Saturday 29 November 2014

Mount Juliet swings into action for 560

Joanne Cuddihy, Sonia O'Sullivan and Run Mount Juliet organiser Caroline Walsh (centre), with Nial Shiels (third from left) and Emma Murphy (fourth from right), respective winners of the men's and women's section, as well as runners up (L-R) Pat Byrne, Pauline Curley, Des Kennedy, Martina O'Dwyer and Val Gunner. Pat Moore

Following a week of high winds and flooding on the Mount Juliet Estate in Co Kilkenny, a welcome gap in the clouds allowed for the scheduled 10k road race to take place on Saturday. It was very much wait and see right up to the last minute as mother nature threw everything at them, bringing down 300 trees on the route while the River Nore burst its banks by the White Bridge.

"It was a question of what can we do, not what can't we do," said race organiser Caroline Walsh, praising the team of volunteers who worked tirelessly through the night to ensure that trees and other debris were removed.

"We didn't want to disappoint anybody but we had to cancel the 3k and the half-marathon race as they were most affected by the conditions."

Many of the half-marathon runners were still keen to race in the 10k, including the top three females: Emma Murphy (37.54), Olympian Pauline Curley (38.16) and Martina O'Dwyer (38.57).

It was a much tighter race to the finish for the men as Nial Shiels (33.56) was chased down the avenue by Des Kennedy (33.59), with Pat Byrne (34.55) in third.

With views of the magnificent golf course and neighbouring Ballylinch stud farm, the loop course through the estate attracted 560 runners on what turned out the be a perfect morning.

More accustomed to hosting world-class golfers, participants and spectators were delighted to see Sonia O'Sullivan taking part along with race ambassador and local Olympian Joanne Cuddihy.

"I really enjoyed the run and what a beautiful setting," said Sonia. "Intimate, smooth roads on the estate, followed by some challenging hills on the country roads and a perfect, fast finish to Hunter's yard. For me, this ticks all the boxes and I would love to come back and do it again," she added.

Age category prizes were awarded and three local charities: Cois Nore, GROW, and St Patrick's Centre all benefited from the event.

Irish Independent

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