Believe in youself, know yourself, deny yourself and be humble
The Galway 5KM road race series moved gracefully through its fourth year of existence with further records being broken all along the way. The race locations were the same as 2008. On-line entry via www.runireland.com proved very popular with the series selling out its allocation of places in less than one day (22 hours), leaving very many people bitterly disappointed. As with such limited- entry events, the only fair way of allocating places is on a first-come first-served basis, with very few exceptions. The entry fee was increased very marginally, to €25. Where else in the world will you get such top-class entertainment (punishment?) for so little?
The weather gods smiled on all six races again. We retain our 100% no-rain record over the four year and 21 race lifetime of the series.
Things started brightly, in Athenry, with a slightly longer course than other years greeting the 373 who lined up at the start. The race director for the evening was yours truly. A real ‘learning experience’ for me.
Tuam was the same as last year with the hill up to 2KM as daunting and undulating as ever, as was that long stretch in Gardenfield after 3KM. (It was the closest I got to a sub- 20 in 2009.) The threat of rain scared many away that evening – their loss! – as did the prospect of two English Soccer teams doing battle in some minor european club competition.
They packed the rafters in Craughwell as the locals allowed some entries on the night. A record 475 crossed the finish line for what will probably be known as the 'Elvis' leg from now on: there is a make-shift shrine to the great man just before 4KM on the course. Beautiful organisation made that evening even brighter than it was already.
Clare River Harriers changed the course for their leg of the series, starting outside the new business park on the Oranmore Road, while finishing about 100 metres in on the access road to the park itself. It did not prevent Rock Road being traversed though, a heartbreaker in more ways than one for some! Gerry Ryan recorded a series best of 15:19 there.
Loughrea served up their usual compliment of road race treats. Again over 400 lasted the pace, many of whom guaranteeing their bright Red ronhill technical tops in the process!
The Dangan course was changed due to building work down in the lower part of the circuit but it did not affect the GCH leg in any way, finishing instead behind the sports centre itself. The start was the same and it allowed the field of 332 to find their legs before narrowing to go up by the Corrib for the first time. Gerry won his fifth series race in a row. In a small change with previous years, the hangers-on adjourned to the Westwood for some refreshments and the spot-prize giving.
Over €6865 was raised this year and Mick Rice (as series co-ordinator) did the honours in handing over the cheque to the local AAI County Board for use in the promotion and support of juvenile & adult athletics within Galway. There were also nearly three hundred bright red tops handed out that last evening, of which 145 owners ran all 6 races: tops were given to those who ran five or six races. It's an item that will be hard to miss for many years to come on the local road racing circuit. Athenry's own Johnny O'Connor worked his design magic on the top again.
The 5KM series retains three stalwarts: Gary Doherty (Athenry), Jim Maher (HP Running) and Tony O'Callaghan (Craughwell).