28 November, 2009The fun thing about the Kippure handicap is the tradition that the finish will find a grizzled vet coming down the road closely followed by a young pursuer. Only Brendan Doherty in 2004 was able to maintain his advantage, as on Wednesday night, like Mick Kellet last year, Charlie O?Connell was denied a victory in the last 300 meters on a sunny, warm summer night in the dry boglands.
Shortly before 7 on Wednesday night, a bit more than 100 official runners, and a fair number of unofficial ones, gathered in the Featherbeds , at the start of the road to nowhere that leads to the gully that goes straight up to the antenna which marks the highpoint in County Dublin. Kippure is a classic course in that it is straight up and down and on a clear night like Wednesday you can pretty much see the whole race from anywhere on the course; for myself a welcome change from the single track through thick forests(thus no visibility) in the northestern parts of the the US. Also the recent stretch of dry weather had reduced the bog to a soft fluffy earth, which made for pleasant running, without the mucky , slippy track that one usually experiences on this course. (Actually , I sort of missed the muck)
Mike Gomm ably performed the starters role, which is crucial in the handicap race, getting people to the line and off at their appointed times. Soon a continuous stream of runners stretched out all along the well worn path to the summit. The long steady climb is not steep , but it takes its toll, as Pat Farrelly reminded me on the way up ? Its just pain, keep on going.? Some of the late starting hard chargers made their move on the climb but Charlie O?Connell still lead the charge on the way down, with Mick Kellett and Caitlin Bent among others prominent in their pursuit. As I hit the summit, unofficial runner and former M40 champions, Mike Burton , visiting from Australlia seemed to be the strongest of the late starters.
The run down on the dry turf was a delight for most runners. Off in the distance the hard dusty road, that seems to last forever, loomed and the heat started to take its toll, I regretted not carrying water (one of the first times I thought that on a short race in Ireland)
In the front of the race Greg Byrne and Brendan Arthurs had made the most progress on those starting 20 minutes or so ahead of them. (Brendan had originally been given a 7:01 start time , but he pointed out that his handicap was based on a data entry error that had skewed his percentage by reporting his finish at Croagh Patrick to 9000 %, so good on him for pointing our the error) Brendan caught Charlie O?Connell in the last 200 meters for the win and Charlie stayed a head of the fast closing Caitlin Bent who had a bit of a twisted ankle to slow her down. Greg Byrne and an excellent run by Jean O?Neill rounded out the top 5 finishers, ahead of last years hard luck runner up Mick Kellett.
A special thanks to all the volunteers , especially Eoin Keith and Kerry Keating, enduring the rough weather on top of the mountain and Moire O?Sullivan at registration and Graham and Jane organizing the equipment and Jim Fitzharris at the computer. The handicap program is evolving nicely with almost 80% of the runners finishing within 10 minutes of each other. A great night for a challenging but fun run on a classic course was topped off by great craic at Buglers in Rathfarnam. For me it was great to be in the pictures instead of looking at them longingly on Thursday morning.
Results are elapsed time based on 7:00 PM start, to get actual time subtract number of minutes you started after 7. Jim Fizharris has worked his spreadsheet magic and we now have the real times in an excel spreadsheet.(Make sure you have excel before clicking the link) times are based on scheduled start time, if you started late we are sorry, its just like a real race.
<a href="http://www.imra.ie/ad-hoc/Kippure 2006 real time results.xls"> Actual times </a>
Did anyone run with number 1108 we have no name for that number?? Anyone who was there missing a result.
Also Eoin Mahon got a new number but name was already in database. Let us know if you are really new.