Last Sunday saw myself,  wife Karen and son Rían head for a day out in Armagh. Convieniently I happened to see a 10 mile race on the same day so  promised I’d be back   around 50 minutes (ish)… (hopefully)

So Rob had pencilled in a race for me on Sunday 10th of October. There was a half marathon in Roscommon that I was going to do but then I heard a 10 miler was on in Armagh. A bit closer and a better race Armagh got the nod. I also knew a few lads in it that are faster than me so it would be good to gauge and see ”where i am”. Gerry O’Connell aka ‘Ceefax’ was running. A man in top form. Gerry recently competed in the Dublin half marathon and ran a sublime 1:14:29..It would be rude to mention how old Gerry is so I wont. (not many would touch him in the over 50’s) When I started running in may ’07 ceefax was a fountain of knowledge in giving little tips when I used to train around the ‘Furry Glen’… I often wondered why he was called ceefax until one day I ran a few laps with him…;-).. He has been plagued with injuries since I’ve known him but now he seems to have solved all his problems… (i think this was to do with ditching his dairy milk diet).. Other Locals lining up were Chris Carroll aka Whiley.. Brianan McBride and Aidan Cunningham.

Race start..So the plan was to keep the heart rate below threshold and with a view not to go out too hard. Aiming for a negative spilt is always difficult in an out-and-out foot race because its easy to go out hard. It is only when you find yourself at miles 4 and 5 that reality kicks in and ego gets a knocking. But that didn’t happen to me.. not this time at least… very strict I went out at target pace.. I knew the first mile would be fast  because the start was on a downhill.. but effort wise i was in control. Hoping for a 56/57 at the beginning I knew my splits would need to read well but unfortunately I knew i wasnt going to hit my target. I wasnt too disappointed, with the hilly terrain and a slight wind all was not lost. I was feeling great. The course is what I love and I got into a group that helped. Id say I weighed the same as all 4 lads put together…I need to ditch the spoon fulls of nutella…;-)

nearly there.. ”Get to mile 6” i said to myself…  “drop it”.. There was no dropping, just more hills. The only thing that dropped were beads of sweat from my forehead.  If I got  up over one another was in the distance. You could see 600 yards up the road at a time. Ceefax was always in my view so he kept me going. There was a split in my group with 2 lads pressing on and 2 lads dropping off. I seemed to stay where I was. I should have put an effort in to stay with the”movers’ because they only got a gap of 20/30 seconds on me. I held that to them until the finish.

Fast finish.. Where we started, we finished so it was downhill. Running at 3:05kms pace I finished strong. Very happy with my 58:30 showing I’m not in as bad a shape as I thought running wise!..Ceefax finished with a great 57:03 and winning the”over 50’s”.. This sets him up nicely for the Dublin Full.. ! Whiley got a 1;09 for his effort and only back from injury. Brianan with a solid 1:49 and Aidan a 1:06.

The day ended with lovely day with the family.. though I was 8 minutes late for my lovely Wife  and son I got a big cheer crossing the line!!