This is a gentle reintroduction to the previously weekly, now, for the time being, periodic, race report.
It’s great to be able to report finally on races that took place with runners being able to see their competition in real time. Whilst virtual races have been great to give athletes some kind of challenge, generally speaking it would have been hard to get PBs in such events without the dynamic of a true race. Nevertheless, at least one of the virtual events merits reporting regardless.
This is the ambitious effort made by Leo Lundy who took full advantage of his experience as an ultra-runner, combined with the opportunity to run between two geographical landmarks as far apart as it’s possible to get in Ireland, without actually having to work out a route. The challenge was to run virtually from Malin Head to Mizen Head, or was it the other way round? Leo was by far the most eager of all the competitors and won the event, set up by Brian Conroy of Pop Up Races, by a country mile (or over a hundred country miles).
The rules were simple. The winner would be the first person who completed the 600km starting from the time of the challenge on 1 July. Leo’s margin of victory was huge (194km) over the field of 1,131 competitors and it took him 19 days 12 hours and 6 minutes to complete the challenge. Yet another accomplishment for our seasoned and veteran long distance runner who has also completed 305 marathon/ultra races (including a virtual South African Comrades marathon recently) during his 16 years of running.
Proper competitive road racing has yet to get going, but several of us are hopeful of events popping up in August and September. We’ll see and all our fingers are crossed.
In the meantime, the Dublin Graded meets started up on Wednesday evening. Plus we can record some notable success in IMRA events which have also got going again, albeit not yet in a league format and limited to 100 participants at most.
The first Dublin graded meet of the year took place in the Morton Stadium and professional security ensured that only competitors and volunteers were allowed into the stadium on the night. All spectators and coaches were discouraged from entering the complex and competitors had to queue to enter to ensure no more than 200 people were in the stadium at any one time and were encouraged to leave once they had completed their particular event. The slightly wet conditions, however, did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of all the competitors who were delighted to get back into competitive running.
Our major success of the evening came not unexpectedly from Brian O’Kelly who ran in the mixed 25-strong 10,000m towards the end of the evening. The race, which looks to have doubled as the Dublin championships, was won by Eric Keogh of Donore in 29:20, but Brian came in strongly in 2nd place in 31:01, just 3 seconds ahead of a quality field that included Lee Van Haeften of Donore (31:04) and Colin Maher of Ballyfin (31:05). Michael Wycherley produced a respectable time too in the same race, officially placing 22nd in 35:35, coming in just ahead of Neil Skelton of Rathfarnham (35:51), however, The report may need updating as Michael believes the time was closer to 34:45 (a 12 seconds PB) and is verifying this with the officials.
Charlie Bastow distinguished himself in the AB1 grade men’s 100m, where 3 men finished in a photo finish for 3rd place in a field of 7 runners. Each was awarded the same time of 11.87. Then, Fiona Shine ran well in the women’s 1500m grade B race, where, in a field of 16, she placed 6th in 5:10.9. The bulk of our female competitors, however, ran in the women’s C race which enjoyed a field of 18 athletes. Sarah Lyons was the fastest of the contingent, finishing in 4th place in a time of 5:28.5, followed by Aine Crotty (5th in her first ever track race in 5:33.5), Rebecca Fleming (8th in 5:38.1) and a strong finishing Lisa Shine (14th in 5:51.1).
The last race in which Crusaders was represented was the men’s D standard 1500m. In a field of 17, our fastest finisher was newcomer James Harding who appears to be getting stronger by the week from Crusader training. James placed 14th in 5:29.9 and he was followed by Brendan Glynn (15th in 5:30.1) and Paul Kelly (17th in 6:31.3).
In the field, Morgan Brennan participated in the men's discus, where he placed 4th in a field of 8 with a throw of 34.03m. Well done to Morgan and all our track runners!
So, we conclude with the mountaineers. There have been at least 3 events with club member participation. Last Sunday, we had 2 runners in the Log na Coille event near Baltinglass in the Wicklow mountains. In a field of 75, and over a distance of 10.5km involving a climb of some 700m, Becky Quinn came home 17th overall (2nd female and 1st F45) in 1:11:10, followed by Brian McGuckin who placed 20th in 1:12:52 and finished 3rd O/50 in the field.
On the same day, Jason Kehoe distinguished himself in the Carauntoohill Classic set in Co. Kerry. The race took place over 15k and involved a tough 1100m climb to the top of the mountain. Early on in the race Jason experienced a severe stitch which put him back into third place in a field of 84 for a while. However, he was able to recover and capitalise on his downhill expertise, finishing in first place in 1:39:15, just 5 seconds ahead of an Riocht’s Conor O’Mahony. Warren Swords also took part in the race and placed a commendable 7th in 1:44:20.
Finally, on Wednesday evening, our intrepid mountain runners once again took to the field, this time in the Belmont-Little Sugar Loaf race. The race involved an out and back with a loop of Little Sugar Loaf, covering 8.6k and an ascent of 360m on moderate terrain. We had 6 runners in the race. 3 days after Carauntoohill, Warren Swords cycled down from Dublin, a distance of some 22k and went on to win the race (he did get a lift home though!) in 43:34, just ahead of Dunboyne’s Brian Flannelly, Crusader Laura’s husband, who finished in 44:15. In a race involving 91 finishers, Anthony O’Reilly was next across the finish line in 26th place (52:19), followed by Michael Maughan (27th in 52:38), Brian McGuckin (51st in 1:00:57), Emily Glen (60th and 7th female finisher in 1:05:47) and John McAuley (83rd in 1:19:11)