Thursday, January 28, 2021

From New York to Navan

The past two weeks in Duleek and District AC have been notable for four excellent individual performances across three varying disciplines. Nicole Hoey competed for the club in the Meath Cross country league in Trim and put in a smashing performance in the girls under 11 race. After a brisk start Nicole steadily moved her way up through the field in a highly competitive and frenetic race to ensure a healthy finishing position and the opening cross country league points for the club. Later, on the same day Elizabeth Lee represented the club in the women’s senior 4k Cross country championships. As always, the field attracted the finest of cross country talent in the county and a highly competitive race ensued across the scenic porchfields venue in Trim with the castle providing a scenic and stunning backdrop. Elizabeth bettered here previous attempts over the distance finishing in a very creditable time of 19.34 over the undulating course.

With the dust settling on Dublin marathon 2017 Eric Devine packed his bags for the big apple to take part in the 2017 New York marathon. The short seven day turnaround from Dublin was always going to present a recovery challenge but the opportunity to take the sights and sounds of one of the most atmospheric races around was too good to pass up. With places in New York being limited and provided by ballot this was a once in a lifetime shot. Eric fully capitalised and showed no ill effects from his Dublin exertions by running a fantastic 3 hours and 34 minutes. This feat was made all the more impressive by the fact that the earlier miles are very frenetic and clustered with the large volume of athletes taking some time to thin out. This rounds off a massively impressive year of PBs for Eric.

In more local surroundings Peter Hearty made the short trip to one of his local happy hunting grounds to take part in the Navan parkrun. The local event continues to grow in popularity and despite being a tough workout and course it provides a valuable barometer on training progress. Peter finished second in the event in a competitive race with one of his fastest ever times over the course finishing in 17.51. From the evidence of this outing the graph is clearly trending upwards as preparations for the London marathon 2018 begin in earnest.

Dublin Marathon 2017

Through a combination of racing, pacing and spectating there was heavy involvement from Duleek and District AC in this year’s Dublin marathon. The moving of the race from its traditional slot of October bank holiday Monday to the Sunday of the same weekend has proved a popular one. The largest ever field of almost 20,000 who went to post reflected that in addition to being an ample barometer of the ever increasing popularity of running.  With ten of the clubs athletes taking part in the event there was an eclectic mix of novices to the distance and experienced veterans. After the months of preparation, arduous mileage, early mornings, blisters, tapering and psychological preparation for the dreaded ‘wall’ the race set off from Fitzwilliam square in slightly warmer than usual conditions.

As the race meandered and slalomed its way across the city, and out through the Phoenix Park the crowds thronged the footpaths adding colour, atmosphere and warmth which the event is famous for. A large crowd of spectators from Duleek were on hand at regular intervals throughout the course to cheer on their fellow club members. Lisa Chambard and Olivia Woods were two athletes who were making their marathon debuts and they both ran fantastic races which belied their lack of previous experience over the distance.  Samantha Power and Susan Murphy both successfully scaled the wall and went beyond to add Dublin 2018 to their list of completed marathons. Anita Carolan will look back fondly on the 2018 marathon as she flew around in an impressive 3 hours and 42 minutes for a mightily impressive marathon PB. In Paddy Lennon Anita had a partner in crime with Paddy destroying his previous personal best over the 42k distance of 3 hours and 47 minutes.

Steve Gallagher ran a fantastic race to also clear the 4 hour marker at the very first time of asking with 3 hours and 48 minutes with Rob Kieran’s also coming in just before the 4 hour pacer in 3 hours and 56 minutes. Eric Devine has a busy upcoming fortnight with not one, but two major marathons as he gained entry in to the upcoming New York marathon. Eric warmed up nicely for the big apple with a 3 hour and 45 minute effort here. Derek Reilly found time to take some pictures and savour the experience on the way around with Ken Brady and his wife Annemarie getting around the course for better and for worse en route to a well earned marathon finishers medal. The additional responsibility of bringing the athletes targeting a sub 4 hour and 50 minute finish in on time fell to experienced marathon runner Ray Cassin. It was a case of mission successfully completed as Ray fully utilised his experience of running and pacing the distance to assist a number of athletes to shorten their bucket list.

Longwood 5k

A storming performance by Duleek athlete Peter Hearty ensured the club was represented on the podium at the Longwood 5k on Sunday last. The south Meath village of Longwood was awash with athletes warming up, cooling down, pacing, racing and spectating as the village hosted its annual 5k and 10k road races. The permits for both races were granted by Trim athletic club and it is hard to think of a rural area in Meath more conducive to hosting these events as Longwood. The worst of storm Brian had subsided and conditions improved considerably throughout the morning as both races commences almost simultaneously. Duleek ACs interest in proceedings was centred around the 5k as two of the clubs athletes; Peter Hearty and David Doyle were taking part.

The 5k started with a village loop before taking on a more rural twist out of the village. It was no surprise that St Coca’s AC athlete Kevin Kelly pulled clear from early on with Andrew Nevin from Mullingar Harriers in hot pursuit. As the race wore on Kelly’s class told as he hammered home his early advantage to take the title in an impressive 15.33. The race for the placings hotted up as it wore on with Peter Hearty making inroads and almost catching Nevin. Nevin held on for second place with hearty taking an excellent third in 17.50. Further on down the field David Doyle took fifth place.

A week previous,  Elizabeth Lee took on racing off the off road variety with an excellent performance in the Laragh 10k. In a race that cleared the Derrybawn ridge and brought the athletes bumping, hopping and careering down to the finish. It was a race that demonstrated both amazing scenery and also the range of running events available in Irish running at present. Elizabeth showed great strength all through to clock a fantastic time.

Cross Country

A great performance from Evan Hoey got the month of October off to a great start for Duleek AC. Evan was competing in the Meath under 10 cross country championships and put in a very strong effort from start to finish of a lumpy course in Athboy. The field was very competitive and the standard was very high in the event and it was great to see the green of Duleek mixing it with clubs throughout the county. On the same weekend the clubs adults were out in force in numerous locations both home and abroad. There was a park run, bog run and a city run. Firstly, to the weekly Navan park run which continues to attract large numbers of new athletes to the sport. Peter Hearty made an impressive return to racing action by winning the event in an excellent time. Anne Hamilton made light of the tricky underfoot conditions at the Ardee 10k bog run and Sandra Cassin brought an international flavour to proceedings with a fine time in the Cologne half marathon.

A week later the pattern was repeated with a similarly hectic schedule of events. The club was once again well represented on the cross country circuit as the county uneven age and master’s championships took place in Stamullen. On one of the more testing cross country courses Nessa Rohan and Saoirse Power both placed in the top 10 in the girls under 9 race with Doireann Power and Ruby Hartford equally as impressive in the girls under 11 race. Fran Power and David Doyle rounded off the clubs involvement for the day running strongly in the Masters race. Paddy Ryan completed a Deutschland double for the club with an excellent run in the Munich marathon which finished in the iconic Olympic stadium. As always, Anne Hamilton and Sandra Cassin were out representing the club and this time it was in the local Meath Dublin border run in Ardcath where they were joined by Deborah O’Sullivan. Eric Devine, Steve Gallagher and Paddy Lennon are all building nicely towards the Dublin marathon at the end of the month and another rung on the ladder towards that event was successfully scaled with all three athletes running strong in the national ¾ marathon championships in Longwood, Co Meath. 

Parkland to the Promised Land

Multi tasking is usually associated with the mundane but the exact opposite proved to be the case for one club member last Saturday. Graham Byrne completed the Dublin half marathon that morning and with just enough time to arrive home, dust himself down and don his uniform he walked on to the film set of the Shawshank Redemption.  Graham has the part of one of the guards in the film and with preparations for the local community fundraiser well underway each film is now at the filming stage. Graham was one of a number of club representatives at the Dublin half marathon. The race this year used Newbridge House and Demesne in Donabate as its headquarters and the decision to move the race from its spiritual home in the Phoenix Park to the much less accessible Newbridge house backfired and the race was left in a logistical quandary with a number of the approximately 9,000 race entrants unable to make the start line, despite the race commencement being delayed until after 10am.

Elsewhere there was a fantastic performance from Paddy Lennon who chipped a cool six minutes off his previous best in a time of 1 hour and 44 minutes. Anita Carolan was making her debut as a race pacer and brought the sub two hours 30 minutes runners home within their target time. Anita had Ray Cassin, who is an experienced pacer over the distance to help get the athletes around. Multi tasking was not confined to Graham Byrne with Anne Hamilton running back to back races on the same day with a strong performance in the Dublin half marathon race followed up with an even better one in the evening Blackrock AC 4 mile race, bringing her mileage for the day to an impressive 17.1 not out. Lorna Fields and Susan Durnin are both having excellent seasons and both ran very strong races.

September, sunshine and Star of the Sea could only mean one thing as far as athletics was concerned and that was the start of the cross country season. The star of the sea is the season opener in this discipline and always attracts large crowds and competitive fields. Having not competed at cross country for a number of seasons Duleek AC made a return to action as four of the clubs juveniles took part. Nessa Rohan put in a gritty performance to come home an excellent sixth place in the girls under 9 race. Nicole Hoey demonstrated similar levels of determination and perseverance as she ground out an equally impressive seventh place in the girls under 11 event with Ruby Hartford just as impressive in the same race. Evan Hoey was flying the flag for the clubs boys as he ran a strong race in the under 10 event. These performances augur well for the upcoming Meath Championships which are just around the corner.

Captains race series finale

A large crowd from Duleek AC made the short trip to neighbouring Ratoath for the Ratoath AC 5k road race. The event was also notable as being the final instalment in the captain’s race series, a series which has ebbed and flowed throughout the year. And so with the final points on offer it is no surprise that a number of club athletes saved their best performances until for the last race. Club captain Alan McKeown gave a captains performance in being the first person home for the club in a time of 20 minutes and 40 seconds. Michael Clifford ran a great race and eclipsed the 27 minute marker. Other who flew the flag for the clubs male athletes were Ziad Chammas, Ruairi Nestor and Graham Byrne. The ladies were not found wanting either with Olive Reilly finishing just over the 30 minute marker for a new personal best. Lorraine Noone, Joanne Deasy, Leon Halligan and Karen Creed were others who bettered their previous outings over the short distance. With the page now closed on a massively successful captain’s series it is a case of adding the points and announcing the results with the prize giving for the series amalgamated into the club’s annual awards night. The series has seen some very large race attendances and continues to etch itself into the social fabric of the club. The previous evening in Dromiskin the clubs most consistent athletes this year, Anne Hamilton and Sandra Cassin flew the club flag at another local race as they put in great performances in the Dromiskin 5k.

The Dara Fitzpatrick run took place in Waterford to commemorate the tragic death earlier this year of Dara Fitzpatrick in the Irish Coast Guard rescue 116 crash. If ever there was a case of running being given an overall context and perspective then this was it and it was no surprise that a massive crowd turned out for the event. As ever, Anne Hamilton and Sandra Cassin represented the club in this event and continue to represent the club with distinction, near and far on a weekly basis. Much closer to home the hilltop local village of Bellewstown made for a fitting climax to the East of Ireland race series.  Susan Gleeson jumped from third place at the bottom of the closing hill to first place at the top of it to take a memorable victory in the ladies 10 mile race. In the 20 mile event endurance stalwarts Derek Reilly and Eric Devine both performed well to finish narrowly outside the placings in 4th and 5th place respectively.

The local theme was carried through the weekend with a number of club athletes taking place in he Boyne AC 4 mile road race in Drogheda. Sandra Cassin and Anne Hamilton demonstrated no sign of fatigue from their exertions in Waterford a few days previously, with Sandra taking second place in her category.  Orla Hillman and Louise Hanrahan both made a return to racing action and put in strong performance.

Dublin, Dingle & Tara

The penultimate round of the captain’s series ensured a significant turnout of green vests in neighbouring Skryne for the Tara AC 5k. On a perfect evening and on a course most suitably described as lumpy there was some notable racing from Duleek AC athletes. Niall Doyle put an injury ravaged 2016 well and truly behind him to clock his best performance of the year and a time of 22.05. Greg Dixon has been very consistent over recent months and was first home for the club in just over 19 minutes. Graham Byrne converted some hard training into an excellent racing performance finishing in 23 mins. Two of the clubs newcomers this year both recorded big personal bests with Elizabeth Lee finishing in just under 25 minutes with Karen Creed marginally over the 25 minute marker. Lorna Fields was another who clocked a big personal best over the short distance with an impressive 26 minutes. It is a case of all roads leading to Ratoath as the Ratoath AC 5k is the final race in the series and another big turnout is guaranteed. The ongoing race attendances are testament to the spade work that is being done behind the scenes by club captains Orla Crosby and Alan McKeown.

Just over 12 hours later the Phoenix Park was the venue for the latest instalment of the Dublin race series.  The Frank Duffy 10 mile race increases in popularity each year with the entire race taking place amongst the picturesque surrounds of the Phoenix Park. It serves as both an intermediate goal and temperature check for athletes building up to the Dublin marathon and as a competitive standalone race in its own right. Lisa Chambard is well and truly on course for the Dublin marathon with a strong 1 hour 30 minute performance. Celena Tierney ran a strong race in tough and humid conditions for running with a 1 hour 48 minute time. It was previously that there were two certainties in life, death and taxation. It seems the racing habits of Sandra Cassin and Anne Hamilton can be added as a third certainty as each weekend, without fail, both athletes can be found taking part in a race somewhere within the Leinster region and donning the green vests. With a tough and hilly Frank Duffy 10 mile behind them both ladies showed no sign of fatigue as they made light of a 24 hour turnaround to complete an equally challenging Rossin Rovers 5k the following day.

The seaside town of Dingle, Co Kerry provided a picturesque backdrop for its annual half marathon event.  With breath taking scenery and no time to stop to say hello to Fungy Susan Gleeson ran a very strong race coming in at 2 hours and 9 minutes. Earlier on the same day in nearby Ardee Anne Hamilton and Sandra Cassin were once again to the fore in the Seamus Weldon 5k. Run in hot conditions and over a very undulating but interesting course, both athletes clocked great times.

An Exhausting August


A fast and furious race at the top end of the field saw an extremely exciting finish to this year’s Indaver Duleek 10k road race. The fifth annual running of the race saw entries of over 300 athletes and the course record broken not once, but three times by the first 3 males across the finish line. The race was won in a time of 31 minutes and 12 seconds by Freddy Sittuk of Raheny AC who narrowly pipped Colin Maher of Ballyfin AC with previous winner Gary O’Hanlon in third place. Last year’s winner Brian McCluskey took a strong fourth place. The ladies race was won by local athlete Nicola Bull of the Star of the Sea club with Bohermeen athletes Andrea McGuinnes and Olivia Martin taking second and third place respectively.  There were lots of category prizes throughout the various age groups on the day. The over 50 price categories went to local athletes and clubs with Dolores Kelly of Balbriggan AC taking the female prize and Patrick O’Grady from Drogheda and District AC taking the male prize. The ever popular Nuala Reilly took the female over 60 category with a smashing performance with John Cullen taking the male prize. A solitary point was all that separated the Drogheda and District AC ladies team of Yasmin Canning, Michelle Hughes and Nula Reilly from Bohermeen AC. It turned out to be a very productive day for the red vests of Drogheda with Patrick O’Grady, Stephen Kelly and Brian Martin taking the male team prize from Brothers Pearse in second place. The ever popular race continues to grow year on year and has cemented its standing in a very busy road running calendar.

In addition to hosting events Duleek AC have been very active on the roads in recent weeks. In the Clogherhead Seaside 10k Greg Dixon came home in just over 40 mins in very testing conditions. The clubs two most regular racers, Anne Hamilton and Sandra Cassin can be very pleased with their efforts both clocking in at 59 mins. A massive 42 club members basked in the sunshine as the annual Rock and Roll half marathon rolled into town for the Dublin instalment of the event. As with any of the city centre races the crowds and intermittent bands along the course contributed to a fantastic atmosphere in the 13.1 mile event. There were some very notable performances from Duleek AC with numerous athletes reaching the half marathon distance for the first time. Chief amongst these were Dawn Heeney, Olivia Woods, Amanda Duff, Tara Devine and Orla Crosby with Olive Wall providing some excellent pacing. Ziad Chammas put in a very intensive couple of months training and ran an excellent time of 1 hour and 47 minutes. Fran Power clocked an impressive 1 hour and 35 minutes and proved he is as adept over the longer distances as the short. Karen Creed picked up where she left off in the Indaver 10k with another impressive performance. Darragh Scully continues to go from strength to strength with Celena Tierney also running a great race.

Endurance running and distance events present athletes with an ongoing dilemma on whether to obey the mind and body or overrule it. Club member Ray Cassin undertook the 100 mile challenge in Connemara having gone through months of intensive training in preparation for the event. A dawn start in Clifden was followed by the athletes making their way towards Letterfrack. With some hydration and food intake at Inagh valley Ray made his way towards the 28 mile mark in exactly 6 hours with the challenge fully on plan. From their onwards, the discomfort started and continued. Ray bravely fought through this for a further 47 miles until mile 75 where it simply was not possible to continue. However, every cloud has a silver lining and despite having to call it a day earlier than planned the challenge raised a significant amount of much needed funds for two local charities – Meals on wheels and Duleek Active Retirement. 

Fingal 10k Swords

The commencement of the Dublin race series coincides with the high point of Irish summer. And so in Swords last Sunday the four race series which culminates in the Dublin marathon on the October bank holiday weekend commenced with the Fingal 10k in Swords. As anticipated a large crowd turned out owing both to the collective discount on offer for the four race series and also the quality of the event as a standalone race. Amongst the large crowd was a significant attendance from Duleek AC. Some athletes are using the race and series as a temperature check on marathon progress With Others racing the distance on its own merits. Lisa Chambard is ticking along nicely in preparation for the big day in October and ran an impressive 49 mins. Derek Reilly is no stranger to either race series or marathon running and put in another impressive performance in Swords. Celena Tierney finished in a very strong time of 63 minutes with Tara Dillon hot on her heels. Rob Kierans is another who is preparing diligently for the Dublin marathon and finished just over the 45 minute marker. Orla Hillman is having an excellent year and clocked close to her best in a time of just under 57 minutes. Michelle Ferran, in one of her first races for the club finished in an excellent 58 minutes whilst Steve Gallagher clocked an impressive 47 minutes for the distance.

Preparations are now being finalised for the Indaver Duleek 10k road race. The race, now in its fifth year continues to attract a high calibre field from throughout the region. This year has been no different and there is now the added incentive of a generous group discount and a very striking long sleeve race t-shirt which has generated a lot of interest. The race takes place next Sunday 6th August at 11am and full details can be found on or on the race facebook page – Indaver Duleek 10k road race.

Indaver Duleek 10k Race Pacers

Looking to run a 10k PB or do you just like to run along side a good race Pacers,, Well Indaver Duleek 10k have 3 of the best thanks to Duleek & District AC we have got a two time Dublin City Marathon race pacer Ray that will get you home in the 60mins,,, O ya and ask him about the 100mile challenge he is running very soon,, Tag along with Lorraine our female winner of the EOI Duleek marathon 2016 if your going to go for 55mins., Maybe 50mins is your goal we have a lad for the job Derek sub 3hr Cork marathon 2017 has this one covered.. whatever your goal is tag along with the Duleek AC Crew they are bound to take the ears of you with a smile sign up now


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