Katie Nugent ran an impressive tally of 5K races over the Christmas period. well done on her 3rd place finish in Ardagh.

It is inevitable that the social calendar and the kitchen cupboards fill up in the lead up to and during the festive period. This may make it more difficult to stay on track when it comes to running. However, there are plenty of festive Christmas runs/walks around to help burn off the mince pies and roses and help keep us all somewhat on track.

More recently when busy at work or otherwise, I try to keep up with some sessions or fit in at least one quick run a week just to keep myself in check. Christmas is no different so there are a number of local races that I will always support.

On St. Stephen’s day in Newtownforbes in Longford, the Shane Brennan 5k takes place. It is a very fast relatively flat 5k which is becoming more popular every year with a great number of club runners in attendance. There are usually a few familiar Sportsworld faces there and this year was no different with a great run by Wesley Harrison to finish in the top pack of runners with a fantastic time of 17.35. Barry Sheil of Longford AC was the first male in a time of 16.08 and Catherina McKiernan was first lady in a time of 17.33 which shows what a fast 5k it was especially for the day after Christmas Day! I was happy with my run for the day completing the course in 21.11.

Wesley and a smiling
Catherina McKiernan

I absolutely adore Parkruns and everything that they offer. They are free, offer a great distance in 5k and are so sociable. I always try to take part in one on a Saturday morning if I have no other plans or races on. There is a relatively new Parkrun in Strokestown in Co. Roscommon which is close enough to where I am from and anytime I am home I try to do it.

Strokestown has got enough press over the last few weeks so I probably don’t need to explain where it is???? In any case it is a lovely Parkrun if anyone ever finds themselves in the Midlands/heading west and are looking for a run. I had already signed up to the Ardagh Challenge 5k in Longford for Saturday 29th December but decided I would take on the ‘double trouble’ challenge and do both. At least it would keep my hand out of the roses tin for a few hours???? I ran a good steady run at the Parkrun and was happy to keep my time within the 21 minute bracket which had been my goal for 2018. I was also 1st female finisher and happy to stay on the first finisher list for another week????

Stroketown Parkrun champ Katie Nugent

I went home for a couple of hours and had a snack and then went to my second run of the day in Ardagh. I have taken part in the Ardagh Challenge four times now. I previously ran the 10 mile race which offers a very challenging course with a lot of hills???? The weather can also be hit and miss for this event but thankfully on Saturday last it was a perfect day for running. There is a 10 mile race and a 5k race so there is something for everyone. It is organised by Ardagh Moydow Glen Community Games and is a chip timed event with prizes in many age categories. The race has grown in popularity over the last few years and saw the largest attendance this year which saw many entrants having travelled far and wide to attend the event. This year the 10 mile race was won by Sportsworld’s own Gareth Murran who saw off some very tough competition from previous winners to claim first place in a fantastic time of 55.35. I took part in the 5k event and was happy to claim 3rd place in a time of 21.21. Ardagh is a beautiful, historic village and is certainly worth a visit. I would definitely recommend the challenge to anyone who is looking for a good testing run before the end of the year.

Ardagh a great spot for a race in late December

As we come to the end of a fantastic running year for the club, I would like to wish all club members, families and friends a wonderful 2019. I hope you all achieve what you set your minds to for 2019 and more importantly enjoy the journey as you strive to get there.

Happy New Year ????????