Race reporter Will Martin Smith; photo reportage by Belen Corocco, Peter Knaggs & Eoin O’Brien
Ah, the Docklands 5k. A fixture on my calendar and, it seems, on that of the sun. Over 1500 racers in short shorts and singlets descended on the docklands area yesterday to amuse the hordes of Dubliners enjoying warm cans of cider or overpriced Aperol Spritzes in beautiful evening sunshine.
And the usual horde of Sportsworlders turned up too, mostly laying off the cider until at least after the race. Crusaders run a good show, and everything ran like clockwork until an announcement was made that a bus had broken down on the race route on the north quays. This might have been a problem for the pampered runners of other clubs, but with senses sharpened from years of avoiding dogs, children and swans in Bushy Park, this obstacle would surely be an advantage for the team in red and white!
I was making my season’s bow having not raced since the same event last year. Together with a big gang of Sportsworlders all in fine form, I settled in behind the 20-minute pacer and waited for the countdown. Off we went, charging up the south quay, over Matt Talbot Bridge and (mind that bus!) along the north quays to the Point. The pacers went a bit quick for the first km (3.49) but, happily, they reined themselves in for the middle section. I motored along nicely, just behind Stephen O’Donnell and Declan Brady, to the turn on just over 2km. I had just entered the hurt zone at 3km when, out of nowhere, I got a nosebleed. It was nothing serious and I considered soldiering on, but I decided to stop and wait it out rather than treat the watching crowds to a slasher movie victim impression. Good decision really, you can’t get away with that carry on around the gentrified quays these days. Anyway, this wasn’t cross country or IMRA!
As I stood waiting for the blood to stop, Deirdre McGing, Lorna Quinn, Deirdre O’Connell and Noel Tobin all went past me looking strong with 2km to go. I must have missed a few more as I saw a few more familiar faces after I started out again towards the finish. From Matt Talbot Bridge, the run-in to line is about 1.25km and it feels like a looooong drag. That said, it is well supported, and it is an enjoyable finish all the same. With a chip time of 22.55 including the stop along the way, my time wasn’t what I had hoped for, but this live sport – these things happen.
One major takeaway from the race for me is that I don’t race nearly enough. I knew that already, but I feel my mental toughness is nowhere near where it used to be. Chalk that down as my work-on for the next few months.
Elsewhere, Sportsworld runners did the club proud. At the prizegiving, the announcer said that it seemed that one or other of the two team cups went to Sportsworld nearly every year. Right or wrong, that was a ringing endorsement of the hard work being done in D6W!
Congratulations to Karol Cronin, Eoin Fitzpatrick and Trevor Sweeny on bringing home the men’s team trophy. Congratulations too to Caoimhe Daniels for a super run to come home in 5th place and to Aoife Carroll in coming 7th. Along with Deirdre McGing, the women’s team were 2nd, losing out to a magnificent family performance by the Richardson sisters and their mother to win that prize for Kilkenny City Harriers.
Well done to the many Sportsworld racers who took part. Thanks to the supporters to who came down to cheer us on!