The Galway 5K Series continues to amaze, with another bumper year in 2015. All existing records were broken again, in the 10th iteration of the series.
The now well worn on-line entry process stretched ActiveGlobal.com to the limits of its processing capabilities on Friday evening, 13 March at 8PM. Seven hundred people entered via this mechanism. Cost of entry was unchanged at €30 and if you hadn't registered within 10 minutes, you missed out, unless you were patient (as well as smart) and some unfinished entries became available a short while later to those who kept trying. A limited number of other people were able to enter off-line through their affiliated club thereafter, to bring the numbers entered to over 900 – a long away from the on-the-day entry mechanism of the first few years and the 69 who ran the very first leg back in May 2006.
The series started, as usual, in Athenry (same course as 2014), then onto Loughrea (new two loop town circuit), Craughwell (back after a one year hiatus around their usual circuit), Claregalway (same as 2014), GCH (another new course at Carnmore airport) and finally Tuam (same as 2014). The "afters" party was held at the Ard Rí Hotel.
Athenry had a record single leg completion number of 722 (previous record was 699 at the same venue the year before). The handover of numbers went smoothly at the Athenry Medical Centre, like 2014.
Loughrea was next, over two inner loops of the town. The evening started dry but finished wet. The 5K crowd enjoyed the change away from that hill (Tulla Hill!). The inner loops would have brought back memories for the old timers of the famous road races of the 70s and late-90s/early-00s around the same circuit. Martin Smyth and his crew did a good job to cater for the runners afterwards.
Craughwell were back in 5K Series action next, over the traditional course, starting at the local NS and finishing at the slightly humped railway bridge road. The route had hardly changed at all since 2013 and was always a fast course. Keith Devane and the rest of Craughwell AC did a fine job with the 700 finishers. Elvis made a fleeting appearance too, cape and all!
Claregalway were fourth up again. Everything about this leg is traditional and this was no different. There was almost no one at the Business Park at 7:15PM but come 8:00PM, there was a flash mob of over 640 people baying for Andrew Talbot to blow his horn. The final run-up on the new footpath does not get any easier but the finish line eventually comes, much to all our relief. Rock Road going downhill is not the worst either.
Carnmore was the new venue for the Galway (GCH) leg. Niamh Hennelly and her helpers cooked up a route that twice went up and down the closed airport runway in Carnmore. It was a fine evening for running but the venue was very exposed, obviously so being an airport! There were some fine images captured of the line of humanity huffing and puffing up and down the not-so-flat airfield terrain.
Patricia and Brendan Monaghan marshalled the usual suspects into place for the final leg of the series out in Tuam in early June! The actual finish line was slightly changed at the bottom of the housing estate, and this seemed to catch some unprepared people unawares. A good evening for running with a number doing PBs. The five weeks of preparation culminated in many fast times for those who trained and raced well in May. The new motorway will adversely affect the Tuam course eventually, so expect big changes there in years to come, which may not make the Gardenfield/Balgaddy course any faster than it was that evening.
The 2015 technical top was red in colour and 710 were eligible for one by the Tuam leg in the hotel. Amby Burfoot put it well (again!) when he said, "On a day that you're too busy to run, you're too busy!"
Janeann Meehan won four of the six legs, with Regina Casey (Athenry) and Grainne Ní Uallacháin (Carnmore) sharing one leg each. John Greaney (Athenry, Craughwell and Tuam) and Damian Larkin (Loughrea, Claregalway, Carnmore) shared three leg wins each!
The excess of €9,614 from the series was given to the Galway AAI county board for the continued advancement of both adult and juvenile athletics in the county. This is the 7th year that an excess has been generated and on all occasions it has been given to the local county board, for which they are deeply grateful. Martin Smyth, 5K Series treasurer, presented the cheque to the county board at its September meeting.
Two 5K series stalwarts remain standing after the 2015 series: Gary Doherty (Athenry AC) and Tony O'Callaghan (Craughwell AC). Each has successfully completed all 57 legs to date (2006: 4; 2007: 5; 2008-2015: 6 each)! Jim Maher (HP Galway) was away for the last three legs due to work commitments but sent a message to his two long-term fellow travellers on the morning of the fourth leg passing along his best regards. Adrian Fitzmaurice continues to speak quietly of being at all 57 legs but has run only 56, stewarding one of the very early years in Claregalway!
Mick Rice has said that he is stepping down after 10 years as 5K Series co-ordinator − he will always be the 5K Series father/creator. We would all like to thank Mick for his work in guiding the 5K Series to where it is today: an example of how a club-organised series has become a huge part of over 700 people’s lives each and every May. It may be no-frills but it’s far from being frilly or unimportant in most people’s minds. It is one of the pillar events in the Galway road racing calendar, deservedly so. Thank you, Mick!
Race Number Director Date Athenry 722 Valerie Glavin 28 April Loughrea 659 Martin Smyth 5 May Craughwell 700 Keith Devane 12 May Claregalway (CRH) 641 Andrew Talbot 19 May Carnmore (GCH) 654 Niamh Hennelly 26 May Tuam 631 The Monaghans 2 June
Races Ran Per Person Number Six 268 Five 277 Four 165 Three 72
Gender Participation Number Male 441 Female 437
Club Number Athenry AC 103 Galway City Harriers 68 Tuam AC 52 Craughwell AC 50 Loughrea AC 34 HP Galway 29 Maree AC 21 South Galway AC 14 Castlegar AC 14 East Galway AC 13 Clare River Harriers 6 Corofin AC 3 Connemara AC 1
On an evening in June that felt more like November, the rain held off just long enough to allow the series to be wrapped up.
A beautiful spring evening awaited us at the flattest road 5km you could get. The gentle breeze wasn't enough to slow down the large crowd of over 650.
Even a royal cavalcade couldn't stop the 5km series going ahead. A tougher course than last week led to slower times overall, but the rain mainly held off. Onwards to the airport! next week.
A return to the Craughwell course on a fine, clear but cold evening. The stronger winds held off and some good times were recorded. The better weather attracted out a very respectable 700 finishers.
A cold evening again in Loughrea didn't deter runners eager to test the new course right through the centre of the town. The gusty wind blowing down the main street put paid to many people's hopes for fast times on what should be a fast course. Perhaps next year!
The 5km series kicked off in Athenry with the wintry weather failing to deter the hardy runners.
Over 700 finishers made for a packed run around the edge of Athenry town, and as usual, the race went off without a hitch.
Provisional results are attached - queries to email@example.com.