Out to Annaghdown for a flattish 10km. The weather had been very wet all day but it cleared nicely for the race. A few puddles to avoid but it was nice and cool with very little breeze. You'd take these conditions every time.
A couple of kms warm-up then time to line up. There was a great showing with some decent guys at the pointy end. The standard in Galway at the moment is definitely on the up. Probably at least half a dozen guys capable of running sub 33 and better so you are pretty much guaranteed a good race at the moment which I'm all for. Plus John Byrne had made the trip from Co Mayo (National 50km champion) so it promised to be a good hit-out.
I immediately hit the front with John. The course is rolling ups and downs - not big hills but ones you would feel if you weren't in good shape. We took it out fairly hard and I settled in behind John. I wasn't looking at the watch at all but I knew we were moving well as we ticked off the first few kms. I tried to take the lead a few times but John would surge straight away and regain the lead. This continued until halfway and with neither of us letting up I thought it was going to go all the way.
By the time we hit 6km I had tried a few more surges but I got the feeling that the immediate response from John must have been taking it's toll. At about 6.5km we tool a left turn and I made another move on a slight uphill and managed to open up a small gap. I tried to push on but as soon as I had hit the front I felt a lot less comfortable.
I mainatained the lead but knew John was right behind me. I was really starting to work hard and I ran a couple of sloppy kms through 8 and 9, probably saving myself for a quick finish. The last km had a bit of a climb at the start but after that it was all downhill then flat into the finish line. I was running behind the 2 lead motorbikes and they had the sirens sounding as I crossed the line in a time of 32:38 for the win.
A great battle with John which sums up why I like racing. He finished 8 seconds behind in 32:46 with Conor Dolan in great form only a few seconds back in 32:57 (his first sub 33). It's a horrible feeling when you know someone is close behind you but thankfully I just had enough in reserve to get to the line.
Here are the splits:
5km 3:15 (16:05)
10km 3:12 (16:33)
The only slight disappointment is the splits for the 8th and 9th kms. Had I have been able to run them under 3:20 I may have had a shout of a PB. Still not too bad - my second quickest road 10km and 3 seconds quicker than last year!
I finished up with a 3.4km warm-down to give me 15.4kms for the day.