Fields of Athenry 10k 2013

It’s ‘As you were’ at this year’s 12th edition of the Fields of Athenry 10km as returning champions Eilish Kelly & Mick Clohisey of Raheny Shamrock AC retained their titles whilst Mick also took gold in the male team category.

In the men’s race, five of the top six finishers increased their positions on last year but it wasn’t enough to stop Mick Clohisey as he improved his own time by 11 seconds to win by over a minute to Kenneth Rodgers of St John’s in second with Declan Fahey of Clonliffe Harriers a further minute back in third. This was an improvement of five & seven places respectively for the second & third placed runners over last year. Peter Mooney jumped eight spots over last year to take fourth whilst local runner Matt Bidwell, a regular on the Galway scene, gained four spots to finish fifth. Vincent McGuinness of Loughrea AC had a brilliant two minute improvement over last year which gained him twenty five spots & was enough to take the final piece of Galway Crystal in sixth position.

Eilish Kelly obviously likes racing in the west of Ireland as she won this race last year plus this year’s edition of the Craughwell 10mile in March. Eilish took first position with a 35.45, identical to her winning time of last year & it was enough to give her a minute’s clearance to Norah Newcombe of Ballina AC in second. Our own Jane-Ann Healy took third position with a 38.44 which was also enough to get her a prized ‘Top 50’ t-shirt. Marie Hyland of Crusaders AC, Claire Beatty of Les Croupiers & Sinead Brody of Galway City Harriers completed the Top 6 with Claire seeing a 2 minute improvement & Sinead a brilliant 3 minute improvement over last year.

Every year with this race we have a large number of Athenry AC members helping out on the day so it was good to see that we still had 50 members running the race. Gearoid Rohan narrowly missed out on a Top 50 t-shirt in a sprint finish for a 39.17. Pat McDonagh put in a good shift with a 41.36 off very little training lately whilst Ronan McCarthy continued his hot streak with a new PB of 42.52.

The club also brought home some more crystal as Bernie Mulryan & Tony Killarney came first & second respectively in their categories. Bernie has been very impressive since her recent comeback after injury with a lot of category wins in the last few months. It’s even more impressive when you realise that her injury prevents her from any road running training & she has to complete all of her training in the gym.

There was a lot of familiar faces in the category placings with Eddie Newman, Tommy Joe Whyte, Mike Harvey, Andrew Talbot, Martin McEvilly, Martin Hynes & Roger Rushe all returning to pick up some crystal. Martin McEvilly, at 65 years old, is still showing a lot of his younger opponents how it’s done with a fantastic 39.22.

It was a similar position in the womens categories with Bernie Mulryan, Mary Kealy & Judith Roche complementing last year’s placings with more crystal this year. It was also good to see race stalwart Bernie Kelly back in the placings after overcoming last year’s injury. All of our race stalwarts remain standing after this year’s race & we look forward to seeing them back again next year.

This year saw another record entry with registration closing on Christmas Day with 1400 entries taken, a huge jump of nearly 200 over last year. We also had a record number of finishers with 1142 crossing the line. In a year where races across the country are seeing falling attendances this is a great achievement by all involved with organising the race. Frank Burke has to be a shoe in for retaining his race directorship after a performance like this.

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