Conor Keating was in Clonmel for the annual 4 mile and follows that report up with a run down of his year in racing.

On Saint Stephen’s Day I headed down to Clonmel for the 30th edition of the MSB Clonmel 4 mile road race. Clonmel is the largest town in Tipperary and on the sporting front is a particularly noted for soccer and athletics. The town has two teams in the Tipperary south premier south soccer league – Clonmel Town whose grounds we passed on the way to race (cannot remember if we lost that U18 game 6 or 7 Nil?) and Clonmel Celtic (random fact of the day is that there pitch is opposite the Bulmers factory). Ahh the memories from my soccer days – Clonmel was one of the main reasons that convinced me that I had a better chance in athletics, than soccer, to getting capped for Ireland. I’ve having second thoughts now though – which is easier? – Being able to string 3 passes together or running a 100 miles a week?(Must try that sometime).

Anyway back to the running, I was wondering how this would go as I had been roped into doing a GOAL mile on Christmas day. My official time was 5:23 but my mile time per Strava was a bit quicker as swerving & shouts of ‘Four’ were required on a few occasions…Sorry I mean ‘Track’ (i’m not that good/don’t want to bore you with another failed sporting adventure – I’m good at pitch and putt though). If I ran into someone in my soccer days it would have been more Karl Chattenonnn style rather than taking a step to the side.

Clonmel A.C took bronze in this year’s National Senior XC and would have won gold if they had a strong fourth member to back up Sean Tobin (2nd), Kevin Maunsell (3rd) and William Maunsell (13th)..

Conor Mid-Pack

This year’s race was conspicuous by the absence of the 3 aforementioned runners which significantly boosted my chances of…not being over a minute a kilometer behind the winner. There was just over 500 in the race and, having also done the race last year, I knew that the first mile was a bit downhill, miles 2-3 relatively flat and then a slight incline to the finish line. I ended getting caught into doing the first mile too fast and then the Xmas mile (and the festivities) kicked in at around half way. However I stuck with a decent group of about half dozen others most of the way and I eventually finished in 24mins 18 secs. (if I was a minute a km faster I would have had enough time to do about 4 knee slides/slide tackles over the line and still won) A bit disappointed with this but mainly trying to maintain fitness and try to put in decent effort into the remaining XC’s races in the new year.

Conor flying up the hills

2018 was a better year for me than 2017 which was not great with some more sobering Clonmel sporting memories being:

  • Being out injured after having to have an operation in Clonmel hospital on my toe which had been bitten in a ‘playful’ manner by the family dog.
  • Arriving late to the start line for the 2017 MSB Clonmel 4 mile and having to try to navigate my way past a few hundred runners (I can neither confirm or deny that elbows and pushing were involved).

Anyway I’ve just checked Strava and apparently this was my 33rd race of 2018. My attention span is waning so here’s a short list of the races (with a few grouped together) with a one line description (without getting into times – They are not nothing to write home about)

  • Leinster Intermediate XC: I didn’t getting lapped nor finished last! (moral victory)
  • Indoor 3k in National Sports Arena: Perfect preparation for…
  • National Intermediate XC: (That field in) Clarinbridge will never be the same again.
  • Resorted back to shelter with another 3k in National Sports Arena.
    -John Kelly 7.5k memorial race in Loughmore in Tipperary:He represented Ire in the 1968 olympics in the 50km race walking event.
  • Local 5k: Even if it’s raining it’s still best to do a w/up #cramp.
  • Raheny 1 mile road race: This was the Wednesday before the national road relays and a good blowout around the same 1 mile route.
  • National Road Relays (4th leg – 2 miles): I got to see what real Olympian’s look like. A great experience to take part even though out of my depth.
  • 7 Graded Track races [1 x 800m, 2x1500m, 3x3000m, 1 x5000): It was great to see so many new people trying track races this year and I would encourage more people to give them a go as the grading of the races make them suitable for all and it’s great for increasing speed. (Apr-Aug)
  • Leinster Novice Road race: It’s best to taper before a race rather than following the training schedule during the week and expecting to run a good race on the bank holiday Monday.
  • BHAA 5km beach race: Me and Noel Tobin were neck and neck the whole race but I just pipped him with a sprint finish (honed through the track).
  • BHAA Dunboyne 5 mile: I went out at 6 min mile pace…
  • Tullaroan 1/2 marathon: The t-shirt says ‘I got some thrills in the Tullaroan hills’…sure.
  • Docklands 5k: Great night for (racing) drinking.
  • Irish runner 10 mile: I was going to Killarney for a few days so doing this on Saturday morning would allow for a few ‘recovery’ days in Kerry.
  • Rathfarnham 5k: Forgot my watch and ran a PB.
  • Dublin Novice XC: Finished half way up the field in a XC race (first time for everything)
  • Leinster Novice XC: On the same course I ran over a minute faster than 2017 (when I finished 91st out of 100) and I finished 91st (out of 115 so relative improvement)
  • Leinster Senior XC (7 laps-10k): I ran a consistent pace and was happy enough and accepted that more people would lap me than finish behind me.
  • Clontarf 5 mile: The ad should read ‘Ireland’s flattest and windiest races’
  • Lanzarote International Running challenge (10k on road, 13k ridge run, 5k on beach and ‘Half marathon’ on trials/road). My best races were the ridge run and the ‘half marathon’ when I didn’t drink the night before #lame. The only reason you’d complain that a half marathon was short is if it denied you a PB.
  • Dublin Intermediate XC: I got back after 12 last night and should still be in bed.
  • National Novice XC: A tough race and with over 250 in it – Let’s just say I wasn’t in the top 200. On the plus side I managed stayed on my feet in slippery conditions.
  • Clonmel 4 mile road race: See a few pages up.

I’ve managed to get a few photos from the race from the Tipperary athletics facebook page and also a picture of me at the finish line with the tea holder given to all participants. Competition Time: There’s a familiar face, in the background, in one of the photos which you can look for if you’re not too fed up already. Please post your answers in the comments below (liking and sharing is optional). Prize is a complimentary entry to the 2019 Clonmel 4 mile race on me. Terms and Conditions: Travel not included. Organiser reserves the right to retain any race entry goodies unless it’s a t-shirt in which case you can have mine as well. Winner drawn at random at Sportsworld Cake Sale December 2019.

Conor post race

I definitely plan to do less races in 2019. This is not a new year’s resolution as this will only kick in in February as I plan to do the remaining 2 XCs races (Leinster and National Intermediate) and at least one of the indoor races in the National Sports Arena. I did a 21k training run today – would have been easier just to do the 10k races in the Tullaroan hills. This race report nearly took as long as the 21k so new year’s resolution is to write shorter race reports in 2019. Happy New Year and all the best with your running, and other subsidiary goals, in 2019!