Myself and Phil made our annual trip outside the Pale for the 5 Mile Road Race organised by Fr. Murphy Athletic Club in aid of the local St. Vincent de Paul Society on Saturday 17th March. Local running celebrity Paul Duffy joined us along with Meath runner Peter Mooney to make up a Sportsworld team.

Despite being a little over an hour from Dublin the journey took longer than expected with tractors, ploughs and all varieties of combine harvesters beeping their horns and blocking the roads around Trim and Athboy for the St Patricks day celebrations. Despite the diversion we arrived in a deserted Kildalkey village with 45 minutes to spare. Only the local pub was open so we took refuge from the torrents of water and watched some of the parade on the TV.

All was going well, until about 12.30pm when a heavy shower moved in and refused to move out. The flat course had been bone-dry but the Baskinagh Highway ended up being the Baskinagh Canal with a lot of standing water and pot holes you risked loosing more than a shoe in.

The race kicked off at 14:00 meeting at Kildalkey Parish Hall. 127 lined up for the race, the first in the 2012 Meath series. A group of 10 or so runners were grouped closely for the first 3 miles and then things started to spread out a bit. The 3rd mile brought us off road into a local trail for 3/4 of a mile.

It wasn’t until the last mile that the rubber hit the road. Going into the race looking to keep the gap between myself and the lads down to 30-40 seconds I was delighted to be running well and hot on Phil’s heels with 800M to go. A good back and forth ensued and we were fast making ground on Paul. The last few bends weaved around a local housing estate. With 200M to go Phil pushed ahead and out-kicked me on the last turn. It was a great race non the less and given another 100M we could have had a three-way Sportsworld photo finish. Covered head to toe in more muck than your average cross country there was something satisfying about having made the effort to run. Just 3 seconds on the clock separated us in the end with Paul running 26:21, Phil 26:23 and myself 26:24. With3 solid runs and Peters help we comfortably picked up the mens team prize. With Phil and Paul both likely to run the national 10K they are both looking good for some great times.

Great race and as always I recommend everyone in the club give the Meath series a go over the summer. Yesterdays race mostly consisted of club runners but as always catered for all standards.

Thanks to Peter for racing on theteam and supplying the great photo. You can check out this and other great photos on his Flickr Set