Race report by Sandra Gowran

Photos from the BHAA Flickr account, click here for full gallery: Flickr

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I don’t believe in them to be honest, as I think any day of the year can be a new start; and frequently is for me! That said, I have found that making personal challenges keeps me motivated in training, particularly at times when I feel like I’m struggling a bit.


Race reporter Sandra beating the men at their own game!

Last October I took on Ronhill’s ‘run every day in October’ challenge, I managed to get out most days, but it didn’t really matter if I hit a perfect 30 day run, the net effect was to get me through another month’s training with a bit of distraction.


Ron Hill – second man to break 2.10 in the marathon

And so it was for similar reasons that I chose my next personal challenge, to race at least once per month from Jan-Dec. In recent years months could go by and I wouldn’t have raced, so I started the year off with a 5km on New Year’s day, a couple of weeks later I did the Dublin Masters xc and unfortunately had to miss the national master’s xc due to a sinus infection. So January had got off to a good start.

When I set myself a challenge I always tell at least a few people as I find I’m more likely to carry through if I know someone might ask how I’m getting on and so over a post-training cuppa in the Clubhouse last week Conor Kenny asked me had I done my February race yet. When I said no he suggested the BHAA xc in ALSAA, the men’s 5 mile he felt would provide a suitable challenge!


The ALSAA complex beside Dublin Airport

And so off we went to ALSAA on a pretty miserable Saturday morning, it was probably about 10 years since I’d done that race. I felt like a complete novice and was delighted to be minded by Conor who even chauffeured me there and back.

The women’s race started at 11am, it was a small but fast field and the eventual winner Sarah Mulligan led a blistering pace over the wet muddy fields finishing the 2 mile course in 12.51. Sportsworld’s Kathleen Horgan finished very well up in 15th place in a time of 15.10, modest as ever she didn’t allude to this super performance when we spoke afterwards.


Kathleen Horgan

Soon after reaching the race area we met the ever cheerful Brian Conway, and other than at the start line this was the last we were to see of Brian who zipped off at the start, and finished in 80th position in 38.19.

Lining up for the 5 mile men’s race felt a bit strange and I was thrilled to see 3 other women join the start line. The BHAA has always welcomed women into the men’s races (unfortunately however the reverse is not allowed for the men). My rationale for doing the longer race was that I was giving up a Saturday morning training session and so I wanted it to be for a decent distance and 2 miles wasn’t cutting it for me. And so it was that I headed out with about 140 men and 3 other women on the 4 lap course around a very wet and muddy ALSAA.


Brian Conway (3061)

The first lap felt awfully long, but I got into a rhythm avoiding as much of the heavy mud as I could. By the end of the second lap I was thinking, “Jeez I have as much to do as I’ve done, maybe I’ll just drop out after 3!” But having battled through one short period where my legs were beginning to get heavy I decided my best strategy was just to try to keep running steady and so it I soon found myself at the start of the final lap as the leading man (Brian MacMahon 28.21) headed into the finishing straight. To my surprise I was able to pick up the pace a bit for the last lap and finished the race strong in 107th position, (42.04). Conor Kenny who’s missed most of January through injury was about a minute behind.


Conor Kenny (3693)

It was a great morning, and despite the inclement conditions we even had some good support from Kathleen Horgan and Sandra Armstrong. February completed; roll on March and the Ballycotton 10!

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