The MSD 4 Mile road race took place in good dry conditions on St Stephen’s Day with over 450 athletes going to the start line. Prior to the race we had a minute’s silence for Catherine Slattery of MSD who died suddenly over the festive period.
Right from the start Sean Tobin made his intentions known as he sprinted from the start line and by the time, he reached Ronan’s he had a good lead on the chasing pack led by Thomas Hayes of Kilkenny City Harriers. Sean kept this very fast going for the 1st mile, which was relatively downhill, reaching it in 4 mins 19 secs. Buoyed by this fast pace Sean was still full of running as he reached the 2-mile mark at Ferryhouse and he turned for home full of running reaching the 5k mark in 13 mins 46 secs. While for most athletes on St Stephen’s day the terrain over the final Km was slightly uphill, it wasn’t for Sean as he now sensed that he was inside the National Record for 4 miles of 17 mins 59 secs set by Noel Berkely in Illinois, USA in June 1992. This gave him great impetus to maintain this unbelievable pace that saw him surge up the Waterford road to a fantastic reception at the finish near the Showgrounds Shopping centre and crossing the finishing line in a phenomenal time of 17 mins 45 secs. In the process he shattered his own course record of 18 minutes 34 seconds set in 2017 and improving on the National record that has stood for so long by a whopping 14 seconds, fantastic. This was a phenomenal run by Sean and to do it in his hometown was just brilliant.
Sean has enjoyed running this event over the years. He ran this race as a Junior three times recording 19:57 in 2010 when he was 35th, in 2011 he was 37th in 19:59 and in 2012 he was 26th in 19:36. Then in 2013 this was his last race on Irish soil before he departed for a Scholarship in America when finishing 7th in 19 mins 3 secs. He was home from the States on a Christmas break in 2017 and he set the old record of 18 mins 34 secs when winning the race. 2019 has seen Sean injured for a good period of time, time for him to reflect on his running career and training. Having been out injured for such a long spell, he is once again enjoying his training and running. The few recovery days he took after the European Cross Country Championships earlier this month, stood to him as he came back fresh and eager for new Challenges and this 4 Mile record was one of those Challenges and to end 2019 on such a high will give him great confidence as he heads into 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics. It is worth noting that this record set by Sean in his hometown is the only Irish Road Record achieved on Irish soil, all the other records from 5K to Marathon have been achieved on foreign soil. We take this opportunity to wish Sean Tobin all the very best as he heads to Australia for a few months training.
Back to the race and Thomas Hayes kept a good tempo going to finish 2nd in a very good time of 19 mins 5 secs, a PB for Thomas over this course. Then we had Kevin Moore of Dundrum AC also running very well when finishing 3rd in 19 mins 37 secs with Paul Stephenson of Rathfarnham AC 4th in 19 mins 40 secs. Then we had clubman David Mansfield also running a brilliant race when finishing 5th in 19 mins 46 secs and a new PB for this course. The master men categories winners were as follows:1st over 40 Derek Walsh (Carrick on Suir AC) 21:08, 2nd over 40 Michael Ryan (Dundrum AC) 22:40, 1st over 45 Kieran McKeown (Watergrasshill AC) 20:47, 2nd over 45 Shane Simcox (Mallow AC) 21:46, 1st over 50 Conor Fleming (Clonmel AC) 23:29, 2nd over 50 Damien Holian (Mooreabbey Milers) 23:41, 1st over 55 Willie O Donoghue (Mooreabbey Milers) 23:37, 2nd over 55 Tony Delaney (Dundrum AC) 25:40, 1st over 60 Tommy Burns (Waterford AC) 26:21, 1st over 65 Joe Gough (West Waterford AC) 24:53, 1st over 70 Noel Howley (Clonmel AC) 30:38, 1st over 75 Myles McHugh (Clonmel AC) 39:21, 1st Junior Man Eoin Hearne (Ferrybank AC) 23:23, 2nd Junior man Patrick Holian (Mooreabbey Milers AC) 25:18.
The Women’s race was also competitive. Here we had Siobhan O Doherty (Borrisokane AC) setting a strong pace that soon saw her draw clear of her rivals over the closing stages of the race to win in 23 mins 10 secs with Dympna Ryan (Dundrum AC) finishing a close 2nd in 23 mins 25 secs, a PB for Dympna over this route, followed closely by Angela McCann (Clonmel AC) in 23 mins 33 secs. Orla Byrne of St Finbarr’s AC was 4th in 23:46, great race with 20 seconds separating the top four athletes. Aine Roche of Clonmel AC was 5th in 25 mins 2 secs. The master Women categories winners were as follows:1st over 35 Angela Walsh Clonmel AC 27:40, 2nd over 35 Elaine Morrissey Clonmel 29:23, 1st over 40 Triona Morrison Clonmel 26:27, 2nd over 40 Suzanne Shine Clonmel AC 26:29, 1st over 45 Siobhan McHugh (Clonmel AC) 26:42, 2nd over 45 Belinda St John Cahir 30:22, 1st over 50 Denise Compton Clonmel Tri Club 28:12, 2nd over 50 Mary Lloyd Brentwood Running Club 30:30, 1st over 55 Mary Mulcahy St Finbarr’s AC 34:14, 2nd over 55 Anne Cronin Carrick on Suir AC 34:40, 1st over 60 Eileen Hynes Clonmel AC 33:34. 1st Junior woman was Cailin Napier Clonmel AC in 28:21, 2nd Junior woman was Gillian Hughes Clonmel AC 30:20.
The Club also made a special presentation to our oldest Club member, Pierce Purcell, a young 80-year-old and still well able to run, finishing in 61 mins 25 secs. Great to see Pierce still enjoying the Sport. The presentation of the Awards took place at the race headquarters, Colaiste Cheitinn and we are very grateful to the ETB for the use of their fine facilities. We would like to thank the Civil Defence for their First Aid. We would also like to thank all our stewards for ensuring the event was a brilliant success.