Report by Aileen Melody
Photos by Valerie Power. Sportsworld results below.
Race reporter Aileen gets breakfast in before the race!
On the 1st April (and no it wasn’t an April Fool!) a formidable little band of Sportsworld Runners and Associates made up of Valerie Power and her husband Troy, Irene O Connor and her husband Sean , Anne Sweeney, Shona Keane, Maura Ginty, Cliona O Riordan, Nick Melody and myself Aileen Melody set off to Prague with the intention to run a Half Marathon and to take in the sites of this wonderful place.
We had sent out a few advance parties , one on Wednesday being Ann Higgins and her husband Cathal and their children Hugh and Siobhan and the next one on Thursday was Sean O’Byrne and Carol and Paddy Lynch and Val’s friends Keith and Leonie. Also Cliona had an apartment full of mates waiting for her. The reports from the advance parties were all very positive so needless to say we were all very excited to get going.
The morning of the Half Marathon dawned and it was very sunny and clear if a bit on the cool side. The meeting place was our hotel and at 5 to 9 our merry crew of runners and supporters set off to the start line full of excitement of what was to come. As we neared the river we began to meet others heading the same direction and soon we found we had to say goodbye to our supporters Sean (Irene’s Husband) and Nick who was being minded by Hugh and Siobhan and a very good job they did of minding him too J.
Once in the start area things became a bit chaotic with queues for portaloos and baggage drop offs and we all split and made our way to our start zones. Myself and Ann Higgins were in the same start area and headed off to zone D trying to remember on route how to do the Dynamic stretches and warmups that Breda taught us at her recent talk in the club. We got a few funny looks so maybe we weren’t doing them right or maybe we were! Breda you would have been proud! The race starter managed to whip us all up into a frenzy of excitement even though we didn’t have a clue of a word he was saying! And then we were off.
The course took us along the river one side and we turned and ran back down parallel to the course so we got to see runners ahead of us and behind and offer and get some encouragement and then we crossed over the other side of the river and followed a similar path that side. The cobblestones in the first half of the race seemed gentle and pretty and quaint but when we hit the second half of the race the cobblestones weren’t so pretty and quaint anymore and every patch of cobbles was greeted by groans and gritting of teeth by I think everyone in the race!
Still it didn’t deter us and when we saw the 800m to go and the 600m to go and then we were on the bridge and Nick and Hugh and Siobhan were shouting “Come On” and all you had to do was go around the corner to the finish you forgot about those pesky cobbles that is until you stopped and then your feet started throbbing! The atmosphere and the support around the course was fantastic , Anne Sweeney even had a women hold her hand and shout at her in Czech to Run, Run! At least that’s what she said when Anne said in English please!
Everyone had a great run. Shona was our first finisher, followed by Ann and then by myself followed closely by Maura, but I can say everyone was happy with their run and happy they did it even though some people were still carrying injuries and couldn’t do the training they wanted before hand they all pulled something special out of the bag!
Later that night the group gathered and had a celebratory meal and toasted our achievements and thanked our supporters and celebrated in the inimitable Sportsworld style that seems to be the feature of any away trip that myself and Valerie Power have been on (Need I Say More!)
A great time was had by all as you will see from the photos and not just in the race!
A big thank you to all our supporters Nick, Paddy, Sean, Keith and Leonie and especially to our junior fan club of Hugh and Siobhan who as well cheering and whooping and shouting encouragement they made sure Nick didn’t get lost!
Shona Keane 01:33:48
Ann Higgins 01:42:49
Aileen Melody 01:45:28
Maura Ginty 01:46:50
Cathal O Riordan 01:50:19 (On loan from Lucan Harriers)
Valerie Power 01:55:05
Troy Power 01:56:13 ( On loan from Val!)
Irene O Conor 01:57:11
Caroline Lynch 02:00:32
Sean O Byrne 02:11:03
Cliona O Riordan 02:16:14
Anne Sweeney 02:31:29