Well my wish came true in the form of the Tuam 8k road race on Sunday 14th of January. After the Christmas season this is just what you need to get a good start to the New year. Thankfully the day was dry and the howling winds had died down, a bit!!
The course consisted of two laps about 2.5 mile long, starting on the Dunmore road turning left on to the N17 and left again to head back into town. Left at the petrol station, left at the roundabout, past the Cathedral and back up to the start line. The finish line was back at the Cathedral. A marshal at each junction ensured traffic and runners didn't collide.
There was good crowd at the start that included a number of Craughwell colleagues all set to do the club and themselves proud. A false start necessitated a frantic resetting of my stopwatch, luckily the starting official gave us a bit of time and plenty of warning of the next attempt. Ready, set and we were off. The usual suspects displayed their incredible traction control and were yards ahead before the rest of us had time to press start on our stopwatches.
I hadn't been as diligent as I should with training leading up to the race so I had intended taking it easy. The first mile was quick 6.56, surprisingly I felt comfortable. But then we turned left onto the N17 and the wind hit me in the face. The field had spread out and there was no shelter or escape from what felt like a pretty strong wind straight in my face. My second mile was 7.55 so the wind did not affect me as much as I though. Turning for the town leg of the race started the uneven part of the course. A small climb followed by a welcome decline. A quick sign of the cross as I passed the Cathedral and soon we were starting our second lap. I started to feel the pinch of the first quick mile.
Passing the start line again the bulk of the race was over. Mile 3 passed at 7.38 still a respectable time.
Mile 4 passed at 8.06 and as I turned again onto the N17 the wind hit again. This time it seemed like a gale force. Memories of the Achill half marathon came flooding back. (For those of you who don't know what Achill was like, consider literally running 5 miles with a gale force wind in your face). Its mind over matter now and thank god for my Garmin Forerunner. A quick look reassured me that I was keeping an even phase even though I was feeling tired.
Turning left at the roundabout for the last time and the finish line was in sight. A last sprint for the line resulted in a time of 38.31 on my watch. Refreshments were in abundance and once recovered I made my way back to the registration area for what has to be one of the nicest cups of tea I have ever had.
Talking to Brendan and a few others we agreed the wind was a factor on the day, but the course was a nice one. Congratulations to the organisers of this race. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend this race.
The times for the race are available on the Athenry web site. Club members times were
Gabriel Gardiner 36.32
Anthony Fitzpatrick 38.32
Brendan Davey 42.42
Noel Gorman 44.54
Kathleen Waters 45.26