Report by Sandra Gowran
Tom Brennan 5km Memorial New Year’s Day
Birds may not have been flying high,
nor sun visible in the sky,
but today was a new dawn
A new day
a new life
and we were feeling relatively good
Race reporter Sandra battling it out on New Years Day
Having been a late entry into the Tom Brennan Memorial New Year’s Day 5km race in the Phoenix Park, I made my way to the start in good time for the 12 noon kick-off. The first person I met was Lucy Darcy diligently putting up the start gantry, the wind was beginning to whip up but at that stage it was still dry. Having thought initially that I might be flying the Sportsworld flag alone I soon discovered that our number was actually a very respectable number of 13.
Some of us were there as we always planned to be, others (not mentioning any names Conor Kenny!) were there because the guilt got the better of them, others like myself entered late, whatever our motivation there were few among us that didn’t regret that last bowl of trifle or mince tart or box of roses, or all three! Michael Cunningham (18.17) and I swapped stories of how to bump up the numbers on the Sportsworld FB page as we warmed up.
Having warmed up a little we along with about 700 other brave mortals made our way to the start line which was almost three-quarters way up the Furze Road. The race began as people were mid-way through regaling stories of their christmases and at least where I was standing anyway there was almost surprise that the socialising was called to an end with the gun and people actually had to run.
As I’ve become a bit race shy in the last couple of year’s I’ve set myself a target of doing at least a race a month for the next 12 months. Getting the first race in on the first day of the year felt like I’d really got off to a good start. I’ve also decided to get a bit tougher with myself and try to race a bit harder, so with all this in mind I set off at a nice steady pace.
Michael Cunningham was the first Sportsworld runner home (18.17). At the corner of my eye I saw Ruth Kelly (20.23) cruise past to my left, this of course was the last I saw of her! I thought I heard her name being called out for an age category place as the crowd dispersed in the heavy rain at the start. Ruth was in good company though with Denis McCaul (20.18) and Joe Haugh (21.18) close by.
Anyway, the first Km was grand, I recognised a few people around me and a few supporters, someone called a time of 4.30ish for the first Km, I thought if I kept that pace it wouldn’t be a bad finish time, so that’s what I did Heading for the 3km marker Eileen Rowland (22.51) glided politely by with a word of encouragement, she was followed soon after by another ever so polite Nuala O’Connor who also offered words of encouragement (22.51). Nuala is obviously training away and is flying, roll on the championships! Soon after the 3km marker we took a sharp right turn with a slight gradient – it was at this point that Conor Kenny (22.50) and Stephen Willoughby (21.52) passed me.
In fact Stephen may have passed me on this corner on the first lap. Anyway I missed them both and looked up at stage to see the all-black figure of Conor ahead of me, I knew I wouldn’t catch him but at the same time I placed a great big x on his back for the next time (watch out Conor!). The 4km marker finally arrived at which time the wind was pretty strong and the rain hailing down on us.
We turned onto Chesterfield Avenue where the wind got stronger and the rain heavier, I tried to keep the pace up until the end and felt that i might have had a better finish (23.13) had it not been for the trifle, etc, etc, etc! I’m not sure that the chip timing worked as my watch had me 10 seconds quicker but still it was a decent dent in my 2014 finish time. Not far behind me were Maria Finnegan (25:26), Claire Rowley (25.28), Padraig Moorehouse (26.10) and Audrai O’Driscoll (27.54).
Plans were made for coffee and scones afterwards as Nuala O’Connor summed up, now that the running was over it was time to start the eating again!
The races up front was won by MSB’s John Couglan (15.16) and Crusaders recent Euro XC medalist Caroline Crowley (16.43).
Happy New Running Year!