I have said many times that I try to concentrate on one run at a time. While there is always a long term plan (mine being the Cork City Marathon) the one run mantra helps me focus and makes sure I won’t get carried away with myself.
My focus was on Bweeng on Sunday last as I travelled there for their annual 5km road race. I have never been there before, but after Sunday’s experience, I will definitely be back again. A beautiful village and a superbly organised race by the Bweeng Trailblazers Club. There was a great atmosphere before, during and after the race and it was a huge community effort. The funds raised are for an athletics track, which is a huge undertaking for a rural club. The community should be highly commended for this and I’m sure present and future runners in the area will benefit greatly for years to come. A large number of volunteers were on hand, on the roads before and after the race, for registration, out on the course and for the incredible spread of food afterwards. The course was extremely fast, with the opening and closing kilometres on a lovely downhill. I got swept away by the buzz and ran faster than I had intended, but I felt strong all the way through. It was lovely to catch up with plenty of Eagles on the day with Karen, Sinead, Martin, Siobhan, Brian, Ken, Denis and Ken all running well. Graham was there to give some much needed encouragement, while Joe Murphy was also present on the day with camera in hand and to offer support. Congratulations to all in Bweeng Trailblazers for what was a great day out.
The Eagle AC Cheetah Run in Fota Wildlife Park is the next race on the horizon. The club recently announced that the first lady home will receive the Anne Lucey Murphy Memorial Cup and Joe will present the trophy on the night of the race. This is a lovely tribute to a wonderful lady who was much loved in Eagle and among the Cork running community.
It was great to listen to the most recent Runners Diary podcast interview with Kevin English. Kevin did some coaching with me during one of the covid lockdowns. I had emailed him with my notions to break 3 hours in the marathon and we hatched a plan together to try and achieve that. At the time, I had been back running for a few weeks but with no structure. While watching Michael Martin live on TV during one of the many lockdown press conferences, I turned to Lorna and proclaimed how sick I was of lockdowns. I told her I was going to run everyday until they are finished! Not for the first time (and probably not the last) Lorna looked at me as if I was gone mad. And it probably was crazy stuff looking back, but it sums up how I felt at the time. I needed something else to concentrate on and running everyday seemed logical at the time. I ran the next day and I struggled for 3 miles. I’m unsure how long my running streak lasted but the running gave me a focus and some kind of direction when none of us knew what was going on in the world. After I contacted Kevin a few weeks later I had some guidance and more structure in my training. The plan was to run the Clonakilty Marathon as a build up race, then target a marathon the following spring with the hopes of breaking the 3 hour barrier. Kevin was excellent and the training he provided was superb.
As Brian and Damian mention regularly in the podcast, the running scene in Ireland is full of top people and Kevin certainly fits that bill, he’s a top man. While we never met, we chatted on the phone and were back and forth on WhatsApp. Unfortunately that running comeback didn’t last. I got injured and fell off the running wagon again. But I am grateful for the support and expertise that Kevin offered me at the time and the fact that he also introduced me to Steigen socks, I’ll be forever grateful!
This week my training has gone well. Another speed session chasing the ducks around the pond and another long run in the bank. My weekly mileage was around 50 miles and managed to get some much needed strength and conditioning work. The races are plentiful at the moment and there are ample opportunities to get out in the evenings and run a race and support local clubs and communities. This is the type of freedom that we could have only dreamed of when we were in the middle of lockdowns. Let’s try and make the most of it.
Enjoy the week and happy running!
*Picture Credit – Joe Murphy & Graham Meikle