2013 Kearney Cycles Streets of Galway Race Report
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Another year and once again Galway city was brought to life on Saturday 10th August by the ever present Streets of Galway 8k Road Race. This year 2045 runners, joggers and walkers gathered to take part in the city’s largest annual road-race. The race has always roused interest and enthusiasm amongst the city streets not only by the assembly of runners, but by anticipating onlookers, supporters and well-wishers. There was great excitement and why not, the Streets of Galway has captured the hearts of many Galwegians and those further afield for many years, evident from the fact that this year the Galway City Harriers hosted the race which took place for the 28th time.
The race was proudly sponsored by local company Kearney Cycles. The Streets is a special event for proprietor Martin Kearney not only as a long standing & honourable member of the Galway City Harriers but by having participated in the race on several previous occasions.
It was the night before.......
After months of preparation, the eve of the race arrived, race packs were lined up and the commemorative T-shirts were awaiting collection. The crowds gathered to collect their packs & conversation flowed between race goers………there was a great air of camaraderie and excitement amongst everyone.
The Big Day arrived.......
By early Saturday evening, after an extremely busy Friday and Saturday, most of the race packs had been collected at Kearney Cycles while simultaneously catering arrangements were in full flow at the Claddagh’s Rovers club-house, in order to prepare the traditional post-race spread of tea and bracks!
The race start was moved this year from the Claddagh to Fr. Griffin Rd, but warm-ups and catch-ups were well underway as people arrived to the Rovers Hall to get into race-mode and last minute checks to the new route.
5.30pm all marshals were briefed, watches (or phones) synchronised, high visibility jackets and treats in hand they led out to fill their individual posts. The adrenaline was high, for both participants and organisers alike as the 7pm start was fast approaching……
Weather wise the evening could not have been better (no really it’s Galway, the evening couldn’t have been better!!). Sunshine glistened between the intermittent clouds with a slight breeze in the air (wind to those not from the West) but generally conditions were perfect.
There was a buzz in the air as participants gathered at Fr. Griffin Road awaiting the gun, photos were taken and as soon as the starting line was given the all clear the Gardaí and the Kearney Cycles timing car lead the race out. A stream of eager runners flowed from Fr. Griffin Rd over the Wolfe Tone Bridge and towards the 1K marker on Merchant’s Road and from there they disappeared into the city.
The Race was on……
Once again with such a quality field of athletes up front, without doubt a battle for the top spots was going to ensue. Olympian Mark Kenneally (Clonliffe Harriers) led out in front, however hot on his heels was Freddy Kerron Sittuk of Kenya and Neil Burton (Tipton Harriers). It was at the half way point Mark Kenneally left the pack with a clear lead to the finish line in 23:47 (1 second quicker than his previous Streets of Galway victory in 2005). Freddy Kerron came home in 2nd place in 24:09 followed closely in 3rd place by Neil Burton (Tipton Harriers) in 24:13. Next came Paddy Hamiliton (Annadale Striders AC) last year’s runner up who placed 4th this year with a time of 24:29 and 5th was Sligo AC’s Emmett Dunleavy who is having a great season this year in 25:27.
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100 clubs, 31 counties, 29 countries and 5 continents were represented, with many regular visitors returning again this year such as Davy Byrne (Clonliffe Harriers) running 26:49, taking 15th place. Mick Roche, one of the inaugural organisers of the Streets of Galway ran in the M65 category in 56:12. Three gentlemen who have also completed ALL 28 Streets of Galway races were in attendance once again. Gerard Murphy (Clare River Harriers AC) ran 1:02:00, Gerard ran the first SOG as a 12 year old junior back in 1986! Ger Meehan (Limerick Country Club AC) ran 36:56. Ger travels every year with a large group from his athletics club in Co. Limerick and finally Pat Larkin from Moycullen ran in his category M65 in 52:42 (beating his time from last year of 53:59).
The talent was not short in the Women’s Category with some magnificent times and performances. Siobhan O'Doherty (Borrisokane AC), this year’s winner of the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon was a clear winner in 26:49 and finally securing a win at the Streets after numerous podium finishes over the years. An excellent race from Irish steeplechase champion Michelle Finn (Leevale AC) who came in a deserved second in 27:21. Cousins Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers AC) and Teresa McGloin (Finn Valley AC) finished third and fourth respectively in 28.26 and 28.32.
There was a phenomenal support from local Galway clubs including 46 athletes from Craughwell AC with Jason Broderick coming home in 9th place in 26:28 and Jamie Fallon-Spellman who had an incredible win in the Junior Men in 27:16 with Neil Greaney coming 2nd in this category in 28:00. Athenry AC had almost 80 participants, Clare Rivers AC with 11, Galway Triathlon Club with 18, Tuam with 17, South Galway AC with 12 and Loughrea with 17. Thanks to everyone for your support.
Not forgetting the 231 participants from host club Galway City Harriers. John Greaney, who is enjoying a great year this year, having won many Triathlons and placed third in The Waterways Half Ironman recently, placed 8th in a time of 26:22. Owen Byrne ran 26:57 and Cian Corcoran in 27:11 (knocking 3:54 from last years’ time). Paul Fallon had a great run and came second in M45 in 29:37. And well done to Dermot Lowe who placed first place in the M50 category in 28:12.
Regina Casey was first female home for GCH and took 6th place in 30:09 followed by Caoimhe Daniels who had a great run in 32:46. Well done to Meabh Brannigan and Michelle Maher who came first and second respectively in the Junior Women’s race in 32:56 and 33:02. This year was Meabh’s 3rd time in a row to take the title. Carmel Brannigan (Meabh’s mother) came home 1st in F50 (for the 2nd year in row) in 34:08. This mother daughter duo will have to return for their hat trick next year!! And in the F65, Kathleen Conlon came first in 58:32.
Congrats to all the GCH participants, a lot of hard work this year seen many new PB’s, well deserved everyone!!
In the Team categories Dublin’s Crusaders came first in the Men’s category and Galway City Harriers in second place. While in the Women’s Team category the roles were reversed with the Galway City Harriers ladies coming first and Crusaders ladies taking second place.
Local charities Croi and COPE participated in large numbers while Paul Fallon’s On The Road Again (OTRA) organisation was also well represented in the field again this year.
Once the athletes had a chance to catch their breath and carry out their post-race analysis of the course and conditions most retired to the clubhouse to feast on the vast spread. Presentations to the numerous prize winners took centre stage with the deserving winners rewarded for their fine efforts.
As the Rovers clubhouse cleared out, the Gantry was taken down and the Galway Rovers club-house & surrounding areas were restored to their original state. Silence returned to the Claddagh. By 11 o’clock committee members turned off the lights on yet another very successful event this year, it was all over!
It goes without saying the Streets of Galway requires enormous logistical management and precision for months in advance and this could not be achieved without a huge number of volunteers. And it’s with genuine sincerity that we thank you all for your phenomenal efforts. Many friends and family of GCH club members were drafted in to help out along the way and for that we are hugely appreciative. Without the huge number of marshals who helped out this event would not have gone a smoothly.
There was a great crew all weekend helping out at the race-headquarters and on the route, making sure that 2,400 race-packs were distributed efficiently and the start/finish areas were suitably configured.
Aside from assistance received within the club, we would also like to acknowledge the residents and business owners along the race-route for continuing to support the event and accommodating a temporary disruption to their routine.
Margo & Joe Ryan and crew did a fantastic job in preparing the refreshments for the athletes and then in serving the thirsty and hungry masses afterwards.
A special mention to the most active non-GCH volunteer over the weekend, Mayo AC’s David Huane who coordinated the main water-station at the 5K mark among many other tasks.
The club would like to thank the Gardaí who were on hand to assist throughout the evening, as well as Galway City Council and the Civil Defence.
Thanks to Dominic in the Galway Rovers club-house for his flexibility and helpfulness throughout the weekend. And to John Walsh, who made the Fr. Griffin changing rooms available to us for post-race showering facilities.
Official race-photographer John O'Connor was on hand once again to capture all the special pre and post-race moments for future posterity.
A special thanks to Galway Triathlon Club member Joanne Murphy who was incredible as MC for the evening and really got the crowd going (not to mention her side kick Jane Walsh)!
With thanks to the Keith at Galway Sentinel who ran a 6 week program for the race prior to the event. And Galway Bay Fm who gave us great exposure also.
We also wish to give a big thank you to John Cunniffe at Red Tag Timing for his great service both pre and post-race, a lot of work behind the scenes goes into ensuring your results are as correct as possible.
Also huge thanks to Timing Ireland for assisting us with a lead car/van for the race and drivers Brian O Connor and PJ Coyle.
Special mention also goes to the following CostPlusSofa / Pillo Hotel, Dr. Fionnuala Geraghty, Dan Murphy in the Galway Bay Hotel, Corrib Oil for sponsorship of the water, David Glynn from McWilliam Park Hotel, Londis for Newcastle Rd. water table, Active Global/RunIreland, Advertees, Black Rose PA, Pymmwenn Printing, Barna Waste, Chadwicks, Secure-All and Irish Pride & Walsh Waste, Mike at Kenny Signs, Site Serv Tuam.
Not to mention very understanding husbands, wives, partners, family & friends!
Finally, it's probably obvious to all that the Streets of Galway does not just fall into place over a single weekend; it is in fact many many months of planning before we ever get to race execution. Over the past couple of months we have been helped out in many ways big and small & too numerous to mention.
Go n-eirí go geal libh go léir maidir le cúrsaí aclaíocht, agus feicimid go léir sibh i gCathair na dTreabh i 2014 le cúnamh Dé!
Yours in running,
Streets of Galway 2013 Organising Committee
Gerry Carty (Race Director), Brian Bruton, Séamus Coyne, Eve Daly, Seán Hanley, Brendan Kennelly, Una Murphy, Deirdre O'Connor, Eamonn O'Donnell, Martin Kearney, Jane Walsh & Joanne O'Boyle