The annual road race in Loughrea is one of the longest-running Club races in Ireland, as far as I know, and we will be treated to the latest one next Sunday. The Loughrea race is famous for attracting good runners – most notably in 1999 when Sonia O’Sullivan set a world record for 5 miles.
This year it looks like the tradition of attracting talented athletes continues with the popular British Olympian Freya Murray (now Ross) returning to retain her crown. Freya is joined by one of the greatest Irish distance runners over the past 30 years – the mighty Noel Berkeley. Berkely has an incredible pb of 27:55 for 10k and dominated Irish road and track running for several years, coming 5th in the world championship 10,000m in Sweden in 1995 – one of the highest ever positions for an Irishman in the event. Craughwell AC’s own legend – Gerry Ryan – is well famliar with Berkely, having enjoyed many great battles with him down through the years. It will be great to see him back on Galway roads.
Of course, the thing that Loughrea is most famous for these days is the exceptional kids race which is one of the biggest in the country. With all funds from the race going back into Galway athletics – and much of it to the facility in Bushfield which hosts day 1 of the Galway XC, this could be a good race to stretch the legs with!
Cheer up lads! Despite the “grey” expressions on the last years leaders, this is actually a fun race 🙂