls where back and in spite of all my efforts to back out of the race they persuaded me to jog it. Before I knew it the four of us were up at the start line!

The weather was very humid and remained overcast for the race, so we luckily avoided the rain that came shortly afterwards.  The race consisted of two loops; the first half was extremely hilly which suited my pace (very slow and steady). The second half was a little more downhill; however there were a few sneaky hills thrown in for good measure.  I plodded along and was just happy to immerse myself in the breathtaking scenery and the spectacular rugged coastline that I obviously had taken for granted when I once lived in Clare a few years ago. It took until this very race for me to see it in its real beauty and to really appreciate it.  As I approached the finish line, which was crowded with people on both sides there came some familiar voices from the girls – which were very much welcomed by me at this point.

Despite the humidity and hills, there were some phenomenal performances by all the girls; with Andrea McNamara running an absolute blinder to become first lady home.

Margaret Crowley also ran a super race (40th/529)

Denise Kilkenny – one word: Respect! Not many of us (if ever) will challenge ourselves to a 10k hilly race when pregnant and she totally took it in her stride, a very determined young lady.

A massive shout out to Catherine Mulleady who managed to pull herself away from her sandcastle to make sure she was at the finish line for each one of us, very much appreciated.  Catherine is currently injured but hopefully will be back in action soon.

After a few hugs were exchanged at the finish line, we made our way over to the DJ area to proudly gather around Andrea as she received her well earned trophy and reward.

With the race done and dusted it was time to take in some Clare culture … ending up in Lahinch, we took in Doonbeg and Spanish Point en route.  I wouldn’t like to bore you all with the antics we got up to but safe to say there was lots of sightseeing, jiving, head banging to ACDC and sean nos dancing to name but a few.

This weekend was a great demonstration and reminder of the comradely of being part of a club. We were a group of all levels – winners, beginners and the injured!

But everyone was welcome and supported and I’m really grateful for the girls forcing oh no wait convincing me to take part.  Thanks to everyone (especially Andrea for organising) a great weekend, happy memories and a super start back to the club.

See you at the next start line!

Andrea McNamara:         00:43:36 (1st Lady)
Margaret Crowley:          00:48:29
Gemma White:                 00:56:57
Denise Kilkenny:               00:59:58