West Waterford Athletic ClubWest Waterford Athletic Club

Historical Day For West Waterford Intermediate Mens Cross Country Team

 Last Sunday was a historical day for West Waterford Athletic club as the club claimed its first ever Men's Intermediate cross country team medals at Santry Demesne, Dublin where we took an excellent bronze amid very stiff opposition. Cross country is all about team running and this was the case in point last Sunday when only 3 marks separated the 2nd, 3 rd and 4th scoring teams on the day.

This more or less brings down another very successful cross country season for the club which unfortunately was marred somewhat when we were wrongfully in our eyes stripped of an All Ireland title in December at the Novice cross country championships in Athlone. Last Sundays competition were held in very mucky under foot conditions with hardly a blade of grass remaining by the time the Intermediate Men's lined up. Our team of Raivis Zakis, Dzintars Klava, Sean Stilwell, Trevor Mason, James Ledingham and Johnny O'Connor were hoping for a good finish after the disappointment of the Novice championships in Athlone before Christmas plus the fact that one or two of that Novice team were unavailable to run Sunday.

All six athletes ran very well with Raivis Zakis coming through the field in his usual fashion after a slowish start to finish an excellent 7 th overall. Dzintars Klava gave his usual battling performance to finish 12th with Sean Stilwell having one of his best cross country runs for some time when finishing 46th. Trevor Mason, who was probably in many respects the star of the show, finished 55 th and earned a well deserved National Cross Country medal if ever there was one. He now holds Marathon and cross-country national medals, an unusual conbination.

James Ledingham who is currently preparing for next Sundays Indoors 1500 meters is not one to shy away when his club calls upon him and last Sunday he was a key member of the cross country squad. Our next athlete was the very reliable Johnny O'Connor who gave another sterling run in the West Waterford vest to finish 80 th.

Rathfarnham AC gave a superb display of team running to take the title with 55 points having all their four scoring team members inside the top 25 finisheres. Next came Togher AC with 118 points just two points ahead of ourselves who finished third with 120 points and Clonliffe Harriers were 4 th with 121 points. That's as close as you can get isn't it. There were 8 club teams competed.

A delighted team manager Tony Ryan will have some solace in this medal winning performance, but will be the first to admit that this current squad have a little matter of some unfinished business which we hope they will take care of later in the year. Well done to all and to Michael Tutty, Sandis Bralitis and Brendan Mansfield who were part of the travelling party on the day.

The Ladies race which preceded the Men's event saw one of the highest standards in may years competing at Intermediate level and our Ladies mixed it with the best of them. After our team took Bronze at the novice before Christmas we were, last Sunday, unfortunately without the services of some members of that medal winning team. However it was most important to keep the club tradition alive of competing at and fielding teams at all cross country championships and this the auld reliables did.

The improving Sinead Crotty came through the field superbly to finish in 12th place and can be well pleased with her first season back cross country running after some years. Her appetite hasn't waned for the sport and there's plenty to come from this Lady. Sinead will now eagerly be looking forward to the upcoming track season.

Next finisher was Norma Wall , who aagain last Sunday, gave it her all to finish 16 th overall. This was a great display from Norma in undesirable conditions. Ann Dunford was next in 41st place. Ann like Anne Whelan could have opted for the shorter Masters race but ran the intermediate to help bolster the team and are both true club team runners to the core when called upon to run any event. Anne Whelan finished 45th .

Our final Lady finisher on the day was the reliable Judy Hanrahan in 55th place. Judy is one never to miss a club outing. This race was of a very high standard as already said and our Ladies gave it their all. The team race was won by Donore Harriers with 54 points with Sportsworld next on 60 points with Clonliffe third 79 points we finished 6 th with 114 points ahead of Tullamore Harriers, Liffey Valley and Rathfarnham.

This draws down the curtain on another cross country season for the club. Much ground has been achieved by our teams over the last number of months with much more to be attained in the future.

Brendan (Benji) Whelan from Kilmacthomas, a member of West Waterford Athletic Club, took part last week in the Costal challenge " Route of Fire" ultra event in Costa Rica Central America all in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. The club and runners of the All Rounder Winter league donated a cheque to the cause on our Charity night in December. Well, this week we can report on a most successful trip for the Kilmacthomas dynamo.

The Event was a 6-day, 230 km race through Costa Rica, Central America. And was held at night with a 12 midnight starting time because of the extreme heat and even at that the heat was a big factor for the runners With all sorts of terrain including mountains, rainforest, beaches and unused roads. It was run through a highland region with humidity levels reaching 90%, and lowland areas where temperatures may reach 35 DegC.

The race started on February 4 th with 68 competitors from 12 countries in the Expedition run.Most of the competitors would have been experienced ultra distance runners over this kind of terrain where's Benji was attempting this challenge for the first time going into the unknown in many respects.

The race commenced on Sunday February 4th at 12 midnight with a handy 30k run from La Fortuna to Rancho Mergot at the foothills of the Arenal Volcano. This involved some very mountainous climbs on route plus a very steep down hill section into the basin of Arenal lake and onto a gravel path all the way into Rancho Margot. Benji finished this run in a time of 3 Hours and 27 minutes and was the 28 th runner across the line from the 54 starters. A good start, with everything going to plan.

On to day two, which brought the race from Rancho Margot to Tierra Morenas some 65 kms. Starting off again at 12 midnight along a vary old abandoned road along by the lake with the volcanos all round. Then onto one of the big climbs, up to Chiripa, a serious climb on a dust road over the top before descending down to the lake and on to Tierras Morenas. This was one of the most difficult days. Benji came through in fighting sprit in a time of 9 hours and 8 minutes, moving up two places to 26 th overall.

Day three brought the race on the much shorter distance of 20 kms known as a sprint day from Tierra Morens to Guayabo a pretty flat route on dusty path ways. Benji completed this days competition which started this time at 7 am in 2 hours and 9 minutes and he made a significant move up the leader board when moving from 26 th place to 19th overall. Benji was finding his feet and is really into the business end of the event now.

Day 4,Gayabo to Rincon De La Vieja 56 kms. A 12-midnight start. The race starts to descend from the gun into extremely hot and dry conditions. This was a most difficult night as the temperatures were very warm. However, it proved to be a very good leg for Benji who completed the run in 5 hours and 28 minutes. This was the day of the big move for Benji as he came from 19 th going into the days run to finishing 3rd on the stage, a first podium finish for the Kilmac man. A huge achievement. Could he hold this position with only two days remaining a very tired but confident Benji was hoping for the best

. Day 5 (Transfer to Junquilla) Junquilla to Punta Descartes 40 kms.12 midnight start, along a stretch of sandy beach where temperatures were again extremely hot despite the night time running. The route then veered inland where it got even hotter and with a big climb along a traverse towards Punta Descartes. This was hard, hard going. Moving back to 8 th overall but an outstanding performance. One day to go, spirits are high for one last Hurrah.

Day 5 Punta Descatres to Bahia Salinas the final day along remote beaches and old dirt roads but the finish was in sight and the many, many months of preparation was needed and worth it. Benji finished with a flurry on the final run in about 2 hrs 15 minutes. What a delight it must have been to finally cross that finish line after 6 days of extreme mental and physical torture. but for an adventuress a job satisfactorily completed.

Benji finished in 12th position after the 6 days competition, with one podium finish on day 4. What an achievement considering this was his first attempt at this discipline before. To complete the 6 days was some achievement in itself and to come 12 th overall was an added bonus. Not forgetting also the achievement of raising a large sum of money for a very worthy cause it was a case of everyone was a winner.

Well-done Benji from all at the club on what was a remarkable achievement. What’s next?



I know I said before that we experienced the worse weather ever for our winter league,but belive me last Wednesday was without doubt the worse night in living memory for any league bar non. It was pretty wet as the runners left the Centre for the two seperate league course but by the time both groups returned to the finish the weather had deteroiated badly with very heavy rain very high wind's and a very high tide that practely flooded the finish area. It was more a case of paddling the last 100 meters rather than running it as th incoming tide had descended on the finish area in a very short space of time.

As would be expected the numbers were very small last week with 74 competing in the 5.7 miler and 59 in the 2.6 mile event. The weather also played a big part in the times recorded last week with very slow running in very difficult conditions it was one of those nights which will be spoken about on the mystery tour." Do you remember the night of the big wind?"

The night played it’s part in our final guess your time handicap run for the current league last week when only one runner was faser than his predicted time in the 5.7 mile run and just 8 runners in the 2.6 mile league. This is quite unusual and is definetly weather related. Nevertheless, all the key players vying for league honours were running with no great changes to the leader board for the 5.7 mile league with Michael Dunford consolidating his position in first place receieveing no points having finished 6th on the right side of the clock. He’s still leading with 531 points.

The second runner in division one, Tony Shalloe, finished next to Michael last Week in 7 th place and recieves just a plus 1 so this now gives him 558 points. He is still in with a big shout with two nights remaining.The third runner in division one is long time leader Michael Horgan and he too finished well up the table last week in 10 th place giving him a plus 4 points which means he now stands at 566 points.

It now looks likely that the winner this year will be a Male after the Ladies through Bridgid Coffey were the holders of thed title from last year.Who that male will be is another matter. There is plenty to play for here but you would expect that the overall winner will now surely come from one of these three. Tony Shalloe is going for an unprecidenetd 3 rd winter league victory while the two Michaels are battling gamely to record their first. Best of luck to all three, may the best man win.

In the 2.6 mile league the winner last week there was no penatlty points or water jump refusals for Liam Moore. Liam negotiated the water-sodden course with ease to record a great win in the 2.6 mile league and this moved him up one place from 4th overall in division 1 to 3rd place with 511 points. Having been 4th on 561 points, last weeks win meant Liam receieved a minus 50 points from his tally. However, leading here still is Angeline Drennan with 476 points after finishing 14th last week and receieveing only 9 points. She is still leading with two weeks remaining. Can she do it??

Angeline is presently leading by just 2 points for what looks like one of the closest finishes ever in the 2.6 mile league.Ger Howley has leaped in to second place again when finishing 2 nd last week and picking up a minus 40 pointer which brought him past Mary Riordan who finished a plus forty points, which now gives her a total of 531 points.

So it likely now that either Angeline or Ger could very well come out victororious this year,but never count your monkeys and all that. Best of luck to all compeditors for the remaining two weeks.It will be a close one.

The Dungarvan 10."If that course isn't flat, you can have your money back" said the race official just before Mick and I set off to drive the course. "It's as flat as a pancake". We began to doubt there is such a thing as a flat pancake as Mick navigated the uphill stretch just after the four-mile marker. As we descended quickly towards the five-mile marker we surmised that maybe he was having us on. Then we saw the climb at about 7.5miles and Mick suggested that maybe he was mixed up between pancakes and poppudoms!

The Dungarvan Ten Miler was new to both of us. We were advised that the course was the fastest of the four ten-milers that make up the Munster 10-Mile Series. As courses go it is indeed flat and fast – just not as flat as any pancake I've ever seen. A short loop to start with, leads you onto the main loop after about 2 miles. The roads are generally small and picturesque, with a few tight turns and only the two aforementioned hills to contend with. The last quarter of the race leads back into town from the Cork side along flat, well-surfaced roads – just what you need when the lack of cushioning in racing shoes starts to have an effect. There are some nice long flat sections in there, especially along the river at about 6miles where you can really find a rhythm. Nice course – but that was just driving it – now we had to run!

You may have noticed my report on the Mallow 10' four weeks ago, and now the Dungarvan 10' was the second in the Munster series. I was pleased with 62:05 in Mallow as that race was run off almost no training in November and December. However that excuse was gone as I now had five good training weeks under my belt going into this one. A fast course and perfect weather conditions – bright sunshine, mild breeze, cool air – meant that excuses were few and far between. I targeted a sub-60 finish and planned to run an even paced 6-minute per mile race.Mick on the other hand was just coming off a long, injury-enforced break. His training consisted of about three-weeks slow running with a few testers thrown in. He said his target was 62 or 63 minutes but I knew he wouldn't be happy unless he beat my Mallow time.

About 500 people lined up for the start and under blue skies the race starter asked if we were right. "Off you go so" and the pack surged forward. Throw the plan out the window – I ran the first mile in 5:37. Pure stupidity, way too fast! My normal reaction would be to brake severely at that point and try to hit 6-min pace over the next mile, but I didn't. I recognised one or two people around me and decided that I might be better sticking with the group, reasoning that the pace would probably slow.It slowed a little but we still recorded 5:48 for the second mile. Now it was decision time – slow down to my planned pace or risk a blowout later on. I was feeling good and knew that I was not over working – let's risk it. At this stage I unashamedly ran just behind two or three others and drafted for a few miles. I tried to stay with the group as we moved forward, slowly gaining race positions. The third and fourth splits were 5:58 and 5:48, and on we ran.

At this stage we negotiated a sharp turn of almost 180 degrees, turning back on ourselves and up the first climb. I found that I got up it without blowing a gasket and for the first time I began to entertain thoughts that this was going very well. We descended the drop towards the five-mile marker and I was disappointed to record a 6:21 split. I didn't feel that the hill had slowed us down that much, but I was in good shape having run the first half of the race in 29: 31.

A word about the race marshals. They knew what they were at! Each time you came around a corner there were a number of yellow-coated marshals. Typically marshals group together for a chat, occasionally directing a wayward runner left or right – but not these guys. The Dungarvan marshals position themselves such that the first person directs you left or right around the bend. The natural thing for any runner to do is to take the shortest line, which often means you change to the wrong side of the road. The second and third marshals were positioned around the corner guiding everybody safely to the left hand side of the road. You could attempt to run through them or move safely to the left. I chose the left, and so did everybody else. Nice work.

After the halfway point we had a few flat miles. I attempted to move to the front of our group to do my share of the work (guilt had set in at last) but found that it was a bit of a dogfight with lads vying for the front position. I happily retreated just behind the front two or three and drafted some more. The sixth split was 5:31. I didn't realise it at the time but it's now obvious that the 5-mile marker was not correctly positioned; thus a 6:21 followed by a 5: 31. I was working hard to stay with our band of runners at this stage. We followed a river along a nice flat section, running into a mild breeze with the sun shining directly into our faces.

Having driven the course, I was preparing myself for the climb ahead. I tried to relax as much as possible.A short rise took us up to a left turn and we were on the Cork-to-Dungarvan road. The climb was not steep but was probably 800m long and enough to sap vital energy out of tired legs. As we each fought our own battles our little group began to break up. One or two runners I had not previously noticed joined us and I dug in. My strategy here was to ascend as smoothly as possible knowing that the race would really start over the last two miles or so.

One guy broke forward on the hill and we let him go (as if I had any choice!). Halfway up I clocked 6:06 at the 7-mile marker. By the time we crested the hill the peleton had reeled back in the brave front-runner.I found myself near the front of the group and was very happy to run on the shoulder of two guys towards the 8-mile mark. A 5:56 split and now I was labouring. Although we were nowhere near the race leaders there was a very tangible competitive spirit here. People were moving to the front, claiming a few inches and fighting for position. I consciously decided to save as much energy as possible and allowed others to fight it out while staying with the group.At one stage the natural path of the race route took the runners ahead of me up onto the footpath. I have a dislike for footpaths and opted to stay on the tarmacadam. This worked to my advantage when I took the shortest line across a roundabout, while the guys on the path ended up running around the perimeter.

Suddenly I was leading the group and this is not a position I'm comfortable with. As soon as I'm at the front of a battle – and this had definitely become a real race – my head starts asking too many questions. Is this too fast? Too slow? Am I making it easy for the others? How far left? I pulled to the side and let a few people through. We reached nine miles with a 5:48 split. I'd like to say I was pleased but I was too knackered to take it in.

And so the last mile. Tiredness was now a bear-on-my-back and I simply tried to keep things going in the knowledge that soon the finishing kick would take over and pain is temporarily cast aside. A Waterford AC man by the name of Larry Kennedy moved in front of me and my job became 'stick-with-Larry'. I put everything into staying with him and as we approached the finish line I shot ahead … only to discover I had misjudged the line. The disappointment of this realisation knocked me back and Larry got ahead. We had to negotiate a left turn, with Larry taking the inside line, and a downhill sprint to the finish. I just about had the legs on him and crossed the line in a heap. He graciously shook hands in the finishing tunnel and our race was over.

The last mile was a 5:38 split giving me an overall 58:31 finishing time.I was delighted with the time, but it was only when I got home that I realised it was a personal best by 16 seconds (Ballycotton 2004, 58:47).The usual exhausted banter at the finish line, and Mick came racing in, clocking 60:54. I knew he'd beat my Mallow time!We jogged a few football pitch laps as a cool down and were joined by Lucy Brennan. This was Lucy's fourth win on the trot – Athenry, Tuam, Mallow and Dungarvan – she really is on a roll at the moment. Long may it continue. Reading the West Waterford AC race report I learned that she had obliterated the course record and won by a 4min 42 second margin! Well done Lucy.

I missed out on the after-race refreshments as I skipped the showers and headed straight into town for the second half of the rugby. I must have been the smelliest man in the pub, but that didn't dampen my enjoyment as Ireland ran in winners and I celebrated with a pint. I hope it didn't dampen my fellow supporters enjoyment too much.Roll on Ballycotton. No pancakes there either!

Race report by Peter Delmer Athenry A.C.

The rescheduled 6TH Annual Baldy Man 8k beach run which was posponed over the Christmas period due to adverse weather is set to take place this coming Sunday February 18 th at 11 am.The race starts at the strand road and entries will be taken at the Majestic Hotel from 10 AM .Entry fee is 10 euro per runner or 25 for a team of 3 runners.

All proceeds from the the evtn will be donated to our Ladies hospital for sick children Crumlin.A Juvenile race for under 16 yesr will also be held over a shorter course on day day.

BAUSCH AND LOMB KILMACTHOMAS 5.,BR> Race organisers Michael and Nicola Dee and their committee in Kilmacthomas have all the ground work done for the upcoming Bausch and Lomb sponsored Kilmacthomas 5 on Sunday week next February 25 th at 2 PM. This race will be race number three in this years Michael Roche carpets spring series which should guarantee a big turn out of runners on the day. A very attractive prize fund will be awarded to a wide range of categories on race day, which we will carry in more dept in these notes next week. For now pencil in Sunday February 25 th Bausch and Lomb Kilmac 5.

For any local runners interested, there are many training runs each week in the locality starting with Monday nights when there are two allocated times for the early birds we have a 5.30 PM slot and for those of us who have to work till 6 o clock another meeting time is set for 6.30. These are both from the Crystal sports centre.

Then of course we have the winter league Wednesday nights and after this will finish in two weeks time we will be meeting at the sports centre on Wednesday nights same times as above. Also on Friday nights the same groups meet at the Centre at the same times 5.30 and 6.30. All these courses are around the town under lights so you can run what ever distance suits you.

Sunday morning traditionally is the morning for our weekly long run from the Crystal Centre at 9.30 AM. Again at these you can run a distance and at a pace that suits you and all are welcome.

Best wishes go with three of our athletes who are competing next Sunday at the National Senior indoors championships in The Odyssey arena Belfast. David McCarthy who last week won the Munster Senior schools cross country championship with ease will take on the 3.000 meters with very stiff opposition expected as the country's top Seniors will compete here.

James Ledingham, who last Sunday was a member of the West Waterford bronze medal winning Intermediate Cross Country team in Santry, will this Sunday compete at the indoors 1500 meters and the improving Liam Houlihan will be in action in the Pole Vault and the High Jump.

Trevor Mason is currently putting together a package for anyone interested in running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday 7th October. Trevor already has four definitely going. If interested drop Trevor a line A.S.A.P.

Congratulations to all twelve young monthly award recipients of the Prestigious Pat Noctor Supreme Young Sports Star of the Year Award 2006. At the awards presentation night last Friday night in a packed Ard Scoil Na nDeise school hall, all twelve were presented to the large gathering and what a role call of credentials all twelve monthly winners carried with them.

The judging panel of Mary Ashe, Jim J. Landers, John A. Murphy and Kieran O' Connor had a most difficult task in picking one overall winner. Our club West Waterford AC was fortunate enough to have had two monthly award recipients making it into the final twelve. Zoe Scanlon And David McCarthy.

After each young nominee were presented to all present the all-important envelope was opened by Sergeant Paul Heffernan who announced that the very talented youngster Peter Moloney was to be the Supreme Sports Star for 2006. Peter is a equestrian prodigy who has a very bright future ahead of him in his chosen sport. The Pat Noctor memorial cup was presented by Mrs Judy Noctor and a beautiful piece of crystal was also presented to Peter.

Our congratulations to David and Zoe on making the final 12 from the 40 nominations. Our wish is that all nominees will go on to bigger and better things in their sports arena. The Dungarvan Garda district social club are to be congratulated and thanked for holding these awards now in their 14 th year recognising the achievements and excellence from the young sports people of the area.

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