ALSAA 2015 Race Report
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Last Saturday witnessed the penultimate race, the second of the winter season to be held around the relatively flat playing fields and grounds of ALSAA underneath the flight path at Dublin airport and this time organised by our hosts, but on a slightly different course from that held in November which was organised by Bank of Ireland. Those who participated in the 2 and 4 mile races in November may recall pretty swampy conditions which even led to some difficulties in extracting the finishing line van. Those who took part in the 2 and 5 mile races on Saturday, however, were treated to altogether kinder ground conditions, albeit there being the usual swampiness at around the three quarter mark of the roughly 1 mile loop, together with it having been extremely windy, with a blustery headwind in places on an otherwise dry day. It’s been generally stated that the negative effect of a headwind can significantly outweigh the benefit of the same wind as a tailwind and this was probably the experience on Saturday. Cross country is character-building and the benefits will be seen for all those who race on harder ground and less ferocious winds in the summer months to come.
We saw slightly fewer runners than normal in the two races, principally perhaps because it was a weekend overloaded with events around the country. Several of us who helped out on the day were saving ourselves for some of the longer distance races that were held on Sunday. Nonetheless, the day produced some interesting competition and opportunities for a few new age category winners.
As usual, the women’s 2 mile race went off first. The race saw the field split early on with three women contesting the lead and slightly further back another group of similar size fall in behind. As the race developed, the entire field began to string out and upfront Maura Kearns from the Dept. of Education began to break away from the small pack. As the groups began to break up, Joyce O’Hare of Guidewire managed to start making inroads into the pursuing runners and there was an interesting competition between Joyce and clubmate Maura Matthews, the latter having briefly shared the lead with the eventual winner early on. Maura Kearns (13:25) managed to put some distance between herself and the second placed Aine Crimin (13:42), with Joyce (13:50) and Maura (14:03) taking 3rd and 4th spots, with Beaumont’s Claire Egan (14:04) hot on Maura’s tail at the finish . Further back down the field there were some good determined sprints for the line, with Irish Life’s Dee Fitzsimons among them in particular taking a number of other runners in the last few metres.
The men’s 5 mile race saw a front runner from the start with Kevin O’Connor of UCD establishing a clear lead from the off. A small pack of 3 runners, involving Bernard Duggan of Mater Healthcare, Bank of Ireland’s Niall Gorham and Windowblinds runner Ernie Ramsey, pursued him for a good while, until that too broke up as the laps were ticked off. One or two runners threatened towards the end to get in among those runners but they managed to fend them off and at the end that was the finishing order for the first four places. Kevin’s winning margin was over 90 seconds on a finishing time of 28:20, with Bernard finishing on 30:07, Niall, 30:15 and Ernie, 30:45. At the festivities afterwards, the vouchers for Run Logic, the new running store and coffee shop in Temple Bar, were welcome prizes for category winners as was the introduction of gluten-free foodstuffs as alternatives to the traditional fare of brack and biscuits!
We look forward to seeing everyone in Maynooth on the 21st of the month!
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