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raheny racing to new record

A record entry is expected for Sunday's Axa Raheny 5-Mile road race -- the first major Dublin race of the year.

Well over a thousand have already signed on and, with online entries being taken until almost the last minute on Saturday, that number is certain to rise.

On the day, entries will be taken until 2.30pm for €30, so it is well worth getting your entry in now.

Raheny residents can enter in person at the local Axa office (also open Saturday 10am-4pm).

Over the past two decades the race has earned its well-deserved reputation for a number of reasons. First of all it's accessible -- you can get to Raheny easily via public transport -- a blessing in these days when often you have to park a car half an hour from the start of a race.

Next is the cluster of public buildings close to the All Saint's Road start, which give plenty of space for changing, prizegiving and the welcome cuppa.

After all these years, the organising team, led by Pat Hooper, John Fitzsimons and Sean McGoldrick (along with their very patient families), operates like a well-oiled machine.

Over the past 25 years the formula has been refined and every member of the club has their job to do on the day. At the top end, a few are spared to run the race itself and attempt to bring the coveted team awards back to the host club. So expect to see the likes of Annette Kealy, Mark Kirwan (who finished second last year) and Mick Clohisey all lining out on Sunday.

They face a tough task.

Back to make an attempt on her own course record of 26 minutes 22 seconds is Maria McCambridge, while defending the title he won last year is Tallaght's Sean Connolly, who hopes to run under 24 minutes after clocking a time of 24:13 last year.

A big attraction on the day are the children's races. First off is the Raheny 800m for 8- to 12-year-olds (2.15) followed by the Raheny Mile for 13- to 16-year-olds (2.30). Entry fee for both races is €5. Medals go to all finishers with prizes for the first three boys and girls.

Full details of the day plus online entry at www.rahenyshamrock.com.