The national road relays were on Sunday April 28th this year. For those that don’t know the event it sounds very strange. The races are run in a housing estate in Raheny, there are no batons you just need to touch hands with your team mate within a 20m zone, depending on your leg you run between 1 mile and 3 miles which does not sound much but it’s one of the hardest races you’ll ever run.
First race up was the women’s masters and they have 3 on a team, the first leg 1 mile, second leg 2 mile and third leg 1 mile. The winning teams are those who have 3 strong runners. Some teams have one or two top class Irish runners but unless they have a good third runner they won’t be in the top 3.
Next up was the men’s Masters and again 3 legs, 1mile, 2 mile, 1mile. There were 4 teams in this race, two O/35 and two O/50. There were a number of runners doing the Masters relays for the first time and it’s easy to get caught up in the atmosphere of the race and push too hard are the start but everyone seemed to pace their legs well.
We then had the ladies senior race. Out of all the races this race probably had the most pushing and shoving as runners tried to get the best start. There were some huge changes in position as the race went on as some clubs had a 100m lead in the first leg only to have that lead wiped out by strong runners from other teams in the 2 mile second leg.
The last race of the day was the men’s senior race. 4 legs, 2mile, 1 mile, 3mile and 2 mile last leg. Some of the top clubs in the country travel to this race with teams coming as far away as Finn Valley in Donegal. My leg was the 1 mile with Conor McCarthy setting a strong 2mile pace in leg 1. The first 200m there is loads of support and you have to try and keep your head and not go off too fast. The next 400m is normally very quiet and you have to work harder than normal as there is a gentle incline. Then you turn the corner and you can feel the road is slightly down hill and you try and push as hard as you can. This road has a series of small roundabouts and you try and break up the long road by just taking one roundabout at a time. Then your into the final turn and the 200m straight. Your flat out at this stage and your desperately trying to see you team mate at the handover zone so you can make the pain stop. Leg 3 probably the toughest leg was Stephen O Donnell and the final 2 mile leg was Wesley Harrison.
Unfortunately the teams were just outside the medals but there were a number of really good runs. Full results can be found here