Report by (Race winner!) Karol Cronin
Photos by Eoin O’Brien
Hats off to Athletics Ireland and Dublin City Council for organising at short notice this historic once off 5k race to commemorate to the very day when Dublin rose up in rebellion against the British Empire.
The race route would take runners past some sites and battles during the 1916 Easter Rising.
Race reporter Karol with Margaret after the race
Despite the race initially starting at 9am (then later to 8am!), it proved a really popular one with over 4,000 runners in a sea of blue lining out on a sunny, beautiful Dublin morning at Mountjoy Square.
Sportworld runners included Grainne, Stephan, Claire, Catherine, Madeline, Eoin, Margaret, Naoise, Damian Kelly and Ann Higgins with her husband and kids as well as a few other members.
Cycling in from Rathfarnham to the city just like Padraig Pearse and his brother Willie a 100 years to the day, I wondered what thoughts were going through their minds. Certainly not race nerves. Not a sinner was out as I cycled in bar a lad laden with bottles of beer looking for a lift off me on Meath St.
I parked up at the finish area of the picturesque Royal Hospital Kilmainham and got my warm up done by jogging up to the start line meeting my brother along the way. There was a great atmosphere up there, helped by the lovely early morning sunshine.
I met my friend Jonny there and we did a warm up together on street running down to Croke Park.
Looking to get back to some consistency in training, I had done a track session the day before. Lining up at the very front I said to myself if the pace wasn’t too bad I’d give it go and stay up with the front group.
After Amhràn na bhFiann was sung, we set off down to the Garden of Remembrance and swung a left down to O’Connell St (Sackville St in 1916). Here we past the GPO, the headquarters of the rebels and where Pearse read out the proclamation to the bewildered citizens of Dublin.
Just before O’Connell Bridge, we turned left up to Liberty Hall, the headquarters of the Irish Citizen Army and where their leader James Connolly had the proclamation printed.
At this stage in the race, a group of four of us had opened a considerable gap on the others and I felt comfortable in this pack as we turned back from Liberty Hall, passing the Rosie Hackett Bridge named in honour of the women who was involved in the Rising in the Royal College of Surgeons and a fighter for workers rights.
We then crossed over Butt Bridge taking a right where there started a long run up along the quays all the way to Kilmainham. As the city was beginning to wake up, we were offered a few words of encouragement by passersby and a few regulars to the city’s quays, “Fair play to yiz lads”.
From across the river we past the Four Courts around the 3k mark which would be taken over by the Limerick born Edward ‘Ned’ Daly who was the youngest commandant in the Rising.
After that we passed the lesser known Mencity Institute at Ushers Island. This building was originally meant to be held for three hours to protect the Four Courts and hinder British reinforcements. They ended up holding out for three days under the command of Sean Heuston who had the train station named after him where he had previously worked.
At this stage there was myself and two others left. For certain periods along the Liffey, I felt the previous days training in me but as neared closer to Heuston Station I held it together and tucked in behind the others knowing there was going to a steady uphill to the finish line.
After the train station, we turned up towards the hill. I thought to myself that it would be a great opportunity to win a race like this so I decided to give it a go and kicked off. I managed to make a gap as we approached the gates to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Fearing a back lash from the others, I ran like the whole British army were out to get me.
Thankfully I was able to hold off and be the first over the line and hold a 100 year record of this 1916 Easter Rising 5k. It was only later that I found out that I clocked a time of 16.16, a somewhat appropriate time. It was a great race to have won and great venue to have a finish in. I chatted with a few people after the race finally being able to have some breakfast.
The Royal Hospital was the headquarters of the Bristish during the Rising and actually had machine guns of the roof, spraying bullets at the rebels who occupied the South Dublin Unions (Now St James Hospital).
You can a lot done when you get up early I learnt. Perhaps still feeling a buzz of winning and having a bit of food, I decided to celebrate by cycling to the Phoenix Park to do my long run.
There I bumped into Eoin, Margaret and Naoise who I thought were starting their long run but had in fact used the 5k run as part of their long run and had continued running to the Phoenix Park to complete their loop.
This was when I told them of my 100 year club record and the ever ready social media guru Eoin was at hand to picture this historic occasion.
Soon afterwards all the other Sportsworld members arrived for their early morning long run and upon hearing of the news, gave me a round of applause which was very touching.
I then went off on my long run with a few others and then cycled home where I finally put my feet up for a while. I then went up to St Endas Park, the home of Pearse’s school for a concert commenarting the Rising. I wonder what he would have thought of me winning the race. Pearse led them in Dublin in 1916, Karol in 2016!
Well done to everyone involved in organising the race and to all the Sportsworld members who ran in it. A big thanks to everyone who congratulated me and sent me well wishes. Very much appreciated!