Sunday 28th April 2019

I elevated my usual race day preparation of the late boozy night beforehand with the addition of the 3 course dinner with the family in Bijoux at 5pm. Sure it’s a 9pm start, grand. Paul “Brother of Deirdre” O’Connell had the same pre-race feed so I must be onto a winner.

Other preparations included watching 3 hours of London Marathon that morning, chuckling at rogue leading female pacers, while also convinced I could be as good as Sinead Diver at her age, if only I stopped scoffing croissants and focused!

Motivated, my mother and I headed for Raheny to cheer on the Relay teams that afternoon.  As I overheard organisers were short of stewards, I duly volunteered “a mother daughter stewarding combo” and so continued a day of feeling great by giving back. We were in awe of the participating Sportsworld teams, many of whom it’s been my pleasure to get to know lately. It was a great spectacle.

As running was a theme of the day, ongoing notions of not doing with the Night Run proved hard to shift! Barr my brother who wouldn’t exactly make plans to travel to the race together, I didn’t know anyone else running so I was very glad to meet tall Emmet on the warm-up to the start, whose preparation was akin to my own.

The friendly smiles of the Sportsworld stewards Val, Johnny and Padraig were welcome and meant we were escorted into the front row of some 4,000 runners! Now in the fast pack, which included Paul and Diarmuid O’Suilleabhain, back up to impress us with his Cork training efforts, I knew I was where I shouldn’t be.

I decided the only way to handle this was to feel smug up the front, with all the men, pretending I was in my natural environment, always up with the elite, comfortable there, retying the one lace, checking the watch, not doing the group warm-up, and generally just trying to look cool. I channelled my inner Sinead Tangney, relays dynamo and winner of the 2018 Night Run.  I’ve got this!

Having done this race myself last year, with the same consistent preparation and a still unbeaten 10k PB, I knew to expect a very well run, professional event which it was again. It wasn’t too cramped, and though meandering a little too much at times, I really enjoyed the run. The views of the city around the Docklands as the sun set and the impressive buildings on the Quays lit up in the night sky was terrific.

I knew and thought nothing about my position until about 4k in, when in Irishtown a few men roared “3rd lady” at me. Then again, another roar out of some fella, “3rd lady”. Well I never, I couldn’t believe it! Chuffed! I continued on proud as punch thinking only about how great I was, and that the guys running with me hearing this must also be so impressed by me. They’re running with the 3rd lady!

As a firm believer in karma, it was in this instant then my lace (the one I didn’t re-tie at the start line) came undone, with the double whammy of it happening on the tracks of our nemesis club, Crusaders. Doh! And out I stepped to tie it up. “4th lady”!!

Though no where near the winning ladies, I was proud to hold the place for the rest of the race and delighted to cross the line to the sweet sounds of “4th lady!” roars. Maria, Trish, Gareth, Martin were all there to support at the finish after their stewarding.

Forever plagued by notions of my own greatness, I actually volunteered to write this race report as having got the race number from a certain only sibling working in a global payment company, my name isn’t exactly clear on the official records. So this will have to do.

Well done all the runners.

Deirdre O’Connell AKA “M. Card”

Night Run 2019 Sportsworld Results (Sorry if I missed anyone)

28 Paul O’CONNELL 00:38:13 M (27) Mastercard
31 Diarmuid O’SUILLEABHAIN 00:38:26 M (30) O Mahony Pike
Emmet 00:42.13
184 Master CARD 00:43:38 F (4) Mastercard
401 Ann SWEENEY 00:46:54 F (22) Sportsworld A.C.
424 Emma MEADE 00:46:53 F (24) Sportsworld A.C.