November 8th 2014

Saturday 8th November found me at home in the Kingdom to celebrate my Uncle’s 60th Birthday. To make up for the disappointment of missing the Leinster Intermediate Cross Country I scanned the web for a consolation race and found a gem.

Feet First Foot Solutions, in association with Mizuno, have been hosting an annual 4 x 5K winter race series for a number of years now. The series is held in Killarney National Park, a large parkland buffer zone between the lakes and the centre of town, between October and November. Prizes are awarded at the end of the series. Your individual score is based on your best three performances. Sat 8th was the 2nd race in this year’s series.

175 runners assembled under the Precision TIming Start Line on the main road, at the edge of the park, just before 10am. A local approached me to say I was a long way from home.. considering myself a local I didn’t know what he was talking about…. until he pointed to my Sportsworld singlet. He asked after Mick and Emily and told me that he had some good banter with Mick when he lived in Dublin and ran for MSB. He then offered the advice to get out quick if I could as the paths in the park were narrow and I could get stuck behind the large field.

The race started promptly at 10am and I set off with the leaders and out of congestion trouble. After a couple of hundred metres on the main road we turned left into the park. The paths in the park are well surfaced in fresh tarmac – so underfoot conditions were excellent. The route took us a long river banks, across open parkland, through wooded areas, around golf courses – plenty of variety to keep the mind occupied. It had the feel of a trail run while being on excellent paths. Only the occasional cattle grid to keep us on our toes. The good mood was enhanced by the weather which was sunny, mild and fresh with a slight breeze.

After 2km I was in 6th position with the sound of heavy breathing down my neck. The leaders were strung out over the 50m in front of me. Slowly but surely the heavy breathing moved up beside me, then slightly ahead and then dropped me. I was more or less on my own with a good gap to the field. I did my best to stay with the leaders but my inability to climb hills at speed saw me loose ground. Whereas the course was not hilly there were several punishing drags which knocked the confidence.

The race organiser had promised us that the last kilometer was flat and fast – practically guaranteed PB’s!. The relief at reaching the 4k marker was tempered by the sight of another punishing drag – luckily it only lasted a couple of hundred metres and then we did have a flat finish. By the time the finish line appeared my PB had evaporated and I could see the clock roll disappointingly from 17 to 18mins.

In the end I finish 7th.

1st Tony Harty (1st MS) 17:18
2nd Robert Purcell (1st M45) 17:38
7th Paul Mitchell (2nd M45) 18:21
8th Maria McCarthy (1st FS) 18:58

Water and Bannanas served at the finish line. Tea, Coffee, mini doughnuts, mini chocolate muffins, homemade cakes, were served across the road in the community centre.

I’d recommend this race – as long as it doesn’t clash with a cross country 🙂