The Inaugural Ballyroan Abbeyleix & District AC - Durrow Scarecrow Festival 7k Fun Run was held last Sunday as part of the highly popular Scarecrow Festival and Tullamore athletes were very much to the fore. Durrow was stunningly decorated with a huge variety of Scarecrows and was a sight to behold.
Partners the Festival Committee must be congratulated for their hard work and a beautiful stage was set for a new race on our calendar.
We had a good turnout of 59 enthusiastic athletes, the weather was favourable just slightly drizzly and with a good number of club runners arriving the stage was set for a competitive race. We chose a similar loop to our earlier Get Fit For Summer Challenge 6K race with the only difference being the locations of race start and finish. The race began on the Ballyragget Road on the top of the hill sweeping down to the church.
The runners continued straight-on to the junction with the Cork Road before turning right in the direction of Abbeyleix. They then turned left onto the Swan Road in the direction of Ballacolla and the race was truly on.
The early part of the run up the Swan Rd was mostly all uphill to Moyne Cross where the athletes kept left to continue the uphill on the Rathdowney Rd. About 500 metres further on the athletes turned sharp left at the junction onto Knockanoran Lane.
Soon after the start a small breakaway group containing Riobaird Miller - Ballyfin AC, David Fox - Tullamore Harriers, Jason Donegan - Tullamore Harriers and James Hamm of the host club Ballyroan Abbeyleix & District broke clear. Riobaird Miller was running strongly and bravely as he led all the way to Moyne Cross with David Fox just behind. After passing Moyne Cross the athletes then turned left and ran counter clockwise along Knockanoran Lane looping back around in the direction of Durrow.
The run along Knockanoran Lane was predominantly downhill with some fast stretches of running. Shortly after this left turn David Fox dropped slightly of the pace leaving Riobaird alone at the front. At this stage the young Jason Donegan who was about 30 metres adrift in 3rd the whole way up the hill began the chase by overtaking his team mate David Fox. Riobaird was forcing the pace and making a determined bid for victory but on the fast downhill the young figure of Donegan began eating up the gap between himself and Riobaird. His speed was too much and he began putting clear daylight between himself and Riobaird.. The strong running Donegan continued to pull clear and by the time he reached Swan Cross victory was in his sights.
After turning right at Swan Cross there was a really fast descent passing the GAA field down to the village where a right turn onto the old bridge signalled the finish. Jason Donegan was all alone as he made this descent and increased his lead to about 100 metres at the finish to win in a fast time of 24.18. Riobaird Miller held on to claim 2nd in 24.33. David Fox just about held off the determined efforts of the fast finishing James Hamm to claim 3rd in 24.37. James can be proud with his 4th place in 24.40 and he is showing huge improvments.
The ladies race was also an exciting affair as the experienced veteran Olivia Sheeran from St Michaels AC - Portarlington proved just too strong in a really competitive race. Olivia had to work hard however to shake of the determined effort of Joanne Carroll. Louise Mahony had a fantastic run finishing strongly just behind Joanne. The Cullohill and Laois camogie star is improving all the time.
We then retired back to the presentation Centre on the Kilkenny Road for refreshments and prize giving.Well done to each and everyone as you are all winners for making our inaugural Scarecrow Run an outstanding success.. We would like to thank each and everyone of the athletes/walkers who participated and we are already looking forward to making next years race bigger and better, befitting of such a wonderful Scarecrow festival the people of Durrow put on. We would like to thank our partners the Festival Committee for their foresight in permitting the race in their calendar of events and for providing Tea afterwards.
The race will be proud to grow as an integral part of the the Scarecrow Festival into the future. A special thanks also to all our committed stewards for turning up and making sure all the athletes had a safe clear route
Results : Male - 1. Jason Donegan 24.18 - 2. Riobaird Miller 24.33 - 3. David Fox 24.37 - 4. James Hamm 24.40 - 5. John Kirwan 26.34- 6 . Ciaran Elster 26.42..
Ladies - 1. Olivia Sheeran 28.14 - 2. Joanne Carroll 28.54 – 3. Louise Mahony 29.03 - 4. Aileen Hooper 30.03 - 5. Mairead Moore 30.33 - 6. Laura Mahony 32.50.