Back to back 2am finishes in the pub perhaps not ideal preparation. Despite that I was ready to have a decent hit-out.
The course had been shortened from last year (6km down to 5km) so that was a good bit of news. I ran a short warm-up (approx 2km) and lined up at the start. A good turn out of 150 or so and the wet weather had broken leaving us good conditions for racing. I quickly took the lead and settled into a nice rhythm. After about 500m I was aware that another runner was slowly catching me. Slowly but surely by about the 1km mark I had been caught and he settled in behind me. I didn't look round so I had no idea who it was but it looked like I had some competition.
Through the 2nd km and a few surges but no shaking the guy behind. The course was a lollipop shape and seemed fairly flat with perhaps more downhill than uphill if that's possible - great for racing. The 3rd km had a long downhill and still no clue as to who the mystery runner was. I tried a few more surges through the 4th km which were easily covered so it was heading for a last km showdown.
The final km was going to hurt. I upped the pace hoping that would give me the break but again no joy. I was aware that the other runner had moved wide ready to strike. Sure enough with the finish line in sight he made his move and kicked for home. I went with him and was running eyeballs out. The moment I thought I was closing he seemed to kick again and I was left hanging on. The finished line arrived and I was still sprinting but it wasn't good enough. Second place in 16:04 and some 2 seconds behind the winner.
A thoroughly enjoyable race. I'd take this sort of race any day over a race against the clock. It turns out the mystery runner was Tony Fogarty from Thurles Croke AC who was on holiday in Galway for the weekend. I have no problem losing to someone a lot younger than me and twice as talented! Just goes to show you never know who is going to turn up to race. I suppose that's part of the appeal for me.
A 4km warm-down by which time it had started raining again. Back to the community centre for coffee and to collect my turkey prize. Well done to the organisers and hopefully lots of money raised for the club.
All up 11km for the day and 43.2km for the week.
3km 3:20 (poor)