Those of you with children will know that there’s no requirement to set an alarm with a 16 month old. Or at least I thought as much the night before the Irish Runner 5 Mile (which doubled up as the national champs), expecting our 16 month old to give our usual alarm call at 6/630am, giving me plenty of time to prepare for the race, fuel up, etc and arrive well in advance of the start time for a solid warm up & stretch. The best laid plans and all that….! Our little man decided to wake himself (and us) at 8am (a dream alarm time any other day!), knocking our morning and my planned race preparation completely out the window! The original plan was my wife and the little man were to drop me at the start line for 830ish, but given the fact that nobody in the house was fed or dressed at 8am, I dusted down the commuter bicycle after a shower/change and some rushed cereal and was on my way at 825am from home (with the idea they would meet me at the finish later). The Irish Runner 5Mile became a Duathlon just for me! I was also hoping (and expecting) that the message on the race handbook that race numbers would only be available until 830am was a slight exaggeration to get people arriving early! As I crested the Khyber pass at 845 to be greeted by wind and hail, I really was thinking that the nice warm house and a nice coffee would be a far more enjoyable way to spend my Sunday morning!
I got to the start/ finish just before 850, with just enough time to collect my number (number collection was still open obviously!), pin my number, lock the bike, a brief stretch and then got to the start wave with about 3mins to spare, where I met Val Power & Stephan de Vries. Val mentioned her exploits at the mini Marathon the previous week and was hoping the rain would pass, after rain impacted last week’s race. And just like magic, the rain did thankfully pass just as we were about to get going, although the showers had left some standing water on some of the corners. Stephan told me he had never raced a 5Mile before, meaning that the race was a guaranteed PB day! Positive thinking! After my chatting, I had realised in my rush that I had walked into the 2nd wave, rather than the front wave where I had expected to be. It actually didn’t matter too much, we started ~45seconds later, and I had plenty of “targets” to chase in the second half of the race moving through the field. The race course (see map) is similar to the Irish Runner 5k which was ran in May (and my first race in Sportsworld colours!). It starts on Chesterfield Avenue, heads north towards Castleknock, then left down the Ordnance Survey Road & straight onto the downhill Upper Glen Road . Unlike the 5k, the route doesn’t include the steep descent and climb in the Furry Glen. From St Mary’s Hospital we climbed up to the open and windy 15 Acres. It was here that the “error” to run in the 2nd wave actually helped me, as I tried to slingshot myself from one group to the next, getting protection from the wind as I passed through the field. A small little runner like myself needs all the wind protection you can get on a blustery day like today! I’m quite new to Sportsworld only joining in recent months, but I recognised the club singlets of Aoife Carroll and Ciara Brady as I passed along and shouted them both some words of encouragement. My cycle over (leg one of the duathlon / warm up whatever you want to call it!..) made me realise that this section of the course would be super windy, so I had planned to leave plenty in reserve for this segment and then the second repeat up Chesterfield again (into the wind) which followed (kms 4-6 had a net elevation gain of 30m). I managed a negative split overall, so at least that was a plan that did come fruition today, unlike the alarm clock! The route then turned back by the turn for Farmleigh and onto the Ordnance Survey Road for a second time, before turning into the Furze Road for the final ~600-700m. Its a long aul finishing straight, one which you can see the finish line for 2-3mins before you finish, which can be a tough ask with little left in the tank.
I managed to finish in 29:12, an 18 second PB, with my wife and little man (who was delighted with the free bananas & shiny medal!) waiting at the finish. So an overall pleasing result, particularly considering less than an hour before the start I was still asleep! As Val said to me prior to the race, maybe the closer you arrive to start time, the less time you have to worry/ stress about the race. Either way, next time I’ll set an alarm clock just in case! Myrunresults tells me that there were 22 from the club who finished the race, a great turnout on a tough day for running. Well done all!
Irish runner 5 mile results – https://www.myrunresults.com/events/irish_runner_5_mile_/4421/results