Report by Karl Shevlin

A cool and grey morning had emerged as I left on foot for the CHQ building race starting point on Sunday. I felt quite relieved, with a slight cooling breeze and no burning sun (unlike the Tallaght 5K) this felt like perfect racing conditions. I strolled along the Grand Canal enjoying the early morning calm, and focusing the mind on the task ahead. The herons at Wilton Terrace stood fixated, with ever ready bellies, as the moorhens corralled their juveniles among the reeds.

After my early rise and early breakfast, all that was required was a prompt arrival, the bag drop, followed by a pre-race warm-up and some stretches. The vibe was relaxed around the portentous Triumphal Arch at the canal dock, as the early birds idly surveyed the scene. The set-up looked good; we were all at ease in the calm of a quiet Sunday morning.

As the Sportsworld faces emerged from the growing masses around the CHQ, we formed small warm-up groups and went through our own mostly purposeful routines, with some light warm-up runs around the neighbouring blocks. As we gathered on the road outside the CHQ for a final pep talk of sorts, there was the opportunity for some pre-race photos. I felt I was in good company.

Attention shifted to our starting positions, so we headed towards the defunct lock bridge which acted as pen to contain the now swelling masses behind the starting line. I followed the lead of our contenders as we snaked our way to towards the start line and into the 20 minute wave. The pre-race warm-up steadied any nerves. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. A final crowd wave photo and we were under starters orders. The starting gun was raised (it was in fact a hooter), and we were released from the pen.

The route consisted of a series of left and right hand turns in and out of the quayside up to the Point Village. Garrett, Wes, Damien, and Maria promptly disappeared around the first corner onto Commons Street, and by the second corner were moving out of sight as their lead on me grew with each targeted stride along Mayor Street. The thinning pack slinked through this sleepiest of urban quarters, a hushed purposeful procession as the contenders stretched out in front on the vacant asphalt.

The nature of the route, with numerous twists and turns within the first 2K slowed my pace on the turns whilst in the pack. The lack of gradient allowed a swift return to race pace once back on the straights. But how to keep it going? Paul Hamilton strode purposely ahead in his first 5K race. Keeping Paul within 10 to 20 metres, and happy with the going pace, I opened my stride along the approach to the Point Village on Mayor Street.

We funnelled out onto North Wall Quay taking the right-hand turn from Castleforbes Street. The Samuel Beckett bridge and the 3K marker lay ahead. Whilst not quite the slingshot effect I had hoped for coming off the bridge and onto Sir John Rogerson Quay, I felt better entering the 4th km than I had done in Tallaght two weeks earlier. A quick glance at Tom Tom affirmed a 15.3 km/h racing speed, which held the promise of a sub-20 finish. I knew I just had to do a good 4th km, and that the finish would look after itself. Paul Hamilton lay ahead, within striking distance. He did not relent.

Past the diving bell a series of right hand turns took us back along the quay and then along Hanover Street East via Cardiff Lane, introducing the route’s only significant gradient. A dash down Lime Street was followed by the final left-hand turn into the finish along City Quay. With the gathered spectators and the finish line looming into view I worked along the quay and brought the morning’s proceedings to a close. Tom Tom had given me my reward, even if Titan had not.

A Sportsworld gathering had ensued within the finishers area, as we enthused on the race, our respective finishes, and the stellar performances of others. Special mention to Maria Jones who departed the scene laden in gold.

The chips really are down for Titan, and as of Tuesday morning they have 774 chip times available, so some participants are not recorded here.

Sportsworld results

4th Gareth Murran 00:16:08 1st in age category
XX Martin Doyle 00:17:40
19th Wesley Harrison 00:18:15
22nd Damien Geraghty 00:18:30
25th Maria Jones 00:18:43 1st female!
29th Kieran Long 00:18:54
37 Noel Tobin 00:19:19 3rd in age category
46 Paul Hamilton 00:19:48
47 Karl Shevlin 00:19:48
92 Gerard Neenan 00:21:32
XX Katie Nugent 21:34
104 Stephanie Bergin 00:21:54
115 Derrick Long 00:22:11
116 Eoin O Brien 00:22:14
143 Mary O Hare 00:23:11
153 Conor Kenny 00:23:29