"One of the best organised races around" was the verdict of one experienced club runner on the scene for 30 years. It was a comment repeated by many who flocked to Kilmovee for the sixth annual 10k on Saturday which was organised by John Roddy and the whole Kilmovee community, Kilmovee Shamrocks GAA club, and many volunteers. Their plan is to improve year on year and the evidence is clear.
A record 588 runners and walkers lined up at the start. It could not have been a better launch race for Mayo AC's 2015 Vodafone Move2Improve Series. Conditions were perfect with hardly enough breeze to flutter the roadside daffodils.
The big field were well streamed out as they crossed over Aghadiffen Bridge into Roscommon after 3k. Last year's winner Matt Bidwell was in full flow in the lead from John Byrne followed by a group of five. Seventeen-year-old Katherine Shiel-Rankin was the lead woman with Norah Newcombe tracking her, and Mary Gleeson in third. The field moved in waves along the fast flat course, with many looking for that early season PB or attacking their first 10k.
The leading order was the same, though slightly more spread out as they approached the only hill at 9k. Matt Bidwell stormed to victory in a new course record by three seconds in a time of 32:17, despite as he said "fading a bit in the second half”. John Byrne stuck in doggedly and was rewarded with a great time in second, 32:58. Westport tri-athlete Sean McLoughlin came through strongly for third, 34:30 .
Shiela Rankin (Aldershot Farnham and District ) maintained her lead in the women's race and won in 37:43. She is a regular visitor to the Swinford area and this was her first 10k. She finished eighth in a field of more than 300 in the English Schools Cross Country Championships last month. Norah Newcombe (unattached ) ran a comeback race following recent heel problems and was happy with her second place in 38:17.
Mary Gleeson was also back on the road and she ran a well paced race for third in 40:27. Lots of Mayo AC runners had a final test before the National 10k on Saturday in Phoenix Park. Anne Heaney has run many races recently and despite finding it tough towards the end she knocked a huge chunk off her 10k personal best to win the o35 section in 43:02 with Chris Gallagher second, just behind in 43:07. The next race in Mayo AC 2015 Vodafone Move2Improve series is 'Run for Boylo' 10k on Sunday April 26 in Foxford.