This year the 6th of February was a big day in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, with the John Treacy 10 Mile, hosted by West Waterford AC, back for its 30th anniversary. I’d wanted to run this race for a while. It’s known to sell out every year and I set my alarm early the day entries went on sale to make sure I got one. Dungarvan is a super setting for a run, taking in stunning sea views out across Dungarvan Bay, as well as rolling green farmland, not to mention the view of the beautiful Comeragh mountains in the distance in the last part of the race. I may be biased (I grew up in Dungarvan) but I think it’s one of the most scenic settings in Ireland. And if that’s not enough, the event is also well known for its goodie bag. In normal times there are even refreshments put on in the town sports centre, but Covid prevented that this year unfortunately.

So back to the big day – I went out early Sunday to get my legs moving, walking around town, admiring the familiar sights. It was at this point I also realised the weather wasn’t ideal, with strong winds and light rain. My internal debate on what to wear started – jacket? long sleeves? I decided against them and settled on short sleeves and shorts – better to be a bit cold on the start line than cursing bringing layers over 10 miles. Then by chance as I was heading to the start, I bumped into fellow Sportsworlder Deirdre Durcan all wrapped up. She remarked I must be planning a fast race in the shorts…I wondered if I looked like I had ideas above my station, but it was too late to change, so I headed out to the start to warm up and was relieved to see plenty of other short wearers up there.

The atmosphere was great out the Youghal road, with people chatting and laughing as they warmed up. I looked around for Deirdre but didn’t spot her or any of the other Sportsworlders down for the race. I turned my focus to the start – I had no tactics planned, other than enjoy the race and not go too hard. I love pushing myself in a race, but as it was my first 10-mile, any time would be a PB. I still had last week’s Raheny 5 Mile (and that rogue 500m) in my legs and wanted to be fit for next week’s cross country. I remembered last Tuesday’s club session and Emily telling us to stick to short and sharp runs in preparation for the cross country. It crossed my mind a 10-mile road race might not have been what she meant.

Promptly at 11am we set off, starting on the Youghal Road, heading towards town, looping around Mitchell Street and back out the Youghal road until veering right at Déise Vets up an incline to the GSK roundabout. The first water station was here, with tetra pack water – better for the environment, but the design needs some work, I struggled to open it, then when I managed to get the top off the water went everywhere and it was impossible to drink from it while running.  Anyway, I dumped the water and we headed out the bypass, left at The Spring roundabout and out past the old glass factory. Then it was out to country roads I hadn’t been on since I was a young “wan” bombing around the place on my bike, past farmland and smells a Dublin runner doesn’t encounter much. I can’t remember much from about mile 3 to 8, I think I just settled into a pace and did a bit of daydreaming. I do remember the support along the way being fantastic, there were people in gardens and at every junction along the way offering words of encouragement.

In no time we arrived down at Ring cross for the last few kilometres back to town. With dismay I remembered cycling this road and it being an uphill slog. It had also started to rain, and the wind had picked up. Amazingly though I was feeling strong and even overtook a few groups on this stretch – all those XC sessions in the Phoenix Park paying off! There is a last horrible incline before the end of the race, but again I got past a few people and it was downhill then for the last few hundred metres, so I picked up my pace and sprinted to the end by Eurofins laboratories. We got our goodie bags here – after the let down in Raheny last week these were top notch, plenty of chocolate and treats and a nice Nike running top.

Olympian Aoife Cooke won the women’s race, breaking her own course record by 4 seconds. She won in an amazing 54:19. Hugh Armstrong of Ballina A.C. came first in the men’s race in 48:51.

I thought I might bump into some of the other Sportsworlders at the end but didn’t see anyone.  I did find their details in the results below. Impressive running in pretty strong winds at times.

I’d highly recommend this race to anyone looking for events a bit further afield. Dungarvan is a great town for a weekend trip, loads of great pubs and restaurants, near beaches, and hiking trails, not to mention the Waterford greenway. It’s really got it all and the race is great fun, a nice route and just a super atmosphere. I will definitely be back next year hoping to shave a few minutes off my 10-mile time!

The town

The Reward

Not my best look, but never let it be said I don’t give my all in a race!