Race report of the Athlone Flatline
by Katie Gorman
The sun was shining, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, as last Saturday morning Geraldine Farrelly, Irene Fallon and myself set off from the usual meeting point at the hall to complete the Athlone Flatline half marathon. It was sort of a last minute decision, and so we had not trained as well as we might in the past, and so had no huge expectations ( although we always try to convince ourselves of that ).
As we arrived early we got parking in the famous Aloysius College, having followed directions under the train track, through the " button roundabout", straight on etc etc. We gathered our numbers, had the usual rant about the tops and queued for the toilets where we soon met the rest of the Craughwell contingent, Sharon Gilligan, Fiona Keane, Cepta Daly ,Siobhain Niland, and Breda Fitzpatrick.The music blared, the sun was shining, butterflies in the tummies, the spirits were high.
Irene, Katie and Geraldine
All 920 runners assembled at the starting line, where I met my youngest sister Mary, completing her second half marathon. With the gel taken, the flat coke in my bottle and music in the ears listening to the classic at 11, we set off. The route quickly takes you out the countryside leaving Athlone behind, with roads becoming quite narrow and certainly very " country like" at times! Geraldine soon disappeared into the distance and I settled into a nice steady pace of 8.15/8.20 a mile, promising myself I was not to go any slower than 8.30 a mile. The miles passed quickly enough with the chat and banter along the way, and we soon passed through the half way point, with two lovely mounds of turf each side!
As the sun disappeared behind a few clouds we were hopeful of a few drops of rain to cool us down, not to be, and we soldiered on with a strong breeze blowing at times. A short stint on the main road with the wind behind our backs was a welcome reprieve. Mile ten, I was 1hr 22mins, going well, only 3 miles to go, getting under the 1.50 became a possibility! Mile 11 and the watch was reading 8.40, the legs were tiring. A few gulps of coke, concentrating on the music and imagining the finishing line kept me pushing on. A couple of lovely bright signs along the way with logos like "no pain no gain" were a nice distraction. Only two miles to go. . . Nearly there, kept thinking of the finish line, the cup of tea, the glass of vino later, anything to keep going strong. As I turned the corner the finishing line was in sight, I legged it, head down and sprinted( well I think I sprinted! ). I crossed the finishing line in 1.48.23, not a personal best but a good time! Rena Daly ( Craughwell ac ) was just in ahead in 1.47 and Geraldine Farrelly in a brilliant time of 1.46, a personal best. Tom Tuohy in a brilliant time of 1.33. We gathered round to greet the others. Sharon Gilligan came sprinting home in a great time of 1.52 another personal best as it was for Brida Fitzpatrick in 1.55. My sister, Irene, Cepta and Fiona soon followed.
The coke, water, bananas and muffins provided were a welcome treat, but there's no better feeling than having crossed that finish line! Back to Irene's lovely car where out came the flask and the picnic basket. The nicest cups of coffee and brownies were had, the chat, the post martens and the well dones !
It was a fabulous day out, thanks to all the Craughwell gang, Irene for doing taxi, my running buddy Geraldine and Fiona Diviney for her little pep talk the night before! It's definitely a flat course and one to be recommended for all the right reasons!