28 November, 2009This was the last race of the 2007 Leinster Champs, with everything still up for contention. Paul Nolan advertised this route as shockingly tough, which may have contributed to the low turnout. It's always is difficult to get a big turnout at the end of a season ? it?s mainly competitors with something to fight for who seem to show. Another key reason for the low turnout has to be Paul Mahon?s party, with several over indulgent revelers failing to rise the morning after the night before. I was at the party and saw first hand the damage it was doing ? it seemed to be only getting going when I was leaving at about 2:30am. I?m sure Paul M is loved by his neighbors : )
The posting from Paul Nolan had me worried and I felt the need to reccy the course the day before the race ? not normally to be advised, but I knew I was as likely to be first to get lost as first to finish. The reccy turned out to be really not necessary ? the course was marked like a Leinster League race and also had four marshals to ensure there were no lost souls. I did a wee warm-up on the course and the level of marking became obvious - when I likened the race to a LL route, Paul almost felt the need to take away some of the markings ? luckily he hadn?t enough time at that stage!
The course itself is fantastic and definitely should be repeated. 80% of the route is on a trail of some sort, with some parts super fast. What makes it a tough race is (a) the approx 700m section up/down through rough heather, (b) the 775m of climbing & (c) the effort required on the way back (at least 30% of the climbing is done of the way back). The one annoying thing about the course was being forced into a pit that was difficult to even walk out when there was a perfectly good parallel path ? I bet Paul is into some masochism. It was a super route overall and it?s a pity there weren?t more people out to sample it ...
The race itself was eventful, with several mini battles. Thankfully (for me) Eoin Keith was one of the party goers who failed to show and Bernard Fortune had spent himself on the previous day at the phoenix park half marathon. I was a relieved man to take the victory and with it the 2008 LC title at the finish. Aisling Coppinger took won the women?s race and with it the LC title, just ahead of Orla McEvoy (after her 1:32 half marathon the day before). Brendan Doherty won the M60 race, but narrowly lost out on the M60 LC to Mick Kellet. Vivian O'Gorman had a fantastic run to win the M50 race ahead of Joe Lalor and with it the LC title. Charlie O'Connell took the M70 with and LC with ease.
The free grub and craic in the Gap Pub afterwards was only mighty. Poor Zoe Melling failed to make it to the race start as she was rear ended while parked studying her map to find the race! At least all everyone was ok ? the cars can be fixed. Paul and Isabelle did a fantastic job with this race and hopefully they will take it on again. They also had a fantastic support team, including Jane, Graham & John Shields with his camera. There was another marshal at the heather junction ? must find out who that was! Anyway, my thanks to all ...
Final Leinster Champs results available here: <a href="http://www.imra.ie/ad-hoc/LC_2007.xls"> LC_2007.xls </a>
Race photos available here: <a href=" http://www.iol.ie/~forrest/gallery4/index.html"> John?s Photo Gallery</a>