It was a cold, foggy, spring morning as we made our way through Bishopstown but as we climbed the hill after the Chetwyn viaduct the fog burned off and the temperature climbed to a comfortable 5 degrees. We were heading for Kilmacsimon Quay near Inishannon and the 10km road race was the challenge that I had selected to make my ‘comeback’ after more than a three month enforced lay-off from road racing. I had chosen this race as I believed (mistakenly) that it would be a flat course along the banks of the river Bandon.
After we reached the impressive newly-built hall belonging to the Kilmacsimon Rowing club, I quickly learned that the course was a bit ‘challenging’ in the first half but the second section is nearly all downhill to the finish. There was also a 6km on offer but I decided to take the 10k+ challenge. Following entry, I was wondering if I had gone in over my head by selecting the hilly longer course. I now began to get worried as the previous week I had suffered badly on a ‘hilly’ training run with John O’Callaghan and Pat O’Conner but then who hasn’t suffered on the Inishcara training run! Nevertheless, I was consoled a bit when I met another Eagle Ciaran Bouse who had also entered the 10km and he told me that the previous day (Saturday) he had competed in the Killarney 5km and came 9th overall with a fine time of 17.50!
Prior to the walkers setting off at 11.30 I decided to check out the first mile of the course for a warm-up. I shouldn’t have bothered as the hill after about 500 meters seemed to rise rather sharply and go on forever. Back at the start line I took my position with about another 60 hardy souls at 12 noon and then we were off. Knowing the steepness of the hill around the corner I decided to tuck in and take it ‘easy’ for the first half and then see what was left in the tank. Ciaran Bouse was taking no prisoners from the start and settled into a comfortable lead followed by Aiden Burke. At the hill Ciaran was still leading but Aiden had closed the gap and then they went out of sight so I had to concentrate on my own survival and the heartbreaker of a hill that confronted me. Three miles later I just about survived reaching the top of the hill when I saw (in the far distance) that Ciaran had been overtaken by Aiden Burke but was still in contention. The final three miles of the course was a dream and it felt great to be passing people all the way – even though they were just the walkers!
I managed to finish fairly strong in the rather sedentary time of 43.02 but I then learned that Ciaran Bouse had finished second in a credible time of 39.06. But better again was the news that Eagle AC member David O’Callaghan had won the 6k race in 25.06. All in all a good day for Eagles – a winner (Dave), a runner up (Ciaran) and an also ran (me). Not sure if any other Eagles were in the race or not as the results don’t identify the runners’ clubs.
The race was followed by refreshments in the rowing club for the walkers and runners. The fare on offer must have been one of the best that I have experienced in the ‘long slog’ that is my running career. The homemade tea-brack went down a treat and was so nice that I asked the nice lady serving it for the recipe. If anybody wants the recipe just drop me a line.
A good day and a race that I would recommend strongly. And if it was only for the tea-brack afterwards that you made the trek in 2016 then it would be well worth it!