I decided to race so I made the short trip up the road to Oranmore. After collecting my number, I bumped into Brian and we ran a few kms warm-up with a couple of 100m strides thrown in before heading down to the start.
The set-up looked very impressive. A good start/finish area, race announcer, a big crowd (estimate 300+ runners). The countdown was under way and it was time to get moving. Everyone started running but the lead car didn't budge! Thankfully they realised just as the runners were starting to draw level and it whizzed off for us to chase. Through the first km in 3 flat and I was leading with a young guy Paedar right on my heels. The second km was a long uphill drag and the pace slowed but was still running nicely through 2km with a split of 3:17. I was still being chased by Paedar and thankfully there was a downhill section through to the turnaround point at 2.5km (it was an out and back course).
I sensed at this point I had opened up a small gap so I pressed for home. After the initial climb back to 3km (3:15) I put the foot down and was feeling good. The last couple of kms seemed to pass fairly quickly and I went through the downhill 4th km with a 3:04 finishing off with a 3:05 to cross the finish line in first place in a time of 15:41. I won by about 20 seconds and it was pleasing to be able to lift the pace at the business end of the race.
Thanks to the lead cyclist who cleared the return path of oncoming runners. I'm not a fan of the out and back course as I get too easily distracted but on this occasion it worked well.
I finished up with a 3km warm-down so all up 10kms for the day. Here's the best bit, my prize for the day - an 8 week fitness course! Well it made me laugh and was greatly received by the wife. Thanks to all the organisers who put on another decent race. I'm taking it easy now before Saturday...