Race Report by Laurence Delair

Thanks to Phil Daly for the photos.

The fourth and last instalment of the Meet and Train Winter League took place on Sunday 5th. The Sportsworld runners and supporters converged towards the Balheary Fields, in Swords for the occasion.

For those of you who have never set foot there, I could hardly recommend it as a picturesque destination. No, it is a utilitarian, fit-for-purpose sort of a place. Nothing wrong with that. It is rather long and narrow, made up of a couple of pitches, and it is bordered on 3 sides by clumps of trees, and immediately surrounded by a maze of busy-ish roads. However, on that cold and crisp morning, with the grass still covered in frost, the perfectly blue sky and the warm rays of sunshine, the Balheary Fields looked positively glorious.

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After our customary warm-up and strides – during which I suspect we all ended up with soaking wet socks and suitably frozen feet – the 20 or so of us gathered at the start line along with another 100 runners.

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The excitement and the nervousness were palpable, or so is my impression each time we are about to go. Some of the Sportsworld girls were galvanising the others by saying “Think of the brunch afterwards” (more on this further down). There was a false start of sorts, on account of a whistle being blown on the football pitch next to us. And then we were finally off.

Due to a training regime that I must confess is “minimalist”, I tend to stay at the back of the field from beginning to end. On a side note, I have come to the conclusion that minimalism is best suited to Art, and that it does not work so well for running, nor for most sports I suspect. But I digress… Here was the task at hand: two laps and a bit (which is always the hardest bit) of a perfectly flat course around the pitches above-mentioned, with a section on one side where the path took us behind the clumps of trees and followed a tiny river. That came as a welcome diversion if you ask me.

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The underfoot conditions were close to ideal, a little soft but not too much. The pace at the front was ruthless as far as I could see from my vantage point. All I can say is that we all finished in one piece, Maria Jones being the first one in for the Sportsworld crew taking the third place!

There were all-round excellent performances.

After the cool down (which I inadvertently skipped), we all enjoyed the tea/coffee, biscuits and cakes offered by our host, Fingallians Athletic Club, and a bit of a chat. As this was the last of our Meet and Train race, the “après race” did not end up there. Naoise De Bhaldraithe had kindly booked a group of us for a brunch in the Gourmet Food Parlour, conveniently located a short walking distance away. So we had a further excuse to enjoy good food and excellent company. What more could you ask for?


CLUB Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 TOTAL

Sportsworld A INC 44 54 43 141
Clonliffe A 39 68 71 68 175
Crusaders A INC 84 98 58 240
Crusaders B INC 85 171 90 346
Trim A 73 106 187 INC 366
Dunboyne A 50 177 151 INC 378

Esker A 126 182 161 102 389
Bros Pearse A 189 120 134 INC 443
Fingallians A 136 194 INC 127 457
Clonliffe B 144 196 202 INC 542
Blackrock AC 196 199 164 INC 559
Crusaders C 192 INC 227 172 591
Lucan A 145 198 288 INC 631

Dunboyne B 237 250 271 INC 758
Fingallians B 258 279 350 246 783
Sportsworld D 333 389 406 252 974
Donore B 296 398 420 INC 1114
Esker B INC 387 389 246 1022
Trim B 289 INC 397 INC INC
Lucan C 394 514 INC INC INC
Fingallians C 358 419 INC INC INC
Sportsworld C INC 226 273 INC INC
Tallaght A INC 129 INC INC INC
Donore D INC 283 INC INC INC
Donore C 296 INC INC INC INC
Fingallians D 380 INC INC INC INC
Bros Pearse B INC 393 INC INC INC
Tallaght B INC 414 INC INC INC
Sportsworld B INC INC 270 INC INC
Crusaders D INC INC INC 229 INC

INC: Incomplete team