Saturday 5th December, Phoenix Park
Santas, reindeers and brack……..It could only be one thing. No not the Sportsworld christmas Party, The Jingle Bells 5k. Conditions were ideal with the air dry and crisp and a mammoth field of 1500 runners who kicked of the seasons festivities and cheer with this staple of the Irish running calender. It was like a pantomine cast with Lucy bouncing around tinsel and all and Trevor grumbling Ba Humbug…….For some there were serious business to attend to. Stephen Willoughby and Eoin O’Brien stood askance like two mean lookin cowboys in a spaghetti western. They cast each other a cool side ways glance at the start, matchsticks in mouth, and the scene was set.
There was a quality field of runners on display. We had the honour of the great Ronnie Delaney gracing us with a few words and setting us on our way. The stampede commenced at the Furry Glenne and the field was starting to string out by the first corner at the main road. The thoroughbreads assembled up front with the prodigious John Travers from Donore (remember that name), Thomas Fitpatrick, Pat McCartan, the great Peter Matthews and some of Raheny’s finest to the fore. I was joined by my usual cronies a ways back with Dave Byrne, Paul Cowhie and Ronan Kearns within strides all the ways along.
The kilometres passed quickly, especially with the great support on the sidelines. In the heel of the hunt Travers held of Fitzpatrick to deliver a popular home win in a blistering 14.33, followed by Fitzpatrick and McCartan, who will all be gearing up for a promising indoors season in the new year. Over a minute behind the Dave Byrne held off the encroaching group with characteristic grit. Kearns and Cowhie put on the nitros to drop me easily on the finishing straight. A satisfactory day nonetheless to finish in 22nd and 15.48. Give me the cross country any day.
Crona Brady capped off an epic year in which she has been making huge strides, storming home in 7th place in a brilliant 17.55. I notice Eoiny Fellony isn’t making bets with her anymore………Lucy was next in with a fine 18.14, also wrapping up an Annus Briliantus after her marathon glory. Just behind her stormed Santra Armstrong in 18.45. The crowd then huddled in (popcorn in hand) to see Eoiny hold off Stephen in the Clash of the Titans. I believe their people are in talks to arrange a rematch, due to popular demand. Judith cruised and Trevor clambered home to cap off a red ribbon day of racing.
Edel Madigan took a break from winning meet & train races in the mud and rain to try her hand on the roads and Amy Fitzgerald also braved the cool crisp morning after returning from another successful Lanzarote trip. We also had crossing the line Colin Mahon, Irene O’Connor, Sibeal Waldron, Karen O’Connor, Lorna Roe & Lucie Coley flying the flag for the club. A great day was had by all. Bring on the turkey……