THE hugely popular AXA Raheny 5-mile road race was held on Sunday, with more than 60 Drogheda & District athletes braving cold, windy conditions along with 2,000 other entrants.
This 29-year-old event, founded by former Olympian Pat Hooper in 1985, marks the start of the 2013 road races and first home for the Drogheda men was Paddy Moore who sped home in a time of 28:45, while first for the ladies was Nuala Reilly in a great time of 34:10. Reilly, who rarely comes home from a race without silverware, won her category.
Outgoing club chairman and Drogheda & District's very own spiritual leader Declan Monaghan kicked home in 30:49 and John Orlandi and Conor Cooney also hit the pavement in style, winning second and third respectively in their categories in times of 33:19 and 34:02.
Double ironman Fran Egan proved he certainly has plenty of speed as well as endurance by completing the course in 30:30, while Kerry McHugh notched another PB with an excellent performance of 38:55. Her sister Erin, who has been dogged by injury, is also back on top form and her time of 35:57 suggests that 2013 will be an exciting running year for her.
Frank McCarthy proved to his former clubmates in Raheny Shamrocks that their loss is Drogheda & District's gain, running a convincing 34:44, which indicates a return to form, and Yvonne MacMahon was delighted with her 36:50 personal best.
Other noteworthy performances included Fiona Gogarty who clocked 52:09 in her first five-mile race, Julia Moore who ran a gallant race in 40:23, and Sinead Brady and Martina O'Connor Dyas who willed each other on to the finish line and coming in at 41:46 and 41:59 respectively.
Another very exciting athletic event of a different kind was taking place on Saturday in the newly opened, state-of-the-art indoor running track at Athlone Institute of Technology - namely the Woodie's DIY AAI Combined Events Championships.
Drogheda and District's very own Combined Events stalwart Jonathan McCabe came a highly respectable fourth in the All-Ireland Senior category, with Colin McHugh taking second place in his section.
On Sunday it was the turn of Pat O'Grady to take to the track in Athlone, and he ran a superspeedy 9min 41sec over 3,000m to achieve a season's best.