Report on Clontarf Half Marathon
In 1014, Brian Boru, High King of Ireland did battle with the King of Leinster at Clontarf, but sadly didn’t live to tell the tale. 999 years later, five of Newcastle AC’s roadrunners made the trip to the Dublin seafront and returned north with heads held high.
An early rise meant an 8.30a.m. arrival at the start on Clontarf promenade, and it was clear on emerging from Jerome’s air-conditioned chariot that temperatures were going to be high as the promised cloud cover failed to materialise. Numbers were collected and shade was sought and eventually the reluctant five shuffled off for a ‘warm-up’. Kendall, returning for his first major race after a mountain bike fall in March looked focused and fit. Smyth, recently returned from warm-weather training in Portugal looked bronzed and bouncy. The jury was out on McCrickard as conflicting reports had been emerging all week from Liatroim: “Jerome’s flying in training”, “Jerome’s injured and doing nothing”. Eventually it emerged that Jerome’s ‘easy week’ had started on Sunday with a 3 hour navigational course with McNeilly in the mountains (where McNeilly was heard to say that Jerome’s course-charting was less Duke of Edinburgh and more Dukes of Hazzard), followed by a strong run in the Burrendale 7-miler. The Prophet had obviously been taking advice from Lazarus. Carson looked determined and keen to set a ‘modern era’ PB of sub 1:40, thus discounting his 1:32 set at the age of 15 when legend says he pushed a golf-kart around the St. Patrick’s Half-Marathon in a decidedly above-par performance. Last of the quintet, Rodgers, was continuing his long comeback and keen to see if his week’s carbo-loading would pay dividends.
The gun sounded at 10 o’clock to send the 1500 brave souls into the cauldron and Kendall soon established himself in the lead pack. The race included promenade, road and 3 miles of beach on North Bull Island; ideal terrain for the Newcastle buy levitra online viagra squad. At the halfway point Kendall was still cruising in a pack of 3, a minute behind leader Brian Leahy of Raheny Shamrocks. Next up was Smyth, sticking close to the 1:30 balloons, closely followed by McCrickard who was finding navigation round the course a doddle, keeping the sea to his right on the way out and left on the return. McNeilly should be rightfully proud of his charge. As the field rejoined terra firma on the promenade with 3k to go, Kendall had established himself in clear 3rd and coasted in for a podium finish in a super time of 1:21:16, a sterling performance. Smyth, an extremely consistent performer soon followed in 56th (1:31:59) and looks destined to smash his marathon PB in Frankfurt in October under Kendall’s tutelage. McCrickard, fast becoming a master of all surfaces, completed his rás fada in overall 65th (1:33:31). The fact that Jerome’s chip time was the same as his race time tells its own story. And what of Rodgers and Carson? Rodgers had a 30 second lead at halfway and removed his shirt for the second half in an attempt to blend in with the white sands and throw Carson off the trail. But to no avail as Carson finished like Bolt (the cartoon dog) to pass Rodgers with 800m to go and storm to a ‘modern era’ PB of 1:37:16 with Rodgers 11 seconds behind vowing to work on his camouflage techniques and maybe do some extra training too.
Copious amounts of liquid and hands of bananas were consumed in the 20-minute window and soon the happy band of warriors left the battlefield behind and headed back north. Kendall and Smyth were dispatched to their Banbridge training base while McCrickard, Carson and Rodgers repaired to a local hostelry only to be stood up by proprietor Jack O’ who had headed out for a training run but was quoted as being ‘well chuffed’ with his erstwhile training partners’ performances.