Meet and train Race Report, Swords 17th November 2013
By Niamh Flaherty

I woke up and immediately looked out the window to check the weather conditions. It had rained overnight, Damn it I thought! My socks will get wet now!! Yes- I wasn’t exactly made for cross country running!!

I arrived at Fingallians GAA club around 10am, all the gang were congregating in the car park. Bit of chat mainly asking each other how we were going to make it around the course in one piece and how much we were dreading it!! In case any of us were thinking of opting out of the up and coming races Trish kindly produced a carefully crafted training plan written up by Myles. Someone gasped ‘6 days!!’ to which I added 7 if you don’t want to rest!! Clearly no messing is allowed when it comes to cross country.

The copies of the plan were put away safely and we headed into the clubhouse to get numbered up and of course to make one or two trips to the ladies. I couldn’t get over the Sportsworld turnout, it seemed like we were everywhere. That created a great buzz. We headed off on a warm up lap of the course, in our runners (I wasn’t prepared to get my socks wet just yet!) it was a straightforward course which consisted of 2 and a bit laps making up the 2 miles. Somewhat warmed up we all went to put on our spikes. Trish produced brand new ones, Brenda newish ones and me…well let’s just say to an outsider you would have sworn I was a veteran cross country runner! Not quite!! Just never managed to clean them after the Leinster Novice in Dunboyne! Aileen on the other hand managed to erase the evidence of that day by producing a surprisingly clean pair to which she added my husband cleaned them! Wait a minute I thought to myself I need to get myself one of those!!!!

Next up was strides, led by Ann. A couple of strides later and soaking wet socks we were ready to head to the start line. Last minute team tactics mainly consisted of not letting anyone past us on the 2nd half of the lap (more of that later) Emily, Myles and Paddy wished us good luck and we were off. It started off fast, Trish and Natalia had a bit of a spike off! Natalia came off worse with the evidence on her ankle! After that we quickly settled into groups. Trish was right up the front with Brenda, Natalia and myself working together a bit further back.

The support was great with Myles, Emily and Paddy cheering us every bit of the way and of course Paddy, resident photographer was not missing any opportunities. These weren’t going to be pretty but sure were guaranteed to give us a laugh! Thanks Paddy.

As we approached the 2nd half of the first lap, team tactics came into play! It was narrow and you had to run in single file so whatever position you started that stretch in you were stuck in. The order was Brenda, Natalia and myself but just before we entered that stretch a Donore runner made her presence very much known! No way, I thought and put the foot down, she was determined though. Luckily Natalia meant business and side stepped a bit, the girl went quietly back to her place behind me in the q! I tried not to laugh, well actually I couldn’t! I was barely able to breath at that point!

Off we went and at some point during the 2nd lap our group split out. Towards the 2nd half of the 2nd lap I counted the places in front, Trish was in the top 10. Good work. I was clinging onto Brenda but was beginning to drift back a bit. No team tactics on the second lap, it was just a matter of getting to the finish line in one piece. Trish and Brenda finished very strongly in 9th and 10th position. Really great considering they both ran the marathon only 3 weeks earlier! To quote Emily, we are expecting top 5 finishes from you both next race. All our 21 runners finished well so a great result all round. The winning team on the day was Dunore A on 26 points. Sportsworld A finishing in 5th on 74 points.

After a brief cool down and spikes removed we made our way to the clubhouse for the main reason we do these races, the tea and biscuits after! We were greeted with a generous display of biscuits and some friendly ladies waiting to pour us ample tea and coffee! We all chatted and laughed about the morning, it seemed everyone enjoyed it despite our initial reservations.

The morning ended very much like a good night out on the town when you are getting turfed out of a nightclub by some bouncer! Only difference was the fingallian lady was polite about it, smiling as she said ‘’have you no homes to go to’’ to Brenda and I. We looked around we were the last to leave! Surely that was a sign of a good morning out! Until Next time…Dunboyne 1st December.

9th > Patricia Fitzmaurice
10th > Brenda Egan
17th > Niamh Flaherty
19th > Alison Warde
21st Natalia Sokolowska
31st > Ann Higgins
34th > Naoise Waldron
52nd > Deirdre Heavey
57th > Maria Varley
60th > Claire Rowley
80th > Paula Dooley
84th > Sinead McEntee
87th > Orla Byrne
89th > Aileen Melody
108th > Tracey Gannon
109th > Jennifer Shorten
111th > Megan Connell
118th > Alice Talbot
120 > Laurence Delair
121st > Affe Nazemi
128th > Susie Murphy