Report by Gareth Murran (former club email writer)
The 2023 Galway Clinic Streets of Galway 8km, organised by local club Galway City Harriers, took place this year on Sat 12th August at 7pm. Since its inception in 1986, the event has grown into one of the most prestigious road races in the country yet remains true to its original motto of Sport for All, as many locals and visitors take on the event year in year out.
This event is a jewel in the crown of road races in the West and tours through the famous City of the Tribes. The race route takes in many of the sights of Galway City, including the Spanish Arch, Eyre Square, the landmark Galway Cathedral and the University of Galway, and routes out towards Salthill, past Pearse Stadium and then back in the ‘Prom’ along Galway Bay for a fast section into the finish at the historic Claddagh.
Having ran this with niggles on a beautiful summer evening in 2022 I was looking forward to going back with my Sportsworld crew and giving it another try in 2023. It’s a fabulous course, challenging in parts with more typical Galway weather often making it challenging.
A Saturday evening start at 7 PM was perfect, with time to drive from Dublin around noon, get some lunch, pick up the numbers (Thanks Mau) and watch the AAI stream whilst yelling at the TV for Gavin and Maria to win their respective races at the national Masters. Motivated by their success we strode down to the start line about 6.15 PM.
After a few less than stellar workouts over the past two weeks or so I had set my stall to start out slow and use the wind at my back in the last stretch to make up some ground on my competitors.
I had 3.22s in my head for the pace with a 3.25 to get me going. I started a decent bit back as I find many people go way too fast at the start of road races. Starting a bit further back and getting faster as the race goes seems to work well for me.
At 7 PM we were off and the first thing I noticed was that there was amazing support the whole way around the route. It really is a great experience to run through the middle of Galway city with the roads closed and crowds cheering.When someone shouts your name it gives you such a massive boost.
As we ran down Merchants Road I was questioning if my pace was too fast or too slow. It was at this point that I just decided to race. I wouldn’t look at the watch again until I crossed the finish line. I got into a good grove after Eyre Square and kept picking groups off, not wanting to get isolated I’d wait or push on depending on the terrain up ahead. My stregth is speed so I use the downhills to my advantage. I felt like I was going a little slower than I should have but was really enjoying the run.
Having ran the course last year I knew that I’d have the wind at my back in kilometers 7 and 8 and kilometer 6 was slightly downhill. This was in the back of my mind and the plan worked. Looking back, I went through 5K very comfortable and could finished with a 3.15 and 3.10 for the last 2 kilometers. I was chasing down runners in the last part of the race. It such an enjoyable experience to still be feeling strong going into the last few minutes.
Karol was first home for the club in 26.58, 27.15 for myself. I must appologise to the other Sportsworlders as full results are available on Red Tag Timing which sadly has crashed at the present time. Congrats to Gary, Adam, Maura and Deirdre on theur runs. Myself and Deirdre Picked up 2nd M40 prizes, Karol 1st M40 and Maura 6th overall. Special credit to Adam for just squeezing into the top 100 and making a new friend ‘Dave Mahon’ the whippet architect who finished 5th (pictured below with his blone streaks).
A fun night was had in Monroe’s with the 7 PM start being ideal for some craic afterwards. It was great to hang out with the GCH race comitee and compliment them on a job really well done. With the Sportsworld contingent having missed the prize giving sound local lady ‘race photographer’ Caoimhe Daniels stood in and made the presentation over pints of Connemara and shots of Tequila. Sadly no training will be done for the next week.
This is a genuinely great race with an atmosphere you just cant get in a Dublin race. Give it a go next year and stay the night. There was time for brunch at ArdBia at Nimmos and a quick plunge at Salthill before the tired trip home. Looking forward to the 10 mile next weekend already. The City of Tribes is my kinda town.
In Galway’s lively streets I stride, where culture and history coincide.
Cobbled lanes and vibrant hues, Echoes of tales from different views.
From Eyre Square to the waterside, Past ancient walls where stories reside.
With every step, a journey anew, Running the streets, a dream pursued.
Past Shop Street’s bustling, lively tide, I’d race, with dreams and hopes as my guide,
The Claddagh’s ring, a promise to confide, Love’s eternal dance, forever side by side.
Through Munroe’s charming grace, where buskers’ melodies interlace,
I run, a free spirit unconfined, In Galway’s heart, my tequila face aligned.
Galway’s energy ignites my feet, as laughter and music gently meet,
In this city where dreams take flight, I run the streets, with pure delight.