The last time I ran this race was way back in 2011, a whole 8 years ago, which don’t feel that so long ago! In mid October, I set myself a goal that I would run the Mallow 10 mile road race and aimed to run it in 65 minutes. This race was also seen as my return to race running again as the last time I raced in a road race (wtih the exception of a few park runs here and there) was Rathfarnham 5 K back in September 2017!

This race, to the best of my knowledge used to be on in January many years ago, and one year it was cancelled due to bad weather conditions and brought back to March, ever since it has become a popular race and even more so since the Ballycotton 10 miler no longer exists. Just over 1500 started the race and conditions for the race were perfect, nice and cool with a slight breeze in places. The course itself is reasonably flat with some downhill sections where a cushion can be built for the few up hill sections of the course that slow the pace.

I set off with the 65 mile pacers and at the 3 mile downhill section I kicked on a bit and increased the pace to 3:48 min/Km , once on the level again my pace steadied to 4:05 min/Km. At the 7 mile marker, the 65 min pacers were at my back and then passed me out, feeling a bit flat, I tried to keep in touch but the negative thoughts kicked in that if I try to keep in touch I won’t maintain their pace and will burn out, these thoughts were short-lived until I reached the 8 mile mark and found myself in a good rhythm again, maintaining a 4:02 – 4:03 min/Km pace. The pacers were just ahead of me and I tried in earnest to gradually tag on again to the back of the small group remaining. In fairness to the pacers, they were fantastic. They continuously checked to see if they could keep the group together and although I was just behind the pace (10 – 15 seconds), they kept coming back to me to to urge me on to try and catch up! With 800m to race where I was flat out and pushing hard, one of the pacers wanted me to get within the 65 minutes.

65 min Pacer : ‘Come on, have you anything left?’

Me: ‘Not much, I can’t go any faster!’

With 400 to go,

65 min Pacer: ‘1 min left to the finish, stretch it out…’

Me: ‘Lets go!!’

As hard as I tried, and sprinting down the curved stretch where I eventually saw the finish line, I knew I wasn’t quite going to break 65 minutes but I certainly wasn’t disappointed finishing in 65:07.

The race itself was won by Sergiu Ciobanu in 49:21 and the first woman home was Aoife Cook in a superb time of 55:17, making her the second fastest woman for the Mallow 10 mile road race.

Before the start of the race I bumped into fellow Sportsworld runners Maura Ginty and Deirdre O’Connell, recognised by our Sportsworld running tops, and likewise after the race, both were happy with the race and times achieved. Maura finished in 67:35 and Deirdre in 74:17.

Afterwards there was a great spread put on by Mallow AC, with plenty of food and refreshments. Hands down the Mallow 10 mile road race is a great event and I won’t be leaving it 8 years before I return again! I would highly recommend it, roll on Mallow 10 Mile 2020…..

P.S. Although I haven’t been at the club in a while! I’ll be back soon ;-P