Report by Emmet Wardell

Here we go – not counting parkruns – my first 5km race proper. How fast can I go? After all the Sportsworld supervised pain I have put myself through this last 12 months, surely under 20 minutes. Maybe even under 19! Sure I guess all going to plan sub 18.30 might even be possible?!

Before we begin – the Bob Heffernan 5km isn’t one of the fastest 5km races in the country. Apparently, it is THE fastest 5km race in the country! “Why is it so fast?” I ask a fella in even shorter shorts than I as we huddle under a tree to shelter from the rain 30 minutes before the race. “It’s just fekkin fast” he replies, “but ya still have to run the thing” he quickly adds.

Great, that’s that cleared up then.


I have learned that I really do not enjoy the last few hours before a race and in fact, I get overcome with an emotion that can only be described as utter dread. On Tuesday, I developed a crik in my neck, my hamstrings were tight and an hour before the race I started to genuinely doubt whether I could run 5km at all such was the negative mind-set I had adopted! Upon reflection, I guess it was probably worse for my mate who I was running with who had to put up with my incessant moaning.

Picture 3

The event starts and finished around the town of Johnstownbridge, starting on main-ish road but before swinging left onto a more country road. The race was chip timed but with a gun-start, meaning a chaotic start to proceedings. “If yas don’t get back behind that line there’ll be no race at all” the race-starter repeatedly roars – the kind of line you’d more likely hear queueing for a gig or something I thought to myself. The fella was clearly enjoying his time with the microphone. Bless him.


So after plenty of scrumming about and a final bit of moaning on my behalf, we eventually got going. Last year there was about 350 runners and something like 200 ran under 20 minutes with many running it much much faster. As result I was well back from the front when we got going and it was a few seconds before I crossed the start line after the gun went (as a result please feel free to take 3-4 seconds of my official time below!).

Picture 2

Post Race Reporter Emmet

So we were off. The man with the microphone looked almost distraught that his moment was over as we tore by him in a sea of neon. I soon felt similar emotions as after 100 or so metres I looked up and the leaders were already a similar distance ahead of me! Plough on I told myself, sure I had about 8 pints on Saturday evening, how would you be keeping up with them lads (note – feel free to knock a further few seconds off my time to allow for the Saturday night pints here).

In short, the race went a little like as follows:

Km 1, 3:50 – meant to start off faster than that. 3:40 was the plan – must kick on!

Km 2, 3:37 – that’s better, still feel pretty good too.

Km 3, 3.48 – the 3:37 second kilometre had me back on track so despite feeling ok, I was like ‘have a rest for this kilometre Emmet and see can we finish really strong’.

Km 4, 3.48 – Despite my ‘rest’ on the last kilometre was starting to feel it a little here so didn’t wanna push on too much for fear of blowing up. Was determined to finish with a burst.

Km 5, 3:40 – Pushed a little for first 400. Checked myself – all good. Went for it for the next 300. Oh god….where the hell is that finish line! The last 300m were pretty painful but got there eventually.

Official time was 18:44, so was happy enough with that. Pleased with how I managed the race and left knowing I definitely have a faster time in me – a good way to depart I guess. As ever it was great to bump into a few friendly Sportsworld faces before the race even if 50% of us weren’t wearing our club vests (Noel Lynam and Peter Knaggs made me promise I’d keep their secret safe…). Based on the pre-race chats we all came in at, or under our expected times which is great. As ever I doubt this could have been achieved without the time and input of Myles and Emily on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturday mornings etc…

Despite still feeling a little aggrieved that my first AGM coincided with the first time in 30 odd years it was decided to update the club’s constitution, it is safe to say joining Sportsworld was one of the best decisions I have made in a long long time – cheers Wesley!

Next up the Ring of Beara (cycle) on Saturday week and after that, the marathon race series including maybe/possibly/probably/oh god not again – the Dublin City Marathon in October. Above all though – it is great to just be feeling fit and healthy.


Sportsworld Results


Emmet WARDELL 00:18:44 135
Sean DONEGAN 00:19:27 173
Peter KNAGGS 00:19:47 190
Noel LYNAM 00:20:50 237