2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and one of the big issues for our members has been a lack of races. Most triathlons, road races, cycles and swims have been cancelled this year due to safety concerns and it can be hard to train with no particular event to look forward to. With this in mind, Blackwater Triathlon Club Chairperson, Niamh Fleming, arranged a club only running event for the 6th of December. There were three distances available to athletes on the day: a full marathon, a half-marathon and a 10k. This was an opportunity for club members to attempt these distances in a controlled local event with very small numbers taking part.The club was very aware of the safety concerns around organising an event in these Covid restricted times and strict social distancing guidelines were applied on the day.
With the onset of winter approaching fast, we had just had our first week of cold and frosty mornings. While early morning starts are difficult at the best of times, on icy mornings it can be easier to roll over and knock off the alarm clock. This wasn’t an option for the BTC crew on Sunday morning though as the event organisers arrived in Castleyons village bright and early to meet the early competitors. The event was planned like a military operation to ensure that contact was kept to a minimum. Each of the events started at different times and groups were kept small. There were four brave souls taking on the marathon distance on the day, Conor Bartley, Dave Harte, Dave Bartley and Jim Crowley. Jim set off on his own on the four lap course at 7.30a.m. while the other three left at 8.30. The day was bright and cold, but dry not too breezy. Ideal conditions for a long run.
BTC crew landed bright and early in the village of Castlelyons.
At 10.30 16 more club members gathered in small groups to set off on the two-lap half-marathon run, followed at 11.15 by the 10k runners who were doing a single lap. A total of 40 club members took part in the events on the day. The day wasn’t really about competing against other club members but more about checking your own levels of fitness after a really challenging year. There were plenty of marshals on the route to ensure safety and social-distancing guidelines were being followed.
As the athletes covered the milesthe sun came out and it turned in to a beautiful winter’s day. The runners had a nice easy incline to start their run, before heading in to a combination of rolling hills and flat surfaces.
The route was well mapped out and relatively straightforward, although one member still managed to add a couple of kilometres to her run somehow. It was a great day all round and great preparation for the Club virtual Christmas Party later that night. Conor Bartley was the first of the marathon runners home, crossing the line in a very impressive 3:16:43, followed by Dave Harte in 3:23:54, Dave Bartley in 03:25:38 and Jim Crowley in a personal best time of 04:15:15. Liam O’Connor was the first man home in the half-marathon in 1:18:21, followed by Michael Lyons in 1:22:13 and Brian O’Hagan in 1:27:22. Gina Lyons was the fatest female on the day finishing in 1:35:09, with Deirdre Morrison next in 1:52:23 and Rachel Cronin in 2:06:59. The first home in the 10k event was Ashleigh Byrne-O’Brien who powered across the line, despite a little confusion in a personal best time of 40:20. The first male to cross the line was Adrian Collins in 43:12. Justin McCarthy finished in 43:52 followed by Jonathan D’arcy in 46:19. The second female home was Eleanor Fennessy in 47:37, followed by Tina Kiely in a pb time of 50:23.
Well done to everyone who took part on the day. A special shout out to Frank Kiernan who managed the time keeping on the day, no easy task at the best of times but near impossible when dealing with so many staggered starting times. Thanks also to all the marshals and the people manning the water stations. Hopefully, next year will be back to normal.