After the disappointment of the second abandonment of the Point to Point on Saturday all attention turned to the Dungarvan 10 Mile Road Race on Sunday afternoon where the hosts West Waterford Athletic Club staged a fantastic event that saw 1,050 cross the finishing line anxiously checking the clock above their heads for the confirmation of a new P.B (or not!).
Venturing out to witness the race for the first time and offer some support to the competitors I lodged myself and flask of tea (a little luxury) just up from the 9 mile marker which was just cresting the final climb that led to the finishing straight where the knowledge of hitting home would inspire even the most aching limbs towards one last big effort, whether the inspiration could be converted into energy is a dilemma that The Diarist will leave to the Sports Scientists.
Arriving just in time for the Steward to begin his pre - race entertainment program, starting with Trex and Children of The Revolution we eagerly awaited the first of the runners to take the turn off the Youghal Road and into the country after 2.5 miles and we didn't have to wait long as the three main protagonists appeared at 1:09p.m and some way ahead of the rest of the field. Tactics had been finalised and as current record holder Sandis Bralitis had decided to be the hare setting a furious pace but two stuck with him on either shoulder. The race was on and so was Marc Bolan again as the CD got stuck.
Seeing the swarm of competitors was a great sight to behold, and I could feel an entry to next years race being on the agenda, but that's next year so I poured myself a cuppa.
The variety of running styles on show was incredible, arms up or arms down still or flailing around wildly endangering fellow competitors, shuffling feet, high knees and even a couple of Radcliffe-esque head rollers all passed by with a gritty determination in their eyes as if challenging the very tarmac they trod.
In what seemed like no time at all the remainder of the field had taken the turn on their way to miles 3 -10 and we awaited the leaders on their return and wondered who would appear first, had someone burst clear or were they still packed waiting for the moment to apply a kick? I should say at this stage that around 15 - 20 supporters were at this point and I couldn't help but think a few more could have made it out for the afternoon to cheer the event on.
A figure appeared at the beginning of the long drag up towards us, alone, the sun blinding us from seeing the colours clearly a second figure around 150 yds behind him. The tea was put down and a glove removed as I readied the camera and click Mareks Floroseks filled the frame of the viewfinder. Travelling well and seemingly in command from this point he ran the last mile in 4:47 his fastest of the race no less and broke the tape in 49:26:42 a full 42 seconds of the previous record which was also beaten by the second place Sergiu Ciobanu ahead of Sandis.
The camera at this point chose to flash its battery warning and pack in so apologies as I could only get the first four in the race pictured especially hard luck to Phillip Harty whose return to form in 5th was not captured by The Diarist's lens. The pictures are now up in the Photos section, so be sure to take a look later.
Congratulations to the triumphant Lady Siobhan O'Doherty (new record by 0:59 secs), all category winners and competitors and I hope my cheers, hand clapping and words of support were not to off putting, though one lady almost lost it as I shouted an encouraging "DIG IN!" in her direction..................
I hid behind the flask.
Well done to all the organisers, stewards and those providing refreshments, see you next year.
An excellent and all together more serious review is here at West Waterford Athletics Club