Race report by Olive Fogarty

Photos by Gemma White – Full results below.

As I newbie to the “Meet & Train” scene I faced Sunday morning with a mixture of excitement and dread. Some reports had cast the Dunboyne trip as the Battle of the Somme, others as a kind of afternoon-tea-for-the-active-woman. I figured anything ending in cake and coffee was worth a try. At 9.15, light slipping lazily into the day, a small group of us converge at the edge of bushy park. There’s a slight autumnal chill, it’s dampish but not raining and mercifully, no wind. We count four. We wait and recount. Still four. Gemma offers to drive.


Race reporter Olive in yellow!

We load up the gear, casually destroying her boot in the process, some of us too preoccupied with trying to get a handle on the concept of “spikes” and “cross country” to notice. Half an hour of cheerful chat about nerves, turnout and the silly way the GPS woman pronounces “chapelizod” later we pull into the carpark at Dunboyne. There are athletic looking types swarming the place, types who seem totally at ease with spikes and mucky fields. Still, fear is motivation. At the side of the clubhouse Ann is organizing our numbers and Bronwyn dishing out safety pins. Now we number eleven Sportsworld warriors. About half of us are totally new to this. This is oddly reassuring. If the apprehension is up the expectation is down. We trot a mile down the road in an uneasy warm up then find a thistly ditch in which to change. Then it’s time to try out the spikes. There’s no Emily around to shout “strides” but it’s done from memory.


Then we’re off. The spikes immediately feel light and liberating, though at some cost to calf & ankle support. In the early metres, with eyes on the uneven ground, it’s hard to get a rhythm. But then the field opens a bit, I try putting the head up and letting the feet mind themselves and breathing gets a little easier. This idea is going great until I run into a mound of yellow grass and nearly come a cropper. (Who knew so many varieties of treacherous grass could grow in one field?) We turn into the outer field. Grainne’s on my shoulder. Those around us are getting moral support in the form of “good running L____” and “keep it up J___”. Not to be outdone, we give ourselves a quick pep talk. Some runners seem to be reducing their workload by going for the path worn at the sides.


I follow and manage to get a reasonably comfortable rhythm going. Then it’s into the character building 2nd lap. There’s something about 2nd laps that erodes the soul. Now there’s no familiar face in sight, the wind has surely risen and the very tape on the marking poles is stretching out to trip me up. Stomach and lungs are fighting for space inside so there’s no hope of picking up the pace. (Note to self, if a two mile race can do this to your head dont ever consider a marathon.) Still, on we thud. And then the outer field is done and the inner field is possible. My spirits lift as does my pace and I finally get to stop worrying and empty the tank in the last 100 metres.


Having survived the notorious cows’ field I slip on a pavement leaf on the cool down run and would be nursing a cracked skull in hospital now but for Grainne’s quick reaction. (Thanks Grainne and sorry again about that resulting poke in the eye!) A spread of cupcakes, biscuits and chocolate treats awaits us in the clubhouse. We refuel and pile back into the team bus (Gemma’s car). Maria (“H’on Tipp[i]” ) Jones has done us proud by zooming home in 4th place overall but she’s still totes down to earth on the way home. We exchange training tips – the pros and cons of over training, undertraining, weight training, doing squats or just spending the afternoon shopping It may be the coffee or the endorphins or the good company but I never expected a run in a damp field would be such fun. Well done everyone!

Maria Jones 4th
Ann Higgins 30th
Gemma White 36th
Olive Fogarty 51st
Maria Finnegan 56th
Grainne Lynch 59th
Anne Belton 73rd
Anne Maria Scanlon 74th
Bronwyn Murphy White 76th
Laurence Delaire 85th
Orla Greaves 86th