Conditions looked spot on for this race. Nice and cool with very little wind - as good as you could possibly ask for down on the Bay. I met up with Paddy O'Toole from Mayo AC and we ran a couple of clicks warm-up before lining up at the start.
My race plan was to push the pace early on. If I felt good I would try and maintain it, if not I would settle in around 3:30/km pace and try and cruise to the finish. The start line was full of big hitters - no chance of a podium finish today with a very strong line-up. Great to see this for a race in Galway.
The race was soon underway. A lead group of 4 or 5 formed and I settled in just behind them along with one more runner. The lead group weren't hanging around and by the time we had reached the first mile they had already opened up a decent gap. I was left running with my companion and by the time we had reached the second mile I wasn't feeling comfortable. I let the other runner slowly work away from me and I was left running by myself. That's how it remained for the rest of the race.
The course is 2 loops - good running on the outward section of the loop but on the return to the start/finish area you have 2 awkward sections - one being a twisty gravel path around a small park, the other being an out and back section along a concrete jetty. I'd already slowed and was trying to keep the pace ticking over but it was difficult to stay focused running by yourself. The path on the prom was a bit manic also - running on the path and having to dodge bikes, pedestrians and a couple of dogs. I suppose it's the same for everyone but it just makes it that bit harder.
I'd completed the first lap and I could see nobody up front and I knew from the jetty section that I had a decent gap on the chasers. The second lap was all about getting it over with. I was starting to struggle and the pace still didn't feel easy even though I had slowed. I was getting some great support on the course which helped to lift my spirits and I was determined to get to the finish without being overtaken.
Not much else to report. I did what I had to do, judged that I still had a decent gap as I ran the jetty then eased off a bit as I approached the finish line. There was a great atmosphere at the finish area and I even treated the crowd to a bit of the aeroplane. Not sure why as to be honest as it was a poor performance and there was no reason to celebrate. My time was 1:13:44 for 6th place overall.
There were 4 guys under 70 minutes. The winner Sergiu Ciobanu ran 67 minutes with Michael Shannon a minute back running high 68. Clearly they were not struggling like I was!
Plenty of food and drinks at the end and good to catch-up and exchange stories with lots of familiar faces in the marquee. This event is one I really enjoy but I think it could be that much better with a few adjustments to the course layout.
No excuses for my own performance. It just didn't happen. I know that my training hasn't been what it should be the last month. You seldom get pleasant surprises when racing and today was definitely a case of you get out what you put in. Not to worry, get back into to and move on.
A few mentions to my fellow Harriers who had great runs. Good to see Barry D back with a quick 1:16. Damien R ran really strongly with 1:19 and John C also had a massive 15 minute PB running 1:20!
Here are the splits. I missed quite a few mile markers as I had the head down...
10m 17:01 (55:50)
Hopefully a few photos to follow...