Fit4Life at Castlepollard 5K Road Race

Fit4Life at Castlepollard 5K Road Race

With thanks to Lyndon Thomas for this great report

Angela Egan and I travelled to the Midlands for our latest 5K outing. Having both suffered from starting too fast in the previous couple of races our conversation during the journey was all about pacing and staying in control over the first kilometre. Our determination paid off for once, and having started much slower, we were able to run a much stronger final couple of kilometres, with our finish times coming out about the same as they would have off a fast start. The difference at this race was that neither of us suffered as badly as we had at the previous races and we both felt at the finish that we had found a more sustainable ( and less painful) way of racing from now on. It seems obvious, but actually starting slow is not an easy thing to do in the hurly-burly and adrenaline of a gun start.

This race, hosted by North Westmeath A.C. was blessed with the most beautiful still summer’s evening making for perfect racing conditions. This is now one of the best attended road races in the Midlands, partly due the fact that prizes are offered in ALL age categories, something organisers of some of the other road races would be wise to take note of.

Castlepollard is a small town located in North County Westmeath near Lough Derravaragh. The “out and back” looped course begins at the town square and proceeds out of the town towards the Tullynally Castle Estate. The first Kilometre is flat and quick allowing the field to spread out before entering the Tullynally Castle estate through a grand stone gatehouse and climbing up a tree-lined avenue. The estate gardens, like the castle, are on a grand scale taking in nearly 12 acres. This allows the race to make a big loop of the gardens with a quick downhill stretch followed by a sharp climb back up before exiting the estate through the gatehouse. The final 1100 metres is almost flat and allows for a great run in to the finish.

The name Tullynally is an adaption of ‘Tulaigh an Eallaigh’ – the Hill of the Swan. The Castle overlooks Lough Derravaragh, the lake of the Children of Lir who, legend has it were turned into swans.

This year over 450 participants took part in the race and everything that is good about club road racing in Ireland can be found there.
Angela ran a very strong time of 28.33 on this hilly course and came away with the envelope for first place in her category. I ran a 25.38 which I was happy with on this course. If Angela wins many more envelopes I’m thinking of suggesting that she employs me to travel as her official photographer in future. I would even be willing to get to the refreshments before anyone else and have her tea and sandwiches waiting at the finish.

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