Written by Kimberley Kennedy

The Tallaght AC 5km road race took place at 10am on St. Patricks Day and incorporated the Dublin Novice 5k Road Race Championships for 2023. I wasn’t planning on running in it but the week before a message went out on the ladies WhatsApp group including an image of a nice looking green running t shirt. Easily influenced I decided I’d quite like one and signed up for the race. After a very inconsistent few months of running, including a few weeks on crutches in January, maybe a race was what I needed to blow out the cobwebs…. a good hard race is after all worth a week’s training – which is handy as I’d missed training last week.

Friday morning came around quickly and off I set for Tallaght bright and early. Despite rain being forecast, it was dry enough and mild, with just a light wind. I soon bumped into lots of other Sportsworld club members all looking forward to the race. Someone mentioned a hill, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I mentioned the t shirts – “what t shirts?” was the response. It seemed no one else knew anything about them. I hurriedly went onto the website and saw the image had vanished. Had I imagined it? Dismayed, I headed to the start line. Was I going to have to run this race and not even get one of those t shirts out of it?

I didn’t have too much time to dwell on the t shirt mystery, there was a prompt start at 10am on the dot and really, I can’t think of much to write about the first few kilometres. We ran towards Tallaght Village, turned left, ran along the road, turned left again, ran along by Tymon Park for a bit. Over 3km in and it was going grand, there was good support along the way, including a few Sportsworlders shouting very welcome encouragement. I had almost forgotten about the t shirt and was quite enjoying the run, but then it happened, we made another left turn and were suddenly faced with a long painful looking climb. I tried to remember what the conversation about the hill had been, it looked never-ending. I normally don’t mind the occasional hill, but this one was truly brutal. My mood matched the dark clouds overhead. There
better be a t shirt after this I grumbled as my inconsistent training and a bruised rib after a recent tumble from my bike caught up with me. Shamefully at the top I had to resort to walking to get my breath back, I lost the group I’d ran most of the race with and watched people passing me by. Luckily, I spotted the turn for Tallaght Athletics Club in the distance and somehow talked sense into myself and got back running.

A lap of the track completed the 5k and in the last 200m I spotted them, the green t shirts in all their glory. Panic set in…what if they ran out?! Why on earth had I stopped and walked like that in the middle of a race?! I picked up the pace and kept running after the finish line to join the queue…. possibly at my fastest pace all day.

As the light rain fell on Tallaght track, I realised it had all been worth it, t shirt safety in hand, I had got what I had come for after all. Now all that was left was the race post-mortem. I found the other Sportsworld members, and we all had a moan about that hill. Despite its challenges, there were some super performances on the day, including medals for 3 rd place novice for the men’s team, a 2 nd place finish for Aoife O’Leary, and age category prizes for Anne Sweeney and Trevor Lloyd. And here we all are in those fabulous green t shirts.