Kilnaboy AC in Co Clare have built a great tradition around their annual Michael 'Sonny' Murphy Memorial 10 mile road race. It is rightly recognised as one of the classic races in the country over this distance. In the unique landscape of the Burren the race has retained its charm and friendliness, with a distinctive warm welcome for every runner and walker.
Mayo AC have a great tradition too in taking part. Over the last 25 years, Paddy Murray, Billy Gallagher, Ann Lennon, Josephine Macken and John Byrne have all won the race and numerous others have won team and individual prizes. So, 77 years after Michael 'Sonny' Murphy took part in the 3,000 metres steeplechase in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, the 25th Kilnaboy 10 mile was celebrated in style on Sunday with a record 363 runners and more than 100 walkers for the 10 mile event. The course is tough, particularly over the second half. For Mayo AC runners it provided a stern test of stamina ahead of the national 10km championships on April 26. Appropriately, local man Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham WSAF AC ) won easily in 51.37. For Mayo AC, John Byrne was fourth in 56.11, Anto Devaney 20th in 60.42. Newcomer Andrew Lynskey from Belmullet made his Mayo AC debut with an excellent 60.59 in 22nd place, followed by Dave Huane, 43rd in 63.34. Tom Hunt was second over 60 in 67.30, his ninth time taking part in the race. Alan Lynskey finished in 76.03, Christy O'Malley in 76.53. Sarah Syron has been taking part in the Fit4Life programme recently and she went in at the deep end, making her Mayo AC debut with a creditable 78.01 in her first race over 10 miles. Jim Donnelly from Ballyhaunis is returning to fitness after a couple of mishaps and he got round in 97.12. Mayo AC men were third in the team prize and rounded off another very enjoyable day in Kilnaboy.