The village of Dundrum witnessed the first Open Road race in Tipperary for over 18 months last Wednesday night, July 7th, and great credit must go to the local club for a very professional set up in promoting the Coillte 10K. Great credit also to the many athletes that travelled from many parts of the country to participate in a real event. They are to be commended on how they followed the guidelines, ensuring everyone respected everyone else. Indeed, there was a great buzz in the village from early on as athletes were looking forward to this event, like looking forward to Santa at Christmas, with anticipation and a little fearful, will I blow a gasket!
Back to the event and it was great to see the Club very well represented in this race and better still to see so many brilliant performances after such a long lockdown. By all accounts the training went very well in such trying times.
The race started and soon a group of four athletes, including our own Evan Fitzgerald, set the early pace. He was in distinguish company with the calibre of athletes like Niall Shanahan of An Bru AC, Olympian Mick Clohisey of Raheny Shamrocks and the eventual winner, international athlete, Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers. At around 3k Sergiu opened a slight gap on the other three athletes who had a ding dong battle over the rest of the race for 2nd spot. They were still together as they approached 9k. At this stage, unperturbed by the class athletes around him, Evan Fitzgerald decided to go for broke and so put in a strong surge that soon saw him draw clear of Niall and Mick. He maintained that strong pace all the way up the main street of Dundrum to come home in 2nd place in a brilliant time of 30 mins 33 secs, a phenomenal performance by this young athlete who was only competing in his 2nd ever 10k race, what a performance and what a PB, it was the performance of the night.
Then we had Nigel O Flaherty also running a brilliant race when finishing 22nd in a very good time of 35 mins 10 secs, a massive improvement on his last run in the event in 2018 when he ran 38 mins 16 secs, great running. Then we had Ciara O Neill also running the proverbial blinder when finishing like a train in 35 mins 44 secs as 3rd Senior woman in 25th place overall. This was a fantastic performance by Ciara who in 2019 ran 42 mins 48 secs over this route, some major progress, brilliant. Then we had Angela McCann running a brilliant race when finishing 38th in 37 mins 21 secs and this, if ratified by Athletics Ireland, is a new Irish record for women over 50 as Angela was inside the old mark of 37 mins 25 secs set by Annette Kealy in 2019, fantastic performance by Angela.
Jamie Byrne also ran a brilliant race when finishing 57th in a new PB of 39 mins 55 secs. This is a massive improvement on his 2019 run over this route when clocking 43 mins 30 secs and his first time dipping under 40 minutes for this Classic distance. As I have said earlier brilliant to see such fantastic performances from our members. Then we had Barry Horgan also posting new figures for this event when finishing 63rd in 40 mins 36 secs and a major improvement on his 2019 performance of 42 mins 53 secs. Eelco Beckers is another athlete who put in a great performance on his debut in this event when finishing 65th in 40 mins 52 secs. Then we had Anthony Power producing another great performance when finishing 70th in 41 mins 19 secs and a major improvement on his 2019 run of 42 mins 59 secs. Donal Ryan also ran very well when finishing 74th in 41 mins 41 secs and he was closely followed across the finishing line by Pat Coffey. Pat also ran very well when finishing 78th in 42 mins 7 secs, a massive improvement on his 2019 run of 43 mins 54 secs.
Then we had two great performances from both Anne Marie Halpin and Elaine Horgan, in what were ideal conditions last Wednesday night, when finishing 86th (42 mins 29 secs) and 87th (42 mins 37 secs) respectively. Brendan Coffey is another athlete who will be delighted with his performance last Wednesday night when running very well in 91st place in 43 mins 47 secs and a massive improvement on his 2019 run of 47 mins 16 secs over this route. Liam Kiely was making his debut over this route and he too should be very happy with his performance when finishing 121st in 50 mins 46scs. Then we had Eamonn English who was running very well in the early part of the race, only to pick up an injury on the 2nd lap to finish 126th in 53 mins 36 secs, we wish Eamon a speedy recovery. We also had a brilliant performance by John Laste who race walked the distance in a very good time of 55 mins 48 secs and a massive PB for this distance.
Well done again to all our members who ran so well over this Classic distance and great credit to Dundrum AC for promoting an Open Road Race in a safe environment and all the athletes really appreciated the effort they put in to organise such an event.