Report by Andrew Brett

As the old proverb says “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb”. So it seems anyway.

After the arrivals of Brendan, Ciara & Dennis in February it was the turn of Jorge try his hand with the running Gods as we entered March. Perfectly timed to strike just in time for the inaugural Naas 10 mile race which took place on March 1st.

The last few weeks I have stepped up training a bit in advance of the Rotterdam Marathon which is due to take place in a month’s time. Between the 3 aforementioned storms of February and the ongoing will it / won’t it debate over whether the event will actually take place due to the Coronavirus concerns, I have wondered aloud many a time as to whether I’m mad in persisting with the training. As most people who are in the running community know we’re all a little bit mad so bearing that in mind I put my name down for the Naas 10 mile in an effort to see where I was at fitness wise and to see if all the character building long runs in the storms were working or not!

The race itself sold out with 800 entries. Knowing this in advance I set off early so that I could ensure a decent parking spot. Naas is actually really close to Dublin and from Rathfarnham to the start line was barely 25 minutes. It was nice to see a friendly face down there in the form of Sadanand, who is currently putting himself through the paces for the Zurich Marathon at the end of April, so we did a quick warm up and readied ourselves for the start.

There was a really relaxed atmosphere at the start line with everyone chatting away and in good spirits. It looked like we had dodged the worst of the weather as the sun was shining as the gun went off and it appeared that wind would be the only element that we would have to deal with. That was nice of Jorge to lull us into a false sense of security. He’s good like that.

The route itself is fairly unremarkable. It starts off with an out and back section on a footpath / cycle lane for the first 4 miles or so and this is followed by a 3 mile loop that you complete twice. The out and back section was very exposed so the first 2 miles were straight into a headwind before we got reprieve at the turn. The looped section was more enjoyable with a stretch down by the canal which was quite nice. There was a water station here too which we ran by twice. The 2nd loop was quite congested as you were passing plenty of runners who were still on their first lap and it was quite narrow in places. Jorge made an appearance after about 7 miles with a huge downpour of hailstones & sleet which lasted until the finish. In like a lion and all that. All in all though it was well organised and to the credit of the team who were in charge they were very quick to look for feedback off the runners after the race so that they could make improvements to future editions. There was a good spread of cakes after and no shortage of coffee to help warm us back up.

The race itself was won by a local runner Sean Doyle in an excellent time of 52.09 especially given the conditions. Brian Leahy of Raheny came 2nd in a time of 55.29 and yours truly was 3rd in 56.23. Well done as well to Sadanand who finished 6th in a PB time of 58.26. The women’s race was won by Edel Gaffney in 1.03.25 with Sinead Tighe from Brothers Pearse coming home 2nd in 1.09.35 & Dunleer’s Siobhan Hanratty finishing 3rd in 1.10.24.

All in all the trip to Naas was worthwhile and was a much needed blowout on the roads. Whether Rotterdam goes ahead or not is out of our control and whilst it’s seeming more and more likely that it will get cancelled the plan now is to just train as normal and see what happens. Worst case scenario the fitness will be banked and can be put towards another race later in the year when hopefully the threat of the coronavirus will have subsided. Here’s to the rest of March, hopefully out like a lamb!