|Waterford Half Marathon 2009|
A Winters Tale
Jack Frost was waiting with Jack Tyrell (or was it his twin Billy?) when the Bus arrived at Club Headquarters. Just after 7am some rather reluctant but punctual runners emerged from the shadows. Our destination was Waterford for their pre Christmas Half Marathon.
We were off and Dublin traffic was silent. The first hour was hushed and the sun made a dramatic easterly entrance. Before long we were driving through the plains and watching the last of the November floods. Even though it was dry, everything looked damp.
It didn’t take long before Joe Byrne upped the stakes. Joe had a plan. The stakes were soon to become our very own Sweepstake. Fantasy merged with Fairy Tales as we guessed our arrival times. Egos were bruised and predictions were wild. There was a big prize to win, seconds would decide it. Like a great bookie, Joe waved his wedge to encourage full compliance. We made our guess and gave in our fiver. It was fun.
At race HQ we were joined by Jack’s brother Billy (or was it Jack?) and the sleepy athletes were waking in anticipation of 13.1 arctic miles. Amy joined us too. A pre planned cycle morphed into a late entry. As ever, club mates united and we jogged to the start. A 7 foot tall Garda in brown shoes and Half Marathon Bobble hat took total control. He was at the start, the finish and seemed single handedly to manage the entire operation. He was a Guard but a big running fan too.
Over 1,000 began the journey. Through twisty streets and twisting roundabouts we longed for straight country roads. Rhythm was needed on such a sharp morn.
We found our feet and found our pace. Cold air became refreshing.
A long straight road, a gentle climb and we were half way.
Sharp right and what went down must go up.
A long pull from 8 to 10 and we could begin to think about the finish.
Rural roads gave way to mainstream traffic. The Stadium in sight.
Up a gear, nearly home our race was complete on a bouncy tartan track.
Times were good and here is how we fared;
Martin Keenan 1:23.10
Jack Tyrell 1:25.53
Joe Byrne 1:27.58
Eoin O’Brien 1:31.38
Vincent Galvin 1:33.57
Stephen Willoughby 1:41.07
Killian McMorrow 1:41.19
Sean O’Byrne 1:50.52
Conor Kenny 1:51.44
Enda McMorrow 2:04.03
Amy Fitzgerald 2:04.41
But it’s fair to add that Enda (fresh from a 3:50 marathon) got injured at Mile 3 and hobbled to a fine finish. Amy, on the other hand had never ever competed in a Half Marathon and, in her native City, she ran an exceptionally fine time.
The Bus home was relaxed easy and fun. Ironically, Joe Byrne won the Sweepstake and Conor Kenny, who guessed Joe Byrne’s time to within 53 seconds got second. You guessed it, when Joe was making his presentation/acceptance speech to himself and Conor (unsolicited) he did add “Conor, you have finally won something at running”
We stopped to refuel in The Lord Bagenal and took photos by the tree. We relaxed, refueled and regaled. As always, it reinforced the fun and friendship only a Club can bring.
As the sun went down we headed home and Noel (our driver) lit up the fairy lights. Jacub slept most of the way home. Alas he was ill and could not run. As we disembarked the stereo was beating out that Christmas classic ….. A Fairytale Of New York. It was fitting end to a perfect day.