Kilmore Quay looks lost! Hiding on the very south eastern tip of Wexford this quaint little village is more like a hybrid of Cornwall and Connemara. Tudor thatching sits easily beside rugged shorelines and the ocean dominates every part of its character.
The Village is a contradiction, beautiful but with a history of tragedy dominated by maritime losses and a struggling fishing industry. An unlikely place then for a band of runners to race 10k, but inspiringly handsome all the same.
There was something almost ‘wild western’ about the posse of Dublin cars sweeping into the village. The locals looked perplexed. That initial excitement and urge to explore was quickly muted. A sunny September Saturday quietly refreshed the early risers. A stroll down to the harbour to watch the boats come in. Even the 2 sea lions looked lazy, sleepy and unhurried.
On to the sea shore and a beautiful memorial garden to all those lost at sea. When you read the names and their age it becomes more real. A calm day out to the horizon hid the deadly power of this moody ocean.
The peaceful mood led to a relaxed drive to the race start. Sportsworld represented about half the field. The red and white cut a powerful symbolism.
Registration was fun. The man in front of me refused to give his age. The middle aged, no nonsense matronly woman was having none of it …”I said how old are you?” He mumbled, muttered, and stuttered. She grew more agitated and in a loud voice said again …”How old are you?” He finally confessed to being 70. She said “70 exactly or older?” His dream of being mistaken for something younger was truly perished.
The warm up strides were dominated by a young local girl sprinting at the speed of light. Mr. Bolt would have been proud. We did wonder if she would survive the first 100 metres let alone 10k. Apparently she did!
The race start was just as relaxed. A man who had been club secretary for 105 years started the race. He had a chest full of pride and this was ‘his day’. We all smiled.
Off and a fast pace it was a twisty peaceful country road. It went up a little, down a little, but always pretty. Big propeller wind turbines competed for our attention. They might be ‘friendly’ but they sure do blot out the view. The locals encouraged us and even their dogs too. Marshals attended every corner even though we saw no cars to hinder our rapid journey. Soon, back into Kilmore and a fitting finish right by a graveyard that was set out to look like a grandstand!
The crowd at the finish were warm and hearty; it made the slog all the more worthwhile.
That night we dined in Keoghs. There was good food, great cheerful service and wonderful music. We ate together, sang together and went back to our hotel together. It’s what a club is all about. Nobody talked about ‘their’ race but everyone wanted to know how you did.
The walk home was cheerful and fun under the bright full moon. Then we went dancing. It was fun and it was straight out of JB Keane. It was Ireland of the 50s. Two local girls competed for the title of Dance Queen Diva. Their competitive spirit led to increasingly more ‘interesting’ moves. We remained unshaken!
Hardy souls were up early to take in the sea, the dunes and the air. Soon, we were saying our goodbyes. A plan and a trip was now a memory.
You see, a club is about much more than running, it is about people and people create the precious memories.
So, to my club, yet again, thank you for another super little adventure. But, to those who made it happen, Kilmore AC, Dermot and Rachael, we may not often say it but ‘thank you for the memory’ [Conor Kenny]