'TWAS the week before Christmas, and we're filling the pantry - but time for just one more big blowout in Santry!
And so it was. Seventeen Drogheda & District AC stalwarts in hollyberry red singlets and one dedicated coach hit Dublin's northside in festive form on Sunday just in time to try for a preChristmas PB - or pudding buster as we'll call it this week.
Clonliffe Harriers helpfully staged their Christmas Cracker 5k on a Christmas gift of a course - starting and finishing in the famous Morton Stadium devoid of serious uphills, and they arranged a calm, cool, wintry morning for its execution. As 'Santa Baby' played soothingly to 261 warmed-up and eager athletes through the loudspeakers, they sprang to their marks, the man gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle!
Paddy Moore dashed to the fore, Declan Monaghan and Ian Donagh dancing close in his wake. But Paddy was not to be caught. He pranced over the finish line all twinkling and merry in a new PB of 17:32. Club chairman Declan was pudding-busting too in a merry-dimple time of 18:28, with Ian Donagh dashing home in 18:41.
Mags Nugent was the female star the other Drogheda ladies had to follow. With surprise encouragement arriving in the heavy-breathing form of coach Liam Reilly on his bicycle, she called on all her reserves to produce a fine 20:44 - the pain made worthwhile by the personal best.
Overall winner in the men's race was Tallaght AC's Tom Fitzpatrick in 14:42, a full 26 seconds clear of Eddie McGinley (Annadale) in second, and victory in the ladies' section went to Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC) in a superb time of 16:50.
Coach Liam was on hand again to galvanize club Ladies Captain Nuala Reilly to age group victory.
Nuala collected the prize for the F55 category, equalling the achievement of Giancarlo Orlandi in the M60s. Nuala flew round in 20:51 and Giancarlo in 20:03. Conor Cooney took second place in the M60s with 20:40 on the dial as he cantered through the finish.
Joe McGuirk was a right jolly elf as he just pipped Erin McHugh to the post in 22:43, with an admiring Barney Flannery blitzing home in her trail of fairy dust in 22:47.
The day was happily rounded off with tea and biscuits back at the clubhouse where a benign, red-coated gentleman with copious facial hair regaled the Drogheda & District gang with tales of his adventures out on the course; birthday boy and coach Liam Reilly got a puncture.