The second stage of our Get Fit For Summer Challenge took place on Thursday evening last in Ballyroan with the running of the Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District 5k.
There was a fantastic turnout of 211 athletes who defied the inclement weather to continue the success which washad in Abbeyleix two weeks previously. In fact 30 minutes before the beginning of the race the famed ‘Skies o’er Ballyroan’ were awash with rain as the heavens opened and, lengthy queues formed outside Jim Whelan’s Bar and Lounge.
Just on cue as the race was about to start the rain stopped and wonderfully the clearance lasted for the entire race proceedings. The race took place over a testing course that began at the green in Ballyroan, whereupon the athletes headed out the Abbeyleix Road, passing Larchfield Cross.
The initial run towards Abbeyleix is all slightly uphill and just before the graveyard the athletes turned sharp left onto Ballinlough Lane to begin the run back to Ballyroan. Here the athletes had to negotiate some really tough, hilly terrain before turning left at the end of Ballinlough Lane at the junction with the Rock Road.
This was welcome relief for all the athletes as it was now almost all downhill back into Ballyroan. Catch Grennan of Tullamore Harriers took the early lead with Noel Marum of Portlaoise AC following. These two experienced athletes fought out a tough competitive battle with Catch holding the edge throughout to bring the inaugural Ballyroan 5k honours back to Tullamore.
Noel Marum ran a fine race to come a valiant second with Abbeyleix 4k winner and Ballyfin clubman Ciaran Keenan holding down third place. Theresa Agar became a winner on the double after her Abbeyleix success by claiming the top spot in Ballyroan also. Theresa was followed in second by Portlaoise’s Sharon Grant with Louise Mahony from Cullahill in third.
Louise is better known as an outstanding Camogie player with Laois and The Harps but this performance shows she is a really talented runner also. First juvenile male turned into a titanic battle between two home athletes; Josh Francis and Aidan McManus. Josh held a 30 meter lead 400 metres from the end but with a fantastic sprint, Aidan drew level coming to the line but Josh just prevailed by a whisker. The first juvenile girl was Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District’s Aine McDonald.
Preliminary Results - Male: 1st - Catch Grennan 16.43; 2nd - Noel Marum 17.00; 3rd - Ciaran Keenan 17.27; 4th - Riobaird Miller 17.27; 5th - Cyril Cuddy 17.50; 6th - Eddie Walsh 18.11. Ladies: 1st - Theresa Agar 19.15; 2nd - Sharon Grant 19.59; 3rd - Louise Mahony 20.06; 4th - Alison Hooban 20.57; 5th - Tanya Geoghegan 21.13; 6th - Breda McDonald 22.14. Juvenile Boy 1st - Josh Francis 18.58; Juvenile Girl 1st - Aine McDonald 26.06
Well done to each and everyone, as you are all winners for making an overcast, wet and cold night an outstanding success. Our next ‘Get Fit For Summer Challenge’ run is in Durrow on Wednesday 9th May. Registration will be in the Castle Arms Hotel from 6.15pm with race start 7.30pm.