10Km – Audrai O Driscoll

I’m looking out at the rain today (Tuesday) and thinking back to Salzburg where a few of us were sitting outside a gorgeous cafe yesterday morning with a few other club members before we were going to get the train to Munich airport to return home… sadly !

What a fantastic weekend away with a great group of Sportsworlders ! After lots of planning since late last year with the hope post covid for a group to go away for a half marathon and 10k race  …January came and Ellen Lavin was suggesting hotel names and flight schedules for the May trip to Salzburg.    There was a WhatsApp group set up by Ellen inviting anyone who may be interested going to join the group and within weeks there was a flurry of activity and hotels and flights were booked and we were all feeling excitement and a bit of anticipation!

Most of the group had travelled out on Friday morning and I flew out Saturday morning with the last of the group.   Thanks to Kimberley Kennedy and her excellent knowledge of all things German we were like sheep following her as she negotiated the train ticket purchasing for our group to Salzburg ! We went to the Expo Centre in the afternoon to collect our numbers walking along a lovely route down by the river on a glorious day.
The morning arrived and plans were made to meet and go to the start lines for the 10k with our group.   It was a lovely morning and a great atmosphere among the runners.  As the 10k started 15 mins ahead of the half we were cheered on by our fellow club runners as we began the race.  Lovely to run in this lovely city where it’s all unfamiliar territory.   Eileen Rowland was 1st in her age category over 60 and Kimberley Kennedy who had been returning from injury was first in her age category over 45’s. A good morning ! Lovely to be joined by former club members Breda Walsh, Rosie Mulhern and Maria Varley.  It was so good to see some new members and others who have been running in the club for many years on this trip and such camaraderie among everyone.
Races over …. after everyone had enjoyed a well deserved breakfast it was time to go on a tour ! The hills are alive with the Sound of …. Sportsworlders ! Thanks again to Ellen who suggested we book our group in advance for those interested to do the Sound of Music bus trip! It didn’t disappoint! We met up in the afternoon on this beautiful afternoon post race all smiling and happy and relieved the races were done and dusted and now it was time to relax and enjoy the trip out into the countryside of Salzburg and see the gorgeous scenery and lakes out by the Palace and beyond.   Our tour guide for the afternoon brought back memories of the movie in his telling of the history of the story that many of us fondly remember from our younger days I for one being a big fan of it!  (Showing my age now).  New club members Belen and Fran had done their homework and watched the movie ahead of the trip so we all sang our hearts (Belen leading) out as each song was played and memories and the words of the songs came back ….  I don’t think many of us have laughed as much in recent times I certainly hadn’t and it felt good!
It was a fantastic weekend thoroughly enjoyable and thanks also to Nick and Martin who cheered us on and took some great photos.  Thanks again to Ellen & Kimberley and to everyone who was on the trip contributing to make it a wonderful weekend for all! Looking forward to the next trip already ! Everyone welcome as always !

10Km – Sean O Byrne

Sportsworlds group of runners and supporters travelled to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site of Salzburg in Austria for the Salzburg 10Km and half-marathon over the weekend of the 13th to 16th May. The group had been for months planning and Whatsapping this post Covid weekend. Now journey over we stood at the start line. Located in the old city centre with its fine squares, buildings and narrow old streeets and dominated by the Archbishop Princes Fortress, a relic of thousands of years of history.

It was a beautiful day, warm with a clear blue sky. The 10km race had a start time of 8.45am and the half marathon 9am. There was also a full marathon but wisely everybody passed on that distance. The 10km route took us past the half marathon start. We were cheered on by our Sportsworld half marathoners and then down through the streets of the old city. We passed a terrific drumming ensemble and then out into the countryside along tree lined avenues with a back drop of snow capped Alps.

So far so good, however that clear blue sky meant the sun beaming down and a steadily rising temperature. By 5km it was hot. Factor 50 and a baseball cap does not stop the heat rising form the road. 29 degrees. By 7km I was delighted not to have chosen the 21Km distance. Just keep going, take the water at the stops, drink some and poor the rest over your head. 8k passed and then 9k, through a road tunnel, precious shade and then we are back in the old city. Thank God for that. Around the corner was the very welcome finish area. My thoughts were on the half marathoners, tough conditions for affinados of the irish weather.

Great sound of music tour that afternoon. Great day.

Half Marathon – Belen Crocco

Salzburg Half Marathon took place on the sunny 15th May 2022 but it actually started way before that. I registered for it on 8th November 2021 after long chats about it with the team at the Phoenix Park. I mean… if they catch me eating my scone on Sunday after a long run, I would probably say yes to any plan. And I won’t deny how much I liked the idea of being an Argentinian woman, training in Ireland and going with the Irish team to run a half marathon in Austria, where I registered as Italian by the way (dual citizenship “glories”).

After six months, a long trip to Argentina, one unfortunate injury that stopped me for some weeks, lots of nerves and a tempting choice of going down to 10 km that I decided not to take; I found myself in Salzburg, walking alongside the river towards the starting line with other Sportsworlders. It was finally happening.

There was a great amount of people ready to race and bands with lovely music cheering up the environment. Everyone had a smile on their face and I could feel the race energy in the air, I was enjoying that moment so much.

The race started a few minutes after 9am for the ones in my time range. The course was astonishing all the way. It was really scenic and allowed the runners to see a wonderful side of Salzburg. We ran through beautiful paths surrounded by trees, green fields and mountains. Julie Andrews could have showed up any time singing ‘The hills are alive with the sound of running…’ We also went through a big part of the town where it seemed like the sun was hitting harder and it was getting warmer. The Austrian kids were waiting for the runners with water guns. I had never wished to be shot at that much!

The last 2km were the toughest ones for me. I kept on telling myself: push your head and the body will follow. And I did it! I got closer to the finish line, spotted some members of the team cheering me up, smiled at them gratefully and finished my first ever half marathon! I loved every single second of it and I am totally proud of myself. My time was even better than what I expected so I was happily surprised.

It was a perfect morning for the whole team. We had a wonderful time together and everyone was so supportive and truthfully happy for the achievements of each other. I was called a ‘tough cookie’ after finishing the race and I will not hide how much I liked the surname 😛

That same evening, we were heading to The Sound of Music tour where we were all singing and enjoying the beautiful place around us. Anyone in that bus can tell that I really knew the lyrics and seized the moment to show how much I love singing.

It was a wonderful weekend! Well done to all that raced! I am really looking forward to the next trip with the team and I am already searching for other half marathons to face this year. Dublin? Valencia? We’ll see, the world is ours for us to run on it!