Everything you need is already inside. Bill Bowerman
The Galway 5KM series continued to surprise in 2013, surpassing almost all the records set the previous year…again. It was the 8th year of the series and there have now been 45 races since the first leg took place in early-May 2006.
The entry process was, as usual, frenetic when it opened on Thursday, 28 March @ 8PM on-line. Five hundred and fifty got through on the (new for the 5KM series) ActiveGlobal.com web site; the entry process being expertly overseen by long-time series co-ordinator & founder, Mick Rice of Athenry AC. Entry was E30 and if you hadn’t registered within 40 minutes, you missed out.
The series started, as usual, in Athenry (new course starting at the Boys School and ending at Lady’s Well), then onto Claregalway (CRH), Loughrea, Craughwell, GCH (new course starting and finishing at the new grandstand in Ballybrit racecourse) and finally Tuam. The “afters” party was again held close to the finish line in Tuam, at the Ard Rí Hotel.
Athenry had a record single leg completion number of 645. The handover of numbers went smoothly at the Boys School beforehand, as did the race itself, over what felt like a very fast course, if one was fit enough to take advantage of it. Tony Killarney and the others in Athenry AC who championed the new course were especially delighted. A beautiful early summer’s evening race, which was a prelude to the fantastic summer ahead. Claregalway was next, over the now familiar course, up the hill of the main road to Oranmore before hitting the dreaded Rock Road, and back up to the finish line at the entrance to the Business Park, on another fine evening for racing.
Loughrea was next, like last year. We were greeted by a deluge of similar proportions of a few years ago there. Numbers were back by the guts of 75 as a direct result. We all looked and felt like drowned rats at the start, let alone the finish. Poor John Cunniffe of RedTagTiming and his equipment took a battering, but a full result was still produced and posted on his web site within an hour of finishing, as was a text to all registered mobile phones in the same time window.
My personal favourite course was next, Craughwell, and for good reason. I got under 20 minutes again, as did 98 others − another series record − on what was a perfect evening for racing. There were signs of Elvis before the start but not at the finish: the man entrusted to get him there, lost his wig between start and finish locations! All those who had completed the (first) four legs earned their technical top by then. The race requirements for it were slightly eased this year.
Ballybrit racecourse hosted the GCH leg for the first time, on another fantastic evening for racing. The runners started and finished under the superb new grandstand. Enno Hampel and his GCH teammates put on a great show. Some of this leg was run on tracks that hosted many of the HP series of road races of 2000-2006. Jim Maher will tell us more at some stage, I hope!!!!!
Patricia & Brendan Monaghan and their merry band of helpers welcomed everyone to Tuam for the series finale, starting and finishing close to the Ard Rí hotel in the olde town of Tuam. The evening stayed dry and strong times were recorded by many athletes, some of them dipping under the hard-fought 20 minute mark for the first time, like other years.
The technical top was red in colour and 624 were eligible for one by now. Bill Bowerman put it well when he said, “Everything you need is already inside.”
There were three different winners over the series with Peter O’Sullivan winning thrice (Claregalway, Loughrea and Tuam), Owen Byrne winning twice (Athenry and Craughwell) and John Greaney winning the GCH leg. O’Sullivan won Tuam in a series best time of 15:45!
The excess of E8,466 from the 5KM series was again donated to the Galway AAI county board for the advancement of both adult and juvenile athletics in the county. I am glad to report that very substantial & long-term use of this money is starting to take place in the investment in equipment to help organise & run the board’s various indoor and output T&F championships etc.
All 5KM series stalwarts remain standing after the 2013 series: Gary Doherty (Athenry AC), Jim Maher (HP Running) and Tony O’Callaghan (Craughwell AC). Each have successfully completed all 45 series races to date (2006: 4; 2007: 5; 2008-2013: 6 each)!
Race Number Director Date Athenry 645 Tony Killarney 30 April Claregalway 604 Andrew Talbot 7 May Loughrea 526 David Reilly 14 May Craughwell 601 Val Fogarty 21 May GCH 520 Enno Hampel 28 May Tuam 559 The Monaghans 4 June
Club Participation Number Athenry AC 103 Galway City Harriers 74 Craughwell AC 60 Loughrea AC 32 Tuam AC 27 Maree AC 26 East Galway AC 13 South Galway AC 9 Castlegar AC 8 Clare River Harriers 7 Corrib AC 1
Races Ran Per Person Number Six 216 Five 244 Four 164 Three 55
Gender Participation Number Male 403 Female 386