Drogheda medal delight on home soil
Over three months of planning and a huge amount of preparation on the day paid dividends in abundance when Sunday's Yapstone 10K brought an energy to Drogheda's main street that would rival any big city marathon for spectacle.
The weather gods were kind to this year's event with no wind and a slight coolness in the air which would have helped the runners when the pressure came on, especially those struggling with the steep incline on the back stretch of the course.
The pre-race atmosphere was electric as runners exchanged last-minute tips on how to tackle the course and the warm up for the masses proved to be very popular.
On the stroke of 3pm the gun went and the initial charge of almost 2,000 runners making their way across West Street would gladden the heart of any athletics supporter.
For the leading runners, the next 32 minutes were all about hard, sustained running and just over half an hour later Paddy Hamilton from Slieve Gullion AC crossed the line to win in a new course record of 31:39.
Runner up in 32:36 was Eoin Hughes from Acorns AC, followed by Dylan Keegan who was third in 33:16.
Drogheda & District's first finisher, in 6th place, was Mark O'Shea, who had a great run to finish in 33:54, closely followed by Colin Leonard in 10th spot in 34:49.
Backed up by the strong running Shane Larkin (34:58) and Ruaidhri Nolan (35:36), this quartet made up the Men's team who took home second team prize - these four also made up the silver medal winning team in the Louth 10K Championship.
The Women's race was won by Emma Mitchell in a fast 36:58, with Niamh Clifford runner up in 37:26 followed by Niamh Devlin who was third in 37:36.
Mary Leech was D&D's first finisher in 39:11 and backed up by Yasmin Canning (42:13) and Michelle Hughes (43:48) - this trio won the club team event.
Thanks to the strong running Roisin Donnelly (45:06) this quartet took county gold medals in the Louth Championship.
Perhaps the real winners on the day were the many unsung heroes who have transformed themselves over the last few months, having put the hard work in that's required to run this challenging 10K course.
The after-race party in the Laurence Centre was a hive of energy and this event continues to go from strength to strength.
Meanwhile, the North Leinster Schools Track and Field Championships took place in Santry Stadium last week.
There were some fine performances from Drogheda members which included Tadhg Donnelly finishing 3rd in the Senior 1500m and winning the Senior 5K in a fast 15:32 on day 2 of these Championships.
Oliver Clutterbuck was 3rd in the U16 Mile, while Harry Delaney was on the team that finished 2nd in the 4 x 100m relay. Also running on Day 1 was Cormac Canning in the 1500m and Harry Caffrey who took part in the 400m.
Day 2 saw Abigail Tegart finish 2nd in the Intermediate Girls 3000m, while Moya McCabe was 3rd in the 400m hurdles.
Cormac Canning got a bronze in the Senior 800m, while Anastasia Drakoulaki finished third in the 4 x 100m relay.
Others who competed on Day 2 were Kate O'Reilly, Muirne O'Connor, Sean Dillon and Liam Mulligan.
In the National 5K Road Championships in the Phoenix Park last weekend, Tadhg Everett Thompson ran a big PB time of 16:30 when finishing 20th overall. Cillian Dyas was 48th in 17:50, followed by Mike Staunton who ran the course in 24:05.
At the mid-week BHAA BMS 5K which was held in BallyCoolin, Paddy Murphy produced a great run to finish 38th in 18:41, followed by Conor Cooney who was 90th in 20:32.
Gerry Mullins was 111th in 21:12, while Gerard Fay was 112th in 21:14, followed by Nuala Reilly who ran 21:39 for this popular distance.