Race reporters : Lorna Quinn (Women)  & Donagh Egan (Men)
At 12pm on Saturday May 4th, those who were available to fill places on the Novice and Masters teams for the Leinster Road Championships in Gowran, turned up in their fiery Sportsworld red and white, with small back-packs containing all the essentials for the day ahead. A nice dry day with a cool breeze. No rain, which is always a plus! A nice stop off at Applegreen before arriving at our destination gave us a hint of what treats we could enjoy post-race when we would once again descend upon this Applegreen. There was talk that Emily had a nice box of chocolates also, that may make an appearance after we all raced – This for me is the best part of the race day – the post-race tea and treat. We arrived in plenty of time to get our numbers, to catch our bearings and to appreciate the fine table of sweet treats Gowran AC had in store for all those gathering for this race day.

Race reporter Lorna and Emma

First up were the Masters Women running 3K. Lucy Darcy, Anna Delaney and Stephanie Bergin all took to the starting line with aplomb. All runners ran so well and looked in control and fighting fit as they gave it their all for two 1.5K laps of Gowran. This race is so fast and it is over before you know it! The support was fantastic and it was well stewarded throughout also.

Lucy Darcy, athlete extraordinaire, not only managed to work and keep the show on the road with this race, she also came home with a bronze medal in her age category! Congratulations Lucy!

This race was followed by the Master Men 6K race in which Sportsworld had nine athletes running. Karol Cronin and Eoin Fitzpatrick were on the winning Dublin team, Karol and Eoin were both second in their age categories and the Male 35+ Sportsworld team, consisting of Karol Cronin, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Gavin Finlay and Karl Chatterton were awarded bronze medals. Jangling all the way home with big beaming smiles! Liam Lenehan, Anthony Gillen, Paul MacGabhann, Adam Furlong and Karl Shevlin ran out of their skin coming in with very impressive times over a very fast and competitive 6K course. Congratulations.

After a fine display of grit and determination by all Sportsworld men in the Masters 6K race, the Novice Women were next for their 3K race. Taking to the start line were Elaine Kennedy, Katie Nugent, Emma Meade and Lorna Quinn. Judging by our expressions below, I think you’d be forgiven for thinking the pre-race butterflies and questions like ‘Why do I do this to myself?’ were ever present.

But soldier on we did. Buoyed on by our cheery race starter and Lucy’s encouraging supportive words at the start line, all thirty competitors packed tight and set off for the 3K race in style.Elaine and Katie set the pace for Sportsworld and kept a consistent strong pace throughout with both Emma and I not too far behind. All four of us kept one another within our sight. We all ran as hard as we could. 3K is over so quickly! It is a great race to test speed, stamina,endurance and strength. The small bottle of water at the end was most appreciated. Within minutes of the race ending, we learned that we were fourth club and county to cross the line in this race. We’ll take that!

Finally, it was our Novice Men. Donagh Egan, Ian Comerford, Donal Brennan and Stephen O’Donnell all carried the flag for Sportsworld, with all four runners completing 6K in very impressive fast times. Sportsworld Novice Men came fourth in the Club category. Congratulations! It is not an easy run, but it is an enjoyable run. The course is varied and interesting, and the swell of support when you run through the main race hub is very encouraging.

With all races complete, post mortems concluded and cool downs achieved, we made our way to Applegreen………where the promise of post-race treats did not disappoint. A mixture of fruit salads, wraps, teas, coffees, yoghurts and burgers filled the hungry gap, along with Emily’s box of promised chocolates. The top layer went VERY quickly!Home by 7pm. Another great day out for Sportsworld. Thank you Emily and Myles for your
continued support and encouragement always, and to Gowran AC for hosting this event. We’ll be back!

Race reporter: Donagh Egan

Leinster Novice and Masters Road Race Championships
The Leinster Novice and Masters Road Race Championships took place on Saturday afternoon, April 30th, in Gowran, a quaint town 15-minute drive from Kilkenny city. Typically scheduled for the May Bank Holiday Monday, the race was moved to Saturday afternoon this year to free up the bank holiday weekend for participants. As we made our way from Bushy Park at noon, we were grateful for this change, realizing that after exerting ourselves in the race, we could relax and relish the remainder of the bank holiday weekend.
We arrived in Gowran at 1.20pm, 3 hours before the start time, giving us plenty of time to soak in all Gowran has to offer. By 1.30pm, we had achieved this, visiting all three food establishments available. Our pit stop at Molly’s bakery for a toasted ham and cheese special was a highlight—fueling us for the race ahead.
Back at the community hall, the pre-race buzz was in full swing. The most underrated, yet crucial aspect of any race—good toilet facilities—was on point in Gowran. With that sorted, all that was left to do was focus on pacing ourselves around the 4 laps (1500m each) of Gowran town.
The race kicked off with a steep downhill, transitioning into a steady flat stretch, and then a
challenging uphill climb that looped back to the starting point. This varied terrain added interest to the race but also posed a pacing challenge. My advice is to resist the urge to push too hard on the downhill, use the downhill momentum on the flat sections, and conserve energy for the uphill climb.
It’s crucial to pace yourself for the first loop. Feeling exhausted after just one lap can be mentally draining, especially when you realize there are three more to go. Run within your limits at the start to ensure you have the stamina to push at the end.
Overall, I had a great time at this race. The 6km distance, though uncommon, allowed me to push myself at a 5km pace, giving me a good gauge for potential future personal bests at that distance.
The turnout was modest, but there were enough fellow runners to provide a competitive atmosphere. Running in the men’s novice team alongside Ian Comerford, Stephen O’Donnell, and Donal Brennan added an extra layer of motivation, which was instrumental in completing the four laps around Gowran.