The popular Micheal Manning Memorial Dunshaughlin 10k 2023 took place last Saturday at 7.30 PM with a large club crowd participating. This is one of the most popular races on the calendar and one which  I’ve done almost every year since joining the club in 2009. Thanks to Andrew Brett for sorting me out with a race number at the last minute.

The confidence curve built up there for a few years in the early 30s, flirting with mastery only for the decline to kick in with a bang. We all must accept that times will slow and that the “beep-beep” will into “creak-creak”! The super shoes now disguise the aches and pains and have you pull up fine the next day. I’m not sure how I ever raced in flats looking back.

The Confidence Curve - Like A Boss | Real Estate Brilliance

Dunshaughlin is a short hop, only 30 kilometres (18 miles) northwest of Dublin.  It is situated in the eastern part of County Meath and is surrounded by a beautiful rural landscape. The course is one of my favourites with most of the course feeling either flat or downhill. After a flat enough start, there’s a more challenging course section between 6K and 8K but then the rest is flat or downhill into the finish. I’d go as far as saying that this is in the top 3 races on the calendar each year. You’ll have to debate the others over a pint at the next Sportsworld outing. The depth is great with 275 runners under 40 minutes.

After going to the afternoon Taste of Dublin on Thursday and then heading straight for the Docklands 5K I wasn’t feeling my absolute best doing the warm-up on Saturday evening. I planned to run a smidge under 34 minutes which breaks down to a 3.24 pace. Knowing the course I thought I might sneak a few seconds in the last section.

There was a huge crowd at the start and with a wide open road the pace went off quickly. I settled in nice and comfortable being bang on my pace after 3K. It’s so easy to get the balance wrong and be passing people out at this point in the race, only to realise you messed it up and drift back at 6-8K. If I can give one observed tip to newer runners it would be not to blow your race in the first couple of kilometres.

That said I made a mistake between 3-5K on Saturday. I was running behind a large group of 10 with nobody willing to push the pace up to the next group. As we hit the 5K and not having looked at my watch I realised that I was 10-12 seconds behind where I wanted to be at this stage of the race.

I started to move better at this point but wasn’t brave enough to risk blowing up and get some of that time back. I’ve stopped to walk in this race before and those pains are still fresh 5 years later. The 8K mark is the main hill on the route and this is where I let the side down. I’d gotten into a nice group and decided to jog up the hill in 3.35. When I crested the top I picked things up, running my best part of the race, continuing to pass people into the finish. It was good to finish with a 3.18 kilometre but the lack of race sharpness earlier had already blown the time goal. “Lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin

In hindsight, nobody passed me on the whole run, which normally signals I had a bit more in me. That said your effort needs to be balanced over the entire run and it wasn’t here. I can put that down to race sharpness. This was my first 10K in some years.

The main goal now will be to get back on the right side of 16 minutes for 5K and 34 for 10K before the grind starts in mid-July. I’m naturally a speedier runner so the 5K times will come easier, but I do plan to run the Dublin Marathon in October. The PB might be out of reach this year but I still will target a good clocking.

Full results are available on Pop Up but the club results are listed below. Special mention to Maria Jones who keeps getting faster and leading her team of Noreen and Maura to second. She’s been sharing those club records in their WhatsApp group, you can be sure. There were PBs and SBs down the results with too many to count. Overall winners of the race were Ide Nic Dhomhnailland  and Conor Duffy.

Thanks for everyone who supported and here’s to a lot more evenings like this over the Summer. This really is a must do event.