Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Sligo AC News: Running Shoes
Last weekend in a field in county Antrim at the International cross country race Sligo AC head coach Terry Hayes pointed out a small fit looking man in his mid fifties to me. He asked me did I recognise him and I didn’t. He told me it was John McLoughlin from Belfast , a man who had won the Calry ten mile back in the late seventies. Terry reminded me that the prize he won was a television set that apparently never worked because apparently back in that era televisions bought on this side of the border didn’t work in the North and visa versa. This story brought back memories of many ten mile races staged at that time around the country. There is something magical about the ten mile distance. Most good club runners aspire to break the one hour barrier while the 50 minute barrier is a good land mark for any runner who has ambition to break into International competition as is the one hour mark for ladies. In the seventies and eighties ten mile races were the norm. these days 5 and 10k races have replaced the 10mile which perhaps is a reflection on how soft we have become. My own favourite 10 mile was the Ballyshannon 10. This was a really tough race around the hills of Ballyshannon and attracted huge crowds from both sides of the border. I remember being delighted to break the 55minute barrier in this race which ironically did not get me in the top 30. Athletics Ireland and Tirconnell AC will try to reverse the decline in the ten mile races when they stage what is hoped to be the first annual 10 mile race in Bundoran on March 5th. The race is open to runners and walkers with the walkers setting off at 10am and runners at 11am. The race was launched in Bundoran on Thursday night last by Athletics Ireland president Liam Hennessey and CEO John Foley. Sligo man Dermot McDermott will be the front man in the promotion of the event for Athletics Ireland. Knowing Dermot as I do he will leave no stone unturned and I would expect participation levels to return to the highs of the seventies and eighties. A wide range of prizes will be on offer for all categories and Cara Pharmacy the largest pharmacy chain in the North West will be sponsoring the event. A number of high profile athletes have indicated they will take part including Sligo AC international athlete David Kelly. In the last couple of years running has come second to his medical studies but David is back in full training now and has targeted this Bundoran race as his comeback race. The route will be a very scenic one and all Sligo athletes of all abilities are asked to take part. All proceeds from the run will go to juvenile athletic development in athletics Ireland . It looks like the good old days of 10 mile races are back. Roll on Bundoran on March 5th.