By its biggest fan and long serving underachieving participant, Denis McCaul

Photos from the race Facebook page: Click here

If it’s stick your head out the car window and it’s boiling hot blazing sunshine in Ireland, chances are that Dunboyne 5 mile is on that evening.


Race Reporter Denis

Every year you are guaranteed Mediterranean conditions in the village just past Blanchardstown. Normally such conditions mean it’s too hot to run well, but much of the course is shaded by hedges and trees, so you can’t use that as an excuse for under performing here.

This race had 436 finishers last night, far less than many other fixtures in the calendar which makes it probably the best kept secret in Irish Athletics. Other than myself. Which is a pity (about the race, not me) as it is always the highlight of the summer. It’s not advertised anywhere so it’s mainly word of mouth through the BHAA that spreads the word.

If you were wondering why training was a bit quieter than normal on Tuesday it was because 28 Sportsworlders were in attendance looking for glory. And free food.

It is in my opinion the best race of the year. Other than the Terenure 5 of course. (Michael Cunningham is holding a machine gun to my head, and eating one of Eoin O’Briens cakes murmuring it tastes like crap as I type. Quite the multi tasker.)

If you have never been then don’t miss it next year. It has everything. Friendly relaxed fun atmosphere. Close to Dublin. 8pm start so you are not rubbing sleep out of your eyes on the start line like Parkrun. Sunshine every year. And the fastest, mostly flat scenic country roads course going. Which finishes with 300m of the Dunboyne AC club track which I really hope will some year get covered in Tartan rather than concrete.

On arrival there was parking on site and registration is in the Scout hall. Lucy Darcy was setting up the finish gantry for My Run Results. The race is not actually chip timed. It knows when you have finished but everyone has the same start time in the BHAA. So if it takes you twenty seconds to cross the start then that’s part of your race time!

Lots of Sportsworld faces began to appear. First it was Aoife and Crona. I can never tell which is which. For a while when I joined I suspected they were the same person who just went around changing clothes pretending they were twins. But having seen them together last night and they are both on the results I now know my suspicions were apparently unfounded. It would help a lot if they wore name tags. Just a suggestion like.

The conversational exchanges were predictably consistent. Everyone with pre race excuses appearing faster than Leo Varadkar to a photo op. Anthony wasn’t recovered from the track on Saturday. Sandra forgot her sun factor. My legs felt too short. The usual.

Soon after some warming up around the track  we head off up a wooded path. (why does the warm up always feel like you are suffering from Asthma, in your 80’s, riddled with Arthritis after two hip replacements) This path leads to a housing estate where at the top you emerge on to the road where the start is.

Then when all was going so well disaster struck. Eoin O’Brien’s face came into view and I made eye contact. A mistake normally made by Newbies. Apparently as I was the first person he saw wearing a club singlet I had to write the race report. Which is the opposite of the normal rule. He is just making stuff up at this point. I say we burn him.

Soon we were squashed into line and the nerves, fear, regret, doubts, excitement kick in! The starter steps to one side in front of us rings up Lucy Darcy on the phone. He informs her that he will start the race by counting down 3 – 2 – 1 go which sends the front rows into a small panic as everyone wonders did he just say go or is he just telling her he how will say go! It was the latter, once he actually starts the race Lucy hears it over the phone and starts the timing clock at the finish line.

And we were off. It’s quite a charge at the start as after 100 metres we veer left down a country lane and everyone wants to get a good position before it narrows. Important not to get carried away here as before you know it you could have run half a km way too fast and your race is done.

Karl, Stephen and Kevin were just ahead (I can say that to sound good at the start, it’s not long into races before I never see them again) and Diarmuid was to my right. Anthony appeared beside me and a quick check of the watch and I slowed a little to settle into 6 minute mile pace.

That was my plan, in the hope of breaking 30 minutes and it worked perfectly.

For the first 2.5 miles. Unfortunately the race is 5 miles. Well I am nothing if not optimistic!

The course is really enjoyable, mostly flat, anywhere there is an incline is quickly followed by a downhill of equal length. Tall hedges and lots of trees provide cover in most sections from the blazing sun. About halfway a family with Granny, Mum and kids excitedly hand out cups of water to suffering participants and just before a mile to go there is a garden hose hanging from a tree spraying water on one side of the road.

I was the only one in my section to run underneath it. I would have stuck my hand in a snakes mouth at that stage if I thought it would bring me back to life. I must say the cold blast did help shake me up a bit and push on for home.

You can hear the finish line commentary a long way out and there is a welcome downhill run to the car park entrance which leads you on to the track.

If you ever though the track can seem like it goes on forever in Tallaght on a Saturday morning just wait until your dehydrated delirious self runs 350 metres of a concrete one. Going the wrong way round. You could count to inifinity going round the top bend. Twice. I was willing to pay money for magic beans at this stage. Adding insult to injury the finish line is not on the straight but on the next bend again.

But we eventually all get there and spend a few moments in the usual state of disbelief, that we have managed to finish at last. The predictable finish line obscenities start to pour out. J*sus Chr&^t that was fuc*)ng desperate. Said Eoin O’Brien I think. But it only takes five minutes and you feel fresh as a daisy again and wonder to yourself could you have tried harder. Got in a few seconds earlier. I mean you didn’t collapse after the line so how hard did you really push. The nonsense we think after recovering. J

In the middle of the track there are post mortems a plenty. But more importantly there are water bottles, bananas, sandwiches, cakes, tea and a small army of local helpers. If there was one sour note this year it is that there were no Rice Crispie buns on offer or Raisiny buns. Things of such importance do not go unnoticed in Dinnyland.

There was such a crowd from the club it took a while to get everyone together for the photo.

The results were printed and pinned up to some advertising hoardings. Our own Aoife Brady won the womens race in 31.52 with sister Crona coming in 5th overall.

Aoife is married to a Cork man, a very good runner. That’s her secret to success. Crona is dating an Olympic runner. But he is not from Cork. See the difference. Logic in action there.

And to hear them beforehand you would think they were just hoping to get round. Probably the same ones you met before the leaving cert telling you they had nothing done and would surely fail!

Karl Chatterton was first home for our men in a superb pb of 27.42 just five seconds ahead of Stephen O’Donnell. (I asked them to share some of the drugs beforehand but they said they would be wasted on the likes of me. Harsh like.)

Myself and Diarmuid were 4th and 5th home from the club. We are both from Cork. Keep it to yourselves.

So eventually after the post race analysis was over, so was a summers evening in Dunboyne for another year. Still haven’t broken 30 mins for 5 yet but as soon as I can secure some steroids and figure out how this blood doping works you just watch me go. And probably still not manage it.


Got home. Shattered. Then remembered I had to update Facebook. Bring a load of running gear washing in off the line and hang up another one. Unpack the bag. Have a shower. Make soup and scones as was starving after not eating much during the day thinking if I was lighter I would run faster. (Beautiful people aren’t always blessed with brains you know) Brush teeth and go to bed in the vain attempt at going to sleep after a race.

I bet you when the Kenyans get home they probably have three wives doing all that craic for them. Although I would find it weird to have a Kenyan woman brush my teeth. Wouldn’t bother with that.

Until next year!

Sportsworld Results 

22nd Karl CHATTERTON 00:27:42
25th Stephen O’DONNELL 00:27:47
32 Kevin CURRAN 00:28:28
79 Diarmuid O’SULLIVAN 00:30:46
84 Denis MCCAUL 00:31:06

94 Anthony GILLEN 00:31:27
97 Emmet WARDELL 00:31:41
102 Aoife BRADY 00:31:52 (Race winner!)
129 Adrian LANIGAN 00:32:54
132 Crona BRADY 00:33:02 (5th overall!)

160 Noel TOBIN 00:33:52
177 Peter KNAGGS 00:34:20
187 Brian CONWAY 00:34:53
198 Noel LYNAM 00:35:16
200 Neil PURDY 00:35:18

208 Eoin O’BRIEN 00:35:44
223 Aodh O’CONNOR 00:36:26
228 David Ryan 36:44
233 Ray CARPENTER 00:36:51
272 Paul CASSIDY 00:38:06

298 Ellen LAVIN 00:39:29
306 Grainne LYNCH 00:39:59
319 Trevor LLOYD 00:40:32
321 Sandra KELLY 00:40:38
329 Conor KENNY 00:41:14
330 Audrey O’DRISCOLL 00:41:22
338 Sean O’BYRNE 00:42:00
392 Phil DALY 00:45:54

More photos on Flickr: Click Here

My Run Results Full Results Listings: Click here